T. F. (Thomas Frederick) Tout.

An advanced history of Great Britain from the earliest times to 1918. With 63 maps and plans online

. (page 43 of 80)
Online LibraryT. F. (Thomas Frederick) ToutAn advanced history of Great Britain from the earliest times to 1918. With 63 maps and plans → online text (page 43 of 80)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


The com-
pletion of
the con-
quest of
Ireland.




Emerjr Walker sc.

The shaded part shows the Protestant districts
in Ireland, which resulted from James I'a.
Plantations.

IRELAND IN THE SEVENTEENTH CEXTCRT.

Protestant population. Henceforth the Ulster settlers remained
as a Protestant garrison in Ireland. Though this immensely



-1632.] JAMES I. 423

strengthened the English power, it brought new difficulties with
it. The Irish problem became more complicated, since side by
side with the old Catholic and Celtic Ireland a new Protestant
and Saxon Ireland was created. Bitterly hating the aliens who
persecuted their religion and robbed them of their lands, Celtic
Ireland sullenly waited for the hour of vengeance.

4. James i.'s reign saw the first establishment of new Englands
beyond the sea, as well as extension of English influence over the
three kingdoms of Britain. The impulse towards t> e ~j nn *
expansion which had inspired both the Irish planta- of English
tions, and the failures of Gilbert and Raleigh in colonies.
America, now led to the first successful establishment of English
colonies beyond the Atlantic. In 1607 Virginia was settled by a
small band of emigrants, who named their first settle- pi an tation
ment Jamestown in honour of the English king. At of Virginia,
first they suffered terribly from disease, famine, and 1607

the constant attacks of the Indian tribes, but these were successfully
overcome, and as the colony grew in numbers and strength it
received a free constitution with a Souse of Burgesses like the
House of Commons at home. A few years later Lord Baltimore, a
Catholic nobleman, established Maryland immediately
to the north of Virginia, receiving in 1632 a charter
from Charles I., which made him supreme lord of the
whole settlement. Maryland was the first proprietary colony,
controlled by a great landlord. In 1625 the settlement of Barbados
was the first step towards the establishment of English plantations
in the West India islands. The settlers were not willing to do
hard work themselves. The land was divided into great estates
and plantations, whose proprietors cultivated tobacco, sugar, and
other products of warm climates. For long they had much
difficulty in obtaining labour, but at last fell back upon the labour
of negro slaves, imported from Africa and compelled to work for
their masters.

5. Other colonies arose in the colder regions to the north of
Virginia, which received the name of New England. The first
of these settlements owed its origin to a little band

of English separatists, who, finding it impossible

to worship G-od after their own fashion in England, of New

resolved to seek freedom in the wilderness beyond the

Atlantic. In 1620 a little band, afterwards called the

Pilgrim Fathers, sailed in a small ship called the Mayflower from

Southampton. They settled near Cape Cod, and called their new



424 JAMES /. [1600

home Plymouth. Soon larger settlements arose round them, the first
and chief of which was Massachusetts, established in 1629, with
Boston as its capital. Many other small colonies were planted in
New England under Charles I. The New England colonies formed
a class by themselves, and were soon clearly marked off from the
southern plantations. They became a land of yeoman proprietors,
farmers, fishermen, and traders, with neither a wealthy planter
aristocracy nor a large population of slaves. They lived a
free and strenuous but somewhat hard and narrow life, prizing
their democratic institutions and their Puritan faith, and perse-
cuting those who did not hold their religion. In Massachusetts
no one could be a citizen who was not a member of an Independent
church ; but another of the colonies, Rhode Island, practised from
the beginning complete religious toleration. Virginia and the
West India Islands generally accepted the doctrines and worship
of the English Church. Their planter-aristocracies were quite
as jealous of freedom as was the Puritan democracy of New
England. Both types of colonies soon began to thrive exceedingly.
By the middle of the seventeenth century -their success ensured the
extension of the English race and tongue over the greater part of
the eastern seaboard pf North America. It is through these first
pioneers that the foundations of a world-wide " Greater Britain "
were laid.

