Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 2, 1559-1560. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1865.
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The sounds of rejoicing which rang through London on the 17th of November 1558 evinced the sentiments with which the accession of Elizabeth was hailed by her subjects. During five weary years they had groaned under the rule of Mary and her terrible husband, and had borne with stern and sullen fortitude the fiery trial through which they were passing. They were sustained by the conviction that it would not last long. So, when the hour came which announced that Philip's reign of terror was over, men first drew a long breath, like those who have escaped from a great danger, and then gave free vent to their exultation. Conflicting doctrines and jarring politics were forgotten in the universal jubilee; and Lords, commons, and people prayed that God would grant a long life and a prosperous reign to the young Sovereign who that day had ascended the vacant throne of England.
2. While the thoughtless revelry of London was at its highest, a more impressive, a more solemn scene was being enacted at Hatfield. It was there that the intelligence of her sister's death reached Elizabeth. The event had been expected for some days, and in anticipation of it she had called to her side that able statesman by whose counsels she was prepared henceforth to be guided. Cecil had obeyed the summons, and there speedily followed in his train a large proportion of the Privy Council, who, true to the traditions of their calling, forsook the dying Queen to pay court to her successor. Each had his own apology to offer in exculpation of the past, his own position to secure, and his own interest to advance during the future; and the uncertainty which prevailed as to the course which would henceforth be adopted threw an air of hesitation and restraint over the assembly. Amid this flutter of hopes and fears, of regrets and anticipations, two personages at least stood calm and collected. Equally above hesitation and precipitancy Elizabeth grasped with a firm hand the reins of government; and her newlyappointed Secretary of State busied himself in settling the foreign and domestic affairs of the realm with as much minuteness as if for years this had been his daily occupation. (fn. 1)
3. The party which now gathered round the Princess Elizabeth was strong, no less by its influence than its numbers. It represented many varying shades of opinion, which singly might have been powerless, either for good or evil; and it brought together many discordant factions which in their fusion neutralized each other. And it had the merit of accomplishing a great success. Taking advantage of Philip's long and frequent absences from England, and of Mary's entire seclusion from public business during the few last months of her troubled existence, Cecil had so well matured his plans that when the throne was declared vacant, the government was carried on in the name of her successor without any apparent change in its administration.
Causes of her popularity.
4. Many considerations tended to bring about this quiet recognition of a questionable title. Doubtful though it might be in a legal point of view, it certainly was the best that presented itself to the nation. Elizabeth's claim was based upon the will of Henry the Eighth, supported and confirmed by Act of Parliament. She was a favourite with the nation at large, especially so with the citizens of London, whose adhesion to her cause was a most valuable element of success at this juncture. More important still was the support of the army, which for long had supported her claim to the throne. Personally, she possessed many recommendations. She was frank, handsome, affable; and she had acquired the habit of making herself popular with all classes from the highest to the lowest. She thoroughly understood the tastes and feelings, the likes and dislikes of her people, and no one knew better than herself how to turn them to the furtherance of her own interests. Young though she was (for she was only in her twenty-fifth year), she had already familiarized herself with the requirements of public life, and she had profited by the lessons taught her by those two stern monitors, danger and experience. Her great natural talents had been cultivated to the highest degree of perfection by the most accomplished scholars of the day. She was well read in classical literature, and spoke many of the languages of modern Europe with fluency and elegance. Of her moral qualities little was known; the darker aspects of her character had not yet revealed themselves. The greater number of those persons who approached her near enough to form an opinion believed (and who shall blame them ?) that the dignified presence and the queenly demeanour, which they could not but recognize, truthfully expressed the inner soul and spirit of their mistress. (fn. 2)
5. Elizabeth had yet another claim upon the attachment of a large body of the people. She was supposed to be a favourer of the reformed religion, and her sufferings in its cause had won for her the sympathies of the young, the impetuous, and the enthusiastic. She was identified by these partizans with the cause of piety and virtue, and they believed that but for her Christianity would perish out of the land. The opposite party comforted themselves with the recollection that her religious convictions were neither very strong nor very definite. If, during her brother's reign she had been a zealous reformer, during her sister's reign she had practically renounced the Reformation. Under the joint influence of Queen Mary and Cardinal Pole she had spoken and acted like a true Catholic, and Mass had been celebrated in her chapel. Protestants and Catholics therefore felt that there was some reasonable degree of uncertainty as to her future line of policy. There was just so much doubt on either side as to make each hope for the best, and to hold back from active opposition in the meantime. Old-fashioned people prophesied that nothing good could spring from the tainted stock of the Boleyns, (fn. 3) and they reminded each other of her education, her early predilections, and her present associates. All knew the character of the advisers whom she had now chosen, and according to whose advice she was now acting. Singly, these causes of hesitation might have been explained away on either side, but united they left her sincerity open to grave suspicion. Each partizan hoped that she would ultimately support the cause which he had at heart, but at the same time each feared that she might ere long become its opponent and its persecutor. Nor was this uncertainty confined to her own dominions; for while one half of Europe believed that she would continue to be a devout Catholic, the other half was equally persuaded that she always had been and always would be an earnest Protestant.
6. In enumerating the influences which tended to secure the throne for Elizabeth, we must not fail to specify the assistance which she derived from her brother-in-law, Philip of Spain. It was probably more valuable to her than all the others united. We have so long accustomed ourselves to identify Philip's name with everything that is hateful and hostile to England that it has become difficult for us to believe without an effort that at any time he entertained kindly feelings towards our nation. Yet such was the case at the time of which I am writing, and no one knew this better than Elizabeth herself. True, the object which he had in view was neither dignified nor disinterested, but we are stating facts, not analysing motives. When Mary died, Philip did for her sister what no one but himself could have done. The reformers were afraid of him and kept quiet. He held in check the great Catholic party which, but for his controlling power, would certainly have opposed her accession, and possibly would have succeeded. But for him, the more influential of the nobility, the clergy, with very few exceptions, and the majority of the landed gentry would have declared against Elizabeth on religious grounds. The Pope, urged on by France, would have pronounced her illegitimate, and therefore incapable of succeeding to the throne; but Philip was now all powerful at Rome, and the bull of deprivation was suspended. Of his intervention in favour of Elizabeth we have the fullest and most authentic evidence in his own correspondence preserved at Simancas, and from it we derive the following account of the state of parties in England immediately upon the death of Mary.
Feria's mission into England.
7. Alarmed at the repeated accounts of the dangerous illness of his wife, and anxious to direct the nation in the choice of her successor, Philip despatched to the Court of London his favourite minister, the Count De Feria. (fn. 4) The choice was a judicious one, for of all his agents Feria was the least likely to alarm the prejudices of the English. He had already spent some time in this country, and having married one of the Queen's maids of honour was regarded as half an Englishman. He understood the manners and prejudices of the country, and had fathomed the intrigues of the several political factions into which the Court was divided. He possessed Philip's entire confidence; and brought with him for his guidance a paper of instructions which the King, with his usual minute attention to business, had drawn up and copied out with his own hand.
His interview with Mary.
8. When Feria reached London on 9th November, Mary's case was hopeless, and she had been informed by her physicians, both English and Spanish, that her days were numbered. The Count was at once admitted to her presence, and found her perfectly conscious, calm, collected, and resigned. She was unable to read her husband's letter, but she listened with attention and interest to the message which accompanied it. Feria had ascertained that, a few days previously, a deputation from the Parliament had waited upon the Queen, and had reminded her that the great question, the succession to the crown, was yet undecided. They had gone a step further, and had recommended the claims of the Princess Elizabeth. Mary had offered no objections, but contented herself with expressing the hope that when her sister was upon the throne she would pay such debts as still remained undischarged, and would preserve the old religion. Under these circumstances, and anticipating the result which was so near at hand, Feria summoned a meeting of the Privy Council, and he declared to the assembled members his master's anxiety for the quiet succession of the Princess Elizabeth. The French, he said, had designs of their own at this juncture, to which Philip would never lend himself; they had tried hard to separate him from England, but he would not violate his promises. If Elizabeth were the choice of the English nation, as Philip hoped she would be, he would gladly give her his support, and would join with her in insisting upon the restoration of Calais to the English crown. Feria's address was so favourably received by the Councillors that as soon as the conference had broken up he informed his master that Elizabeth's accession might now be regarded as a certainty.
His interview with Elizabeth.
9. On the following day, November the 10th, the Count visited the future Queen of England. She was at that time resident in the house of a private gentleman, distant about thirteen miles from London, doubtless Hatfield, which had been assigned to her by her sister as her residence. (fn. 5) She received Feria courteously, though scarcely (he thought), with her usual cordiality. He supped with her, the wife of Lord Clinton being of the party, and after supper she conversed with him at considerable length and without any hesitation. She was already confident of her position, and led him to understand as much. The general turn which he gave to the conversation and certain special questions and remarks which he introduced into it from time to time were framed according to the paper of instructions which he had received from the King. The Princess admitted, without any hesitation, the extent of her obligations to Philip; he had always been her friend, she said; nor had he failed her when she was in prison and most needed his protection. The Count, she added, was not the first of his ministers who had brought her an encouraging message from him, for she had received similar assurances from Diego De Azevedo and Alonzo De Cordova. So far all was satisfactory; but when Feria attempted to persuade her that her accession to the throne, (of which no doubt was now entertained by either of the speakers,) was due to the influence of his master, she promptly expressed her dissent. She was indebted for the Crown which she was about to assume, neither to Philip, nor to Mary, nor to the Council, but to the people. (fn. 6)
10. She next spoke of her wrongs, and in so doing evinced considerable emotion. She bitterly resented the treatment which she had received at the hands of her sister; the daughter of Anne Boleyn could never forgive the daughter of Catherine of Aragon. Pole, however, was the chief object of her resentment, doubtless from the same latent cause. She accused him of having annoyed her, and (what was still worse) of having treated her with indifference; he had neither visited her, nor had he sent her any complimentary message. She was proceeding to enlarge still further upon the slights which she had received from him, when Feria adroitly turned the conversation, and she recovered her self-possession sufficiently to remark that she had no wish to be revengeful. It was obvious to Feria from her conversation that she would select for her ministers men of the new school of religion, such as the Earl of Bedford, Lord Robert Dudley, Sir Nicolas Throckmorton, and Sir Peter Carew; most of whom had been implicated in Wyat's rebellion. It was admitted on all sides that Cecil would be the future Secretary of State, and that his advice would be all powerful. His character is summed up by the Spaniard with the pregnant remark that he was a man of no ordinary sagacity, but a confirmed heretic.
11. Feria's inquiries after leaving Hatfield assumed a more extended and a more definite form, and he set himself to inquire into the probability of a marriage between Philip and Elizabeth. With this object he visited Paget, and introduced the subject. Paget thought that the Princess had no intention of taking a foreigner for her husband; the nation had already seen how badly that plan had worked in the case of Mary and had no wish that the experiment should be repeated. Elizabeth herself presently afterwards confirmed this impression, and expressed herself yet more strongly. Philip, she said, had proved a bad and heartless husband to her sister, and had induced her to give him large sums out of her exchequer. (fn. 7) Paget added that the greater part of the ministry, of the nobility, and of the gentry was opposed to Spain; and Feria himself had discovered that the common people, with scarce an exception, disliked the Spanish connexion more than ever. All this was reported to Philip without the slightest attempt at concealment. If the King wished to learn the true state of feeling in England he could not have employed a more conscientious or plain spoken emissary.
12. On the 12th of November Mary received Extreme Unction and died at daybreak on the morning of the 17th. Pole died on the evening of the same day, and by the directions of Elizabeth his effects were forthwith seized. (fn. 8) Parliament was dissolved, a deputation from the Privy Council offered their congratulations to the young Queen upon her accession; and, as we have already seen, she was proclaimed without a dissentient voice in London and Westminster.
State of affairs upon Elizabeth's accession.
13. The position of affairs, both at home and abroad, was sufficiently alarming to excite her utmost anxiety. England was at war with France and Scotland, and was not in a condition to repel an attack from either side. An insurrection might burst forth at any moment in any county from Cornwall to Northumberland. Bishop Carleton thus describes the situation of the realm as it appeared at this juncture. "When this famous Queen first entered, she found the State much afflicted and weakened. All the great States about her were enemies, friends none. The State was then much troubled and oppressed with great debt, contracted partly by Henry VIII., partly by Edward VI. in his minority, and partly by Queen Mary. The treasure was exhausted, Calais was lost: nothing seemed to be left to her but a weak and poor State, destitute of means and friends. The King of Denmark and the Protestants in France were not able to help her, nor to help themselves without her means." (fn. 9) Such was the condition of England as it presented itself to a well informed writer; and the picture does not appear to be exaggerated or over coloured. The Correspondence of which the abstract is given in these volumes enables us to apprehend the nature of these difficulties, (as far, at least, as foreign affairs were concerned), and at the same time to trace the measures which the Queen adopted to free herself from their pressure.
She accepts Philip's assistance.
14. Under the difficult circumstances above mentioned, to have slighted Philip's proferred friendship would have been an act of madness, and it was accepted cordially and thankfully. It at once freed England from a double difficulty. Philip was a barrier against every attack from the side of France, and any secret attempt to overturn the government which might have been dreaded either from the English Catholics or the Reformers was held in check by the agency of Feria and the superior ecclesiastics with whom he acted. But by accepting the help of Spain, Cecil imposed upon himself one inevitable necessity; as long as this union existed he could not separate the nation from the Catholicism with which it had so lately identified itself, nor could he develop the outline of that ecclesiastical system out of which eventually arose the Church of England. Whatever might be his ultimate intentions in regard to things ecclesiastical, he must of necessity for the present keep them in abeyance. If Philip's protection were desired, Philip's prejudices must be respected; and England had cause to know perfectly well that in no one point was he more sternly uncompromising than in his horror and hatred of Protestantism.
15. In obedience, then, to this necessity England tacitly declared herself to be Catholic. This was effected without any difficulty, for the larger and more influential proportion of the nation belonged to the faith of their late ruler. (fn. 10) In the selection of the Privy Council the old religion and the new were pretty evenly balanced. (fn. 11) Things went on in the Churches exactly as they had done under Pole and Bonner. (fn. 12) The funeral of Queen Mary and the obsequies of Charles the Fifth (fn. 13) were celebrated at Saint Paul's with Mass and Dirige, and the people looked on and applauded. When Jewel (fn. 14) arrived in England from his exile at Strasburg, he expected to find that London had already become a second Geneva; but alas! the Roman Pontiff had not yet been cast out, no part of religion (as he understood it) was yet restored, the country was still desecrated by the Mass, and the pomp and insolence of the Bishops continued unabated. More than three months after Elizabeth's accession, the members of the lower House of Convocation (fn. 15) professed their unhesitating faith in Transubstantiation, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Papal Supremacy; and these Articles were accepted with approval by the Archbishop of York, the Speaker of the Upper House, and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. A few zealots who thought they had a calling to purge the churches of idolatry and to preach the new doctrines, were made to feel that the time predicted for the downfall of Antichrist had not yet arrived. (fn. 16) At this period of her history Elizabeth had neither the leisure nor the inclination to discuss these questions, nor to decide whether she preferred Trent, Augsburg, or Geneva.
Her line of policy.
16. The two great objects which she had in view were these; in the first place to retain the support of Philip, and in the next place, through that support to disentangle herself from a foreign war, which if continued much longer would have entailed a national bankruptcy. She was secure of the former of these advantages, and she ventured to hope that the latter would follow without much difficulty. France, exhausted by her struggles in Italy, Flanders, and Germany, was unable to continue the warfare, from which, moreover, having regained possession of Calais, she could afford to retire with dignity. The French King and Council were persuaded that Philip was sincere in his determination to insist upon the restitution of Calais to the English. (fn. 17) Philip, too, despite his enormous revenues, felt himself crippled and unable to proceed with the campaign; besides, he was impatient to return home, where his presence was urgently needed. Of England it is enough to say that she had not the funds wherewith to keep on foot the army, with which, in an evil hour, she had pledged herself to carry on hostilities against France. The three belligerents being thus severally disposed to come to terms, nothing appeared to be required but the settlement of a few formal preliminaries, after the amicable adjustment of which it was thought that a treaty of peace would follow as a necessary consequence.
