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But James was not the man. In his policy was reflected as in a glass all the faults of his mind and judgment. Either he hesitated and let the opportunity for ever by; or he could not find terms acceptable to the contending parties because, as Mr. Gardiner observes, in spite of all his meddling, he never understood the deeper currents of his own age. He looked, moreover, on every question from its smallest side, if not from a purely personal point of view. If he was eager to recover the Palatinate, it was because it was the heritage of his grandchildren; if he was bent on ending the war by mediation, yet he could not send an ambassador to Ratisbon, because he thought it beneath his dignity that the affairs of Germany should be settled otherwise than between himself and the Emperor. No doubt the folly and obstinacy of his son-inlaw increased the difficulties in James' path ; but it was his own vacillation, vanity, and ignorance which inade mediation impossible.
Never perhaps had James more power of influencing the course of events for good or for evil than when the Prince Palatine sent to England to ask whether he should refuse or accept the Bohemian crown. Then, if ever, James ought to have given, and given at once, a decided answer. He would neither say 'Yes' nor. No;' he would neither say he would, nor he would not, render assistance. He put off meeting his Council or making any decision at all. Do not expect,' he said to the ambassador, ' to return to Germany in a hurry.' We may here observe that the reviewer, wishing to enlighten Mr. Gardiner and show him his error in thinking that Gondamar, the Spanish ambassador, had James in leading strings, quotes a passage from Professor von Ranke's history in which it is said that, if a disputed point awaited decision, James would not meet his privy councillors but would fly his falcons, thinking' that something might happen in the meanwhile, or some
news be brought in, and that the delay of an hour had often ere now been found profitable. This may be the natural conduct of a man who is slow to choose between two lines of action, because he has a clear perception of the difficulties attending both; but does the reviewer suppose that it is characteristic of a man of strong mind, who uses others as his instruments for shaping his own ends ? Let him ponder Professor von Ranke's observation, that if James had told Frederic decidedly to reject the Bohemian crown, he would have rendered the world a service. Delay as usual took the immediate responsibility off James' shoulders. The news was brought in that Frederic had made his own choice without
waiting for his father-in-law's advice. Das mindeste, writes Professor von Ranke, 'was man von ihm sagen kann ist,
dass seine Natur in diesem Augenblick der Förderung der • Sache nicht gewachsen war.'
A second crisis came when, as Mr. Gardiner thinks, the Palatinate would have been saved from invasion if James had let Spain know that he should take up arms in its defence. Rather than make up his mind to this step, James preferred to believe, on the representations of Gondamar, that the forces collecting in the Netherlands were not intended to march against the Palatinate. Afterwards, when the Spaniards were in the Palatinate, he took for granted, again on Gondamar's representations, that the invasion was a mere diversion for the sake of getting back Bohemia. In the face of such evidence as this, the reviewer objects to Mr. Gardiner's speaking of James' being in Sarmiento's net.' If this is the old partial prejudiced view,' it is certainly not ‘finally dis• sipated by the agency of Mr. Gardiner's own narrative.
We are, however, further informed that “the Spaniard was just the kind of quarry James liked to be after. The king was far more than a match for the ambassador. Had it been otherwise, there was plenty of counter-check. Winwood, the most Protestant and anti-Spanish of statesmen, took the oaths as secretary just about the time of Gondamar's arrival; and a bishop was lord-keeper while the marriage negotiations were at their height.'
It is really hard to believe that the writer of these lines can have read Mr. Gardiner's book. It is true there was an antiSpanish party in James' Council, but this party was never admitted into the secret of the negotiations which were going on.
What counter-check’they made it is, therefore, hard to
How could they tell whether James was leading Gondamar, or Gondamar James? Ignorance incapacitated them from giving advice, even when they were asked for it. Thus on one occasion we find James consulting a commission of the Privy Council on the subject of the Spanish marriage, but the whole thing is a mere farce. The only question which was practi*cally laid before them was whether a Spanish princess with
a portion of 600,0001. was not better worth having than a * French princess with a portion of 200,0001. There was indeed one concession-a concession of such a nature that it might almost be described as criminal. Raleigh was allowed to sail to Guiana in search of a gold mine. Thus was a sop flung to silence the opponents of the Spanish marriage, while James relieved himself of responsibility, if things went wrong, by binding Raleigh down to keep the peace with Spain. The
consequences followed which all who did not wilfully shut their eyes foresaw would follow when the expedition sailed. The English and the Spaniards fought. For Raleigh, the penniless adventurer, who had broken the peace with Spain, there was no pardon. James, we are told by the reviewer, on * small and on great occasions was capable of generosity, even of magnanimity. We cannot ourselves recall to mind a single action of James I. which deserves to be called magnanimous. If he possessed the quality, here at any rate was the fit opportunity for its exercise. We think most readers will acquiesce in the judgment of Professor von Ranke, who on this occasion observes, · Die Ader freier Grossmuth, wie sie Königen geziemt, schlug nicht in Jacob I.'
