Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 13, Addenda. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1915.
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The papers contained in the present Volume, Part XIII of the Cecil Calendar, together with another volume to come next—materials for which are already prepared,—form the final Addenda to that Calendar as far as to the end of the reign of Elizabeth. The previous volumes, which contain the bulk of the Cecil Papers, are arranged approximately chronologically; but in so vast a collection it was inevitable that some papers should at first be assigned to wrong dates; while the great number of undated papers could not be properly dealt with until the Calendar had progressed so far that the published papers might afford some clues enabling the undated documents to be assigned to their proper dates. For these and other reasons the number of papers in this and the forthcoming Addenda volumes is somewhat large; but it is believed that most of them have now been satisfactorily dated and the number of undated papers reduced to a minimum.
It will be seen that the documents comprised in this volume cover a long period of time, from the 12th to the end of the 16th century, though the great bulk of them relate to the reign of Elizabeth. This being so it is not to be expected that we should find many papers on any single important transaction adding much information to what we already know about it; and it is not till we get well into Elizabeth's reign that we find our previous knowledge of particular events much increased. It will be useful to point out the general character of the earlier documents, and then draw attention to the most important papers in the whole volume.
The first section of the present Volume comprises Treatises, Chronicles, and Histories, more or less fragmentary, belonging to the 13th and three following centuries, including a version of the Psalms (p. 3), a 15th century Latin Bible (p. 7), and a copy of Gower's Vox Clamantis (p. 7). The subjects of the treatises are mostly sacred if not scriptural, or historical. There are also copies of the Treaties of Troyes (p. 4) and of Cambray (p. 11), and several other documents of a political nature. One official document of the reign of Henry V must be noted; it is a pay roll of the English garrison in some foreign town, which from internal evidence clearly belongs to the year 1417. and contains information of much interest to students of military matters in early times. It is a contemporary document, and in excellent condition but for the fact that the first membrane of the roll with the heading has unfortunately been torn off, and it is therefore impossible to say with certainty to what town it relates; though the size of the garrison seems to point to Calais.
Henry VIII.—Passing on to the reign of Henry VIII there are two interesting letters (or more probably two portions of one letter) from the Emperor Maximilian to the Emperor of Russia (p. 9) as to combined action for invasion of their common enemy, Poland, which have considerable interest at the present time. More important still, from a personal and domestic point of view, is the letter (p. 12) from Henry VIII to his Ambassadors at Rome on the matter of the divorce. The King characterises the Papal proceedings in his usual trenchant language, and his arguments if not convincing are at least logical:—
We cannot wonder enough (the King says in effect)—and we will that you boldly advise the Pope as to this—that when anything is proposed in our name which is reasonable and just and consonant with the Pope's own laws, yet it is rejected in hurried and disorderly fashion by the Consistory on the ground only that it is not in accordance with its practice. What this practice may be we know not nor are we bound to know; but the Pope's rights we ought to know, and they should be true rights. . . . . . . But opportunity is never wanting to the doer of mischief. Indeed, it has been our lot so far to be calumniated from every quarter from which calumny could come. Because our cause is favoured and justified by the laws of God, there are some at Rome, by whose counsels the Pope is led, who have thought good to say that a matrimonial cause should be decided not by the laws of God but by the canon laws. But when the canon laws are on our side, they shelter themselves behind the practice of the Court!
Such plain speaking, and the still more scathing terms in which the King proceeds, must have made the Pope feel desirous to be quit of the whole matter. On the other hand the King's character is shewn in a very different light by the petition of the Calvacanti (p. 16), and the petition as to grievances (p. 17). Both point to the accessibility of the King to his subjects, and accentuate the fact, now well recognised, that his statesmanship consisted in working with his subjects and satisfying their reasonable demands; which enabled him to secure their consent to any measures he desired.
Edward VI.—The papers for this reign calendared in the present volume relate chiefly to domestic matters of trade and commerce. The most important of them refer to the production and use of iron and tin, and to the constant complaints and negotiations between the English merchants and those of the Hanse. The state of the country at the beginning of Edward VI's reign required attention to the condition of the people and the means of improving their lot by the improvement of trade and economic use of natural products. At p. 19 occur the commissions to examine into the iron mills and furnaces in Sussex, and the answers of juries to the questions submitted to them; all tending to shew that the continued consumption of the Sussex woods to support the furnaces would mean the further decay of the towns and great scarcity of timber for building ships and houses, and of wood for fuel. It is curious to notice that among the places said to be so injured are many on the other side of the Channel:—
To the fourth [we present], the mills and furnaces do damnify and hurt as well the inhabitants of the towns of Calais, Guisnes, Boulogne and other beyond the sea as the inhabitants of Sussex.
To the fifth we present that if the mills and furnaces be suffered to continue, whereas now all manner of timber and wood for all manner of occupations as well for the sea as for the land is very scanty already, by the said mills and furnaces hereafter should be scarcity and almost none to be gotten.
The document at p. 33 containing the allegations of the tinners in Devon as to working the tin in "several grounds," is curious for the explanation it gives of the existence of the metal in such places as being due to "the violence of Noah his flood."
The important series of papers relating to the Hanse Towns and the English merchants should be noted for its bearing on international commercial relations. The negotiations began in 1551, continued till 1557 without a break (p. 37), and were renewed in the first year of Elizabeth's reign (September, 1559; p. 40).
Mary.—The most important document for this reign is the Register of the Privy Council (p. 34) from Mary's accession till September 30, 1553, which has been printed in full in the "Acts of the Privy Council, N.S." Attention must also be drawn to the Latin translation of the Greek Liturgy of St. James (p. 35), probably made by Roger Ascham. Various documents relating to Sir William Cecil also occur, chiefly bills for household or personal supplies. The map of Calais (p. 38) with the note shewing how it might be besieged with success perhaps indicates a purpose on the part of the Queen, had she lived, to attempt its recovery.
Elizabeth.—It was only to be expected that the bulk of the papers in this volume should belong to the reign of Elizabeth, whose chief minister Burghley was during the whole period they cover. It is difficult to separate the Queen from any subject of importance touched upon in these papers, so great was her personal influence and so many and various the matters referred to her decision. In foreign policy this was specially the case; and as foreign or semi-foreign policy fills the greater part of her reign it will perhaps be convenient to draw attention first to the most noteworthy of these papers that concern the Queen herself in personal wise; and then to those that concern her foreign policy in regard to the three countries that claimed her close attention in succession—Scotland, Spain, and France.
The Queen.—The first glimpse of Elizabeth we get in this volume is early in 1549 in the scandal in which her name was wrongfully connected with the Lord Admiral (p. 26); but these documents have been printed in full by Haynes. No mention of her occurs during her sister's reign; but the earliest letter she received after her accession is one from her brother-inlaw expressing his pleasure at perceiving "how really she responds to his brotherly affection" (p. 39). Ere twenty years had passed his opinion of his sister-in-law had altered for the worse, and she was compelled to deny the slander circulated by Spain (p. 139).
Of all the personal matters that concerned Elizabeth the most important was that of her marriage, and projects concerning it arise constantly during the greater portion of her reign. It could not be otherwise, for at her accession and for many years afterwards the safety and prosperity of the realm were involved in it. The same question which had so troubled her father and been one cause at least of his many matrimonial ventures—the question of the succession—was always present to her own and her people's minds. Whatever may have been her own views on the subject, her people, remembering the long continued civil wars of the past century, could not but be anxious for the appearance of an heir to the throne from a dynasty with which they had on the whole reason to be well satisfied, that might prevent the recurrence of such troubles; while the nobility being chiefly of recent creation desired time and opportunity to make their position secure. In a paper drawn up about 1585 (p. 288) setting forth the dangers threatening England in the person of the Queen, it is stated that "the weakness of the Queen's Majesty cometh by lack of marriage, children, alliance with foreign princes": and the great importance of her marrying was universally recognised. Hence it is that in 1566 we find petitions from both Houses to the Queen urging her to marry (p. 72). The first candidate who could entertain any hope of success was the Duke of Anjou; for though, seemingly, in 1560 the King designate of Sweden desired to carry out the contract of marriage he said he had entered into with her Majesty (p. 51), and about 1567 the Emperor sent an envoy regarding a proposed marriage with an Imperial nominee (p. 86), yet no further mention of these matters occurs in these papers. But in July, 1570, Anjou writes to the Lord Admiral—"I am resolved in a few days to send Commissioners to the Queen, my good mistress, to make a proposition to her as to our marriage" (p. 100); and envoys from the Duke arrive on several occasions (pp. 133, 167). In 1578 the Earl of Sussex writes to Burghley (p. 159):—
I do believe that Monsieur will be directed by the Queen's Majesty so long as he hopeth to be great by her, but if he lose that hope then I think he will not for her forbear any greatness he can get otherways.
Negotiations on the subject still went on, until in October, 1579, the Privy Council discussed the marriage, with its perils, remedies and objections, as recorded in a document (p. 172) printed by Murdin; and the next month articles of marriage were drawn up (p. 173), but matters went no further. The subject hinted at by Sussex in his letter mentioned above, provided the Queen with either a real cause of annoyance, or what perhaps is more likely a convenient excuse for putting the match aside. In July, 1580, Elizabeth writes to Stafford at Paris on the offer of the sovereignty of all the Low Countries made to Anjou (p. 180):—
Let it please Monsieur to suspend his answer to them till he send some of quality and trust to communicate to me and concur with that I may think best for both our honours. For I assure him it shall blot too much his fame, if otherwise he deal, not only in my sight to whom it hath pleased him to promise more, but specially to all the world that be overseers of his actions. Let him never procure her harm whose love he seeks to win . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I dare not assure Monsieur how his greater matter will end till I be assured what way he will take with the Low Countries. For rather will I never meddle with marriage than have such a bad covenant added to my part. Shall it ever be found true that Queen Elizabeth hath solemnized the perpetual harm of England under the glorious title of a France's heir? No, no! It shall never be.
In answer to this the Duke through Simier (p. 181) promised to suspend his judgment as the Queen had desired: and by his own letter desires "soon to be honoured with your beauteous presence on such condition that only death can separate me from it" (p. 182).
But the negotiations seem to have grown cool, and the last mention of Elizabeth by Anjou in these papers occurs a year later (p. 193), when he welcomes Walsingham as a foremost servant of "her whom I honour more than any princess on earth." Six months later, however, the French King is still urging the marriage on Elizabeth (p. 196); while Simier in two letters to the Queen (pp. 197, 198) probably belonging to the same year, regrets that he has not been able to bring the cause to a conclusion.
