Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 3, 1560-1561. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1865.
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The present volume chiefly concerns the history of Scotland and France.
The letters and papers of which an abstract is given in the present volume relate for the most part to the transactions which occurred during the year 1560, between England and Scotland on the one side, and England and France on the other. In addition to their great interest as the contemporaneous record of current events, they possess the yet higher importance of exhibiting the first moving causes of transactions which at a later period assumed an unexpected magnitude in the history of Europe. The siege of Leith led to the Treaty of Edinburgh, and the Treaty of Edinburgh was the origin of the life-long hostility between Elizabeth of England and Mary of Scotland. From the struggle for ascendancy which sprung up between the Houses of Guise and Bourbon during the successive minorities of Francis the Second and Charles the Ninth, a struggle which was fed and fanned by the English Ambassador in France, ultimately arose the so-called Wars of Religion by which that kingdom was devastated during the remainder of the century. The documents here analysed enable us to trace, step by step, and day by day, the gradual development and expansion of these events, until they attained the proportions in which they now stand before the world. In their onward course they absorbed within themselves the politics of many of the smaller European states, whose history for the time becomes merged in the wider interests of France and England. By the aid of these papers we may fathom the motives by which these actors were severally influenced, the plans which they adopted, and the ends at which they aimed. I now proceed to lay before the reader an outline of these transactions as far as they are recorded in this Calendar; and I resume the narrative of the Scottish campaign at the point at which I was compelled to leave it in the Preface to the former volume.
The campaign of the English in Scotland.
2. The Duke of Norfolk, whom the Queen had appointed her Lieutenant-General on the north of the Tweed, arrived at Berwick in January 1560, and immediately took command of the English expedition which was about to march into Scotland. Ostensibly his object was to provide for the security of the Borders, the unsettled condition of which was notorious; (fn. 1) but in reality he was instructed to encourage the Lords of the Congregation in their attempt to expel from Scotland the French troops who were stationed in that kingdom. If necessary, he was to offer them open and effective assistance, and the power which the Queen placed at his disposal appeared to be more than sufficient to overcome all opposition. Soldiers in considerable numbers were hurried from nearly every county in England, and waited impatiently at Newcastle for the order to march northwards. A naval force upon an equally extended scale was fitted out at the same time, and the two contingents were to effect a junction as near Leith as possible. All the necessaries for the siege or assault of a fortified town were in store at Berwick. The Earls of Northumberland, Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Rutland, the Lords. Dacre, Talbot, Evers, and Wharton, Sir Henry Percy, Sir George Howard, and Sir Thomas Gargrave were appointed by the Privy Council to act in conjunction with the Duke of Norfolk as his military advisers in the con- duct of the expedition; and the Queen so far overcame her habitual parsimony as to warrant the outlay of more than 65,000l. upon the expedition before a single English soldier had crossed the Border. (fn. 2)
Upon what grounds did Elizabeth interfere?
3. Such an announcement appears to require a little explanation, when we consider the condition in which affairs then stood between the future belligerents. The treaty of Câteau Cambresis, so recently and solemnly executed, was supposed to have given a long tranquillity to Europe. By virtue of that treaty England was at peace with France and Scotland, and no cause for the renewal of hostilities with either power had occurred. Yet, under these circumstances, an English general holding the Queen's commission was marching at the head of a powerful army into Scotland, and a numerous fleet of English ships of war was cruising in Scottish waters. In doing this Elizabeth had a twofold object in view. She had undertaken to assist certain of the Scottish nobility in their attempt to depose the Regent appointed by their Sovereign for the government of the realm during her absence; and, secondly, she sought to prevent the arrival of troops sent from France for the preservation of their Sovereign's authority. But these designs necessarily implied a struggle in which the Scottish insurgents were unable to engage. It was essential to the success of the design that such French soldiers as had already gained a footing in Scotland should be removed, and Elizabeth intimated to Mary of Guise that she insisted upon their expulsion.
4. Arbitrary and unreasonable as such a demand as this may appear to us now, it is just to state that it was not regarded in that light by the majority of Elizabeth's Councillors. After long and anxious deliberation the step was urged upon her, not only as a matter of ordinary prudence, but of simple necessity, upon the acceptance or rejection of which depended her own personal safety and the independence of the realm of England. Nor were arguments wanting to prove that she ought to adopt this course. Let the French but secure a firm footing in Scotland, it was said, and they will soon find their way across the Border. The moment they pass the Tweed they will be joined by the English Catholics, who will rise in a body, and Mary of France will be proclaimed Queen of England. It is therefore wiser, safer, cheaper to anticipate this movement by helping the Scotch Lords to drive every Frenchman out of Scotland. Why wait until their plans are matured and their arrangements completed? We must admit that there was some reasonable amount of probability in such apprehensions as these; sufficient at least to warrant the adoption of defensive precautions, or even, as Cecil believed, to demand an armed intervention. Results show that these fears were premature, but Elizabeth could not anticipate results, she could only balance probabilities; hence her hostility towards the Queen Dowager of Scotland, hence the resolution to dispatch Norfolk's army towards the Border and Winter's fleet into the Firth of Forth.
Elizabeth conceals her plans.
5. It was scarcely to be expected that preparations so extensive should escape the vigilance of the King of France and the Queen Regent of Scotland. Both were alarmed, and they demanded an explanation. The unhesitating answer was invariably given, that they had no cause whatever for apprehension. They were told that England was at peace with both her neighbours, and had no hostile intentions against either. When Mary of Lorraine inquired in the name of her daughter, Mary of Scotland, as to the continuance of the amity existing between that realm and England, she was haughtily assured by Elizabeth that her doings were always agreeable to honour, and that she was as well inclined at that time as ever to keep the peace. (fn. 3) In conformity with this statement the English Ambassador was specially instructed to inform the French Court, upon his return to Paris, that at his departure from London, a few days before, the Queen had no intention whatever of aiding the insurgent Scots. (fn. 4) For a time this policy was successful, and Cecil prided himself upon the skill with which he had "practised," as the phrase was among courtiers. But as soon as her preparations were complete the Queen threw off the disguise. Proclaiming that "the foundation of all her doings were laid upon honour and truth, which she esteems above all things," she formally intimated to the Queen Regent that unless she sent home the French troops which were at that time garrisoned in Scotland, it would become the duty of England to expel them by force.
France appeals to Spain.
6. France lost no time in invoking the aid of that power of which Cecil and his fellow councillors stood most in dread; and Philip of Spain was invited to stand forward as the guardian of the peace in Europe. He would gladly have avoided the responsibility, but he could not. Elizabeth's waywardness and self-will had already very nearly compromised him with France; if she persevered in her aggressive measures against Scotland a war might be the result, and for such a contingency he was not prepared. With the view, therefore, of preventing a quarrel between his neighbours, into which he might possibly be drawn, he offered to mediate; and he intimated to Elizabeth his design of sending a special envoy to confer with her upon the subject. Philip's intervention professed to be friendly, but it alarmed and annoyed the Queen more than the undisguised hostility of France. She instructed her Ambassador at Toledo to evade the King's offer, but at the same time he was to enlarge upon the danger which would ensue if the ambitious designs of the Guises remained unchecked. (fn. 5) She assured the Spanish Ambas- sador resident at her Court that her affection for his master was so strong that if he were to return to Flanders, she would cross over in disguise in order to enjoy the pleasure of an interview. But when the Ambassador pressed for an answer to Philip's offer of mediation, she avoided the question; he could easily perceive, however, that Philip's suggestion was most unpalatable, and that, if pressed, it would be rejected. (fn. 6)
7. But if the intervention of Spain was dreaded and disliked by the English, it was devoutly prayed for by the Court of France. The Bishop of Limoges reminded Philip that it was his duty, as the conservator of political order in Europe, to punish the disobedient Scots, who had rebelled against their rightful Sovereign. And besides this, there was imposed upon him, as the most Catholic King, the higher obligation of crushing the avowed Calvinism with which this Scottish movement had identified itself. (fn. 7) Against his better judgment, Philip gradually permitted himself to lend a willing ear to the suggestion. He had no affection for the English; they had treated him with an indifference approaching to contempt, and the Queen had slighted his matrimonial advances. England was entering upon a line of policy the most opposite to his own favourite theory of absolutism, and had openly adopted a form of doctrine, discipline, and ritual which he had always regarded with undisguised hostility. The two Sovereigns were direct antagonisms. Philip was conservative and Catholic, Elizabeth was progressive and Protestant. Every measure adopted by the Queen of England was interpreted by the King of Spain with reference to the effect which it might produce upon the government and the faith of Europe. He watched her proceedings with increasing jealousy and dislike, for he was persuaded that the growing discontent of his subjects in the Low Countries was encouraged, if not by the direct interference of England, at least by the example of her liberalism. To him the matter had a direct and personal application. If the Scotch were permitted to deal as they were doing with Queen Mary, why might not the Flemings act in the same manner towards himself? If Elizabeth encouraged the one, why should not she assist the other? The parallel ran too close to be agreeable, and he resolved to check a movement which, if successful, could not but form a dangerous precedent.
Philip hesitates to interfere.
8. Fortunately, however, for Elizabeth there existed in the calculations of Philip a conflicting interest which could not be disregarded, and by which his wish to interfere was balanced and controlled. By preventing England from interposing between France and Scotland he might possibly thereby give the preponderance to a rival even more dangerous than Elizabeth herself. Her deposition, (a contingency by no means impossible, and all the more likely to occur when it should be known that he had interfered,) would place Mary Queen of Scotland and France upon the vacant throne, a result which would be fatal to the supremacy of Spain. The Duchess of Parma, Governor of the Low Countries, placed the matter before Philip strongly, but perhaps not too strongly, when she declared that the ascendency of the French in England would be as crushing a disaster for Spain as the conquest of Brussels itself. (fn. 8) She suggested a middle course. It appeared to her, she said, that her brother had a duty to perform towards the Courts of Paris and London; to the former, by announcing that he would not permit one single French soldier to set foot in England; (fn. 9) to the latter, by warning her in general terms that the course which she was pursuing was fraught with danger. Thus he might so work upon her fears that she would be driven to place herself and her realm under the protection of Spain. The Duchess thought that this result was by no means impossible. Philip might easily convince her of the utter insecurity of her position, and persuade her that she existed only by his forbearance. A number of her most influential subjects looked upon her as little better than a usurper, and were ready to transfer their allegiance to one whom they regarded as their natural protector. The Irish had made the same offer to him through the Bishop of Aquila. (fn. 10) He had but to speak the word, and the Pope would pronounce the sentence of excommunication against her, after which it was impossible for Spain to help her. (fn. 11) At all events, continued the Duchess, whatever might be the ultimate fate of Elizabeth (and she seemed to have found out the road to ruin), it most assuredly concerned Philip to insist that the peace of Europe should not be endangered by her unwarrantable proceedings in Scotland. (fn. 12) Were she to involve herself in hostilities with France, she was too weak to carry it on single-handed, and she would assuredly apply to him for assistance. (fn. 13) If granted, it would be the signal for a rising of the unruly Flemings; (fn. 14) and if withheld it would unite England, Scotland, and Ireland with the crown of France in the person of Mary Stuart. (fn. 15)
Glajon's unsuccessful mission into England.