The preliminary conferences at Cercamp,
17. A conference for this purpose had already been opened at Cercamp, on 29 October 1558, about three weeks before the death of Queen Mary. As usual each party had its own special difficulties to encounter and its own private ends to secure. The great aim of France was to retain possession of Calais, lately regained from the English; the chief object of England was to recover it. (fn. 18) Philip, as Mary's husband and as the enemy of France, sided with England, to which moreover he held himself bound as by a treaty of offensive and defensive alliance; but both parties felt that he had only a passing interest in the dispute, and that upon the death of his wife he would occupy a new position in regard to the matters at issue. Might not he be tempted to secure his late conquests in Italy by leaving England to settle her own disputes with France ? Was it to be expected that he would fight the battles of a dubious ally, from whom he could not calculate upon receiving any assistance in return ? (fn. 19) The question hung so nicely poised in the balance that it was impossible to tell to which side it would ultimately preponderate. No one could say whether the discussion might not break off upon some preliminary difficulty; or, if it proceeded, what form it would assume; in short, whether it was possible to arrive at an amicable decision of the quarrel which for so many years had embroiled the whole of Christendom.
18. One thing, however, speedily became obvious to all of the Commissioners; happen what might, the French would never consent to part with Calais. Upon this point Henry had expressed himself with his usual emphasis, (fn. 20) and the whole of France cordially supported him in his determination. "I would advise your Majesty," wrote one of his ministers to him, "to pass a law that the first of your Councillors who advises the surrender of Calais, shall be burnt alive, just as if he were a Lutheran." (fn. 21) Consequently when the subject came under discussion, the English "met with nothing save vain words and stiff affirmations from the French." (fn. 22) They for their part were equally resolute. The Earl of Arundel frankly confessed that he would not like to be the man who would surrender a fortress so dear to the national honour. (fn. 23) As the French continued immoveable upon this head, negociations were suspended for a time to enable the English to apply for further advice; suggesting, at the same time, that the question should be referred to the consideration of Parliament. (fn. 24) The Council at St. James's had no better answer to give to their Ambassadors at Cercamp than that now their only hope lay in Philip's honourable consideration of the welfare of this realm. This was humbling enough, but the national degradation had not yet reached its lowest point. Preparing, as it would seem, for the inevitable crisis, the Privy Council consulted Philip whether it would be wise for England to conclude a peace without insisting upon the restoration of Calais. (fn. 25) Before they could receive his reply, the death of Mary freed them from the more immediate pressure of this difficulty. Philip's answer, had it reached them, would have been, as it always had been, that as King of England he would accept no such terms, and that hostilities with France must be resumed. (fn. 26) But Philip had now ceased to have any direct interest in the question of Calais, and England was at liberty to pursue her own independent line of action.
are interrupted by the death of Mary.
19. The commission under which the English Ambassadors had been negociating, terminated with the life of their mistress, and the conference was at once suspended. (fn. 27) From that moment, Philip, keenly sensitive to every thing that affected his dignity, became conscious that he had ceased to be King of England. Lord Arundel, the leading member of the embassy, no sooner heard of Mary's death than he returned home without consulting his late master. But Philip no less than his neighbours was glad of the opportunity thus afforded for deliberately surveying his position. The accession of Elizabeth had materially changed the aspect of affairs as regarded himself. His interests were no longer bound up with those of England, as they had been during the reign of the late Queen; nor was it any longer incumbent upon him to insist upon the restoration of Calais. Thus thrown upon her own unaided resources, for such possibly might be her position, England must now decide how she would act in regard to France. Could she carry on the war with France single handed ? If not, she must accept the humiliating conditions which had been offered at Cercamp. But the English Privy Council took heart when it remembered that of the three opposing nationalities, France was that which for the moment was most deeply imperilled by the continuance of the warfare. While Spain had a large body of troops in the field, and the means of keeping them there, thanks to her immense resources—while England was comparatively safe, at least for a time, thanks to her insular position—the condition of France was well nigh desperate. Henry was informed by one of his Marshals that he could not depend upon the fidelity of his nobility; that his army was daily melting away by desertion; and that it had become necessary to procure from Paris every single ration of food that was consumed by his troops. (fn. 28)
Elizabeth, secure of the aid of Spain,
20. These considerations, it might have been thought, all tended to one inference; the necessity that England should retain the friendship of Spain. If Calais were to be recovered it could be recovered only by the preservation of the alliance with Philip. And this did not appear to be difficult. Elizabeth, as she had already stated to Feria, had no ground for doubting her brother-in-law's sincerity when he assured her that he would gladly stand by her in her quarrel with France. (fn. 29) Her first act, there fore, was to despatch Lord Cobham to announce to Philip the death of her sister, and to express the hope that this event would not weaken the alliance between England and Spain. (fn. 30) But Cobham was in no hurry to execute his commission; he lingered upon the road between London and Brussels for eleven days. On his arrival he found that Philip was keeping the penitential season of Advent in the monastery of Grevendal, and there he had an interview with him. Cobham presented the Queen's condolences and delivered his message. Philip said a few words expressive of his esteem and affection for his late wife, he moralized a little upon the instability of human grandeur, and then expressed, in terms kindly enough though a little vague, his desire to continue the league with England. Both Wotton and Cobham pressed for a more definite assurance upon this point, but Philip, with his usual caution, replied that he would be more explicit when he had discussed the matter with his Councillors upon their return from Cercamp. (fn. 31) Here there was no cause for complaint, nor did Cecil complain. In due time Elizabeth was told that she might count upon Philip's assistance, (fn. 32) and her Ambassadors assured her that they believed him to be sincere. (fn. 33) She professed her gratitude in the warmest terms and entreated him to stand firm in his resolution; (fn. 34) but at the same moment she entered into a secret negociation with France.
privately negociates with France.
21. The Earl of Pembroke, one of Elizabeth's confidential advisers and a member of her Privy Council, had long been upon terms of intimacy with François De Vendôme, the Governor of Calais. Pembroke opened the correspondence by a letter of which no copy has yet been discovered, but the general import of which may be ascertained from the reply which it elicited. In that reply Vendôme thanks the Earl for suggesting a peace between the two realms, adding that he will gladly give the subject the attention which it requires. Secresy may be relied on. For this purpose he despatched into England an Italian named Guido Cavalcanti, who, though he carried no despatches,—the subject was too delicate to be committed to paper,—was well acquainted with the matter which they were discussing. Vendôme thought that Bedford and Cecil (both being Privy Councillors and the latter being chief Secretary of State) might be admitted into their confidence. Pembroke introduced the messenger to his two friends, and Cavalcanti returned to France with a favourable answer to the Count's proposals. (fn. 35) So far all was well. The matter was now transferred to higher quarters, and the negociations were for the future carried on between Henry and Elizabeth.
Correspondence between Henry and Elizabeth,
22. Henry introduced the subject by stating that he had no objection to treat with his good sister, but she must do this apart from Spain. In order that their agents might meet together without attracting Philip's notice, he proposed that the conference should take place at some quiet village, easy of access to either party. The place and the day of meeting were left to the Queen's discretion. (fn. 36) Henry added with his own pen a few lines expressive of his hope that ere long he would be in a position to offer a more substantial proof of his friendship, and in the meantime he had placed in the hands of the bearer a little token of his constancy. Elizabeth may have been startled at a suggestion which was a treason to her ally, but she exhibited no token of either surprise or displeasure; she was ready to listen to what France had to propose, and if it suited her purpose she would close with the offer.
23. The preliminaries thus settled, the two royal diplomatists proceeded to business. There was a delightful anxiety to please and to be pleased. They could not comprehend why they had quarrelled; it was the simplest matter possible to come to a good understanding. There could be no greater pleasure in the world, they assured each other, than to see peace firmly established between themselves and their subjects, a peace so firm and stable that it should continue to all futurity. (fn. 37) Henry, however, had one little observation to make; his good sister must excuse him if he mentions "the affair of Calais." He notices with surprise her remark that she cannot afford to allow it to remain in his hands, and that were she to do so she would compromise her own honour and that of her people. Will she be pleased to remember that Calais is situated within the realm of France ? His people have a voice in the matter, and they have informed him that rather than surrender what they have reconquered so justly they would strip themselves to their shirts. And he feels that were he to consent to its restoration to England, he would by that one single act for ever alienate the hearts of his subjects and deprive himself of their help on every other occasion. (fn. 38)
24. The arrival of this letter put to flight the anticipations in which the Queen and her Council had been so fondly indulging. Confident in the success of their diplomacy, they had already drawn up "a form of a treaty to be made with France." It is framed with an especial regard to the interests of England, and provides that Calais, Ruysbank, Mark, Oye, Hammes, Sandgate, and Guisnes, with their artillery, shall be restored within six weeks to the Queen. Not a word is said of Philip, or of his interests; he is left to take care of himself as best he may. Cecil advanced many excellent reasons to prove to Henry that the restitution of the disputed territory was most important to the dignity of England and the safety of the Queen, but he was silent about her good brother of Spain. All her people, he wrote, nobility and men of war, merchants and commonalty, all wished that this blot upon the national honour should be wiped off; and again, and more earnestly than heretofore, he urged the importance of a private conference. (fn. 39)
after many delays;
25. Cavalcanti returned to Paris and discussed the whole subject with the Duke of Guise and the King Dauphin, and ultimately with Henry in person. He has left us an interesting account of his interviews with these personages. He first saw the Duke, who told him at the outset, with his characteristic plainness of speech, that the King would never depart from the resolution which he had already expressed so decidedly. He rejected as impossible the Queen's suggestion that the matter should be settled without the knowledge of Philip. On the evening of the same day, Cavalcanti was introduced to the King, and presented the letter of which he was the bearer. Henry read it carefully, and received with easy indifference the apology which Cavalcanti offered for having brought no gift from Her Majesty. He estimated at its true value the assurance which she sent him that although she had received certain tempting proposals from the King of Spain and the Emperor of Germany, she preferred the alliance of France to both. After these compliments, they proceeded to discuss the matter at issue between the two realms. The King was still willing to negociate for a separate peace with England; but it was impossible, in his opinion, to do this at Cambrai. Could not it be settled elsewhere? Upon this point Cavalcanti had no definite instructions. Henry was dissatisfied, and he expressed his dissatisfaction. He wished to break up this dangerous Anglo-Spanish alliance and to make peace with his antagonists singly; and for this purpose it was most important that he should compromise Elizabeth with Philip beyond the possibility of a reconciliation. The readiest way to accomplish this was to induce her to treat with himself elsewhere, and thus to bring to an end the conferences which had just opened at Cateau Cambresis.
26. Cavalcanti then exhibited "the Portrait," which is now mentioned for the first time in the course of the correspondence. It was undoubtedly a likeness of the Queen herself. We cannot but speculate as to the motive with which it was sent. Was it simply an exhibition of Elizabeth's feminine vanity ? We exculpate her from being influenced by any such commonplace littleness. Does it hint at a contemplated marriage with France? Here again we are met by a difficulty. Henry had a wife, (fn. 40) and not only a wife but a mistress. His eldest son was married, his second son was a mere child. Be that as it may, Henry thought the portrait very beautiful; it reminded him, he said, of the great King her father. He begged that it might be left with him, as he wished to have it copied, and his request was complied with. Two days afterwards the Duke of Guise repeated the objections which the King had already advanced against the adoption of Cambrai as the place of meeting. He proposed Boulogne; anywhere rather than in the neighbourhood of the Spanish Ambassadors. He touched the Queen's pride by hinting that a treaty between herself and France, to the exclusion of Philip, would prove to the world that England had regained her ancient independence, and had freed herself from the enforced alliance which had reduced her to the position of a Spanish colony.
27. For ten weary days Cavalcanti was held in suspense while Henry was corresponding with the Constable Montmorency. That grim old soldier advised him to have no further underhand dealings with Elizabeth; but to insist upon an open conference or an open war. Acting upon this advice Henry declined to hold any further communication with her agent, who carried home with him a few lines, cold and formal, in which the King simply expressed his regret that his correspondent had changed her mind in regard to the peace. Still she was not discouraged. With a perseverance which surprises rather than gratifies us, we find her once more renewing the application and sueing for another opportunity of breaking the assurances which she had so repeatedly given to Philip. The Duke of Vendôme was again appealed to, but he could only repeat what he had so often stated already, that weighty reasons prevented the King from restoring Calais. (fn. 41)
(despite the intervention of Lord Grey of Wilton), is a failure.
28. During the progress of this correspondence a piece of byeplay was enacted, which exhibits the small devices to which the Queen's advisers condescended at this time to resort. Lord Grey of Wilton, who commanded the English garrison at Guisnes, had been taken prisoner upon the surrender of that fortress; and according to the usage of the period was handed over, as a valuable prize, to the Count of Rochefoucault, who demanded a heavy ransom for his deliverance. The Earl, being unable to pay the amount, was subjected to very barbarous treatment. He was closely guarded by day, (such is his own account, as given in a letter which he addressed to Queen Mary,) (fn. 42) and lodged every night at the top of a tower, eighty-seven steps high, under four locks. Two archers of the King's guard slept in the same chamber with him, two others lying without his chamber door. Such was his condition when the correspondence between Elizabeth and Henry through Cavalcanti was at the hottest. The Duke of Guise permitted him to return to London at this juncture, ostensibly for the purpose of raising money to pay his ransom, but really to forward the alliance against Philip. When in England, Cecil had no difficulty in fathoming the purpose for which he came, and employed him to further his own designs in regard to France. Shortly after Grey's arrival in London he was made to write a letter to the Duke of Guise (the draft of which, corrected by Cecil, is extant (fn. 43) ), in which he had the simplicity to think that he could terrify the French into the conviction that England would make every sacrifice to recover Calais. The Queen, he said, would push matters to the last extremity; she would accept no terms which did not include the re-delivery of this ancient possession of the crown. The letter produced no result whatever. Baffled on all sides as regards this underhand dealing with France, there now remained nothing for Elizabeth but to fall back upon the assistance of Philip, whom for the last two months she had been continually endeavouring to hoodwink and outwit.
The correspondence with France is known to Philip.
29. Philip, however, was not the man to be easily hoodwinked and outwitted. He was perfectly well acquainted with every move in the game which the Council at Westminster thought they had been playing so adroitly, (fn. 44) but he held his peace and gave no outward token of his displeasure. In truth he had his own private views regarding England, consequently regarding Elizabeth; and during the interruption of the Conference he had been trying to work them out. That unhappy country, he said to himself, was trembling upon the very brink of ruin, and it was his duty to interfere for its salvation. In the event of the deposition or death of the present Queen, it would fall into the hands of the Dauphin, who in right of his wife, Mary of Scotland, was the nearest heir to the throne. More deeply distressing still to one of Philip's religious temperament, it was even now relapsing into that heresy from which he had been the favoured instrument of delivering it, and so it would become not only an enemy to Spain, but an enemy to the Faith. He saw one only remedy for this double calamity, and he hastened to propose it. The Count De Feria was instructed to state that his master, Philip King of Spain, was willing to become the husband of Elizabeth Queen of England.
He offers marriage to Elizabeth, who temporises,
30. Elizabeth was neither surprised nor offended at this offer. The probability of her marriage with her brotherin-law had been discussed in every Court in Europe, even before her sister's death. As she had no intention of accepting his proposal there ought to have been no difficulty in telling him so, but the offer had come at an inconvenient season. She was still at war with France; the secret treaty with Henry had proved a failure; she had not yet recovered Calais; Philip's co-operation was still all important. She could not afford to be candid, so she temporised and delayed. She would return no distinct answer until she saw the result of the negociations which were about to be resumed at Cateau Cambresis.
during the progress of the Conference at Cateau Cambresis.
31. For the purpose of at once investing these discussions with increased dignity and proving to the world the importance which she attached to them, the Queen despatched her kinsman, Lord William Howard, upon a special mission to the Conference. As matters stood at the present juncture, the selection was not an injudicious one. Howard was a nobleman of the old school, frank and headstrong, loud in talk and impetuous in action; but as an offset to these qualities he was too honest in purpose and too sincere in his convictions to do much harm. Howard's talents as a diplomatist were speedily fathomed by both French and Spaniards; (fn. 45) according to the latter he was not remarkable for his eloquence, according to the former he was chiefly conspicuous for his want of discretion. (fn. 46) He had a strong antipathy to the French, by no means uncommon with men of his age and character, and singularly enough he had a kindly feeling towards the Spaniards. He was well qualified therefore to keep up the delusion of Elizabeth's constancy towards Philip. Totally ignorant of the true character of the letters which were interchanged at this very time between the Courts of Paris and London, when informed of it he indignantly exclaimed "that it was all smoke." (fn. 47) Immediately upon his arrival he spoke out his mind about the French; "he had never seen more dissimulation and craft; never had he witnessed more plain and true dealing than upon the part of the Spanish Commissioners." (fn. 48) He swore to the latter that his mistress was steady in her affection to her good brother, and would accept no terms from the French which might be prejudicial to his interests. (fn. 49) Again and again, loudly and vehemently, he assured the meeting that England must and would have Calais, and drew from the French assurances equally vehement and loud that Calais should never be surrendered. Howard's presence evidently embarrassed and embittered the discussion. The old Constable Montmorency, a man strictly religious after his own fashion, one Sunday morning in church became so irritated with the discussion which Howard thrust upon him that he fell to swearing. (fn. 50) If strong language and an overbearing demeanour could have driven the French from their resolution, Howard's services would have been invaluable; but they held their ground with such calm and deliberate pertinacity that the English found themselves compelled to write home for further instructions. The reply which they received sufficiently exhibits the perplexity in which the Queen's advisers found themselves involved. "A resolute answer, considered by the advice of the whole Privy Council," advises them to encourage Spain to carry on the war with France, unless Calais be fully and absolutely ceded to the English crown. But if Spain should hesitate, rather than continue the war, Elizabeth gives them authority to make such peace as they best might, praying them to bend their whole industry to preserve the former amity between herself and her good brother, the King of Spain, from whom, as they may assure his ministers, no policy or subtlety of the French shall ever dissever her. (fn. 51)
Philip brings the question to an issue.
