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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

That connected with the Palatinate


Although some religious scruples were still awake in the minds of the Spaniards yet they presented no further obstacle. The conditions for granting a dispensation which had been prescribed by the Pope to the Spanish Court, had been accepted; the Spanish ambassadors had been satisfied: the only question now was whether the Infanta should be conveyed to England at once with the Prince on his return, or in the following spring. As formerly the Tudors so now the Stuarts appeared to be taking their position as a dynasty in Europe in connexion with the Spanish monarchy.

Only one difficulty remained, that connected with the Palatinate; but at the present moment it was more serious than ever.

In his negotiations King James started with the supposition, that the Spanish court could control the Imperial, and bring it over to its own point of view. The inclusion of the German line in this dynastic combination was contemplated. A proposal was made that the eldest son of the expelled Frederick should contract a marriage with a daughter of the Emperor, which would make the task of reconciliation and restitution far easier.

The Emperor however had to take other interests into consideration; not only those of the Duke of Bavaria, to whom he was so deeply pledged, but those of the whole Catholic party, which thought of seizing this occasion to establish for ever its ascendancy in the Empire. The Emperor, who was also instigated by Rome to this step, solemnly transferred the electoral dignity previously held by the Elector Palatine to Maximilian of Bavaria in February 1623, with the intention of satisfying him, and at the same time of obtaining a majority of Catholic votes in the electoral body. It has indeed been assumed, both then and at a later time, that Spain, only bent on deceiving England, had agreed to all these proceedings. But in fact the Spanish ambassador had opposed them most strenuously at Ratisbon in the name of his king, as well as in that of the Infanta Isabella.[426] He prophesied with accurate foresight new and inextricable embarrassments as the consequence. The Papal Nuncio complained that the resistance of the ambassador weakened the Catholics and emboldened the Protestants. But his remonstrance had no effect on the Emperor. After his previous experiences Ferdinand II had no more fear of his adversaries, least of all of King James, who would certainly not in his old age make his first appearance as a warrior and try the doubtful fortune of war. He thought besides that he always consulted his security best when he had nothing before his eyes but the advantage of the Catholic Church.

The negotiation about these matters took place just at the time when the Prince of Wales was in Spain. There no one despaired of finding an arrangement with which the Prince could still be satisfied. It was thought that, when the Palsgrave Frederick had been reconciled with the Emperor, and admitted into his family, the electoral dignity might be enjoyed in turn by Bavaria and the Palatinate, or that a new electorship might be founded for Bavaria. The Imperial ambassador, Count Khevenhiller, however rejected these proposals, for no other reason than that King James was not the proper person to make arrangements for his grandson. He did not accept the supposition that the youth, whose education it was proposed to complete in Vienna, would join the Catholic faith, for he said that his mother would never allow that. He set aside the expectation that the Imperial court might send to Spain a full authorisation to negotiate for the marriage. He moreover affirmed that, if the Imperial court wished to secure its influence in Germany, it could not allow the opinion to gain ground that it depended on Spain and was guided by her.


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