Page images
PDF
EPUB

Coke,

James gained no fresh popularity by giving directions, within a week after the Catholics had been set free, for the Liberation of liberation of Coke, Phelips, and Mallory from the Tower, on condition that they, like Pym, would Phelips, and Mallory. place themselves under restraint not to travel more than a limited distance from their own houses in the country.1 The measure was in all probability dictated by a desire to be prepared to meet a Parliament, if the negotiations at Brussels

should prove abortive. In Coke's case, at least, nothing

that now could be done was likely to soothe his exasperation. An unwise attempt to prosecute him in the Court of Wards upon some private offence which he was supposed to have committed had broken down completely, and he had been declared innocent by the unanimous decision of all the judges to whom the legal question involved in the case had been referred.2 Nor, in the existing state of popular feeling, did it avail the Government much that Sir John Bennett, who had escaped punishment through the dissolution of Parliament, was now prosecuted in the Star Chamber for the faults which had brought an impeachment upon him, and was, before the year ended, condemned to a fine of 20,000l., to imprisonment during pleasure, and to perpetual disability from office.3

Punishment of Bennett.

August 25. Arrival of Gage.

All through August, the news from Brussels had been growing worse and worse. At last, when the confusion was at its height, James was startled by the unexpected arrival of Gage, the Englishman who had been commissioned to watch the course of the marriage negotiations at Rome, and who had now come to announce that, if the Pope was to be satisfied, new and unheard of concessions must be made.4

It was now about a year since, on August 11, 1621, a con

1 Privy Council Register, Aug. 6.

2 Chamberlain to Carleton, July 13, S. P. Dom. cxxxii. 38.

3 Chamberlain to Carleton, July 1, Locke to Carleton, Nov. 30.

S. P. Dom. cxxxii. 1; cxxxiv. 39.

4 Valaresso to the Doge, Aug. 2. Venice MSS.

[ocr errors]

1621

1621. The Cardinals and the

marriage treaty.

GAGE'S MISSION.

351

gregation of four cardinals had been formed for the purpose of examining the articles of the marriage treaty. They were not long in coming to the conclusion that the articles were altogether insufficient. Care had been taken for the religion of the Infanta and her household, but nothing was said about the general body of English Catholics. Unless something were done for them, it would be the duty of the Pope to refuse the dispensation. The vague promises which James had given in the preceding year, were flouted, as utterly insufficient. The cardinals had set their hearts upon the conversion of England, and it was certain that the conversion of England would never be effected by a mere promise that the Catholic missionaries should for the future escape the scaffold, and that the penal laws should be executed October. with moderation. Before the end of October, therefore, they had decided that nothing short of complete liberty of worship would suffice, and that for this they must have some stronger guarantee than the mere word of the King of England. Before the end of the year, however, the cardinals discovered that their course was not so easy as they had supposed. The news which reached them of the first proceedings in to send Gage the House of Commons after the adjournment, was to England. not favourable to the supposition that the changes which they contemplated could be accomplished without opposition. It was not till they heard of the dissolution of the

Resolution

1622. Parliament, of the quarrel with the Dutch Commissioners, and of the imprisonment of the Earl of Oxford, that they finally made up their minds to send Gage back to England, with orders to lay the Pope's decision before the King.

Accordingly, on July 4, 1622, Gage was summoned before the congregation to receive his instructions. The King of England

July.

said Cardinal Bandino, in the name of the others Instructions who were present, had read many Catholic books, and given to him. he had no doubt discovered that it was impossible for the Pope to grant a dispensation in such a case as this without the hope of some great public good. As, however, nothing of the kind was to be found in the articles which had been sent from Spain, they had determined to ask for a general

liberty of worship in all his kingdoms, and for a satisfactory guarantee of its maintenance. They had been informed, that it would be better that this change should proceed from a voluntary act of the King himself, and they therefore hoped that he would inform them what he was willing to do for his Catholic subjects. The Cardinal then proceeded to touch upon a still more delicate subject. It was utterly impossible, he said, to imagine that one so versed as the King was in controversial theology could be ignorant that the holy and apostolic Roman faith was the only true and ancient faith in which men could be saved. If, therefore, he did not openly declare his belief, it could only be from a fear of incurring disgrace by changing a religion which he had professed so many years, or from a dread of the personal consequences to himself. As for the first, he should remember that Henry IV. had gained honour by his conversion; and, as to the second, he need not be afraid. God would certainly protect him. Half his subjects, and the majority of his nobility, were Catholics already, and, if more were needed, the forces of the King of Spain, and of all Catholic princes, would be at his service. The Roman see would be ready to load him with honours. If he chose to pay a visit to Rome, a legate should be sent to meet him in Flanders, and the Pope himself would go as far as Bologna to welcome him. If he could not make up his mind to his own conversion, let the Prince of Wales be encouraged to take the step from which his father shrank.1

