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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

For the Asiatic style of Howard


The

letters are extant which were exchanged in these secret transactions between Henry Howard, whom the Secretary of State employed as his instrument, and a minister of King James. They are not so instructive as might have been expected; for the Asiatic style of Howard, which serves him as a mask, throws a veil even over much which we should like to know. But they now and then open a view into the movements of parties, especially in reference to the opposition of Cecil and his friends to Raleigh and Cobham, which towards the close of the Queen's reign filled the court with suppressed uneasiness.

The intercourse which had been opened certainly had the effect of once more putting England and Scotland on a friendly footing. One of his most trusty councillors, Ludovic Earl of Lennox, son of that Esme Stuart who at one time had stood so high in the King's esteem, was sent by James on a mission to the Queen, in order to convince her of his continued attachment;[310] and this ambassador in fact found favour with her. James declared himself ready to send his Highlanders to the assistance of the Queen in Ireland, and to enter as a third party into the alliance with France against Spain, if it were brought about. He did not hesitate to give her information of the advances which had been made by the other side, even by the Roman court. Among these he mentioned a mission of James Lindsay for the purpose of bringing him to promise toleration to the Catholics.

It may be doubted whether it is altogether true, as he affirms, that he declined the proposal: but the Roman records attest that Lindsay in fact could get nothing from him but words.[311]

It is enough to remark that on the whole the views of James were again brought into harmony with those of the Queen: but that does not mean that he had also broken off all relations with the other side. It would have been extremely dangerous for him if Pope Clement had pronounced against him the excommunication which was suspended over Elizabeth, and he was very grateful to the Pope for not going so far. And if he would not agree to treat the Catholics with genuine toleration, yet without doubt he let them hope that he would not persecute those who remained quiet.[312] It was probably not disagreeable to him if they looked for more. He was of opinion that he ought to have two strings to his bow.

He had now formed connexions with all the leading men in England of whatever belief. There was no family in which he had not won over one member to the support of his cause.[313]

_Accession to the Throne._

Thus on different sides everything had been carefully prepared beforehand when the Queen died. Although it may be doubtful whether she had in so many words declared that James should be her successor, yet it is historically certain that she had for a long time consented to this arrangement. The people had not yet so entirely conquered all hesitation on the subject.

At the moment of the Queen's decease the capital fell into a state of general commotion. Perhaps 40,000 decided Catholics might be counted in London, who had considered the government of the Queen an unauthorised usurpation. Were they now to submit themselves to a King who like her was a schismatic? Or were there grounds for entertaining the hope held out to them that the new prince would grant them freedom in the exercise of their religion. People pretended to find Jesuits in their ranks who were accused of stimulating the excitement of their feelings: and the government thought it necessary to arrest or keep an eye upon a number of men who were regarded as leaders of the Catholic party.


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