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bethought himself of an expedient, by which he might at once gratify both these inclinations. He represented to Charles, that persons of his exalted station were peculiarly unfortunate in their marriage, the chief circumstance in life; and commonly received into their arms a bride, unknown to them, to whom they were unknown; not endeared by sympathy, not obliged by service; wooed by treaties alone, by negotiations, by political interest: that however accomplished the infanta, she must still consider herself as a melancholy victim of state, and could not but think with aversion of that day when she was to enter the bed of a stranger, and, passing into a foreign country and a new family, bid adieu for ever to her father's house and to her native land: that it was in the prince's power to soften all these rigours, and lay such an obligation on her, as would attach the most indifferent temper, as would warm the coldest affections: that his journey to Madrid would be an unexpected gallantry, which would equal all the fictions of Spanish romance, and suiting the amorous and enterprising character of that nation, must immediately introduce him to the princess under the agreeable character of a devoted lover and daring adventurer: that the negotiations with regard to the Palatinate, which had hitherto languished in the hands of ministers, would quickly be terminated by so illustrious an agent, seconded by the mediation and entreaties of the grateful infanta: that Spanish generosity, moved by that unexampled trust and confidence, would make concessions beyond what could be expected from political views and considerations: and that he would quickly return to the king with the glory of having reestablished the unhappy Palatine, by the same enterprise which procured him the affections and the person of the Spanish princess'.
The mind of the young prince, replete with candour, was inflamed by these generous and romantic ideas, suggested by Buckingham. He agreed to make application to the king for his approbation. They chose the moment of his kindest and most jovial humour, and more by the earnestness which they expressed, than by the force of
1 Clarendon, vol. i. p. 11, 12.
CHAP. their reasons, they obtained a hasty and unguarded consent to their undertaking; and having engaged his promise to keep their purpose secret, they left him in order to make preparations for the journey.
No sooner was the king alone, than his temper, more cautious than sanguine, suggested very different views of the matter, and represented every difficulty and danger which could occur. He reflected, that, however the world might pardon this sally of youth in the prince, they would never forgive himself, who, at his years, and after his experience, could entrust his only son, the heir of his crown, the prop of his age, to the discretion of foreigners, without so much as providing the frail security of a safe conduct in his favour: that if the Spanish monarch were sincere in his professions, a few months must finish the treaty of marriage, and bring the infanta into England: if he were not sincere, the folly was still more egregious of committing the prince into his hands: that Philip, when possessed of so invaluable a pledge, might well rise in his demands, and impose harder conditions of treaty and that the temerity of the enterprise was so apparent, that the event, how prosperous soever, could not justify it; and if disastrous, it would render himself infamous to his people and ridiculous to all posterity".
Tormented with these reflections, as soon as the prince and Buckingham returned for their despatches, he informed them of all the reasons which had determined him to change his resolution, and he begged them to desist from so foolish an adventure. The prince received the disappointment with sorrowful submission and silent tears Buckingham presumed to speak in an imperious tone, which he had ever experienced to be prevalent over his too easy master. He told the king, that nobody for the future would believe any thing he said, when he retracted so soon the promise so solemnly given; that he plainly discerned this change of resolution to proceed from another breach of his word, in communicating the matter to some rascal, who had furnished him with those pitiful reasons which he had alleged, and he doubted not but he should hereafter know who his counsellor had been; and that if he receded from what he had promised,
m Clarendon, vol. i. p. 14.
it would be such a disobligation to the prince, who had CHAP. now set his heart upon the journey, after his majesty's XLIX. approbation, that he could never forget it, nor forgive 1623. any man who had been the cause of it".
The king, with great earnestness, fortified by many oaths, made his apology, by denying that he had communicated the matter to any; and finding himself assailed, as well by the boisterous importunities of Buckingham, as by the warm entreaties of his son, whose applications had hitherto, on other occasions, been always dutiful, never earnest, he had again the weakness to assent to their purposed journey. It was agreed that Sir Francis Cottington alone, the prince's secretary, and Endymion Porter, gentleman of his bedchamber, should accompany them; and the former being at that time in the antechamber, he was immediately called in by the king's orders.
