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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

In the autumn of 1625 he despatched the fleet


if the active alliance of France against Spain and Austria was secured by this immense sacrifice, what could have appeared more natural than to employ the whole strength of that country for the restoration of the Count Palatine, which the French saw to be advantageous to themselves, and for the support of German Protestantism? In pursuance of the stipulations which had been made the King of Denmark was already in the field: his troops had already fought hand to hand at Nienburg in the circle of Lower Saxony with the forces of the League which were pressing forward into that country. He was strong in cavalry but weak in infantry: the German envoys who were present in England insisted that gallant English troops should be sent to his assistance, and that the fleet which was ready for service should be ordered to the Weser; for that the support which the fleet would give to the King would encourage him to advance with good heart. And then, as they added with extravagant hopefulness, the King of Sweden, who had already offered his aid, would come forward actively, if only he had some security; the Elector of Brandenburg, who had just married his sister to the King of Sweden, would declare himself; the Prince of Transylvania, who was connected with the same family, would force his way into Bohemia: every one would withstand the League and compel it to restore the lands occupied by it to their former sovereigns, and to the religion hitherto professed in them.

justify;">But Buckingham had as little sympathy with the German as with the French Protestants: his passionate ambition was to make the Spaniards directly feel the weight of his hatred. For this purpose he had just concluded an offensive and defensive alliance with the United Provinces; even the great maritime interests of England were themselves a reason for opposing Spain. At all events, in the autumn of 1625 he despatched the fleet, not to the Weser, which appeared to him almost unworthy of this great expedition, but against the coasts of the Spanish peninsula. Orders were given to it to enter the mouth of the Guadalquivir, and to alarm Seville, or else to take the town of Cadiz, for which object it had on board a considerable number of land troops; or, finally, to lie in wait for the Spanish fleet laden with silver, and to bring home the cargo as a lawful prize. Buckingham proceeded on the supposition that the foundation of the Spanish power and its influence would be undermined by the interruption of the Spanish trade with America, and that in the next year the Spaniards would be able to effect nothing. He did not perceive that this would have no decisive influence on that undertaking on which in the first instance everything depended, that of the King of Denmark, as meanwhile in Rome, Vienna, and Munich, native forces, independent of Spain, had been collected. But while he preferred the more distant to the more immediate end, it was his fate to achieve neither the one nor the other. In December 1625 the fleet returned without having effected anything at sea or on the Spanish coasts. On the contrary it had suffered the heaviest losses itself.

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