9. After his usual delay and deliberation, Philip admitted the wisdom of these considerations, and dispatched M. De Glajon into England. He reached London on 5th April, and having discussed his mission with the Bishop of Aquila, he had an interview with the Queen on the 7th. He found that in the meantime she had compromised herself more decidedly than either his master or the Duchess of Parma had anticipated, and that consequently there was the greatest difficulty in accomplishing his object. She tried to avoid the discussion of the question, and threw the blame upon Philip, who had delayed to answer the letters which she addressed to him some time back. Glajon remarked that since the dispatch of these letters she had adopted a new line of action without consulting his master, consequently that his answer could in nowise have influenced her recent decision. He pushed her too closely, and she turned upon him with a firmness which he had not expected. She told him with warmth that her troops had already entered Scotland, that she would not withdraw them, that it was now too late to talk of any compromise with the French, that she would treat only with the sword in her right hand; but that she would most willingly listen to any proposal which her good brother had to offer. Glajon rejoined that the French had complained to Philip, and had just cause so to do. In the King's opinion she was identifying herself with the malcontents of Scotland, and had already encouraged them to persevere in their rebellion against their rightful Sovereign. She denied that they were rebels; they were the true friends of Scotland; and she took credit to herself for having assisted in a work which entitled her to the gratitude of all true-hearted Scotchmen. (fn. 16) The same decision was conveyed to Glajon yet more resolutely by Her Majesty on 9th April in the presence of her Privy Council. She recapitulated her grievances against France, peremptorily refused to suspend her proceedings against Leith, and ended by asking Philip to join with her in formally demanding the restitution of Calais.
10. This unexpected firmness upon the part of Elizabeth surprised and disconcerted the Spanish envoy; he had come to intimidate, and he was intimidated. If she continued to demand the restitution of Calais, a war with France was inevitable, and of necessity Spain would be involved in it. Glajon saw that his master's wisest course was to withdraw secretly from the negotiation, and to leave the Queen to end her quarrel according to her own fashion; and he comforted himself by reflecting that the longer the strife was continued between France and England the better for Spain. So having kept the letter of his promise by formally and publicly remonstrating against the Queen's invasion of Scotland, he encouraged her to persevere. Such at least is the statement of Cecil, who records in his diary how Glajon came "privately to my Lord Admiral and me, the Secretary, and counselled us to the contrary." (fn. 17)
Elizabeth is resolute.
11. We are not required to speculate as to the manner in which Philip would have resented this affront, for before he had time to come to a decision the question had been decided for him. His navy sustained a crushing overthrow at Gerbes, from which he did not recover for many years. He there lost thirty-eight galleys and twenty-seven great ships, with 5,000 or 6,000 men. Gresham saw the bearing of this defeat upon the fortunes of England, and he adds, "Whereas King Philip sent word that he would help the French King in Scotland, now he will be fain to seek succour from the Queen. They say that God has blessed the Queen for her religion, and plagued the other Princes for their papistry and idolatry; and considering the noble army she has by sea and land, she need not fear the Kings of Spain or France." (fn. 18) Elizabeth was thus at liberty to pursue her designs, whatever they might be, unmolested by Spain; and we probably do her no great injustice if we believe that the threatened intervention of that power had embittered rather than mollified her feelings of hostility towards France. At all events her preparations were continued with increased activity, and she declared more firmly and loudly than before that she would drive the whole of those foreigners out of Scotland.
Position of the Queen Regent of Scotland.
12. Measures so hostile and a tone so peremptory left no room for either delay or hesitation. Mary of Lorraine was a woman of spirit and determination, and she inherited her full share of the remarkable talent of her family. She united in her character much of the military daring and the diplomatic skill of her brothers, the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine. It was no fault of hers if this suddenly revealed action of the English Court found her comparatively unprepared for the conflict thus forced upon her; but when she calmly surveyed her position, she saw no good reason to despair. The troops at her disposal consisted of only a small body of French, (fn. 19) but they were highly disciplined and admirably equipped, while one and all were animated by that spirit of nationality which secured them against the weakness arising from divided counsels and opposing interests. Their leader, D'Oysel, was a man of courage, promptitude, and energy, whose long acquaintance with Scotland and Scotchmen well qualified him to conduct the approaching campaign. He was deficient in cavalry and artillery, and absolutely without shipping, yet upon the whole he thought himself a match for the entire force which Scotland could bring into the field against him. He had but to entrench himself within the walls of Leith, and there await the arrival of the reinforcements which he daily expected from France; he would then chastise the rebels, and reduce the country to its former allegiance to its Sovereign. He could not conceal from himself, however, that the success of this design depended upon the success of two contingencies. In the first place he must have aid from France; in the next place that aid must arrive before the Scottish Lords of the Congregation could effect a junction with the English troops, which were advancing under Norfolk.
Position of the French troops in Scotland.
13. D'Oysel's plans, however judicious and feasible they might be in themselves, were rendered nugatory partly by Cecil's far-seeing prudence, partly by a succession of disasters. The first object of the English Privy Council was to prevent the arrival of additional troops from France; and with this view we have seen that they had already dispatched a powerful fleet with instructions to blockade Leith. It is necessary that we should trace its voyage to the north, for here dates become important. Admiral Winter sailed from Gillingham, near Chatham dockyard, on the 27th of December; but the wind was so unfavourable that he did not reach Harwich until the eighth day afterwards. Here he was caught in a storm which detained him in Orwell haven from the 4th till the 11th of January, and at the same time seriously damaged several of his vessels. When at length he could put to sea he hastened onwards as speedily as possible, and on 22nd of January he took up a position in the Firth of Forth which effectually commanded the approach to Leith from the shore. The French garrison viewed with alarm this formidable armada; but they speedily encouraged themselves into the conviction that within a few days they would witness the arrival of their own gallant fleet, under the command of the Marquis of Elbœuf, the superior power of which would assuredly sink every ship that dared to oppose itself. Thus the blockade would be broken and the garrison would be reinforced.
14. In these anticipations they were doomed to be disappointed, for the French squadron was signally unfortunate at a juncture when a check was ruin. Early in December four men-of-war, laden with stores and provisions for Scotland, were driven upon the sandbanks by which Zealand is surrounded, and at least 1,000 soldiers were drowned. (fn. 20) Of the entire number of troops which embarked at Calais only 300 reached their destination. (fn. 21) Still it was not too late, the loss might yet be supplied; and another fleet was manned and dispatched from France. Scarcely had D'Oysel and his companions recovered from the disheartening effect produced by the former calamity when tidings yet more alarming reached him. The same storm which treated Winter so roughly had caught the second squadron, which had sailed from France about a month after the first, and six or seven vessels, carrying about 2,000 men, perished upon the Danish coast. (fn. 22) Destitute of ships, troops, and stores, the Court at Paris was compelled for the time to abandon the hope of being able to reinforce their scanty army in Scotland; and D'Oysel was given to understand that he must hold out for the next six months as he best might. He had now no alternative but to shut himself up in Leith, there to await the attack which he knew to be impending on the arrival of the troops under the Duke of Norfolk.
Arrival of the English before Leith.
15. Upon the 30th of March the English army, consisting of 6,000 foot and 1,250 light horsemen, well armed and fully provided with all the stores necessary for a long campaign, marched out of Berwick on their road to Leith. (fn. 23) They had come, they said, to help their gallant Scottish allies to depose the Queen Regent and to expel the French from Scotland. Passing by the garrison within Dunbar on the next day a skirmish took place; it was of no greater importance than that it gave Lord Grey the opportunity of recording his son's good conduct. (fn. 24) On the two following days they were met by the chief of the Scottish nobility, among whom were the Duke of Châtellerault, the Earls of Arran, Argyll, Glencairn, Sutherland, Menteith, and Rothes, the Lords James Stewart, Ruthven, Ochiltree, and Boyd, together with a multitude of the lairds and inferior gentry. We learn from the Journal in Stow's Chronicle (fn. 25) that upon April the 4th the English and Scottish leaders "had long conference together" at Pinky House. Grey tells us somewhat of their conversation, which to him was neither encouraging nor agreeable, for he had begun to discover the true nature of their position, and already anticipated the difficulties of his own. "The Scottish Lords," he writes, "had been in hand with him for the loan of money, which he could not spare." (fn. 26) Their offers of assistance were coupled with too many exceptions and limitations to be satisfactory. They had told him that he might calculate upon being joined by 5,000 men, who would serve for twenty days at their own charges, after which time 2,000 footmen and 300 or 400 light horsemen would continue to serve;—but they must be paid by the English treasury. (fn. 27) As for munitions and ordnance the Scottish Lords had none;— but they pledged themselves to find horses to draw the English artillery, when landed, from the sea shore to Leith. They thought they could furnish 300 or 400 pioneers;— but the Queen must give them their wages. Possibly oats for the horses might be obtained;—but the English purveyors must come "furnished with a convenient sum of money aforehand." They had no scaling ladders, no fascines, no gabions, all of which would be required for the assault of Leith;—but their friends were welcome to help themselves to as much wood and broom as they could find in the neighbourhood. They had no shipping whatever. Grey discovered that the English would have to trust to themselves if the assault were given, "for the Lords of the Congregation think it not meet that they be put to any assault." The troops which the barons and landholders brought with them would not serve longer than another week, after which time the campaign and siege would rest with the English alone. This was no very flattering pros- pect, and matters speedily grew more unpromising still. "Through the extremity of the cold and sickness the men began to drop away daily, and the English horses for lack of forage decayed in strength." Worse than all, the Queen exhibited her wonted irresolution when the time for prompt action had arrived. She talked of withdrawing her navy out of the Firth; she would not permit Edinburgh Castle to be besieged, out of reverence to the person of the Queen Dowager and for avoiding offence to the Scots; she wished to have the matter accorded rather by communication (that is, by treaty), than by force or bloodshed. Divers great causes now moved her "not to reject any reasonable offers that may be made by the Dowager." The whole expedition was paralysed by this sudden and unexpected change of plan. The commander found such contrary matter that he knew not which way to turn. Things wore such a discouraging aspect, became so beset with doubts, difficulties, and dangers, that "by the advice of others" Grey halted upon his march. (fn. 28) Mary of Guise had thus far secured an important advantage; she had gained a delay, and for the success of her cause a delay was most precious. While the English deputies, Croftes and Howard, were discussing with her,—for they had already gone to Edinburgh Castle for that purpose,— the terms upon which she and the Lords of the Congregation would terminate their disputes, she knew that the Scottish troops would steal off homewards, that the leaders would become suspicious and discontented, and that the garrison of Leith would have a little additional leisure to strengthen their defences, which at many points were so weak as to be nearly untenable.
