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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

While the Queen Regent supported the Spaniards


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is very probable that this prince, if he had lived to ascend the English throne, would have attempted to give to affairs a turn suitable to the vigorous designs which engrossed his thoughts. According to all appearance he would not have trodden in the footsteps of his father. He appeared quite capable of reviving the old plans of conquest entertained by the house of Lancaster: he would have united outspoken Protestant tendencies with the monarchical views of Edward VI, or rather of Elizabeth. With the men who then held the chief power in England he had no points of agreement, and they already feared him.[359] They were even accused of having caused his premature death.

Yet the course which had been struck out with the co-operation of the young prince was not abandoned at his death.

The Elector Palatine had already arrived in London. His demeanour and behaviour quieted the doubts of one party and put to shame the predictions of the other: he appeared manly, firm, bent on high aims, and dignified: he knew how to win over even the Queen who at first was unfavourable to him. Letters exchanged at that time are full of the joy with which the marriage was welcomed by the Protestants. But it was just as decidedly unwelcome to the other party. An expression which was then reported in Brussels shewed how lively the hatred was, and how widely and how far into the future political combinations extended. It was said that

this marriage was designed to wrest the Imperial throne from the house of Austria; but it was added, with haughty reliance on the strength of Catholic Europe, that this design should never succeed.[360]

Another collision seemed at times to be immediately impending. In the year 1613 the English government sent to ask the districts most exposed to a Spanish invasion, how many troops they could severally oppose to it, and had appointed the fire signals which were to announce the coming danger. It is indeed not wonderful that under such circumstances it continued the policy which was calculated to promote a general European opposition to the Spaniards.

When the French grandees though fit to contest the Spanish marriages which Mary de' Medici made up, they had King James on their side, who regarded it as the natural right of princes of the blood to undertake the charge of public affairs during a minority. At the meeting of the Estates in 1614, it was their intention to get the government into their hands, and then to bring it back again to the line of policy of Henry IV. The English ambassador, Edmonds, showed that he concurred with them.

Soon afterwards the differences between the Duke of Savoy and the Spanish governor in Milan terminated in an open rupture. The French grandees, though they had not carried their point in the States-General, yet showed themselves independent and strong enough to follow their own wishes in interfering in this matter. While the Queen-Regent supported the Spaniards, they came to the assistance of the Duke. In this struggle King James also came forward on his side in concert with the Republic of Venice, which was still able to throw a considerable weight into the scale on an Italian question.


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