Another suitor for Elizabeth's hand, even if only selfsuggested, was James VI, as we gather from his secret instructions to Archibald Douglas, sent by him to the Queen in August, 1586. These instructions (p. 299) embraced three points, the first of which was James' own marriage; and from them it almost seems that he had entertained at least the possibility of a union with Elizabeth. Should, however, Douglas find that the Queen persists in her former opinion, she is to be informed that James is compelled to marry for the reasons given, but will only do so in accordance with her advice:—
For removing of these and the like inconveniences, you shall let be understood that our meaning is not to remove the affection borne to her, but to make choice by her advice of some other to be joined with her in society of love in that place that she doth wholly possess . . . . . . Sorry will we be to bestow ourself in marriage with any but with such as may be to her contentment.
And so the matter ended by James professing his readiness to accept the Queen's advice and marry to her contentment.
Intimately connected with the Queen's marriage was the question of the successsion to the throne; and various references to it in these papers indicate how it exercised the mind of Elizabeth and still more of her subjects. At p. 327 is a treatise on the succession which is obviously earlier than 1587 but is difficult to date exactly, setting forth the claims of the possible successors to Elizabeth. Representations were made on the subject to the Queen by one of her Parliaments, probably about 1582; and at p. 214 is a curious document, copied by Lord Clinton from the original in the Queen's own hand, containing her answer. The two points that had been raised were—the succession and liberty; and with regard to the former the Queen replies:
As to the first, the prince's opinion and good will ought, in good order, have been felt in other sort than in so public a place been uttered. It had been convenient that so weighty a cause had had his original from a zealous prince's consideration and not from lip-laboured orations out of such subjects' mouths; which what they be time may teach you know, and their demerits make them acknowledge how they have done these lewd endeavours to make all my realm suppose that their care was much when mine was none at all.
Her own view on the subject was made known to James in 1586; and the general instructions given to his ambassador, Archibald Douglas, in August (p. 298) direct him to thank the Queen heartily
for the loving promises and speeches delivered to us in her name, by her two late ambassadors, Edward Wotton and Thomas Randolphe; but most of all by uttering to us, both by her patent and privy letters, her mind anent our title to that Crown, yielding us thereby her privy approbation to that undoubted right and claim which our descent and blood may give us to it, failing of succession of her body.
It is noteworthy that this approval of his right to the English Crown was imparted to James many months before the execution of the Queen of Scots. Indeed, in November of the same year we find James firmly convinced "that his mother's life was in no danger" (p. 317).
There are several indications in these papers of the plots and conspiracies to which the Queen was continually exposed, some of a dangerous nature, some futile. As early as 1568 a report was received from Walsingham advising the Queen of possible attempts to poison her (p. 88). In 1579 the Palatine of the Rhine sends a Privy Councillor to declare to her particulars of a conspiracy and treason against her person and estate (p. 172); and in 1589 one of the causes of the Earl of Arundel's indictment (p. 422) was
that certain years past by the consent of the Pope, Queen Ellen and such others, there was chosen 20 resolute persons and desperate to have murdered her Majesty, and to have drawn her by the hair of the head through the city of London, unto whose practice he was privy.
A few years later Moody, an agent of the government (p. 454),
assures her Majesty that whereas some advertisements are delivered that men are sent over hither to take away her life by indirect means, I having sounded those whom I know do most desire the alteration of this estate, do find that they rest very indifferent, for that they carry great "imaginates" of the King of Scotland, whose religion they hold more unsound than her Majesty's, and therefore they say they have no reason to seek to alter an estate, except they could be sure to serve their own turns.
But the great storm centre whence such plots arose was the Queen of Scots. In a succinct statement of dangers to England, probably drawn up in 1585, the Queen's Majesty herself is said to be the patient (or object), and "the Queen of Scots the instrument whereby the perils do grow" (p. 288). The Babington conspiracy is an instance of this, with which these papers seem to definitely prove her connexion. At p. 312 is noted a long roll containing the report of the proceedings in Parliament from October to December, 1586, with regard to that conspiracy and the Queen of Scots. In the month after the latter's execution, in a long dispatch from Richard Douglas to Archibald Douglas (p. 335), occurs the following passage:
The King himself told me that at the time when Barne Lindesay was sent in Scotland by Mr. Keythe, [by] whom also you sent his Majesty a hunting horn, it was reported to him by one he says who heard you say that you hoped the horn should be welcome and do good, because at that time when I was sent home with the discovery of the conspiracy wherein Babington and his consorts were convicted and his mother's letters that were taken, you sent with me a lure and a collar, whereof he took as you said more pleasure and more care nor of all the other letters that were sent him.
This would seem to be clear, if indirect, evidence that James recognised his mother's complicity in the Babington plot— evidence all the more valuable because it occurs in the discussion of quite a different matter. If this were so it may to some extent account for the attitude he adopted on receiving the news of Mary's execution, to which reference will be made later on.
One or two items of Elizabeth's private life may be noticed. Two grants at least to her musicians are mentioned, one to "Ambrogio Lupo one of the eldest of her musicians of the viols" (p. 442), and another to Arthur, Andrew and Jeronimo Bassano, apparently brothers, who are described merely as musicians. The Queen was fond of music, a taste no doubt inherited from her father, and was herself a skilled performer. (fn. 1) Another form of amusement to which her Majesty was prone was paying visits to her chief courtiers, who probably did not relish too frequent visitations of this nature, as it must have involved them in enormous expence— and enabled Elizabeth to effect a corresponding saving in the expenditure of the royal household; which was no doubt the reason of her being addicted to such progresses. These papers record that she paid at least four visits to Burghley, in 1572, 1575, 1577 and 1583 (pp. 110, 128, 145, 228). (fn. 2) The preparations made by the Lord Treasurer to receive her Majesty are recorded with much minuteness, especially on the first and last occasions.
These papers, however, are occupied chiefly with Elizabeth's foreign policy, to which the most important of them relate. This is hardly to be wondered at seeing that nearly the whole of her reign was devoted to the development of that policy. The circumstances of the time and the situation of the kingdom demanded it. All the first years of her reign she was liable to disturbances from Scotland; and when they ceased to cause alarm, invasion from Spain, the then war-lord of the world, threatened her, and the instinct of self-preservation compelled the using all the nation's resources to check and hurl back the approaching danger. Hence in the direction of foreign policy these papers follow three main lines, relating to—
1. Mary Queen of Scots and Scotch affairs till 1587: then the affairs of James VI and succession to the English throne.
2. The affairs of Spain and intended Spanish invasions from 1587 onwards.
3. The wars in France in which the Queen interfered as as a means of striking at Spain, and the religious wars in France, from 1591.
Scotland.—From time to time glimpses of the state of affairs in Scotland during the whole reign of Elizabeth are afforded us by these papers. At her accession to the throne parties there were in a state of great confusion, the outstanding feature of which to Elizabeth must have been the danger that efforts the French were making to get possession of the government would be attended with success. At p. 41 is a memorandum of things to "be secretly shewn to the Governor of Scotland," apparently to put before him the real designs of the French King:
The French King intends by all other means he can to draw the said Governor and his most special friends with many high promises to France, the which promises he intends never to keep, nor yet no other thing that he has already granted, as the deed will show. And if by no means of craft and subtlety he can bring this matter to effect, then his purpose is to send a great power in Scotland, under the shadow and colour to put justice and order in that realm as it is in France, for punishment of heretics and traitors as he calls them, amongst whom the Governor, and his, will be the first handled.
Some years later, at the end of 1571, an interesting despatch from Verac at Edinburgh to the French Ambassador in England (p. 105) shews that the French King had not entirely given up all hope of dominating Scotland. He points to Mar's hatred of the English, and says that Morton only received help from them with great regret as being their ancient enemies, and if the French King would make peace between the two parties Morton would be the first to make war on England. Verac, however, doubts their devotion to France, as Hunsdon was practising with success to gain them over to Elizabeth. But from this point French influence in Scotland declined, and only one spasmodic attempt to revive it occurs in 1587 immediately after the death of the Queen of Scots (p. 341).
Not much additional light is thrown by these papers on the story of Mary Queen of Scots, most of the documents in this volume having been already printed by Murdin and Labanoff. Soon after her arrival in England she writes (p. 87) to Elizabeth, protesting against the latter's refusal to see her, as she is here "not to save her life, but to bring her false accusers before the Queen and recover her honour." In her answer a few weeks later (p. 87) Elizabeth comments on the change of tone between Mary's last letter and a previous one, and asserts that her aim is to end these troubles; in doing which she hopes Mary will show herself reasonable. In another brief letter (p. 91), which is undated but must belong to the period of Mary's arrival in England, the Queen replies to her "desire to be sure of my true amity" by telling Mary to "mistrust no double dealing, but such sincerity as fits a King to give you."
However anxious Elizabeth might be to treat her in a kingly way—and her dislike to the illtreatment of royalty in any way would impel her in that direction—the evidence against her could not be overlooked. Mary, according to a "Copy of an Act of Secret Counsell" printed at p. 83, (fn. 3) had already been denounced by the Privy Council of Scotland in no measured terms as privy to Darnley's murder, which was proved
by divers her privy letters written and subscribed with her own hand and sent by her to James Earl Bothwell, chief executor of the said horrible murder, as well before the committing thereof as thereafter: and by her ungodly and dishonourable proceeding in a private marriage with him suddenly and unprovisedly thereafter, it must (be) certain that she was privy art and part and of the actual device and deed of the forenamed murder of the King her lawful husband our sovereign lord's father.
A murderer, and especially a royal murderer, was a person to beware of; and the commission of such a crime could not but prejudice Elizabeth against Mary. But from a political point of view it was still more necessary to keep her under surveillance. Already the title of the Queen of Scots to the Crown of England was widely discussed. There are two dissertations on the subject in this collection (pp. 101, 107) of about this date or a little later, one of them being in French and drawn up apparently in support of Mary's right: while for the same reason the plots that were hatched at home centred around her, and because the hopes of the Roman Catholics were bound up with her. After the massacre of St. Bartholomew men's minds turned to the danger from this quarter in England; and one writer on that outbreak enlarges upon dangers to be feared from Catholic plots, and concludes in favour of the execution of the Queen of Scots (p. 112). It is plain, therefore, that from a time shortly after Mary's arrival in England, Elizabeth was subjected to urgent and well grounded suggestions tending to her execution. At least it was impossible for Elizabeth to release her, even had she wished to; and it is very doubtful from Mary's own point of view whether she or her supporters really desired it. In a paper of intelligence in Walsingham's hand (p. 250), the date of which must be early in 1584, it is stated:
The practice of conveying the Queen of Scots ceased, for that her being here as a prisoner may more profit her than her absence from hence any other where at liberty.
