Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

England Under the Tudors by Arthur D. Innes

Part 6 out of 9

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

repealed the lately revived heresy Acts, and forbade proceedings on the
ground of false opinions, except where these were opposed to the decisions
of the first four General Councils or the plain words of
Scripture. Moreover, the refusal of the Oath was not to be treason, as
under Henry VIII.; it merely precluded the recusant from office. All save
one of the Marian bishops did refuse it and were deprived; most of them
doubtless would have done so even in the face of the old
penalties. Incidentally it authorised the appointment of a Commission to
deal with ecclesiastical offences, which took shape five and twenty years
later as the Court of High Commission. But taken altogether, the measure
was a long step in the direction of a much wider toleration than had ever
been practised before.

[Sidenote: The Prayer-book, etc.]

In the meantime, the Prayer-book had been undergoing a final revision; and
here Elizabeth's own wish would undoubtedly have been to revert to that of
1549. The disciples however of the Swiss school were too strong, and the
last Prayer-book of Edward was the basis of the new one, though some
sentences were so modified as to cause them dissatisfaction, and higher
practices in the matter of ornaments and ceremonial were enjoined. The Act
of Uniformity, imposing the use of the Prayer-book on the clergy, resulted
in resignations which according to the records did not exceed two
hundred. To account for so small a number, we must suppose that the
regulations were to a considerable extent evaded; if not, the clergy must
have been singularly obsequious.

The only remaining Act of importance was that for the Recognition of the
Queen, which declared her to be the lawful sovereign by blood, and repealed
in general terms all Acts or judgments [Footnote: _Cf._ Moore,
p. 241.] passed in a contrary sense, legitimating her without examining the
grounds on which her mother's marriage had been declared invalid--a method
of settling the question entirely sufficient on the theory of parliamentary
sovereignty, but wholly inadequate on the theory of Divine Right.

It was not till some months later that the depletion of the bench of
Bishops by deaths or deprivations was remedied. Matthew Parker, a man of
moderation and ability, was selected as Archbishop of Canterbury, the
consecration being performed by Barlow--who had resigned Bath and Wells
under Mary--with Coverdale, Scory, and Hodgekins. The question whether the
Apostolic Succession was duly conveyed at the hands of these prelates
belongs rather to ecclesiastical history--even to theological
controversy--than to general history. It is sufficient here to observe that
it turns mainly on the doubt which has been thrown without real
justification on Barlow's own ordination as a Bishop. [Footnote: See the
Lives of Parker by Strype and Hook; and a brief summary in Moore,
pp. 245-247.] After the Archbishop's consecration, the vacant sees were
filled up, generally with moderate men, with a leaning towards Zurich or
even Lutheranism rather than the old Catholicism or Calvinism, but always
in accord with the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity.

In point of time, however, the story of these last events has carried us a
year forward, and we have to return to the first six months of the new
reign and the relations of Elizabeth to France.

[Sidenote: France and Peace]

Before Mary's death, an armistice was in operation. England did not mean to
conclude peace with France, unless Calais was restored, and Philip could
not desert England lest an effort should be made to place Mary Stewart on
the throne--on which Henry could not venture while Spain supported
Elizabeth. Unsuccessful diplomatic attempts were made to negotiate
separately with the allied Powers, and to induce Elizabeth formally to
recognise the Queen of Scots as heir presumptive--which however she stoutly
declined to do, being aware that the obvious effect of such a course would
be to invite her own immediate assassination, to secure Mary's immediate
accession. Moreover, Philip was not without a direct interest in England's
recovery of Calais, because of its position on the border of the
Netherlands. In the event, however, the English felt that, since the
Spanish marriage was rejected, the claims on Philip must not be pressed too
hard; and in the final terms of the Peace of Cateau Cambresis, France was
allowed to retain Calais under promise to restore it after eight years,
while she was formally to recognise Elizabeth as lawful queen of England,
with the adhesion of Mary and her husband.

Now however, parties and persons in Scotland become so inextricably
interwoven with the English queen's policy and her relations with parties
and persons in France, that Scottish affairs demand close attention.

[Sidenote: State of Scotland]

In December, 1542, James V. of Scotland had died leaving a daughter just a
week old. When Elizabeth ascended the English throne, the Northern country
had for sixteen years been governed or misgoverned by regents and Councils
of regency. From early childhood, the little queen had been brought up at
the French court, under the more particular tutelage of her uncles, the
Duke of Guise and his brothers. In 1558, at the age of fifteen, she was
married to the Dauphin. Now (and for some time past) her mother, Mary of
Guise--not the least able member of a very able family--was Regent of
Scotland, supported in that position against the Protestant factions by a
French garrison. In the natural course of events, the Scottish Protestant
party looked to England for support, and favoured in the abstract the idea
of uniting the English and Scottish crowns, though in the concrete they
would not admit an English King. All Scottish sentiment, without
distinction of party, rebelled against any prospect of Scotland becoming an
appanage of any foreign Power, and the idea of subordination to France was
only less unpopular than that of subordination to England. Moreover, with
their young queen married to the Heir Apparent of France, and with a Guise
supported by French troops as Regent in Scotland, this latter danger seemed
the less pressing.

Now the extremes of religious partisanship were more general and more
deeply rooted in Scotland than in England; partly because the corruption of
the clergy had been more flagrant; partly because in a country where deeds
of violence were comparatively ordinary, they had been freely committed
under the cloak of religion. The French influence had been cast against the
Reformation. The Reformers had murdered Cardinal Beton; John Knox had been
taken from St. Andrews to the French galleys; and the Preachers were at war
with the Regency. The two men who were about to prove themselves along with
Knox the ablest statesmen in Scotland--James Stewart, afterwards famous as
the Regent Murray, and young Maitland of Lethington--were on the side of
the Preachers, and of what was the same thing, now that a Protestant
government was restored in England, the English alliance. Moreover it has
to be borne in mind that whereas in England the Reformation was imposed,
whether willingly or unwillingly, on the Nation by the Government; in
Scotland it was a popular movement which a Government, itself half French,
endeavoured to repress. Whatever the sincerity of the aristocratic leaders
might be, the Scottish Reformers felt themselves to be fighting for their
liberties against an alien domination.

[Sidenote: 1559 Religious parties in Scotland]

In the spring of 1559 the quarrel between the party of the Preachers and
the Regency assumed a very threatening aspect. After the peace of Cateau
Cambrésis, in March, the French King decided in favour of an
anti-Protestant policy. In spite of the promise to recognise the title of
the English queen, the Dauphin and his wife were allowed to assume the Arms
of England, and it seemed that Mary of Guise in Scotland was about to wage
a more active war than of late against the heretics; also that more French
troops would be sent to help her. On the other hand, Knox, who on his
retirement from England had withdrawn to Geneva, to await an opportunity
when his presence might be effective, now returned to Scotland in a very
unconciliatory spirit. For the party who desired union with England, it was
unfortunate that the great preacher while in exile had issued a tract
entitled _The Monstrous Regiment of Women_, aimed against the two
Maries, but inferentially (though not of set purpose) condemning Elizabeth;
who entirely refused to forgive him, while he on the other hand refused to
eat his words. The fact undoubtedly increased the difficulty of harmonious
accord between the English Government and the Scottish "Lords of the
Congregation," as the Protestant leaders entitled themselves collectively.

