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the cautious and despotic James was forced into a demonstration on behalf of his daughter's cause. But, by a compromise, he sent only four thousand men, whose assistance to Frederick was to be limited to his native and undoubted State, the Palatinate of the Rhine. He might be overpowered in his elective kingdom of Bohemia-for the king had foretold his fall-but within his ancient bounds he was safe. Four thousand men was not a large contingent when the great Thirty Years' War was on the point of breaking forth, but the effort forced on him by his people hurt James's feelings as a legitimate king, and exhausted his finances. He was obliged, therefore, to taste the humiliation of representative government once more, and, after an interval of six years, Parliament met.
§ 23. Monopolies were attacked, and some of the extortioners punished. James promised freedom of speech and opposition to Popery, but the rage of reformation went on. Many high officers were displaced and banished for malversation and fraud; judges and bishops were convicted of corruption; and at last the scrutiny of the Commons fell upon the loftiest rank and highest intellect in the land. Bacon, who was now Viscount St. Albans, was formally accused of the perversion of justice and greediness of bribes. Everything yielded to the stream. Bacon was timid and undignified, and threw himself on the mercy of the king and the Lords, obtaining a contemptuous forgiveness, after the loss of office and an imprisonment of a few days. But after purifying the public offices and seats of justice, the zeal of the Commons showed itself in increased severity against the Papists. Protestantism and the Palatinate had now become so connected in the national mind, that a Roman Catholic gentleman was fined and imprisoned for rejoicing at the defeat of the King and Queen of Bohemia. No obscure intimations were given of an inquiry into the proceedings connected with the intended alliance of the Prince of Wales with a Catholic princess, and one audacious voice had even mentioned the
A.D. 1621–1623.] KING AND PARLIAMENT.
favourite Buckingham as enriching himself with the wages of corruption. The bold parliament was prorogued, and then, in spite of the promise of freedom of debate, obnoxious members were seized and lodged in gaol; insulting letters were addressed by the royal pedant to the Speaker, reprimanding the House for its presumption; and the quarrel grew as the time of its re-assembling drew near.
At its meeting a great protest was drawn up, vindicating its right to unlimited discussion and interference with all national affairs. No member was to be drawn in question for anything said within the walls, except by the advice and with the consent of the Commons themselves, or on any private information conveyed to the king. This was entered on the books, and had all the weight of a resolution. James was wrathful beyond control. He prorogued the Parliament, tore out the entry with his own hand, sent the more prominent leaders to prison on different pretexts, and finally dissolved the refractory assemblage, whose actions gave clear indications of the momentous contests which were to come.
§ 24. One of the petitions of the late Parliament had been for a Protestant marriage of the Prince of Wales. But James was ambitious of an alliance with the throne of Castile, and prosecuted his son's suit at Madrid with all his power. He wrote-though very secretly-to the Pope, in hopes of moving his Holiness to grant a dispensation for the Infanta's union with a heretic, and urged his ambassador, Lord Bristol, to settle preliminaries at once. The affair might have been settled in time, but the impatience of Buckingham and his pupil could brook no delay. They started off on a secret expedition to Madrid, passing through Paris on their way, and at last found themselves at the Spanish court. There their reception was stately and magnificent. Feasts, bull-fights, assemblies, and illuminations—all proved the readiness of the bride's family to give her to the heir of England. She was so far betrothed, that already she took the name and rank
of Princess of Wales. But Buckingham spoilt the negotia tion by the madness of his vanity. He offended Castilian pride by his arrogance, and roused Spanish jealousy by his gallantries. He paid ostentatious attention to the Duchess Olivarez, the wife of the prime minister, and as he perceived a change in the manner of the court, he took his obedient master home, where his arrival was hailed as little less than a miracle, for it was not believed that the Spaniards would ever let so valuable a hostage out of their hands. Many excuses and subterfuges were employed to break off the match with the Infanta. But nothing was found so effectual as the demand for the restitution of the Palatinate to the king's son-in-law, as a preliminary to the marriage. Philip perceived the intention of the fickle bridegroom, and actively prepared for war. Lord Bristol came over in hot haste, and ventured in full parliament to throw the odium of the rupture with Spain on the favourite. The accusations were favourably received within the walls; and hopes of some change in his influence which had been so hurtful to the State and intolerable to themselves, began to spread among the members of the assembly when they saw him brought to bay by so respected an antagonist. But if he had been guilty of twice the number of follies and crimes, the nation would have pardoned him for them all, in consideration of his breaking off the Spanish match, and producing a quarrel with its hereditary foe. Trumpets sounded at Charing-cross, and a herald proclaimed war with Philip, amidst the acclamations of the people; and Buckingham was looked on as a patriot who regarded the interests of the Palatinate and the Protestant faith. On the strength of this fleeting popularity he denounced some of his personal enemies, and succeeded in getting one of them fined fifty thousand pounds. He protected his friends also, and the Commons, at his request, declined to prosecute the Lord-Keeper Williams, though the majority of the House were Puritans, and his lordship was a bishop.
