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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Had been accepted in behalf of the Prince

undoubtedly was to make every

provision for the great war against the Spanish monarchy which was anticipated. He wished to escort his sister to Germany in order to form a personal acquaintance with the princes of the Union, whom he regarded as his natural allies. These views could not have been thwarted if the proposal of the Duke of Savoy, which had been rejected in behalf of the Princess, had been accepted in behalf of the Prince.[356] For every day the Duke separated himself more and more from the policy of Spain: he had even wished at one time to be admitted into the Union. He offered a large portion with the hand of his daughter, and was ready to agree to those restrictions in the exercise of her religion which it might be thought necessary to prescribe. Meanwhile, however, another project came up. The grandees of France wished to bring a prince of such high endowments and decided views into the closest relations with the house of Bourbon, in order to oppose the action of Spain on the French court by another influence. They made proposals for a marriage between the Prince of Wales and the second daughter of Henry IV, the Lady Christine of France. They found the most cordial reception for this scheme among the English who favoured Protestantism, and understood the course of the world. It was thought that the new League, for this was the designation given to the increasing preponderance of Spanish and Catholic views in France, would by this means be thrown into confusion in its own camp; the French government
would be brought back to its old attitude of hostility towards Spain, and would only thus be completely sure of the States General, which could never separate themselves both from England and France at the same time. The Prince embraced the notion that the Princess must immediately be brought to England to be instructed in the Protestant faith, and perhaps to be converted to it. As she was still very young his notion was so far reasonable, although in other respects her age was a considerable obstacle. While he referred the decision to his father, he yet made a remark which shows his own leanings, that this marriage would certainly be most acceptable to all his brother Protestants.[357] What a prospect would have dawned on these if a young and energetic king of England, confederate with Germany and Holland, and looked up to in France for a double reason, both on account of the old and still unforgotten claims,[358] and on account of his marriage, had taken the Huguenots under his protection or actually appealed to them in his own behalf!

The 5th of November 1612 was fixed as the day on which the question was to be decided by a commission expressly appointed for this purpose. King James, who is represented as favourable to the connexion with France, went from Theobald's to the meeting: the Prince had drawn out for himself the arguments by which he thought to refute the objections of opponents. On the very same day he was taken ill, and was obliged to ask for an adjournment; but from day to day and hour to hour his illness became more dangerous. He exhibited a composed and, when addressed on religious questions, a devout frame of mind, but he did not wish to die. When some one said to him that God only could heal him, he replied that perhaps the physicians also might do something. On the 17th of November, two hours after midnight, he died--'the flower of his house,' as men said, 'the palladium of the country, the terror of his foes.' They even went so far as to put him at this early age on a level with Henry IV, who had been proved by a life full of struggles and vicissitudes. The comparison rested on the circumstance that the young and highly-gifted prince was forced to succumb to an unexpected misfortune while preparing for great undertakings which, like those of Henry IV, were to be directed against Spain.

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