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'Considerations upon the Treaty of Marriage between England and Spain (1622?)'

British Library, Additional MS 4149, ff. 218r-225v


Considerac[i]ons vpon the Treaty of mariage betwene England and Spaine. / .

The essentiall partes pointes thereof, seeme to be the Advauntages, and disadvantages of such an Alliance And whether both waighed in equall ballance the one will not ouersway the other. / .

The Advantagees that England may pretend are these. / .

  1. A greate kinges daughter. / .
  2. Much Money. / .
  3. Safetie. / .
  4. Continvance of Trade. / .
  5. The bridlinge of the ouergrowinge greatnes of the States. / .
  6. The Subiectes of Spaine will Not be soe burthensome to England (beinge More remote) as those of Frau[n]ce would be, that are Neerer Neighbours. / .
  7. The hindringe the Scottish faction, for strengtheninge it selfe by the alliance of frau[n]ce, w[hi]ch though it be Not publiquelie taken knolidge of, yet hath his place amonge the Reasons, that further the Match w[i]th Spaine /.

These and the like benefites and advantages, some promised to themselues, by runinge the Course w[i]th Spaine, but of God or his Cause, hitherto, No Menc[i]on at all: And yet vnlesse [th]e218v yet vnlesse the Lord build the house, the builders labor but in vaine. / .

