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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

For they still had separate households


Meanwhile

another consequence of the breach with Spain came to light, which King James had always feared. In order not to be forced to fight both great powers at once, Spain found it advisable to show a compliance hitherto unprecedented in the affairs of Italy, in which France had interested herself. After this the irritation against the ascendancy of the Spaniards evidently abated in France.

For in alliances of great powers it is self-evident that their political points of view, if for a moment they coincide, must nevertheless in a short time be again opposed to one another. How should one power really seek the permanent advantage of another?

At that time also, as on so many occasions, other relations arising out of the position of the leading statesmen as members of parties, produced an effect on politics. Cardinal Richelieu met with opposition from a zealously Catholic party, which gathered round the queen mother, and considered the influence of Spain to a certain degree necessary. This party seized the first favourable opportunity of setting on foot a preliminary treaty of peace, to which Richelieu, however long he hesitated, and however much he disliked it, could not help acceding.

Quite in keeping with this understanding between the Catholic powers was the partial recoil of Protestantism in England from the advances which it had made to the Catholic party. The French who surrounded

the Queen were so numerous, that a strong feeling of opposition on religious and national grounds was awakened in them by their contact with the English character. They saw in the English nothing but heretics and apostates; the Catholics who had formerly been executed at Tyburn as rebels they honoured as martyrs. The Queen herself, upon whom her priests laid all kinds of penance corresponding to her dignity, was once induced to take part in a procession to this place of execution. It is conceivable how deeply wounded and irritated the English must have felt at these odious demonstrations. To the King it seemed insufferable that the household of his consort should take up a position of open hostility to the ecclesiastical laws of the land. Personally also he felt injured and affronted. We hear complaints from him that he was robbed of his sleep at night by these demonstrations. He quickly and properly resolved to rid himself once for all of these refractory people, whatever might be the consequence. The Queen's court was then refusing to admit into it the English ladies whom he had appointed to attend on her. The King seized the opportunity: he invited his wife to dine with him, for they still had separate households; and after dinner he made her understand by degrees that he could no longer put up with this exhibition of feeling on the part of her retinue, but must send them all home again, priests and laymen, men and women alike.[463] This resolution was carried out in spite of all the resistance offered by those whom it affected. Only some few ladies and two priests of moderate views were left with the Queen; all the rest were shipped off to France. There they filled the court and the country with their complaints. Those about the Queen-mother assumed an air as if the most sacred agreements had been infringed, and any measure of retaliation was thought justifiable.


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