OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 13


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 <13> 14 15

Whilst these persecutions were proceeding at home, Elizabeth was supporting Protestantism abroad. Henry of Navarre had become the next in succession to the crown of France, by the death of the Duke of Anjou. Being well known as a Protestant, the Roman Catholic party in France, with the Duke of Guise at their head, reorganised their league, and even compelled the King of France to subscribe to it. The King of Spain, a member of the league, promised it all his support. On the other hand, Elizabeth, anxious to see a Protestant prince on the throne of France, sent Henry large remittances, and invited him to make England his home in case his enemies should compel him to retreat for a time, when he could wait the turn of events. In all this there was nothing to complain of. Henry had a clear right to the throne of France, and justice as well as the reformed faith called upon her to support it; but not so honourable were her proceedings in the Netherlands. There she secretly urged the subjects of a power with whom she was at peace to insurrection, and maintained them in it by repeated supplies of money.

Sympathising as she did with the oppressed Protestants of the Netherlands, her course was open and clear. She could call on Philip to give to them free exercise of their religion, and if he refused, she had a fair plea to break with him, and to support the cause of the common religion. But Elizabeth had too much politic regard for the rights of kings openly to support against them the rights of the people; and, what was still more embarrassing, she was practising the very intolerance and persecution against her Roman Catholic subjects that Philip was against his Protestant ones.

The primate, when appealed to, stated broadly this fact, and declared that Philip had as much right to send forces to aid the English Roman Catholics, as Elizabeth had to support the Belgian Protestants. When, therefore, in June of this year, the deputies of the revolted provinces of the Netherlands besought Elizabeth to annex them to her own dominions, she declined; but in September she signed a treaty with them, engaging to send them 6,000 men, and received in pledge of their payment the towns of Brille and Flushing, and the strong fortress of Rammekins. This was making war on Philip without any declaration of it; but she still persisted that she was not assisting the Flemings in throwing off their allegiance to their lawful prince, but only assisting them to recover undoubted privileges of which they had been deprived.

But the fact was, that Elizabeth had long been warring on Spain, and it was the fault of Spain that it had not declared open war in return. In 1570 she had sent out the celebrated Admiral Drake, to scour the coasts of the West Indies and South America, on the plea that Spain had no right to shut up the ports of those countries, and to exclude all other flags from those seas. Under her commission, Drake and other captains had ravaged the settlements of Spain in the New World: had plundered Carthagena and Nombre de Dios, and almost every town on the coasts of Chili and Peru. They had intercepted the Spanish galleons, or treasure vessels, and carried off immense booty of silver and other precious articles. But as Drake had received special marks of Royal favour - the queen had dined on board his vessel, the "Golden Hind," when it lay at Deptford, and she had knighted him for his good services - and as there was no declaration of war, all these were clear cases of piracy; but Philip was too much engaged at home to defend these transatlantic possessions from the daring sea-captains of Elizabeth, and if he did declare war, he at once sanctioned Elizabeth's interference both in those seas and in the Netherlands.

To carry forward her operations in the Netherlands successfully, it was necessary to make quite sure of the King of Scotland. Elizabeth had discovered that the only power which would bind James was money. Moral principle he had none; but as money was the all-persuasive argument, they only were sure of him who gave the most. Elizabeth had already a majority of James's council in her pay, and might have had more if she could have calculated or them, but she found them ready to receive her cash and to betray her. She, therefore, sent thither Wotton to study the movements and movers of the Scottish Court, and having made himself acquainted with them, to strengthen her party. A border raid, in which Lord Russell, the son of the Earl of Bedford, had fallen, enabled Wotton to lodge a complaint, and demand that the asserted instigators of it, Arran and Fernihurst, should be given up to him. James did not consent to that, but arrested them both himself. Whilst the able Arran was thus withdrawn from Court, Wotton seized the opportunity to persuade the courtiers in the pay of Elizabeth to seize James and send him to England, or confine him in the castle of Stirling, by which the English faction would possess the chief power. Unfortunately for Wotton, his plot was discovered, and he fled; but he left behind him trusty friends who, inspired by English gold, contrived to work out his schemes. Arran had returned to power on the disappearance of Wotton, but the partisans of Elizabeth opposed him, and others returning across the border with plenty of English money, they mustered in numbers sufficient to surprise James in Stirling, and recover their influence and their estates. Under the circumstances James found it to his interest to conclude a treaty with Elizabeth, the ostensible object of which was to defend Protestantism, the real one - that which both Elizabeth and James had at heart - the firm exclusion of Mary from any hope of liberty, or of receiving any aid from abroad.

