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The Reign of Queen Mary page 14


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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.

The English were never less prepared for the invasion. The fleet which had ravaged the coasts of France, and the troops sent to Flanders, had totally exhausted the exchequer of Mary, which at no time was well supplied, To victual that navy the queen had seized all the corn she could find in Norfolk, without paying for it, and to equip the army sent to aid Philip, she had made a forced loan on London, and on people of property in different places; she had levied the second year's subsidy voted by Parliament before its time, and now was helpless at the critical moment.

It is only justice to Philip to state that the moment he heard of the design of the Duke of Guise, he offered to throw a garrison of Spanish troops into the town for its defence; but this was declined from the fear that, once in possession, he might remain so. The caution was worse than useless, unless the English had possessed means of defending it themselves, for Philip's possession if by consent of the English Government, would have appeared a matter of diplomatic arrangement, the capture of it by the French must be a serious blow to the military reputation of the nation. This means of defence the English Government had not. Lord Wentworth, the Governor of Calais, prescient of the approaching storm, sent repeated entreaties for reinforcements for its defence. They were wholly unattended to.

The Duke of Guise, after entering the English pale, sent a detachment of his army along the downs to Risebank, and led the other himself, with a very( heavy train of artillery, towards Newnham Bridge. He forced the outwork at the village of St. Agatha, at the commencement of the causeway, drove the garrison into Newnham, and took possession of the outwork. The bulwarks of Froyton and Nesle were abandoned, for the lord-deputy could send no forces to defend them. At Newnham Bridge the garrison withdrew so silently that the French continued firing upon the fort when the men were already in Calais; but at Risebank the garrison surrendered with the fort.

Thus, in a couple of days, the Duke of Guise was in possession of two most important forts, one commanding the harbour, the other the causeway across the marshes from Flanders. A battery on the heath of St. Pierre played on the wall to create a false alarm, whilst another in real earnest played on the castle. A breach was made in the wall near the Watergate, and, whilst the garrison was busy in repairing it, Guise cannonaded the castle (which was in a scandalous state of neglect) with fifteen double cannons. A wide breach was speedily made. Lord Went worth, well aware that the castle could not be maintained, had ordered mines to be prepared, and calculated on blowing the castle and the Frenchmen into the air together as soon as they were in.

Guise, seeing no garrison defending the breach, ordered one detachment to occupy the quay, and another, under Strozzi, to take up a position on the other side of the harbour. Strozzi was repulsed; but at ebb-tide in the evening, Grammont, at the head of 100 arquebusiers, marched up to the ditch opposite to the breach. No one being seen in the castle, Guise ordered plenty of hurdles to be thrown into the ditch, and, putting himself at the head of his men, forded the ditch, finding it not deeper than his girdle. The lord-deputy, seeing the French in the castle, ordered the train to be fired; but there was no explosion. The soldiers crossing from the ditch to the breach, with their clothes deluging the ground with water, had wet the train and defeated Wentworth's design.

The next morning Guise sent his troops to assault the town, calculating on as easy a conquest of it; but Sir Anthony Agar, with a handful of men, not only repulsed the French, but chased them back into the castle. The brave Sir Anthony, with a larger force, would have driven the French from the decayed old castle too, but he had the merest little knot of followers, and in the vain attempt to force the enemy out of the castle, he fell at the gate with his son, and eighty of his chief officers. Lord Went worth perceiving the impossibility of continuing the defence, destitute of a garrison, and having waited in vain for reinforcements from Dover, that night demanded a parley, and offered to surrender on conditions. But the French, certain of compelling a surrender, refused all conditions but the following, which Wentworth was obliged to accept: -

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Pictures for The Reign of Queen Mary page 14

Queen Mary I
Queen Mary I >>>>
The Crown of England offered to Lady Jane Grey.
The Crown of England offered to Lady Jane Grey. >>>>
Lady Jane Grey and Roger Ascham
Lady Jane Grey and Roger Ascham >>>>
Execution of the Duke of Northumberland on Tower Hill.
Execution of the Duke of Northumberland on Tower Hill. >>>>
Philip of Spain
Philip of Spain >>>>
Allington Castle
Allington Castle >>>>
Great Seal of Queen Mary
Great Seal of Queen Mary >>>>
Autograph of Queen Mary
Autograph of Queen Mary >>>>
Queen Mary in her Private Oratory
Queen Mary in her Private Oratory >>>>
Wyatt
Wyatt >>>>
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey >>>>
Carving ascribed to John Dudley
Carving ascribed to John Dudley >>>>
Inscription cut by the Husband of Lady Jane Grey on the wall of his prison
Inscription cut by the Husband of Lady Jane Grey on the wall of his prison >>>>
The Princess Elizabeth
The Princess Elizabeth >>>>
Reception of the First Russian Embassy in England
Reception of the First Russian Embassy in England >>>>
Lord Guildford Dudleys room
Lord Guildford Dudleys room >>>>
The Burning of Archbishop Cranmer
The Burning of Archbishop Cranmer >>>>
The Recantation of Archbishop Cranmer
The Recantation of Archbishop Cranmer >>>>
Place of Execution, Smithfield
Place of Execution, Smithfield >>>>
Martyrs Stone at Hadleigh
Martyrs Stone at Hadleigh >>>>
Siege of Calais
Siege of Calais >>>>
Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth >>>>
Queen Elizabeth acknowledged by the Bishops
Queen Elizabeth acknowledged by the Bishops >>>>

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