chapter  7
16 Pages

Foreign Policy and the 1624 Parliament

Although by 1622 the Spanish Match was an old, soiled project of eighteen years' growth, the failure of the 1621 parliament left James with no other choice than to continue negotiations. In June 1622, John Digby, Earl of Bristol now reported optimistically from Madrid on the prospects of a marriage and of the restoration of Frederick to the Palatinate. Assuming that the marriage would be a prelude to a settlement in Germany, James instructed his envoy to negotiate the two issues separately: 'My instructions under your Majesty's hand were, to insist upon the restoring of the Prince Palatine, but not so as to annex it to the treaty of the match, as that thereby the match should be hazarded; for that your Majesty seemed confident, they here would never grow to a perfect conclusion of the match, without a settled resolution to give your Majesty satisfaction in the business of the Palatinate' (Bristol to King James, 24 October 1623) [79, p. 25]. While Bristol negotiated in Madrid, Sir Richard Weston travelled to Brussels to arrange a truce between the forces still fighting for control of the Lower Palatinate. In September he returned to London, convinced that the catholics were prevaricating to gain time for their armies to defeat the Anglo-Dutch garrisons of Heidelberg, Frankenthal and Mannheim. Weston was right. By November only Frankenthal remained in protestant hands. The Spanish, too, were playing for time, hoping that the war in Germany would resolve itself, leaving them free to concentrate on the Netherlands.