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John Digby Bristol, 1st earl of

Bristol, John Digby, 1st earl of, 1580–1653, English diplomat. He spent most of the years 1611–24 at the Spanish court, where as ambassador he conducted the prolonged negotiations for the marriage of Prince Charles (later Charles I) to the Spanish infanta. Digby was made earl of Bristol in 1622, but the next year the visit of Charles and the duke of Buckingham to Madrid brought to an end the already deadlocked marriage negotiations, and the new earl fell into disfavor. He was recalled and confined to his house until he protested before Parliament. He was then accused of treason by Charles (then king) and imprisoned (1626) without trial in the Tower of London until Parliament released him in 1628. Bristol was for a time a supporter of parliamentary opposition to the crown, but as Parliament became more extreme, he joined the king's group of advisers. In 1642 he was committed to the Tower briefly by Parliament but rejoined Charles at Oxford after the outbreak of the civil war. Later he opposed continuing the war. He died in exile in Paris.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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