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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

In the year 1613 matters had gone so far


[Sidenote:

A.D. 1613.]

The consequences must have been incalculable, if the Earl of Salisbury and the Lord Chancellor had succeeded in carrying out their intentions. A common government of the two countries would have held in all important questions a position independent of the two Parliaments, and the person of the sovereign would have been the ruling centre of this government. If besides an adequate income had been definitely assigned to the crown independent of the regularly recurring assent of Parliament, what would have become of the rights of that body? Not only would Elizabeth's mode of government have been continued, but the monarchical element which could appeal to various precedents in its own favour would probably have obtained a complete ascendancy.

But for that very reason these efforts were met by a most decided opposition. It is plain that these rival pretensions, and the motive from which they sprang, paved the way for controversies of the most extensive kind.

The scheme of the contract was as little successful as that of the union of the two kingdoms. The parties were contented with merely removing the occasion for an immediate rupture; and after some short prorogations Parliament was finally dissolved.

The King, who felt himself aggrieved by its whole attitude as well as by many single expressions, was reluctant to call another. In

order to meet his extraordinary necessities recourse was had to various old devices and to some new ones; for instance, the creation of a great number of baronets in 1612, on payment of considerable sums: but notwithstanding all this, in the year 1613 matters had gone so far, that neither the ambassadors to foreign courts, nor even the troops which were maintained could be paid. In the garrison of Brill a mutiny had arisen on this account; the strongholds on the coast and the fortifications on the adjacent islands went to ruin. For this as well as for other reasons the death of the Earl of Salisbury was a misfortune. The man on whom James I next bestowed his principal confidence, Robert Carr, then Lord Rochester, later Earl of Somerset, was already condemned by the popular voice because he was a Scot, who moreover had no other merit than a pleasing person, which procured him the favour of the King. The authority enjoyed by the Howards had already provoked dissatisfaction. The Prince of Wales had been their decided adversary, and this enmity was kept up by all his friends. Robert Carr, however, thought it advisable to win over to his side this powerful family to which he had at first found himself in opposition. Whether from personal ambition or from a temper that really mocked at all law and morality he married Frances Howard, whose union with the Earl of Essex had to be dissolved for this object.[372] The old enemies of the Howards, the adherents of the house of Essex, many of whom had inherited this enmity, now became the opponents of the favourite and his government. When at last urgent financial necessities allowed no other alternative, and absolutely compelled the issue of a summons for a new parliament, the contending parties seized the opportunity of confronting one another. The creatures of the government neglected no means of controlling the elections by their influence; but they were everywhere encountered by the other party, who were favoured by the increasing dissatisfaction of the people.


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