32. Armed with these instructions Lord Howard and his associates proceeded to the lodgings of the Spanish Ambassador, and there discussed the whole subject with the Duke of Alva, Ruy Gomez, and Granvelle three of the wisest heads in Christendom. Philip had now matured his plans, and enunciated them with clearness and decision. In the first place, Howard might be assured that he would keep faith with England in the matter of Calais. He would make no peace with France unless it met with Elizabeth's entire approval. But, before going to war, he must ask, as a necessary preliminary, what force could she bring into the field on the renewal of hos- tilities? Was she prepared to lay siege to Calais? Moreover, war with France implied war with Scotland; were the English willing to engage in this double conflict? Philip had laid his finger upon the weak point in the case. (fn. 52) None knew better than himself how low England had sunk during the time that he had worn its crown, and now things were even worse than they were then. Feria remarked shortly afterwards, with ill-disguised satisfaction, that the realm was upon the brink of imminent ruin; without money, men, armour, fortresses, practice in war, and good captains. (fn. 53) The conversation terminated at this point, and the English returned to their quarters disconcerted and desperate. What course were they now to pursue? How should they now meet the French Commissioners at the approaching discussion? How should they brave the universal indignation with which they would be assailed on their return home if they consented to this dismemberment of the realm? They were not aware that the English Cabinet, without consulting them, had been engaged in a friendly correspondence with the power which was pressing them so relentlessly, and had been willing to abandon the ally with whom they were now urged to make common cause. But Philip knew it, and Henry knew it; and these two powers, equally alienated from England, prepared to disregard the selfish clamours of a policy which had shown itself so faithless to the one and so powerless against the other.
The question of Elizabeth's title to the throne raised by the French.
33. During the course of these protracted discussions an incident occurred which for the time drew off the attention of the English Ambassadors even from the exciting question of Calais. In debating this subject, the French had raised a question of some considerable importance. Granted, said they, that we agree to your terms and undertake to deliver this disputed district to the Queen of England;—who is the Queen of England? Elizabeth certainly is not the rightful Sovereign. The crown does not belong to her, but to Mary of Scotland, the Queen Dauphiness of France. The English Commissioners, not knowing how best to meet this difficulty, had reported it in the terms in which it was suggested, and had asked for instructions how to deal with it. Unfortunately for themselves, in forwarding it they had expressed no surprise or indignation at the insolence of the French. The hot Tudor blood was roused by the slight, and as the Queen could not at the moment avenge herself upon the original transgressors she let her own subjects feel the weight of her displeasure. They were reminded that they, her own subjects, had ventured to discuss their Sovereign's title to the throne of her ancestors. She wonders how they could permit such a question to be raised by any man, be he Frenchman or Spaniard, in their presence; still more how they dared ask her pleasure in such a matter. (fn. 54) The Lords of the Privy Council, to whom she exhibited the obnoxious despatch, were equally indignant. She virtually superseded the entire embassy, Howard included, by appointing Sir John Mason nominally to take part in their future proceedings, but who was really invested with a discretionary authority which overrode every previous commission.
Mason despatched to the Conference.
34. Mason left the Court on March 7, and arrived at Cateau Cambresis on the 16th. He describes the grief of the Commissioners as "great and importable;" they desired rather to be out of the world than that their Sovereign mistress should continue to have such an opinion of them. They begged him to assure her, however, that they had been misunderstood, or rather that they had not expressed themselves with sufficient precision. Mason interceded for his friends. They had been very much appalled, he writes, by the letters of the Council; but that of the Queen, which he delivered on his arrival, made them so amazed that nothing could breed any comfort in them. Two of them took the matter so heavily that they would carry it to their graves. Poor Doctor Wotton had fallen half into an ague, marry, rather an ague of the mind than the body, and being before sore broken, this would help him forward apace. The Bishop of Ely was factus totus stupidus. "For the love of God," continues the kind hearted Sir John, writing to Cecil, "help to salve this sore, and move the Queen to heal the wounds which she hath given with some comfortable letter. And the sooner it may like her so to do, the better shall her service here take perfection, being in effect the senses of her ministers are taken away by sorrow." (fn. 55)
Result of the Treaty.
35. In the midst of such heartburnings as these the discussions at Cateau Cambresis arrived at their termination. The result, so long anticipated, was now inevitable. After exhausting their protestations, assertions, and threats, the English Ambassadors were at last compelled to submit to the terms imposed upon them by France. Spain looked on with indifference, if not with satisfaction. The results were most important as affecting the three contracting powers. France surrendered to the Duke of Savoy his Italian States, excepting Pignerol, Perugia, and Savigliano; she retained the marquisate of Saluces, but surrendered Sienna to the Medici, and Corsica to the Genoese. She also kept possession of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and (upon the payment of 500,000 crowns) secured her hold upon the long coveted territory of Calais. Apparently her loss was great, but it was more in appearance than reality. She contracted, and thereby strengthened, her own frontier; and thus freed herself from the costly necessity of keeping garrisons in various disconnected and outlying fortresses, which, besides weakening her available army, were in themselves a source of weakness. Spain had more to show as her share in the distribution of the spoil. Philip had thus established himself in Italy, had curbed the power of his former rival the Pope, and secured a strong position along its whole line of boundary. The position of England was more humiliating; she had concluded a peace by the surrender of one of her most valued conquests, for which she had received no compensation whatever. Yet, like her neighbours, she had secured greater advantages than she could understand. She had gained peace with France and Scotland, and thus had leisure to replenish her exhausted treasury and repair the calamities which she had sustained at home and abroad during the disastrous reigns of Edward and Mary. The loss of which she complained so bitterly and felt so acutely, the loss of Calais, was itself a gain. There was at last the prospect that not only peace but cordiality might exist between the two powers on the opposite sides of the Channel; a condition which it is not too much to say was unattainable so long as the one retained a garrison upon the soil of the other.
Little cordiality between England and France.
36. Although peace was at last established between this country and France, there was little real cordiality between their Sovereigns. The compliments which had been so freely interchanged between the Courts of London and Paris a few weeks previously were now forgotten, but the memory of past injuries rankled in the heart of at least one of the parties who had signed the treaty of Cateau Cambresis. Elizabeth remembered that immediately upon the death of Mary, the French Ambassador at Rome had urged the Pope to pronounce that the marriage of Henry the Eighth with Anne Boleyn was null, and that the issue which sprang from it was incapable of succeeding to the throne. (fn. 56) The Spanish Ambassador had again and again reminded Elizabeth that but for his master's interposition at the Papal Court this sentence would have been pronounced; and Carne, her own agent there, confirmed the statement. In proof of the continued hostility of France, she was assured from various quarters that the Queen Dauphiness had assumed the arms and style of England, and had declared herself its rightful Sovereign, while Elizabeth was stigmatized throughout France as a heretic and usurper. The same startling intelligence reached her from Flanders and Germany, in short from every Court where she had a spy, an agent, or an Ambassador. The treaty was most unpopular with the French soldiery. None were more active in keeping alive this hostility than the Duke of Guise (fn. 57) and the Cardinal of Lorraine, who in the success of their niece, Mary of Scotland, saw the aggrandizement of their own family. Consequently, when Sir Nicolas Throckmorton was sent to reside in France as the Queen's resident Ambassador, he viewed with a pardonable jealousy the growth of an influence which had already declared itself so hostile to the honour of his mistress and the interests of his country. (fn. 58)
The Treaty confirmed at Paris,
37. The Ambassadors despatched by Elizabeth for the confirmation of the Treaty of Cateau Cambrai reached Paris on the 23rd of May. They had been liberally entertained on the road by the Constable Montmorency, with whom Throckmorton entertained the most friendly relations. He was the political antagonist of the Guises, and as such was supposed to be inclined to promote an alliance with England. Henry was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Envoys, and so welcome was their arrival, that booted and spurred as they were, and well washed with the rain, they were introduced into his presence. After the exchange of a few compliments they passed into another chamber, where they found the Queen, Mary De Medicis, and several of the female members of the royal family. The Queen Dauphiness, Mary Stuart, was not present: she was suffering from one of those attacks of illness to which at that period of her life she was so frequently subject. When Throckmorton saw her next day he thought her looking ill, "very pale and green, and withal short-breathed;" and (he added) it is whispered here among them that she cannot live long. (fn. 59) It would have been well for her had this prediction been verified, and that she had escaped from the more lingering death which awaited her. Notwithstanding her weakness, however, she was able to receive Howard and the other Ambassadors on the following day, and at the request of her husband the sickly and exhausted girl of seventeen replied to these veteran diplomatists. She expressed herself with that ease and clearness for which she was always distinguished, and which never deserted her even in circumstances still more trying. Yet her indisposition was so painfully obvious to the whole party that they did not trouble her with any long communication. Their object thus accomplished they were impatient to return home; for although Henry entertained them as his guests, the scanty sum allowed them by their mistress was inadequate to meet the outlay unavoidably required by their position. The impression created on their minds by the splendour of the French Court was all that Henry's vanity could have desired. Howard, who well understood the peculiarities of his royal kinswoman, privately lamented to Cecil that the like entertainment could not be provided for the French Commissioners who had been sent to London for the confirmation of the treaty. (fn. 60)
38. We have the means of ascertaining for ourselves how far these anticipations of Howard were doomed to be realized; and the conclusion to which the solution of the question leads us is interesting in as far as it illustrates the Queen's parsimony. The Ambassadors from France arrived at the Tower Wharf on May 23, (fn. 61) and on the following day they were presented to Her Majesty. She entertained them in the banquetting place in the Great Gallery at Westminster, which was "garnished with flowers and herbs for the better furnishing of the same." She was lavish in her use of rose water, having consumed at least four gallons upon the occasion; and she provided 260 hoops to make garlands. The windows, the gates, and the roofs were decorated with the same inexpensive profusion. (fn. 62) She distributed among her visitors various chains, rings, and other articles of jewellery, which she had taken out of the royal wardrobe in the Tower. (fn. 63) The entire expenses of the Ambassadors of France, as well at the Palace of the Bishop of London as at the Court at Westminster, during the six days of their residence, amounted to 594l. 18s. 9d. Cecil has given us the means of estimating and con- trasting the relative munificence of the two rival Sovereigns. Elizabeth presented to Henry's principal representative plate to the value of 884l. 14s., while Howard received 4,140 ounces, calculated to be worth 2,066l. 13s. 4d. (fn. 64)
Death of Henry the Second of France.
39. Throckmorton, now left alone at the French Court, as the resident Ambassador from England, at once found himself immersed in more than its usual whirl of gaiety and dissipation. It had been arranged by the treaty of Cateau Cambresis that the Princess Elizabeth of France, who had formerly been promised to Don Carlos of Spain, should become the bride of his father, Philip, and that the Duke of Savoy should marry Henry's sister. The betrothal of the one bride and the marriage of the other were now to be solemnized at Paris, and the Court devoted itself to the festivities incident to this double alliance. The King entered into the general holiday with his usual eagerness. None had a firmer or more graceful seat in the saddle, none broke a lance more dexterously than himself; he decided therefore that the nuptial festivities should be of such a character as would give him the opportunity of exhibiting these accomplishments before the strangers who were flocking to his Court from Italy, Spain, and Germany. Throckmorton saw him with forty of his suit in armour on horseback busily exercising for the approaching tournament. (fn. 65) But the state ceremonies, which began with a marriage, ended with a funeral, for when the "triumphs" were at their height the King met with an accident which resulted in his death.
40. Two independent accounts of this event, each drawn up by an eye-witness, have come down to us; one from the report of the English Ambassador, the other incorporated into his Memoires by Villeville. These two narratives agree so closely with each other that they admit of being woven into one continuous and consistent narrative. From their united testimony it appears that the King entered the lists upon the afternoon of June 29, and was armed by Villeville. As one of the defendants, Henry was required by the laws of the game to run three courses, and three courses only; and then was expected to resign his place to the next comer on the same side. He accordingly ran the first course with the Duke of Savoy and the second with the Duke of Guise, on both of which occasions he acquitted himself with his usual skill, and gained his usual amount of applause. His third antagonist was the Count of Montgomery, the son of the Count De Lorges, one of the captains of the Scottish Guard, "a tall and powerful young man." He struck Henry so roughly with his lance that the King reeled in his saddle, and nearly lost one of his stirrups. It was now M. De Villeville's turn, and he presented himself at the barrier for the purpose of entering the lists, but the King interposed, saying that he himself wished to try another course with his late antagonist, the issue of the previous encounter having been too indefinite to be satisfactory. Observing that he was irritated and excited, all present endeavoured to dissuade him, but in vain. He charged Montgomery upon his allegiance to remount and to take his place at the other end of the lists. There was no alternative, and Montgomery obeyed with marked reluctance. Both of the antagonists splintered their lances successfully; but the Count neglected to throw away the broken shaft which remained in his hand. It struck the King's helmet as the horses passed each other in the lists, forced open his visor, and (according to Throckmorton's narrative) "hitting his face, gave him such a counterbuff as drove a splinter into his head right over his eye on the right side; the force of which stroke was so vehement, and the pain was so great, that he was much astonished." He dropped the rein, bent forward over his horse's neck, and had much ado to keep himself from falling. He was lifted from his horse and unarmed close by where the English Ambassador was seated, who consequently had a near view of the whole occurrence. The hurt seemed not to be great, but the King was very weak, and had the sense of all his limbs almost benumbed, "for being carried away as he lay along, nothing covered but his face, he moved neither hand nor foot, but lay like one amazed." (fn. 66) Villeville went with him into his chamber at the Tournelles, near to the spot at which the accident had happened, and there he remained in constant attendance upon his master. The Queen was not admitted; it was feared that her lamentations would disturb the patient. The most expert surgeons in France were at once summoned, but they were unable to extract the splinters of wood which they had reason to believe remained deep in the wound. When Philip heard of the accident, he immediately despatched to Paris his own surgeon, the illustrious Vesalius, whose anatomical discoveries have immortalized his name. The doctors in attendance busied themselves in dissecting the heads of four or five criminals, whom they caused to be executed in the meantime, and on which they had inflicted injuries similar to that which had befallen the King. All, however, was in vain. Henry had declared from the first that he had received his death-blow. After lingering through more than a week of agony he became insensible, and on the 10th of July death ended his sufferings. (fn. 67)
41. The death of Henry the Second changed the entire aspect of affairs in France, but in nothing more than in the relations of that kingdom with England. One of the most immediate and most significant results was the accession to power of the house of Guise. The young King, Francis the Second, amiable and weak, was under the control of his wife, Mary of Scotland, and Mary was directed in all things by her uncles, the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine. In fact, they ruled France during the whole of this period. (fn. 68) The two dominant principles of the house which they represented were intolerance of Protestantism, both at home and abroad, and dislike to England in general and Elizabeth in particular. (fn. 69) Under one or other of these two heads may be arranged nearly every paper which passed between England and France during the reign upon which we are now entering.