This throws a strong light upon the centre of intrigue she had become; and by consequence upon the dangers that threatened Elizabeth in her regard. It was no wonder that the Queen's most trusted advisers became anxious about the matter, and urged her to do justice against such a dangerous rival. In 1586 Archibald Douglas writing to the Master of Gray gives a long account of an interview with Elizabeth at which he had endeavoured to ascertain what was intended with regard to the Queen of Scots (p. 307). The Queen referred him to Burghley and Walsingham, and added:
But this far I will round in thine ear, there is of my Council such that hath persuaded me that if I should do justice against the mother I should do nothing else but advance the son, what will be more dangerous in him, degrees nearer to his weal, and that princes would be curious to look in my doings in this matter. What speech to use of this matter I leave to thyself, or if none at all I can be contented.
Douglas observed that notwithstanding any ingratitude that could be alleged on the part of the King's mother, James could not be forgetful of his own honour. To this the Queen made answer:
I will neither condemn thy speech neither thy King and Master his meaning, but this far I may say to thee, that if the half of that good nature had been in his mother that I imagine to be in himself he had not been so soon fatherless; and I do suspect or no less of her against her own son than I do against myself if she may perform it, for she that could not for his good bearing spare the father, how can any be persuaded that she will spare the son that she plainly affirms in her letters hath done her wrong.
From this it is evident that Elizabeth was under no delusion as to Mary's feeling towards herself; and that the impression made upon her mind by Darnley's murder was lasting. But that his mother's life was in any danger James refused to believe. Even in November, 1586, the Laird of Barnbowgill writing from Edinburgh to Douglas (p. 317) observes:
It is spoken here that your lordship wrote to the King, if he in any sort requested the Queen of England for his mother, that he would put himself out of credit with the Queen of England. I know it to be of truth, yet the King makes no such request to the Queen of England as he would, and that all the nobility perceives is that he is loath to "tyne" the Queen of England. The night as his Majesty shewed myself his Grace was assured that his mother's life was in no danger, I spake the most part of the nobility to move the King's Majesty to travail that his Grace's mother should neither receive shame not scaith.
His courtiers, however, were not so confident, and their fears were soon to be justified. On December 4 a proclamation was printed for declaring the sentence already given against the Queen of Scots (p. 321); and scarce two months elapsed before that sentence was carried out.
It has been noted above that most of Mary's letters contained in this collection have already appeared in print; those that have not been printed before do not seem to be of much importance. In 1584 she wrote at great length to Mauvissière (p. 243) and the Master of Gray (p. 254). To the former she describes their enemies as engaged in destroying her own and her son's claim to the Crown of England, and practising against her life and honour; denies her reported conversation with her keeper, and expresses concern for her safety during Shrewsbury's absence at Court, asserting also that she had no part in the late disturbances of Somerville and Arden. She then harps on her favourite subject, her wrongs and sufferings, and complains of want of money and the mismanagement of her dower in France. To the Master of Gray she disapproves of his embassy from James to Elizabeth as tending to divide herself and her son and so towards Elizabeth's security; and doubts not Elizabeth is feeding James, as she is herself, with the hope of succession to the Crown of England—in direct opposition to her above assertion to Mauvissière—but it is merely an artifice. Her other letters are full of minor intrigues, complaints of her hard lot and protestations of her ignorance of the many little plots that were rising around her.
On the death of Mary interest as regards Scottish affairs is at once diverted to her son. James up to the last had professed to believe her life was in no danger, though at that very time he was being strongly urged by the French King to intervene with Elizabeth to secure her safety and that no rigorous treatment should be used towards her on account of the late (Babington's) conspiracy. Although the execution might in Catholic circles be called murder (pp. 342, 404), yet James took a very different view of it. A letter dated 2 March, 1587, from Pury Ogilvy to Archibald Douglas gives a very curious account of the King's behaviour on receiving the news (p. 334):—
Last of all I will assure you that the King moved never his countenance at the rehearsal of his mother's execution, nor leaves not his pastime and hunting more than of before.
This is the only passage in the letter that is underlined, as if to express the writer's amazement at the King's conduct. Whatever may have been his real sentiments James was not prepared to let the execution make a breach between himself and Elizabeth; and to that end seemed to accept the theory that it was the work of her Council and not herself. Thus on March 12 Richard Douglas writes to the Scotch Ambassador (p. 335):—
Always I see his Majesty ready to accept that excuse of the Queen and take the wrong done to him as done by her counsellors . . . . . . . . . . but in no ways would his Majesty consent to deal with any of them who confessed to have been the authors of this injury offered to him in honour, or to have to do with them in any ways. He remains sufficiently satisfied with the counsel you gave him to seem to take this matter by heart, and as he is in very deed so he will still appear highly offended with the causers thereof, and will let them and all the world understand that he will seek by all lawful means to have so high an injury worthily repaired . . . . . . . I told him in what sort my lord of Leicester had subscribed the warrant, and did what I could to excuse him; so that at last I brought him thus far, that if my lord would purge himself by saying that when he signed that commission he thought it had been the Queen her pleasure, the King will be contented to receive letters from him and to deal with him. In sum, I perceive his Majesty highly offended, but yet if reason be offered and promised, he may be appeased suppose he be marvellously incensed by them who are about him to the contrary.
So determined was James to hold to this theory he would not even hear the Queen's excuses (p. 366):
Not long since the Lord Hunsdon wrote a long letter to his Majesty containing sundry "heindes" and griefs upon her Majesty's part, as also offers to the King, regretting specially he should have refused to hear the Queen's purgation touching his mother's death. As for the offers I think they are better known to you than to anybody here except to such as will communicate no purposes with me.
So wrote Richard Douglas to Archibald Douglas early in 1588; while in the July before, Robert Melville had refused to approach James as to the place and method of his mother's burial (p. 344), "knowing how heavy and displeasant" it was to move it to him while it continues recent in his mind and in all the subjects of this realm; and he concludes
I doubt not but the Queen's Majesty will have respect to that is most agreeable to her own honour, seeing it is reported that she was innocent of that fact.
Even before his mother's death the condition of Scotland had rendered James's throne an uneasy one. More than once the nobles had risen against him (pp. 202, 230, 322), as they did not fail to do thereafter (pp. 410, 412, 470, 479); and on one occasion he realised that his position was almost that of a prisoner. Sir Henry Cobham writing from Paris to Walsingham in June, 1583 (p. 230) remarks:
There is in this town Sir John Seton, second son to the lord of Seton, ready to take his voyage to Spain. He has order from the Scotch King to inform King Philip that his subjects hold him prisoner, and to demand his counsel and aid.
It was evident therefore that James could not possibly dispense with Elizabeth's support, and it was this fact that regulated his conduct towards her at all times. He even submitted to her scoldings, which were neither gentle nor few. In 1589 the Queen rates him soundly for disregarding her warnings of coming danger and treating too leniently his traitorous nobles (p. 410):
If you do not now cut off clearly any future hope to your nobility through this example never to combine with foreigners or compact among themselves to your danger, I vow to God you will never possess your dignity. Living weeds in fields, if they be suffered, will quickly overgrow the corn; but subjects being dandled will make their own rein and forlett another rein.
And again a little later (p. 412).
I beseech you therefore, despise not the work that God hath framed nor yet contemn the counsel that your assured gave you, and neglect not the many warnings that those men's own demerits have laid before you, nor forget the danger that your own person hath narrowly escaped, but finish this treason with justice which no man may reproach but every creature laud.
There are many letters that passed between the two Sovereigns in this collection, and from these a good outline of the relations between them may be gathered. It is impossible here to go into detail, but attention may be drawn to the instructions given by James to Archibald Douglas, whom he was sending as ambassador to England in August, 1586 (p. 299). They are very lengthy and deal with three matters chiefly. James asks Elizabeth for her counsel and advice as to his marriage— supposing, as noted above, she would not accept him herself; as to the religious troubles which were rife in Scotland; and as to the dangers threatening her Majesty's state and person, concerning which (p. 304)
We cannot but greatly praise her worldly judgment as proceeding from God, Author of all goodness, to give her enemies some business to do in the bounds they possess for to keep their common malice from her and her dominions.
Reference is also made to the Queen's promise not to prejudge his title (to the English Crown) together with twenty thousand crowns as a yearly relief; and a gentle hint is added that the latter is hardly sufficient. Just before the despatch of Douglas with the above instructions, a league had been negotiated between the two Sovereigns, by their commissioners at Berwick; Elizabeth having refused to sign some instrument previously proposed for her signature, for in April, 1586 (p. 294) she writes to James in a humorous vein—
Touching an instrument (as your Secretary termeth it) that you desire to have me sign, I assure you, though I play on some and have been brought up to know music yet this discord would be so gross as were not fit for so well tuned music. Must so great doubt be made of free good will and gift be so mistrusted that our sign manual must assure? No, my dear brother! teach your new raw councillors better manners than to advise you such a paring of ample meaning. Who should doubt the performance of a King's offer?
Whatever difficulties as to signing any document existed they were soon met, and the league (fn. 4) was duly formed; and in July the Queen acknowledges its conclusion thus (p. 295)—
My trial of your sincere affection, my dear brother, in the concluding of our league hath been both pleasing to mine expectation and necessary for your government . . . . . I have no words to express the many thanks my breast yieldeth you for your ready performing of our covenant; which, by God's grace, shall ever remain inviolated for my part, and doubt not of your just requital.
From an undated letter of James to the Queen (p. 323), obviously referring to the same matter, we get his view of the transaction. He says he is writing
first to thank you as well for the sending so rare a gentleman unto me, to whose brother I was so far beholden, as also for the twice sending me such sums of money, which according to the league I shall thankfully repay with forces of men whensoever your estate shall so require.
The amount of pecuniary help that the King was to receive, however, does not seem to have been to his satisfaction, for in 1588 we find him complaining loudly of the smallness of the sum sent (p. 377):—
I perceive his Majesty our sovereign thinks himself far deceived of his expectation, for he looked for great matters out of that country but now he sees the contrary. . . . . . The king denies very fast that ever any such small sum of money was sought in his name and he assured me that he shall never let receive it.