To conduct her campaign in the Netherlands, Elizabeth had appointed the Earl of Leicester; for since she had discovered his marriage with the Countess of Essex, she was sufficiently disgusted with him to send him out of her sight. The way in which he conducted himself there was not calculated to increase his reputation for honesty or military talent. No sooner did he arrive, than, without consulting the queen, he induced the States to nominate him governor-general of the United Provinces, with the title of excellency, and with supreme power over the army, the State, and the executive. In fact, his ambition rested with nothing short of being a king: with nothing but possessing all the title and authority enjoyed by the Duke of Anjou. When this news reached Elizabeth, that he had sent for the countess, and was organising a Court fit for a monarch, she flew into a terrible rage, charged him with presumption and vanity, with contempt of her authority, and "swore great oaths that she would have no more Courts under her abeyance than one;" desired him to remember the dust from which she had raised him, and let him know if he were not obedient to her every word, she would beat him to the ground as quickly as she had raised him.

The unfortunate States, who thought they were gratifying the Queen of England when they were honouring her favourite, were confounded at this discovery; but Leicester, as if he really thought that he could render himself independent of his royal patroness, remained lofty, insolent, and silent. Trusting to the position into which he had thus stepped, he left it to the ministers at home to pacify the queen. He had so long ruled her that he appeared to think he could still do as he pleased. The great Burleigh and the cunning Walsingham were at their wits' end to satisfy Elizabeth: the only letter which they got from Leicester being one to Hatton, so insolent and arrogant that they dared not present it till they had remodelled it. Meantime, Elizabeth continued to write to the new captain-general the most bitter reproaches and menaces, and to heap upon his friends fierce epithets which could not reach, or produced no effect on him. With all the airs of a great monarch, Leicester progressed from one city to another, receiving solemn deputations, and giving and receiving grand entertainments.

In the field his conduct was as contemptible as in the Government. He had an accomplished general, Alexander Farnese, the Prince of Parma, to contend with, and never did a British general present so pitiable a spectacle in a campaign as did Leicester. His great object appeared to be to avoid a battle, and the only conflict which he engaged in, which has left a name, is the attack upon Zutphen, because there fell the gallant and gifted Sir Philip Sidney, in the twenty-fifth year of his age.

As autumn approached, Leicester marched back his forces to the Hague, and was greatly disgusted and astonished to be called to account by what he pleased to-name an assembly of shopkeepers and artisans. Not the-less loudly, however, did the merchants and shopkeepers of the Netherlands upbraid him with the utter failure of the campaign, with the waste of their money, the violation of their privileges, the ruin of their trade, and the extorting of the people's money in a manner equally arbitrary and irritating. In a fit of ineffable disgust he broke up the assembly: the assembly continued to sit. He next resorted to entreaties and promises; it regarded these as little. He announced his intention to return to-England, and in his absence nominated one of his staff to exercise the supreme government. The assembly insisted on his resigning that charge to them; he complied, yet, by a private deed, reserved it to himself; and. thus did this proud, empty, inefficient upstart dishonour the queen who had raised him, the country which tolerated him, and which had long impatiently witnessed hi& arrogance, his lasciviousness, his abuse of the queen's favour, and his murders; and at length, on the approach of winter, obey the call of his sovereign and return home. Scarcely had he quitted the Netherlands, when the officers-whom he had left in command surrendered the places of strength to the Prince of Parma, and went over to the Spaniards. The campaign was, from first to last, a scandal and a disgrace to our name and government.

On the arrival of Leicester, the Court and public mind were so engrossed by plots and rumours of plots for the assassination of Elizabeth and the liberation of the Queen of Scots, that his faults were to a great degree forgotten in the necessity for all the queen's friends uniting for the determination of the best course to pursue amid accumulating perplexities. The amount of truth and falsehood, in the assertion of all the schemes afloat in the great conflict which was going on betwixt the Protestant and Roman Catholic parties, it is difficult to determine. There were so many agents on both sides at work, so many of them appeared to be such very dubious characters, apparently on one side, whilst they were in the pay of the other, and the intriguing genius of Walsingham and Burleigh raised up such false appearances, and so confounded the real with the imaginary, whilst they mined and worked in secret below, that it is the most arduous of endeavours to produce a clear detail of the proceedings of this time. The following is the nearest approach to fact or resemblance of it which we can make.

