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The Reign of Queen Mary page 14

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Very awkwardly, however, for Elizabeth, another eruption took place. The refugees in France pitched upon a young man of the name of Cleobury, who resembled the Earl of Devon, and persuaded him to personate him. He was landed on the coast of Sussex, and gave out that he was Courtenay, come to marry Elizabeth with her consent, and had himself and the princess proclaimed king and queen. The people, however, were the well acquainted with the worthlessness of Courtenay; they seized Cleobury, and he was executed at Bury.

Elizabeth, justly alarmed at this pretence of her cognisance of this miserable attempt immediately on the heels of the other, wrote to Mary declaring her detestation of all such treasons, and wishing that "there were good surgeons for making anatomies of hearts," that the queen might see the clearness of hers from all such hateful designs. The queen and Council expressed their perfect assurance of Elizabeth's non-concern with these transactions, but Elizabeth was still so apprehensive of danger that she applied privately to the French ambassador to find means to convey her safely to France. The intriguing Noailles was now, however, gone, and his successor, the Bishop of Acqs, gave her honest advice, telling her to remain where she was, and on no account to quit the kingdom; for if her sister, the present queen, had, on the insurrection of Lady Jane Grey, gone over to Flanders, as some of her Mends advised her, she might have been there still.

But if Elizabeth was uneasy, Mary was still more so. The disquiets which surrounded her, and the wretched state of her health, made her very anxious for the return of her husband. She had lost her able minister, Gardiner, and his successor, Heath, Archbishop of York, by no means supplied his place. Mary, therefore, wrote long and repeated letters to urge the return of Philip, and, finding them unavailing, she dispatched Lord Paget to represent the urgent need of his presence in the kingdom. But Philip, besides his indifference, or rather repugnance, to his valetudinarian wife, was now occupied with causes of deep apprehension on the side of Italy. Cardinal Caraffa, a Neapolitan, was, from the rigour of the Spanish Government in his native country, a decided enemy of Spain. He was now elevated to the Popedom as Paul IV., and determined to exert all the influence of his position to liberate Naples from the yoke of Philip. For this purpose he fomented a spirit of disaffection in that country against the Spaniards, and prepared to assist the movement by an alliance with France, which should menace all Italy with a French invasion. But he had a subtle and daring enemy to contend with in the Duke of Alva, who soon after made himself so dreadfully famous by his relentless massacres of the Protestants in the Netherlands. About midsummer of 1556, the Pope discovered a private correspondence betwixt Garcilasso de la Vega, the ambassador of Philip at Rome, and the Duke of Alva, Viceroy of Naples, in which Garcilasso represented to Alva the defenceless state of the Roman territories, and how easily they might be seized by a Spanish army. Paul arrested Garcilasso; imprisoned and put to the torture de Tassis, the Postmaster General of Rome, for transmitting these letters; and ordered his officers to proceed against Philip for this breach of the feudal tenure by which he held Naples. But Alva was not a man to wait to be attacked, ho marched across the Papal frontiers, and carried terror and confusion through the ecclesiastical states. He advanced as far as Tivoli before the Pope would listen to any terms of accommodation. Paul then solicited an armistice, and the Spaniards would' soon have dictated a peace on their own terms, but the French, under the Duke of Guise, hastened over the Alps to his assistance, with 12,000 infantry, 400 men-at-arms, 700 light horse, and a great number of knights.

This turn of affairs brought Philip home to his wife when all conjugal persuasions on her part had failed. He sent over, to announce his approach, Robert Dudley, son of the late Duke of Northumberland, whom Mary had liberated from the Tower, and who already, it seems, had contrived to win so much favour as to be taken into the Royal service, in which he continued to mount, till, in the next reign, he became the notorious Earl of Leicester and great favourite of Queen Elizabeth. On the 20th of March Philip himself arrived at Greenwich. As he wanted to win the English to join him in the war against France, he paid great court to the City of London. During this visit there appeared at Court the novel sight of a Duke of Muscovy, in the character of ambassador from Russia, who astonished the public by the enormous size of the pearls and jewels that he wore, and the richness of his dress. Philip used all his influence to induce the queen and her Council to declare war against Henry of France, who had broken that five years' truce into which he had so recently entered. But the finances of the country were not such as to render either the queen or her Council willing to go to war with France, which, connected as France was now with Scotland, was sure to occasion a war also with that country. Cardinal Pole and nearly the whole Council were strongly opposed to it. They assured her that to engage lightly in Philip's wars was to make England a dependence of Spain, and Philip, on the other hand, protested to the queen, that if she did not aid him against France he would take his leave of her for ever.