On the other hand James was to assist her with an armed force when she so required. At a later date the opportunity did arise in connexion with the Spanish Armada, though the offers then made, of a very general character, were not accepted (pp. 380, 384). But the fact that Scotland afforded an asylum to some Spaniards, apparently refugees from the Armada, roused the Queen's ire, and drew from her an indignant letter to James in which she puts the matter in her usual forcible way (p. 408):
I marvel at the store you make of the Spaniards, being the spoils of my wrack. You write me word not one should bide with you, and now they must attend for more company. I am sorry to see how small regard you have of so great a cause. I may claim by treaty that such should not be, but I hope without such claim (seeing your home practices) you will quickly rid your realm of them with speed, which I do expect for your own sake, not the least for mine.
One other cause of controversy arose between the allies when Colonel Stewart was sent to demand the debt due to Scotland from the Low Countries. Out of her care for his honour and good estate Elizabeth writes to James (p. 386):—
The States of the Low Countries, whom you are not ignorant I have and do aid to keep them in breath from the extreme ruin that is meant them, find themselves sorely aggrieved that, at this time of their great need to relieve their own danger, their country's loss and their continual well nigh importable charges, you that profess the true religion and protest such inward affection to advance that cause, can find in your heart so great neglect of them and their wants as at this season, so out of season for them, to make a claim for debts owed to your subjects.
Apparently, however, the Queen's appeal was made to ears that were either deaf or besieged by more urgent entreaties nearer home: for three months later we find James requesting her (p. 408) "to cause hasten here the Commissioners of the Low Countries, for the reparation of their debt is craved by some of my subjects."
Spain.—These papers in the next place contain many references to the relations of England with Spain, but mostly of an indirect nature. Philip was at first well disposed to Elizabeth and on her accession expressed great pleasure at the way she responded to his brotherly affection. A little later, in 1564, commissioners were appointed by both countries to meet at Bruges for the settlement of commercial questions (pp. 66, 67); but after this there are few indications of diplomatic intercourse between the two countries. No ambassador from Spain was received in England after the departure of Mendoza early in 1584; and, indeed, Elizabeth complained (fn. 5) that for two years before he left Mendoza had transacted no business with her for his master—but seems rather to have acted as agent for the Queen of Scots. At the time of his dismissal a condition of things much like war must have existed between the two countries; for at the very time when the Armada was approaching the shores of England the Sultan of Turkey writes to acknowledge letters from the Queen informing him "that your Highness has waged war now for four years with the King of Spain, and all has gone as you wished." A paper of intelligence (p. 250) speaks of "the Spanish Ambassador that is departing" and must refer to Mendoza. There are many incidental references to the King of Spain and his attempts to stir up trouble for Elizabeth, but the latter was careful to maintain apparently friendly relations. In 1576 she issued a declaration denying the truth of certain statements contained in a printed Italian paper entitled Nuovo Aviso, charging her with procuring attempts to be made on the life of the Prince of Parma, of whom she expresses a noteworthy appreciation (p. 139). She mentions
the notable services done by the Prince, the greatness of whose praises therein given we mean not to extenuate, for that we think him for all qualities appertaining to a general governor both for war and peace to be more worthy for the place than ever any whom the King of Spain appointed during these troubles in those countries; and if the like person had been at the beginning the governor there, the country we think had been the more happy, and the King had saved the lives of thousands of his people and many millions of his treasure.
To this, and a second charge that she had recompensed the King of Spain many ways with unkindness "for that when he was married to our sister he saved us from death, being by sentence justly adjudged thereto," the Queen replies:
Now these two untruths . . . we are to refer them for the best trial in the world (next after the judgment of God) to the consciences and honours of the parties whom the same concerneth, that is for the first to the Prince of Parma, and as to the second the King of Spain.
She then explicitly denies the truth of both charges.
Such papers as relate to the Spanish Armada only serve to accentuate the condition of unpreparedness in which England was to meet the peril. Yet in August, 1587, the writer of an interesting letter to the Queen remarks:
Your Majesty's resolution to maintain an armada at sea is very praiseworthy and may do much good, if only for your reputation and the expense to which it will put the King of Spain in the escorting of his fleets. Moreover it will be a sentinel to your kingdom and may find opportunity to capture the whole or part of one of the fleets, or to defeat the enemy's armada; and it cannot do so little as not to win its expenses.
From Scotland too came a very clear warning, indicating in addition that Spanish troops were expected to land there and invade England from that quarter. In January, 1588, Richard Douglas writing from Edinburgh to the Scottish ambassador says (p. 363):
It is here put out of all question by the greater sort that some great forces of Spaniards are to land in this country, conducted by the lord Maxwell, and from thence to invade England. I know his Majesty would be sorry that any such matter should be, but if that come to pass it is to be feared that the hard dealing his Majesty receives from that country [would] move him if not to join with them, at least suffer them to do their worst, if he be not in time dealt with on the contrary.
And he continues:
If the bruit of the Spanish navy and preparation for war by the Duke of Parme be as great and constant there as it is here, together with this report of the defeat of the whole "reistres" in France, I think it should be a great motive to move the Queen and her Council to seek the King's goodwill and to satisfy him, as also to hasten your return to this country with plausible offers to his Majesty.
He refers to the same matter again in a later letter (p. 374). Active steps were apparently meditated, and as a preliminary in December, 1587, Lord Admiral Howard appointed Burghley his deputy, to execute the office of Lord Admiral during his own absence at sea with the fleet against the Spaniards; but it is not till the July following, so far as these papers show, that real preparations were made to provide men and materiel by the issue of privy seals for men, victuals and munitions of war (pp. 375, 378).
Of the actual doings and defeat of the Armada little mention is made in these papers. The expected landing in Scotland did not take place, at least not according to the programme, and in October Elizabeth writes to James acknowledging thankfully his readiness to resist it (p. 384):
Among the rest of their succours, I suppose your realm to have been supposed not to have been least willing nor the most unready to answer their trust, which I doubt not had answered their expectation if your natural affection towards me and regard of our strait amity had not impeached their landings, which though they never proferred yet I have cause by your promise, vow, and assurance to acknowledge your full intent to have resisted such attempt; and do take your readiness in no less kind part than if the act had been put in execution.
In spite of his promises, however, James harboured some of the Spanish refugees and entertained them in such fashion as to draw from Elizabeth an indignant letter of protest (p. 407), which has already been referred to above.
If the destruction of the Armada put an end to the actual invasion of England by the Spaniards it did not stop their making other naval preparations on a large scale, which were naturally supposed to be directed against England or Ireland. Thus about July, 1592, an unknown correspondent warns Archibald Douglas (p. 471)—
Your lordship shall make sure advertisement to her Majesty of the last news that I wrote unto your lordship, and that was towards the preparation of Spain. If those ships be not in readiness at the ports where I made mention, then write unto me that I am the false and deceitful man, for I am to bring the same to light before her Majesty. I pray God that her Majesty find it not o'er true. Let her Majesty stand upon her own guard, and her country to be in readiness ere the last of October now next.
Again, apparently in 1593, (fn. 6) the Sieur de Longelee writing to Henry IV gives an account of a large naval and military force assembled at Lisbon, supposed to have Ireland or some part of England for its destination (p. 504)—
De Lisbon, l'on me mande la meme opinion que c'est Ireland ou l'ile de Vig et que les Catholiques d'Angleterre promettent beaucoup prendre l'entreprise plus facile et l'hiver plus a propos que l'ete pour y faire la guerre. L'on dit encores que la Reine d'Angleterre doit etre assaillie de divers endroits, et meme du cote d'Ecosse, a quoi je n'ajoute pas trop de foi.
But even before the coming of the Spanish Armada English statesmen had learnt that to defend our coasts from invasion the best strategy was to attack the enemy at home; and to this principle no doubt were due the attacks on Lisbon in 1589 and the expedition to Cadiz in 1596 under Essex. Of the former two brief but most interesting accounts are given by the factors of some merchants of Lubeck writing home to their employers (pp. 413, 415). Then as now the losses to commerce caused by the raid made the most impression, at all events on neutrals. They write from Lisbon and were evidently unwilling eye-witnesses of the events they relate:
On June 2 they (the English) arrived here before the town with great secrecy and burnt all they found; and on the 5th finding their ships in the harbour they took to the water again. The small castle in Cascalis was surrendered to them. God be thanked, they departed on the 18th of June with the ship of the Easterlings. . . . . . . Our ships have been taken and stayed by the French and others: the English harass them daily. What corn is not lost will be eaten by worms. Drake has taken his course towards Spain, therefore no more corn has come hither this summer from our land.
The expedition against Cadiz in June, 1596, was a much bigger affair, and of this a very good account is given by Sir George Gyfford to the Earl of Southampton (p. 577), written from Cadiz Road on July 5. The occupation of the town by the English lasted exactly a fortnight and as they quitted it they set it on fire; but Gyfford concludes his account by saying—
Yet have our Generals won great honour, yea, even of the enemy, by their mercifulness in suffering man, woman and child to depart with their lives and with what they had about them.
The other results of the expedition, as appears from these papers, were the acquisition of a considerable amount of spoil (p. 577), and the arising of a quarrel between Sir Anthony Ashley and Sir Gelly Meyrick over the appropriation of that same spoil (pp. 582, 604). But there was still another method of offensive defence against Spain the effectiveness of which was recognised by English and Spaniards alike, and that was to cut off the King of Spain's supplies by attacking his Indian fleets. The necessity of seizing these ships was one of the reasons offered by Elizabeth to the Sultan to induce him to send his triremes to Spain. She had told him, he says (p. 379),
that the King of Spain sending his fleet to the Indies was endeavouring to bring back into his kingdom in gold, silver, precious stones and spices, every year 30,000,000 (trecenties centena millia) of gold. And unless he were opposed he would get together so much gold and silver and such forces that he would be most rich and powerful of all princes if he but obtained peace: whose ships your Highness has often intercepted.
So fearful was the King of these ships being intercepted that a strong convoy was provided them on the way home. Chasteau Martin reports to Burghley the despatch of such convoys (pp. 481, 511), and in May, 1595, says that "the Indian fleet has arrived at Seville, with 22 millions of gold. Don Francisco Colomba has remained in the Indies with 12 galleons in order to accompany another fleet" (p. 531). When the English expedition arrived in Cadiz harbour they found that
within the harbour, under the forts of the town, there rode 18 galleys, some 54 sail of great ships, whereof some 12 of them were the King's chief men of war, the Phillipe being admiral, for the wafting of 24 great ships bound and laden for the Indies (p. 578),
where their cargoes would be exchanged for a more valuable lading and they would be wafted home again. We get a glimpse too of precautions taken on the way: on one occasion an expedition fitted out against England is kept waiting for its commander, the Marquis de Saint Croix, who was in the Island of St. Michel hourly expecting the arrival of the Indian fleet (p. 504). A paper on Spanish affairs of about the year 1595 (p. 559) gives a very gloomy account of their finances, owing to the long stay of the Indian fleet which "hath driven the King to very great difficulties, being altogether unfurnished of money, without means to supply his present wants; his revenues almost all engaged, and the assignments of the money of this fleet expected already in the hands of creditors." No wonder his Majesty watched anxiously for the arrival of his fleets from the Indies (p. 571); and no wonder the English adventurers shewed equal eagerness to intercept them. The carrack seized in the autumn of 1592 was probably the fruit of such an adventure (pp. 472, 479, 480).