Amongst the rumours was one constantly growing of an intended invasion of the kingdom by the King of Spain, for the release of the Queen of Scots, the relief of the Papists, and for retaliation for the invasion of his kingdom of the Netherlands, and the excitement of his subjects to rebellion by Elizabeth. As this was not only very justifiable, but not improbable, it gave edge and force to all the other real or imaginary plots which revolved round Queen Mary. What tended to make these schemes more palpable was a strong disagreement betwixt Mary's own friends. Morgan and Paget, the commissioners of her dower in France, complained that the Jesuit missionaries had made the English Government more suspicious and vigilant; that Persons and his confederates had not only usurped the business of advocating Mary's cause in England, but also at foreign Courts; that by their injudicious zeal they had drawn much attention on their movements; that they had held communications with Gray, the master of Mar, who had notoriously betrayed Mary's cause; and that, in consequence, her affairs had been revealed by Holt in Edinburgh Castle, by Creighton in the Tower, and by Gray whilst acting officially for Arran and King James at Greenwich. The Jesuits retorted on Morgan and Paget, that 'they were the men who had betrayed their mistress; that they were notoriously connected with Walsingham; and especially Morgan, who seems to have been so thorough a traitor as to have excited the suspicions of both parties. Though he was undoubtedly employed by Walsingham, yet Elizabeth had the most mortal hatred of him, since Parry confessed that he had been urged by Morgan to murder her. So intense was her resentment that she declared she would give 10,000 for his head, and demanded his surrender from the King of France, at the same time she sent him the Order of the Garter. Henry would not give up the agent of Queen Mary, but he confined him in the Bastille, and sent his papers to Elizabeth.

This proceeding of Elizabeth's so embittered Morgan that he and Paget threw their energies more warmly into the cause of Mary; Morgan, though shut up, still finding a mode of communicating with his colleague Paget, and employing the silence of his prison to concoct a more deep revenge on Elizabeth. Thus was Morgan earnestly pursuing a great scheme for the destruction of Elizabeth, and Walsingham, the great diplomatic spider, spinning, in his bureaucratic corner, his webs for the life of Mary, with far greater genius, and far more numerous ramifications of his meshes. It could not be doubtful which would be triumphant in their murderous object. Let us trace a few of the more perceptible lines of Morgan's action.

He applied to Christopher Blount, a gentleman in Leicester's service, to co-operate in the scheme for the rescue of Mary; but Blount declined the office, and recommended one Pooley, a servant of Lady Sidney, the daughter of Walsingham. Had Morgan had the shrewdness of Walsingham, he would never have entrusted any communication to such hands, as they were sure to reach those of Walsingham. Yet Morgan gave him letters to Mary; and Pooley, thus accredited, offered his services to Mary, and was admitted to all the secret plans and proceedings of her friends. Thus did Walsingham make even Morgan play into his hands.

The next emissaries that Morgan engaged were still more absurdly selected. They were two English traitors, who having studied in the English Popish seminaries, thus obtained the confidence of that party, and then sold themselves to Walsingham. These men, Gifford and Greatly, were soon convicted of being in the pay of Walsingham, but they had the hardihood to assert that was purposely to have the opportunity of more effectually and safely serving Mary. Morgan was weak enough to believe them; though they had become greatly suspected in England, he recommended them as most valuable agents to Mary, from whom they received despatches for Paris, and brought back the answers, which they communicated to Walsingham.

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 <13> 14 15

Pictures for Reign of Queen Elizabeth. (Continued) page 13

Place of Imprisonment in the Tower
Place of Imprisonment in the Tower >>>>
A London Street
A London Street >>>>
The First Royal Exchange
The First Royal Exchange >>>>
Trial of the Duke of Norfolk
Trial of the Duke of Norfolk >>>>
House of Sir Thomas Gresham
House of Sir Thomas Gresham >>>>
John Fox
John Fox >>>>
Bear-baiting
Bear-baiting >>>>
Reception of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle
Reception of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle >>>>
The French Ambassador at Court
The French Ambassador at Court >>>>
Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser >>>>
William Cecil
William Cecil >>>>
Execution of Two Brownists
Execution of Two Brownists >>>>
Court of Henry III. of France
Court of Henry III. of France >>>>
Queen Elizabeth Knighting Francis Drake
Queen Elizabeth Knighting Francis Drake >>>>
Sir Philip Sidney
Sir Philip Sidney >>>>
Death of Sir Philip Sidney
Death of Sir Philip Sidney >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About