The first skirmish.
16. Yet whatever may have been the designs of the Regent, they were speedily frustrated by the impetuosity of the French. Issuing from their intrenchments they marched towards the English army, and when Lord Grey ordered them to keep back, they answered that they were upon the soil of their lawful mistress, and knew no reason why they should obey the orders of a stranger and an armed intruder. They ended further discussion by abruptly opening fire, and the skirmish became general. The English were taken at disadvantage. It was difficult from the nature of the ground to bring them up to the front; they were beginning to fall into disorder, and it might have fared ill with them had not a timely charge of cavalry turned the fate of the day. After holding their ground for four hours, the French were driven back into Leith, but they retired without disorder or confusion, having sustained a loss of twelve officers and about 150 common soldiers. (fn. 29) Further negotiation was at once broken off, the national feud between France and England revived in its ancient bitterness, and the besiegers and besieged now entered upon the warfare in the spirit of the men who fought at Cressy, Poictiers, and Agincourt.
Progress of the siege of Leith.
17. On the following morning the first trench was cut, and two pieces of English artillery opened fire with considerable effect. Day by day the pioneers advanced their works, and the garrison within the town was harassed by nightly alarms. The siege continued for some weeks, yet the French gave no token of surrender. (fn. 30) The blockade however was beginning to produce its terrible results, and the soldiers and townspeople of Leith suffered greatly. The English light cavalry intercepted the supplies which might have reached them from the neighbourhood, and Winter's fleet, always upon the alert, cut off the arrival of stores and provisions by sea. Still they held out firmly and gallantly. On May 5, as certain French gentlemen came forth to discover the English trenches, Captain Read commanded one of his soldiers to shoot at them, but through mishap his piece burst, and a shiver thereof brake the arm of the said captain." (fn. 31) One of these gentlemen contrived to escape from the town, and on his arrival at Montreuil-sur-Mer he addressed a letter to the Duke of Guise and Cardinal of Lorraine which informs us how matters stood within Leith on the day of his departure. The siege, he said, had continued for more than a month; but the garrison was in the best of spirits, for they had repulsed every attack hitherto made upon them by the English. They were not dismayed by the inequality of numbers, although they were beleaguered by about 5,000 or 6,000 men, horse and foot; while eighteen ships of war lay in the Firth, and about 150 smaller vessels of various sizes were employed in the conveyance and escort of provisions from Berwick. If Francis could send a reinforcement of 2,000 or 3,000 troops and forty ships, the English would be compelled to retire, and their departure would be the signal for the rising of a large body of the Scotch, who at heart were opposed to the English alliance. The garrison in Leith, he thought, could hold out until the end of August, possibly a little longer. The Bishop of Valence had attempted to negotiate, but had failed; probably they were already acquainted with the result of his mission. (fn. 32)
The French offer to treat.
18. The Bishop's report, which arrived very shortly afterwards, afforded little comfort to Francis and his Councillors. The writer detailed his proceedings at some length, and the information which he furnishes blends so harmoniously with the correspondence here published that we can form a very accurate estimate of the whole transaction. He tells us that his journey from London to Berwick occupied six days. He did not know that he was purposely delayed on the road by his companion Henry Killigrew, who, professing to act as his guide, in reality played the part of a spy. "We rode but forty miles a day," writes Killigrew to Cecil, "whereas the Bishop would have ridden sixty. I could not 'linger' our journey as much as I would, without evident cause of suspicion." (fn. 33) The delay was precious to the English and hazardous to the French; it enabled the former to dispatch reinforcements to the camp, and at the same time compelled the latter to consume their scanty store of provisions. The Duke of Norfolk pursued the same policy. He could not undertake to warrant the Bishop's safety one hour after he left the walls of Berwick. (fn. 34) The old man declared "somewhat hotly," that he would risk the venture, if he might but have the escort of one of the English trumpeters. Norfolk refused, upon the plea that he had no control over the Border thieves, who cared neither for Scotch, English, nor French. How could he venture to face Queen Elizabeth if any mischief should befall the sacred person of an ambassador? He would do thus much, however, he would permit one of his own men to accompany the Bishop's servant to the camp, and the Duke of Châtellerault would doubtless forward a safeconduct. (fn. 35) The Lords of the Congregation adopted the same system of procrastination; and having obtained the letters sent by Francis to the Regent of Scotland, they opened them. Norfolk was shocked at this violation of the laws of courtesy, and he indignantly remonstrated, protested, and threatened. His remonstrance was of course effectual; but these lengthened discussions had already involved the loss of another fortnight, and that delay implied the surrender of Leith, and the English knew it.
The Scotch urge on hostilities.
19. It would have been no disappointment to the confederates before Leith had the old Bishop of Valence, relying upon the nature of his mission, crossed the Border without the protection of a formal safe-conduct, and thus fallen into the hands of those who wished to drive the quarrel to the last bitter extremity. Maitland writing to Killigrew significantly "hoped that the Bishop would adventure himself." (fn. 36) Sadler is more outspoken; in his opinion if the Dowager would not remove the French from Scotland, the Duke of Châtellerault might well stay the Bishop as a pledge for his son in France, and use him as they further think convenient. (fn. 37) But whatever might be the intentions of some of their number respecting him they had no opportunity of resorting to such extreme measures, nor had he any reason to complain of his reception when at last he rode northwards. A hundred light horsemen met him at Haddington, and as he neared the camp Sir Henry Percy with an escort of 600 men conducted him into the presence of Lord Grey. After an interchange of civilities he was permitted to visit the Queen Dowager, who then resided in the castle. His report respecting her is brief, but interesting, and her daughter when she read this paper must have been deeply touched. "The health of the Regent has failed her," he wrote, "so has all else, save the greatness of her heart and the clearness of her judgment. She dreads these troubles as little as if she had all the forces in the world at her back." After a short conference with her he returned to the tent of the Duke of Châtellerault, where the confederate Lords were assembled, and the negotiations for peace began.
20. The Bishop spoke first. After a few conciliatory remarks he laid before the meeting, as the basis of his mission, the three following articles in the name of the King and Queen of France and Scotland. Their Majesties, he said, were content to forget all misdemeanors hitherto committed by the insurgents; in the second place, to preserve inviolate the ancient laws of the kingdom; and in the third place, to remove the French troops, with the exception only of the few required for the service of Leith, Dunbar, and Inchkeith; and in order to prevent delay, the Queen Dowager had authority to give effect to these arrangements as soon as they had received the approval of the Lords. (fn. 38) The terms were so favourably received by the meeting that when it broke up the Bishop was inclined to believe that his mission would be successful. In this, however, he was doomed to be disappointed.
21. We have the authority of Grey, Croftes, and Sadler for affirming that, as far as they were concerned, "they pressed the Scottish Lords to be content to fall to some accord;" (fn. 39) but during the evening Maitland exerted himself to thwart the compromise which apparently was about to be effected. Reunion with France was inconsistent with the wishes of Cecil; it would overthrow the designs of the Lord James, it would be fatal to the schemes of Maitland himself. Accordingly, when the conference was resumed on the following day, the latter spoke at considerable length against the Bishop's proposal, and advanced reasons why the people of Scotland should not permit one single French soldier to remain within that realm. The Bishop rejoined, but his remarks were unfavourably received, and he was informed somewhat abruptly that nothing short of the total demolition of Leith and the withdrawal of its entire garrison would satisfy the demands of the Congregation. Unless the power with which he was invested by the King and Queen of France enabled him to grant these terms, further negotiation was useless, and he was told that he might return homewards without further delay. (fn. 40) As the evening was now somewhat advanced, the Lords would not indeed insist upon his immediate departure, but he was handed over to the care (or the custody) of the Master of Maxwell. His position, if not actually dangerous, was anything but agreeable. He and his attendants were guarded by twenty or thirty soldiers, they were shut up in a room which they were forbidden to leave on any pretext, and they had to listen to remarks and answer questions the opposite to polite. On the morning matters mended a little, and the conference was resumed. Certain demands were made by the Scottish Lords which the Bishop had no authority to concede, but at his suggestion they were referred to the Regent. When they were presented to her she refused to accept them; they afforded no basis of negotiation, and they were insulting to her daughter's position as the Queen of Scotland. The conference had failed. Hostilities were resumed with increased animosity, and it was declared on both sides more bitterly than ever that the dispute admitted of no compromise.
22. This feeling of rancorous hostility was kept alive by the Lords of the Congregation, who held the heaviest stake in the bloody game. Although they had signally failed in the fulfilment of their contract respecting the number of troops they would furnish, they steadily held the English to the terms of the treaty of Berwick. Every attempt to negotiate with the Dowager was frustrated by their veto. They insisted that she should be deprived of her authority and deposed, and that every French soldier should be expelled from Scotland. (fn. 41) When she again refused, they pressed Grey to resume the siege; and if he hesitated, their importunity admitted no delay. He did hesitate; for his position was anything but enviable. He had been selected to conduct the campaign as England's best soldier; a considerable force had been assigned to him; he was supported by a powerful fleet, and what had he done? He had failed, and he feared that he would fail once more. In self-defence he informed his superiors that he was not strong enough to take Leith by battery and assault. (fn. 42) Maitland, after apologizing for his ignorance in military affairs, next ventured to ask Cecil to send down a reinforcement of 20,000 troops at the Queen's expense. The success of the entire undertaking depended upon it, he said, and he hinted that England was now too far compromised to recede, or even to hesitate. (fn. 43) The Scottish Lords adopted the same tone, but they were more explicit, for while they prayed the Queen to fight their battle with France, they reminded her that she had opened a communication with them through her accredited agents; that in reliance upon her assistance they had taken up arms against the tyrant; and that if she now deserted them, their blood would be demanded at her hands.
Elizabeth orders the prosecution of the siege.