§ 25. All men's minds were turned towards the affairs of the Continent, where Protestantism had entered on the fiery trial which lasted thirty years. Count Mansfeldt was carrying on a noble struggle in Germany, and Parliament gave him leave to raise twelve thousand soldiers to aid the Bohemian king, and seemed disposed to be liberal in its subsidies for the expenses of the war. The Prince of Wales, on the recommendation of Buckingham, applied for the hand of Henrietta Maria, the daughter of the gallant Henry IV., whom they had seen as they passed through Paris, and hoped by that alliance to secure the assistance of France. And while James was perplexed with his preparations for the wedding, and his dread of hostilities with Spain and the Empire-quarrelling even with Buckingham, and doubtful of the affection of Charles, eating like a famished hunter, and absorbing wine like a quicksand, quoting Latin like a schoolmaster, and delivering proverbs like Sancho Panza, he was seized with combined fit of gout and tertian ague, and died at his hunting quarters at Theobalds, after a reign of twenty-two years, in the fifty-ninth year of his age.
DEATH OF JAMES.
CHARLES THE FIRST.
A.D. 1625 TO A.D. 1649.
FRANCE.-Louis XIII.; Louis XIV.
EMPERORS OF GERMANY.-Ferdinand II.; Ferdinand III.
§ 1. Accession of Charles I. The reign of favouritism continued.— § 2. Buckingham is sent to France, as special ambassador, to bring over Henrietta Maria as the affianced bride of Charles. Her character. § 3. Contentions between the Catholics and Protestants. Charles's treachery.-§ 4. Fruitless expedition against the Spaniards. -5. Buckingham's arrogant conduct.-§ 6. Charles calls a second Parliament. Impeachment of Buckingham. Contests between the king and the House of Commons. Charles dissolves Parliament.— § 7. Forced loans and other royal exactions. Popular invectives.— § 8. Charles and his assumed prerogative supported by the clergy and high churchmen. § 9. Buckingham's hatred of Cardinal Richelieu. Charles declares war against France. Expedition against the Isle of Rhé.-§ 10. Parliament is again assembled, when the "Petition of Right" is granted by Charles.-§ 11. Expedition against Rochelle. Buckingham assassinated by John Felton.-§ 12. Charles's arbitrary exactions. He claims tonnage and poundage for life.§ 13. Renewed struggles with Parliament. Arrest of its members. Wentworth and Archbishop Laud.-§ 14. Charles makes peace with France. Continental affairs. Religious contests. Atrocities at Magdeburg. § 15. Expedients to which the king is reduced for raising supplies. - § 16. Dr. Leighton brought before the Star Chamber for writing a seditious pamphlet, and condemned to the pillory and mutilation. Punishment of Prynne. The mysterious word" thorough."- 17. Ship money, and a standing army. Wentworth's arbitrary measures.-§ 18. Resistance to the collection of ship-money. John Hampden.-§ 19. The king's fruitless attempt to introduce episcopacy in Scotland.-§ 20. The Book of Sports. Reli