42. Upon this period of history our information is chiefly derived from the letters of Sir Nicolas Throckmorton, of which a nearly unbroken series has been preserved. His correspondence with the Queen, the Privy Council, and Cecil is of the highest value as exhibiting the line of policy pursued by England towards her hereditary enemy on the other side of the channel. Repeatedly, almost continuously, and most emphatically did he impress upon Elizabeth that although she was now nominally at peace with France, peace would not long continue. The same information reached Cecil from a variety of other quarters. The motive was obvious, and the line of action which it developed assumed a form which was at once equally alarming and irritating to the Queen. France was desirous of entering on a struggle for the English throne upon the plea that its present occupant was illegitimate, and consequently incapable of succeeding to it. The claim formerly advanced by Henry the Second in favour of his daughter-in-law, Mary Stuart, was now revived with increased energy by her husband, and was supported by all the talent and zeal of the house of Guise. In proof of these hostile designs Throckmorton detailed, letter after letter, how Mary had assumed the royal arms of England, (fn. 70) how she designated herself Queen of England and Ireland and had adopted that style and title in the public documents which issued from her Chancery. (fn. 71) The English Ambassadors when they visited Paris were served from plate, which told them as plainly as heraldry could speak, that the mistress whom they served was not the Queen of England; (fn. 72) nor was this an unmeaning bravado,—it was the outward declaration of the deliberate resolve to place Mary of Scotland upon the English throne.
unveils the hostile policy of France.
43. Throckmorton had no great difficulty in ascertaining the outline of the plan by which this resolution was to be accomplished. The blow was to be struck through the instrumentality of Scotland. Small bodies of French troops, well armed, well disciplined, and well officered, were from time to time to be landed in Scotland, under the plea that they were sent thither for the maintenance of the authority of the absent Queen. A dash was then to be made at Berwick, with the defenceless condition of which the French engineers were thoroughly acquainted. Simultaneously with this attack a body of troops were to be landed in the Isle of Wight, from which they could not easily be dislodged. Portsmouth could be carried without any difficulty. (fn. 73) It was believed that this combined attempt would be the signal for a general rising of that large body of the people who made no secret of their dislike to the policy which was now openly pursued both in Church and State by the English Government. These combined alarms at length produced the desired effect. The English Privy Council debated, anxiously and warmly, whether it would be better at once to assume an offensive attitude by openly assisting that portion of the inhabitants of Scotland who were anxious to throw off the control of France, or to await the threatened attack of the Guises, and then to invoke the assistance of Spain. (fn. 74) The former alternative was preferred; for circumstances had occurred in the meantime which induced Cecil and his colleagues to mistrust the constancy of Philip.
Philip's line of conduct towards England.
44. Philip had lingered in Brussels during the negociations at Cateau Cambresis, and now upon the conclusion of the peace he hastened to return to Spain. His stay in Flanders was irksome to him; he had never loved it, and now he loved it less than ever. Its political institutions, its laws, its customs were all alien to those of his native country, and all of them jarred upon his prejudices. There was too much outspoken independence in its deliberative assemblies, too much sturdy self-reliance among its nobility, too much riotous living among its hard-drinking burghers, to please the imperious, calm, and temperate Spaniard. He could not speak the language of his Flemish subjects, he did not understand their prejudices, he did not conform to their usages; nor did he take any pains to conceal the indifference or the contempt which he felt towards a people who were at once the richest and the most rebellious in all Europe. More than all these, Philip dreaded and disliked the growing laxity of the creed of Flanders, and its tolerance of religious error; for its proximity to Germany and its intercourse with England had imported into it the leaven of Protestantism, which he considered his especial province to exterminate from his dominions. It was with a feeling of relief therefore that the Flemings watched the preparations for his departure, and Elizabeth shared in their satisfaction. His residence in the Low Countries placed him in unpleasant contiguity to England, in whose affairs he was thus enabled to interpose at any moment. In order to obtain correct information as to his movements, and at the same time to conciliate the offended dignity of Philip, who was now beginning to think himself neglected by her long silence, she despatched an Ambassador to wait upon the King and to accompany him to the place of his embarkation. (fn. 75)
Challoner sent to Flanders. His interview with Philip.
45. Sir Thomas Challoner, to whom this duty was entrusted, had reason to watch with no little anxiety the movements of Elizabeth's rejected suitor. The Queen had been warned that it was no longer safe for her to depend upon his dubious protection, and that he intended "either "to show himself her enemy, or not her fast friend." (fn. 76) That such was the case was by no means improbable. Elizabeth was sensible that not only had she wounded his pride by rejecting his hand, but further that she had offended his dignity by intimating her resolution of adopting an independent line of action, while she shocked his orthodoxy by adhering to the Protestant form of worship. An unfortunate personal collision between Her Majesty and the Countess De Feria, (fn. 77) which took place at this time, still further widened the breach between the Courts of Spain and England, for the Count, her husband, was an especial favourite of the King, and one of the greatest of his Council. (fn. 78) We need not wonder therefore if we find that Challoner's mission into the Low Countries was anything but agreeable to himself, and that the intelligence which he had to communicate to his mistress was anything but satisfactory.
46. When Challoner arrived at Ghent he found the King busily engaged in holding a Chapter of the Toison D'Or, the last which was celebrated before the dissolution of that Order of chivalry. It exhibited that admixture of Court ceremonial with religious solemnity which harmonized so well with Philip's peculiar temperament, gratifying at once his pride as a Sovereign and his devotion as a Catholic. The English Ambassador tells us that he beheld, disguised, the solemn pomp of the procession, as the twenty-four Knights of the Golden Fleece, preceded by twenty-one mitred Abbots and Bishops, and followed by the King and his personal attendants, went to vespers in the great church of Ghent. (fn. 79) The Chapter was at this time deliberating upon the expediency of accepting certain new regulations which Philip had proposed for their adoption, and which show the current of his thoughts and wishes. The first of these was, that in every future election to the Order, none should be eligible unless he were a Catholic, and free from every shadow of suspicion; in the second place, that each member should expel all heresy from his estates; and in the third place that all should pledge themselves to hear Mass daily. The first of these was accepted without any difficulty, the second and third passed after a slight opposition. (fn. 80)
and the Count De Feria.
47. Finding that the King was wholly engrossed with the business of the Order, Challoner sought an interview with the Count De Feria. He was graciously assured that as soon as it was possible he should have an audience. The long-delayed interview took place on August the 3rd, and it is described with some minuteness in the Ambassador's letter of that date. It was brief, and was chiefly confined to a ceremonious presentation and acceptance of Challoner's credentials. The King was dressed with his accustomed sobriety; he wore a plain black cloak and a cloth cap. As usual, he was courteous and affable, but guarded in what he said; he professed in general terms his personal regard for Elizabeth, and his wish to preserve a friendly intercourse with her. "He concluded with many good words in such gentle fashion and such smiling countenance as one might not well desire more at so great a Prince's hands." (fn. 81) This letter was addressed to Cecil, but Challoner had a more confidential despatch intended for the Queen's own private inspection. He was too well acquainted with the ways of courts and courtiers to believe that all was well because at his reception the King wore a fair countenance and used a smooth tongue. The Ambassador had now gained a deeper insight into the true state of affairs, and he thought himself bound to disclose to his mistress all he knew as to the estimate in which she was held on the Continent. He prefaced his remarks by observing that no man of ordinary powers of observation could live in Philip's Court without learning many things worth knowing, things too, which it was all-important for him to forward to the quarter which they most affected. It was a hazardous enterprize to tell these unpleasant truths to Elizabeth, for they chiefly concerned herself, but Challoner had the boldness to do this; and she, to her credit be it said, honoured his outspoken honesty. In his opinion, then, Spain was no true friend of England. Her refusal of the King's hand had engendered the first grudge, but this was intensified by the alteration in religion. The Count De Feria (whose candour the Ambassador valued highly, (fn. 82) and who was perfectly informed of the true state of affairs in England,) spoke of her power in the most contemptuous terms. He was sorry, he said, to see her imminent ruin; the French gaped only for their opportunity; she was destitute of money, men, armour, fortresses, practice in war and good captains. He had a story to tell which showed Elizabeth (if she were inclined to give it credence), that her claims to the throne might possibly be assailed from a quarter which hitherto had occasioned her little anxiety. Challoner just before he wrote had received a visit from an English gentleman named Robert Huggins, one of Philip's pensioners, who informed him that shortly before the death of the late French King, the Spaniards had formed a plan for getting into their hands the Lady Catherine Grey, (who was nearly allied to the English crown,) and marrying her to the Prince of Spain, Don Carlos, of unhappy memory. (fn. 83) Huggins himself furnished a detailed account of what he had done in the matter, (fn. 84) and it was enough to raise the fears and jealousies of the Queen. The hint was not thrown away upon her, as we shall see hereafter. Meanwhile Challoner continued in attendance upon Philip, who after a longer delay than had been anticipated, embarked at Flushing on Friday, 25th August, "with an easterly wind, very small, next to a calm, but such as most gladly he embraced, as irked of his long abode in Flanders." (fn. 85) He arrived at Laredo on 8 Sept. (fn. 86) 1559, and at once proceeded to busy himself with the affairs of his kingdom, not forgetting, however, (as we shall presently have occasion to observe,) to intermeddle with the concerns of his sister-in-law, Elizabeth.
His mission to Augsburg.
48. In a political sense, next after Philip it was most important for the new government of England to secure the goodwill of the Princes of the great house of Austria; but other considerations of a personal nature had already induced Elizabeth to put herself in communication with that family. In truth she had a warm regard for the Archduke Charles, the Emperor's youngest son; and one of her first acts after her accession to the throne was to intimate to that Court the intelligence that an application for a closer alliance would not be disagreeable to the young Queen. Sir Thomas Challoner (fn. 87) was selected for this duty. Doubtless he was required to report upon the character and qualities, personal, intellectual, and moral of the Archduke Charles. In another respect, too, it was a delicate mission; for while it was necessary for Elizabeth that she should appear in the character of a true daughter of the Church, it was important that her future liberty of action should not be compromised. The Envoy left Brussels on 16 December, and reached Augsburg on Christmas Eve, 1558. He carried with him letters addressed to Maximilian, King of Bohemia, (fn. 88) but his chief object was to establish a friendly intercourse with Ferdinand the First, who had lately succeeded his brother Charles the Fifth as Emperor of Germany. Challoner fared uncomfortably on the journey; the roads were frozen, and he was in danger from sundry companies of vagabond Italian soldiers who were returning from the wars. The Emperor had not yet arrived, but he made his entry into the city upon New Year's Eve. The picture which Challoner has given us of this Prince is well calculated to strengthen the impression of his character which we derive from his public life. Moderate, conciliating, and tolerant, he secured the affections of his own subjects and the respect of foreigners. Challoner tells us that though a large proportion of the Bohemians and Hungarians who had attended the Emperor from Prague had already returned home, yet when he entered Augsburg he was accompanied by about 1,600 horsemen, who had volunteered their services as his body guard. Four thousand of the citizens in armour met him in the High Street, and conducted him to his lodging. They presented him with three fair gilt standing cups, each capable of holding a gallon, which were filled with gold coin. According to an ancient custom they also offered certain loads of oats, barrels of wine, and vessels of live fish. (fn. 89)
His interview with the Emperor Ferdinand.
49. Challoner's interview with the Emperor took place on the 2nd of January, at the early hour of eight in the morning. The English Ambassador was favourably impressed by his reception. Ferdinand "used a good countenance and gentle and familiar words, joined nevertheless with an evident store of knowledge of many things. The common voice attributes to him the name of a gentle Prince." He was happy to hear of the Queen's accession, and hoped above all things that she would have God and His honour and service most commended. The conversation, if it continued in this strain, might take a dangerous turn: so Challoner thought it not good to enter into further proof with him, but proceeded with his instructions. They consisted of vague and general expressions of Elizabeth's wish to continue upon friendly terms with her good brother. The costly funeral which she had bestowed upon the late Queen afforded him a pleasant subject upon which to enlarge, (for here he could expatiate upon the liberality and the orthodoxy of his mistress,) (fn. 90) and with this topic he closed the interview. He tells Elizabeth, for to her the letter which contains these details is addressed, that he has much to communicate, which he will not venture to reduce to writing. (fn. 91)
50. With Cecil, Challoner is a little more explicit, yet he does not dare to put upon paper the intelligence which he has acquired. Things are narrowly looked into in the passage by the interceptors of letters, therefore he will not endanger his safety, since he has to return home through a wild country. Yet he will venture to say thus much; since the affairs of England all turn upon the Queen's marriage, she should be in no hurry to compromise herself. Let her, he adds, take time to consider what fair offers she may have; yea, and shall have. Let her choose the meetest. The balance of the wars between Flanders and France depends upon which side shall overweigh in this matter. He dares not add more, considering what caution ought to be used in sending letters. He then delivers his advice in the following oracular manner: When all coasts of the air are discovered likely for a clear weather and calm seas to continue, then let the galley take the gulf to cross the seas, and in the meantime sail along the shore." (fn. 92) All this apparently means that no decision ought to be arrived at in regard to the Queen's marriage until the writer has had the opportunity of stating verbally the result of his mission. Challoner returned home, carrying with him a letter from the Emperor to his mistress, which was expressed in the shortest and most formal terms possible. (fn. 93) Beyond a visit of ceremony, beyond the exchange of letters of cold civility, apparently nothing had been accomplished. Yet probably all had been accomplished that had been expected. Challoner's mission was not so barren of results as it might at first sight appear to have been; for even if no word had been uttered by him upon the subject, he had left behind him the impression that an alliance of the closest nature might be formed between Austria and England.
Ferdinand's embassy to London.
51. Fully aware that there would be no lack of suitors in the field for the hand of Elizabeth, the Emperor lost no time in following up the negociation so favourably opened by Challoner. Ordinary courtesy demanded that the embassy should be acknowledged, and for this purpose George, Count of Helfenstein, was despatched to the Court of London. (fn. 94) He used such speed as the urgency of the case demanded, and his reception by the Queen augured favourably for the final issue of his mission. But on his arrival at Brussels on his way homewards, he received letters from his master which showed him that difficulties had arisen in a quarter from which they were least expected. The report was rife in the Low Countries that Philip was a candidate for Elizabeth's hand. Helfenstein wrote to Challoner urgently requesting to be informed whether it were true or not; and stating that although one of the Emperor's sons was a suitor, yet he would not venture to oppose his omnipotent cousin of Spain. Should it so happen, however, that Philip did not think fit to prosecute his suit, in that case the German negociations would be resumed with all diligence. He forwards to Challoner, as he had promised, a good and accurate portrait done to the life of the person of whom they had so frequently spoken in England. Yet it was not intended for Challoner alone; he may show it to whom he thinks fit. If the surpassing virtues and mental endowments of that personage were as well known to him as they are to the writer, it would be admitted that they eclipsed the graces of the body. Even in respect to the external form and features, the painter has not flattered the original. (fn. 95) We have no direct information as to the manner in which the Queen received this appeal to her sensibilities, but it may be inferred that the impression created was anything but disagreeable. We shall find that about this very time a portrait of one of the Archdukes was hung up in her bedchamber. The correspondence which passed between Vienna and London assumed the most friendly character, and the Emperor promised himself that ere long a closer alliance would be attainable. (fn. 96) Helfenstein remained in Brussels in order that he might have the benefit of Philip's experience, who now warmly advanced his cousin's suit, for he would gladly secure England for a kinsman and a Catholic. Thus encouraged, Prince Ferdinand, the Emperor's eldest son, made the offer of his hand to the Queen. This was a mistake; the Queen's thoughts were running upon the youngest brother. The Emperor had not penetrated her secret wishes upon the subject. She admired, not Ferdinand, but Charles, and therefore she had no difficulty in declining the offer. This she did firmly, but in terms which were at once flattering to himself and the great Catholic powers which for the time he represented. (fn. 97)
The Protestant States are alarmed, and ask her to declare her religious faith.
52. It was impossible that these negociations could be carried on without exciting the suspicions and the fears of the Protestant States of Europe. England had not yet declared herself upon the all-absorbing question of religion, and each sign which she gave was watched with the most jealous anxiety. Hitherto the Queen had been in correspondence almost exclusively with the Catholic powers, with Spain, Austria, and France; it was time that she should be reminded of the existence of the Lutherans of Germany and the Calvinists of Geneva. She received messages from several of the northern powers congratulating her upon her accession, and expressing the hope that she would be a follower of the true religion and embrace the pure teaching of the Gospel. The meaning of the phrase varied according to the creed of the writers. Yet however they might differ in other respects, they were unanimous in having declared war against Antichrist; and the Queen's appalling laxity filled them with alarm not unmixed with indignation. (fn. 98)
She proclaims herself to be a Lutheran.
