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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Not only from the Infanta Isabella in the former


Sir John Digby, who was commissioned with the negotiations at the Spanish court, was referred by that power to Brussels and Vienna; and in fact he received favourable answers, not only from the Infanta Isabella in the former, but even from the Emperor himself in the latter city. The Emperor held out to him the hope that the matter would be reconsidered at a future assembly of the Estates of the Empire, which he intended to convene at Ratisbon. But meanwhile warlike operations and the execution of the ban held their course undisturbed. In Bohemia the counter-reformation was carried through with extreme severity. Four-and-twenty Protestant nobles and leaders were executed, and their heads with hoary beards were seen exposed on the Bridge at Prague. Silesia hastened to make its peace with the Emperor: the Princes of the Union laid down their arms, but they did not yet make their peace by this means. Tilly took possession of the Upper Palatinate, and then turned with his victorious army to the Lower Palatinate in order to complete the subjugation of this province, notwithstanding all the protection of England. On the Lower Rhine the forces of the Spaniards and of the States General confronted each other in arms. Under these circumstances the Princes, who were invited, refused to appear at an Assembly of the Empire,[412] for none of them thought that he could leave his home without incurring evident danger. The Infanta Isabella too in Brussels declined to conclude the truce which Sir John Digby proposed.

While affairs were in this position, Parliament resumed its interrupted sittings in November 1621. Dean Williams, who after Bacon's fall had received the Great Seal, opened the session with a request for the immediate grant of new subsidies, which he said would be required even before Christmas. He promised that in the coming February, when they resumed their sittings, the other affairs should be brought under discussion.[413]

On this occasion as on a previous one, the King wished for nothing more than a renewed and stronger demonstration. Even now he lived and moved in a policy of compromise between opposite views. While his son-in-law was being robbed of his country in the interest of Spain, he adhered to the wish of marrying his son to a Spanish Infanta: he thought that he would bring about the restoration of the Palatinate most easily by the influence which this new alliance would confer. But he thought that his friendly advances should also be accompanied by threats, and he wished to be placed by the grants of Parliament in a position to arm more effectually than before. It would have been in accordance with his views, if Parliament had repeated its former declarations, according to which it was ready to put forth all its power in his behalf, in order to place him in a position to compel by force of arms what might be refused to his peaceful negotiations.

It is worth noticing in all this that James not only met the wishes of Parliament because he required support, but that he also encouraged the disposition which it showed in favour of Protestantism, in order to avail himself of it: he thought that he would always be able to control it. But how often has a policy been shipwrecked, which has thought to avail itself of great interests and great passions for some end immediately in view!


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