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The Reign of Elizabeth. (Continued) page 9


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In 1591 Udal, a Nonconformist minister, was condemned to death for publishing a book called "A Demonstration of Discipline," but died in prison. Mr. Cartwright, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, for pointing out defects in the system of the Church, was deprived of his fellowship, expelled the university, and in 1591 was summoned before the ecclesiastical commission with some of his friends, and committed to prison because they would not answer interrogatories on oath - a practice clearly contrary to law. In 1593 Barrow, Greenwood, and Penry, Independent ministers, or Brownists, were put to death for writings said to reflect on the queen. In fact, the whole of the reign of Elizabeth, with the exception of her few last years, when she was failing, and the fear of the Presbyterian King of Scotland as her successor began to awe the persecuting magistrates and officers, was a scene of such intolerance and oppression of her subjects as gives us strange ideas of this Royal champion of Protestantism. As we shall have occasion, however, to notice these matters in our review of the century, we here puss on to other topics.

In the spring of 1589 Parliament and Convocation assembled, and Elizabeth laid before them a statement of,-the heavy expenses incurred in beating off the Spaniards. She had already levied a forced loan, to which the recusants had been made to contribute heavily, and she now received most liberal grants from both Parliament and Convocation. Having given this freely, the House of Commons prayed the queen to send out a strong force and take vengeance on the Spaniards for their attack on this country. Elizabeth was perfectly agreeable that they should punish Philip to their hearts' content, but not out of the supplies they had granted. She said there were great demands on her exchequer; that she could only furnish ships and soldiers, and they must pay the cost. The proposal of retaliation was so much to the taste of the public that an association was formed under the auspices of Drake and Norris, and very soon they had a fleet of 100 sail at Plymouth, carrying 21,000 men. Elizabeth had long been patronising Don Antonio, prior of Crato, an illegitimate branch of the Royal family of Portugal. This pretender was now sent out in this fleet in Royal state, and the expedition was directed to land in Portugal, and call on the people to throw off the Spanish yoke, and restore their Government under a native, and, as Elizabeth boldly asserted, legitimate prince. If the Portuguese would not receive Don Antonio, the fleet was then to scour the roads of Spain, and inflict on the territory of Philip all the damage possible.

The fascination of this expedition under so renowned a commander as Drake, seized on the youthful fancy of a young noble, who had now succeeded to the post of Leicester as Elizabeth's prince favourite - the Earl of Essex. This was the son of the Countess of Essex whom Leicester had seduced, and, after poisoning her husband, married. Leicester introduced the young earl to Elizabeth, who, for a time, hated him on account of his mother, who had committed the great sin in Elizabeth's eyes - not of being accessory to her husband's murder, but of marrying her favourite. However, some time before Leicester's death, the graces and lively disposition of the young earl had made a strong impression on her heart or head, and she lavished blandishments on the handsome boy in public, even in the face of the camp at Tilbury, which must have been eminently ludicrous. After Leicester's death ho became installed as the chief favourite, and she could scarcely bear him out of her sight. Her consternation was great when she found that he had slily eloped, and had set off after the fleet bound for Spain. She immediately dispatched the Earl of Huntingdon to stop him and bring him back; but though the fleet had weighed anchor, Essex, who had glory or plunder before him, and debts to the amount of 20,000, and the caresses of a nauseous and nauseating "old woman," as he invariably called her, behind him, had got off after the Royal fleet in a ship of war, that, luckily, had lingered for some cause behind. Huntingdon, finding the bird had flown, sent a copy of his instructions to the commander of the fleet to hasten the truant back - an order to which Drake or the young man appears to have paid no attention.

Drake made first for Corunna, where he seized a number of merchantmen and ships of war, made himself master of the suburbs or marine part of the town, with great stores of oil and wine, but failed to take the town itself, though he succeeded in making a breach in the wall, at the cost of many lives. Norris, meantime, attacked the forces of the Conde d'Andrada, posted at the Puento do Burgos, and drove them before him for some miles; but sickness and shortness of powder compelled them to embark again. Drake and Norris, as famous for their bulletins as Napoleon in our day, wrote home that-they had killed 1,000-of the enemy, with the loss of only three men! but Lord Talbot, writing at the same time to his father, said that they had lost a great number of men, quite as many as the Spaniards. Prom Corunna they coasted to Peniche, about thirty miles north of Lisbon. At Peniche the young Earl of Essex, who kept out at sea till the commanders could say in their dispatches that they had heard nothing of him, was the first to spring on shore, and showed great gallantry. They quickly took the castle, and the fleet then proceeded along the shore to the Tagus, whilst the army marched by land to Lisbon through Torres Vedras and St. Sebastian.