6. James l.'s reign witnessed an expansion of English trade
corresponding with the growth of English colonization. Here, as

with the plantations, the Elizabethan impulse achieved
he begin- j^. g g rea test results after the queen's death. After the
the East conquest of Portugal by Philip u., the Dutch robbed
India Com- the Spaniards of much that remained of Portuguese
pany, . commerce an( j empire in the East. Their success
inspired English adventurers to follow in their footsteps, and in
1600 Elizabeth gave a charter to the English East India Company,
which at once entered into rivalry with the Dutch merchants.
Soon commercial antagonism sharply divided two nations which
common religion and common hostility to Spain had hitherto closely
united. The struggle was sharpest in the archipelago of further
India, then called the Spice Islands, because the centre of the
The Am- lucrative spice trade. Its most striking incident was
boyna the massacre by the Dutch, in 1623, of the English

massacre, settlers in the little island of Amboyna. In India

itself the English merchants soon obtained a stronger
position than the Dutch. They obtained grants of factories or



-I6SI.] JAMES I. 425

trading settlements from the Mogul or Mohammedan emperors who
in those days ruled over the greater part of India. The first of these
to become important were Surat, set up in 1612, and Ifadras,
established in 1639. Other English trading settlements were
made on the west coast of Africa, where also Dutch competition
was keen. After the Dutch settled at the Cape of Good Hope
as a good halfway house to India, the English East India Company
founded an intermediate station of its own in the island of
St. Helena in 1651. Thus the same generation which saw the
origin of our colonies saw the rise of our commerce with* remote
lands, and the faint beginnings of our modern empire in the
East. For all these reasons, our history can no longer be limited to
the story of the British Islands after the accession of the Stewart
kings.

7. England itself saw great changes under Stewart rule. The
land had outgrown the need for the Tudor despotism. The parlia-
ment of the active and energetic England of these days

was no longer content to follow the lead of the kings, Stewarts
and thus the great event of the Stewart period is the and Parlia-
century of struggle between the king and the House of nient.
Commons, which only terminated when parliament had secured its
control over the crown. The accession of a foreign race of kings
with narrower sympathies, less knowledge of English ways, and
less broad intelligence than the Tudors, precipitated and intensified
the contest. Yet even if rulers as strong as Elizabeth had been
given to England, the contest would have been inevitable.

8. James I. was ill adapted to deal with the situation that he
had to face in his new kingdom. He was able, well-educated,
and the most scholarly king of his time. He was

good tempered, kindly, and honestly loved peace and Character
moderation. But he had formed all his habits before
he came to England, and never really understood English ways.
He was very conceited and obstinate, and was destitute of the
royal bearing of his predecessor. Lazy, vacillating, and pro-
crastinating, he preferred to live in retirement in the country,
amusing himself with hunting and study, and loving to shift
the hard work of government on to his favourites and ministers.
Yet he was proud of his statecraft, and delighted to dogmatize
on the divine right of kings and the sin of opposing the Lord's
anointed. He was shrewd enough, however to take broader views
of many questions than the majority of his subjects. Yet even
when his policy was right he was unable to carry it out effectively.

P2



426 JAMES I. [1603-

His worst fault was his incurable habit of distinguishing between
his own interests and those of his subjects.

9. James's general idea was to follow as closely as he could the
policy of Elizabeth. But he neither fully understood his pre-
Robept Cecil ^ecessor's aims, nor was he able to give effect to his
and his intentions. He was wise enough, however, to continue
enemies. ^ e ministers of Elizabeth in office, and Sir Robert
Cecil, made earl of Salisbury in 1605, remained chief adviser to the
crown, and carried on, until his death in 1612, the traditions of
Elizabethan statecraft. Cecil's continuance in power drove his
enemies into a series of plots to overthrow him. Chief among these
was the Main Plot as it was called, whose instigator was Lord
Cobham. Another conspiracy was the Bye Plot, a foolish sch'eme
of a Roman Catholic priest named "Watson, to keep James a
prisoner until he gave freedom to the Catholics and made the
plotters his chief advisers. Both designs were easily discovered,
and the chief conspirators were punished. Among them was Sir
Walter Raleigh, a known enemy of Cecil, whose condemnation was
only secured by very doubtful measures. Raleigh was not, however,
executed, but kept a close prisoner in the Tower with the death
sentence still hanging over his head.

