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325

Weston

presses for a

suspension

in the Pala

tinate.

1

CHAPTER XLI.

FRESH EFFORTS OF DIPLOMACY.

Now that a separation had been effected between Frederick and Mansfeld, Weston saw a door of escape from his difficulties. He had lately asked in vain for a suspension of arms in the Palatinate alone, and had been told that, unless he could engage that the whole of the forces on his side would remain quiet, the Infanta was utterly without power to restrain the armies of the Emperor. As soon, therefore, as the news reached him, he hurried to Spinola, and told him what had hapJuly 12. pened. To his surprise, Spinola did not seem to think the intelligence of any great importance. The army, he said, was less by one man only, the same commanders and the same enemy being still in the field. Most likely the whole affair was a trick. Against this insinuation Weston protested loudly. His master's son-in-law, he said, was now ready to conform to anything. The King of England had no command over those who were not his subjects nor in his pay. If it was desired, he would join his arms with those of the Emperor against the perturbers of the public peace; but if a suspension of arms were not granted in the Palatinate without reference to Mansfeld, and if Heidelberg and the other towns were assaulted, his Majesty would take it as a declaration of war against himself. "The treaty," Spinola replied, "were it not for the point of the auxiliaries, might be most easily and speedily

Weston to Calvert, July 6, S. P. Flanders.

concluded; but if, while these men spoil our countries, we shall stand with our hands tied, all the world will deride us." 1

Ratisbon.

It was not only from the language addressed to his representative at Brussels that James learned that he would not be allowed to have everything his own way. He Projected assembly at had already received a letter from the Emperor, announcing that he intended to hold at Ratisbon, on August 22. the 22nd of August, an assembly composed of the September 1. five loyal Electors, together with three Protestant and three Catholic Princes, for the purpose of settling the conditions of a permanent peace; and this announcement was coupled with an invitation to send an English ambassador to take part in the negotiations.2

Nor were

That James should have been startled by this letter was only natural. Of the eleven members of whom the assembly would be composed, the three ecclesiastical Electors, with the Duke of Bavaria, the Archbishop of Salzburg, and the Bishop of the two sees of Bamberg and Würzburg, were most unlikely to take a lenient view of Frederick's proceedings. the names of the Protestant minority more reassuring. The Elector of Saxony, the Elector of Brandenburg, the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, and the Dukes of Brunswick and Pomerania were all either hostile or indifferent to the fugitive Elector Palatine. An announcement such as that which now reached James ought surely to have driven him to reconsider his position. If it was true, as rumour said, that the first proposition submitted to the meeting would be one for the transference of the Electorate, it would be well for James to ask himself how it had become possible for Ferdinand to expect that his policy would find support in a body in which Protestant Germany was so largely represented. The answer was, in truth, not difficult to be found by anyone who knew how to look for it. That Mansfeld, and such as Mansfeld, should have the free range of the Empire, to burn and plunder where they would, was an intolerable evil. In the face of danger the nation was clinging to the Imperial organization as the only centre of unity which it possessed. No

1 Weston to Calvert, July 13, S. P. Flanders.

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2 Ferdinand II. to the King, June S. P. Germany.

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1622

A LOST CAUSE.

327

foreign prince who tried to break up this unity, loose as it was, would have a chance of being heard, unless he could provide for the restoration of civil order. For the moment, the religious question was in abeyance. These, however, were not the thoughts with which James's mind was occupied. In the Emperor's letter he saw nothing more than a gross personal insult to himself. Ferdinand, he declared, had promised to treat with him on equal terms. What right then had he to make his decisions in any way dependent upon the wishes of the Princes of the Empire? It was derogatory to the honour of a King of England that his ambassador should be summoned to dance attendance upon an assembly so composed.1

Frederick's

less.

It was not only on this point that James failed to comprehend the situation of affairs. It was impossible for any candid mind to dissociate the proceedings of Frederick from cause hope the proceedings of Mansfeld. Spinola was no doubt in the wrong when he spoke of Frederick's proclamation, by which his troops had been disbanded, as altogether illusory; but the question to be considered was not whether the exiled Prince meant what he said now, but whether he would say the same thing if he found himself restored to his ancient position. If the capture of an undefended town had led him to reject with scorn the suggestion made by the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, that he should submit to the Emperor, what was to be expected if he found himself once more in the possession of the Palatinate? How long would it be before he took some new offence at one or other of his neighbours. Then would be seen the consequences of Imperial lenity. Fresh hordes of brigands, unpaid and unprovided, would pour forth once more to seek their prey, and the whole work of repression would have to be done over again.