The garrison in Lisbon was but weak, and Essen knocked at the gates, and summoned the commander to surrender; but the Spaniards had taken the precaution to lay waste the neighbourhood and destroy all the pro-visions, or carry them, into the city, so that famine, fever, and want of powder soon compelled the English to retire. They found that their pretender, Don Antonio, was everywhere treated as a pretender - not a man would own him; and they marched to Cascaes, which they found already plundered by Drake and his squadron. They there embarked for England, but were soon dispersed by a storm, and reached Plymouth in straggling disorder, one of the sections of the fleet having, before leaving Spain, plundered the town of Vigo. It was found that out of their 21,000 men, they had lost one-half. Out of the 1,100 gentlemen who accompanied the expedition one-third had perished. Elizabeth secretly grumbled at the expense and loss, but publicly boasted of the chastisement she had given to Philip.

Essex, on his return, found his post of favourite occupied by two gay cavaliers, Sir Waiter Raleigh and Sir Charles Blount. Sir Walter was a gentleman of Devonshire, who, besides his handsome person and courtly address, had really much to recommend him - had already, as we have seen, distinguished himself under Lord Gray in Ireland, and since in the attack on the Armada. Though with all his talent, which we shall notice in another place, and the smallest of which gifts was not that of flattery, Sir Walter united an ambition by no means scrupulous, he never took that rank in the queen's favour which made him a dangerous rival to a youth of Essex's gay and passionate character. He was soon dismissed to look after his 14,000 acres in the south of Ireland; and Sir Charles Blount, who was the second son of Lord Mountjoy, and a student of the Inner Temple, was not much longer his antagonist. Their mutual jealousy occasioned them to fight a duel, in which Essex was wounded in the thigh; and Elizabeth, highly flattered by two such knights fighting the quarrel of her beauty - for she still thought herself handsome - made them shake hands, and they soon after became great companions.

In a short time Essex married the widow of Sir Philip Sidney, the daughter of Walsingham, which gave great offence to his Royal mistress, who never could endure that her favourites should show preference to another; but she soon appeared to forget it, and grew more absurdly fond of Essex than ever. In 1591 he endeavoured to get justice for the unfortunate secretary, Davison. Walsingham died on the 6th of April of that year, and Essex strongly recommended him as his successor; but Burleigh had long calculated on the office for his son Robert, afterwards Earl of Salisbury. The queen, who never would appear to forgive and do justice to Davison, secretly favoured Burleigh's son, and not to refuse Essex, conferred the office on Burleigh himself, at the same time letting him know that he could give his son the post in effect by employing him in it as his deputy. Essex was very violent on the occasion, and heaped liberal abuse on "the old fox," as he styled Burleigh, which that cold-blooded minister remembered to his cost. Essex was impatient to get once more from Court, and affairs in France opened a way for him.

The feud betwixt Henry III. and the Duke of Guise, the head of the ultra-Catholic party, continued to rage more and more violently. To cone with his domestic enemies, Henry gathered by degrees a considerable number of troops into Paris; but the Guise party, detecting the object, soon roused the populace to resistance, who rose on the 22nd of September, cut off the communication betwixt the different quarters of the soldiers by barricading the streets, and placed the Duke of Guise in possession of the capital. To rid himself of so troublesome a subject, the king summoned an assembly of the slates in November at Blois. There his partisans dispatched the Duke of Guise on his way to the royal chamber, and the next day executed the same royal vengeance on his brother the cardinal, and threw the Cardinal of Bourbon and the other chiefs of the party into prison. Henry thought he had now triumphed by death and the dungeon over the troublesome factionists whom he could by no other means control, but he was deceived. The populace rose at the news in Paris, demanding vengeance for the murdered noblemen, whom they pronounced the martyrs of the popular cause. The third brother of Guise, the Duke of Mayence, who was at Lyons, obeying the call of the infuriated multitude, hastened to Paris, assumed the command under the title of governor, and maintained the city against the king.