Whilst matters were in this position a circumstance occurred which turned the scale in Philip's favour Henry II., on deciding to accept the Pope's invitation, and to make war on Philip, called on Dudley and his adherents to renew their attempts on England. Dudley and his coadjutors opened a communication with the families of the Reformers in Calais and the surrounding district, who had suffered from the persecution of the English Government, or who were indignant at the cruelties practised on their fellow professors, and they concurred in a plan to betray Hammes and Guines to the French. This scheme was defeated by the means of an English spy who became cognisant of the secret. The mischief, though stopped there, soon showed itself in another quarter. Thomas Stafford, the second son of Lord Stafford, and grandson of the late Duke of Buckingham, mustered a small army of English, French, and Scotch, and, sailing from Dieppe, landed at Scarborough in Yorkshire, and surprised the castle there. lie was accompanied by one Eichard Saunders and others, and flattered himself- that Philip and Mary were so unpopular that they had only to hoist their banner and the people would flock to it. He made a proclamation that he was come to deliver the country from the tyranny of strangers, and to defeat the designs of the unlawful and unworthy queen, who was wasting the wealth of the kingdom on her Spanish husband, and was about to bring in a Spanish army of 12,000 men to subdue it. But he soon found that, however much the public might dislike the Spanish match, they were not at all inclined to rebel against their queen.

Wotton, the English ambassador in France, had duly warned his Court of the designs of Stafford, and on the fourth day the Earl of Westmoreland appeared with a strong body of troops before the castle, and compelled Stafford to surrender at discretion. Stafford, Saunders, and three or four others were sent to London, and committed to the Tower, where, under torture, they were made to confess that the King of France had instigated and assisted their enterprise. Stafford was beheaded on Tower Hill on the 28th of May, and the next day three of his confederates were hanged at Tyburn. Saunders had probably turned queen's evidence, for he received a pardon.

The Council, which had been averse to the war, and which had advised that, instead of appearing as principals, we should merely confine ourselves to the furnishing that aid which we were bound to by our ancient treaties with the House of Burgundy, now felt itself justified in proclaiming open war against the King of France, as the violator of the treaty betwixt the nations, in having harboured the traitors against the queen, and in having sent them over in French ships to Scarborough with arms, ammunition, and money.

The King of France undoubtedly had from the commencement of Mary's reign been a secret and persevering enemy of hers. She had always shown a predilection for the Royal House of Spain, and her marriage with Philip completed the cause of enmity. Henry had maintained his ambassador in England rather as a spy and fomenter of treasons than as an emissary of peace. Noailles and the Bishop of Acqs had to do with all the rebellions which had distracted Mary's reign, from those of Northumberland and Wyatt to those of Dudley and Stafford. The latter ambassador, when recalled by Henry on the proclamation of war, took the opportunity at Calais to examine the fortifications, and reported to his monarch that they were in a very neglected and dilapidated condition. At his request Senarpont, the Governor of Boulogne, had gone over in disguise, and made the same examination with the same result, reporting that the town might be readily captured by a sudden and unexpected assault; information which we shall find was not neglected.

Philip, having obtained what he wanted, hastened over to Flanders, and neither Mary nor England ever saw him again. His abode in this country had been accompanied by so much bloodshed and religious persecution, that no one hesitated to attribute these horrors to him; and he was seen to retire with a feeling of greatly augmented aversion in every one except his infatuated queen. Yet even she is said to have been so exasperated at his conduct during his last sojourn, and so jealous of his attentions to his beautiful cousin, Christina of Denmark, the widowed Duchess of Lorraine, that she cut to shreds a portrait of Philip with her own hands. "What was of much more moment, however, was the fact, that Philip had no sooner arrived in England than the persecutions had been renewed with all their vigour. During his short stay ten men and women were burnt in Smithfield, and executions far more bloody and numerous followed the insurrection of Stafford than had marked the suppression of Wyatt’s rebellion.