[Sidenote: Arran as a suitor to Elizabeth]

The situation however produced a new candidate for the hand of Elizabeth in
the person of the Earl of Arran, son of the quondam Earl of Arran now Duke
of Chatelherault. The Duke was head of the house of Hamilton, and was in
fact at this time heir presumptive [Footnote: As descending from the
daughter of James II., sister of James III, Albany was now dead.] to the
throne of Scotland. If then a legitimate ground could be devised for
dethroning Mary--as for instance, if she employed foreign (_i.e._
French) troops against her subjects lawfully maintaining their
constitutional rights--the succession would fall to the Hamiltons; and if
Arran and Elizabeth were married, the crowns of the two kingdoms would be
united. Thus this marriage became a primary object with the Lords of the
Congregation; and the Earl was included in the list of those with whose
aspirations Elizabeth coquetted.

In July, the French King was killed in a tournament. Francis and Mary
became king and queen of France and Scotland, and Mary's uncles the Guises
immediately became decisively predominant with the French Government.

[Sidenote: The Archduke Charles]

The Spanish ambassador was in the greatest anxiety. The one thing his
master could not afford was to see the queen of France and Scotland
established as queen of England also. But it was only less necessary to
avoid war with France on that issue. If the Arran marriage were in serious
contemplation, Mary would have very strong justification for asserting her
claim to England as a counter-move. What Philip wanted was that Elizabeth
should marry his cousin the Archduke Charles, a younger son of his uncle
the Emperor Ferdinand who had succeeded Charles V. Then Philip would
practically have control of England; France would not venture to grasp at
the crown; and Elizabeth would of course have to leave the Scots to
themselves. Elizabeth saw her advantage. She prevaricated with the Scots
about the Arran marriage, and with Philip about the Austrian marriage. She
did her best to make the Lords of the Congregation fight their own battles,
a task which they were equally bent on transferring to England. And
meantime, Cecil never wavered in his determination of at least maintaining
the Scottish Protestants against active French intervention: while the
whole body of Elizabeth's more Conservative Counsellors favoured the
Austrian marriage and non-intervention in Scotland.

[Sidenote: Wynter sails for the Forth; 1560]

Elizabeth's own procedure was entirely characteristic. She had, it would
seem, no sort of intention of marrying either Charles or Arran; but she
worked her hardest to persuade their respective partisans of the
contrary. Her officers were in secret communication with the Scots, and
were supplying them with money, while she was openly vowing that she was
rendering them no assistance whatever. Neither Scots nor Spaniards trusted
her, but neither altogether disbelieved. Finally--having devoted the
parliamentary grants and all available funds to the equipment of her
fleet--when it was evident that a French expedition was on the point of
sailing for the Forth, she allowed Admiral Wynter to put to sea; with
orders to act if opportunity offered, but to declare when he did so that he
had transgressed his instructions on his own responsibility. In January,
1560, Wynter appeared in the Forth, seduced the French into firing on him
from the fort of Inch Keith, and blew the fort to pieces--in self-defence.
Meantime, D'Elboeuf, brother of Guise, had sailed with a powerful flotilla,
which was however almost annihilated by a storm. For a time then at least
there was no danger of another French expedition to Scotland. Wynter's
fleet commanded the Firth of Forth, and the French soon found that, except
for an occasional raid, they would have to confine their efforts to making
their position at Leith impregnable.

[Sidenote: Difficulties of France]

Wynter's protestations that he was not acting under orders can hardly have
deceived any one, though the Queen, Cecil, and Norfolk [Footnote: Grandson
of the old duke, and son of the Earl of Surrey executed by Henry VIII.]--
who had accepted the command on the Border, after refusing it--confirmed
his story. The Spaniards were intensely annoyed. Philip proposed that he
should himself send an army to Scotland, to put affairs straight; but this
was equally little to the taste of the French and the English. Moreover,
Philip had not yet grasped the fact that the one way to make Elizabeth
definitely defiant was, to threaten her. Hitherto she had repudiated
Wynter's action, and refused to allow Norfolk to march in support of the
Congregation, though she had secretly given them encouragement and hard
cash; now she came to a definite agreement with them, and by the end of
March Norfolk was over the Border. The Queen had doubtless drawn
encouragement from the latest turn of affairs in France. D'Elboeufs
disaster had greatly diminished the present danger of attack from that
quarter; while now the conspiracy of Amboise revealed such a dangerous
development of party antagonisms in France as to make it unlikely that she
would be able to spare her energies for broils beyond her own borders. The
aim of the plot was to overthrow the Guises, and place the young king and
queen under the control of the Protestant Bourbon princes, Condé and
Anthony King of Navarre. [Footnote: See _Appendix A_, vi.] The
conspiracy itself collapsed, but it served as a very effective

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's vacillations]

Elizabeth had no sooner allowed the advance into Scotland than she was
again seized with her usual desire to avoid becoming involved in active
hostilities; and she continued the exasperating practice--for her servants
--of sending them contradictory and hampering instructions. The very men
who, like Norfolk, had been flatly opposed to the policy of interference
were now convinced that, being once committed to it, there must be no
turning back. Vacillation would presently drive the Congregation to such a
pitch of distrust that they would break with England in despair; whereas
the primary object of interference had been to make sure of a powerful
party which would be inevitably committed to forwarding Elizabeth's
interests. However, Philip again stiffened her by dictatorial messages,
which failed to frighten because the essential fact remained true that he
dared not facilitate the substitution of Mary for Elizabeth on the English
throne. The Queen refused to recall her troops, and explained elaborately
that she was not taking part with rebels against their sovereign, but with
loyal subjects who were resisting the abuse by the Guises of authority
filched from Mary, who in her turn would approve as soon as she came to
Scotland and saw the true state of affairs.

[Side note: The English at Leith]

And so the English army sat down before Leith and set about starving it and
bombarding it; till the process appeared to be too slow, and Lord Grey de
Wilton, who was in command of the operations, was forced by urgent messages
against his own judgment to attempt an assault which was repulsed with very
severe loss. Elizabeth was shaken, but her Council remained resolute. Then,
if she had really been afraid that Philip might actually mean what he
threatened, her fears were dispelled by a disaster to his fleet in a battle
with the Turks. She became aggressively inclined once more. The position of
Leith, despite the valour of its garrison, was becoming hopeless; and in
June the central figure of the French and Catholic party was removed by the
death of the Regent Mary of Guise--an able woman, who had played her part
with unfailing courage, no little skill, and quite as much moderation as
could reasonably be expected, under extraordinarily difficult conditions.

[Sidenote: the Treaty of Edinburgh July 6th]

Cecil had already been sent north to negotiate. The terms required were the
entire withdrawal of French troops from Scotland, the recognition of
Elizabeth's right to the throne of England, the recognition of her compact
with the Congregation as legitimate, and the confirmation of their demands
for toleration. It was not till after the Regent's death that the
arrangement known as the Treaty of Edinburgh was signed; by this instrument
the French gave the promise that the demands of the Congregation should be
conceded, but without formally admitting that Elizabeth was ever entitled
to make a compact with Mary's subjects. The other two points were allowed,
and the French departed for ever. Fortunately a dispatch from Elizabeth
requiring more stringent terms (which would have been refused) arrived a
day too late, after the treaty was signed. It was comparatively of little
consequence that Mary declined to ratify the treaty. When the French had
gone, the Congregation were masters of the situation; and before the year
was out, the French and Scottish crowns were separated by the death of
Francis. The Guise domination in France was checked, and while Mary's
accession to the English throne remained desirable to the Catholic party in
that country, the hope of combining the three crowns under the hegemony of
France came to an end.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's methods]