53. One of the earliest of these Mentors was Paulo Vergerio, formerly Bishop of Capo d'Istria, (fn. 99) who having abandoned his see and his creed, had joined the ranks of Lutheranism. He tells the Queen that he is now domesticated with the Duke of Wurtemberg, a Prince so zealously attached to the Confession of Augsburg that he thought it necessary to caution her against the erroneous doctrine of Peter Martyr, whom Cranmer and Edward the Sixth had placed as Professor of Divinity at Oxford. Such faith had the ex-bishop in her religious principles that he ventured, he informs her, to wager his life that she would embrace the Confession of Augsburg. If she should be so illadvised as to adopt any other religion, (thereby meaning Calvinism, his especial horror,) the Emperor and the King of Spain will become her chief enemies, and will enter into a league with the Pope and France against her. These powers are indifferent to the Papacy; their only anxiety is that the religion of England should be pure Lutheranism. (fn. 100) Vergerio had proved himself to be one of those persons whom it is lawful to answer after his folly, and Elizabeth dealt with him according to the precept of the Wise Man. In reply, she informs those friends of his who wish her to accept the Confession of Augsburg that she has no intention of departing from the mutual agreement of Christian churches, amongst which that of Augsburg appears to her to be the most weighty. Cecil, too, raises his voice, and adds his testimony. Nothing, he assures Vergerio, is more gratifying to him than to take his part in this cleansing of the Church. The statement was credited, and the Duke informed Mundt of his singular pleasure that the Queen intends to follow the pure doctrine of the Confession of Augsburg, and begs her to be assured that he will pray God to give her constancy in this holy work. (fn. 101) Many of the other German States wrote to the same effect, and received replies modified according to circumstances. All her correspondence with the German States at this time expressed, directly or indirectly, the assurance that England would adopt the Reformation; and her agent at Augsburg was specially instructed to revive the amity which had existed between the Protestant Princes and Henry VIII. and Edward VI. (fn. 102)
Reformers at home press for a declaration of her opinions.
54. These applications from both sides for a decisive exposition of her faith were warmly seconded by a large and influential body at home; and these too, for a time, she had the skill to pacify and conciliate. The number of that party was daily increased by the exiles who were now returning home from Germany and Switzerland. They had claimed her for their own from the beginning of her reign. When the intelligence of Mary's death reached the Duchess of Suffolk, at that time resident at Crossen, she declared her conviction that now at last God had found one after His own heart, and she promises herself that she will return to sing a song to the Lord in her own land. If the Israelites might rejoice in their Deborah, how much more might the English in their Elizabeth! (fn. 103) The good Duchess, like many others, was doomed ultimately to be disappointed. Elizabeth halted between two opinions, and the report was an intolerable heaviness to such as loved God. Suffolk poured out her griefs into the bosom of Cecil, whom she at the same time rebukes as one of those whose backslidings were most specially named. She reminds him that his old master, her husband, the Duke of Suffolk, when he gave over his hot zeal to set forth God's true religion, lost all that he sought to keep, with his head to boot. His counsellors, of whom Master Secretary was one, slipped their collars, turned their coats, and have served since to play their parts in many other matters. She comforts herself, however, with the assured conviction that God will undoubtedly at length pay such turncoats home. Warming with her subject, she reminds her early friend and servant that there is no fear of being guilty of innovation in restoring the old good and repealing the new evil, but she fears that men have so long worn the Gospel slopewise that they will not gladly have it straight to their legs. Christ's plain coat without seam is in her estimation fairer to the clear-eyed than all the jaggs of Germany. She hears that the Confession of Augsburg has been recommended to the acceptance of England, but it is an abomination to her; she will have neither Augsburg nor Rome, but Christ, who has left behind Him His Gospel, a rule sufficient, and only to be followed. (fn. 104)
55. Reasons of state, as I have already pointed out, had prevented the Queen so far from openly declaring her adhesion to either of these antagonistic parties; but other considerations of a more private character contributed to her indecision. We have seen that after she had courted, sufficiently intelligibly, an alliance with Vienna, she had rejected the elder of the two unmarried Princes; we may now proceed to narrate the manner in which she carried herself towards the younger. The Baron Ravensteyn, charged with the offer of the hand of the Archduke Charles, arrived in London on the 26th of May, and two days afterwards he was admitted to an interview with the Queen. He declared the object of his mission, and urged her to express her sentiments regarding his proposal. Her answer was unfavourable, although conveyed in terms which were somewhat ambiguous. The Council interceded, but with indifferent success. Still the refusal was neither peremptory nor final, for she added that she would never marry one with whom she had not previously formed an acquaintance. On the same day Cecil was instructed to inform the Emperor in courteous terms that she fully acknowledges the honour of the proposed alliance, but that she has no intention of abandoning the single life which she has chosen. (fn. 105)
Elizabeth's private enquiries at Vienna.
56. Was Elizabeth sincere in this refusal? Probably not. In the November of this year, the Venetian Ambassador resident at Vienna, who had formerly been accredited to King Edward and Queen Mary, wrote home that she complained of never having received any love token from the Archduke Charles, with whom her marriage was then in course of negociation; and two months later Tripolo wrote from Toledo that she was more than ever attached to the Archduke, and that she has placed his portrait, (that, probably, which had been forwarded from Brussels,) at the head of her bed. (fn. 106) And more conclusive still, on the evening of the day upon which she had admitted Ravensteyn into her presence, after she had rejected his master's suit, supported as it was by the entreaties of the Privy Council, after she had written to the Emperor professing her determination to live a life of celibacy, she permits us to look into her heart and discover the true bent of her hidden feelings. Upon that very day, Mundt, her agent in Germany, was instructed by Cecil to make some very precise enquiries respecting a certain individual who is unnamed, but as to whose identity there can be no room for doubt. These enquiries are of the most delicate character. Mundt was to ascertain the age, stature, height, fatness, strength, complexion, nature, conditions, positions, studies, education, faculties, affections, and temper of the personage who had excited the curiosity of Mr. Secretary. Furthermore, he shall discover of what judgment he is in matters of religion, and how affected towards the Protestants. The examination presently becomes inquisitorial. Wherein does he spend his time most? In what company does he most delight? How is he disposed in eating and drinking? Is he noted to have loved any woman? and if so, in what sort? And lastly, what is the opinion there of this marriage? (fn. 107)
57. This letter was intrusted to a grave Doctor of Divinity, one Edmund Allen, who had resided in Switzerland as an exile for religion's sake. He was instructed to proceed with it to Augsburg, and having made the necessary enquiries, to return home with all speed, bringing with him Mundt's written report, as well as the result of his own personal enquiries. Before leaving England he was allowed to inspect the portrait which hung by the Queen's bed. Mundt was at Augsburg when this letter reached him; it had been forwarded by Allen, who, having travelled somewhat slowly in consequence of his age and infirmities, arrived there a few days afterwards. The Emperor and his son were attending the Diet which was then being held in that city, and the two English agents had frequent opportunities of inspecting the individual who was the object of so much interest to their mistress. Shortly after his arrival the Divine wrote a letter to Cecil, which, notwithstand- ing its guarded and apparently careless tone, betrays the secret which the Queen had so deeply at heart. His letter contains the following curious passage: "If my memory do not fail me very sore, the pattern is much unlike the image; and yet it will be hard to get a better." He assures Cecil that he has spared no diligence for the accomplishment of the contents of his letters, and promises that as soon as it is possible to procure perfect resolution of all things he will return home with a full relation. What that report was we do not know, nor have we any record of Mundt's answer to the multifarious questions which had been addressed to him. They were too interesting to the sympathies of the English Queen to be deposited along with her other state secrets in her Record Office, and their contents can be guessed at only by the future. At all events the diligence and zeal which Allen had evinced in this delicate service were thought worthy of an immediate reward. Within a few days of his return he was nominated to the vacant see of Rochester, but he died before taking possession of the preferment which she intended for him. Strype records his death, appending the remark that he was "an ancient, eminent Protestant Divine, with a wife and eight children." (fn. 108)
58. After the receipt of Mundt's report, confirmed by the testimony of Dr. Allen, there was still room for the Archduke to hope that his suit might eventually prove successful. The Austrian Baron still lingered in the Court at Westminster, but whenever he ventured to approach the question of matrimony the Queen's answer was invariably in the negative. Another character was about to appear on the scene; another figure, as yet dimly recognized in the distance, had stepped between her and the portrait which hung at her bedside. She was learning to trifle with herself and others. Her affections were with the Archduke Charles, and she refused his offer of marriage. Yet there was always mingled with the refusal just so much encouragement as to keep alive the belief that she was not quite in earnest. She assured Ravensteyn again and again that she was not inclined to marry; but she always contrived to introduce the significant remark that there was no house or family in all Christendom towards which she was better affected than towards the princely house of Austria. (fn. 109)
She again conciliates the German powers.
59. We must once more look at the North of Europe. Although this negociation with Helfenstein in all probability was conducted on both sides with the most jealous secresy, yet the bare possibility of an alliance between England and Austria was gall and wormwood to the reformed states of Germany. Despite the moderation of the Emperor, the Diet of Augsburg was at this time discussing with much vehemence the terms upon which peace could be preserved, and the disputations which ensued still further widened the breach between the conflicting parties. Elizabeth was too wary to identify herself irrecoverably with either; and if her personal sympathies had inclined her of late towards one side, she speedily restored the political equilibrium by now appearing to give all her preponderance to the other. Within a month of the penning of that long series of questions about the capabilities, moral and physical, of the Archduke, she writes to the Duke of Saxony informing him that she and he are of one and the same mind in matters of religion; and that she intends to advance within her realms, both by her example and her authority, that faith and ritual which are in conformity with the Confession of Augsburg. (fn. 110) On the same day she expresses herself in similar terms to Albert Duke of Prussia; she wishes nothing more heartily than that the pure religion and discipline embodied in that admirable formulary just named should be established in this kingdom. (fn. 111) The Landgrave of Hesse is given to understand, (fn. 112) still upon the same day, that as regards religion it is her intention to follow the express Word of God and that system of doctrine and ceremonies which is defined by the Confession of Augsburg. In perfect conformity with his instructions her agent, Dr. Mundt, thought himself justified in assuring the Protestant Princes assembled at the Diet that she cordially accepted the formulary which they had there established; and he concluded his address by inviting them to despatch a formal embassy to London for the purpose of cementing this godly alliance. (fn. 113)
60. If it were necessary to give an explanation of this remarkable versatility of creed, the best solution which I have to propose would be this; that in each of these varied assertions there was an amount of truth, sufficient at least to save it from the charge of being a deliberate misstatement. The subsequent history of the Church of England has so far thrown into the background its earlier position that we have gradually lost sight of the principles upon which it was founded. The matured episcopacy, the display of patristic learning, and the developed ritual of the Caroline period have made us forget that the Reformers regarded all forms of Church government as an open question; that many of them objected to the use of the surplice and the book of Common Prayer; and that they harmonized doctrinally with Zuinglius, Luther, and Calvin. Such men—and Cecil was one of these—could say (and say honestly) that the Confession of Augsburg and Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion embodied the general bent of their convictions, while there might possibly be in these works certain minor questions and matters of detail respecting which a diversity of opinion might lawfully be permitted.
She is compelled to guard her realm from the aggressions of France.
61. Having thus satisfied both phases of her conscience and secured her interests on either side, Elizabeth was at liberty to devote herself with undisturbed tranquillity to a subject of a less agreeable nature, but one which demanded immediate attention. The aggressive attitude assumed by France daily became more conspicuous; and the impression rapidly gained ground, both at home and abroad, that at no very distant period the young King Francis the Second would cast aside the disguise with which even at present he scarcely deigned to conceal his hostile intentions. Cecil observed the danger which was so patent to the rest of the world. The consideration of it was urged upon him from all quarters, and he has given us the means of considering his impression of its magnitude and of the way by which it should be averted. He lays it down as an axiom which was self evident that France would break the peace with England whenever it suited her convenience. He recalls the efforts made by the French at Rome to procure the declaration that the Queen was illegitimate, how they had maligned her mother, how they had usurped the arms and style of England, and how upon the accession of Francis the Second the Guises had proposed that he should be proclaimed King of England. The disdainful speech of the French Queen to divers persons, even to some of Elizabeth's own gentlewoman, is not forgotten. And the unavoidable inference from all this was that the navy should be put in readiness, that the counties upon the seacoast should be armed, that Berwick should be victualled, and that adequate preparations should be made upon the Scottish Borders.
The weakness of her condition.
62. Each of these recommendations directed attention towards a weak point in the national defences; collectively they were understood by the Statesmen of the time as equivalent to the admission that England was open to an attack upon its northern and southern extremities, that it dreaded an internal insurrection, and that the entire range of its seaboard lay unprotected. Nor did Cecil's anxiety spring from a vague and unfounded timidity. The French had long contemplated a descent upon the Isle of Wight, of which they had a plan, as well as of Poole, Weymouth, Portland, and the neighbouring fortresses. (fn. 114) The navy was inadequate to the protection of the coast, though it was stronger than any force which it was likely to encounter upon British waters. (fn. 115) The weakness of Berwick was no secret either to its occupants or its enemies, and the recent surprise of Calais encouraged the French, who began to speculate how easily it might be carried by a few bold assailants. (fn. 116) And lastly, the Northern Borders towards Scotland were a continued source of uneasiness to the Queen and her Council, for they had become so totally disorganized that they demanded an immediate reformation, a remedy which was unpalatable alike to the rich and poor within those districts. Palatable or unpalatable it was now a matter of dire necessity; for the land-holders and their retainers formed the chief, if not the only protection as well against the united troops of French and Scotch, whenever they pleased to cross the Tweed, as against that equally devastating scourge, the nocturnal inroads of a horde of Border moss troopers. (fn. 117) No wonder, then, that the Lord Warden for the time being, no less a personage than the Earl of Northumberland, was constrained to write thus in sober sadness to the Secretary: "We be able nothing to withstand the enemy's power, they being of so great force and we so weak. (fn. 118) And he is supported by the testimony of an eye witness, who states that the Scots were never stronger than they were at this time, and the whole country lay at their mercy, (fn. 119) and whose narrative of Border life is at the same time sufficiently graphic to warrant the introduction of a few extracts,
The condition of the Scottish Borders.
63. The Tiviotdale men, he tells his correspondent, will ride at night ten or twelve in a company from town to town, and call men by their names and bid them rise quickly. The poor man asks the moss trooper what he is? the Scot answers, Dost not know me by my tongue? I am Jock of the Harewell, or Hob-a-Gilchrist, or Tom of the Coves, or a Davison, or a Young. (These be the rank riders.) The Scot bids, "Rise; the great host of Scotland is coming; all your town shall be burnt; but if thou wilt be my prisoner, I will save thy horse, corn, and cattle." The simple man thinketh all true that he heareth. He riseth and giveth his hand out at window, or over the door, to be a true prisoner and enter when he is called for, or else to pay such a sum of money as they agree of. If he do not enter or pay his money according to his promise, he is spoiled and burned, and not left worth one groat. Thus the Scots ride, taking money, of some 40s., of other some five marks and four pounds, as their corn and their substance is. The writer indignantly remarks that he has not heard that they had been met with, either at their coming in or going out, notwithstanding that 1,000 English horsemen lie in garrison within five miles compass. The Scots, he adds, must needs come in or go out by some of their noses. For all these horsemen, if the fray rise, there will not come sixteen to it. The Scots pass away to their country, driving the stolen cattle as quietly as though they bought them at market.
Sadler instructed to nourish the insurrection in Scotland.
64. Such was the condition of England in regard to France and Scotland. Coupled with repeated assurances (which reached the Queen and Council from every Court in Europe) that the Guises intended mischief at no distant period, and that the blow would be struck from the other side of the Tweed, these reports of the defenceless condition of the northern portion could not but be alarming. Prudence, therefore, required that the realm should act upon the defensive, and Elizabeth was fully justified in strengthening her position at those points which lay most exposed to the attack. Had she confined herself to those measures there would have been no ground whatever for complaint on the part either of France or Scotland; but she adopted a line of policy which, however safe it might appear to be, certainly was neither candid, dignified, nor honest. She was at peace with her neighbours, and she could not break it without a manifest cause. Of this no excuse whatever was afforded her; on the contrary Cecil (fn. 120) admitted that "the French made many shows of great goodwill," and the conduct of the Scotch was equally unimpeachable. Under these circumstances, however, she despatched Sir Ralph Sadler to the Borders, and entrusted him with the management of her affairs in the north. He was furnished with such instructions as were calculated to disarm all suspicion as to the object for which he was sent to Berwick, where he took up his quarters. Ostensibly he was commissioned to survey the English fortresses on the Marches, and to redress such misdemeanors as had occurred on the frontiers (fn. 121) and which had furnished cause of complaint to the Queen Dowager. But his private instructions authorized him "to nourish the faction between the Scotch and the French, so that the French may be more occupied with them and less busy with England." In the furtherance of this design he was to encourage the Scottish party, which had recently entered into a bond against Mary of Lorraine and her daughter, the young Queen. The Duke of Châtellerault, the chief nobleman in Scotland, was urged "to withstand the governance of the realm by any other than by the blood of Scotland," and was to be induced to arrest M. D'Oysel, the commander-in-chief of the French troops which Mary had sent for the suppression of the threatened outbreak. If the Duke were found to be "cold in his own causes" (fn. 122) then Sadler was instructed to permit the Lord James (a natural son of the late James the Fifth, better known afterwards as the Earl of Murray), to follow his own device in carrying out any enterprise towards the crown of Scotland. (fn. 123) As the Queen had been already warned by Knox that nothing could be done without a good store of money, Sadler was provided with 3,000l., to be by him employed according to such instructions as he should receive from herself. (fn. 124)
His proceedings at Berwick.