The Earl of Pembroke, accompanied by Lord Robert Dudley as his master of ordnance, followed Philip at the end of July with 7,000 men. They joined the army of Philip, consisting of men of many nations - Germans, Italians, Flemings, Dalmatians, Croats, Illyrians, and others - making altogether a force of 40,000 men, the supreme command of which was given to the rejected suitor of the Princess Elizabeth, Philibert, Duke of Savoy. The duke successfully menaced an attack upon Marienberg, Rocroy, and Guise, but he finally drew up before St. Quentin, on the right bank of the Somme. The King of France endeavoured to throw supplies into the place, by conveying them across the vast marshes which extended along one side of it. On the 9th of August, the Constable Montmorency marched from. La Fere with a large body of cavalry and 15,000 foot. He posted himself along the marsh, and put out boats, which he had placed upon carts, to convey over the provisions. Some of these reached the town, but before any great number had accomplished this, the Spaniards, making a detour and coming suddenly upon them with 6,000 horse, broke the cavalry of the French, and then charging the infantry, put them to the rout. One half of the French army was taken or destroyed: the constable, the Marshal St. Andre, and most of the officers were captured. The infantry under Philip, and the English auxiliaries who had guarded the opposite banks of the river, marched to the town and carried it by assault. Such was the terror created in France that many believed if Philip had advanced upon Paris, ho might have taken it. But the character of Philip was distinguished by caution, not enterprise. He ordered his army to lay siege to Ham and the Cattelet, which places they eventually took; but in the meantime the French had fortified Paris. The English fleet made descents upon France at various points, menaced Bordeaux and Bayonne, and plundered the defenceless inhabitants of the coasts. This was all that was achieved, except, what Philip probably most looked for, the drawing the Duke of Guise out of Italy. But this, whilst it removed all danger from Philip's Transalpine possessions, led to a loss on the part of his English ally, which might be termed the crowning mischief of his union with Mary.

The news of the victory of St. Quentin was received in England with extraordinary rejoicings, the kindling of bonfires, and singing of Te Deum. Philip, on the approach of winter, retired into quarters in Flanders. Meantime, the Scotch had invaded the northern counties on the departure of the English army for France. There had been many mutual inroads and skirmishes, but by the time that Scotland could get together a considerable army, October had set in, and with it bad weather, The roads and rivers became almost impassable, and a contagious disease broke out amongst the troops. When the united army of Scots and French crossed the Tweed to assault the castle of Wark, they found the Earl of Shrewsbury laying near with a large army. Instead of attacking him, they began to hold councils, in which they showed more caution than boldness, and talked much of the fatal field of Flodden, and of the recent defeat of their French ally at St. Quentin, and they agreed to retreat and disband the army. The Earl of Huntly was the only leader who opposed this undignified counsel, and for his remonstrance he was put under arrest, and the queen-regent, in defiance of her entreaties, menaces, and tears, saw the army quit the field without a blow.

But this demonstration on the part of Scotland had drawn the attention of the English Council from a more important point. The Duke of Guise, disappointed of his laurels in Italy, was now planning an attack on Calais. The information of the Bishop of Acqs and the Governor of Boulogne was ever present to the Government of France. When King Philip drew off his forces from St. Quentin, the Duke of Guise commenced his march in that direction. In the month of December he had assembled at Compiegne 25,000 men, with a numerous train of battering artillery. Suddenly he marched out; but whilst every one expected him to take the road towards St. Quentin, he took that towards Calais, and, on the 1st of January, 1558, he was seen advancing on the road from Sandgate to Hammes. He was bound to carry out an idea of Admiral Coligni's and attempt Calais in the middle of winter, when such an attempt would be least expected.

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