The views taken in this article give as false a representation of James' home as of his foreign policy. It would take us too long, however, to enter upon any criticism of these, and we shall only ask our readers to follow us while we say a few words more on the subject of James' selection of ambassadors, in which the reviewer discovers proof of remarkable sagacity and insight. As a matter of fact, James' ambassadors were not invariably well chosen. Sometimes very unfit men were appointed to fill important diplomatic posts ; nor were they as a body especially remarkable for ability. James, however, had plenty of natural shrewdness, so that when not influenced by any personal feeling he was quite capable of selecting fit men for employment abroad. In his choice of councillors he was less happy; partly because he was a little afraid of genius too near him ; partly also because, through the corruption of his government and the power exercised by his favourites, men of honour and real ability were not attracted to the service of the crown. It is to be observed, however, that if James could choose an ambassador well, his sagacity stopped short at this point. When a wise policy was proposed to him, he either rejected it altogether or marred it in the handling. Thus Chichester's advice concerning the settlement of the Ulster Plantation was not followed, and he himself was afterwards recalled from office, for the only apparent reason that he was opposed to a policy of persecution : "a worthy end,” Mr. Gardiner writes, “to the “policy of such a man.' • If full powers had been granted * to him to deal with Ireland according to the dictates of his * own wisdom, the blackest pages in the history of that country * would never have been written.' Besides Chichester, James had another remarkably able man in his service, Sir John Digby, his ainbassador in Spain while the marriage treaty was on foot. Digby was opposed to any Spanish marriage at all.
His advice, however, not having been taken on that point, be endeavoured to make the match the basis for a European peace. He saw that in order to obtain from Spain any effectual assistance, Philip must be made to understand that Jarnes could, in case of need, draw the sword. In 1621 it seemed as if James had found the energy to follow the path marked out by Digby. He called a "Parliament and obtained a grant of money for support of the troops already in the Palatinate. But he could not win the confidence of the Commons because he could not bring himself to lay any decided policy before them. When they gave him their view of the policy he ought to follow, he grew angry, entered into a dispute with them on a question of privilege, and, urged on by Gondamar, dissolved the Parliament. The king,' wrote the Spaniard in his despatches home,' will no longer be able to succour his son-in-law or to • hinder the advance of the Catholics. The sole importance
of Gondamar,' the reviewer tells us, is that he remained • from first to last the genuine furtherer of the Spanish mar‘riage. On the contrary, Gondamar’s importance lies in the fact that, being a foreign minister representing a country with ends and interests adverse to those of England, his advice was followed by James as that of a disinterested friend. The rupture with the Parliament ruined Digby's policy. Alone amongst the men of his time he had laboured to bring about a pacification which was possible because its terms were satisfactory to the majority of the German nation. In speaking of Digby's policy, Mr. Gardiner's language is pervaded by a tone of mingled admiration and regret such as he rarely allows himself to use : If amongst the many miseries with which history • teems, there is one more sad than another, it is to see so noble a policy so utterly discredited and mishandled.'
Though the reviewer maintains the contrary, James' policy, let us look at it from whichever side we will, was one of complete and miserable failure. He had tried by a close union with Spain to introduce an era of peace and forbearance, and during the last years of his life the flames of a religious war were devastating the Continent. He had tried to mediate between the contending parties, and when he died England herself was taking up arms and joining in the conflict. He had tried to lessen the intolerance of English Protestants, and what he had really done was to lay the train for a second religious struggle in his own land. He had tried to exalt the prerogative, as something divine in origin, and to suppress the rising influence of the House of Commons, and when he died an able and strong Opposition had been formed to his
government, Plantagenet precedents had been revived, and the Commons of England stood ready prepared to wrest from the grasp of his son powers which were not exercised for the good of their country. Truly, as Mr. Gardiner says, "James sowed the seeds of revolution and disaster.'
Mr. Gardiner always writes from an impartial point of view. Whether he has in all cases given a complete representation of the standpoint of either party is, we think, open to question. Thus the conduct of the Commons in trying to crush the High Church party cannot be adequately explained without taking into account the political motives by which many members were undoubtedly actuated. In Mr. Gardiner's narrative we seem to be reading simply of a struggle between two rival religious systems. Yet had no question of civil
government been involved, it is doubtful whether the suppression of the so-called Arminian doctrines would have been called for by the House of Commons; it is certain that the Opposition would have been weakened by the defection of some very influential members. The composition of the Opposition to Charles' ecclesiastical policy is not a little remarkable. There were to be found in it men representing all shades of religious opinion, ranging between the extremes of moderation and fanaticism. Such names as those of Coke, Cotton, Selden, Sandys, Eliot, and Pym suggest of themselves that some other cause besides devotion to the formulas of Calvinism brought the House into collision with the High Church party. To Coke, Cotton, and Selden the doctrinal dispute in itself was no matter of overwhelming importance. Coke may have been a Calvinist, he certainly was not tolerant, but he was no bigot to head a crusade against Arminianism. His interests were those of the lawyer, not of the churchman. The standpoint of Cotton and Selden was, like Coke's, secular. Scholars and not divines, they represented the most cultivated and catholic minds of their day. Their friendship and services were open to all lovers of learning without distinction of creed or of party. The extremes on either side admired but hardly approved them. Their want of religious zeal offended the Puritan, the part they took in politics the High Churchman. “If Selden,' Mr. Gardiner writes in one of his earlier volumes,'had had his way, ' there would have been very little religious zeal left to inter'fere with. To such a man the one-sidedness, the violence, the very excitement of theological partisanship were eminently distasteful. ... He never forgot that strong feeling contains ' the germs of possible tyranny over the opinions of others, and, in his heart, he fixed his hopes upon a calm and philo