65. Sadler immediately proceeded northwards, and arrived at Berwick about the 18th or 19th of August. Sir James Croftes, the Governor of that town, had already been in confidential correspondence with the leading men of the Scottish reformation; but before venturing to hold out any definite promise of assistance to them, he was anxious to know what course the Queen and Council were about to adopt respecting that movement. Shortly before being joined by Sadler, Croftes had detained a messenger who had just arrived with letters from Knox, the Earl of Argyll, and the Prior of St. Andrews, addressed to Cecil; these letters he had opened and read, wishing to inform himself of their contents, and had then despatched them to the Court. (fn. 125) On Sadler's arrival the whole matter was discussed, and the conclusion at which he and Croftes arrived was that it was good policy to encourage and comfort the Scots to follow their enterprizes." (fn. 126) Such was their report to Cecil; to Knox they wrote on the same day proposing that Henry Balnaves, "a man of good credit in both the "realms," (fn. 127) should be sent to them from the Lords of the Congregation, by whom, on his return, they could "understand how much their cause was tendered, and receive comfort." (fn. 128) Balnaves gladly accepted their invitation, and embarking at Pittenweem in Fife (so as to avoid the French garrison at Dunbar) he landed at Holy Island, where he remained in secresy until he was safely conveyed to Berwick Castle. He arrived there at midnight, and next morning had a long and explicit interview with the Queen's agents. From them he learned that she would do all she could for the Lords of the Congregation without openly breaking the peace with Scotland and France. Sadler and Croftes frankly told him that the public opinion of Europe would condemn the movement in which the Scots were engaged, since it was but a faction contending against authority. Balnaves was equally candid; he admitted the truth of their objection, and he was prepared with a reply. It would be best for all parties, he said, that the Queen should remain at peace; for if she were at war with France, she could then find no fault with the coming of Frenchmen into Scotland. He thinks it unnecessary to notice the hint which they had thrown out to the effect that to extirpate idolatry for the furtherance of Christ's faith and their own freedom warrants their insurrection. He prefers an open and undisguised statement of the motives and intentions of his associates, the Lords of the Congregation. Talking to friends, he had no hesitation in unfolding the real design of the movement, and he proceeds to declare that the principal mark they shot at is to make an alteration of the State and authority, so that they may enter into open treaty with Elizabeth. They mean to throw off their obedience to their Queen, and to bestow it upon the Duke of Châtellerault; or, if he refuse it, upon his son, who is as much or rather more meet for the purpose. For this end the Reformers expect to have some secret aid of money from England, so that they may keep 300 horsemen and 1,000 harquebusiers in the field for two or three months. Sadler and Croftes were delighted no less with his own candour than with the designs of the party which he represented. They granted him 2,000l. forthwith, and gave him to understand that if Queen Elizabeth saw this sum so employed as to advance their cause ("provided her own honour were untouched") she would show herself more liberal. They thought the money well employed; nay, it could not be employed to better purpose. Balnaves brought his mission to a successful issue. He had secured for his party what they so much needed, a considerable sum of ready money, and, what was of yet greater value, the countenance and the assistance of the Queen of England. (fn. 129)
The movement in Scotland headed by the Hamiltons.
66. Nor was this the only favourable intelligence with which the Scottish Lords were greeted and encouraged when their emissary returned to the coast of Fife. Their cause had hitherto lacked consistency of purpose and unity of action, because as yet it had found no leader. The Duke of Châtellerault, the first peer of the realm, and the next in succession to the throne, failing the young Queen of Scotland, was a man who did not possess the confidence of the Reformers. He had formerly shown a marked leaning towards the French, and had been active in forwarding the movement which placed the infant daughter of James the Fifth in the hands of the power which had now become so obnoxious through that very transaction. (fn. 130) He was weak and wavering; (fn. 131) his religion was doubtful; his zeal in the cause was questionable. Knox had considered it necessary to protest against his slow proceedings in the cause, and to inform him that unless he redressed this and certain other enormities in his conduct, the end would be such as all godly men would mourn. (fn. 132) The Reformers would gladly have preferred that his son, the young Earl of Arran, should have been at the head of the movement; and it had become equally obvious to such of the English Privy Council as favoured the Scottish movement, that without the personal co-operation of the Earl, the Congregation could not lay any foundation whereby their proceedings were like to have any continuance. (fn. 133) But this seemed impracticable. Arran was in France at the time; he held a high command in the Scottish Guard, and as such was in immediate attendance upon the King, who, fully aware of what was passing in Scotland, held the son in pledge for the loyalty of his father, the Duke of Châtellerault. Thus there was the probability that the whole movement would fail, if entrusted to the Duke, and that, if he were superseded, a struggle for priority would ensue, which would be equally fatal to its success. The Scots were extricated from their difficulty by the sudden and secret intervention of Elizabeth, and Cecil cut the knot by appearing as the Deus ex machina
Arran escapes from France and reaches Scotland;
67. During a visit to his father's estates at Châtellerault, Arran had attempted to introduce the new doctrines, and by so doing had laid himself open to an inquiry which, as he well knew, might endanger his liberty or his life. He was invited to appear at Paris in order to grace the "triumphs" which ended so fatally to King Henry, (fn. 134) and as he failed to attend, orders were issued for his apprehension. He had been forewarned of his danger, and having eluded his pursuers he was joined by Thomas Randolph, who had been specially commissioned by Cecil to aid the Earl's escape. The Queen, despite her habitual parsimony, forwarded a bill for one thousand crowns to meet the expenses of the journey, (fn. 135) and in due time she and Cecil had the satisfaction of knowing that the fugitive had reached England in safety. He arrived at Cecil's house in Westminster on August 28, and on the following day he had an interview with Her Majesty at Hampton Court. (fn. 136) It took place in the gardens of that princely residence, to which the Queen had withdrawn herself upon the plea that she was suffering from a sharp attack of ague. (fn. 137) He left her with the impression that he carried away with him her best wishes for the furtherance of the Scottish reformation. Again accompanied by Randolph he set out from London on August 31 and reached Berwick before dawn on the following Thursday. Balnaves had arrived on his mission from Scotland three hours previously, and, unknown to each other, these two active instruments of the Scottish agitation were sleeping under the same roof. The Earl was asked if he wished to see Balnaves, and knowing him to be his assured friend, the meeting took place. On the following night Balnaves "departed as secretly as he had come by Holy Island," (fn. 138) and when he landed at Pittenweem he announced the Earl's arrival in Scotland. After a short repose at Berwick, Arran had pushed on northwards through the more unfrequented passes of Tiviotdale, still accompanied by Randolph, and a few days afterwards Cecil had the satisfaction of learning that the object of his anxieties was safe in the castle of Hamilton, with his father the Duke of Châtellerault. (fn. 139)
he proposes a marriage with Elizabeth;
68. The Duke now willingly resigned to his son the active management of the insurrection, reserving to himself the nominal superiority. But the purging of the realm from idolatry and the freedom of the people from the yoke of a foreign power were not the only ends which were contemplated by Arran and Châtellerault. They aimed at the aggrandisement of the house of Hamilton, and to this end they applied themselves with energy and perseverance. It was to be attained by a double process. In the first place, the French were to be expelled from Scotland and Mary was to be dethroned; the crown would then devolve upon the Duke, who would at once convey it to his son. (fn. 140) In the next place Arran, having attained the kingly rank, would solicit the hand of Elizabeth, which it was believed she would not be unwilling to confer; and thus the whole island, so long divided into two hostile kingdoms, would become a united monarchy.
69. The scheme was not so improbable as it looked at first sight; and several arguments might be adduced in its favour. It had the cordial approval of the more rigid Protestants of both kingdoms, a party by no means to be despised; and there were many others who, apart from purely religious considerations, would gladly have seen its accomplishment as affording the best security against the dreaded aggressions of France. As far as the question of pedigree was concerned, the blood of the Tudors need not disdain that of the Hamiltons, and any disparity which might be supposed to exist, was more than counterbalanced by the suspicions which hung round Elizabeth's legitimacy. There was no incompatibility of age or education; nor had the fearful malady which at a later period disordered the Earl's intellect as yet given any token of its existence. The match was freely discussed on the Continent; (fn. 141) and Cecil himself, when it suited his purpose, encouraged the idea. (fn. 142) The Earl entered warmly into a project which was so flattering to his ambition and his vanity; and these feelings were yet further strengthened by the interpretation which he gave to the motives which had induced Elizabeth to forward his escape from France. Shortly before his flight homeward he addressed a letter to her, in which he ventured to ascribe to personal regard what she somewhat haughtily affirmed had been done by her purely from "common charity, from the honour of the party, and her own past experience of such misfortunes. She doubts what to think; and mislikes that any such occasion should be given him." (fn. 143) How she received him in the quiet garden at Hampton Court and how he addressed her there must ever remain a secret; but if it be true, as the French Ambassador believed it was, (fn. 144) that on parting she made him a present of five or six hundred crowns, she must have felt a more than ordinary affection either for himself or the cause of which he had now become the leader. He accepted the former alternative, but he quickly discovered his error.
The King of Sweden next proposes marriage;
70. The Earl's solicitations were not the only ones with which the Queen was pestered at this time. One of her suitors, the most urgent and possibly the most worthless of those who aspired to her hand, was Eric, Prince of Sweden, the son of Gustavus Vasa. (fn. 145) No sooner was he informed that she had ascended the throne than he addressed a letter to her, and shortly afterwards sent an embassy with a formal offer of marriage. The deputation when it reached London was not admitted into her presence, and a message was conveyed to the members of whom it was composed through the Privy Council. It was a negative, prompt and decided; and it was unaccompanied by any of those saving clauses with which she modified her rejection of the Archduke Charles. If we may believe Prince Eric (which few will be willing to do) she was here playing the part of a very deceitful woman. According to his messenger, who had preceded the more formal deputation, she was delighted with the letter which she had received privately; "and by her voice, her countenance, her words and gestures, she evinced her affection towards him." For this, he tells her, he is bound to her by an eternal love. He has loved her hitherto faithfully and constantly, without having had any certainty of her sentiments towards him; but now his honest faith is proof against all adversity that may arise, since she has given him these tokens of her regards. In order that he may more fully know her sentiments, that his anxiety may be mitigated, that his spirits may be raised, and that he may be enabled to apply himself to the affairs of state, (from attending to which his late distractions had incapacitated him) he entreats her to send him some little writing declaratory of her feelings towards him. In proof of his own earnestness in the matter he tells her that his brother, John, Duke of Finland, is on the eve of departing for England in order to conclude and ratify the treaty of matrimony. As soon as he is informed that he may follow, there will be no delay on his part; he will hasten to her through seas, through dangers, through enemies, confident that she will not chide the faith and fondness of her most loving Eric. (fn. 146)
and, though rejected,
71. This letter is an interesting specimen of a royal love letter of the sixteenth century. It had the merit of being much more intelligible and much more impassioned than those which she received from her other suitors, as far, at least, as we have the opportunity of judging; but it awoke no emotion in her heart. The bare fact of its preservation in its present depository gives us to understand most significantly the estimate in which she held its author. It was quietly handed over to the custody of Master Secretary, and as he consigned it to the great collection of the National Archives he must have felt that Prince Eric was not likely to become the husband of his mistress.
renews his suit by his brother,
72. Eric, however, knew nothing of this, and he persevered. He once more announced his intention of sending his brother, John, Duke of Finland, and he kept his promise and made love by proxy. After a long and stormy voyage the Duke arrived in the following autumn, and landed at Harwich. (fn. 147) He was met by the Earl of Oxford and Sir Henry Knollys, whom the Queen had despatched to entertain the royal stranger and to accom- pany him to London, (fn. 148) and a select body of the nobility was specially invited by the Queen to welcome him upon his arrival at Court. (fn. 149)
the Duke of Finland;
73. If we may accept the testimony of Hubert Languet, (who had spent some months in the Swedish capital and had been upon terms of daily and familiar intercourse with the junior members of the royal family of Sweden,) the Prince of Finland was a young man of no ordinary promise. Languet had scarcely ever seen any one possessed of greater natural intelligence. Though at that time only in his seventeenth year, he spoke Latin fluently and elegantly, and his address was pleasing. Nor were his personal advantages behind his accomplishments. There was a certain majesty in his bearing; he was erect and tall in figure and of a fair complexion. His bearing and demeanour were elegant. His face, however, exhibited that unpleasing peculiarity which Languet mentions as so general among the Swedes, a short nose, and long upper teeth. Such was the young nobleman who had just arrived for the purpose of inviting Elizabeth to become his brother's wife. But there were many who conjectured that he would do well to prosecute the suit on his own account, and that if he did so he might possibly be successful.
74. Knollys was a little puzzled how to deal with the illustrious stranger at the first interview after his landing at Harwich. The Duke assumed a demeanour which was thought to be rather too dignified, and it became necessary to teach him a lesson in Court etiquette as it was understood in England. When Knollys was introduced (it was at nine o'clock on a December morning) the Duke was sitting in a chair, and without moving himself he offered his hand to kiss. Knollys knew better; he had been otherwise brought up than to kiss the hand of any subject other than of the parentage of his Prince. Another difficulty arose which was yet more embarrassing. All the remarks which Knollys made as from the Queen, declaring how glad she was that he had escaped the perils of the seas, the Duke interpreted even as lovers do; wherein he tarried so much that the other was marvellously perplexed, "fearing that upon occasion of his words the Duke would take hold towards a promise of some inconveniency." They understood each other better after dinner, when my Lord of Oxford had him forth on hawking; killing in his sight both pheasant and partridge, wherein he seemed to take great pleasure. (fn. 150)
who, also, is unsuccessful.
75. Accompanied by the Earl of Oxford and Sir Thomas Smith the Prince of Finland set out from Harwich. He was attended by eleven carts which contained his wardrobe, and a cavalcade of about seventy-four horses. His personal suite consisted of eight footmen, arrayed in black velvet jerkins, after the manner of England. Sir Thomas Smith liked him better and better every day; he adopted the English manners, he began "to leave off his high looks, and pontificiality, and (as we call it merrily in England), to be a good fellow." He would have had no objection to reside permanently in this kingdom and to make it his home; he liked the country but too well. The Earl of Oxford had provided him with a handsome ambling gelding, and he rode a hawking near Colchester at a gallant pace, just as if he were a native born Englishman. His first interview with Elizabeth was calculated to realize the glowing anticipations which had been formed of him by his tutor; he addressed her in good Latin, and very wisely and readily declared the occasion of his coming. The Queen's answer was given to him in private; the Frenchmen who were present pushed as near as they could to hear what passed, but their curiosity was not permitted to be gratified. (fn. 151) That we are left in ignorance must not surprise us when we know that Cecil was equally in the dark. Writing to Sadler he thus expresses his opinion of the progress of the courtship. "The Duke of Finland is here on his brother's behalf. He is very courteous and princely, and well spoken in the Latin tongue. How he shall speed, God knoweth, and not I." (fn. 152) He appeared to be making progress; he frequently visited the Queen and was always well received. She liked the messenger better than the message. (fn. 153) At length she spoke her mind on the subject; she wrote to her northern admirer, and her letter annihilates all hope of a marriage, at least it ought to have done so, and such was its obvious import. She discussed the matter with him diplomatically, as she would have dealt with an application for a treaty of commerce. She tells him that she has read all his letters, and heard all that has been urged in his behalf by his father, his uncle, his Ambassadors, and his brother. He must abandon his suit; she cannot accept his present; she hopes his father will procure a suitable match for him, and she assures him that she will be delighted to hear of his marriage. (fn. 154)
Austria once more in the field.