10. James's continuation of Elizabeth's policy provoked bitter
discontent among both Puritans and Roman Catholics. The
The Hamp- P^itans who had long suffered severely from Whit-
ton Court gift's persecution, had hoped great things from a

3? res byterian king. On his way to London, a large
number of Puritan clergy presented to him what they
called the Millenary Petition, which begged for a relaxation of the
ceremonies so much disliked by the Puritans. James fell in with
their wishes so far as to hold a conference between the two parties
in the church at Hampton Court, in 1604. Proud of his theo-
logical learning, the king took a leading part in the debates
and showed bitter hostility to the Puritans when he realized that
they wanted to introduce the Scottish system into England.
" Scottish Presbytery," he declared, " agreeth as well with monarchy
as God with the devil." Under such circumstances, nothing im-
portant came of the Hampton Court conference. A few changes
were made in the Prayer-book, but they gave no satisfaction to the
Puritans. The only solid result was the ordering of a new trans-
lation of the Bible. This led to the Authorized Version of 1611,
which soon, through its merits, became the single translation used
by English-speaking Protestants.



-1605.] JAMES I. 427

11. When WMtgift died in 1604, Bancroft, who was bishop of
London, and had taken the chief part in opposing the Puritans at
Hampton Court, became his successor. He was one of Archbishops
the first Protestant divines to teach that a Church Bancroft
without bishops was no Church at all, and he dealt and Abbot
as severely with the Puritans as Whitgif t had done. His successor,
Archbishop Abbot (1610 to 1633), inclined to Puritan views, but
he gradually lost all influence at court, and the main current of
Church opinion was setting steadily against him. A new school
of churchmanship now arose, whose leader was the saintly Bishop
Andrewes of Winchester, and whose most active partisan was
William Laud, who became bishop of London. They were called
Arminians, because they followed the Dutch professor Arminius
in rejecting the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination. They also
believed in the necessity for bishops, held the doctrine of the Real
Presence, loved elaborate ritual in divine worship, and claimed
continuity with the Church of the Middle Ages. The rise of this
school further embittered the lot of the Puritans.

12. The Roman Catholics expected great things from the son
of Mary Stewart, and James, who was more tolerant than most
rulers of his time, made himself unpopular with rigid y^ Gun ^
Protestants by his unwillingness to send priests to powder
the scaffold. He made no attempt, however, to alter Plot, 1605.
the severe laws against the Catholics, and many still suffered for
their faith. In despair of lightening their lot by peaceful means,
a band of Catholic enthusiasts turned to treason. Headed by
Robert Catesby, a Warwickshire gentleman, a knot of recusants
formed a plot to blow up the king and parliament with gunpowder
on the occasion of the meeting of parliament on November 5, 1605.
Guy Fawkes, an old soldier in the Spanish service, became the
chief instrument of the conspirators. Some cellars were hired
under the House of Lords ; there explosives were hidden, which
Fawkes was to fire when the king opened the Houses on November 5.
At the same moment the Catholic gentry of the Midlands were
to be collected at Dunchurch, near Rugby, on the pretext of a hunt,
in the hope that on the news of the London catastrophe they would
seize the king's daughter Elizabeth, who was living in the neigh-
bourhood, make her queen, and bring her up as a Catholic. Cecil's
spies unearthed the plot before the meeting of parliament. On
November 4 the cellars were searched, the powder discovered, and
Fawkes was taken prisoner and severely tortured. Catesby escaped
to Warwickshire, hoping still to induce the huntsmen of Dunchurcii



428 JAMES I. [1604-

to rise in rebellion. Failing altogether in this object, Catesby
and a few friends fled further, to Holbeach in Staffordshire, where
they were soon surrounded, and, after a hard fight in whic^i Catesby
was killed, captured. Besides Fawkes, and the actual conspirators,
the persons executed for complicity included Henry Garnett, the
provincial or head of tke English Jesuits. The chief evidence
against him was that he had been told of the conspiracy under the
seal of confession. The main result of the Gunpowder Plot, as it
was called, was to frighten the king into carrying out the recusancy
laws with more severity than ever.

13. James found great difficulties in dealing with his parlia-
ments. Never practising the severe economy of Elizabeth, he was
James and muc h more frequently compelled to ask parliament for
his Parlia- money, and showed a disposition to bargain with the
ments. Commons, which was fatal to his dignity and authority.
The Commons severely criticized his harshness to the Puritans, and
complained that his foreign policy was not sufficiently Protestant.
They distrusted his great plans for change, such as the proposed
union with' Scotland, and resented his habit of lecturing them on
his own dignity and their insignificance. The result was that he
was constantly involved in petty disputes with the Commons.

