Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Elizabeth, Volume 5, 1562. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1867.
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It is the object of these remarks to present to the reader a brief outline of the leading events which are narrated in the present volume, viewed more especially with regard to their bearing upon the history of our own country. In doing this I refrain from analysing motives or deducing inferences, leaving it to the reader to form his own estimate of the events recorded in the following pages.
2. As in the last volume, so in the present, the politics of France claim our first notice, both as regards the number and the importance of the documents which illustrate the history of that country. The letters of the English envoys, Throckmorton, Smith, and Somers, will be read with undiminished interest. They record with minuteness and accuracy the progress of events from within a few days of the time when Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, assumed the command of the army of the Huguenots (which he did at Orleans, 12 April 1562) to the battle of Dreux, fought in the month of December in the same year. The period thus sharply marked off on either side by these dates is worthy of a careful study, as exhibiting the motives, the position, the actions, and the designs of the two great conflicting parties. These incidents are here presented to us in all their primitive truthfulness, as they occurred day by day, before they were moulded into the form in which they subsequently took their place in the pages of history. They are recorded by men who did not (and who indeed, from the nature of things, could not) interpret them by the light of the events by which they were succeeded. Hence the exceeding value of these papers, as exhibiting the movements of Condé on the one hand and the Duke of Guise on the other, and the part taken by Elizabeth and her ministers in reference to this great political struggle.
3. Casting a rapid glance over this large mass of correspondence, official and private, we observe that it may be grouped under the following subjects,—the unsuccessful negociations between Condé and the Queen Mother early in June; the movements of the two armies, and the steps taken on either side for their reinforcement; the surrender of the city of Bourges to the royalists in August; the occupation of Havre-de-Grace and Dieppe by the English under the Earl of Warwick; the siege of Rouen, its surrender, and the death of the King of Navarre in October. After a lull, during which the Queen Mother endeavoured to negociate with the Prince of Condé and the Admiral, we have next to record the occupation of Dieppe by the King's troops, the skirmishes near Paris, and the movements of the armies in the direction of Normandy, which brought them into collision near Dreux, on 19 December. Condé being taken prisoner on the one side and the Constable Montmorenci on the other, and the Marshal St. André being slain, the sole command of the royalists then devolved upon the Duke of Guise. (fn. 1)
4. There was comparative tranquillity at this period in the political affairs of Scotland, and the biography of its Queen was marked by only one occurrence of exceptional importance. In the earlier months of the year she had busied herself in preparing for a meeting with Elizabeth, which it had been decided should take place at York or Northampton in July; but the disturbances in France afforded Elizabeth a reason for postponing the interview until the following year, and the autumn had set in before Mary began her expedition to the northern parts of the kingdom. She had reached Aberdeen on the last of August, and, late as the season was, she proceeded to Inverness, where, on September 9, occurred the rebellion of the Earl of Huntly and his sons, the Lairds of Gordon and Findlater. Randolph's letters (who accompanied her in this expedition) will be read with interest; (fn. 2) they give the fullest and most authentic information which we possess respecting the origin and progress of this very obscure conspiracy. The correspondence for the year closes with some speculations as to the probability of the Queen's marriage. An alliance with Spain was at first thought not improbable; the King of Sweden had recently been rejected, and Darnley was still in England, and as yet had given no overt token of his intentions. Elizabeth's watchfulness, however, had already been directed towards the family of Lennox, whose nearness by blood to the throne of England caused her to regard it with an eye of jealousy. Many curious particulars on this head are disclosed by a remarkable series of papers connected with this family, which are scattered through the present volume. (fn. 3)
