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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

While the Emperor Matthias was still alive


But meanwhile open resistance to the claims of this family had already broken out in its own provinces. While the Emperor Matthias was still alive, the Archduke Ferdinand, through the combination, as prescribed by Bohemian usage, of an election with the recognition of his hereditary claims, had been acknowledged future King of Bohemia, and had been already crowned, on condition that he would not mix in public affairs before the death of his predecessor. But immediately after the coronation people thought that they could discover his hand in every act of the government. Cardinal Klesel, the man in whom the greatest confidence was reposed, especially by the Protestant portion of the Estates, had been overthrown owing to the influence of the Spanish ambassador. In opposition to the influence thus exercised, 'against the practices and snares of the Jesuits,' as the phrase ran, the zealous Protestants who, when Ferdinand was accepted as King, had been thrust into the background or had retired, now obtained the upper hand in the country, and proceeded to open insurrection while the Emperor Matthias was still alive. This Prince was the first who was overturned by the collision of the two parties, whose enmity was again reviving, and between whom he had thought of mediating. He was bitterly disappointed by his failure. After his death the Bohemians thought themselves justified in refusing any longer to acknowledge Ferdinand as their King, and in seeking on the contrary for a worthier successor to the throne, on the ground that in Ferdinand's election the traditional forms had not been accurately observed, and that he was undermining all religious and political freedom. Their eyes had even fallen on Catholic princes; but as the motive which prompted their resistance was certainly the religious one, their attention was still more drawn to the most eminent Protestant prince in their vicinity, Frederick Elector Palatine, who as head of the Union was himself the principal opponent of the election of Ferdinand as Emperor.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1618.]

On the very first steps taken in this matter, the King of England was affected by these movements. We learn that, on the occasion of the overtures made by Frederick, Maximilian of Bavaria had been moved to write to James I, and to express to him his satisfaction at the family connexion which had sprung up between them. The interest of the Palatinate and of England seemed one and the same, especially as the King was still considered a member and protector of the Union. The presumption that the son-in-law of the King of England would find support from his power, contributed greatly to the importance which the Elector at this moment enjoyed.

But at the same time it was evident in what an embarrassing position James I was now placed, and that not only on account of the danger threatening the continuance of peace, which he thought no price too high to secure: his hands were tied not merely by this general consideration, but by another special reason as well. He was at that moment seriously engaged in a treaty for the marriage of his son with a Spanish infanta, which was to carry out the long-talked-of alliance between his family and the Austro-Spanish line.

The first overtures in regard to the present Prince of Wales had been made by the Duke of Lerma to


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