The whole episode deserves to be dwelt on at length, because it very
forcibly illustrates the strength and the weakness of Elizabeth's methods
and the character of her entourage. She saw the sound policy; she
maintained her confidence in the men who also saw it. Yet she perpetually
wavered and hesitated till the eleventh hour to authorise the steps
necessary to carrying it out. At the eleventh hour, she did authorise them;
and that, repeatedly, because at the last moment an injudicious threat
stirred her to defiance. For herself, she could have secured inglorious
ease by simply accepting Philip's patronage, but she elected to play the
daring game, and won. Her methods were tortuous. She lied unblushingly,
but she was an adept at avoiding acts which palpably would prove beyond a
doubt that she was lying. The Spanish ambassador lived under a perpetual
conviction that she was rushing on her own ruin--that she would drive his
master to choose between the deplorable alternatives of fighting on her
behalf or allowing the Queen of France and Scotland to become Queen of
England also--that the Catholics would rise to dethrone her. But her
calculations were sound, and Norfolk himself commanded her armies and
served her loyally in a policy which, in his opinion, ought never to have
been initiated. She never allowed herself to be bullied or cajoled; but she
perpetually kept alive the impression that a little more bullying or a
little more cajolery might turn the scale. And she drove the French out of

[Sidenote: The Dudley Imbroglio]

All the intriguing at this time about suitors for the hand of Elizabeth is
mixed up with the scandals associated with the name of Lord Robert Dudley
(afterwards made Earl of Leicester), a son of the traitor Duke of
Northumberland. Lord Robert, although a married man, was allowed an
intimacy with the Queen which not only points conclusively to an utter
absence of delicacy in the daughter of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn, but
filled the entire Court circle with the gravest apprehensions. It was the
current belief that if Dudley could get free of his wife, Elizabeth would
marry him, and that this desire was at the back of her vacillation. The
affair was brought to an acute stage by the sudden death of Amy Robsart,
Dudley's wife, in September; when already for some time past, his
innumerable enemies had been hinting that he meant to make away with
her. The facts are obscure; but the impression given by the evidence is
that she was murdered, though not with the direct connivance of her
husband. Still, the suspicion of his guilt was so strong that if the Queen
had married him she would have strained the loyalty of her most loyal
subjects probably to breaking point. Yet so keen was her delight in playing
with fire that it was many months before English statesmen began to feel
that the danger was past; while overtures were certainly made on Dudley's
behalf to the Spanish Ambassador, De Quadra, to obtain Philip's sanction
and support, in return for a promise that the Old Religion should be
restored. Sussex alone expressed a conviction that Elizabeth would find her
own salvation in marrying for Love. Every one else was convinced that,
whatever might be her infatuation for Dudley, marriage with him would spell
total ruin for her: and there was a general belief that Norfolk and others
would interfere in arms if necessary; while the secret marriage of Lady
Katharine Grey (who stood next in succession under Henry's will) to Lord
Hertford, son of the Protector Somerset, was suspected of being a move to
which even Cecil was privy, for placing her on the throne should the worst
befall. At last, when the limit of endurance was almost reached, Elizabeth
finally declared that she was not going to marry the favourite. Judging her
conduct by her whole career, it would seem that she never really
contemplated the commission of so fatal a blunder, but could not resist the
temptation of tormenting her best friends, and torturing politicians of
every kind with uncertainty--perhaps even of half believing herself that
she actually would set all adverse opinion at defiance if she chose.

[Sidenote: The Huguenots]

From one suitor at any rate Elizabeth felt herself freed by the death of
the young French King in December. The main interest of France in the
Scottish Crown was thereby ended; more than that, the Huguenot Bourbons,
who stood in France next in succession to the sons of Katharine de Medici,
recovered for the time much of their power. The political arguments in
favour of the Arran marriage lost enough of their force to enable the
English Queen to brave the wrath of the Congregation and finally decline
the Hamilton alliance. It is of interest to find Paget, once again called
in to her Counsels, declaring in favour of a Huguenot alliance, in despite
of Spain.

[Sidenote: The Pope]

The position of the Huguenots in France, and the proposed resuscitation of
the Council of Trent under the auspices of Pope Pius IV., who had succeeded
Paul in 1559, had revived ideas of Protestant representation therein; and
Elizabeth, after her fashion, played with the hopes of the Catholic party,
at home and abroad, that she might be drawn into participation. It was only
when it had become perfectly clear that the admission of the Papal
Supremacy was a condition precedent, that these hopes were dashed, and the
proposal that a papal Nuncio should be received in England, with which the
Queen had been coquetting, was definitely declined; while Philip was
obliged to intimate to the Pope that he must not launch against the
recalcitrant England ecclesiastical thunderbolts which would involve him in
war, whether against or on behalf of Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: 1561 Mary sails for Scotland]

In the meantime however, both the Catholic party in Scotland and the
Congregation were hoping to bring Mary back from France, and to control her
policy when she should arrive. For the Protestants felt now that without
foreign interference they could hold their own. Elizabeth had rejected
their scheme for bringing the union of the crowns in reach by the Arran
marriage: they were now bent on the alternative course of inducing
Elizabeth to acknowledge their own Queen as her heir presumptive. Mary
herself was more than ready for the adventure. Elizabeth refused her a
passage through England which might easily have been utilised, especially
in the North, for the organisation of a Stewart party within the realm;
while on the other hand it would obviously be an easy thing for an
"accident" to happen while the Scots Queen was running the gauntlet of her
ships on the seas. But Mary was nothing if not daring. In August,
accompanied by her Guise uncle, D'Elboeuf, she set sail from the "pleasant
land of France," and four days later, without disaster, the Queen of Scots
landed at Leith.



[Sidenote: 1561 The Situation]

On August 19th, 1561, Mary Stewart returned to Scotland; in May 1568, she
left her kingdom for ever. During those seven years, what she did, what she
was accused of doing, what she was expected to do, what she intended to do,
formed the subject of the keenest interest and anxiety in England at the
time; and the problems and mysteries of those years, never unravelled to
this day, never with any certainty to be unravelled at all, continued to
perplex English statesmen and to complicate the situation in England for
nearly nineteen years more. We shall have to follow them therefore in much
greater detail than would _a priori_ seem justifiable in a volume
ostensibly dealing not with Scottish but with English History.

During these same years it may be said that the great antagonisms were
formulated, which were to rend the two great Continental monarchies for
forty years to come. Thus in order to follow the subsequent story
efficiently even from the purely English point of view, we must devote what
may seem somewhat disproportionate attention to foreign affairs, which do
not appear at first sight to have a very intimate connexion with events in
England. For France these events may be summed up as the opening of the set
struggle between Catholics and Huguenots; for Spain, as the preliminaries
to the revolt of the Netherlands: while for all Europe, the effective
sessions of the Council of Trent laid down finally the sharp dividing line
between Protestant and Catholic--terms which have a well defined political
meaning, in neither case identical with their original or correct
theological import, in which latter sense half the Protestant world
continued to assert its claim to membership in the Catholic Church.