23. These various considerations, appeals, and remonstrances, supported as they were by Norfolk and Cecil, at last had their desired effect with the Queen. She spoke her decision, and it was for war. She approved of the expulsion of the French and the deposition of Mary of Guise. It was her wish, she said, that the siege should be more earnestly prosecuted, and the treaty less regarded. The Scots should be encouraged by the intelligence that her force by sea and land was about to be augmented. Nor did she scorn to employ other measures less creditable than undisguised violence. In outward appearance she would not that any reasonable offer made by the besieged within Leith for accord should seem to be neglected, "yet, indeed, the more hardly handled the Frenchmen were in the siege, the better it would be," in her opinion. (fn. 44) She saw no reason why the Scottish Lords should be prevented any longer from besieging Edinburgh Castle, in which resided the Queen Dowager, "who does more harm than 500 Frenchmen," (fn. 45) although a short time previously she had been shocked by the suggestion. In accordance with her new resolution, a reinforcement of 2,200 soldiers arrived in the camp, while a supplemental fleet of twenty-seven or twenty-eight ships passed northwards with stores and provisions. The trenches were pushed nearer the walls of Leith by the employment of an extra body of pioneers, (fn. 46) who laboured day and night without intermission, and Grey was told that he might hire more if he wanted them. He might also take into her service 2,000 Scottish soldiers. The Queen's energy communicated itself to the besiegers. "The mariners offered that, if they might have the spoil, they would enter Leith or die." (fn. 47) The Scottish Lords, casting aside their former timidity, were equally ready to devote themselves; they vowed that rather than this enterprise should fail, they would spend lands, lives, and all, (fn. 48) and the general feeling throughout the camp pronounced that "whoever had any thought other than the utter expelling of the French was no less the enemy of the cause than if he had cut 500 throats." (fn. 49)
24. It was evidently Grey's wisdom to strike while the iron was at the hottest. He could not tell how long the Queen and the Privy Council might remain in the same mind, nor how long the Lords of the Congregation might be inclined to serve in the English ranks. His own reputation was in peril. He might be censured by the Duke of Norfolk, he might even be superseded in his command should an enemy at Court remind the Queen that the siege was costing her 20,000l. a month, exclusive of the expenses of the fleet, and that both were held at bay by 4,000 gaunt and ragged Frenchmen. He prepared himself, therefore, for a grand effort and a crowning success. For some days and nights twenty-four pieces of heavy artillery had been playing upon the town, (fn. 50) and now the fire was augmented by the opening of two new batteries. The Scotch, who hitherto had adventured little for the cause, joined the English camp, and Winter's sailors were invited to take their share in the approaching assault. To each officer was assigned his own post, and the plan of attack was settled at a meeting of the council of war. Grey's arrangements were complete, and the moment had arrived when they should be put into execution.
The assault of Leith.
25. Before daybreak on the morning of Tuesday, May 7, the united forces of England and Scotland were drawn up in front of the walls of Leith, and were ordered to hold themselves in readiness for the attack. Lord Grey and the council of war who acted with him were confident as to the result. (fn. 51) It ought to have been successful, for the assailants far outnumbered the utmost power which the half-starved and worn-out defenders could oppose to them. As the early day broke upon the beleaguered fortress the signal was given, and 10,000 men rushed forward. Each division struggled onward towards the point to which it was led by its commanding officer. The whole body crossed the ditch without much difficulty, and having gained the base of the rampart attempted to enter the town. The plan of assault was simple, and is distinctly intelligible from the reports and correspondence here printed. A storming party consisting of nearly 4,000 men was pushed on towards two breaches which the engineers had declared to be practicable, and these they were expected to carry under cover of the fire of the English artillery. At the same moment another division of the troops was employed at different points in scaling the walls, for which purpose they had been provided with ladders. In these attempts the assailants sustained a heavy loss, partly from the fire of the garrison, partly from the stones and other missiles, which the wives and children of the French soldiers hurled from the ramparts. (fn. 52) They had expected these dangers and did not shrink from them, and so far they did their duty as gallant soldiers. But it was different when it was discovered by the one column of assault that neither of the breaches was practicable, and by the other that the scaling ladders were at least six feet too short. The men wavered, broke, and retreated, leaving at least a thousand slain behind them in the ditch. As they fled they were hotly pursued by a portion of the garrison, which inflicted a still further loss upon them and spiked several pieces of their artillery. Of the English army upon this occasion the number of the killed was reckoned at little short of 1,500 men. (fn. 53)
26. A repulse so ignominious and so decisive could neither be concealed nor disguised. The responsibility rested, in the first instance, as a matter of course, with Lord Grey, the commander-in-chief; and the papers contained in the present volume show that the failure was due to his reckless mismanagement. He attempted to shield himself by inculpating others. He accused the Duke of Norfolk of interfering with the plan of attack, which was untrue and he insinuated that the storming party were cowards which was ungenerous. Someone however must be found to appease the Queen's indignation, and by his sacrifice restore confidence to the panic-stricken army. Sir James Croftes was selected as the victim, the failure of the assaul was ascribed to his neglect or unpunctuality; he was arrested, deprived of his command, and committed to the Fleet Prison. Some vague accusations of treachery were circulated against him, but he was never brought to trial and after an imprisonment of no long duration he was discharged and restored to favour. (fn. 54)
Negociations by Cecil and Wotton.
27. The Scottish expedition now entered upon a new phase. Elizabeth had attempted to expel the French by force and had failed, she now tried what she could effect by diplomacy. It was a less dignified and a less impressive mode of action, but it was cheaper and safer The arrival of a new Commissioner from Paris furnished her with an excuse for this change of plan, of which she gladly availed herself. Instructions were issued to Cecil authorizing him and Wotton to proceed to Edinburgh, and there, in conjunction with Sadler, Percy, and Carew, "to treat for the pacification between the two kingdoms." These instructions, the negotiations to which they led, and the treaty founded upon them, are all strangely inconsistent with one plain matter of fact; they proceed upon the assumption that England and Scotland were at war with France, whereas the treaty of Câteau Cambresis was in full force. Into this point, however, we are not called upon to enter. It would be a task at once irksome and unprofitable were we to follow the Ambassadors of the belligerent parties through the tangled mazes of diplomacy into which they now entered; an outline, however, of the general bearing of their proceedings is essential to the correct appreciation of the events which followed.
28. Cecil and Wotton arrived at Newcastle on the 8th of June, and there had a short preliminary conference with the Bishop of Valence, who again appears before us as one of the French Commissioners. Cecil's practised eye detected danger at the outset. He had been informed that the garrison at Leith could hold out for some weeks longer, and that the sudden intervention of Spain from the side of Flanders was not an impossible contingency. Randan, the Bishop's fellow Commissioner, told Wotton that nothing could be finally determined by him or his colleague without the express sanction of the Queen Dowager, and the unbending resolution of her character was no secret. (fn. 55) So, "for diverse respects, as it were "by stealth," Cecil met the Duke of Norfolk at Alnwick in the course of the following night, and returning to Newcastle early in the morning he resumed, after his ride of sixty miles, his unsatisfactory negotiations. (fn. 56) Five days afterwards matters were in the same untoward condition. Cecil and Wotton declared themselves so traversed with this French Bishop that they could make no certainty of their proceedings. One entire day of their precious time was spent in the framing of articles touching their entry into Scotland, their manner of treaty, and the cessation of hostilities. (fn. 57) But this diplomatic skirmishing was interrupted by the arrival of intelligence which, although not entirely unexpected, most materially affected the fortunes of England, France, and Scotland.
Death of theQueen Regent.
29. The effort which was being made in Scotland to preserve the crown of that realm for its young Queen was sustained chiefly by the energy and resolution of her mother, Mary of Lorraine. She it was who directed the Scottish Council, and animated D'Oysel and his troops to hold out to the last. An asylum had been afforded her in Edinburgh Castle, the Governor of which generously undertook to secure her against any danger which might threaten her upon the approach of the Anglo-Scottish army. Her position was one of extreme desolation. The greater number of her subjects were either in arms against her, or were indifferent alike to her success or her ruin. Few of the nobility encouraged her with their presence, and fewer still offered her any active assistance. (fn. 58) The Archbishop of St. Andrew's was the only member of the First Estate who continued to attend her Privy Council. (fn. 59) Still she held her post, unwearied and unwavering; there was no irresolution as to her line of conduct, no want of confidence in the fidelity of the garrison in Leith, no doubt as to the ultimate success of her cause. But her bodily strength was unequal to sustain this long-continued effort, and symptoms of a disease which she knew to be fatal exhibited themselves. As her malady gained strength she applied for medical assistance from the French surgeons within Leith, but her letter was intercepted by Lord Grey, and he burnt it. Knox tells us that it contained intelligence written in ink which became legible when held to the fire, but this circumstance is unsupported by the letters now printed. The account which she herself gave of her disease leaves no doubt as to its character; she was suffering from dropsy, and she knew its unavoidable result. "My health is better than it was wont to be," she writes, "but I am still lame, and have a leg that assuageth not from swelling. If any lay his finger upon it, it goeth in, as into butter. You know there are but three days for the dropsy in this country." (fn. 60) As she had anticipated, the malady ran the final stage of its course with its wonted speed. On June 8, Randolph, then at Edinburgh, thus reports upon her condition: "This morning, at 8 o'clock, the Duke, the Earl Marshal, and Lord James went into the castle to the Queen. They found her worse than she was yesterday; her lips, hands, and legs very cold; her tongue and wits failed her very greatly, and she herself without hope of life. Her mind was well disposed towards God, and willing to hear anything that is well spoken." (fn. 61) She died upon the 11th, before 1 o'clock at midnight, which was the thirtieth day of her sickness, (fn. 62) and when the intelligence of her decease reached the French Commissioners, then at Berwick, they felt that they were deprived of the benefit which they expected to have derived from her sound judgment and just appreciation of the true position of affairs in Scotland.
Preliminaries for a peace.
30. It was impossible for the French Commissioners to hold out any longer against such a combination of disasters. The intelligence, when it reached Leith, depressed the spirit of the garrison, and the besiegers at last assured themselves of their success. Even Bacon, the Lord Keeper, who hitherto had warned the Council against involving the nation in a war with France, urged Cecil to accept no half measures, and to agree to no end but such as would deliver Scotland clearly rid of the French. (fn. 63) Cecil needed no such exhortation, but he was too wary to throw away the least of the many advantages which this unexpected combination of events had placed within his grasp. His difficulty arose from a different quarter; the commanding strength of his position might become in itself an element of weakness unless managed with discretion. It would be impolitic, he well knew, to drive the garrison of Leith to despair; they might be pushed too far, for they were the men who must and would preserve intact their national honour. If assaulted, they would fight it out to the last; and even if they surrendered to an overpowering force, a war between England and France (which the latter could not sustain for a single year) would be the inevitable result. Writing to the Privy Council, Mr. Secretary admits the existence of many crooked points to be amended, points which he would gladly keep in the background. He felt that it was a delicate matter to interfere between the Queen of Scotland and her subjects, especially to interfere on the side of men who had risen against their Sovereign and by force of arms had deposed the Regent. (fn. 64) Nor did the conduct of the French Ambassadors afford a fair ground of complaint, for they declared that they were willing to accept any reasonable terms. They for their part, such was their desire for peace, would undertake that henceforth Queen Mary should cease to use the arms and style of England, and would revoke all documents in which they had been employed. They would arrange for the immediate departure of the French troops out of Scotland, and for the demolition of the obnoxious fortifications at Dunbar. When Elizabeth claimed as compensation for past injuries the immediate restitution of Calais and the payment of 500,000 crowns, they answered that the demand should be referred to the arbitration of their mutual friend King Philip. She urged the decision of certain points which they had no power to settle, in consequence of the death of the Queen Regent; but upon these matters they replied that they would consult the pleasure of their master, by whose decision they would be guided. (fn. 65) Men could not act more reasonably or more justly; there was no ground here for complaint or harsh dealing.