5. During the year 1562 Elizabeth's former suitor, Eric King of Sweden, once more comes before us, and the circumstances under which he reappears are somewhat remarkable. The question of his marriage with the Queen was revived by a letter from two of the ladies of the Court, one of whom, Katherine Ashley, will be remembered as having been Her Majesty's "governor" at an earlier period of her history. She and Dorothy Broadbelt address themselves to no less exalted a personage than Nicolas Guildenstern, Chancellor of Sweden, and they give him to understand that if his master will renew his suit, the probability is that it will be successful. The letter is cautiously worded, but its meaning is obvious. (fn. 4) However, it never reached its destination, having been intercepted by Cecil, along with several others which reveal some curious secrets of Court intrigue. The correspondence would appear to have been carried on through half a dozen Englishmen, who prosecuted their designs under the pretence of trading between Stockholm and London. One of them, John Keyle, gives a detailed account of his proceedings in England, which, if we accept his statement as true, is certainly remarkable. (fn. 5) Another of the party, James Goldborne, formerly a servant in the family of Mistress Ashley, had contrived to pass into the service of the King of Sweden, and, returning to England, sent such intelligence as tended to encourage his master's ambition. (fn. 6) But the most curious papers in the series are those which record the result of the examination of Dymock and Keyle, in which the proceedings of the party in England and in Sweden are detailed with a precision which entitle them to credit. (fn. 7) Dymoke contrived to escape from Cecil's power, and we next find him writing from Dunkirk, "from whence "he will go to Emden, and thence make his way to the "King of Sweden." (fn. 8) Possibly it was by his representations that Eric shortly afterwards renewed his professions of love, which he addressed with increased warmth to the object of his affections. (fn. 9)
6. The correspondence between England and Germany is at this period without much significance. It was conducted chiefly through Dr. Mundt, whose letters are models of compression and comprehension; valuable, business-like, but uninteresting. They relate chiefly to the measures adopted by the Queen for thwarting the attempts made by the Duke of Guise to obtain troops from Germany. (fn. 10) M. D'Oysel, who had been sent from France to the Count Palatine to interest him on behalf of Charles the Ninth, received an answer which showed him how groundless were his hopes of aid from that quarter, a document to which so much importance was attributed that it was forthwith printed for wider circulation. (fn. 11) The mission of D'Andelot in favour of the Huguenots was more successful; he received a considerable sum of money for Condé, and took back with him into France a large body of horsemen and musketeers, who did good service at the battle of Dreux. (fn. 12) Shortly afterwards, Henry Knolles was sent along with Mundt upon a special message to the Protestant Princes of the Empire, who entered warmly into her views upon the subject, and promised her their co-operation in the common quarrel. (fn. 13) From Bohemia we have a detailed account of the magnificent coronation of King Maximilian at Prague, which began at half-past five on the morning of Sunday, 21 September, and lasted until dinner time; that of the Queen, with an equally elaborate ceremonial, took place on the day following. (fn. 14)
7. The information which we have from Italy is both scanty and unimportant. Shers and his successors, Stopio, Giannetti, Marsilio della Croce, and others contrived to glean a few particulars on matters generally of very little value, and they transmitted these to Cecil and Mason. We have a few reports of the proceedings of the Council of Trent, but they do not add much to our information. Among these may be specified one from Thomas Goldwell, formerly Bishop of St. Asaph, addressed to Cecil, requesting to be authorized to communicate with him respecting the proceedings of the meeting. (fn. 15)
8. Sir Thomas Challoner still continued to be the English Ambassador in Spain, and his letters and those of his correspondents exist in considerable numbers. They throw no great light upon Spanish affairs, and we gather from them little which we might not learn elsewhere. An exception, however, may perhaps be here entered in favour of an important series of despatches respecting the illness of Don Carlos, Philip's son, which had well-nigh proved fatal. It possibly may have had an effect upon the subsequent health of the Prince, and may in some degree account for the eccentricities of his conduct in after life. (fn. 16) Attention is also invited to the few papers connected with the history of Portugal, which are worthy of notice as illustrative of the progress of maritime discovery, commerce, and colonization. (fn. 17) It appears from one of these documents (fn. 18) that Martin Frobisher had made at least two voyages to Guinea before 1562, and had resided three quarters of a year in the castle of Myne.
9. These remarks, taken in conjunction with the index and the topographical classification of the documents, may serve in some degree to simplify the use of this Calendar; but the reader who is interested in the history of the reign of Queen Elizabeth is requested to study the work for himself, document by document, without trusting to aids which at best must prove imperfect and unsatisfactory.