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your highness was induced to undertake that hazardous journey of coming to this court in person. In the time of your being here, admitting that their proceedings have been in many things unworthy of you, and that divers distastes have grown by intervenient accidents,-now things are reduced to those terms that the match itself is sure, the portion and the temporal articles settled,- I hope to the king's liking and yours, and all other good effects that could be hoped for by this alliance are in a fair way:

“If to these reasons may be added, that on his majesty's and your highness'-part you have already passed by and overcome the main difficulties, and your highness by your journey hath satisfied

yourself of the person of the infanta, God forbid that either any personal distastes of ministers, or any

indiscreet or passionate carriage of businesses, should hazard that which his majesty and your highness have done so much to obtain, and whereby doubtless so much good and peace is to accrue to Christendom by the effecting of it; and, contrariwise so much trouble and mischief by the miscarrying of it..... I shall conclude by entreating your highness, that if you would have things go well, that a post may instantly be dispatched back unto me, authorising me to deliver the said power upon the arrival of the dispensation, and having taken fitting security in this particular point. And this I earnestly beseech your highness may be done with all possible speed and secrecy, and that the Spanish ambassadors may

not

not know that ever there was any suspension made of the delivery of the powers a."

These representations of Bristol, however supported by considerations of honor and policy, produced no impression on the mind of the prince, who had submitted himself implicitly to other guidance, and whose first wish and care it had now become, to find pretexts for breaking off the treaty capable of satisfying his father that the disappointment of his fondest wishes had become inevitable.

While Charles and Buckingham are pursuing their voyage homeward full of these designs, and troubled no doubt with many anxious thoughts respecting their execution, it will be proper to inquire what had been the state of men's minds during their absence, and what reception was awaiting their return.

a Cabala, p. 24.

CHAPTER

CHAPTER XXIV.

1623, 1624.

State of public opinion respecting the prince and Buckingham. -Policy adopted by the lord-keeper,-by the lord-trea. surer.- Arrival of the prince and Buckingham in England. --Steps taken by their advice to break off the marriage. treaty.-Recall and honorable conduct of Bristol.-The king compelled into the measures of Buckingham,-his regret and melancholy.Debates in the council concerning a war with Spain.Violent behaviour of Buckingham.His resentment against the lord-keeper and other councillors.He causes parliament to be assembled,—and courts the popular party.Death of the duke of Lenox and Richmond. -King's speech to parliament disclaiming toleration of the catholics. Buckingham's false narration of occurrences in Spain.The Spanish ambassador demands his head. The house defends him.-Address of both houses in favor of war with Spain.Temporising conduct of the king. Supplies voted.--The king overruled by Buckingham.-Letter from him to the king.-King's speech to parliament.-Petition against the catholics.-Buckingham accused by the Spanish ambassadors, -disgraced by the king,-recovers himself by the counsels of the lord-keeper.-Curious intrigues of the lord-keeper.-Impeachment of the lord.treasurer.Return and disgrace of Bristol.-Dissolution of parlia. ment.

It would be difficult to convey an adequate idea of the surprise, the confusion, the consternation, which seized all minds on the first rumor that Buckingham had carried off the prince to Spain in dis

guise,

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guise, at a moment's warning, and without the knowledge of a single privy-councillor or minister of state. Such an act was justly regarded as an intolerable presumption on the part of the favorite, and a more glaring proof than any other of the absolute mastery which he exercised over the spirit of the king:

It had been the current report of Madrid, as soon as the prince's arrival there was known, that he had come to make himself a catholic, and a suspicion of the same kind had taken possession of the English people, to which the puritan divines gave great encouragement. A knowledge of the earnest persuasions on this head employed by the Spanish court, and still more of the correspondence into which Charles had been seduced with the pope, would doubtless, with a large party, have changed these suspicions into an absolute conviction of his apostasy, and ruined him for ever in public estimation. But these circumstances were carefully concealed by the prudential policy of James; and the most prevalent apprehension was, lest the Spaniards, of whose cruelty and perfidy every thing was thought credible, might, on some pretext of quarrel, detain the heir of the kingdom in perpetual imprisonment. Yet, no people could entirely withhold its admiration and sympathy from an expedition dictated by a gallantry so romantic and so becoming the spirit of a youthful prince. Had he succeeded to his hopes, and led home with him in triumph the royal bride, long wooed and nobly won, fears, scruples and prejudices would all have given way before the enthu

siasm of the moment, and the marriage most deprecated in prospect, might have been hailed with the loudest burst of applause on its completion. Even as it was, the joy of receiving back the young adventurer in safety seemed to fill every heart; and the merit of bringing him home again, was thought sufficient atonement for the rashness of Buckingham in carrying him abroad.

Courtiers and politicians surveyed the scene with other eyes : No apprehensions were entertained by them for the personal safety of the prince,-partly because it was manifestly contrary to the interest of Spain that the hopes of the English nation should be transferred from him to the princess palatine and her family ;-and so large a troop of the flower of the young nobility and gentry hastened to offer their attendance to the heir apparent and the favorite, that within a few days the hotel of the earl of Bristol assumed the appearance of an English court. But the great perplexity of those who were, or who wished to be, in public situations, was to decide what would be the results of this adventurous journey with regard to the duke of Buckingham: Would it exalt him to a still higher pinnacle of power and favor, or would it

precipitate him to destruction? By no one was this alternative weighed with more profound attention than by the lord-keeper; and when he had maturely reflected that the smallest failure in deference or attention on the part of Buckingham towards Olivares, or of Olivares towards Buckingham, must produce a violent quarrel between these haughty favorites, which

2 A

would

VOL. II.

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