31. The French garrison was equally moderate, conciliatory, and good tempered. Whilst the diplomatists were busy with their offers and objections, their protocols, proposals, and rejoinders, the besiegers and besieged took advantage of the cessation of hostilities to meet with gentle words and to eat and drink together. Randolph, one of the liveliest and most picturesque of our letter writers, describes the interview and the extemporised repast by which it was followed. Sir Andrew Corbet, Sir Edward Felton, Captain Vaughan, and others of the English camp, met the officers of Leith upon the sands, and each brought such victuals as he had in store. The English brought beef, capon, chickens, wine, beer, and such stuff as they had. The French (to signify what difference there was between the assiegers and assiegees) brought with them a cold capon roast, a pasty of a baken horse, and six rats well roasted; giving the English to understand that these were the best fresh vivers they had; and that of such as these they lacked no store. They departed kindly, adds Randolph, whatsoever their next meeting shall be. The French necessities were known to be great; their doings hitherto had been such as became valiant soldiers; "it would be no small loss to the French King to have so many slain as were like to be if they attend the fury of the black bill." (fn. 66)
The treaty ofEdinburgh.
32. It was to avert the dire extremity at which Randolph had glanced in these last few words, that the Bishop of Valence and M. De Randan were at length driven to accept the terms offered them by Cecil. In a letter which they addressed to the Queen Mother of France (fn. 67) they enumerated the difficulties of their situation. They were far removed, they said, from the possibility of obtaining advice how to proceed; they were compelled to act solely upon information which was possibly false, certainly imperfect; they had to be guided by their own unaided judgment; their instructions referred them to the decision of the late Queen Regent, to whom a wide discretionary power was given; and they were prevented from deliberating with their countrymen in Leith. More than this, they felt that the fate of 4,000 brave men hung upon their decision, who must either starve during the blockade, die in the assault, or surrender at discretion. With these considerations before their eyes we cannot wonder that the French Ambassadors accepted the Treaty of Edinburgh.
33. The terms of the treaty were sufficiently stringent if we bear in mind the exceptional position of the contracting parties. Upon what plea does the Queen of England send her army and fleet against a kingdom with which she has just concluded a solemn treaty of peace? Upon what grounds does she associate herself with a party which is waging war against its lawful sovereign? While professing to hold friendly relations with France, she besieges a town occupied by a French garrison, how are these acts to be explained or defended? To each of these questions she had a simple and a ready answer, she did it from a wise expedience, from an unavoidable necessity, from the instinct of self-preservation. Norfolk and Grey used the convincing argument of the stronger hand, and then Cecil and Wotton stepped forward and reduced the campaign into the legal formula of a treaty. It was bargained on the one side and conceded on the other, that the French troops should return home, that the fortifications at Leith should be demolished, that the King and Queen of France should refrain from using the arms and style of Elizabeth, and that the injuries sustained by her through this assumption should be considered in a conference, to be held at London, and the ultimate decision referred to Philip. A clause was added to the effect that the treaty should be confirmed within sixty days. To Elizabeth this document was of the highest possible value. It recognized her title to the crown of England, as of right as well as of fact; and its confirmation by Mary would for ever silence any claim which that Sovereign might otherwise have advanced. Cecil, who fully appreciated its importance as affecting the relative position of the rival Queens, regarded it as a diplomatic triumph, and boasted how "having possessed the kernel, he had yielded the shell to the French to play withal." (fn. 68)
34. Thus ended the siege of Leith and the campaign of the English in Scotland. The Lords of the Congregation had so far been successful; the French were expelled, and the government of the realm was vested for the time in the hands of the Scottish Parliament. Yet all these reforms were only the preliminaries to a revolution yet more radical; the next step was intended to effect a change of dynasty. According to the programme originally drawn up by the Lords of the Congregation, it was intended that the Stuarts should be superseded by the Hamiltons, and the Earl of Arran, having established his claim to the throne of Scotland, was to unite that realm with England by making himself the husband of its Queen. How the wooing proceeded, and how Elizabeth dealt with the advances of her northern suitor, will be noticed hereafter: in the meantime we must cross the channel and make ourselves acquainted with the state of affairs on the continent; and here France has the first claim upon our attention.
State of parties in the French Court.
35. The factions, political and religious, which gradually had acquired strength in France throughout the reign of Henry II., but which had been repressed by the energetic zeal of that Sovereign, developed themselves with unexpected rapidity during the brief administration of his successor. The entire reign of Francis II. is a period of turmoil and agitation, the history of which becomes a matter of special significance when we bear in mind that hence arose the great Wars of Religion, the details of which will occupy a prominent place in our subsequent volumes. From the moment that Francis II. had ascended the vacant throne, a struggle for the possession of the supreme authority had been going on in the French Court. Although the young king had attained his legal majority (he was sixteen years old), it was obvious that he would be influenced by that party which should first secure his confidence. At the period with which we are now more immediately concerned the question had received its solution. The Princes of the blood had been thrust aside by the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine, with whom Catherine De Medicis, the Queen Mother, made common cause; while the old Constable Montmorenci and the Duchess of Valentinois, both so powerful during the reign of King Henry, were dismissed from the Court, and had retired into obscurity. (fn. 69) Thus the whole power had passed into the hands of three individuals. The Duke of Guise assumed the command of the army; the administration of justice and the command of the finances was intrusted to the Cardinal, while the management of the internal affairs of the realm occupied the attention of the Queen Mother. (fn. 70) To give themselves ampler scope for the execution of their plans of government, they proceeded without hesitation and without delay to free themselves from the presence of the obnoxious Bourbons. The Prince of Condé was sent upon an embassy to the King of Spain, (fn. 71) a mission particularly disagreeable to an impoverished spendthrift such as he was. The elder brother, Anthony of Bourbon, King of Navarre, after being treated with marked discourtesy, withdrew himself from the Court; and thus the entire management of affairs was in the hands of the Guises. So far indeed they had succeeded; but from this period may be dated the commencement of the Wars of Religion in France.
Elizabeth encourages the Bourbon party.
36. It suited Elizabeth's policy to foment the elements of discord thus introduced into the Court of Francis the Second. She opened a communication with the King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé, and encouraged them in their opposition to the party headed by the house of Guise. Her agent in France at this time was still our old friend, Sir Nicolas Throckmorton, who not only entered very warmly into her designs, but urged her onwards whenever she appeared inclined to delay or hesitate. It was his conviction (and he repeated it with a frequency which became irksome,) that the Guises were the irreconcilable enemies of herself and realm, and that both were in danger so long as the Cardinal and the Duke were permitted to be dominant in France. Through Throckmorton's agency the various and conflicting interests which were opposed to the family of Lorraine were brought into harmony and united under the secret protectorate of Elizabeth, and it was understood that when the moment for action arrived this newly constituted opposition might depend upon substantial assistance from England.
Tremain's mission into France.
37. In accordance with this understanding a secret mission into Bretagne was fitted out on the English coast, the command of which was entrusted to one Captain Tremain. He was exactly the man adapted for the management of such an expedition. Although deeply implicated in Wyat's rebellion in the previous reign, he had been so fortunate as to escape into France; and as long as Mary was upon the throne the exile had occupied himself in plotting against her government. (fn. 72) Upon Elizabeth's accession he "and others of the like "sort" were encouraged to return. She was not unwilling to recognise her sense of his past services, and to reward the dangers to which he had exposed himself in time past for her sake; but she had satisfactory reasons for declining to let it be known that she favoured him openly. Hence we find that when she intimated to Throckmorton that Tremain might return home, she caused to be appended to that permission the significant remark that "herein caution is to be used." (fn. 73) Early in 1560 he was employed to co-operate with the disaffected French, who were planning an insurrection in Normandy and Bretagne, and he spent some time in these localities. (fn. 74) The result of the movement soon showed itself, and some information respecting its progress and results may be gathered from Throckmorton's correspondence given in the present volume.
Tumult of Amboise.
38. Stimulated into action by the countenance of England, the French insurgents held a meeting at Nantes and deliberated as to the course which they would pursue. After some discussion it was resolved that they should proceed in small parties and by separate routes to Blois, for the ostensible purpose of making their grievances known to the King; and that, while the Court was occupied in listening to these complaints, the palace should be surrounded by troops who had been instructed to assemble in the neighbourhood. They contemplated a complete revolution in church and state. The established religion was to be remodelled, the Guises were to be executed as traitors to the nation, and the Prince of Condé was to be placed at the head of the provisional government.
39. It need excite no wonder that intelligence of a plot of such wide dimensions speedily reached the ears of the French Court. After some deliberation the Queen Mother, the Duke of Guise, and the Cardinal of Lorraine resolved upon awaiting the attack and converting it into an opportunity for crushing the outbreak in all its ramifications. Accordingly they removed the Court from Blois to Amboise, and there adopted such measures as completely disconcerted the plans of the conspirators. When La Renaudie, the chief of the rebel soldiery, came up he was killed at the head of his troop; the various divisions were attacked severally, as they reached the place of rendezvous, and were cut to pieces; and the headsman and the hangman made short work with such prisoners as had the misfortune to be taken with arms in their hands. (fn. 75)
40. During the whole of these incidents Throckmorton was in attendance upon the French Court, and had frequent interviews with the royal family; his narrative therefore comes down to us with all the freshness and the authority of the testimony of an eyewitness. From what he states it appears that the Court at Amboise at first used their victory with moderation, and would have continued to do so but for the stubborn pertinacity with which they were attacked by the insurgents. Upon March 16 about fifty persons, chiefly labouring men, were taken prisoners; all of whom, excepting four, were dismissed and pardoned. To each of the others the King gave a crown, because they had been plundered by their captors; and to one who was hurt in the head he gave five crowns. A proclamation was then made by which the offer of pardon was held out to the rest of the insurgents, if they would quietly retire and disperse, "except to such as were preachers and had come in armour towards the King." Next day, however, matters assumed a more alarming appearance, and the fear and wrath of the royalists increased in proportion. A party consisting of 150 armed horsemen approached the Court for the purpose of attacking it; but they were repulsed by the King's troops. Two of their number who were unhorsed and taken, were forthwith hanged, "and two others for company, and afterwards divers more were taken, and nine men hanged." Many were drowned in sacks, and some were appointed to die on the wheel. One of the King's generals on the same day, finding that twenty-five of the rebels had taken refuge in a house, set fire to it, and succeeded in capturing all but one, who preferred being burnt rather than surrender. Twenty-two of these miserable wretches were drowned the same night, and on the night following twenty-five more shared the same fate. Eighteen of the bravest captains in France were taken among the insurgents. On March 20 La Renaudie, the leader of the expedition and its originator, was hanged on a gibbet before the Court gate at Amboise; and thus the whole conspiracy was broken up and came to nothing. (fn. 76)
41. Yet although the immediate danger had passed, the Guises and their adherents were persuaded that they had not yet fathomed the full meaning of the conspiracy, nor had they traced it to its origin. (fn. 77) The Cardinal of Lorraine informed the English Ambassador that the design had its beginning in Geneva, (fn. 78) and a letter from Mundt, Elizabeth's agent at Strasburg, tends to confirm the accuracy of this impression. Some weeks before the plot was discovered, he was asked, under promise of secrecy, whether the Queen would assist the French in abating the persecutions of the Guises; and he answered that, under certain circumstances, in his opinion she would not be wanting in kind offices. (fn. 79) Throckmorton himself, immediately after the discovery of the insurrec- tion of Amboise, recommended that a proclamation calculated to animate the people against the Duke and his brother should be circulated throughout Bretagne and Normandy by means of the English merchants who traded in these provinces, (fn. 80) and the hopes of the insurgents were kept alive by a report that the Earl of Arran might be expected to make a descent in France. (fn. 81) Who was the mover of these agitations? Suspicion from the first had pointed to the Prince of Condé, but he had played his part so well, and acted with so much caution, that although he was confronted with at least one of the prisoners at Amboise he steadily denied his complicity, and no direct proof could be adduced against him. (fn. 82) Emboldened by his escape he speedily resumed his negotiations with the Germans, and once more endeavoured through Mundt to obtain the promise of assistance from England. (fn. 83) But the jealous vigilance of the Guises never slumbered, and in the course of the following year they had completed a chain of evidence sufficiently strong in their opinion to warrant his arrest upon a charge of treason.
