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18232824 Charles I Jacob Abbott

18232824 Charles I Jacob Abbott

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prince were there, they could act far more effectually than any embassadors in securing the restoration of the
Palatinate to Frederic. James could not withstand these entreaties and arguments, and he finally gave a
reluctant consent to the plan.

He repented, however, as soon as the consent was given, and when Charles and Buckingham came next to see
him, he said it must be given up. One great source of his anxiety was a fear that his son might be taken and
kept a prisoner, either in France or Spain, and detained a long time in captivity. Such a captive was always, in
those days, a very tempting prize to a rival power. Personages of very high rank may be held in imprisonment,
while all the time those who detain them may pretend not to confine them at all, the guards and sentinels
being only marks of regal state, and indications of the desire of the power into whose hands they have fallen
to treat them in a manner comporting with their rank. Then there were always, in those days, questions and
disputes pending between the rival courts of England, France, and Spain, out of which it was easy to get a
pretext for detaining any strolling prince who might cross the frontier, as security for the fulfillment of some
stipulation, or for doing some act of justice claimed. James, knowing well how much faith and honor were to
be expected of kings and courts, was afraid to trust his son in French or Spanish dominions. He said he
certainly could not consent to his going, without first sending to France, at least, for a safe-conduct--that is, a
paper from the government, pledging the honor of the king not to molest or interrupt him in his journey
through his dominions.

Buckingham, instead of attempting to reassure the king by fresh arguments and persuasions, broke out into a
passion, accused him of violating his promise not to reveal their plan to any one, as he knew, he said, that this
new opposition had been put into his head by some of his counselors to whom he had made known the design.
The king denied this, and was terrified, agitated, and distressed by Buckingham's violence. He wept like a
child. His opposition at length gave way a second time, and he said they might go. They named two attendants
whom they wanted to go with them. One was an officer of the king's household, named Collington, who was
then in the anteroom. They asked the king to call him in, to see if he would go. When Collington came in, the
king accosted him with, "Here's Steeny and Baby Charley that want to go to Spain and fetch the Infanta. What
think you of it?" Collington did not think well of it at all. There followed a new relapse on the part of the king
from his consent, a new storm of anger from Buckingham, more sullen obstinacy on the part of Charles, with
profane criminations and recriminations one against another. The whole scene was what, if it had occurred
any where else than in a palace, would have been called a brawl.

It ended, as brawls usually do, in the triumph of the most unreasonable and violent. James threw himself upon
a bed which was in the room, weeping bitterly, and saying that they would go, and he should lose his Baby
Charley. Considering that Charles was now the monarch's only child remaining at home, and that, as heir to
the crown, his life was of great consequence to the realm, it is not surprising that his father was distressed at
the idea of his exposing himself to danger on such an expedition; but one not accustomed to what is behind
the scenes in royal life would expect a little more dignity and propriety in the mode of expressing paternal
solicitude from a king.

Charles and Buckingham set off secretly from London; their two attendants were to join them in different
places--the last at Dover, where they were to embark. They laid aside all marks of distinction in dress, such as
persons of high rank used to wear in those days, and took the garb of the common people. They put on wigs,
also, the hair of which was long, so as to shade the face and alter the expression of their countenances. These
external disguises, however, were all that they could command. They could not assume the modest and quiet
air and manner of persons in the ordinary walks of life, but made such displays, and were so liberal in the use
of their money, and carried such an air and manner in all that they did and said, that all who had any
intercourse with them perceived that they were in disguise. They were supposed to be wild blades, out on
some frolic or other, but still they were allowed to pass along without any molestation.

They were, however, stopped at Dover, where in some way they attracted the attention of the mayor of the
town. Dover is on the Channel, opposite to Calais, at the narrowest point. It was, of course, especially in those

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