[Sidenote: (1) The Council of Trent]

That Council reassembled under the auspices of Paul's successor, Pius IV.,
in January 1562. While the Protestants could not recognise it as a Catholic
Council, in the sense of representing the whole Catholic Church, it claimed
that character for itself, and those who maintained its authority
appropriated the name, which thus became a party title. In the course of
its sessions, it rejected doctrines, notably that of Justification by
Faith, which had been strongly favoured even by such men as Pole and
Contarini, so narrowing the bounds of orthodoxy. But while cutting off all
possibility of reconciliation with the Protestants, it marked a strong
tendency to reformation not of dogma but of practice; while an increased
intolerance of what was stigmatised as error, an intensification of the
spirit which demanded the most merciless repression of heresy, was
accompanied in other respects by an elevation of the standard of
ecclesiastical morals, and a zeal for the Faith more pure and less
influenced by worldly considerations, if narrower, than in the past. From
this time, as the exemplar both of the new discipline, and of the new
warfare against heresy, the Order of Jesuits takes its place as the
dominating force. The Council terminated in 1563; in 1566 the Pope died and
was succeeded by Pius V., the nominee of the most rigid section of the

[Sidenote: (2) France: Catholics, Huguenots, and _Politiques_]

In France, from the days of Francis I., the tendency had been to persecute
the followers of the reformed doctrines, who were for the most part
disciples of Calvin rather than of Luther. On the other hand, the political
attraction of alliance with the German Lutherans had served to keep the
mind of the court open, and throughout the sittings of the Council of Trent
there had been and continued to be threats that the Gallican Church might
follow the Anglican in claiming independence of the Pope. In France however
the opposition lay between the Catholics and the Calvinists, who by 1561
had acquired the general name of Huguenots: in England, the Reformation was
carried through under the auspices of a middle ecclesiastical party. In
France the middle party was purely political, not aiming at a compromise
tending to amalgamation, but rather at holding the two parties balanced.

Before the death of Henry II., the Guise brothers were recognised as the
heads of the Catholic faction. The Duke, Francis, was the popular and
successful soldier who won back Calais from England: his brother, the
Cardinal of Lorraine, was one of the ablest of living ecclesiastics and
statesmen. There were four more brothers, all men of mark; and their sister
was the mother of Mary Stewart. On the other hand, the family came from
Lorraine only in the time of Francis I., and though the first Duke of Guise
married a daughter of the house of Bourbon, they were regarded with
jealousy by a considerable body of the French nobility, who, partly in
consequence, threw their weight in favour of the Protestants. At the head
of these now were Anthony of Bourbon, nominal King of Navarre in right of
his wife, his brother Condé, and Admiral Coligny, with his brother the
Cardinal Chatillon. When Henry II. died, the Guises--uncles of the new
Queen (Mary Stewart)--assumed unmistakable supremacy; but when Francis also
died, and was succeeded by his younger brother Charles IX., the
Queen-mother, Katharine de Medici, obtained for herself the regency, which
would naturally have fallen to Navarre as next Prince of the Blood, and the
control passed not to the Huguenots but to the "_Politiques_".
[Footnote: The name for the "Middle" Party, which was not however generally
adopted till a later date.] It may be remarked that this century is
noteworthy for the number of women who made their mark in history as
politicians; for Isabella of Castile was still living when it opened, and
Elizabeth of England when it closed; Katharine de Medici and Mary Stewart
were of ability not much inferior; while Mary of Guise, regent of Scotland,
and Mary Tudor in England, were both striking figures; and the women of
Charles V.'s family were conspicuous as Governors of the Netherlands.

[Sidenote: Religious war in France 1561-68]

The rule of the Politiques was, unlike that of the Guises, favourable to
toleration--as a matter not of conscience but of policy. Katharine's was
the controlling spirit, and her chief supporters in the policy were the
Chancellor L'Hôpital and the Constable Montmorency, a connexion of
Coligny's but an orthodox Catholic. In January 1562 a large extension of
toleration was granted to the Huguenots, which roused the fanaticism of the
other party and drew the Constable over to their ranks. Navarre was induced
to go over to the Catholics, leaving the Protestant leadership to
Condé. Some of Guise's followers massacred a number of unarmed Huguenots at
Vassy; Paris, frantically anti-Huguenot, gave a triumphal reception to
Guise, who held Katharine and the boy-king practically prisoners. The
Huguenots rose in arms; Navarre was killed, leaving a boy--afterwards Henry
IV.--as his heir and the hope of the Huguenots; for his mother Jeanne of
Navarre had not followed her husband in his apostasy. A great battle,
indecisive in result, was fought at Dreux, in which each of the commanders,
Condé and Montmorency, fell into the hands of their antagonists; and then,
in February 1563, Francis of Guise was assassinated by the fanatic Poltrot.
About the same time died two of his brothers, D'Aumale and the Grand Prior.
The result was the termination of the war by the Peace of Amboise,
practically confirming the recent edict of toleration. Katharine still
refused to adopt the policy, urged on her by Spain as well as by the Guise
faction, of suppressing the Huguenots by the sword. The Huguenots, however,
believing that Katharine was merely actuated by motives of expediency, and
would seek to crush them if a favourable opportunity offered, organised
with a view to enforcing their demands in arms, and again took the field in
1567, thereby deciding the Regent in the policy which they had--up to this
time perhaps erroneously--attributed to her. For the time being, however,
the war was closed in the spring of 1568, by a treaty confirming the terms
of the previous Peace of Amboise.

[Sidenote: The Netherlands and Spain]

The Netherlands or Low Countries was the general title of a group of
provinces, corresponding in area roughly but not accurately to the modern
States of Holland and Belgium. These provinces, originally independent
States, but latterly associated in a loose federation, had owned allegiance
to the Dukes of Burgundy, and so had passed in due course to Charles V.,
who in turn transferred them to Philip shortly before his own abdication of
the Spanish crown. The institutions within the provinces varied, as did the
character and race of their populations: but in general their industrial
development was of a high standard, and their wealth was of great
importance to the Spanish monarchy. At the hands of Charles, who was
brought up as a Netherlander, they enjoyed considerable favour; but Philip,
by instinct and training, was a Spaniard, who looked on them as a paying
appanage of Spain, had no sympathy with them, and no regard for their
political organisations, and did not set foot among them after 1559. Before
that year, most of his time since his marriage with Mary had been spent
there; but in 1559 he departed, leaving as Governor his sister Margaret of
Parma, and ignoring the nobility of the country.

The Reformation doctrines had obtained a very extensive hold, more
particularly in the Northern provinces; but had been suppressed with
considerable rigour by Charles, who early established the Inquisition in
the country. By Philip the severities were increased, and the government of
Margaret of Parma was conducted on the like intolerant principles: her
chief adviser being Philip's nominee, Cardinal Granvelle. The native
nobles--at whose head were Egmont, Horn, and William (the Silent), Prince
of Orange [Footnote: William was a Netherlander in virtue of the lordship
of Breda.] and Count of Nassau--as well as the burghers, were indignant at
the encroachment on the constitutional liberties of the provinces by the
appointment of foreigners to offices of State, and by the presence of
Spanish troops; and the removal of both was demanded. The multiplication of
bishops and endowment of the new bishoprics constituted another grievance.
The troops had to be withdrawn, and in 1564 Granvelle left the Netherlands
to join his master in Spain; but Philip's determination to bring the whole
country into the system of Spanish despotism remained unchanged: and
whereas the whole population was in favour of general religious toleration,
he insisted, in the face of remonstrance, on intensifying instead of
relaxing the edicts against the Reformed doctrines. To avoid the
persecution, multitudes of Flemish weavers left the country, to be welcomed
by Elizabeth in England, which was rapidly supplanting the commercial
supremacy of the Low Countries.