This method of action then,—to strike at Spain through her Indian fleets and possessions—was thoroughly appreciated in, and skilfully used by England; and its effect upon the King of Spain may be finally shewn by the following extracts from a paper drawn up in Italian (p. 571). From its mention of the succouring of Calais, which had been taken by the Spaniards in April, 1596, it seems to belong to the middle of that year.
The King of Spain has neither ships nor means nor sufficient preparations to undertake any enterprise against England, but spreads reports of such enterprises being undertaken to keep the Queen in suspicion and divert her from sending her forces against Havanna and the Indies, where he fears a mortal blow may be struck at the heart of his power. But her Majesty and her Council being very wise will know well how to keep things in England in readiness with but little expense so that they cannot dread his machinations.
Her Majesty has not to employ her forces and her power elsewhere than to seize Havanna and hinder the cruising and the security of the King of Spain's fleet, the maiming of which would be the cutting off of Sampson's hair, as to support it all his force goes and without which he is totally defenceless; as without the Indies' fleet the King of Spain would rest stripped of all his power, and thus the mighty monarch would be without strength and without credit, and without means either to save himself or to do harm to others. And to this it is necessary to attend and not to allow oneself to be frightened by the shadows and the cunning demonstrations and imaginary alarms of the Spaniards, succouring Cales [Calais] therefore before anything else. . .
If Havanna were England's not only would she take from Spain all its vigour but all the gold would go to the Queen, with which she would be able not only to compete with Spain [but] to humble her, and both the great men and the lesser ones of the Queen might have the money of the Indies, and might hopefully believe that they could give Spain something to do.
The most modern strategist could not have given sounder advice under the circumstances. It was no doubt due to the success of this policy, as illustrated by the expedition sent against Cadiz, instead of to the succour of Calais in 1596, that the paper in Spanish of "suggestions for the King of Spain's service, made in consideration of the fortune which the armada of England has had," was drawn up (p. 602). So great, indeed, was the success of that expedition that it was commonly supposed the King of Spain would seek his revenge by the use of similar means; and in the autumn of the same year we find Count Louis of Nassau writing to the Earl of Essex (p. 586) in the following terms:—
Ce matin jay parle a un des Messieurs des Etats Generaulx, Monsieur Redanus, qui est de mes amis, qui ma asseure que Messieurs sont fort enclin a quelque nouvelle flotte de mer vers ce coste d'Espagne pour prevenir quelque entreprise que le Roy d'Espagne pourra faire pour se revanger de vostre Excellence, ce que je prie Dieu qu'il ce puisse faire.
The danger must have appeared imminent to move the States General to contemplate such action.
France.—We must pass on now to draw attention briefly to some of the papers in this volume concerning France and French affairs. In the latter half of the volume they are very numerous, surpassing in number and interest those relating to Scotland. Nor is this strange, for upon the accession of Henry of Navarre to the French Crown the fortunes and interests of England became largely identified with those of France. Both countries were menaced by a common enemy, Spain; both countries were deeply interested in the Reformed religion—called simply "the religion" by its adherents in France, no other being admissible. In England its establishment required consolidating; in France it had eventually to fight for its existence. For the same reasons the two countries were united in support of the Low Countries, though the latter did not always appreciate the form in which that support was given. Amongst the papers concerning France it will be noted that a great many, and those the most important, are letters to and from the Earl of Essex. This seems to arise from his having been put in command of the English troops sent into Brittany in 1591, from which time he maintained a constant correspondence with the two kindred spirits Henry IV and the Due de Bouillon. At his rebellion and execution in 1601 all the Earl's papers were seized by Sir Robert Cecil as principal Secretary, and therefore naturally appear in this collection.
The first paper to which attention may be directed is the account (p. 263) given by the Earl of Derby and Sir E. Stafford of their audience with the French King, 3 March, 1585. They had been sent to discuss with the King French relations with the Low Countries since the death of Anjou; and the King urged a joint interposition with the King of Spain in order to secure to the latter's subjects in the Low Countries their old customs and liberties. The Queen Mother objected to the proposal on the ground of the disturbed condition of France: and this condition is accentuated by the following paper on French affairs (p. 264), the writer of which goes so far as to predict a second St. Bartholomew.
In January, 1587, the King of Navarre appears upon the scene in an instrument setting forth an agreement with Horatio Palavicino as Elizabeth's representative. Henry, after publishing a declaration of the causes that compelled him to take up arms (p. 357), was trying to form a league among the Princes oppressed by the Pontiff, and sent Segur to ask their assistance with men, money and munitions of war in defending the common cause. In response to this appeal the Queen aids him with 100,000 gold crowns, to be repaid after peace has been obtained in France from the French King; and in August following we get a glimpse of the use made of such aid. An unknown correspondent writing (p. 345) to the Queen on the condition of affairs in the Low Countries and the doings of the Holy League in France, says:—
The League was dismayed at hearing of the passage of the Rhine but has since begun to recover courage, being given unexpected leisure to provide for itself, as it does. . . . . Moreover the adherents of the League are so suspicious that, expecting the King of Navarre to be in the army in person and to march quickly into Lorraine or elsewhere, and seeing none of these things done, they impute a grave error and in their ignorance judge wrongly of the army and the enterprise.
In November further reinforcements to the number of 10,000 men were promised by John, Duke Casimir, to the King of Navarre to serve till peace be made; and again the Queen is found supplying the sinews of war (p. 350).
A terrible picture of the state of affairs in France in 1589 is given in two letters to Archibald Douglas (pp. 399, 405). The country was torn by a threefold war between the League, the Huguenots under Navarre, and the French King, who "for the present is the weakest party of the three": and in the midst of the strife tragic events are not wanting, such as the death of the Duke of Guise (p. 399) and of the Queen Mother, the latter of whom was supposed to have died by poison. By the autumn of 1589 the death of the French King had simplified matters and reduced the number of parties to two—the Huguenots under Henry IV of France, and the Roman Catholics under the leadership of the League.
It was not long before Elizabeth was constrained to come to Henry's relief with assistance in men as well as money. A letter to Burghley from Ottwell Smyth in November, 1590 (p. 436), draws a vivid picture of the distracted state of France. Upon Paris specially, which held for the League, the struggle was pressing severely; famine and terrible mortality from the plague soon led them to contemplate a surrender and a general peace. Moreover, the Spaniards were in Brittany, and it was probably this consideration and the threat it implied of cutting off communications between England and France that led the Queen to send 4,000 troops to Brittany to be used specially about Havre and Rouen. But in writing to Henry to tell him of the coming aid (p. 447) she is careful to say they are not to go further than three days' march on any other enterprise: for
Vous scavez, mon trescher frere, ou il ni va de la conqueste d'une partie du pays, ou de l'asseurance de quelques villes ou hostages de grande importance c'est chose dangereuse a nos Anglois, voir a quelque autre royaulme du monde pour consommer le tresor, amoindrir les subjects et affoiblir les armes, et pour rien que pour esperance de ce qui est fort incertain, Pourtant ne vous desplaise, que oyant rien que demandes, voire trop de requestes sans cesser, c'est asses de facher les epaules de plus forts que d'une Royne. Car apres que sans difficulte ou espace pris de trois jours que nous avons consenty nos troupes, on vient a me r'assaillir un aultre coup pour l'Alemaigne. Mon Dien, qu'ilz vous font de disservice qui tant m'assaillent!
But the Queen cannot refrain from reprimanding him for his supineness in allowing the Spaniards to continue in the ports of Brittany:—
Et finiray avec mes doleances, qu'en tant des moys, nonobstant vos trop grandes necessites, et mes plusieurs requestes, vous souffrez trop a leur ayse, que les Espagnols habitent vos ports de Bretaigne, a qui ilz pretendent, comme pour l'heritage de leur maistre.
This letter and the assistance it promised is characteristic of Elizabeth's treatment of Henry all through his reign. She was anxious to assist France, but always did so by driblets, whether of men or money. "Men forgot," she says, "that she had another realm besides France to keep, and that she cannot do it to her satisfaction without preserving her people's love to the utmost." To this end she was always careful both of the persons and purses of her subjects, and it is necessary to bear this in mind when tempted to condemn the Queen for her parsimony. At least she accomplished the great end she had in view.
These troops were sent to France under the command of the Earl of Essex, Sir Roger Williams being second in command (pp. 452, 453), a portion of them having been drawn from the companies serving in the Low Countries (p. 455). By September Essex had arrived in France, and the first letter to him from Henry in this collection occurs at p. 451. It was in cipher and contained the King's instructions as commander in chief to Essex as general of the English forces. Nothing is to be learnt from these papers of the success of this expedition, and they are comparatively silent on the affairs of France for the next two years. In 1593 it is true it seems to have been the Queen's intention to send further help, and orders were actually issued for the levying of men in certain counties to go to France, but there is no evidence that they were really sent. But late in the summer of 1594 a treaty was concluded for sending 4,000 foot and 100 horse into Brittany, though at the King's expense. They were in France in October, and strong complaints were made of their conduct there. Marshal d'Aumont writing to Henry (p. 515) says:—
J'adjouxtray ce mot a ma lettre pour advertir V. M. des desportemens insolens des Angloys, car ils ne laissent rien a ravager, les esglises, les maisons des gentilshommes, les fermes et maisteries, encor aujourdhuy ilz ont volle une esglise et la maison d'un Abbe ou ilz ont pris tant en ornemens que aultres choses la valleur de plus de quatre mil escuz.
So serious were their misdeeds that some adherents of M. de Mercure, who had secretly made known to the Marshal their desire to return to their allegiance, were repelled by the ravages committed by the English, to stop which the Marshal is appealing to the Queen.
