chapter  1
12 Pages

James VI of Scotland

The debate about foreign policy was taken up by the public at large, so that arguments rehearsed by playwrights, pamphleteers and versifiers were tossed back and forth, helping to shape opinion at Court. 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. The most vigorous opponent of war was Lord Treasurer Cranfield, a kinsman of Buckingham, who realised how drastically war would disrupt trade and increase the crown's burden of debt. On the day Middlesex was denounced in the Commons by Sir Miles Fleetwood for having taken 'three or four great bribes', a committee report to the Lords blamed the deplorable state of ordnance on the Treasurer's fraudulency. Like the impeachments of 1621 and 1624, this was a product of a divided Court rather than of a struggle between crown and parliament.