The Answeres

  1. The Meanest of the howshold of faith, are Much greater then the greatest of those that are w[i]thout, for they are borne to a great inheritance, These are theire promises, God is theire God and with them hath he Made a Couenant &c: Nor ought it to be forgotten. That the Howse of Spaine is stained w[i]th incest in the Match w[i]th the last kinge and his owne sisters daughter, w[hi]ch cannot be but loathsome, to euerie true Christian heart, And yet to speake accordinge to the World. The State of Englande is greate enough of it selfe, Match where it will, as it hath done in tymes past, and as other great monarchies haue lead the Waye, And the alliance of Fraunce (is as greate as that of Spaine) and that hath Noe (such) ill aspecte vpon England, and as honorable as that of Spaine: That will not proue soe beneficiall and soe Neither so dangerous or preiudiciall. / .
  2. Money Wilbe soone Wasted, and Melted awaye but the price of it will abide still: Lett Not any flatter them selfes, Spaine gives Nothinge, but something, And where he gives Much, he lookes for a greate returne. Examine well theire Acc[i]ons and proceedinges, and Make vse of Experience, Neither can or ought Mony to be an essentiall Consideration to sway the weighte 219r the Weight of soe important an Alliance. / .
  3. Is Not England stronger at this tyme, and Spaine Weaker then heretofore: where then is any cause of feare, But allowe, that the State of England, stood in feare of any daunger from Spaine, Will this alliance, secure them: The feare is Idle, and the remedie More idle, vnlesse any could Make it good, That the Loue of Spaine vnto England (the Match goinge forwarde) would proue the predominant humor in him, that should swaye his Ambition, whereof the Worlde hathe soe Much experience to the Contrary: Charles the fifte gave his owne sister in Marriage to frauncis the firste, Was Francis euer the Whitt the safer for such an Alliance: Savoy hath Married Spaines Sister whoe Neverthelesse what he cane to swallowe hum vpp: Fraunce and Spaine haue latelie Made a double Matche, lett it be examined Whether Spaine hath labored Most to quench or kindle the Fire in fraunce, and yet they are both of one Religeon alsoe. They erre that thinke there is any thinge to be had from a papist for love rather then for feare: or that Spaine Will euer desist from aspiringe at the vniversall Monarchie of Christendome, and perticulerlie the recoueringe the vnited prouinces: For thoughe he often strike saile, and put into harburgh in foule Wether, Yet doth he Not Nreglecte to waigh anchor againe and followe his intended course when the season is fitt for it: Englande doth hinder his 219v doth hinder his designes, therefore would he Match w[i]th England, to haue the fitter passage for him: And if he were in quiet possession of all the seventeene prouinces, then Would they be Made a Staple and Warehouse for all thinges Necessarie in soe plentifull & well fitted a sittuation, for invadinge the partes Neere adioyning, Whereof the plottes are Not Newe: If England give Waye vnto him, then disappointed of theire defences and Bulwarkes, they will stand as it were at his Mercie, and lye open to all Manner of batteryes: As on the other side, if he be crossed, then Will thinges bee but Where they were, both for countenance, and assurance, A greate feare of invasion, Nay rather somuch the Worse termes, because he shall faile of his expectation w[hi]ch com[m]onlie breedes Much harshenes, even aamongest the dearest freindes. Lett Not any cast a Mist in others eyes, Though Spaine had left a side his wonted ambition (w[hi]ch Non cane suffitiently assure) yet will he Neuer loose his hope, or relente in his resolution of Recoueringe the vnited prouinces, Where his honoure and reputac[i]on are soe deeplie, In teressed; Nor can such a greate scattered body, that hath soe Many Irones in the fyer, be but contynually armed and still in action, to the danger both of freinds and foes, as he shall fynde his best advantages and opertuneties. If England feare Spaine, their safetie Will rather stand in keepinge him at the staves ende, then receaving 220r then receaving such an ambitious New reconciled enemy and doutbfull freind in theire bosome, Where he shall w[i]th out blowes be able to doe them Much More hurte by his daylie practise and Coruptinge of the Subiectes, then he can otherwise by open Hostillitie, w[hi]ch he Wilbe Warie enough, Not to attempte, least they ioyninge their forces by sea, w[i]th those of the vnited prouinces should give him too great a shake: Streight intelligence, and good Correspondencie w[i]th Neighbour Princes and Allies, Will all wayes proue a saffer refuge for Englande against Spaine, then the Marryage w[i]th spaine, because all have a Comon quarrell to his Ambition and greatenesse: For theire hath euer bene, and will still continewe in Spaine, an Ambitious desire of the Westerne Monarchie, whereof a greate parte of Christendome doth yet beare the Scarres and beare the stripes. / .
  4. Trade Will be allowed to continewe, and as safe, w[i]thout [th]e Alliance of Maryage, as w[i]t it, For Spaine doth Not onlie reape a benefite by it, but also wilbe afraide to scare a discontent England by the ill vsage of the Marchantes, else whie have they soe baslye, and abiectlie begged a peace. When soeuer he shall see his opertunitie and find a greater advantage to breake then to continewe in good termes w[i]th England, the Alliance will secure the Marchantes No more then if it were Not at all. / .
  5. The Estates Maye in tyme growe greate, and theire greatnesse daungerous. But Spaine is both the one and [th]e other alreadie 220v other alreadie, and this alliance will add much vnto him, There May alsoe growe Iealousy and vnkindnes, and thence open Enmitie betwixt England and them, and soe one the other sid, thinges May be soe discreetlie Carryed, as they two may intertaine good amytie & Correspondencie one, w[i]th the othere for comon defence, for they both professe one religeon, and theire estate & Condic[i]on seeme to vnite them together in a Necessitie of puttinge out their handes one to an other, for Mutuall preservac[i]on, doe they Carrye them selues Now vnkindlie, or somewhat irrespectivelie: It doth Not soe vrge ntlie proue, that they May become enemyes hereafter, as there vpon to ground a Necessitie of Making an Alliance, w[i]th a knowne Ennemy, w[hi]ch weere Noe other then to rune into a present Mischeefe, for feare of a future inconvenience, They take an Allarume at Englandes Joininge w[i]th Spaine to theire harte w[hi]ch though it be not so Mente by England, yet it is the Scope that Englande aymes at, And that May Make them perhappes somewhat to Neglecte England: But remoue the Cause and the Effecte will cease: Lett them be assured of theire freindshippe, and they will proue respectefull freindes. If they prosper and growe greate who knowes whether it be Not of God, by suche Weake Meanes to pule downe the Loftines of Spaine, and then to w[i]thstande them, Were to rune against a Rocke. The verie first occasion of theire Libertie was the drivinge them 221r drivinge them to dispaire, w[hi]ch Made them to take heart and resoluc[i]on to resist the violence that was offered Wherein beinge encouraged w[i]th good successe, and feelinge theire owne strength, they haue in tyme Made such further progresse as is this daye to be seene. Bettere then for England to Make vse of a Necessetie arie evell, and Rune a Course w[i]th them, Whereby they May have their parte in theire well speedinge, then to ioyne w[i]th Spaine a Religeon and state Enemye, Who allyethe him selfe to England, but for his owne Endes, and Must Needes drawe after them, the ouerthrowe of the Cause of Religeon, and Ruyne the state, and will Neuer proue but a secret Ennemy, and doubtfull freinde: And it Must Not in this place be forgotten, that if true proffessours be iustlie reproued for goinge to Lawe before heathen Iudges, Much lesse Maye they side them selues w[i]th any of those that are w[i]thout to [th]e hurte one of the other. / .
  6. If Englande and fraunce should Match to gether, it dothe Not therefore Consequentlie followe, That the French should be burthenous to the state, by reason of their Neerenes, The Lawes of England allowe Noe offices nor prefermentes to Alyens, The french Will haue More hope in theire owne Countrie, Where there is w[i]thout Comparison More to be given, then in England: The Englishe seeke Not to Make any fortune in Scotlande, But if the french should be Importunate 221v Importunat they are alsoe impatient, lett them find Gisage de Boys, and yo[u]r Couldnes shall weare out theire earnestnesse. / .
  7. That the french, W[i]th the Scottishe faction, May gathere strength by the Alliance of Fraunce, is but a particuler Considerac[i]on, Against w[hi]ch May bee opposed: The greatnes the Spanish faction will growe vnto by a Matche with Spaine, to the danger of the State. This doth greatlie laye open the vallue of such advantages, as England doth promise it selfe by Matchinge w[i]th Spaine, w[hi]ch howe dearlie they Would Notw[i]standinge be bought, Will More perfectlie appeare, if knowlidge be alsoe taken of the inconveniences and Mischeefes [tha]t would followe: For the better conceaivinge Whereof, his endes are to be seriouslie considered and examined; for it is Not likely that Spaine, a Religion and State Catholique, Who hath both Religeon and state quarreles against England, Nay rather dothe offer greate Somes of Money, for compassinge thereof, but that he lookes for a greate returne, Timeo Daneos. &c: sic notus vlisses The Prince of this Allyance therefore wilbe the breakinge of the Matche W[i]th Fraunce, whereby he May haue the greater footinge, either in devidinge England from his Allyes, especially from the States of the vnited prouinces or in Makinge the waye for an other Match for his second sonne 222r second sonne, whom he hath a plott to setle in the lowe Countries, and from thence to promote him (if he cane) to the Crowne Imperiall) and an othere daughter of Fraunce, w[hi]ch would give soe greate an Allarum to the whole state of those of the Religon, if the pretended Match w[i]th England come Not betweene, alteringe in tyme the state of Religeon in England, whereof if he had Noe hope, Neither Would he hearken to the Match: For Non Must thinke he Would treate such an Alliance, w[i]thout the privacie and consent of his devynes, or that they will give theire consent to it, but vpon greate probabillitie that it should tende to the furtherance of theire Catholique faithe: The supposed Catholique Religeon is knowne to be in Spaine one of the fundamentall Lawes of theire State, And No doubte Spaine is a verie Right Romish Catholique, The furthere therefore he Spreadeth his religeon, the greater satisfaction it is to his Conscience, and the More dothe he proppe and increase his greatnes, Namly because those of that religeon that are Most devoted, but especially the greatest parte of the Clargie, thoroughout Christendome haue their Eyes fixed on him, as vpon the greatest staye and pillare of theire Catholique faith. Who therefore if he should Match w[i]th an Heretique (soe they terme vs English) but with a setled purpose, by such Meanes to Roote out heresie, Would bothe 222v Would both wronge his owne Conscience, and loose his Reputac[i]on amonge all those of his beleefe, to the ouer greate Weakeninge of his Estate, W[hi]ch Errore Non of sownde Iudgement that knowes Spaine will easelie be leeve, that he will com[m]itt. / .