76. "Here is great resort of words and controversy amongst lovers," (fn. 155) wrote the perplexed Cecil, "would to God the Queen had one, and the rest were honourably satisfied." (fn. 156) The presence of the Duke of Finland excited the jealousy of the Emperor of Austria, and Don Carlos once more renewed his offer of marriage. His suit was supported by Philip of Spain (fn. 157) and could it have succeeded it would have been acceptable to a large body of the nation. It had the hearty approval of Sir Thomas Gresham, who may be accepted as expressing the views of the mercantile interest of the country. Writing to Cecil he remarks that if the Queen is determined to marry a stranger, surely there is none so meet as one of the Emperor's sons, for that he is nobly born, and in the marrying of him England would have peace with these two great Princes, the Kings of Spain and France. "Besides," adds he, "we shall have all Germany to friend, which will be a great strength and quietness to our realm. (fn. 158) " Mundt thought otherwise. Marriages between persons of different religions, remarks he, very sensibly, are wont to breed dissensions. The Emperor is so steadfast in his religion that he reckons that all who dissent from it are either fools or knaves. He has six unmarried daughters, and openly says that he would rather keep them unmarried than wed them with Protestant husbands. It is easy to guess what he hopes for by marrying his son with a wife of a different religion. (fn. 159) Apparently indifferent, however, to the hopes and fears of Catholic and Protestant, the Queen whiled away the time in listening to the solicitations of her rival suitors, favouring first one, then the other. The French Ambassador, Noailles, tells us how she spent one of her Sunday afternoons. She sat in a gallery attended by many lords and ladies; the Duke of Finland was there, so was the Emperor's Ambassador; while a third candidate for her smiles, Lord Robert Dudley, was engaged below in a tournament in which he undertook to meet all comers. (fn. 160) It was with difficulty that Cecil could gain her attention to the ordinary business of the nation, still less to the danger which he was convinced was impending from the French. She was beginning to taste the luxury of power, and she did not wish to be reminded of its duties. Notwithstanding the remonstrances, the entreaties, and it may be added the taunts addressed to her by her ministers abroad, she was unwilling "to break with "France," and to do more than simply to act upon the defensive in regard to Scotland.
Will Elizabeth go to war for Scotland ? Reasons why she hesitated.
77. We can scarcely wonder at her hesitation. It was a hazardous experiment to plunge the nation into a war with France, which, although weakened by its last great conflict with Spain, had yet the reputation of being one of the strongest powers in Europe. She could not count upon assistance from the States of Germany unless she paid for it in hard coin, a commodity of which she had no great store in her treasury. She could place no dependence upon Philip; there was always in her mind the uneasy feeling that he would do her a shrewd turn whenever the opportunity was offered him; and she depicted him to herself as her implacable enemy, in consequence of her late rejection of his offer of marriage. About this last grievance Philip probably cared little; but he remembered that she had ceased to be a Catholic, and had originated a form of worship which, as he understood it, was a compound of false doctrine, heresy, and schism. Besides, although she had no especial love for the young Queen of Scotland, neither had she any especial love for the party which was now planning her overthrow. She could not see why she should embark in the dangerous uncertainty of a war merely to assist the ambitious schemes of Châtellerault, Arran, and Mary's bastard brother, the Lord James. The principles upon which they were acting might form a dangerous precedent if imported into her own realm, for they claimed for subjects the inherent right of sitting in judgment upon the title, the opinions, and the actions of their rulers. The peculiar delicacy of Elizabeth's position at this time, arising as well from her questionable legitimacy as from other causes which have already been enumerated, made her specially sensitive as to the effect of any discussion upon her right to the throne. The Scottish movement therefore sank in her estimation when she found that it was being led by such agents as Knox and Goodman; (fn. 161) and she would willingly have withdrawn from any further participation in a cause which identified her with men whose avowed sentiments she regarded with undisguised antipathy.
Theory of government by Knox and Goodman.
78. The Reformation may be considered under a double aspect, as embodying a system of doctrine and as representing a principle of action. With the former I have nothing whatever to do; the discussion of articles of faith does not fall within my province. But it is different with the latter. The facts evolved by the progress of the Reformation fall, like other facts, under the cognizance of the historical inquirer, and he is justified in using them for the elucidation of the period which occupies his attention. I proceed therefore to show that Elizabeth's unwillingness to assist the Scottish reformers was influenced in a certain degree by their real or supposed advocacy of certain principles, which she, truly or mistakingly, supposed to be dangerous to the stability of her government and the safety of her person.
79. The theory of civil government which, derived from Zuinglius, was generally accepted by the Calvinistic section of the Reformers, was this; that, according to their formula, Dominion is founded in Grace, or, in other words, that when Princes act contrary to the law of Christ, they may be deposed. (fn. 162) Upon this point Calvin expressed himself with great precision and with somewhat more than his accustomed vehemence. "Earthly Princes," says he, "bereave themselves of authority when they erect themselves against God; yea, they are unworthy to be accounted among the number of men, and therefore we must rather spit in their faces than obey them." (fn. 163) So entirely and fully was this doctrine accepted by his followers, that as Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, observes, it has been a principle of some of the chief ministers of Geneva, that if Kings and Princes refuse to reform religion, the inferior magistrates or people, by direction of the ministry, may lawfully, and ought, if need required, even by force and arms, to reform it. (fn. 164)
80. In the above passage the Archbishop refers by name to Knox and Goodman, as two out of the three most prominent advocates of this obnoxious doctrine. Unfortunately for the progress of the Scottish movement as far as the intervention of England was concerned, we have seen that these two individuals were especially objectionable to Elizabeth, partly as the disciples of Calvin, (fn. 165) and partly on account of their peculiar theories respecting what they styled "the monstrous Regiment of Women." They had both declared that women, by reason of the infirmity of their sex, were disqualified from governing a kingdom, and that such a spectacle was abhorrent to God and His Saints. This doctrine might be convenient enough so long as it was brought to bear upon such heterodox rulers as Mary Tudor of England, and Mary Stuart of France; but when it came to be applied to Queen Elizabeth, as it already had been, (fn. 166) then the theory was less palatable. Knox and Goodman, however, stuck with laudable consistency to their original proposition; and the former, with more zeal than discretion, wrote to Elizabeth in its vindication. (fn. 167) His address is less than courtly or conciliating, scarcely civil; it re-asserts the premises upon which his doctrine is founded, and invites her to prove to him that she has a special exception to this truth, which he declares to be of general application. Goodman was even more distasteful to Elizabeth, (fn. 168) and she could not forget that he had propounded the following startling propositions.
81. That it is not sufficient for subjects not to obey the wicked commandments of their wicked Princes, but they are bound to withstand them also. (fn. 169)
That if magistrates transgress God's laws and command others to do the like, then they have lost the honour and obedience due to them, and ought no more to be deemed to be magistrates, but to be examined, accused, and condemned and punished as private transgressors. (fn. 170)
That evil Princes ought by the law of God to be deposed, not only by the magistrates, but by the common people also. (fn. 171)
That when magistrates neglect to do their duty in thus deposing Princes, the people are without officers, and then God gives the sword into their hands. (fn. 172)
Cecil overcomes Elizabeth's objections.
82. Now, since Knox and Goodman (who represented the religious element of the Scottish Reformation, besides taking a somewhat prominent share in its political development,) had already expressed in no measured terms their objections to Elizabeth's government, person, creed, and ritual, we need not feel surprised that it required some strong pressure to induce her to assist these men in carrying out the very principles which she regarded with such aversion. Cecil was true to her and true to his party at this emergency, and he addressed to her a letter expressed in terms equally urgent and honest. If (he writes) the proceeding in the matter for removing the French out of Scotland be displeasing to her,—and he cannot give the contrary advice,—he beseeches her in all humility, that he may be spared from the grief of further intermeddling in this matter. He will never consent to take a part in any service in which he cannot act according to his conscience. (fn. 173) It is a noble letter; respectful, yet frank, earnest, and dignified, worthy in every respect of an English Prime Minister; and as the Queen read it she must have felt that she ought no longer to play the part she had been acting of late, undignified for its duplicity and dangerous to her interests alike at home and abroad. Yet with her usual indecision she seemed to have formed a resolution only to show how soon she could abandon it. It might have been thought that henceforth there would be no halting in the onward course, and that the resolution was formed; but it was not so, for while Cecil appeared to have carried his point he was in truth as far from it as ever.
The Scotch to be aided.
83. Yet for the time it seemed now to be determined that the Congregation of Scotland should be assisted, at least with a moderate amount of English gold. In addition to the money already furnished by Sadler on his arrival at Berwick, a further sum of 3,000l. was forwarded in October. The Protestant Lords were "rewarded," (fn. 174) and at the same time were exhorted to exert themselves to the uttermost of their ability before the arrival of the reinforcements which were shortly expected from France in aid of the Queen Dowager. (fn. 175) The English deputies on the Borders advised the Scottish Lords to make no treaty with the French. (fn. 176) Conscious of their danger, the latter entrenched themselves in Leith and declared that they would preserve it for Queen Mary, their rightful Sovereign. (fn. 177) The insurgent Lords, encouraged by the countenance thus afforded them by England, no longer concealed their intentions, but acted with promptitude and decision. The Duke of Châtellerault, the Earl of Arran, and several others of the nobility marched upon Edinburgh; and there, styling themselves "the nobility and commons of the Protestants of the Church of Scotland," they, in accordance with their principles, issued a proclamation deposing the Queen Dowager, and proceeded in their own name to summon a Parliament. (fn. 178)
84. When the Queen Dowager fortified herself in Leith she was accompanied thither by her secretary, the young Laird of Lethington, who did so "advised thereto" (as Randolph significantly remarks to Sadler) "for some good purpose." (fn. 179) Before taking this step he had arranged with Randolph that within ten days he would repair secretly in post to Berwick. (fn. 180) The mystery was soon solved; for after having accompanied the French troops into Leith, made himself fully acquainted with the strength of that fortress, and as far as possible with the plans of its defenders, Lethington contrived to steal out of it and join the insurgent Lords at Stirling. (fn. 181) They knew his ability too well to permit him to remain idle, so he was by them commissioned to repair to Queen Elizabeth with such a report of their proceedings as would induce her to aid them more effectually than hitherto she had done. (fn. 182) He was required by his instructions (fn. 183) to enlarge upon all such enormities committed by the French as he can call to his remembrance, the outrages, fraud, and force perpetrated by the Queen Regent; while, on the other hand, the long suffering meekness of the petitioners was not to be forgotten. He was instructed, in the end of his discourse, to impress upon Elizabeth that these proceedings of the French were directed not only against Scotland but also against England and Ireland, and that in the prosecution of their ambitious designs they would assuredly invade that kingdom.
Ill success of the Lords of the Congregation.
85. It required all the eloquence and all the tact of Lethington (and in neither of these qualities was he deficient) to induce Elizabeth to give any open and substantial aid to a design which had already cost her no little money and no small annoyance. The Scotch Reformers had proved themselves unable to cope with the Dowager's party, and had been outwitted and defeated. The 3,000l. which Elizabeth had recently sent for their aid reached Berwick in safety, of which sum 1,000l. was by Sadler entrusted to the Laird of Ormeston, who had been specially sent thither for its conveyance into Scotland. (fn. 184) He had a further sum of 200 crowns for his own relief. To avoid the suspicion which would naturally arise from the sudden circulation of so much of the English currency among the Scottish leaders, this sum was converted into French crowns, (fn. 185) and the Laird of Ormeston set out for Berwick with his prize on the last day of October. He had passed the dangerous vicinity of the French garrisons at Eyemouth and Dunbar, and had reached the town of Haddington, when a sudden onslaught was made upon him by the Earl of Bothwell, who wounded him in the face and spoiled him of what he carried. As soon as the intelligence of the loss reached the Earl of Arran and the Lord James, they set out with 200 horsemen, 100 foot, and two pieces of artillery in search of the marauder. It was no easy matter, however, to lay hands upon Bothwell; he had left his castle of Crichton a quarter of an hour before the arrival of the assailants. (fn. 186) The loss was speedily made up to the Scottish Lords, a second sum of 1,000l. being sent a few days later; and the discovery by the Queen Regent of the source whence the money came only tended to make the English Council less heedful of concealment. (fn. 187)
Skirmish at Restalrig and retreat of the Congregation.
86. Emboldened by the consciousness that now they could easily force Elizabeth into an open quarrel with the French troops in Scotland, the Confederate Lords ventured to assume the offensive, and a few skirmishes ensued without any decided advantage on either side. But upon Monday, November 6, an engagement took place which ultimately assumed the magnitude of a battle. The Congregation were put to the rout, 300 of their number were slain and wounded, 200 were taken prisoners, and the rest were driven back into Edinburgh. (fn. 188) As soon as they had recovered from their panic the leaders held a hurried conference. Their position, at best anything but satisfactory, now appeared to them to have become untenable. The French, flushed by their repeated successes, were in dangerous proximity to the town of Edinburgh, and were preparing to besiege their late besiegers. The inferior lairds and the common soldiers, who with difficulty had been held together, were now much discouraged and showed open tokens thereof. (fn. 189) They came to the resolution of retreating from their present quarters, and they put their design into execution with a precipitancy which shows how completely they had lost all self-reliance. So hurried was their departure that they left their artillery in the streets of Edinburgh, together with the scaling ladders and other stores which they had provided for the siege of Leith.
Measures of the Queen Regent.
87. When intelligence of the retreat of the Congregation reached the Queen Dowager and the French garrison, they lost no time in resuming possession of the town, which had just been abandoned by the Scots. Next morning betimes two ensigns of Frenchmen "in most awful and warlike manner" (fn. 190) marched from Leith, and were speedily followed by a superior force. "Then durst neither man nor woman that professed Jesus Christ within the town be seen. The houses of the most honest men were given by the Queen to Frenchmen for a part of their reward. The Bishop of S. Andrews, with his Balaamites, came to S. Giles's kirk, to hallow the same, which they alleged to be polluted, by reason it had been purged of idolatry. The Bishop with his masking-goods, cross, cap and mitre, after he had mumbled over some Latin words, began to cast his holy water in all parts of the said kirk, and then immediately they set up their idolatrous Mass." (fn. 191) Bothwell sent "a cartel of defiance" to Arran, which that nobleman very prudently declined to accept, whereupon he was proclaimed traitor by sound of trumpet, "with other despiteful words." (fn. 192) Nor did the Queen Regent and her followers confine themselves to such harmless demonstrations, but determined, as Noailles expressed it, "to hammer the iron while it was hot." She boldly charges Elizabeth with assisting "the disobedient and rebellious Scots," and informs her that in consequence it has become necessary to obtain further aid from France. (fn. 193) Such of the people as had already joined the Congregation were assured by a public proclamation that if they laid down their arms and quietly returned home, conducting themselves henceforward as subjects ought to do, they should be pardoned. (fn. 194) Confident of their ultimate success the Dowager and her party (we have it upon the authority of Sadler and Croftes), (fn. 195) used no extremity, nor did they pursue anyone who had shown himself against them at this time. D'Oysel believed that he could easily hold Leith until the arrival of succours from France; (fn. 196) and so assured was he of the issue of the struggle in which he was engaged for his Sovereign, Mary of France and Scotland, that he professed himself ready to march against the insurgents whenever or wherever her advisers might be pleased to direct.
Help asked from England and granted.
