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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Although compelled to make some concessions


[342] Apologia pro juramento fidelitatis, opposita duobus brevibus ... et literis Bellarmini ad Blackwellum Archipresbyterum. Opera Jacobi Regis, p. 237. Lond. 1619.

CHAPTER IV.

FOREIGN POLICY OF THE NEXT TEN YEARS.

What had already taken place before James ascended the throne, occurred again under these circumstances. Although belonging to one of the two religious parties which divided the world between them, he had sought to form relations with the other, when circumstances which were beyond all calculation caused and almost compelled him to return to his original position.

The Republic of Venice enjoyed his full sympathies in the quarrel in which at this time it became involved with the Papacy. The laws which it had made for limiting the influence of the clergy appeared to him in the highest degree just and wise. He thought that Europe would be happy if other princes as well would open their eyes, for they would not then experience so many usurpations on the part of the See of Rome; and he showed himself ready to form an alliance with the Republic. The Venetians always affirmed that the lively interest of the King of England in their cause had already, by provoking the jealousy of the French, strengthened their resolution to arrange these disputes in conjunction with Spain.[343] When the Republic, although compelled to make some concessions, yet came out of this contest without losing its independence, it continued to believe that for this result also it was indebted to King James.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1609.]

In the same way, there can be no serious doubt that the refusal of the alliance, which the Spaniards had more than once proposed to the King of England, impelled the former to turn their thoughts to a peaceful adjustment of their differences with the Netherlands. They had made similar overtures to France also, but these had been shipwrecked by the firmness and mistrust of Henry IV. They were convinced however that, without winning over at least one of these two powers, they would never even by their strongest efforts again become masters of the Netherlands. In spite of some advantages which they had obtained on the mainland, they were so hard pressed by the superiority of the Dutch fleet, that they at last came forward with more acceptable proposals than they had before made. The English government advised the States-General to show compliance on all other points if their independence were acknowledged: not to stand out even if this were recognised only for a while through a truce, for in that case they would obtain better conditions on the other points: and that in regard to these England would protect them.[344] By their conduct to both sides, by standing aloof from the one and by bestowing good advice on the other, the English thus promoted the conclusion of the twelve years truce, and thereby procured for the United Provinces an independent position which they did not allow to be wrested from them again. The Spaniards attributed the result not so much to the Provinces themselves as to the two Powers allied with them: they thought that the articles of the treaty had been drawn up by the former, but devised and dictated by the latter. It was their serious intention that this agreement should be only temporary; they reckoned upon the speedy death of the King of France, and upon future troubles in England, for an opportunity of resuming the war.[345] But whatever the future might bring to pass, England, as well as France, derived an incalculable advantage at the time from the erection of an independent state under their protection, which could not but ally itself with them against the still dominant power of Spain.


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