Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

.

after noon; reaching Montreuil that night, and Paris the second day afterward. On the way they met with two German gentlemen, newly arrived from England, who having seen at Newmarket the Prince and the Marquis taking coach with the King, now asserted a knowledge of their persons; but they were with no great effort convinced by Sir Richard Greham, that they laboured under a mistake.

At Paris, the Prince spent one entire day in viewing the curiosities of a city and court, which was so near a neighbour to his future estates. Of the French Monarch they got a sight after dinner in a gallery (where he was solacing himself with familiar pleasures) and of the Queen Mother at her own table. Toward evening, likewise, by mere chance they had a full view of the Queen Infanta, and of the Princess Henrietta Maria, with other great ladies practising a masquing-dance, which was

which was then in preparation; having been admitted by the Queen's Lord Chamberlain, as a matter of courtesy to strangers, when several of the French nobility were shut out.

From the next day, when they left Paris, they spent six days in reaching Bayonne, the last town of France, having previously supplied themselves at Bourdeaux with five riding coats, all of one colour and fashion, in a kind of noble simplicity.

At Bayonne, the Count De Grammont, governor of that jealous key, took particular notice of their persons and behaviour; observing to some of his train, That he thought them gentlemen of much more worth than their habits announced: yet he courteously let them pass. Four days afterward, they reached Madrid. To describe the whole course of the negotiation

2 K

VOL. II.

there opened, the public entertainments, the private intrigues, the affected confidence, the apprehension of both parties, in fine, all the circumstances and considerations of religion and state there discussed, would better become a royal history or a counciltable, than a single life. Yet we cannot omit some things, which occurred at the meeting of the Marquis of Buckingham, and the Conde d'Olivares. They had some sharper and some milder differences, which might easily happen in such an interview of grandees, * both vehement in favour of their respective interests. But the most remarkable was upon a supposition of the latter, that the former had intimated unto him some hopes of the Prince's conversion. This gilded dream, when stated in a conference, the Marquis roundly disavowed; upon which Olivares alleging he had given him 'La Mentida,' preferred a complaint to the Prince himself. The Marquis, seeing both his honour and the truth at stake, replied with some heat, that 'the Conde's asseveration would force him to do that which he had not done before; for he now held himself bound, as a gentleman, to maintain

* There is still a tradition in Spain, that Buckingham (notoriously a great intriguer) was very particular in his addresses to the Countess d'Olivares, who made an ample discovery of his gallantry to her husband. Upon which, it was concerted between them, that an infected subject should be substituted in the Countess' place. The effect fully answered their vindictive expectation. This story (which, however, Clarendon will not allow) would fully account for the determined enmity avowed by the English against the Spanish grandee on their separation: and it is countenanced by the addresses, which he had the hardihood to pay in France to Anne of Austria, Queen of Louis XIII. Wilson, too, plainly hints at this piece of secret history, which passed current in his time.

the contrary to his affirmative in any sort whatsoever.' This was the highest and harshest point, that occurred between them; which, that it went so far, was not the Marquís' fault, nor indeed that it went no farther. Another memorable passage, of gentler quality, is likewise upon record. The Spanish minister informed Buckingham of a certain flying report, that * the Prince was plotting to be secretly gone;' to which the Marquis gave a well-tempered answer, that ! though love had made his Highness steal out of his own country, yet fear would never make him run out of Spain in any other manner than should become a prince of his royal and generous virtues.'

In Spain they remained nearly eight entire months, during all which time Buckingham lay at home under the heaviest maledictions; which yet, upon the

*

severe censure.

* Neither did the Prince himself, though the marriage (abhorred, as it was, by the Spaniards) was sanctioned by Gregory XV., under an apprehension that the English Catholics would be more cruelly persecuted in the event of it's failure, escape

Nani, in his discursive History of Venice, represents the English as murmuring exceedingly that the heir of their crown should present himself as a hostage, rather than an husband, to win by force of supplication a woman, whom Philip and his ministers made it a point of honour and of conscience to refuse.' But James was obstinately bent upon his son's journey, impelled partly by the persuasions of the Spanish embassador Gondomar, who held out to him the lure of his sonin-law's restitution to the Palatine Elector; and partly by the representations of Sir Kenelm Digby, his own resident at the Court of Madrid. For this shameful imposition, the knavish Spaniard (whom Englishmen will never forgive, for his bloody persecution of Ralegh), was recompensed on his return with a seat in the Council of State. Charles himself acted the very lover of the old romances: occasionally kept his eyes intensely, and immoveably, fixed upon the Infanta for half an hour together; lavished his prodigal presents upon every one, by whom

Prince's safe return, died and vanished away. To sum up the result of the journey, discourses ran thus among the clearest observers : The Prince himself, it was said, without any imaginable strain of his religion, had by the sight of foreign courts, and observations of the different natures of the people and governments, much excited and awakened his spirits, and corroborated his judgement. And as for the Marquis, note was taken of two great advantages which he had gained; an increase of title,* and an opportunity by his long and intimate association with the Prince of securing as it were two lives in his own fortune and greatness : whereas, otherwise, the estate of a favourite is only at best that of a tenant at will, and rarely transmitted. But concerning the Spanish commission, which in public estimation was the main scope of the journey, that was left in complete suspense, and after some time utterly laid aside. This subjected Buckingham to considerable censure: the majority believing, that he had brought back some deep distaste from Spain, which exasperated his counsels; while others, with harsher judgement, ascribed his conduct to the ambition of showing his power either to knit or to dissolve.

The whole scene of affairs, however, was shifted

1

she was surrounded, to the great dissatisfaction of the Lord Treasurer at home; and once scaled the walls of the garden for the sake of a momentary interview.

The match appears to have been broken off, perhaps principally, through the mutual hatred of the two favourites d'Olivares and Buckingham; and the only sincerity throughout was that of the two youthful lovers, who were but two beautiful balls, however, in the hands of the great players.

* He had been created a Duke during his absence.

م م بی

from Spain to France: which alteration being gene. rally liked, and all state-changes being naturally attributed to the minister of the day, his Grace be. came suddenly, and strangely popular among the multitude, and was even in parliament highly exalted; so as for a time apparently to have overcome that natural incompatibility, which in the experience of all ages has been noted between the vulgar and the sovereign favour.

Upon his return from Spain, he was made Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (which is, as it were, a second admiralty) and Steward likewise of the Manor of Hampton Court; dignities and offices still growing of trust or profit, and the King now bestowing not only, out of beneficent disposition, but also from an habitual and confirmed custom.

Upon the death of James, the most important and pressing care of his youthful successor was his marriage, for an immediate establishment of the royal line. In this the Duke having had an especial hand, he was sent to conduct hither the Princess Henrietta Maria, youngest daughter to the great Henry of Bourbon ; of whom his Majesty, as above stated, had a glimpse in the early part of his travels. The only peer, who accompanied him upon this mission, was the Earl of Montgomery,

After this fair discharge, all civil honour's having been showered upon him before, there now fell out great occasions to draw forth his spirits into action, by a breach first with Spain, and not long afterward with France itself, notwithstanding the close affinity so lately meditated with the one, and actually accomplished with the other; as if indeed, according to that pleasant maxim of state, Kingdoms were never

« ZurückWeiter »