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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Letters of the Kings of England ii


[313]

Scaramelli, from the lips of one of the King's agents, March 27.

[314] Scaramelli (April 12) alludes to a declaration from the King, 'Per la conservatione della religione in che vive essa citta e regno. Questo aviso,' he proceeds, 'ha reso sicuri gli heretici.' In Halliwell, Letters of the Kings of England ii. 97, there is a letter from the King to the same effect addressed to his agent Hambleton, the contents of which were probably divulged at the moment.

[315] Scaramelli, April 17, 'Dicendosi che lasciando i nomi di uno e l'altro regno habbia qualche intentione di chiamarsi re della Gran Bretagna per abbracciar con un solo nome ad imitatione di quel antico e famoso re Arturo tutto quello che gira il spatio di 1700 miglia unito.'

CHAPTER II.

FIRST MEASURES OF THE NEW REIGN.

How often in former times, when England was in the midst of great and glorious undertakings, had the Scots, who feared lest they themselves should be subjected to the power of their neighbours, taken the side of the enemy and obstructed the victory! Even the last wars might have taken quite a different course had Scotland made common cause with Spain. It was this connexion between the two kingdoms which made union with Scotland a political necessity for England. Ralegh describes this union under the

present circumstances as no less fortunate for England than the blending of the Red and White Rose had been, as the most advantageous of all the means of growth which were open to her.

The kingdom of Scotland, like that of England, had extended the supremacy of the Teutonic over the Keltic races, for these two elements formed the main constituents of both kingdoms. The German in conflict with the Keltic race had developed its character and energy.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1603.]

The Orkney Islands, to which Scotland asserted its claim even against the kindred race of the Norwegians, and the Hebrides, which were reputed the home of warriors of extraordinary bravery, were now united in one kingdom with the Channel Islands, which still remained in the possession of England from the days of the old connexion between the Normans of Normandy and that country. The Gael of Scotland, the Gwythel of Erin--and the Irish still appear in most records as savages--the Cymry of Wales and their Cornish kinsmen, who still spoke their old language, now appeared as subjects of the same sceptre. The accession of James to the throne exercised an immediate influence on Ireland. Tyrone, the O'Neil, threw aside the agreement which the Queen's ministers had concluded with him against their will, thinking that he no longer required it, since the right heir had ascended the throne. The people seemed willing to espouse the cause of the new King as that of the native head of their race, and a genealogy was concocted in which his descent was traced to the old Milesian kings. The whole circuit of the British Isles was united under the name of Stuart. As a hundred years before the last great province of France had been gradually united to the French crown, and even within human memory Portugal, like the other provinces of the Spanish peninsula, had been added to the crown of Spain, so now a united Britain was formed side by side with these two great powers. James himself noticed the resemblance, and a proud feeling of self-confidence filled his breast, when he reflected that the change had been made without the help of arms, as if by the force of the internal necessity of things. Just as formerly the claim to universal supremacy together with the spread of the Church had greatly increased the importance of the Papacy, so now the claim to hereditary right possessed by James seemed to him of immeasurable value, for by it he had won so great and coveted a prize: it appeared to him the expression of the will of God.


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