The articles, as they were returned to Gage, contained several important alterations. All the Infanta's servants were Alteration in of necessity to be Catholics. Her Church was to be the articles. open to all who chose to enter, and not merely to her household. The priests were to be under the control of a bishop, and were to be freed from subjection to all laws excepting those which were imposed by their ecclesiastical superiors. The Infanta must have the education of her children; of the girls, till the age of twelve, of the boys, till the age of fourteen.

1 Francisco de Jesus, 33-40.

1622

JAMES APPEALS TO SPAIN.

353

The cardinals had, at least, done James one service by this plain-spoken declaration. He could no longer be in any doubt as to the views with which the marriage was regarded August. Reception of at Rome. In truth there was something very similar Gage. in the attitude taken by the Pope and that taken by the Emperor, on the two great questions of the day. Both Gregory and Ferdinand had definite objects in view, and from them neither friend nor enemy would have much difficulty in discovering precisely what was to be expected. To deal with them, all that was necessary was to form an equally definite plan of operations, to be ready to give way where it was possible to yield, and to organize opposition where opposition was needed. All this, however, required thought and trouble, and James preferred the easier course of throwing the burden upon Spain, and of trusting to Philip's friendliness and sagacity to help him out of his difficulties.1

September.

Gage arrived in England on August 25. On September 9, James poured out his distress in a letter to Digby. Everything was going wrong at Brussels. He now expected, James sends therefore, that as nothing was to be done with the his answer to Digby. Emperor, the King of Spain would actually give his assistance in the recovery of the Palatinate and of the Electorate. As for the proposals brought from Rome by Gage, the Infanta's servants were to be nominated by the King of Spain, and there was now no object in insisting upon the omission of the words obliging them to be Catholics. It was unimportant whether the superior minister were to be a bishop or not. The other demands were of greater consequence. The cardinals ought to have known that it was out of his power to concede a public church, and that the exemption claimed for the ecclesiastics from the law of the land was a strange one, and was not universally allowed, even in Roman Catholic countries. He would bind himself to allow the children to remain under their mother's care till the age of seven, though the time might be extended if it were found necessary for their health. As to the demand made for the general good of Catholics, he had gone as

1 Resolutions upon the Marriage Articles [Sept. 9]. The King to Digby, Sept. 9. Prynne's Hidden Works of Darkness, 14, 16.

[blocks in formation]

far as he possibly could by his letter of April 27, 1620, in which he had promised that no Roman Catholic should again suffer death for his religion, or should be compelled to take any oath to which capital penalties were attached, whilst the existing penal legislation should be mitigated in practice.1 If these terms were not accepted by Spain within two months, the treaty must be considered at an end.

James's formal despatch to his ambassador was accompanied by a confidential letter from his favourite to Gondomar, in which the embarrassments of the hour were de

Bucking

to Gondo

mar.

ham's letter picted as in a glass. "As for the news from hence," wrote Buckingham, “I can in a word assure you that they are in all points as your heart could wish. For here is a king, a prince, and a faithful friend and servant unto you, besides a number of your other good friends that long so much for the happy accomplishment of this match, as every day seems a year unto us; and I can assure you, in the word of your honest friend, that we have a prince here that is so sharp set upon the business, as it would much comfort you to see it, and her there to hear it. Here are all things prepared upon our part ; priests and recusants all at liberty; all the Roman Catholics well satisfied; and, which will seem a wonder unto you, our prisons are emptied of priests and recusants and filled with zealous ministers for preaching against the match, for no man can sooner now mutter a word in the pulpit, though indirectly, against it, but he is presently catched, and set in strait prison. We have also published orders, both for the universities and the pulpits, that no man hereafter shall meddle, but to preach Christ crucified. Nay, it shall not be lawful hereafter for them to rail against the Pope, or the doctrine of the Church of Rome, further than for edification of ours; and for proof hereof, you shall, herewith, receive the orders set down and published. But if we could hear as good news from you, we should think ourselves happy men. But, alas! now that we have put the ball at your feet, although we have received a comfortable despatch from his Majesty's Ambassador there, yet from all other parts in the world the effects appear directly contrary."

Buckingham then went on to recite the causes of his discon1 See Vol. III. p. 346.

« PreviousContinue »