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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

The King of Denmark was the more thrown on England


[Sidenote: A.D. 1626.]

The discredit into which Buckingham fell with those whom he had desired to win over, and whose wishes were fixed on the struggle with Spain, is exhibited in a very extraordinary enterprise which sprung up at this time, and which had for its object the formation of what we may almost call a joint-stock war company. A wish was felt to form a company for making war on Spain, upon the basis, it is true, of a royal charter, but under the authority of Parliament, with the intention of sharing the booty and the conquests, as well as the costs among the members.[462]

By the late enterprise moreover the means had been wasted which might have been used for supporting the German allies of England. Left without sufficient subsidies in his quarrel with Parliament, the King was unable to pay the arrears due both to the seamen who were returning from Spain, and to his troops in Holland. He could not repair his fleet; he could hardly defend his coasts: how could he be in a position to make any persevering effort for the conduct of the war in Germany? The King of Sweden asked for only L15,000 in order to set his forces in motion; but at that time this sum could not be raised. The King of Denmark was the more thrown on England, as the French also made their services depend on what the English would do: but Conway, the Secretary of State, declared himself unable to pay the stipulated sum. Could men feel astonished that the Danish war was not carried on with the energy which the cause seemed to demand? Christian IV had not troops enough, and could not pay even those which he had. The cavalry, which constituted his main strength, had on one occasion refused to fight, because they had not received their pay. He himself threw the chief blame on the English for the defeat which he now sustained at Lutter; and which was the more decisive, as meanwhile Mansfeld also, who wished to turn his steps to the hereditary dominions of Austria in order to combine with the Prince of Transylvania, had been not only defeated, but almost annihilated. The armies which were to have defended the Protestant cause disappeared from off the field. The forces of the Emperor and of the League now occupied North Germany also on both sides of the Elbe.

To Germany the alliance with England had at that time brought no good. It may be doubted whether the Elector Palatine would have accepted the crown of Bohemia but for the support which he thought to find in England. This affair had a great part in bringing on the outbreak of the great religious conflict. But James I sought to retrieve the misfortune into which the Elector had fallen, not so much by employing his own power, as by developing his relations with the Spaniards; and thus he had himself given them the opportunity of establishing themselves in the Palatinate, and had caused the Catholic reaction to triumph in Upper Germany. Without the instigation of England, and the great combination of the powers in East and West hostile to the house of Austria, the King of Denmark would not have determined to begin war, nor would the circle of Lower Saxony have aided him. On this occasion as on others in England the interests of its own power outweighed consideration for the allies. The policy of the English had formerly been ruled by their friendly relations with Spain: it was now ruled by their hostile intentions towards that country. All available forces were employed for their purpose, and the movement in Germany was left to its fate.


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