Such was the wide-spread feeling which at this conjuncture led Protestant and Catholic alike to give their support to Ferdinand. As far as Frederick was personally concerned, the argument was unanswerable. Every year his power for doing good had grown less and less. One by one, he had thrown away his chances. In 1619, by refusing the crown of Bohemia, he might 1 The King to Ferdinand II., July 8, S. P. Germany.

probably have secured the religious liberty of that country. At the close of 1620, by renouncing the throne which he had lost, he might have secured the religious liberty of Protestant Germany. In 1621, by cordially accepting Digby's mediation, he might at least have obtained, under very stringent conditions, the restitution of his own states. And now even that hope was gone. From the moment of his attack upon Darmstadt he had nothing left but abdication.

January. Desire of Spain for peace.

As usual, in James's unhappy reign, the true policy of England is to be found not in the manifestoes of its sovereign, or in the despatches of its ministers, but in the memorials in which Spanish statesmen expressed their apprehensions. The Council of State at Madrid was still divided between its desire to further the interests of the Catholic Church in Germany and its dread of provoking a war with England. Of the necessity of peace for the best interests of the monarchy, none could be more clearly convinced than the ministers of Philip. "If we go on with the war in the Lower Palatinate," the Infanta Isabella had written towards the close of the preceding year, we shall have before us a struggle of the greatest difficulty. We shall be assailed by the whole force of the opposite party, and the burden will fall with all its weight upon Spain. It will hardly be possible to bring together sufficient forces to meet the enemy. It will, therefore, be better to agree to a suspension of arms for as long a time as possible, leaving each side in possession of the territory occupied by it, in the hope that time will show what is best to be done." 1

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In the same spirit the Council of State utterly rejected a suggestion thrown out by one of the Emperor's councillors at Vienna, to the effect that the brother of the King, the Infant Charles, might marry the eldest daughter of the Emperor, receiving a new kingdom, to be composed of Franche Comte, Alsace, and the Lower Oñate was directed to inform Ferdinand that

Rejection of a proposed cession of the Lower Palatinate.

Palatinate.2

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1622

Plan for the settlement

SPANISH IDEAS.

329

Spain wished for no extension of its territory. It was by posi tive declarations that nothing of the kind was intended, that the King of England had been induced to refrain from taking part in the war, and the promise thus solemnly made must not be broken. The Council then proceeded to adopt Zuñiga's scheme in full. Let the Electorate of Germany. and the two Palatinates be transferred from Frederick to his son. Let the boy be educated as a Catholic, either at Vienna or at Munich, and be married either to the daughter of the Emperor or to the niece of the Duke of Bavaria. The administration of the territories might be confided to Maximilian as long as the young prince was under age, in order that he might be able to pay himself for the expenses of the war. A pension might be assigned to Frederick for his support. His son would be a Catholic, and his states would soon be Catholic also.1

That such a proposal should ever have been made is only one more proof of the ignorance of the Spanish ministers of a world which was not their own. It must, however, be acknowledged that James at least had done his best to blind them to the difficulties of a scheme which would satisfy the dynastic interests of his family, but would sacrifice the religious independence of the inhabitants of the Palatinate. Yet even thus Zuñiga shrank from openly proposing the adoption of his plan. It would, he said, be accepted at once by James and his son-in-law, but they would add a stipulation that the boy should be educated at Dresden instead of at Vienna.

That the policy thus indicated was the only sensible policy for James to adopt there can be no reasonable doubt. It would leave the boundary between the two religions untouched, at the same time that it would afford the surest guarantee for the future peace of the Empire. Unfortunately, its very wisdom was enough to place it out of the question with James.

Whilst Spain and England were thus both employed in

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1 Consulta of the Council of State, Jan. Simancas MSS. 2403,

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fol. 8. Philip IV. to Oñate, Jan.

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28'

Brussels MSS.

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