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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Among whom Buckingham endeavoured to find support

more undertaken by the sole power of the monarch: it was carried out independently of any Parliamentary grants properly so called. It represented the principle of a moderate monarchical Protestantism, combined with toleration for the native Catholics, among whom Buckingham endeavoured to find support. His was a position of which the occupant must either be a great man or perish. Buckingham, who had no equal in restless activity, and was by nature not devoid of adroitness and ability, nevertheless had not that persevering and comprehensive energy which is required for the performance of great actions. He had not gone through the school of those experiences in which minds ripen: and for the want of this training his native gifts were not sufficient to compensate. He was so far fortunate as to gain possession of the Island of Rhe; but Fort Martin, which had been erected there a short time before, and on which the possession of the island depended, defied his attacks, and he was not skilful enough to intercept the support which was thrown into the fort in the hour of its greatest danger. The defence of the French certainly showed greater perseverance than the attack of the English. Buckingham did not know how to awaken among his men that fiery devotion which shrinks from no obstacle, and which would have been necessary here. And the measures which were arranged at home were not so effective as to bring him at the right moment the reinforcement he needed. In November 1627 he returned to England without having effected his object. He left behind him the French Protestants, and Rochelle especially, in the greatest distress.

Charles I had no intention of proving false to the promises which he had given them, any more than he wished to allow the King of Denmark to sink under his difficulties. But what means did he possess of bestowing help either on the former or on the latter?

After the battle of Lutter he had told the Danish ambassador, that he would come to the assistance of his uncle, even if he should have to pawn his crown. How heavily his position weighed on him at that time! While he had undertaken the responsibility of contending for the greatest interests of the world, he was obliged to confess, and did so with tears in his eyes, that at present he hardly had at his disposal the means of defraying the necessary expenses of his daily life.

The King of Denmark advised him to call Parliament together again, and make the needful concessions, in order to obtain such subsidies as would enable him to give vigorous support to his allies. Charles I in the first instance took umbrage at this, because it was good advice from an uncle and an elder, as if some blame were thereby cast on him: by degrees he became convinced of the necessity of this measure.

It was quite evident from the events of the last few years that the King would not be able to maintain the position he had assumed, without active support from Parliament.


[460] Z. Pesaro, April 25, 1625: 'Che la conservatione della pace in Francia sara il fondamento del beneficio comune, che li rumori civili in quella natione sariano il solo remedio che Spagnoli procurano alli loro mali.'

[461] 'That the King and all the rest were exceedingly glad of that relation which he made of the discontent and mutiny of his compagnie.'

[462] M. A. Correro: 'Trattano di formar una compagnia per la quale possino con l'autorita del parlamente e privilegi reggi attaccare con una flotte il re di Spagna per dividere l'interesse della spesa e l'utile delli bottini e delli acquisti nelli compagni che ne averanno parte (27 Mayo 1626).'

[463] Letter to Joseph Mead: Court and Times of Charles I, i. 134.

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