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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Parliament thought above all of its own designs


certainly if war with Spain had been the only question, he might have reckoned upon abundant grants: but the matter was not quite so simple. Parliament thought above all of its own designs, which it had not been possible to effect in the lifetime of James I, but which Charles had advocated in the last session. If the new King inferred the obligation of Parliament to furnish the money required for a foreign war from the share it had had in the counsels which had led to that war, Parliament also considered that he was no less bound on his part to fulfil the wishes that had been expressed in regard to internal policy. In the very first debate which preceded the election of the Speaker, this point of view was very distinctly put forward. The King was told that in the last session he had sought to remove all differences between Parliament and his father, and to induce the latter to grant the petitions of Parliament: that if he had not succeeded then, that result had been due only to his want of power; but now he had power as well as inclination: what he before had only been able to will, he now was enabled to effect, and everything depended solely on him.[449] It had been especially the execution of the Acts of Parliament directed against the Catholics which the Parliament demanded, and which the Prince in his ardour against Spain had then thought advisable. His father had refused to grant this: it was now expected that he should grant it himself. They expected this from him as much
as he expected from them a subsidy sufficient for carrying on the war. It may be asked, however, whether it was possible for him to give ear to their wishes. The complication in his fortunes arose from his inability to comply.

If Charles I, when Prince of Wales, had wished to identify his cause entirely with the aims of Parliament, he would have been obliged to marry the daughter of a Protestant prince. But this was prevented by the political danger which would then have arisen in the event of a breach with Spain. Neither James nor Charles I believed that they could withstand this great monarchy without an alliance with France. Political and dynastic interests had led to the marriage which had just been concluded. But by this a relation with the Catholic world had again been contracted which rendered impossible a purely Protestant system of government such as Queen Elizabeth desired to establish. A dispensation from Rome had been required which expressed even without any disguise the hope that the French princess would convert the King and his realm to the old faith.[450] The marriage could not have been concluded without entering into obligations which were in open contradiction to the Acts of Parliament. Those obligations were not yet fully known, but what was learnt of them caused great agitation. Charles was reminded of a promise, which he was said to have given at an earlier time, to agree to no conditions on his marriage which might be prejudicial to the Church existing in England. Men asked how that promise had been fulfilled; and why any secret was made of the compact which had been concluded. Would not the Queen's chapel, they asked, now serve to unite the Catholics of England; or would they be forbidden to hear mass there? In a forcible petition Parliament asked for the execution of the laws issued against Papists and recusants.[451]

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