Condé's arrest and the death of Francis II.
42. About the middle of October the French royal family proceeded to Orleans, attended by a considerable military force, and several pieces of cannon. (fn. 84) The inhabitants of Orleans and of the neighbouring towns, who were supposed to be disaffected, were disarmed. (fn. 85) Unfortunately Throckmorton was unable at first to accompany the Court, consequently for a time he was not an eyewitness of the incidents which occurred, and his information is defective and inaccurate. He was aware that the King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé, his brother, had been summoned to attend upon the Court at Orleans, and that they were on their way thither; but he believed (so skilfully had the dominant party concealed their intentions) that a reconciliation had been effected between the Houses of Bourbon and Guise. So far from this being the case, the King of Navarre on his arrival was placed under the care of the royal guard, who watched his movements day and night, as if he were a criminal; while the Prince of Condé was thrown into prison, (fn. 86) and immediate steps were taken for his trial. He was interrogated by virtue of a commission signed by the King and the Chancellor, but he refused to answer, and demanded to be tried by the Court of Parliament of Paris. (fn. 87) His application was rejected, and the process was pushed onwards with indecent haste by the Cardinal of Lorraine, whose constitutional timidity saw in the death of Condé the safety of himself personally and the future stability of his family. He overpowered as childish the natural scruples of the young King, and he imperiously silenced the remonstrances of the Queen Mother. Observing how completely disorganized and terror-stricken was the reforming party, which of late had been so united and defiant, he was encouraged to persevere, and he resolved by one well-directed blow to obtain a complete success. (fn. 88) But an incident occurred, when the axe was almost suspended over the neck of his victim, which changed the whole current of events, not only as affecting the rival houses of Bourbon and Lorraine, but the whole realm of France. The young King died after a few days illness, and the sway of the family of Guise came at once to an end, as complete as it was unexpected. They were fully aware that now they could not stand against their opponents. The long minority which necessarily must ensue (for the next heir to the throne was little more than nine years old), afforded a tempting opportunity for the exercise of boldness and intrigue; and long before the corpse of Francis had reached St. Denis the Queen Mother, the Constable Montmorency, the King of Navarre, and the junior Princes of the family of Bourbon were eagerly disputing over the future administration of the government. In one respect, however, they were unanimous, the hated foreigners (as they named the Guises), must be expelled from the Court.
Throckmorton's opinion of Mary of Scotland.
43. Throckmorton, who seldom indulged in pious reflections, gave way to a burst of religious joy and thankfulness, in which he invited Elizabeth to join with him, when he contemplated the advantages which would result to England from the decease of Francis the Second. (fn. 89) He remarked that the unexpected death of Henry was a blessing, for he meant mischief towards her, in favour of his daughter-in-law, Mary of Scotland; but the unexpected death of Francis was even a greater token of God's favour, for it annihilated the power of the Guises, and consigned the reins of government into the hands of the Protestant princes of the family of Bourbon. It was a juncture the like of which had never before occurred, he observed, and he urged her to take advantage of it for the purpose of making a large and sure seat for herself and her posterity for ever, to God's glory and her own unspeakable fame. (fn. 90) His first thought was about the young widow, and her husband had scarce ceased to breathe ere the far-seeing Ambassador was speculating how she was to be disposed in marriage. He had ascertained that she esteemed the continuation of her dignity more than the gratification of her fancy, and that in the course of the ensuing spring she would leave France for Scotland. (fn. 91) The estimate which he had formed of her intellect and character deserves notice, and his impressions are all the more deserving of attention from the fact that this keen observer of human nature had been in frequent communication with her during the whole of his long residence in France. She has hitherto, he says, lived so entirely under the control of the Guises that her real capacity was not yet recognized; but now, when her widowhood compels her to think and act for herself, she begins to be better understood. She has already showed that she possesses great wisdom for her years, great modesty and judgment, which when matured by experience could not but tend to her own reputation and the benefit of her country. He commends her general behaviour, her wisdom and good sense, "in that she thinketh herself not too wise, but is content to be ruled by sound counsel and wise men," and he sums up his estimate of her with a remark to the effect that her future proceedings might possibly cause some anxiety to England.
44. With her usual undignified disregard to Mary's feelings, Elizabeth sent no condolences to the young widow upon the death of her husband, and Throckmorton knew his mistress too well to present himself without being specially authorized. We gather from his letters, however, some particulars as to Mary's behaviour at this trying period of her history. Immediately upon the death of Francis she changed her lodging and withdrew herself from all society. In compliance with the etiquette of the Court, she became so solitary and exempt from all worldliness that for forty days she saw no daylight. During the first fortnight of her widowhood she admitted no man to come into her chamber, but the King, and his brethren, the King of Navarre, the old Constable Montmorency, and her uncles. A few days afterwards some bishops and a few of the elder knights of the order had leave to enter, and lastly the ambassadors, all of whom, save Throckmorton, came to condole with her. The visits of the Ambassador of Spain attracted notice in consequence of their length and frequency, and it was already surmised that a marriage between the Queen of Scotland and Don Carlos was not improbable. (fn. 92) On the fortieth day after her husband's death she celebrated a solemn service for him, immediately after which she removed to a short distance from Orleans and its sad memories, and began to deliberate in earnest upon the affairs of her own kingdom. One of her first acts was to despatch thither a commission of four gentlemen, by whom the Estates were requested to stay further proceedings in matters of religion until her return; (fn. 93) but she shortly afterwards revoked this request, because it appeared to imply a want of confidence in the loyalty of her subjects. At the same time she wrote severally and kindly to all the nobility, among the rest to Lethington, Balnavis, and Grange, promising oblivion of all things past; whereas, according to our ideas of law, she might have proceeded against them for treason. The Earl of Arran, the ostensible leader of the Scottish outbreak, was treated with even greater forbearance; "she used such words in kindness and good usage of his messenger as it is not a little to be marvelled at." (fn. 94) Her policy at this time was clearly established and plainly enunciated, and it was a policy of conciliation. In the letters which she addressed to the Estates she told them that she threw herself upon their loyalty and affection; she was confident, she said, that their devotion would equal that which their ancestors had always exhibited to hers, and she concluded with the assurance that for her part the memory of past kindnesses rendered by them and theirs to her family and herself should entirely erase from her mind all impressions of a less agreeable nature. (fn. 95)
Elizabeth's advice to Mary.
45. It was not until the 18th of February that Elizabeth's condolences (such as they were, for they appear to have been of the briefest and coldest) reached Mary. They were presented by the Earl of Bedford, who took advantage of his interview to explain to her how she ought to conduct herself towards her subjects in Scotland. Herein he acted according to his instructions. Mary accepted the advice with much self-possession and forbearance, thanked her sister for this friendly counsel, which, as she remarked, she needed much, considering the state in which she stood. For her part, she would use all good offices to move Elizabeth to think her an assured friend, trusting to find the like on the Queen's part. Encouraged by her docility Throckmorton produced the Treaty of Edinburgh, which he desired her to sign. She excused herself upon the plea that the Cardinal of Lorraine, her uncle, being absent, she was without counsel and would not venture to deal with a matter of such importance according to her own unaided judgment. One after the other, Bedford and Throckmorton plied her with arguments and solicitations, but she steadily and good-humouredly kept her ground; she promised them, however, that at their next interview she would treat of the subject with them more fully. Two days afterwards they again waited upon her and renewed their application, and once more she asked for delay. The ratification of the Treaty of Edinburgh, she said, did not affect herself alone, it was a national question, and ought to receive the express and formal assent of the nation. They were aware, she believed, that certain of her nobility were on their road to France; on their arrival she would discuss the matter with them, and Elizabeth should then be informed of her decision. She added some kindly words expressive of her desire to live upon affectionate terms with the Queen, whom she hoped soon to have the opportunity of seeing (evidently contemplating a visit on her journey homewards through England), and prayed that the two Ambassadors would procure that she might have a portrait of her good sister in return for one of herself which she had already sent to Elizabeth.
Bedford's mission into France.
46. But in truth Mary for the time occupied a very secondary place in Elizabeth's attention; her more immediate concern was how to secure an influence in the party which would henceforth control the destiny of France. She was aware that there was now impending a struggle which ere long would bring into sharp collision not only individuals but principles; and she sought to make common cause with that party, the ultimate predominance of which would most conduce to the advancement of her own interests. The opportunity was tempting; providential, as Throckmorton interpreted it. Bedford was despatched to survey the French Court, to make himself acquainted with the actual state of the parties into which it was divided; to thwart every coalition which should include the dreaded Guises, and to promote the formation of a government which would act in conformity with the policy of England. The report which he drew up at this time details the result of his mission, and by the light which it affords we can obtain a tolerably accurate idea of the characters and designs of some of those personages who shortly afterwards exercised such a powerful influence upon the destinies of France. (fn. 96)
His report upon the parties in the French Court.