It was about this time that the intimacy between the Duke of Bouillon and Essex began, which is represented by a voluminous correspondence among these papers. Essex was not employed again in France, although there seems to have been an idea of diverting the expedition under him against Cadiz in 1596 for the relief of Calais (p. 572), which had been captured by the Spaniards in April of that year (p. 579). But de Bouillon, alike soldier and statesman, was at this time Henry's chief minister, and was sent into England on several occasions, being employed to negotiate the treaty of 1596 (pp. 573, 574). The two men had much in common, and from 1594 de Bouillon used the influence of Essex with Elizabeth as the chief means of bringing pressure to bear upon the Queen and inducing her to aid the French King (pp. 518, 525, 527, &c.); and his letters give a vivid and continuous picture of the state of affairs in France. As leader of the party of the religion he had a double purpose in view—to preserve his party from destruction by the Catholics, and—since the King of Spain sided with the latter—to preserve his country from Spain. In the first of these letters to Essex he sets forth the dangers, and the means to be adopted to meet them (p. 518):—
Le Roy estant passe cy avant sera contrainct par ces mesmes Catholiques de faire la guerre a nous autres de la religion et a touts les Princes voysins qui font la mesme profession. Mais le remede est que nous engagons les couronnes de France et d'Espaigne l'une contre l'autre, lequel je tascheray par toutes moyens. Et il fault que vous de dela poussies le Roy par toutes moyens a ceste resolution. Soyes industrieux, car Pluto [Philip] ne dorme point. II ne laisse de pratiquer ausi bien vos amys que vos enemis a vostre prejudice. Il fault que vous autres serviteurs de ceste heureuse et excellent princesse regardies a leurs projets bien loing. J'escris a la Roine en ce pacquet. Je vous supplie de presanter mes lettres.
Soon he is able to inform Essex that the war has begun, but the Queen must come to their help (p. 525):—
J'ay tant faict que nous avous faict l'ouverture de la gueere contre les deux roys par l'entrer de ceste armee dans les pays des enemis. J'ay faict ung joly progres pour le comencemant.
But divided counsels in the King's Council are likely to frustrate his efforts:
Ou noz effectz par le temps devroyent croistre je voy qu'ilz diminueront sy Dieu n'inspire à Libra [Elizabeth] de nous ayder, de quoy je vous supplie de sonder toutz moyens pour voir sy nous pourrions avoir des hommes ou de l'argent, pour lequel je m'asseure que Leo [Henry] luy donnera toutes les assurances qu'elle en scauroit desirer, et, sy elle en veult des particulieres de moy, je les feray telles que vous les prometres pour moy, nous ne serions pas en dispute, où j'auray pouvoir de bien loger les Anglois sy l'on veult stipuler cela de moy, ou quand l'on ne le feroit, ou je le pourrois . . . . . . et n'obmetre nul moyen pour m'y aider, ne doubtant que s'il m'avenoit [l']inconveniant de perdre ce que j'ay desja conquis et qu'il nous faleust laisser le dessaing, que vous verries toutz noz ennemis recourir contre vous aussy bien que contre nous (p. 526).
Under the same date, complaining of the weakness of his forces, he says:—
Sy vostre souverayne vouloit faire promener jusques issy deus mille hommes durant ceste este nous santirions nos armes trop puissantes soubs ces anseignes pour resculler (p. 527).
Constantly during this year de Bouillon insists to Essex on the religious character of the war in France, that the interests of England are identical with theirs, and appeals for succours from Elizabeth:—
Que vous ne nencouries la mauvaise grace de ce prince vous deves ouvrir et vostre cœur et voz discours pour prevoir de quel ourage vous estes menassé et pour le present, et pour l'avenir considerer ce que vous deves pour le salut de vostre royne et patrie avec le maintien de la religion, et coment avec ces trois choses vous pouves acroistre vostre condition. . . . Nous nous plaignous que voz remedes ne sont pas si grandz que voz jalousies, et nous nous rendons stupides au nostre . . . . . . . . . . ung des biens qu'on se prometoit de ceste guerre estoit qu'elle nous reuniroit avec vous, que nous aurions mesmes ennemis et mesmes dessaingz, desirant que dieu nous ouverte les yeux pour cognoistre combien de vrayes raisons Chrestiennes et politiques nous y convient (p. 528).
C'est vostre souveraine seulle quy la peut secouryr an anvoyant promtemant quatre mille hommes de pied aiant asses de cavallerie par dessa et fesant que ceus des Estats an anvoyassent deus mille. Mes sy la volonte de sa Majeste estoit telle il y faut user de diligense. Ce secours an labsance du Roy seroit continuer a sa Majesté de se montrer vraie protectrisse des afaires du Roy (p. 537).
At length in a despatch to La Fontaine informing him of the condition of affairs in France and the ebbing fortunes of those of the religion, de Bouillon intimates plainly that Henry is inclined to treat with the King of Spain, at which he expresses no surprise as having long suspected it (p. 543). This seems to have at last convinced the Queen of the necessity of sending further aid to France; and in the spring of 1596 a treaty with de Bouillon is concluded for the purpose. But in the opinion of the Duke the assistance promised was utterly inadequate, and he does not fail to let Essex know it; at the same time warning the latter that his ruin is being sought at Elizabeth's Court (p. 573):—
Nous avons finy nostre nesgossiassion avec les articles d'une ligue ofansive et desfansive beaucoup moindres a mon jugemant que la grandeur des personnes et des roiaumes ne meritoient, moindres que nos afaires pour an estre soulagees, et infiniemant moins que mon esperanse. Nous la raportons cheus nous ou nous exagerons les raisons quy ont retenu la roine de ne faire davantage . . . . . . . . . . nous ne pouvons demeurer seuls pour soustenir la guerre, et ne nous joignant il faudra se porter ailleurs a la ruine pour le moins de ceus quy font profession de la vraie religion a nostre soing et diligense de prevenir ce mal. Le temps que je demeure an ce royaume m'a asses donne de connoissance que toutes les cours ont des humeurs samblables principallement aus anvies antre les particuliers et aus jalousies contre ceus desquels la vertu exelle. Ceste raison m'a fet voir que vostre ruine est desiree et finimant recherchee.
But inadequate as were the succours promised, even they were with difficulty extorted from the Queen, to whom the Duke writes in September (p. 581):—
Je croy, Madame, que sil ne plaist a vostre Majesté donner le secours au besoing qu'en a le Roy, qu'estant passé ou par l'evenement ou par le temps que vostre Majesté sera marrie d'avoir perdu l'occasion d'executter tres utillement ung des principaulx points contenus en la ligue.
Which article of the league it was the Queen had failed so far to carry out we learn from the covering letter of the Sieur de Reau to Sir R. Cecil, when forwarding the above letter to the Queen (p. 381):—
Je vous envoie une lettre que Monsieur le Due de Bouillon escrit a la Royne, que je vous supplie luy fere voir le plustost qu'il sera possible, par laquelle sa Majesté connoistra d'avantage la necessite que le Roy a de la prompte assistance des deux mille hommes pour empescher que les ennemis ne contraignent son armee de repasser la riviere de Somme, et lui donner cependant loisir de pourvoir a l'etablissement de son entretenemant par l'ordre qu'il se delibere mettre en ses finances, ainsy que Monsieur de Villeroy luy escrit derechef.
With a few more letters from de Bouillon to Essex of an unimportant character the documents relating to France in this volume come to a close. At the end of 1596 we see Henry, despairing of getting effective aid from Elizabeth, and doubtless anxious for the good of his crown and realm to bring the long drawn civil strife to an end, ready to make peace with his ancient enemy Spain, having already in 1593 made his peace with Rome.
With regard to the general foreign policy of England under Elizabeth, an interesting definition of it is given in a paper of December, 1589 (p. 418). It is in Italian and headed simply "M. to F.," which from internal evidence, and the fact that it is addressed to some one high in the service of the Grand Duke of Florence, would appear to signify "Minute to Florence." It is a very able state paper; and after speaking of the general European situation the writer remarks:
It is therfore easy to see how necessary it is both for the Princes of Italy and for the Queen my sovereign to maintain the balance of Europe; for which she has done, and will do, her part.
From that day to this the maintenance of the balance of power in Europe, without entangling herself too much in alliances, has been the policy of England: and it is further interesting to notice that in our day that balance is being maintained by the aid of the smaller States, just as the writer of this minute suggests a combination of the Italian States which might form a makeweight for the purpose of imposing conditions on Spain.
Other Countries:—We can only point out that much and varied information relative to the Low Countries, Portugal—the rival claimants to which throne on the death of Don Sebastian in 1580 both alike turned to Elizabeth for assistance (pp. 176, 191, 217)—Ireland and other countries will be found in this collection and is made accessible by the index. With regard to Ireland this volume is comparatively silent; though there are copies of letters from Henry VII and Henry VIII to the city of Waterford (p. 14), and a declaration of the value of Crown possessions in the country about 1547. There are also mentions of the disturbances that were chronic there (pp. 189, 193, 500, 546), references to the revenue, and general memoranda on the country; but more papers concerning it may be expected in the next volume, covering the period that Essex was Lord Deputy, and the suppression of the rebellion that followed.
This collection covering so long a period, nearly the whole of the 16th century, many well known historical personages are naturally referred to in it; but only a few can be noticed here.
Lord Burghley.—Of these Lord Burghley is the most prominent, and he appears before us in many different aspects. As Chancellor of the University of Cambridge he is frequently consulted by individual Colleges to secure their privileges or to settle disputes that have arisen (pp. 127–133, 147, 162, &c.). One of his chief hobbies was Theobalds, which came into his possession in 1563; many of these papers relate to the works and alterations he carried out there (pp. 110, 169, 449, &c.). The description of the accommodation afforded by the house in 1572, contained in a paper drawn up in preparation for a visit by the Queen in July of that year, is very full and particular. Another favourite pursuit of his was the study of pedigrees, especially of the Cecil family, of which many proofs are to be found in the present volume (pp. 140, 178, &c.). He also kept a diary of the principal events that happened during his life, beginning characteristically with his own birth:—"1521, Sept. 13. I, William Cecil was born between 3 and 4 in the afternoon"! (pp. 141, 199, 389, &c.). Of the correspondence in this volume a large proportion is naturally addressed to Burghley as Secretary; but after 1590 Sir Robert Cecil takes more and more of the burden from his father, and by the year 1596, when he was made principal Secretary, was transacting most of such business (cf. pp. 461–464). But the most important work done by Burghley as here illustrated was that pertaining to the office of Lord Treasurer. For nearly the whole of three reigns—Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth—there were but two Lords Treasurer,— the Marquis of Winchester, appointed in 1551, and Lord Burghley, who succeeded him in 1572 and held office till his own death in 1598. As Lord Treasurer he had control of the revenues of the Crown; and we therefore find that petitions to the Queen for grants of offices, of lands, or for leases in reversion, &c., were referred to him for report at some stage (e.g. pp. 490, 553). Moreover, as head of the Exchequer those who had suits in the Court of Exchequer or were contemplating litigation there, or who had already come within the grasp of the law for not fulfilling their financial obligations to the Crown (p. 553), sought his favour and assistance to facilitate their suits or to get them out of their difficulties (p. 439). The Lord Treasurer was not, indeed, a Judge of the Court of Exchequer, but in the ordinary routine of business he referred matters every day to one or more of the Barons, to the Chancellor, or to the Queen's Remembrancer for report. Papers of this character are frequent in this collection; and it may be of use for those interested in such matters to point out that further information on suits before the Court of Exchequer referred to here may frequently be found among the several classes into which the Records of that Court still preserved are divided—Bills and Answers, Special Commissions, (fn. 7) &c. Officials engaged in collecting the customs or other revenues made great efforts to keep out of the clutches of the Court of Exchequer by appealing to the clemency of their head. It will be found indeed that most of the matters in which Burghley was called upon to intervene were of a financial character.