Henry had not the vigour to follow up the blow he had given. He allowed the insurgents time to fortify and strengthen themselves every way; and finding himself unable to cope with them, made common cause with the King of Navarre, and their united forces invested the capital. Within the city the most furious spirit raged against the king. The doctrine of deposing and punishing sovereigns was then coming into fashion; it had been openly declared in Scotland, taken up by Goodman and Languet, and was now adopted by the university, the preachers, and the Parliament of Paris. It was declared that Henry, by his crimes, had forfeited his crown; that he was a murderer and an apostate; and that the highest act of patriotism, and religion was to free the country of such a wretch. It was not long before a fanatic was found to put in practice this levelling principle. This was a young Dominican friar of the name of Jacques Clement. On pretence of a message from the President of the Parliament, and by means of a forged letter in his name, he obtained access to the king, and stabbed him. At the outcry of the king the attendants rushing in, dispatched the murderer, but by that means prevented any discovery of his accomplices or instigators.

On the death of the king, Henry of Navarre, a lineal descendant of St. Louis, by his youngest son Robert, Count of Clermont, assumed the crown as Henry IV. But Henry's known Protestantism placed him in extreme difficulty, even with those who had hitherto supported himself or the late king. The Papist followers of that monarch insisted that he should sign an engagement to maintain their worship, and that to the exclusion of every other, except in the places in which the Protestant form was already established. They bound Henry to hunt out and punish the murderers of the late king; to give no offices in the State, in cities or corporations, except to Papists, and to permit the nobles of the Roman Catholic league to defend to the Pope their proceedings. But by conceding these conditions, he mortally offended the Protestants, who had hitherto faithfully adhered to him, and who refused any longer to fight under the banners of a prince who had thus, as they deemed it, abandoned their cause. Nine regiments deserted his standard, whilst a regiment of Papists on the other side, not sufficiently satisfied with the concessions thus dearly purchased, also marched out of his camp.

Such was the extent of the disaffection, that instead of being able to take Paris, he was compelled to raise the siege and retreat into Normandy. Thither the Duke of Mayence and his fanatic rabble hotly pursued him, but Henry encamping his little army, which did not amount to a fourth of the enemy, on an advantageous slope opposite to the castle and village of Arques, a few miles from. Dieppe, defeated his assailants with great slaughter. The battle was fought on the 21st of September, and the spot is now marked by a lofty column.

On the heels of this victory came a most timely aid from Elizabeth of England, of 20,000 in gold and 4,000 troops under Lord Willoughby. Henry now retraced his steps to Paris, where he made himself master of the suburbs on the left bank of the Seine, and continued to act on the offensive during the remainder of the year. At the commencement of 1591 the English army was dismissed, having suffered great losses, and displayed great bravery. But they only returned home for Henry to solicit fresh assistance; the Spaniards and the Duke of Mercoeur put in. claims for the province of Brittany, and united their forces to obtain it. Elizabeth, who professed to desire the Protestant ascendancy in France, yet sorely rued the expense of supporting that interest, and her old and cunning minister, Burleigh, threw his weight into the scale of parsimony, because he delighted to see France depressed. But now that the hated Spaniards had actually landed in that country over against her very coasts, she was roused to do something. She advanced a fresh loan and sent over a small reinforcement of 3,000 men. Essex was impatient to have the command of this force, but the queen, listening to Burleigh, gave it to Sir John Norris, and Essex quitted the Court in a pet. Fresh forces were, however, solicited, and Essex, to his great delight, received the appointment. In August he landed at Dieppe, and finding Henry engaged in the distant Champagne, he pitched his tent at Arques, near the scene of Henry's triumph, and remained there for two months doing nothing but knighting his officers to keep them contented. His whole force consisted only of 300 horse, 300 gentlemen volunteers, and 3,000 infantry. On the king's arrival the siege of Rouen was begun, where the English army suffered terrible hardships, and in the spring of 1592, the siege having been raised on the approach of the Prince of Parma, Essex left his troops with Sir Roger Williams, having lost his brother, Walter Devereaux, in the campaign.

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