88. It formed no part of Arran's policy, however, to risk the success of his enterprise upon the uncertain issue of a battle, or to oppose his weakened and dispirited levies to a second encounter with troops who were admitted to be the best in Europe. When intelligence reached Stirling that D'Oysel was on his march thither, the Lords hastily abandoned that position, and divided themselves into two sections, one of which, headed by the Duke of Châtellerault, pushed onwards towards Glasgow, the other, under the command of Arran and the Lord James, hurried into (fn. 197) Fife, on the coast of which they could most easily effect a junction with the succours which they had so long and so anxiously expected from England. With them went Secretary Maitland, who had once more been commissioned to proceed to London for the purpose of obtaining immediate help from the Queen. (fn. 198) Accompanied by Randolph, Maitland embarked at St. Andrews and landed at Holy Island, whence (according to the usual course adopted upon such occasions) they came secretly to Berwick and were received at night into the castle. Having produced their credentials they discussed with Sadler and Croftes the condition and prospects of the Scottish movement. There was no difficulty in arriving at an understanding. The Lords of the Congregation upon their part, were more than ever bent upon revenging themselves upon the French if help might be expected from England. (fn. 199) Maitland was assured that this help might be relied upon. Sadler and his companion had in their possession—probably they produced it—a letter addressed to themselves signed by fifteen of the Privy Council, in which the writers advise that an English captain of some military experience named Randall should be sent into Scotland "to comfort the Protestants and to encourage them not to shrink in anywise, but to give them counsel and to animate them with an assurance that if they shall want any honourable aid it shall be given them. Randall may also inform them that the Queen is preparing a navy and more power of men to be levied in the north and sent to Berwick and the frontiers." A large store of provision was to be laid up at Berwick, no captain was allowed to be absent from his charge, and Sadler and Croftes were required by this high authority to devise all preparations for maintaining a further power upon the Scottish Borders. (fn. 200) Cecil was yet more earnest. "For God's sake," writes he passionately to Sadler and Croftes, "comfort them to stand fast." (fn. 201) He hinted that some of the most experienced officers of the garrison of Berwick should be sent under disguised names to join the Scotch troops, and he pointed out how ordnance and munitions might be supplied to the Protestants without an open infringement of the peace. (fn. 202) Nor were the English Commissioners at Berwick opposed to the measures which had been thus recommended by the superior powers at London. This looked like decision at last. Maitland was convinced that his party might depend upon the most cordial assistance of the Commissioners at Berwick; for in proof of his mistress's zeal in their cause, Sadler, acting upon the discretionary power intrusted to him by the Queen (fn. 203) sent to the Lords of the Congregation no less a sum than 6,000l. (fn. 204) Having completed his negociations at Berwick the Scottish agent departed before the daybreak of the next morning, and pushed onwards with increased resolution and trustfulness to conclude the business at the Court of London. (fn. 205)
89. The active and decisive intervention of the Queen in the disputes in Scotland may be dated from the moment of Lethington's arrival, and his interview with the Privy Council. Elizabeth herself now took a personal interest in the matter. She "thankfully received" the Scottish deputation and entertained them well; and having advised with her Council, she formally announced that she "would support and fortify them and their accords, whereof they should shortly have the experience." (fn. 206) Naturally enough she wished to be informed as to the force which they could bring into the field; and at the same time to secure herself, as she best might, against the possibility of being deserted by her allies at some unexpected crisis, and left to cope singlehanded with the French. Some little time therefore was consumed in these negociations; but at length all the difficulties which were in their nature superable were overcome, and she found herself upon the eve of a war with France. A considerable navy was sent into the Frith of Forth, with instructions to prevent the arrival of the supplies which were daily expected from Dieppe; (fn. 207) and immediately afterwards Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, was appointed her Lieutenant-General in the North. He was intrusted, among other points of great responsibility, with the discretionary power of sending an army into Scotland unless the Queen Dowager would at once consent to the removal of the French troops which had established themselves in Leith and the other garrisons. The history of the campaign now opening before our view, the progress and issue of which is recounted with singular minuteness of detail, must be reserved for the next volume of this Calendar.
Affairs of Germany.
90. Although the documents here described relate chiefly to the affairs of France and Scotland, yet the topographical list appended to each of these two volumes shows that this series of papers takes a wider range and embraces nearly every European State of any eminence. Among these, Germany occupies a prominent position. We have already noticed the cause of the Queen's interest in Vienna and the nature of her communications with that Court. It was personal rather than political. Not so, however, her dealings with the smaller States; with them her intercourse was essentially diplomatic, although disguised under a veil of nobler motives. Here she employed the influence of her high name in order to hold in check the power of France and Spain; of France, by urging the Germanic Diet to demand the restitution of the Imperial cities of Metz, Toul and Verdun; (fn. 208) of Spain, by fomenting the discord which had already sprung up between Philip and his subjects in the Low Countries. Very shortly after her accession to the throne she instructed Dr. Mundt to proceed from Strasburg, where he was residing, to Augsburg, in which the Diet was about to open, with directions to re-establish a good understanding between her and the Protestant Princes. (fn. 209) Mundt's correspondence, of which a large portion is still extant, is peculiarly valuable; for he chronicles with praiseworthy detail the events of the important conferences at Augsburg. At first he wrote in English, which is barbarous; afterwards his letters are in Latin, in which he expressed himself with ease and precision. (fn. 210) The entire series of his despatches is well worth a careful study.
Flanders and Spain.
91. We are indebted for our knowledge of the affairs of
the Low Countries to two English Knights, Sir Thomas
Gresham and Sir Thomas Challoner. Each in his several
capacity served the Queen well and honestly; but as
garciouse will and benevolens towardes them: exponing that yowr H.
was no les mynded to renuwe and maynteyne suche amitie and entelligens
as yowr H. father, King Herry, and yowr H. brother King Eduward have
hath in tymes past with the Princes and estates Protestantes in Germanie
and that they shall finde yower H. enclined and mynded to doe them
plaesures in all there honest affayres and occurrentes as equitie and
honor shall require &c.
Opan this proposition made to them, they answered that they had hart with greate joie and confort that yowr H. was ordened by God's grace to this high dignitie with the assent and congratulation af all thestates af the realme to a singuler benefit not onelie af the realme af Engellant but to all Christendom; and that they will be redy and willing, so muche shall lye in ther smal powre, to do yowr H. frendship and plaesur agyn; not intermitting to corresponde to yowr H. loving mynd and jentel offre declared by my to them accordingly for their abilitie.
The secund day of Februari be com to this towne Archiep[iscopu]s Viennensis Mardiacus and Mons. Burdilion, chevallier de l'ordre, the Frenche King's Ambassadours going to the dyet at Augusta; the which have a saue conduct geven them by T'Emperour, having about 50 horses and six mules did remayn hier a day and a half. A lerned man af this towne, amongest othere communication with th'Arshbishop, sayd, "If it sholde plaese yowr master, the King, to rendre Calays to Engellant agyn, tanquam in dotem, with the Duke af Saxonie that peradventure a treatie might be had opan a mariage with the Quenes Majestie and hym, and that by this maene the King shold git muche honor, and a perpetuall confederacie might ensue butween bothe realmes." To this taulk the Bishop wold give no oer, saying "James james, nows rendderon le villa de Calays." The magistrates, agenst ther olde accustome, have present no wyn to the Frenchs Ambassadours. The Princes be not com to Augusta at yet, nather is the Diet begon. The Commissaries for this towne be appointed to goo thiter the 15 af this present. With them I do ented to goo by God's grace. And thus I do commit my to your Ma[jes]ties commanndement. Geven at Argentin, 7 Februarii, Anno 1559. Your Highnes' servant Christoff. Mundt.
Addressed: To the Quenes Highnes.
Mundt to Cecil.
I have signified to the Quene's Highnes suche occurentes as we have hier. I do not doubt you have haert bevor this af the King af Denne letter writers they are of very unequal merit. Gresham's correspondence is that of the dull, common place man of business, immersed in the calculation of interest and exchange without a thought of anything besides, and seldom venturing upon a remark which does not speak of the Exchange and the counting house. Yet upon one occasion at least he soars into a higher sphere, and advises Cecil to exercise a sketch of authority equally bold, arbitrary, and impolitic. The Queen needed money to pay certain debts in Flanders, which if undischarged, would probably endanger her credit, consequently her safety. The merchants at Antwerp had taken fright and would not advance another pound, and the London merchants were equally intractable. Besides being their debtor to a large amount, she had aggrieved them by making some changes in the customs whereby they were injured. It was thought therefore that they "would stand very stout in the "matter." Such were the difficulties of the position; yet money must be had, quocunque modo. Gresham had a remedy, however; "the Queen of force must use her merchants;" and she used them on this wise. They were about to ship from London 50,000 or 60,000 cloths and kerseys for Flanders. When these are all on board, suggests Gresham to Cecil, let the Queen close the ports and prevent the fleet from sailing. Next, summon the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, and let them know that the Queen insists upon the payment of twenty shillings being made to her agent,—namely, Gresham himself,—upon the landing of each cloth in Flanders. The plan is simple and effective; for as she has them completely in her power, she can bring them to bargain as she thinks meetest. Fifty or sixty thousand pounds at one stroke, without much trouble and at no expense! Does she want a precedent? Gresham remembers with pride his own former "practice" in King Edward's time; and he asks Cecil in a tone of triumph, "Did not I raise the exchange from 16s. to 23s., and pay the King's whole debts after 20s. and 22s., whereby wool fell in price from 26s. 8d. to 16s., and cloths from 60l. a pack to 40l. and 36l. a pack, whereby a number of clothiers gave over the making of cloths and kerseys? Herein was touched no man but the merchant." So then, according to the theory—and the practice too,—of one of the most enlightened financiers of the age, the Queen might interrupt and paralyse the whole trade of the realm at her discretion; and the chief use of the merchant is "to serve the Prince's turn." (fn. 211)
92. In connexion with Gresham's correspondence reference should be made to a curious letter addressed to him by one of his factors, Richard Clough, in which the writer, who was an eye witness, gives a detailed account of the religious services connected with the obit of the Emperor, Charles the Fifth. They began at Brussels on 29 Dec. 1558, and continued for two days. Philip was present and took part in these solemnities, which, doubtless, were under his immediate direction. (fn. 212)
93. However useful Gresham might be in matters of finance, he possessed no diplomatic talents; nor was his rank such as to qualify him for adequately representing England in the Court of Philip of Spain. Elizabeth therefore despatched Sir Thomas Challoner "to reside as her Ambassador with the King Catholic in the Low Countries." (fn. 213) Philip thought himself aggrieved by Elizabeth's neglect; he was to be conciliated, as were also his chief ministers, the Count De Feria and the Bishop of Arras. Challoner's reports were not flattering either to the Queen or her kingdom. The Count knew all that was passing at the English Court; the Bishop of Aquila (the Spanish Ambassador at London), kept a band of spies in pay, and through them was acquainted with the most secret things that occurred (here Challoner besought pardon) about her own royal person. Omitting the vulgar sort, the greatest of the Spanish Court at their houses and tables spoke unseemly of her affairs, and were willing and ready to carry their evil meaning into effect. (fn. 214) There was much discourse about the Queen's marriage and much loud talk amongst some vulgar folk. Presently he hears that she will marry the Earl of Arran, to which he appends the remark "that it is too strange to write all. God grant that once an honorable marriage would decide all these busy bruits and discourses." (fn. 215) Philip's departure from Flanders here interrupts Challoner's correspondence at this point, and the intercourse between the Courts of Spain and England was for a time suspended.
94. There are few European Courts with whose proceedings we would more gladly become acquainted than Rome; yet there are none with which we are more entirely ignorant. For a short time after Mary's death her Ambassador at the Vatican continued to act as the representative of her successor, and during this brief period we derive some valuable information from his letters, as far as they go. But as he was virtually suspended from the discharge of his office by an act of Privy Council within a fortnight of Elizabeth's accession, (fn. 216) and two months afterwards was ordered to return home, (fn. 217) his correspondence embraces only a very limited interval. We should like to know something more about the way in which the Ambassador of France "laboured the Pope to declare the Queen ille"gitimate" and the Scottish Queen successor to Queen Mary, and how they "laboured to withdraw the King "of Spain from affecting the Queen of England," (fn. 218) than we can gather from the half burnt fragment and the curt abstract from which we glean these scanty particulars. We must endeavour to supply the deficiency from other sources, and here we glean a few hints from the correspondence of Henry's Ambassador at the Court of Rome.
95. That agent, the Bishop of Angoulême, had an interview with the Pope on Christmas Day 1558. The conversation turned upon the Queen's accession and marriage. His Holiness was persuaded that she would find a husband within her own dominions. The English, he said, have a sovereign contempt for all strangers; they have already found what it is to marry with a Spaniard; they will never repeat the experiment. He then enlarged upon Spanish avarice and pride in such a lively and pleasant fashion that the Bishop was delighted. Next he discussed the probability of Elizabeth's marriage with Philip, which was now very generally spoken of at Rome. So far from asking for a dispensation for such a marriage, Philip, he said, had not communicated with him upon the subject at all; it would be time enough to grant or refuse the application when it was finally made. He desired the Bishop, however, to assure his master that neither force, nor money, nor states, nor promises, neither war, nor danger, nor the fear of death, nor menaces, nor relationship, would move the Holy See to forget its dignity. (fn. 219) De Thou had seen Henry's answer to this, or a similar letter, in which the King directs his Ambassador to exert himself to the uttermost for the purpose of hindering an alliance which could not but be detrimental to France. (fn. 220) Philip's orthodoxy was to be alarmed by the assurance that the Queen of England was a heretic in heart and would soon be one by open profession; what alliance could he have with an unbeliever? This was the moving argument by which the Pope was to be "laboured to withdraw the King of Spain from affecting the Queen of England," and doubtless it had its weight, especially when advanced in the Vatican. But Philip's marriage with the Princess Elizabeth speedily solved the difficulty and at the same moment freed Henry from further anxiety and the Pope from renewed solicitations.
96. Our volumes treat exclusively of foreign affairs, they supply comparatively little information upon matters of a domestic character. One remarkable paper, however, here deserves specially to be noticed. It is a letter addressed to the Queen by a Scotchman named Alexander Ales, in which he professes to detail the circumstances connected with the accusation, trial, and death of Anne Boleyn. (fn. 221) It has hitherto escaped notice, but it is well worthy of an attentive perusal, although its general credibility is somewhat weakened by the admixture of a suspicious amount of supernaturalism. In addition to some curious details respecting the matter to which it more immediately relates, it presents us with a striking picture of Cranmer pacing the garden of Lambeth palace in the early morning of the Queen's execution, timid and hesitating, conscience stricken and yet afraid to act according to his conscience. Of Elizabeth herself we have only a few brief notices in these two volumes, too few indeed to authorize us as yet in venturing to form an estimate of her character. Ere long, however, we shall know her better.
The plan upon which this Calendar is framed.
97. Before concluding these prefatory remarks, it is fitting that I should say a few words explanatory of the system which has been adopted in the formation of the present Calendar. Carrying out the instructions to editors drawn up for their guidance by the Master of the Rolls, I have endeavoured to the best of my ability so to frame each abstract that it shall embody an outline of the information contained in the original document. (fn. 222) Without affirming that in every case all the details of the original are recorded so fully and precisely that no point, however minute, remains behind, I hope I may venture to state that for general purposes these abstracts supersede the necessity of referring to the documents which they represent. The language of each writer has been preserved as far as practicable, nor have I departed from the construction of the sentence and its peculiarities of idiom further than a due regard to brevity demands. In dealing with papers written in English, the abstract has been formed by compression rather than translation. Such archaisms, or peculiar grammatical forms, or proverbial sayings, as seemed to be worthy of notice have been recorded. The number of pages of which each paper consists is stated, as an indication as well of the extent of the original as of the fullness of the abstract. A note in the margin of the Calendar points out the place in which a copy of the entry, if printed in full, is to be found. And since much of the importance of a document depends upon the condition in which it comes down to us, I have stated at the conclusion of each entry whether the paper which it describes is signed or not; whether it is a draft, a copy, or an original; whether it has been despatched, of which the address is an indication, and whether received, as may be gathered from the endorsement. We should permit many valuable hints to escape us and lose many significant traits of character were we to neglect these waifs of diplomatic information. Thus, for instance, alterations made upon revising the first draft of a letter show the successive changes in the mind of the writer, and lead us unmistakably to his deliberate decision upon the question before him. We can trace step by step the progress of his thoughts as he sought to modify or intensify the sentiment, and we may thus detect the exact point at which he wished to be emphatically explicit or studiously obscure. (fn. 223) Again, the draft of a letter or state paper may possibly never have been acted upon, or before being accepted it may have undergone various substantial alterations, both as regards facts and sentiments. We naturally attach more importance to a document which is proved by its endorsement to have reached the person for whom it was intended. Referring to the entire series; it is scarcely possible to estimate too highly the value of the documents of which abstracts are given in these volumes. The information which they supply places the enquirer upon firm ground, and with them for our guide we feel that we may henceforth bid adieu to conjecture and speculation. Facts are stated upon the authority of the chief actors, and any impression we may have received from other sources is here subjected to the criticism of the very persons who can best inform us as to the causes, the bearing, and the effects of each successive occurrence. The history of the period is written down in these pages as it appeared at the time to the men who were the best informed and the most deeply concerned about what they were writing, and who at the same time from their intimate connexion with what was passing were too much in earnest to lie to each other. Events are recorded as they occurred day by day; they come back to us in these pages life like and real, before they were moulded into that form which they were afterwards made to assume in order to suit a theory or to serve a party.
98. I again express my renewed obligations to Mr. A. J. Crosby, B.A. of Worcester College, Oxford, one of the clerks of this Office, for the care and intelligence with which he has assisted me in the preparation of this volume of the Calendar.
Public Record Office, November 1864.