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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Appeared to favour such a project


Bassompierre indeed set out once more for England in order to bring about a reconciliation. Though ill received at first, he nevertheless won his way by his splendid appearance and by clever talk and moderation. In a preliminary agreement leave was given to the Queen to receive back a number of priests and some French ladies;[464] and Buckingham prepared to go to France to remove the obstacles still remaining. But meanwhile the feeling of estrangement at the French court had become still stronger. The agreement was not approved: and the court would not hear of a visit from Buckingham, as it was thought that he would be sure to use the opportunity afforded by his presence to stir up the Huguenots. Richelieu thought that the dispute with England had been provoked by his enemies in order to break up the friendly relations which he had established. But nevertheless he too did not wish to see Buckingham in France, for he feared that the English minister might side outright with his opponents.

Personal considerations of many kinds co-operated in producing this result, but it was not due mainly to their influence. The religious sympathies and hatreds at work had incalculable effects. While the opposition between the two religions again awoke in all its strength, and a struggle for life and death was being fought out between them in Germany, an alliance could not well be maintained between two courts which professed opposite religious views. The current

of the general tendencies of affairs has a power by which the best considered political combinations are swept into the background.

The paramount importance of religious movements not only prevented a combination between France and England, but also brought both Catholic powers into closer agreement with one another, as soon as their immediate differences had been in some measure adjusted. Father Berulle had promoted the marriage of a French princess with the King of England in the hope of converting him; but now that he became conscious of his mistake, he lent his pen to a project for a common attack to be made by the Catholic powers upon England. The domestic dissensions in that country, which again aroused Catholic sympathies among a part of the population, appeared to favour such a project. An agreement on the subject was in treaty for some time. It was at last concluded and ratified in France in the form in which it was sent back from Spain.[465]

Although it is not clear that people in England had authentic information of these negotiations, yet the advances made by the two courts to one another, which were visible to every one, could not but cause some anxiety in the third. The English were always anxiously considering what Philip IV might have in view for the next year; at times even in Charles' reign they feared another attack from the Belgian coast. What would happen if France lent her aid in such an enterprise? It was known at all events that the priests exhorted her to do so. That France and Spain should make a joint attack on England appeared to be most for the interest of the Catholic world.[466]

Another ground for anxiety in England was from that resolution to revive the French naval power, which Richelieu had already taken in consequence of his late experiences. He bought ships of war, or had them built, and took foreign sailors into his service. Charles I perceived this with the greatest displeasure. He regarded it as a threat against England, for he thought that the French could have no other intention than that of robbing England of the supremacy that she had exercised from time immemorial over the sea which bears her name. He declared that he was resolved to prevent matters from going so far.

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