[Sidenote: 1566 Resistance in the Netherlands]

In 1565 it was generally believed that Katharine de Medici was concerting
measures, with the Duke of Alva on behalf of Spain, for the suppression of
heretics; and this brought matters in the Netherlands to a head. In 1566 a
League, widespread though not openly supported by the greatest nobles, was
formed for the abolition of the Inquisition, an institution, introduced
forty years before by Charles V., which had worked as mercilessly as in
Spain. The supporters of the league included Lewis of Nassau, brother of
William of Orange; it was known as the Compromise, and its adherents were
nick-named the _Gueux_, or beggars. The general ferment resulted in
violent anti-"idolatry" riots, accompanied by great destruction of Church
property. The disturbances were quieted down by the exertions of Egmont and
William of Orange; the Governor, Margaret of Parma, promising the
concessions they advised. Philip however was enraged, repudiated the
concessions, and in 1567 sent Alva with an army of Spanish and Italian
veterans to restore order. Margaret, finding herself virtually superseded,
retired. Alva's conception of order was the enforcement of the worst type
of combined military and ecclesiastical tyranny. Egmont (a Catholic), and
Horn, though both had rendered the Government conspicuous assistance, were
arrested; Orange escaped by retiring to his German dominions. Not
Protestants only, but even Maximilian who now occupied the Imperial throne
in succession to Ferdinand, remonstrated; yet Philip obstinately encouraged
Alva to go on his way. William of Orange avowed himself a Protestant; and
in the spring a mixed army of Netherlander, Huguenots, and Germans, took
the field under Lewis of Nassau. The revolt of the Netherlands may be
reckoned as dating from the first engagement, at Heiligerlee, in May
1568. The Spaniards were worsted, and as an immediate consequence, Egmont
and Horn were sent to the block.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth, Mary, and their Suitors]

The arrival of Mary Stewart in Scotland brings her personality into more
intimate relation with that of Elizabeth than before. The problem of
finding bridegrooms politically and personally acceptable to the two queens
becomes particularly prominent. Arran, flatly declined by Elizabeth,
becomes for a time one of her cousin's actual suitors. The Archduke Charles
becomes a possible candidate for either. Dudley, still looked upon as
Elizabeth's favoured lover, is offered by her to Mary as a husband. Now,
too, we first meet with Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, [Footnote: See
Appendix A, iii.] whose mother, Lady Lennox, was daughter of Margaret Tudor
by her second husband, the young man himself being a possible successor to
the English throne. Being an English as well as a Scottish subject, brought
up in England and therefore not, like Mary--whatever her claims by
descent--an alien, that technical ground for disputing her succession did
not apply to him. He too was mentioned as a possible suitor both for
Elizabeth's and for Mary's hand. Then there was Don Carlos, son of Philip
of Spain by his first wife, to whom Mary had a political inclination; or
again there was for her a possibility of marrying her dead husband's
brother, the boy-king Charles IX. of France. Mary herself, it must be
remembered, was still some months short of nineteen when she landed at
Leith. And it was a matter of grave political importance to Elizabeth, who
should be the man to share the Scottish throne.

[Sidenote: 1562 Mary in Scotland]

Mary's reception was austere not to say brutal on the part of Knox and his
friends; but the Earl of Murray (as Lord James Stewart soon after became)
and Maitland, confident now in the security of Protestantism, were not
disposed to subordinate polities to zealotry. They were ready for a degree
of toleration. Their ultimate goal was the union of the crowns; and they
wished Mary to repose her confidence on them. They would not press her to
ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh, at any rate unless she was formally
recognised as heir presumptive of England. Mary, for her part, though
holding by her own faith, was not slow to perceive that for the present at
least she must not challenge the Reformers. Her first business was

The year 1562 was not far advanced when the first Huguenot war broke out in
France. Condé was soon making overtures to Elizabeth, and her Protestant
counsellors, headed by Cecil, were zealous that she should lend his party
active support, with the restoration of Calais to England as the
price. Philip of Spain, bent on suppressing the Netherlands heretics, was
strongly on the side of the Guises, and threatened Elizabeth if she should
venture to intervene. The house of the Spanish Ambassador in London was the
centre of much Catholic intriguing; and much of what was going on was
betrayed to Cecil by a secretary. Elizabeth was angry enough, but could not
afford an open rupture with Philip, who, now that Mary was no longer Queen
of France, might find it in his interest to support her pretensions to the
English throne. On the other hand, the French Queen-mother could not now
view with complacency the succession of Mary with her Guise connexions,
coupled with the possibility of her matrimonial alliance either with the
Spanish Don Carlos or the Habsburg Archduke Charles. Elizabeth's own desire
now was to be in amity with Mary, and to have her married to some one who
would not be dangerous. For a long time she dallied with the idea of
meeting Mary with a view to a settlement as to the ratification of the
Edinburgh treaty and her recognition as heir presumptive; and Catholic
hopes ran high. But the successes of the Guise party in France forced her
hand by alarming the Protestants. She had to decline the meeting with Mary,
and at least to make a show of enforcing the laws against attendance at
Mass more energetically. She had, in fact, been letting herself believe
that she could indulge her personal predilection for the more ceremonial
worship of the old faith; but as usual when a crisis seemed, really
imminent, her personal predilections were suppressed for the time.

[Sidenote: 1562-63 Elizabeth and the Huguenots]

As the year went on, the intrigue with Condé reached a point at which the
Huguenot leader actually handed over Havre to the English, and promised the
restitution of Calais; and before the autumn was far advanced, the town was
garrisoned, and a troop of English--ignoring instructions from home--went
to join Condé. The colour for Elizabeth's action was that the Guises had
usurped the government, and that they palpably and avowedly directed their
policy to the injury of England; also that she was entitled to take
measures to ensure the restoration of Calais, promised by treaty. The
fighting went steadily against the Huguenots, and Elizabeth made the
mistake--in which the country supported her even with passion--of holding
Condé to his promise as to Calais, instead of applying herself to the
establishment of the Huguenots as a powerful Anglophil anti-Guise
party. Throwing over the method which had so successfully cleared Scotland
of the French, she staked everything on the recovery of Calais, forced half
Condé's friends to look upon him as something very like a traitor, and
alienated Huguenot sentiment completely. The battle of Dreux in December,
followed early in the next year by the murder of Guise, led to the truce of
Amboise, in April, between the warring factions; England was left in the
lurch. A desperate effort was made to retain the grip on Havre, but an
outbreak of the plague among the garrison ruined all chance of success. It
fell, and with it the last hope of recovering Calais (July 1563). It was
not till the spring of 1564 that the French war was formally terminated by
the treaty of Troyes, when the English, after much vain haggling, found
themselves obliged to accept the French terms.

[Sidenote: The English Succession]

Near the end of 1562 the Queen had been stricken with smallpox and her life
all but despaired of; so that the grave problem of the Succession assumed a
momentary prominence. Henry's Will had never been set aside; but no one
would have viewed with favour the claims of the Greys. Mary of Scotland,
the heir by inheritance, was an alien, and abhorrent to the Protestants.
Darnley was the only remaining claimant of Tudor stock; [Footnote: Except
the Clifford or Stanley branch, junior to the Greys. See _Front._]
while the House of York had still representatives living, in two grandsons
of the old Countess of Salisbury executed by Henry--the Earl of Huntingdon
and Arthur Pole, the latter of whom did actually become the centre of a
still-born plot. What would have happened had the Queen died at this
juncture it is impossible to guess: happily for England, she recovered. But
the interest attaching to Mary's course was intensified.

The Scots Queen had in the meantime ostensibly given her support to Murray
and Maitland, accompanying her half-brother on an expedition to crush
Huntly, the head of the Catholic nobility. Murray and Maitland did their
best during the early months of 1563 to force the recognition of their
Queen as Elizabeth's heir by the menace of her marriage with the Prince of
Spain; Elizabeth in turn did her own best to induce Mary to marry Dudley,
whom she later on raised to the rank of Earl of Leicester. This union
however was one which neither Mary herself nor any of her counsellors would
accept; and when the year closed, Knox and the extreme Calvinists were
grimly assimilating the to them portentous probability that she would end
by marrying either Don Carlos or the young King of France--either event
threatening the restoration of the Old Church in Scotland.

