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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

The course of foreign policy from 1625 to 1627


[458]

Correro: 'Questo termino di via parlamentaria vuol dire libere concessioni secondo la loro dispositione e di haver cognitione in qualche maniera delli impieghi.'

[459] 'Ils disent' (so it is said in Ruszdorf, Negotiations i. 596) 'que tout alloit mal, que les deniers qu'ils ont contribue ont ete mal employes: il falloit toujours et avant toutes choses redresser et regler le gouvernement de l'etat.'

CHAPTER VII.

THE COURSE OF FOREIGN POLICY FROM 1625 TO 1627.

In reviewing so important a conflict as that which had broken out at home, it almost requires an effort of will to bestow deep interest upon foreign affairs in turn. But not only is this necessary from the connexion between the two, but we should not be able to understand the history of England if we left out of consideration its relation to those great events of European importance which absorbed even the largest share of public attention.

Charles I had undertaken to do what his father avoided to the end of his life,--to offer open opposition to the Spanish monarchy and its aims. Like Queen Elizabeth he took this step in alliance with France, Holland, and the Protestants of Germany and the North, but yet not in full agreement with his own people. This was due mainly to the circumstance that France had become far

more Catholic under Mary de' Medici and Louis XIII than it had been under Henry IV. The offensive alliance between France and England now developed a character which rather irritated than quieted the religious feelings which prevailed in England.

[Sidenote: A.D. 1625.]

On the first shocks sustained by the close alliance which had existed between the Catholic powers, the Huguenots in France rose in order to recover their former rights which had been curtailed. But the French government was not at all inclined to give fresh life to these powerful and dangerous movements: on the contrary it invoked the assistance of England and Holland to put them down. For the great strength of the Huguenots lay in their naval resources, and without the help of the maritime powers the French government would never have been able to overcome them. And so imperative seemed the necessity of internal peace in France,[460] if she was to be induced to take an active share in the war against Spain, that the English and Dutch were actually persuaded to put their crews and vessels at the disposal of the French government, which then used them with decisive results. The naval power of the Huguenots, which had formed so large an element of the fighting strength of the Protestants, was broken by the assistance of England and Holland. Queen Elizabeth, in the midst of her war with Philip II, would certainly never have been brought to this step, and even now it roused the bitterest dislike. It was found that the execution of the orders issued met with resistance even on board the ships themselves. A light is thrown upon the ill-feeling at home, when a member of the Privy Council, Lord Pembroke, tells a captain who resisted this mutinous spirit, that the news of the insubordination of his crew was the best which he had heard for a long time, and that it was welcome even to the King: that he must deal leniently with his men, and only see that he remained master of the ship.[461] But what an impression must doubtless have been produced on the population of England, which still stood in the closest relation to the French Reformed! Sermons were delivered from the pulpits against these proceedings of the government.


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