The immense influence wielded by Lord Burghley in the several offices over which he presided immediately suggests a striking analogy. Just as the period of Personal Monarchy ended with Elizabeth, so did the period of what may be termed the personal administration of the great offices or Departments of State. Among the Domestic State Papers is a series of "Supplementary Papers," some sixteen volumes of which are designated Exchequer Papers. These cover the whole reign of Elizabeth, and consist of petitions addressed chiefly to the Lord Treasurer, alone or jointly with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The greater number belong to the period of Burghley's tenure of that office; and though such petitions were sometimes addressed to his successor, by the middle of James' reign they practically ceased. By consulting those petitions further information may frequently be found on matters referred to in these papers. It was about the same time that the office of Lord Treasurer was first put into commission, or in other words the personal administration of the Exchequer began to give way to departmental: and no subsequent Lord Treasurer ever exercised half the influence that was wielded, on the whole with strict impartiality, by Lord Burghley.
The Earl of Leicester.—But few of these papers concern the Earl of Leicester, Essex's predecessor in the royal favour, and most of those refer to his governorship of the Low Countries. Early in 1580 slanders concerning him were prevalent in North Wales, which the Council endeavoured to suppress (p. 175). On his taking charge of the Low Countries the Earl made great efforts to provide sufficient money, from private sources (p. 288), to supplement the sum of 125,000l. yearly considered sufficient by the government for the expedition. Even before his departure Leicester pointed out that this sum was quite inadequate, and detailed many directions in which expenditure would be necessary but for which no provision had been made (p. 292). Once again it would seem that Elizabeth's parsimony was at least in part responsible for the failure of an expedition to assist her allies. Archibald Douglas writing in August, 1586, to dissuade the Master of Gray, on behalf of the Queen's Council, from undertaking his proposed journey to the Low Countries to serve under Leicester, says (p. 309):—
First, they earnestly pray that no more shall be sent out of that realm than are already departed; secondly, they desire you to stay at home as you mind to do them pleasure. The reasons they do give for both these are founded upon the one ground, that the Earl of Leicester hath committed a great error in drawing more people in that country than he can furnish pay unto, and that her Majesty will furnish no further than for the ordinary garrison, to keep the towns delivered and to be delivered to her.
Between the large ideas of the Earl and the niggardliness of his royal mistress his administration soon came to an untimely end. The one document that apparently relates to that administration (p. 358) seems to point to the same conclusion. Leicester was seemingly held in great esteem by James, for when Archibald Douglas was sent to represent the King at the English Court in August, 1586, in addition to general and private instructions he was provided with special instructions both for Walsingham and Leicester; to the latter of whom he was to give the King's thanks for his desire to see James' title to the English crown advanced, and also to consult him concerning the King's marriage.
Earl of Essex.—The personage who comes most prominently forward in these papers, after Lord Burghley, is perhaps the Earl of Essex; and, indeed, from the brilliancy of his course and his personal relations with the Queen he may be said for the time even to have obscured that old and tried statesman. His first appearance is as commander of the troops sent to Brittany in 1591 in aid of the French King (p. 451); and from that moment till the end of the volume he is the most conspicuous figure on the stage. From that time he was immersed in martial affairs; Henry IV found in him a kindred spirit, and knowing his influence with Elizabeth sought to bring it to bear for the purpose of inducing the Queen to aid him more effectually (pp. 451, 452, 455). But the most important friendship Essex formed in France was with the Duc de Bouillon, with whom he entertained a correspondence represented in these papers by numerous and important letters. From these, and from the letters of Ersfild to Essex, a good picture can be obtained of the state of affairs in France, and of the hopes they entertained, too often doomed to disappointment, of help from England.
We hear little of the Earl until he is again put in command of an expedition, this time in conjunction with the Lord Admiral, in 1596. It was a mixed expedition, consisting of both naval and military forces and was originally intended for the relief of Calais, (fn. 8) then hard pressed by the Spaniards (p. 572); but on the capture of that town by the latter on April 17 (p. 570), its destination was altered to Cadiz, where it arrived in June. The capture and spoiling of the town (p. 577) have already been referred to; and by the whole expedition, said an eyewitness and member of the force, "our generals won great honour, yea, even of the enemy" (p. 579). They also obtained more material results, but not enough to satisfy their somewhat grasping Sovereign, whose anger fell heavily on all the leaders including the Earl of Essex. (fn. 9)
The only direct evidence as to the relations of Essex and the Queen in this volume is contained in a letter to Elizabeth at p. 549. (fn. 10) It is endorsed in French, and with the date 1595, which is most likely correct. But from internal evidence the only thing that can be said about it is that the Earl was apparently trying to emerge from one of the periods of disgrace into which he so constantly fell, and to reinstate himself in the Royal affections. Both language and sentiment are unimpeachable, and we may perhaps conclude from his being appointed to command the expedition of 1596 that his object was attained, and that he had been restored to favour.
Hints are not wanting of the intrigues against Essex that were carried on by his fellow courtiers, as he asserted; and which are not to be wondered at in view of the headstrong temper and proud bearing of the royal favourite. Put in command of the expedition to Brittany when not yet twentyfive, made a bosom friend of by such soldiers as Henry IV and de Bouillon, flattered by his Sovereign's notice, it would have been strange indeed if his actions had not given rise to some jealousy on the part of the old and tried servants of the Queen. In an undated letter, apparently written in 1595 (p. 553) to an unknown friend in France—most probably de Bouillon—after describing the state of affairs in Scotland and its effect on England and France, the Earl says:—
Les inconvenients que vous arrivent pour avoyr manqué nostre assistance et les accusations que font les ennemys de vostre entreprinse, sur le voyage de Bodelé, ont estes aperceux par vostre amys et remonstres a Libra [Elizabeth] quant il y avoyt temps de les prevoyer. Mais je suis tout seul. J'ay l'esprit de Libra et tout son conseil opposite. Car mes compagnons ne preschent autre qu'avarice et securité.
And in 1596 de Bouillon, when quitting England at the conclusion of one of his embassies to Elizabeth, writes to Essex from Gravesend (p. 573):—
Le temps que je demeure en ce royaume m'a asses donne de connoissance que toutes les cours ont des humeurs samblables prinsipallemant aus anvies antre les particuliers et aus jalousies contre ceus desquels la vertu exelle. Ceste raison m'a fet veoir que vostre ruine est desiree et finimant recherchee. Les moiens que l'on y tient dans vostre royaume et pres de vostre mestresse vous sont plus connus qu'a moy quy m'anpeschera de les vous dire.
This is striking evidence from an observer who while well disposed to Essex had other ends to further at Elizabeth's Court, of the existence of intrigues there against the Earl. It must be left to the next volume to shew how those plots, fanned by his own folly, eventually brought about his ruin.
James, Earl of Bothwell.—Incidental notices of Bothwell occur frequently in these papers, but the most important document is the recitation in full of the process for a divorce between him and Lady Jane (or Janet) Gordon, his 'putative' wife, in April and May, 1567 (pp. 72-82). It is chiefly in Latin and very long, covering more than ten pages of this Calendar, and led to a divorce being granted to Lady Jane on the ground of Bothwell's adultery (p. 74); which, however, would appear to have been superseded by a final sentence four days later declaring their marriage to have been invalid owing to the parties being within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity (p. 78). It is significant of the man and the times that the last document of the series is a notarial certificate of threats and undue influence having been exerted by Bothwell's servants to force Master John Manderston, canon of Dunbar, one of the Commissaries, to bring the matter to a definite end (p. 82). As to Bothwell's connexion with the death of Darnley, the Lords of Secret Council boldly denounced him as "chief executor of that horrible murder, as well before the committing thereof as thereafter" (p. 83). A letter from Bothwell of a later date, written during his temporary banishment from Scotland, is of interest as shewing his relations with the most prominent statesmen in England.
Archibald Douglas.—Another Scotsman who figures largely in the latter part of this volume is Archibald Douglas. He appears first officially in August, 1586, when he was sent by James to discuss three pressing matters with Elizabeth (p. 299) —the King's marriage, the religious troubles in Scotland, and the dangers that beset the Queen's person. He is generally described, at least by Scotsmen, as "the King's Ambassador" or "my Lord Ambassador"; but whether he occupied that position seems a little doubtful. He informs the Queen about 1593 that "he has been resident in England by the King of Scotland's command these 6 years and better, at his own charges" (p. 485), and this statement if true would hardly be consistent with the status of a recognised ambassador. His chief correspondents appear to have been Richard Douglas and the Master of Gray; but he does not seem to have taken part in any important negotiations after his first appearance. His countrymen were fully alive to the advantage of having a friend at the English Court in their private affairs (pp. 349, 443, 562), and he took care to turn his position to his own personal profit, following the example of most courtiers of the time. He did not always keep clear himself of financial difficulties, on one occasion being summoned to Edinburgh by the Scottish Council to answer "a suit for the return of a chanzie of gold or its value" (p. 433). From these papers he would seem to have been engaged in a somewhat remarkable number of love affairs (pp. 443, 444, 599, &c.).
Henry IV of France.—Much may be gathered from these papers concerning Henry of Navarre, but the estimate generally formed of his character is only confirmed thereby. In January, 1587, while still King of Navarre, he formed a league amongst the German and other evangelical Princes and States in opposition to the Holy League, the aim of which latter was to bring back the whole world under Papal tyranny (p. 329). To this league Elizabeth contributed 100,000 gold crowns, but of course under strict provisions as to repayment. After the defeat of the Spanish Armada he sent his chamberlain to the Queen to offer his congratulations (p. 413):—
Pour se conjouyr avec elle de l'heureuse et grande victoire que Dieu luy donna sur l'armee d'Espagne, qui se peult veritablement dire le commencement de la ruine de nos communs ennemis et de l'esperance du bien et repos de la France sy tant est que le Roy, Monseigneur, veueilhe paraschever les bons et heureux commencements.