[Sidenote: 1564 Darnley and others]

The civil war in France ended, as we saw, in the triumph of the
Politiques. The corollary was the treaty of Troyes with England in the
spring of 1564. The French court was now disposed to be friendly towards
Elizabeth; the Guises had lost weight by the death of the Duke; Philip of
Spain saw nothing to gain by further embroilments; so the chances of Mary's
marriage either with his son or with Charles IX. were small. The Scots
Queen began to give Darnley a leading place in her own mind, feeling that a
marriage with him would give a double claim to the English succession, and
one in favour of which the whole of the English Catholics would be
united. So far Elizabeth had only urged her to marry an English nobleman,
with an implication that Leicester [Footnote: Dudley was not in fact raised
to the Earldom till the year was well advanced.] was intended. Mary tried
to extract approval for Darnley, but with the result only that Leicester
was definitely and explicitly nominated. Yet even on behalf of her
favourite, the English Queen would not commit herself on the subject of the
succession. On the other hand, with the exception of Maitland of Lethington
who was not actually opposed to the Darnley marriage on condition of
Elizabeth's public approval, the Scottish Protestants were very
unfavourable to that solution. So the year passed in perpetual diplomatic
fencing, Mary trying to draw Darnley to Scotland, while Elizabeth kept him
at her own court, to which he with both his parents had been attached for
many years past. It is not a little curious to find all this intriguing
crossed by a proposal from Katharine de Medici that King Charles should
marry not Mary but Elizabeth, who was eighteen years his senior: while
Elizabeth herself was trying to revive the idea of her own marriage with
the Archduke Charles, whose brother Maximilian had just succeeded Ferdinand
as Emperor. In February 1565, Elizabeth found it no longer possible to
prevent Darnley's return to Scotland, and in April it was tentatively
announced that he was to be Mary's husband.

[Sidenote: 1565 The Darnley marriage]

It is not impossible [Footnote: The case for this view is effectively put
in Lang, _Hist. of Scotland_, ii., pp. 136 ff.; and _cf._
Creighton, _Queen Elizabeth_, p. 87.] that privately Elizabeth had
expected and desired that Mary should jeopardise her position precisely in
this manner, counting on the animosity to the marriage not only of Knox's
party but of all the adherents of the rival house of Hamilton. If so she
was justified in the event. But publicly she expressed a strong
disapproval, which took colour from the risk that the marriage might serve
to rally the English Catholics in support of the joint Stewart succession.
At any rate, whether Mary merely miscalculated the political forces; or,
weary of the shackles which preachers and politicians sought to impose on
her, determined to take her own way at last at any cost; or allowed herself
to be swayed by an unaccountable fancy for the person of her young cousin,
a spoilt, arrogant, and vicious boy; marry him she did, at the end of July:
in defiance of the sentiment of all her Protestant subjects, half of whom
were really afraid of the attempted revival of Catholic domination, while
the rest foresaw, at the best, the gravest political complications, and the
revival of internecine clan and family feuds and intrigues. Mary however
had not taken the step until she was sure in the first place that there was
no prospect of her marriage with Don Carlos, and had in the second place
received assurances of support from Philip [Footnote: _Cf._ Hume,
_Love Affairs of Mary Queen of Scots_, p. 262. Mary was aiming at a
Catholic combination under Philip, with the active co-operation of Rome.
Cecil and Elizabeth however had good reason from experience to count on
Spain's immobility, and may very well have counted also on Darnley's
imbecility. They knew him.] if she married Darnley. For a girl of two and
twenty, working single handed, it was an exceedingly clever move--on the
hypothesis that Philip was capable of taking open action, and Darnley of
acting with common decency and common intelligence.

[Sidenote: Mary and Murray]

The Protestant lords however were not unanimous. Maitland and the Douglases
did not join Murray and the Hamiltons who, even before the actual marriage,
were practically in open rebellion. But Mary was now playing for her own
hand; if she had any trusted counsellor it was her deformed Italian
secretary, David Rizzio. She dropped diplomatic fencing. Elizabeth, who had
been privately sending money to Murray, remonstrated on his behalf; but
Mary asserted her right to deal with her own rebellious subjects. Now, as
always, she maintained that she had no intention of subverting the
Protestant religion, though she desired the same freedom for Catholics as
for Calvinists. But she would not submit to dictation; and any promises she
was willing to make were conditional on the recognition first of herself
and her heirs and afterwards of Lady Lennox's heirs, as Elizabeth's
successors. At the end of August she marched against Murray and the
insurgents; they however avoided battle. On October 6th Murray and his
principal adherents crossed the Border. A little later he was allowed to
present himself at the English court, where Elizabeth [Footnote: Froude,
viii., pp. 213 ff. (Ed. 1864): with which cf. Lang, _Hist. Scotland_,
ii., pp. 150 ff., and authorities there cited.] publicly rated him, and
declared that she would never assist rebels against their lawful
sovereign. Murray, who had just written to Cecil that he would "never have
enterprised the action but that he had been moved thereto by the Queen" of
England, accepted Elizabeth's lecture without protest.

[Sidenote: The murder of Rizzio, 1566]

The expulsion of Murray from Scotland did not hinder the coming tragedy;
perhaps it had the contrary effect. The lords round Mary were bitterly
aggrieved by Rizzio's influence; Darnley long before he was six months
married, chose to be jealous of the secretary, a sentiment carefully
fostered by the lords. The common hatred united them in a "band" for the
murder of Rizzio, of which Sadler, the English envoy, was cognisant; Murray
probably knew just so much as he chose to know. The plot was carried out in
March. The conspirators broke into Mary's room at Holyrood, and butchered
Rizzio almost before her eyes.

[Sidenote: Kirk o' Field, 1567]

It may be doubted whether Mary ever forgave any one who was implicated or
supposed to be implicated in that outrage. For her husband, as the offence
in him was foulest and the insult from him to her deepest, she assuredly
conceived and cherished a bitter loathing. But there was one man who had
always been ready to champion her cause, the daring, reckless, ruffianly
James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who nevertheless was no mere
swash-buckler, but according to Scottish standards of the day, a man of
education [Footnote: Lang, _Hist. Scotland_, ii., p. 168.] and even,
it would seem, of some culture. From this time, Bothwell was her one ally.
She had the policy and the self-control to profess a desire for
reconciliation even with Darnley: to receive Murray and even Lethington
into apparent favour. But Darnley's brief rapprochement with the lords was
soon over; his intolerable arrogance was made the worse by his
contemptibility. Three months after Rizzio's murder, the envy of the Virgin
Queen of England was roused by the birth of a son to Mary. The history of
the following months becomes a chaos of which there are a dozen conflicting
versions. The one clear fact is that another "band" was formed to put
Darnley out of the way. There were pretences at attempted reconciliation
between Mary and Darnley, while the Queen's relations with Bothwell were so
intimate as to produce rumours no less scandalous than those which had
prevailed about Elizabeth and Dudley. Darnley fell ill; a better appearance
than usual of reconciliation was patched up. The sick man was conveyed to
Kirk o' Field, a house near Edinburgh, where Mary joined him. Thence one
evening she went to Holyrood to attend a bridal masque. That night the
house was blown up; Darnley's unscathed corpse was found in the garden.