47. After the formal presentation of their credentials to the young King and the Queen Mother, Bedford and Throckmorton, according to their instructions, had a private interview with the King of Navarre. It was important that Elizabeth should secure him to her interests. His position in the Court as chief of the family of the Bourbons made his adhesion to the party which he might embrace a matter of considerable political weight; but at the same time his personal influence was comparatively of little moment. The defects of his character were already well known, and Bedford's letter shows us that these defects were inveterate. He was timid and irresolute, without principle and consistency; he was professedly a Calvinist and practically a Catholic; while he was in frequent and friendly correspondence with the Genevan ministers, he conformed to the doctrine and rites of the Established Church. It was to arouse him from this state of lukewarmness and indecision that Bedford was instructed to wait upon him in private. If he showed any tokens of activity, then the Earl might proceed to unfold to him what Elizabeth expected at his hands. Through her Ambassador she advised him to thwart the progress of the Council of Trent, to further religion (as she understood the term) in the realm of France, to the prejudice of the usurped authority of the Pope; and to promote the ratification of the Treaty of Edinburgh, which was assumed to be comprehended in that of Câteau Cambresis.
48. Anthony received Elizabeth's message with respect, and admitted that it corresponded with his own private wishes and convictions, but as usual he temporized. To his mind there were difficulties in the way, he said, the magnitude of which she had not duly calculated. The larger proportion of the inhabitants of France was opposed to the true religion, the Queen Mother was not so earnestly minded towards the good cause as could be wished, there were few in the Council who were well affected in the matter, and in his opinion it was a great thing—as much as they could at present reasonably expect—to have caused all persecution to cease, and that all prisoners for the sake of religion should be set at liberty. Throckmorton attacked him on the only assailable point when he reminded him that his greatest enemies were at the same time the enemies of religion, and that his own interests were equally those of the Queen of England. One part of their conversation hints at some design too delicate to be reduced to writing. Speaking of Mary of Scotland, the English Ambassador asked the King whether there was any truth in the report that she had already been sought in marriage by the Prince of Austria. Anthony did not scruple to reveal to the Ambassador of a foreign power the information which he had acquired as one of the royal counsellors, and he answered the question in the affirmative. Hereupon Throckmorton reminded him that this match would be ruinous to his designs. This the King admitted, and said he would do his utmost to hinder it. "But," added he, "I have told you, M. l'Ambassadeur, of a remedy against this mischief, whereunto you make me no answer. You know what I mean." What did he mean? What was this mysterious remedy? What was the suggestion to which Throckmorton would make no answer?
49. Annoyed and disappointed the English Ambassadors turned from the King of Navarre and sought a private interview with the Queen Mother. It was scarcely more satisfactory. She defended the expediency and the political wisdom of the intended meeting of the Council of Trent, and recognized in this measure one of the most feasible means for restoring the violated unity of Christ endom. The old Constable of Montmorency was equally intractable. The only personage in the French Court who entered into Elizabeth's designs with any cordiality was the old Duchess of Ferrara, who unhesitatingly promised them her assistance. She also gave them some important information. She spoke slightingly of the King of Navarre and the Queen Mother, thereby confirming their own impressions, and told them that the chief promoters of the cause of the Reformation were the Admiral of France and the Cardinal of Châtillon; with neither of whom, however, did their instructions permit them to treat. At Throckmorton's suggestion she pledged herself to do her best to provide a new schoolmaster for the young King, "the present one being a very beast, and ill affected towards religion." The Earl of Bedford returned to London to report the indifferent success of his legation. Cecil had not yet found the man after his own heart; there was not as yet any one in the French Court whom he could entrust with the execution of his designs in that kingdom. (fn. 97)
Affairs of Germany.
50. When Bedford arrived at Fontainebleau he there accidentally met a former acquaintance, whose name is well known in the literary and religious history of the period. Emanuel Tremellius was by birth a Jew, who after his conversion to Christianity had embraced the doctrines of the Reformation, and under the influence of Cranmer had been invited to teach Hebrew at Cambridge. Edward the Sixth gave him a stall at Carlisle, and showed him much favour. Upon the accession of Mary he retired to the continent, and at the time about which we are interested, he was connected with the University of Heidelberg. The States of the Confession of Augsburg had sent him to the French Court to plead the cause of the Lutherans of Metz, and he was thus employed at the time when his presence became known to the English Ambassadors. After a long conference with him, in which they discussed the religious affairs of France, England, and Germany, they gave him letters addressed to the German Protestants, encouraging them to persevere in rejecting the Council of Trent. (fn. 98) The Reformation was gaining ground in Northern Europe. The Princes of the Confession of Augsburg had gradually receded further and further from the principles of the Emperor, and had acquired additional strength and consistency under the protectorate of Maximilian, the Emperor's son. Alarmed at the progress of events, the Pope issued a bull for the convocation of the Council, by which he solicited the Emperor and the other States who could not attend in person to send their envoys thither. On the promulgation of this document the Princes of the Confession of Augsburg assembled at Naumburg upon the Saal, in Saxony, in order to agree upon a consistent and united line of action; and by the advice of the Emperor the Papal envoys determined to proceed thither without delay, thinking thereby to remove certain preliminary difficulties before the opening of the more formal conference at Trent.
Conference at Naumburg.
51. The conference began early in February 1561, and our information respecting its proceedings is derived from the letters of Mundt, who attended it as the English Commissioner. The Papal envoys announced to the German Princes that the Pope earnestly desired an adjustment of the unhappy dissensions by which the Church was distracted, and for this purpose invited them to attend a General Council which would be held at Trent on the following Easter. (fn. 99) After some deliberation the Protestants returned a reply which augured ill for the reestablishment of peace. They were surprised, they said, that the Pope had dared to summon them to attend his Council, for he must know that they have embraced the faith of the Confession of Augsburg, nor could he be ignorant of the causes which had induced them to leave his communion. They would not acknowledge the authority of the See of Rome, nor did they believe that he had the right to summon them to Trent. And in reply to his accusation that they have no certain rule of faith, they referred him to the Augustan Confession, in which it is demonstrated that the Papacy is so full of abuses and superstitions as to be more like a heathen than a Christian religion. (fn. 100)
Elizabeth's dealings with the German Princes.
52. John Frederic, Duke of Saxony, acting as the organ of the Protestants assembled at Naumburg, addressed a letter to Elizabeth a few days afterwards in reply to the message which had been delivered to them by her agent Mundt. He assured her of the constancy of himself and those Princes and States in whose name he wrote; they were firmly resolved to adhere to the Confession of Augsburg, and would oppose to the uttermost the attempts which the Pope was making to extirpate pure religion. They would have nothing to do with him or his Council at Trent. The Duke congratulated the Queen upon the establishment of the Reformation in Scotland through her assistance, and hoped that in all matters concerning religion a good intelligence would be kept up between the German Powers and England. (fn. 101) If they entertained any doubt upon this latter point it was speedily removed by the arrival of the message sent to them in the Queen's name by the Earl of Bedford, and henceforward they felt that Elizabeth would make common cause with them in all questions affecting the progress of the Reformation.
53. Some of these individuals were of the class which continued to make capital out of conscience. The petty nobility of Germany, Princes and Electors, Landgraves and Counts Palatine, had for long been urging the Queen to declare her religious convictions; and as her hesitation and indifference had hitherto annoyed and dismayed them, so now when she openly joined their ranks were they rejoiced and encouraged by her adhesion. It must be admitted, however, that neither their zeal for their religion nor their affection for the Queen of England was pure and disinterested. That they should regard her advocacy of their cause as a subject for triumph was natural; that they should avail themselves of her political influence throughout Europe was equally to be expected; but it is disappointing to find that a painful amount of mercenary selfishness mingles itself with their dealings. One of the first uses which they made of the confidential correspondence arising out of this new union of interests with the Queen was this, they terrified her with the accounts of the extent of the preparations for war which were being made by France throughout Germany. It was reported to Gresham (and he believed it), that 10,000 horse and as many foot soldiers were levied in Frieseland for the service of the Guises, consequently for the ruin of England. (fn. 102) Mundt kept alive the excitement by periodically forwarding to London the particulars of treaties between the despots of France, Spain, and Rome for the extirpation of Calvinism. (fn. 103) Intelligence to the same effect reached Cecil from the far north, for this hated Holy Alliance had its agents in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. (fn. 104) The cry was echoed from Holland and Zealand. (fn. 105) When the Queen had become sufficiently alarmed by these tidings of impending evil, and had in turn avowed to her northern correspondents her conviction that the French "and others" (thereby meaning Spain), meant to put out the candle of the Gospel in all countries, (fn. 106) the undercurrent of selfishness, which had been running all this time so silently, showed at last the direction towards which it was bearing. Cecil's agent in northern Germany had the honour of dining with some of these worthies, "who treated him better than he deserved" but at the same time turned the conversation to presents, rewards, and pensions. Brigantine remarked, apparently with some surprise, that the Bishop of Osnaburg pressed not much for a reward, but would not offend the Queen by refusing her liberality. (fn. 107) Count Christopher of Oldenburg was more outspoken, and in order that his real value might be known, he candidly repeated the offers that had been made to him by the French. He might have had from them a pension of 2,000 crowns; surely the Queen would not offer him less? (fn. 108) The Duke of Lunenburg complained to her that the French had broken their agreement with him, whereby he had lost a yearly salary of 4,200 crowns for life, and had been defrauded of 43,000; and he desired to enter her service. (fn. 109) Each bore willing and satisfactory testimony to the merits of his neighbour, who in turn was not forgetful of the obligation thus rendered. Volrad, Count Mansfeld, thought it his duty as the Queen's faithful servant to advise her to secure the services of his friend John Frederic, the old Duke of Saxony, by offering him a pension of 3,000 or 4,000 crowns, and felt surprised and offended that his suggestion was not accepted. (fn. 110) Growing bolder, he next spoke, in a grandiose, offhanded style, of the wisdom of distributing some 8,000 or 10,000 crowns among divers noblemen and captains, friends of his own, who had been at charges for the entertainment of soldiers, thinking that she would have used them ere this. (fn. 111) But the chief energies of the Count were devoted towards the negotiation of a loan of some magnitude, which he undertook to procure for the Queen. The loan was perfectly ideal; not one shilling of it ever reached the English exchequer, yet upon the faith of this transaction he received the grant of a considerable annuity from Elizabeth, of which he contrived to draw one half-year's salary. The history of such a transaction is worth recording.