To perceive that this was the beginning of the end was surely proof of political sagacity, but much had to happen before the end came in sight. To Henry it is plain France was himself; the prosperity of the one was also that of the other. His object was to become King of a strong because united France. As leader of the Huguenots, therefore, he opposed Spain and the Papal party until all possibility of their ascendancy was destroyed; but that that might be accomplished he was quite ready to sacrifice his religious convictions—never very deep—and become Papist to conciliate the other side. Similarly when all real danger from Spain was removed he was quite ready to make peace with the King of Spain. Thus in 1595 de Bouillon, himself of "the religion," intimates to La Fontaine, the French ambassador in England, that Henry was meditating this step (p. 542). He says the successes of the Spanish arms do not make him fearful for the Religion:—
Mais bien vous diray-je les creintes qu'elles me donnent voyant les humeurs disposees a vouloir le repos et nos necessitez generales, qui sont asses forts conseillers pour persuader de ne pouvoir trouver nostre salut qu'en une reconciliation, de laquelle les commencemens sont desia tels que l'on peult aiseement en juger la fin, qui ne peult estre qu'en executant les conditions apposées a l'absolution donnee au Roy. . . . . . . . Le Roy m'a incertainement parlé de traicter avec le Roy d'Espagne: chose si elle advient, qui ne me surprendra pas, l'aiant presume de longtemps. Et semble que chacun a aidé a ce desseing mesme ceux qui avoient plus d'interest au contraire. Et ce desir lui croisera autant qu'il verra que les moiens de sauver son estat, honneur, et reputation lui en seront plus ou moins offertz. Il m'a dict estre disposé a faire une conference avec la Roine, procedure que je trouve tresbonnee.
His one desire was to see peace restored to France, and it was this that gave urgency to his frequent requests to Elizabeth for aid, that he might the sooner overcome the obstacles to that peace: but as soon as he felt himself strong enough to stand alone he lost no time in concluding peace with the power that up to that time had been the common enemy, namely Spain.
A careful perusal of these papers would enable the student to follow the fluctuations of the religious wars that devastated France in Henry's reign. The King was a bold leader of men, and an example also occurs here of his skill in military engineering, which, however, does not seem to have been very great. At La Fere, which he was besieging in November, 1595, he resolved to take the city by drowning it. For that purpose an immense trench or dyke was constructed (p. 545); but it was thought unlikely to accomplish its purpose because the river to supply it was but small, and for other reasons. By the following February the trench had not taken effect and it was decided to enlarge it; but it seemed likely that that might be impossible owing to the prevalent frost and to the approach of the enemy to relieve the town (p. 569).
The first of these two letters gives an interesting account of the King's daily life amongst his soldiers and at home.
Antonio Perez.—In July, 1595, the French King having requested Elizabeth to send Antonio Perez to him, the latter was dismissed and betook himself to France. On his departure he submitted a memorial to the Queen in Spanish (p. 535) which has been printed elsewhere from another and an imperfect version. He arrived at Dieppe, from which place Edward Wylton, an agent of Essex, sent the Earl a full account of his movements and bearing (p. 538):—
He is exceeding timorous, and will not stir abroad without us, disliketh the French and their manners, boasteth greatly of her Majesty's and your favours, is discontent that Bassadonna hath not returned his money, and desireth infinitely to be with the King, as well for his special service as because he hopeth presently to discern of his estate.
It would appear that he was regarded with suspicion in some quarters, for even in France a spy was employed by Wylton to watch his doings (pp. 538, 540): but on his arrival at Paris he met with good entertainment. The Council assigned him a guard of four of the King's Swiss bodyguard, and the King gave him a pension of 4,000 crowns, "to be paid in such sort as he shall not need to solicit the financiers, for against that he has always protested" (pp. 540, 541). His fears for his personal safety seem to have been justified, for in France the King of Spain employed agents to kill him. One of these was Senor de Penilla, who affirmed he came out of the Spanish camp, and was supposed to be employed to kill both the King and Perez; finding himself suspected Penilla took to flight (pp. 540, 541). Early in 1596 another Spaniard, Don Rodrigo Meduro, entered France with the same double purpose in view (p. 564); and a month later at Paris, we read, "here have been put to the wheel two Spaniards which were said to have intended the King's death, but upon their death they denied it, confessing no other purpose but against Senor Perez" (p. 565). Whether these were the same two as those mentioned above does not appear. Antonio Perez was a disturbing guest wherever he went. We take leave of him in these papers with a letter to Nanton (p. 600), in which he alludes to letters received from the Earl of Essex, and also from Bassadonna, and exhibits his usual spirit of suspicion and intrigue.
Sir Horatio Palavicino.—Among the important personages by whom Elizabeth was surrounded the financier Horatio Palavicino was not the least useful to the Queen. We meet with him first in this volume about the year 1583 (p. 241) in a paper relating to "his cause," which concerned money owing to him from the Queen. Somewhat later (p. 259) we come on a paper of information as to the manner in which Palavicino's business with Elizabeth was carried out. From this we gather the Queen was trying to pass her indebtedness to Palavicino on to the Low Countries, and to induce him to look to them for payment; while he naturally refuses on behalf of himself and his brothers, also concerned in the matter, to consent to be dependent on the success of the Low Countries,—at the time very problematical. In January, 1587, we again meet with Palavicino acting as the Queen's legate in making an advance to Henry of Navarre in aid of the Protestant league he was forming (p. 329). He is referred to again incidentally on several occasions; and in 1596 Battista Giustiniano writes to Cecil on behalf of his brother Fabritio Palavicino (p. 568). The latter had drawn up a petition apparently to the Lord Mayor, in which he recites the Queen's indebtedness to Horatio, his brother, since 1583, and how much of it is still unpaid. He then points out that a part of such debt and interest belongs to himself as partaker in the advance; and inasmuch as the city of London gave collateral bonds for payment, he prays his lordship to make payment of his portion in the five sums mentioned, and also to obtain order from her Majesty for payment for the future. The Palavicinos, like most of her creditors, found it difficult to obtain their due from the Queen.
Many other personal matters of interest will be found in these papers, a few of which only can be mentioned. A long dispute took place in 1583 between the Marquis of Winchester and Henry Ughtred, executor of the will of the late Marquis, concerning the latter's estate (pp. 227–233, &c.). In 1585 an official record was drawn up of the proceedings against the late Earl of Northumberland for treason, for the purpose of refuting "those that report maliciously of the proceedings against the Earl of Northumberland" (pp. 270–281): and papers relating to the conspiracies of Babington and the Earl of Arundel also occur (pp. 312, 421, &c.). The unruly condition of the northern Borders is illustrated by the quarrel between Sir Cuthbert Collingwood and Sir John Selby (pp. 353–357).
The matters of interest of a miscellaneous character touched upon in these papers are numerous, and only a few can be indicated. In these days when much attention is given to the study of economics, the trade and commerce of past times have become important matters. They may be studied here in general, by means of the index, under such heads as the Hanse Towns; the Steelyard; Merchant Adventurers; Flanders; Denmark, &c.; while the cultivation of and trade in various articles will be found under their names: e.g. woad (pp. 16, 19, &c.), wool (pp. 52–57), salt (pp. 89, 91, &c.), cloths (pp. 102, 475, &c.), starch (p. 475), &c. Several points of International Law with regard to enemy's goods in time of war may be noted. In the time of Henry VIII a proposal was made to exempt woad from confiscation in the event of war breaking out with the country exporting it (p. 16); and at p. 259 occurs an article of the ordinances made by the French King in 1584 as to enemies' goods in French and allies' ships. By the draft of a treaty between England and France (which is undated, but may possibly belong to 1596) it is stipulated that "if there happen any war betwixt these two Princes, there shall be limited two months (of 60 days) after the publication of the war for the merchants to retire themselves with their goods" (p. 575). The proceedings of modern nations under similar conditions hardly shew a like consideration for the enemy.
It was no doubt due to the wars raging in France and Flanders from 1580 onwards that so large a number of refugee aliens sought an asylum in England. Long lists of aliens, giving their names and trades, occur at pp. 216, 219–227, 240, 244; though as they have been printed by the Huguenot Society of London they are not for the most part reproduced here. An inquiry was also instituted as to Italians who had arrived in England (p. 242); and it was apparently found necessary to legislate generally on the subject of aliens (p. 475).
Ecclesiastical matters as usual are very much to the fore and are very frequently referred to. On the one hand perhaps the most important papers are Mr. John Udall's confession of his opinion touching ecclesiastical government, and his submission to the secular government (pp. 500, 502): and in the other direction may be noted the efforts to deal with the Jesuits, especially in Scotland. The Master of Gray observes in 1586 that "if the Queen crave not earnestly of the King that the Jesuits be put forth of this country, it will not be done, notwithstanding our proclamations; for they get oversight only in despite of England" (p. 311); and some months later Archibald Douglas is informed "the state of this country remains at this time very unsure, papists daily flocking and Jesuits both Scottish and English coming from France, the papist lords looked for at Court, which breeds a fear and a jealousy in the hearts of the rest" (pp. 338, 341). James was apparently anxious to be rid of them, and the more so as rumours spread abroad of the coming Spanish invasion, so that in January, 1588, Richard Douglas writes:—"His Majesty has declared himself lately a great enemy to all Jesuits, priests, notorious papists and maintainers, to the great comfort of the better sort of his subjects. Strait acts are set out against them, as of pain of death if they be after a month found in the country," &c. (p. 368). But it does not appear that even by these means he was able to secure their banishment from Scotland.
A commission issued to Burghley and others towards the end of 1589 on the subject of "Masterless men in Essex and Herts" (p. 417) throws some light on the condition of the lower orders of the people. A few papers concerning the Channel Islands are of interest (pp. 31, 59, 68, 69, 93, &c.), particularly with regard to the Queen's new erected Grammar school at Guernsey (p. 91). Papers on naval and military matters abound, as we should naturally expect for this period; while the student of such matters as letters of marque, pirates, the plague, mines and minerals, and many others will find these documents repay investigation. Finally, mention should be made of the maps and plans, of which this volume contains a good number, sometimes coloured, sometimes plain; the plans of Ostend (p. 503), of Croyden Fort by Sir Martin Frobisher (p. 516), and of the river Lea (p. 522) may be instanced: and of a Welsh game or play called "Whippergundy" (p. 584), the nature of which does not appear.