From the tangled mass [Footnote: The evidence has been discussed in many
volumes. The most judicial examination with which the present writer is
acquainted is that in Mr. Lang's _Mystery of Mary Stewart_, summarised
in his _History of Scotland_, ii., pp. 168 ff.] of letters,
narratives, and confessions, it remains, and will for ever remain,
impossible to ascertain more than a fragment of the real truth. As to many
of the documents, it is hard to say whether the theory of their genuineness
or of their forgery is the more incredible. For the confessions, every man
had a dozen good reasons for sheltering some of the guilty, implicating
some of the innocent, and garbling the actual facts. That the thing was
done by Bothwell is absolutely certain; it is hardly less doubtful that
both Maitland and Morion helped to hatch the plot; there is no conclusive
proof that Mary was active in it. No single act can be brought home to her
which was necessarily incompatible with innocence--or with guilt. It is the
accumulation of suspicious circumstances which makes the presumption lean
heavily to guilt; but it remains no more than a presumption; no jury would
have been justified in convicting. Her accusers had a strong case; but they
tried to strengthen it by inventing or suborning additional evidence
palpably false, with the result of discrediting the whole--and her friends
adopted the same tactics. That both Mary and Murray knew that _some_
plot existed, and that neither of them stirred a finger to frustrate it, is
hardly an open question.

Guilty in the fullest sense or not guilty, Mary's detestation of Darnley
was notorious; and within three months of the murder she was the wife of
the man whom the whole world accounted the murderer. Naturally, the whole
world believed that she was Bothwell's accomplice in the act, and his
mistress before it. There was a show at least of the marriage being brought
about by force. A formal attempt at investigation into the murder had
collapsed. Bothwell had his supporters; he kidnapped the Queen and
Maitland--_not_ one of his supporters-with her. A scandalous divorce
was pronounced between him and his wife, and Mary wedded him. The only
credible explanation is that she was over-mastered by a passion for the
daring ruffian who at least had always stood by her. The lords--accomplices
in the murder with the rest--were almost immediately in arms to "rescue"
the Queen, who took the field by her husband's side. The opposing forces
met at Carberry Hill; Bothwell, seeing the contest to be hopeless, fled;
Mary surrendered.

[Sidenote: Mary made prisoner]

The Queen was forthwith imprisoned in Lochleven Castle; and just at this
time the famous casket of letters from Mary to Bothwell was seized, in the
custody of a servant of Bothwell's. Of the documents subsequently produced
as having formed part of that collection, the experts are totally unable to
prove decisively whether any or all are genuine, or forged, or a mixture of
forgeries and transcripts from genuine originals; though on the whole the
last hypothesis is the least incredible of the three.

[Sidenote 1: Murray made regent]
[Sidenote 2: 1568 Mary's escape to England]

All this took place in June. Elizabeth was now suggesting that the baby
prince James should be sent to her safe-keeping: there were similar
hints--_mutatis mutandis_--from France. The Scots lords played off
French and English against each other, and kept the child in their own
hands. There was a strong desire in some quarters that Mary should be put
to death; she was actually compelled, at the end of July, to sign her
abdication in favour of the infant James. Soon after Murray arrived from
France, whither he had gone shortly after the murder, and she assented to
his appointment as Regent--indeed begged him to undertake it, having
virtually no other course open. Both he and Lethington probably desired to
protect her. Meantime however, Elizabeth was demanding her release, the
successful rebellion of subjects against their lawful prince being by no
means to her liking. Murray, however, felt that such a course could only
involve civil war, and if pressed would force him to have Mary executed on
the strength of the evidence, genuine or forged, of her complicity in the
murder of Darnley. Yet it was universally believed that many of the lords
now with Murray were no less guilty; over their heads too the sword was
hanging by a thread. Murray as Regent ruled with vigour; and his
enforcement of the anti-Catholic laws soon roused the hostility of that
section. After many months of imprisonment, the Queen succeeded in escaping
from Lochleven in May (1568); but the attempt to rally her followers was
desperate. There was a fight at Langside on May 13th; Mary's party were
completely routed; she herself fled south; and on May 16th she crossed the
Solway; becoming, and remaining from thenceforth, Elizabeth's prisoner.

Thus, in June 1568, there was in France an uneasy truce between Catholics
and Huguenots; in the Netherlands, the struggle between the Prince of
Orange and Alva was just commencing; in Britain, the Queen of Scots had
just fallen into the power of her sister of England--disgraced in the eyes
of the world by her marriage with Bothwell, and on almost all hands
credited with the murder of Darnley; so that whatever might happen it was
certain that no foreign Power would have either the will or the means to
intervene on her behalf.

The affairs of Ireland will demand our attention; but, as they did not at
the time directly influence English policy, it will be more convenient to
treat of them consecutively in a later chapter. The same may be said of the
great sea-going movement, which was now active and was in a few years' time
to be revealed as a feature of the first importance in the development of
"our island story". Here we will merely note that the consideration of
these subjects is deferred. The progress however of the religious
settlement, always a present factor in the relations of England with other
Powers, requires to be treated _pari passu_ with the other events of
the period; as also do the relations between the Queen and her Parliament.

[Sidenote: England: Protestantism of the Government]

We have already observed that Elizabeth had personal predilections in
favour of the ceremonial, if not the actual theological, position adopted
by her father. The weightiest of her counsellors however, headed by Cecil
and Bacon, succeeded in a more definite protestantising of the bench of
bishops than the Queen herself would have desired. The formularies of the
Church, confirmed by the Act of Uniformity, were very much easier to
reconcile with Calvinism than with what Calvinists called idolatry, and in
particular the abolition of the law of celibacy in itself had a very strong
tendency to abolish the sense of differentiation between clergy and laity
so essential to the old Catholic position. It may have been the
consciousness of this which made Elizabeth feel and express with much
freedom her own objection to married clerics. But Cecil and his party were
alive to the fact that the religious cleavage was everywhere becoming
intensified as a political cleavage also; that politically, England would
be obliged to declare for one side or the other, or would be rent in twain;
that danger to Elizabeth's throne--and this she fully recognised herself--
was much more likely to arise from Catholic than from Protestant
quarters. Being therefore determined that she should take the Protestant
side--whether from genuine religious conviction or from motives of
political expediency--they steadily encouraged moderate Protestants of the
type of Archbishop Parker, and others who were still more under the
influence of the Swiss, or at least the Lutheran, reformers; a course in
which they were greatly aided by the direct hostility to Elizabeth of the
Guise party in France. In that country, the _Politiques_ found
themselves driven into the Catholic camp; in England, the Queen, whose
personal sentiments were not unlike those of Katharine de Medici, was
reluctantly compelled by the force of circumstances to yield to her
Protestant advisers.

[Sidenote: Religious parties]

Elizabeth's first Parliament was puritan in its tendencies, and only fell
short of that which had approved the second prayer-book of Edward. The bulk
of the clergy still no doubt favoured the old religion, but it was the
followers of the new lights who received promotion, and it was they who
were encouraged by the Act of Uniformity. In many parts of the country,
however, and especially in the North, the magnates countenanced a hardly
veiled disregard of the new laws: and the Queen's apparent inclination to
find a way of recognising Mary as her successor, as well as her favour for
crosses and disfavour for married clergy, raised the hopes of the
Catholics. The Huguenot war in 1562 compelled her to change her tone, and
enabled Cecil to enforce the law against attendance at Mass with greater
vigour. The first Parliament had been dissolved in 1559; the second, which
met in the beginning of 1563, was not less strenuously Protestant and
opposed to the Stewart succession. It was only the determined stand of the
Catholic peers which prevented sharp legislation against the Catholics in
general; and even as it was, the application of the oath of Supremacy was
widened. Then Parliament was prorogued, and the affair of Havre caused the
Huguenot alliance to cool. By the winter of 1564-5, the English Queen was
irritating the bishops and the clergy, the most capable of whom were
increasingly identifying themselves with puritan views, by insistence not
altogether successful on obedience to the Act of Uniformity in the matter
of vestments; although it was notorious that there was strong feeling
against some of the regulations, which in not a few instances were
habitually ignored. The feeling was intensified by a lively suspicion that
she really wished for the Darnley marriage which actually took place a few
months later, though she was professedly urging Leicester's suit, and
beyond all doubt encouraged Murray and the Scottish Protestants to