That a Change or Tollerac[i]on should happen in Englande, by Meanes of the intended Match is More to be feared then any can Warrant to be impossible, Wherein it were Well Worth the Laboure to fynde out Whatt hope doth grounde vpon, and and what possebillitie there is, that the same May be disappointed, In the Meane tyme verie likelie it is in generall, That there Wilbe Noe Meanes vnattempted or lefte on his side to bringe his purpose to passe: And then it Must in this place be remembred, first that whatsoeuer is Not of faith is sinne, And that sinne hath No promisse of blessinge, Nor is this a Worke of Faith, And Next that England hath but toomuch experience alreadiee of the increasinge of Poperie, w[hi]ch in these fewe yeares for want of due execution of the Lawes, w[hi]ch hath breade exceedinge greate bouldes in the papistes aswell at home as abroade: If the Marriage goe forwarde, they will take somuche the More hearte and greate incouragement. Noe small Nomber of Subiectes Wante teachinge, and soe the easier Shaken, Many Waver, and Manye are Newe fangled, the More prepared for a change, and therefore223r and therefore will accordinglie be wrought vpon. The old serpent will seduce many Eves, and pistalls will haue free passage, euerie where. The Worst is yet, there Wilbe partie Children, For the Mother Will give her selfe Noe rest till she haue Nouseled some of them in her owne religeon, W[hi]ch would Make the Waie verie plaine and easie for a change, because the head once Corrupted, the infection will in shorte tyme spread it selfe ouer the Whole bodie, and true religeon is vnscotiable to sorte it selfe w[i]th false Worshippe, and Will soone forsake his dwellinge place. / .