14. James' first parliament met in 1604, and continued its
sessions till 1611. In the very first session there were hot disputes

about privilege of parliament, and the Commons, in-
ImDosttTons ^ad of giving James a subsidy, offered him plenty of
and the unpalatable advice. There were worse troubles when

Great Con- James, encouraged by a decision of the -judges that he
tract, 1610. , .

might alter taxes on exports and imports without re-
course to parliament by virtue of his right to regulate trade, issued
what was called the Book of Bates, whereby, of his own mere
motion, he largely added to the customs-duties. In 1610 parliament
denounced the New Impositions, as the taxes were called, as a
violation of its rights. James and Salisbury chose this moment
for submitting to the Commons an elaborate scheme called the
Great Contract, which Was proposed to resign the feudal revenue
if the king's debts were paid and his income increased by 200,000
a year. After much time consumed in haggling about details,
James dismissed Parliament in 1611 without having obtained its
consent to his proposals.

15. For three years James managed to get on without parlia-
mentary grants. He was so poor that he was forced to offer the
new hereditary title of baronet to any gentleman of position who



-1614.] JAMES 7. 429

would lend him a thousand pounds, and in 1614 was again com-
pelled to face the estates. Before parliament met James nego-
tiated with some prominent members of the last ^^e Addled
House of Commons, who promised that if he would Parliament,
make concessions and take their advice, they would 1614
keep the Commons in a good temper and persuade it to make
grants. Those who made this bargain with the king w,ere called
the Undertakers. They found, however, that parliament, when it
met, regarded them as traitors and repudiated their guidance, and
took up so fierce an attitude that James dissolved the House before
it had passed an act or made a grant. For this reason the parlia-
ment of 1614 was called in derision the Addled Parliament. After
this James did not venture to summon another parliament for
seven years.

16. During this period many great changes happened. Salis-
bury died in 1612, and the same year saw the death of the
king's eldest son, Henry, prince of Wales, a youth j ames ' s

of promise, whose younger brother Charles became family and
prince of Wales in his place. James was so jealous favoul> i te s.
of yielding up authority, and so conceited with himself, that he
thought there was no need for him to have a chief minister
to replace Cecil. But he was not hard working enough to control
the state as Elizabeth had done, and was so easy-going and
good-natured that he soon felt the need of a confidential adviser,
who, without having a -policy of his own, would save the king
trouble by looking after details and taking unpleasant burdens
on his shoulders. The result was that royal favourites soon began
to wield a dangerous and discreditable influence.

17. The first of James's personal favourites to win much favour
was Robert Ker, a good-looking Scot from a fierce Border
stock, who, after Salisbury's death, became Viscount
Rochester, and wielded an immense influence over his

master. Ker was a sulky, obstinate, and ignorant fellow, so dull
that ho was obliged to depend upon the advice of a clever, arro-
gant man-of-letters named Sir Thomas Overbury. Rochester's
wife was, however, an enemy of Overbury, and contrived to get
him shut up in prison, where her agents put him to death by
poison. Now made Earl of Somerset, the favourite remained
at the height of his power for two years more, though he grew
so insolent and ill tempered that even James became tired oJ; him.
At last the confession of one of Lady Somerset's accomplices
revealed to the world the true story of Overbury's death. Both



43 JAMES 1. [1604-

earl and countess were tried before the House of Lords, and
condemned to death, the countess as a murderess, and her husband
as an accessory to her crime. James pardoned the guilty pair
their lives, but their fall from power was complete and final.
The hideous revelations at the trial did James himself much harm,
though he was guiltless of anything worse than weakness and
credulity.

18. James soon fonnd a new favourite in George Villiers, the
son of a Leicestershire knight, a proud, quick-witted, handsome

man, rather shallow and vain, whose head was turned
Villiers. ^7 h* s success, and who soon became unpopular through

his ostentation and overbearing pride. The king's
favour made him lord high admiral, and first earl and then duke
of Buckingham. All seekers after court favour found it necessary
to procure his support, and the gravest and wisest of the king's
counsellors owed their advancement to Buckingham's goodwill
rather than to their own merits. Laud drove Abbot from James'
favour, and with Buckingham's help won the old king over to the
Arminians. The great lawyer and brilliant writer and thinker,
Francis Bacon, tardily attained the position of chancellor through
the patronage of the favourite.