James told Cottington, that he had always been an honest man, and therefore he was now to trust him in an affair of the highest importance, which he was not, upon his life, to disclose to any man whatever. "Cottington," added he, “here is baby Charles and Stenny," (these ridiculous appellations he usually gave to the prince and Buckingham,) "who have a great mind to go post into Spain, and fetch home the infanta: they will have but two more in their company, and have chosen you for one. What think you of the journey?" Sir Francis, who was a prudent man, and had resided some years in Spain as the king's agent, was struck with all the obvious objections to such an enterprise, and scrupled not to declare them. The king threw himself upon his bed, and cried, I told you this before; and fell into a new passion and new lamentations, complaining that he was undone, and should lose baby Charles.
The prince showed by his countenance that he was extremely dissatisfied with Cottington's discourse, but Buckingham broke into an open passion against him. The king, he told him, asked him only of the journey, and of the manner of travelling, particulars of which he might be a competent judge, having gone the road so often by post; but that he, without being called to it, had the presumption to give his advice upon matters of state and n Clarendon, vol. i. p. 16.
CHAP. against his master, which he should repent as long as he XLIX. lived. A thousand other reproaches he added, which put 1623. the poor king into a new agony in behalf of a servant, who, he foresaw, would suffer for answering him honestly. Upon which he said, with some emotion, Nay, by God, Stenny, you are much to blame for using him so: he answered me directly to the question which I asked him, and very honestly and wisely; and yet, you know, he said no more than I told you before he was called in. However, after all this passion on both sides, James renewed his consent, and proper directions were given for the journey; nor was he now at any loss to discover that the whole intrigue was originally contrived by Buckingham, as well as pursued violently by his spirit and impetuosity.
These circumstances, which so well characterize the persons, seem to have been related by Cottington to Lord Clarendon, from whom they are here transcribed; and though minute, are not undeserving of a place in history.
The prince and Buckingham, with their two attendants, and Sir Richard Graham, master of horse to Buckingham, passed disguised and undiscovered through France; and they even ventured into a court-ball at Paris, where Charles saw the Princess Henrietta, whom he afterwards espoused, and who was at that time in the bloom of youth and beauty. In eleven days after their departure from London, they arrived at Madrid, and surprised every body by a step so unusual among great princes. The Spanish monarch immediately paid Charles a visit, expressed the utmost gratitude for the confidence reposed in him, and made warm protestations of a correspondent confidence and friendship. By the most studious civilities, he showed the respect which he bore to his royal guest. He gave him a golden key, which opened all his apartments, that the prince might, without any introduction, have access to him at all hours: he took the left hand of him on every occasion, except in the apartments assigned to Charles; for there, he said, the prince was at home: Charles was introduced into the palace with the same pomp and ceremony that attends the kings of Spain on their coronation: the council received public orders to obey him as the king himself: Olivarez too, though a grandee of Spain, who has the right of being covered
7th Mar. The
prince's journey to Spain.
before his own king, would not put on his hat in the CHAP. prince's presence: all the prisons of Spain were thrown open, and all the prisoners received their freedom, as if the event the most honourable and most fortunate had happened to the monarchy: and every sumptuary law with regard to apparel was suspended during Charles's residence in Spain. The infanta, however, was only shown to her lover in public; the Spanish ideas of decency being so strict, as not to allow of any farther intercourse till the arrival of the dispensation".
The point of honour was carried so far by that generous people, that no attempt was made, on account of the advantage which they had acquired, of imposing any harder conditions of treaty: their pious zeal only prompted them, on one occasion, to desire more concessions in the religious articles; but upon the opposition of Bristol, accompanied with some reproaches, they immediately desisted. The pope, however, hearing of the prince's arrival in Madrid, tacked some new clauses to the dispensation'; and it became necessary to transmit the articles to London, that the king might ratify them. This treaty, which was made public, consisted of several articles, chiefly regarding the exercise of the catholic religion by the infanta and her household. Nothing could reasonably be found fault with, except one article, in which the king promised, that the children should be educated by the princess till ten years of age. This condition could not be insisted on, but with a view of seasoning their minds with catholic principles; and though so tender an age seemed a sufficient security against theological prejudices, yet the same reason which made the pope insert that article, should have induced the king to reject it.
Besides the public treaty, there were separate articles, privately sworn to by the king; in which he promised to suspend the penal laws enacted against Catholics, to procure a repeal of them in Parliament, and to grant a toleration for the exercise of the catholic religion in private houses. Great murmurs, we may believe, would have
o Franklyn, p. 73.
9 Rushworth, vol. i. p. 77.
s Franklyn, p. 80. Rushworth, vol. i. p. 89.
P Idem, p. 74.
r Idem, vol. i. p. 84.
Kennet, p. 769.