If Spaine can procure a tolleration of Religeon (w[hi]ch Must Needes be followed w[i]th the Ruyne of the state) he May then assure him selfe of sides, that will alwaies be able either directelie or indirectlie to divert the State, from hinderinge his designes, as well in the Lowe Countryes as wheresoeuer els: And though he should Not prevaile att the first by practise, or procure a Tollerac[i]on of Religeon W[hi]ch Neverthelesse, the increasinge Nomber of Papistes will of it selfe in processe of tyme) yet when he hath once a faction on foote, and that Many of the Subiectes are peruerted in religeon, he will Notw[i]thstandinge be in good hope, that the state May be staied and hindred from opposinge it selfe against his designes by the Workinge of his faction, and the Ieal=223v and the Iealousye that wilbe conceaved of the Papistes w[i]thin the Realme. And whether his hopes Maye faile him or Noe, Yet if he should vpon such grounde, Make any attempte against those of the vnited prouinces, it could Not but fall out to the greate trouble, annoyance, and daunger of the state, especiallie, if he send his forces by Sea, for then Must England vpon any such occasion, either Rigge out theire Navie to Sea, to see that he keepe his Course (w[hi]ch will alwaies be a Matter of greate burthen and Charge) or otherwise abide the daunger of his Landinge vpon theire owne Coastes, if he haue intelligence w[i]th the papistes, . Wherefore it will alwaies be safer in such cases, to be somwhat Iealouse, then too secure. Nowe the Alliance w[i]th Spaine, will not onlie Scare & discourage in generall the whole side of those Religeon abroade, to the great weakeninge of the stat of England, but alsoe breede a particuler Iealousie of those of the vnited Prouinces, when they shall see that Poperie encreaseth, or that spaine hath a faction or partie in the Realme, Whereof one of these two Mischeifes, Must consequentlie followe, either that they will Make their peace w[i]th Spaine (if they they find them selves vnhable to resiste him) or els stand vpon theire guarde in the Narrowe seas (if they bee able to howld out) especiall vpon the cominge of any suppleyes by Sea to the224r Sea to the Archeduke duringe the truce, w[hi]ch (as they are a people Iealous and suspitious inough by Nature) Maye at one tyme or othere, by occasions happeninge growe to some dangerouse inconvenience, for betweene two suche Neare Neighboures both potente at Sea (if there be not streight Amitie kept) thinges caannot longe stande w[i]thout breakinge forthe into termes of open hostillitie. And the state of those prouinces, though stronge by Sea, alliance and scituac[i]on, yet are Not the foundac[i]ons of it soe farre sure, that Englande can w[i]th safetie leave them to them selues. For the late sectes and questions about Matters of religeon threaten theire disvnion; And Spaine that lies continuallie in Waite for theire libertie hath his penconers and dailie practizers amongest them, who therefore are Not free from the daunger of their Enemies. Thys Turke is weake, and the Empire like to be continved in the howse of Austrie: Now if hee be able to sett two puisant Armies on foote, one to keepe the feild, and the other to beseige Townes, hee May in a litle tyme, putt them to greate distresse. It is alsoe verie Considerable, That if by Meanes of this Treatie of Spaine, he can breake that of Fraunce, he will then thinke to haue the better ende of the Staffe, when England shall have No other advantageable Allyance at his owne h ChChoyce and soe224v Choice, and soe he perhappes encoureged to stand vpon soe greate termes, as Maye be cause of breakinge of w[i]th them, but to the Losse still of the reputacon of England, that Would Consent to treate W[i]th a professed Enemye and persecutor of his Religeon, and shall Not reape any benefite or advauntage to countervaile the same. / .