19. Foreign policy, always important, now became the chief
concern of James and his ministers. James's general ideas as to
James's English foreign policy were sound and wise, but, as
foreign usual, he was not able to carry them out in practice,
policy. Like Elizabeth, he loved peace, and thought that each
nation ought to settle its religion for itself, so that he was adverse
to the popular idea that it was the business of good Protestants
like the English to wage war against Spain as the chief enemy of
the faith. In 1604 James made peace with Spain, and even sought
an alliance with her, though he also strove to continue his pre-
decessor's friendly relations with Henry iv. of France. In 1610
Henry iv. was murdered by a Catholic fanatic, and during the
minority of his son and successor, Louis xm., Henry's widow ruled
France in the interests of Spain and the strict Catholic party.
Thus Spain got back something of the position she had lost.

20. Spain wished for English support, and James thought it
would be an excellent way of proving the real friendship that
existed between the two peoples if his son Charles, prince of
Wales, were married to the Infanta Maria, the daughter of Philip
m. and the sister of his successor, Philip iv. Negotiations for
this match were begun in 1616, but almost at the same tiras



-i6i8.] JAMES I. 431

James's eager desire for money led him to listen to a proposal quite
incompatible with, any real Spanish alliance. Sir Walter Raleigh
had in his early years made a voyage to Guiana, and R a i e i~h's
brooded in his weary imprisonment over the fancied last voyage
splendours of that land, where he believed there existed and e ???^~
gold-mines of tmheard-of richness. He now offered, if jglS.
released from the Tower, to lead an expedition to gold-
mines in Guiana, whose produce would make James the wealthiest
prince in Europe. The glittering bait was easily swallowed by the
king, and in 1617 Raleigh was allowed to sail to South America
in quest of the promised mine. He was told, however, that he
must on no account molest the Spaniards, the king's allies, and
must prosecute his quest entirely by peaceful means. Raleigh
readily agreed to all this; but it was quite impossible to him to
fulfil his promise, since the Spaniards claimed the whole of the
region that he sought to explore, and looked upon his expedition
as piracy. Moreover, when South America was reached, the old
spirit of lawless adventure made light of Spanish opposition.
Raleigh sent his ships up the river Orinoco, and when a Spanish
settlement blocked the way, his captains attacked and burnt it
as Drake or Hawkins would have done. But the Spaniards, soon
proved stronger than Raleigh's cowardly and mutinous followers,
who, in their fear of the Spaniards, forced their leader to sail
home to England. Long before that the loud complaints of the
Spaniards had reached James's ears. Gondomar, their ambassador,
demanded that Raleigh should be surrendered to Spain to be tried
as a pirate, and James was so afraid of provoking the wrath of
his ally that he thought the easiest way out of the difficulty was to
put Raleigh to death under the old sentence of 1603. This satisfied
the Spanish complaints, but English opinion lamented the death
of the high-souled adventurer as that of a hero sacrificed by his
cowardly king to gratify the bitter hatred of the Spaniards.

21. In 1618 a great religious war broke out in Germany, and
soon spread over all Central Europe. Lasting until 1648, it was
called the Thirty Years' War. It had its roots in the .

quarrels between the Catholics and Calvinists in Ger- n j ng O f the
many, which had long threatened the peace of that Thirty
country. Its immediate origin was the revolt of the {|^g S ap *
Bohemian Protestants from their new king, the
emperor Ferdinand n., the head of the house of Austria, and a
bigotted Roman Catholic. Thereupon the Bohemians chose as
their king Frederick, the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, the leader



43 2 JAMES I. [1622.

i

of the German Calvinists, and closely connected with England by
reason of his marriage to the Lady Elizabeth, James's only
daughter. It was hoped that James, who was devoted to his
child, would assist his son-in-law against Ferdinand ; but James
hated war, and above all religious war, and gave Frederick no
help. Under these circumstances, Frederick could not long main-
tain himself. He was first driven from Bohemia, and then from
his own hereditary dominions. Though the more strenuous German
Protestants supported him, the only result of this was to make the
war more general. Bit by bit he lost the Palatinate as well as
Bohemia, and his expulsion meant the subjection of Germany to
the triumphant Catholics.



Online LibraryT. F. (Thomas Frederick) ToutAn advanced history of Great Britain from the earliest times to 1918. With 63 maps and plans → online text (page 43 of 80)