54. Knowing the exhausted state of the English finances, Mansfeld informed the Queen that "some friends of his" had given him the means of placing 180,000l. sterling at her disposal within the next six months, the loan to bear interest at twelve per cent. The Queen referred the proposal to Gresham, who, in addition to his long experience in money matters, was supposed to have the means of ascertaining Mansfeld's character, morally and financially. Gresham willingly undertook the commission. (fn. 112) He intimated to the Queen that she had reason to be satisfied with the terms. He was pleased, too, at the prospect of driving a hard bargain with Mansfeld's agent, Hans Kecken, whom he thought himself quite competent "to handle well enough." (fn. 113) Accordingly, when Hans arrived at Antwerp on his way homewards from London, he was given to understand by Gresham that the Queen cared very little about the Count's offer, and that it required some persuasion to induce the English Council to accept it. (fn. 114) Accompanied by one of Gresham's most trusted factors, Richard Clough, the deluded and dispirited German proceeded on his journey to Mansfeld and Gresham sat down to recount to Cecil the probable result of the negotiation. Clough left Antwerp on 16th May, and did not return until the beginning of July. (fn. 115) The report which he gave to his master was highly satisfactory; 75,000l. sterling would be delivered at Antwerp upon 15th August, and 400,000 dollars more might be had. Clough was marvellously well satisfied with his entertainment. He was met by Hans and six other gentlemen eight miles from the country house near his mines at which he was then residing; by them he was conducted to the palace, at the gate of which he was received by the Count and his family, and the fairest chamber in the house was assigned to him. On the third day the party set out for Mansfeld, and by the way the Count showed Clough his towns and castles. He kept such good cheer that two days were spent in banqueting before a word could be spoken about business. He could not be satisfied unless Clough saw with his own eyes the estate which was kept at Mansfeld for the Queen's honour; there were three divers Counts and Earls, all of whom were served in silver, "and in the "presence of all these noblemen," said the abashed but gratified agent, "there was no remedy but that I must "first wash alone, and first sit at table, being marvellously sumptuously served. Doubtless, the Count of Mansfeld is a jolly gentleman and a valiant, and marvellous well-beloved of the nobles and captains of Saxony." He produced letters from the Palsgrave and the Duke of Prussia, in which these noblemen solicited his patronage and offered him their services. Gresham considered the Count's 75,000l. as safe as if it were already in his hands, and he consulted Parry and Cecil as to the manner in which it should be appropriated. (fn. 116) The 15th August came, but no money; Kecken, however, arrived with letters, which were so thoroughly unsatisfactory that, for the preservation of his master's credit, Cecil kept the matter from the Queen's knowledge. (fn. 117) Mansfeld was aggrieved, and protested that he had been misunderstood by the English throughout the whole transaction. "He did not promise them this loan for certain; he only said he had no doubt that the merchants would advance the money, and wished first of all to inform them of the conditions." (fn. 118) He had the effrontery to write to the Queen about the same time, informing her that his pension was in arrear for 1,000 crowns, payment of which he earnestly requested. (fn. 119)
55. The failure of this loan embarrassed Gresham's calculations, and threw upon him the necessity of providing for the unexpected deficiency. If Mansfeld had been the Queen's overt enemy instead of her cherished friend, he could not have done her a shrewder turn. Her debts were heavy, her solvency was questionable, and her debtors were clamorous. Upon the punctuality with which she met her obligations depended her credit, and upon her credit depended in a great degree the safety of her kingdom. Hearing nothing of the receipt of the Count's money she requested the merchant adventurers who were trading to Flanders to advance her 60,000l., giving order, in the meantime, that their ships should be stayed "till she had been able to conclude "some bargain with them," as she delicately expresses it when writing to Gresham. By the neglect, however, of those persons in whose hands this infamous mandate was placed, the ships departed with 34,000 cloths, "and no bargain concluded." (fn. 120) The Lord Treasurer was thus spared the necessity of communing with the staplers before the fleet sailed; (fn. 121) had he done so, possibly he might have warned them, as Gresham suggested should be done, that if they are recalcitrant, the Queen would be obliged to seize all their commodities in the realm. (fn. 122) For once, however, the merchants had the better of the dispute; their cargo was safe in Flanders, and they refused to lend the Queen the money which Gresham had counselled to extort from them so unscrupulously.
Gresham's transactions in Flanders.
56. Unfortunately this is not the only instance which these papers afford of the trickery and tyranny of one to whose name we would desire to pay unmingled respect. Gresham's correspondence affords frequent proofs of how unscrupulously he bribed and cheated for the interest of his mistress. Something, perhaps, may be said in partial extenuation of his conduct. The English needed military stores, and the easiest way of procuring them was from Flanders. The Duchess of Parma had refused to permit Gresham to violate the law, which prohibited under the severest penalties the exportation of gunpowder; (fn. 123) but he contrived to bribe the chief searcher at Antwerp, and the forbidden commodity passed over into England in considerable quantities. (fn. 124) An Englishman, hostile to the Queen's government, discovered the nature of the stores which were being unshipped so mysteriously at the Tower, and gave information to the authorities at Antwerp, unconscious that they had connived at the fraud. But so potent was the English gold that the customers and searchers had a private meeting among themselves, and determined not to spoil the harvest which they were reaping by taking notice of the information which they had received. (fn. 125) The chief Tolner at Antwerp called upon him to warn him of his danger, but the caution was not disinterested as the suspension of the traffic would interfere with his profits. (fn. 126) Shortly afterwards we see the result of the interview; in a few days afterwards Gresham announces to Parry that he had corrupted the chief searcher, who right honestly deserves a worthy reward, since by his advice the Queen was doing business daily. (fn. 127) The penalty, if detected, was a severe one, death for the searcher, and death for the officer who made the entry at the Customs; but this consideration was not allowed to weigh in opposition to the Queen's interests.
57. Of a higher order of merit were Gresham's dealings with Sir Jasper Schetz, "who was both factor and councillor to King Philip," (fn. 128) and who, despite his confidential position, suffered himself to act the spy and the informer for the advantage of the rival Court of England. It was a perilous game to play with a man of Philip's temperament, and the inducement was proportionate to the danger. By his influence in the Court of Antwerp Schetz helped Elizabeth in many ways, and she was not ungrateful. At Gresham's dictation he tampered with the money market, "and in respect to this worthy piece of service she can surely do no less than write him a letter of thanks, with at least 500 crowns." (fn. 129) More important still, he betrayed the State secrets which he had learned as a member of the Council; and through his treachery the movements and plans of the Abbot of S. Salute (who had been despatched from the Pope with a message to Elizabeth) were communicated to the English Secretary of State while they were yet a secret in Brussels and Antwerp. (fn. 130)
58. Our information at this time respecting Italian affairs generally is vague and unsatisfactory; it consists of little more than a scanty abstract of the current news of the day, and even that outline is not of the most trustworthy character. We have no direct intelligence whatever from Rome. The Queen's most valuable correspondent was Guido Gianetti, who having settled at Venice in the assumed character of a merchant, supplied her from time to time with such information as he could collect; but the authorities at Rome speedily discovered the correspondence, and upon their representation to the Council at Venice Gianetti was thrown into prison. Another intelligencer, John Shers (or Shears), also resident at Venice, where he was engaged in trade, made an effort in a small way to procure for Cecil some information more worthy of his notice. He succeeded in bribing (for the moderate sum of 40l. of English money), the Secretary of the Ambassador sent to Venice by the Duke of Savoy, from whom he obtained copies of certain letters despatched from Rome by the Abbot of St. Salute, the Papal Envoy, into England. (fn. 131) But whatever may have been their value or their worthlessness, they have disappeared from the collection, and we are unable to form an idea of the worth of the bargain which Shers had made with the Duke's Secretary. This much, however, is certain, if we desire information respecting the affairs of Italy at this time, we must seek for it elsewhere.
Spain, Portugal, and Sweden.
59. The Spanish correspondence contained in the present volume relates chiefly to a matter which we have already discussed, Philip's intervention between France and England upon the invasion of Scotland by the army under the Duke of Norfolk. Such papers as do not bear upon this subject are chiefly occupied in discussing the complaints brought by the Spaniards against the English for acts of piracy committed upon their shipping. The two countries were gradually becoming more and more estranged from each other. Of Portugal we hear next to nothing. A few particulars respecting the Scandinavian kingdoms are here recorded; one of these papers will be read with interest. It describes with considerable detail the ceremonies which took place during the obsequies of Gustavus Vasa, King of Sweden. The King died at Stockholm, and was buried in the archiepiscopal city of Upsal, thirty-five miles distant. The procession to the place of interment affords an excellent illustration of the barbaric splendour of the north. Upon a litter of black velvet lay "pictures," by which term are meant full length figures, of the King and his two Queens, apparelled as they had been living. Each of the Queens had a crown upon her head, and a sceptre in her hand. The body of the King, in like manner, crowned and sceptred, and carrying in his left hand an apple of gold surmounted by a cross, was arrayed in a gown of black velvet and ermine. The funeral procession covered many a mile. First came 700 lance knights on foot, then 200 horsemen in black. Next went 200 scholars and 405 priests, all of whom sang Psalms. They were followed by various heralds and knights who bore the helmet, shield, and sword of the deceased, along with twenty-four banners representing the arms of the countries over which he had been King and lord. The members of the royal family next appeared, each of the ladies riding in a "slead" alone; the princes were attended by 150 men, and the princesses by 100 ladies, all in black. The procession was closed by the Lords of the Court, to the number of 300 horsemen, and after them followed 1,500 Dutch cavalry. The entire cavalcade consisted of more than 3,500 horses. (fn. 132)
Domestic and miscellaneous matters.
60. Our information is necessarily very limited as to matters of a partly domestic character. The Queen is seldom visible, and when she does condescend to appear in public it is so passingly that we are scarce able to catch her expression or recognize her bearing. She becomes somewhat more conspicuous, however, towards the end of the volume, and seems to promise us that at no very distant time we shall understand her somewhat more accurately. Cecil retains undisputed possession of her confidence in all that relates to the transaction of public business, domestic as well as foreign; and he continues to discharge his duties to his royal mistress with the zeal and devotion for which he has hitherto been so conspicuous. He is somewhat disconcerted, however, by the way in which she begins to compromise herself with Lord Robert Dudley, whose attentions to her have now become too conspicuous to escape comment. The Queen's personal jealousy towards Mary of Scotland is another feature in her character which gradually acquires strength, and we perceive with regret, that unless it be curbed and controlled, ere long it will be allowed to become an influential principle of action. These, and several other kindred subjects, will ere long demand a more special notice; at the present time they are not sufficiently developed to admit of an extended examination.
61. Various documents connected with the history of trade and commerce are scattered throughout the volume now before the public; they have reference chiefly to our intercourse with Spain and Flanders. Gresham's correspondence is valuable as illustrative of the financial position of Elizabeth's Government, which under his management was slowly emerging from the depth into which it had fallen during the reigns of Edward the Sixth and Mary. Norfolk's campaign into Scotland, among the other curious particulars which it brings to light, shows us how an army in the field was supplied with stores and ammunition; and the numerous papers connected with the building of the fortifications round Berwick elucidate many particulars respecting the price of labour, and the history of military engineering. Considered as a connected series of historical documents illustrative of the reign of Elizabeth, the contents of the present volume are in every respect equal to either of their predecessors, and an inspection of the papers which will follow warrants me in assuring the reader that the interest and value of the collection does not flag.
I have again to acknowledge the assistance which I have derived in the preparation of the text of this volume, from the labours of Mr. A. J. Crosby, one of the Clerks in the Record Office.
London, September 1865.