chapter  9
9 Pages

FOREIGN POLICY AND THE NAVY

Discussions, as much as serious negotiations, epitomise Caroline foreign policy during the 1630s. There was continual diplomatic activity, and in the early 1630s strenuous conciliar debate, but little action, even after the rehabilitated fleet took to the seas in 1635. The French made a number of efforts, in concert with the Queen, Holland and Carlisle, to press the case for an English foreign policy undertaken with the support of Parliament; but the francophiles had lost the initial argument within the Council during 1632, and

although hopes revived in the winter of 1636-37, they had to settle for a relationship based on diplomatic familiarity rather than military action (172). As Richelieu once remarked, it was politic to maintain inconclusive negotiations ‘with persons with whom it is always necessary to negotiate’ (171, p. 96). Olivares took the same line. Both were much more concerned about each other. As their mutual relations deteriorated to the point of war in 1635, they retained a common concern that Charles should not tie himself decisively to the other. He was to be kept interested, but left dangling (160).