Some doe Noyse Much the Auntient Amytie with the Howse of Burgundie: But that house is Changed & hath Not kepte stroake in the Conditions of the Aliiance, and soe ought the Cause to be altered too, It was too Weake for Fraunce, but Now it is rather too stronge, And England had then plottes for Fraunce, w[hi]ch Now it hathe Not, The greatest vse of Leagues and alliances is to preuent Mischeefes, or to further some Necessary Enterprice, otherwise reason of State, and comon Experience teacheth to sway, euer w[i]th the Weaker, for the bridlinge of the Ambition and greatnes of the stronger. They enter farr who to avoide the obiections Made against Spaine pretend that Marriages as but personall amongest Princes. For if theire be No realtie where is then the good of England. If there be any, Who is soe Weake as to thinke that Spaine Will easelie quit his Interest in it. To alleadge the example of Fraunce that holdeth Corespondency still w[i]th his other Allyes and Continewes to assis them against Spaine, Not w[i]thstandinge his Match w[i]th Spaine is to litle purpose in the Iudgment of225r Iudgement of those, Who do also knowe, howe Muche Spaine prevaileth inWeakening the Synewes and frustratinge the effectes of such Assistance. The somme is that Spaine hopes by reason of this Matche soe to charme England contrariwise promisseth it selfe, the hony of the Bee, w[i]thout daunger of beinge Stunge, Whether of both May come shorte of theire reconinge is at the least disputable, for Spaine on the one side Will spare No travill Nor Charge, Will vse all the Meanes and practises he Can, and take the benefite of all occasions and advauntages, that shalbe offered, to bringe his purposses to passe, As it Maye bee supposed that England for his parte, Will stand vpon his Watche to preuent a Mischeefe that shall {th}eaten threaten the state. / .

Spaine Maye by a vigelent care and good foresight be disappointed, Soe Maye England by the Contrary by the Contrarie be ouertaken, for death Will Weare a way those Watchmen that are Nowe, and otheres Maye succeede in theire places that Will not be soe Watchefull, Naye Watchefullnes it selfe ouer watched Will in tyme growe drowsye, and ouer wearied carefulnes, Will growe Carelesse. The verie best Cautions and Caviates Must Needes relent and waxe olde in tyme. In all strife and contentions aswell of the bodie as the Minde, if one side gett grounde, the other looseth it, Tyme will bringe forth Many Accident[es] W[hi]ch225v accidentes w[hi]ch Maye fale out, as to good, soe to the hurte of England, Who (it Maye w[i]th good reason be feared) will Not be soe watchefull, Nor haue his sperites alwaies intent inough to prevent the practises of Spaine, after soe streight Alliance, that cannot Nowe soe much as foresee them, or resolue to keepe out Spaine: Wherevpon the question ariseth, whethere it be a sounde course for Englande (Not constrained by any vrgent Necessetie) to put the Cause of Religeon and theire owne well doinge and safetie t soe greate an Adventure, in a Matter that standes vpon soe Many Contingentes, for it is Not Newe in experience. That euen those thinges that we thinke almost impossible, and therefore feare them least, doo Neuer theles oftentymes come to passe, because Neglected, and soe Not hindred by opposition, they creepe vpon vs vnawares, as through the Mistes of Securetie, Well saith the Itallian therefore. / .

Quella che non volete, che sia, non fa cosa per che auenga. / .

To conclud, Spaine who of late was thought to decline, Weake in [th]e head and wounded in reputac[i]on by those of the vnited prouinces ter w[i]thall Neuer more weaklie ballanced otherwise [the]n at this present, beginnes Nowe to resume his sperites, & w[i]thout tymlie and stronge opposition, will take soe deepe Roote and spread his branches soe farre as to ouershadowe all his Neighbours, and deadlie daungerouse it wilbe for any one to sleepe in such a Shade. / .

. Finis .


No introduction.


British Library, Additional MS 4149, ff. 218r-225v,

Languages: English, Latin

Creation date: 1622?


No authors.

Keywords (Text Type)

Keywords (Text Topics)

  • royal marriage
  • diplomacy
  • confessional conflict

Transcribed by:

Tim Wales (Research Assistant)