[Sidenote: 1566-67 Parliament and the Queen's marriage]

It was not till the autumn of 1566 that Parliament reassembled; more than
ever determined to get the Queen committed to a marriage which should end
the menace of the Stewart succession. This desire was in some cases the
cause and in others the effect of a zealous protestantism. A Bill was
introduced, at the instance of the Bishops acting on a vote of Convocation,
to compel the clergy to subscribe the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, a
slight modification of Edward's Forty-two Articles; but this was withdrawn
after passing the Commons. The Queen was enraged by the audacity of the
Commons in discussing the question of her marriage and the succession, and
she attempted to suppress debate; but was met with a stubborn insistence,
headed by Cecil, on the constitutional rights of the House. Elizabeth had
to give way; but while on the question of principle the Parliament was
victorious, it did not press the victory and the Queen was enabled to evade
the immediate issue. The house voted supplies generously, after which she
succeeded in dissolving it with a sharp reprimand and without definitely
committing herself on the subject either of her own marriage or of the
succession. But this was hardly accomplished, when the murder of Darnley,
for the time being at least, divided the party which had hitherto supported
Mary's claim to the English throne.

[Sidenote: The Queen and the Archduke]

For some months, the question of Elizabeth's marriage was allowed to fall
into abeyance; but the effect of the murder was in some degree counteracted
by the imprisonment of Mary in Lochleven the appeal to chivalry of a
deserted, helpless, and lovely woman, and the very unattractive character
of most of the men now at the head of the Scottish Government. The Stewart
cause seemed to be in some danger of reviving, and once again the English
Council began to urge the marriage with the Archduke Charles. Elizabeth
pretended concurrence, but when she refused to promise that Charles should
be allowed the free exercise of his own religion in England, it was no
longer possible to doubt that she was merely playing with the idea; while
there were certainly a great many of her subjects who entirely sympathised
with the ostensible grounds on which the negotiation was broken off. The
prospect of a closer union with the House of Habsburg was dispelled, almost
at the moment when the Scots Queen fell into Elizabeth's hands, and the
standard of revolt against the Spanish system was being raised in the



[Sidenote: 1568 May, Elizabeth and Mary]

Before crossing the Solway, Mary wrote to Elizabeth throwing herself on
her hospitality. She followed hard on the heels of her missive, and
awaited the reply at Carlisle, where the Catholic gentlemen of the
North rallied to receive her. The situation indeed was a singularly
embarrassing one for the English Queen. Mary claimed in fact that
Elizabeth should either restore her, or allow her to appeal to those
who would do so--that is, to France. To take her part unconditionally
had its obvious dangers; not less obvious were the dangers of acceding
to the alternative demand. To detain her in England, on the other hand,
would inevitably make her the centre of Catholic intrigue. The most
convenient arrangement would be to restore her under conditions which
would minimise her power of becoming dangerous; and, in the meantime,
she was perhaps less to be feared under careful supervision in England
than anywhere else. So Elizabeth took the line of informing her that if
she cleared herself of the charges of crimes such as made it impossible
to support her if she were guilty, she should be restored; which being
interpreted meant that there was to be an investigation, and Elizabeth
would act on the findings. Murray on the other hand was in effect
advised that the English Queen would not countenance him in levying war
but that he might read between the lines of her instructions; in view
of course of the fear that the party opposed to Murray might seek to
procure French intervention.

[Sidenote: A Commission of enquiry]

Elizabeth was in fact in a position to dictate her own terms. Whatever
right she might think fit to assume, whatever technical grounds she
might assert for that right, Mary was effectively in her power. The
Scots Queen--transferred for greater safety to Bolton, away from the
dangerous proximity of the Border--indignantly repudiated the
jurisdiction, demanded to be set at liberty, asseverated her own
innocence. Elizabeth could not afford to set her at liberty; and with
some plausibility declared that the innocence must be proved, before
her rule could be re-imposed on a nation which had rejected it.
Elizabeth quite evidently intended that the investigation should
neither clear nor condemn her. Mary's objections were perfectly
compatible with innocence. Submission might be taken as implying the
recognition of English suzerainty; and if the investigation was to be
earned just so far as suited her sister sovereign, if evidence was to
be admitted, tested, or sup-pressed, with a view not to ascertaining
truth but to securing a convenient judgment, innocence was no sort of
reason for welcoming enquiry. [Footnote: Mr Froude (viii., Ed. 1866)
informs us in one breath that Mary was impelled to protest by the
consciousness of guilt (p. 253), but admits in the next that Elizabeth
had no intention of allowing either her guilt or her innocence to be
definitely proved (pp. 262, 270, 277).]

The plan of operations was that a Commission should be appointed,
before whom the Scots lords should answer for their rebellion;
obviously they would defend themselves on the ground of Mary's guilt of
which they professed to hold ample proof in the casket of letters,
which if genuine were assuredly damning. On the other hand, Maitland
and others of the lords must have suspected at least that evidence of
their own complicity in Darnley's murder would be forthcoming. The
English Protestants were convinced beforehand of Mary's guilt; they
were too much interested in preventing her succession to the English
throne to form an unbiased judgment; whereas her condemnation would
have been a serious blow to the Catholic party, which included
professing Protestants like Norfolk. Altogether, what Elizabeth desired
was a compromise between Mary and the Scots lords, by which both should
assent to her restoration as queen with Murray as actual ruler, coupled
with the confirmation of the unratified Treaty of Edinburgh, and the
establishment of the Anglican form of worship as Elizabeth's price. Her
real difficulty perhaps was that she did not want Mary cleared to the
world by the definite withdrawal of the charge of murder; she wanted
the charge to be made and to be left indefinitely not-proven.

[Sidenote: Oct. Proceedings at York]

The commission--Norfolk, Sussex, and Sadler, who had spent many years
in Scotland as ambassador--was to sit at York in October. Thither came
the Scots lords. Murray was prepared to rely upon the general charges
of misgovernment, while privately submitting the evidence as to the
murder to the Commissioners. Norfolk was staggered by the letters, and
very nearly threw up a scheme which the Catholic party had been
hatching for his own marriage with Mary. But Elizabeth's sudden
discovery that this scheme existed filled her with alarm, and for the
moment she cancelled the Commission.

[Sidenote: Doubts of Philip's attitude]

For the course of events on the Continent was making the outlook more
complicated. The initial success of the Netherlanders had been very
soon followed by the crushing disaster of Jemmingen, and the country
seemed to be under Alva's heel. Catholicism in its most militant and
merciless form was predominant; what if Philip, irritated by the
practically open piracy of English ships in the Channel and elsewhere,
should espouse the cause of Mary? De Silva, the ambassador whose
relations with the English court were highly satisfactory, was replaced
by the less diplomatic and more aggressive Don Guerau de Espes. The
English envoy in Spain was so unguarded in his own religious
professions as to give Philip fair ground for handing him his passports.
If the English Catholics, irritated by the growth of Calvinism and the
increased vigilance of Protestantism in England, founded new hopes on
these signs of a changing attitude in Philip, their present loyalty
might very soon alter its colour with Mary Stewart in England.

[Sidenote: Nov. The Commission at Westminster]

It seemed safer then that the enquiry should be held in London, with a
large increase in the number of the Commissioners. Of the Scots lords,
Lethington was undoubtedly anxious that the murder charge should be
withdrawn. Nevertheless, at the sitting held at the end of November,
Murray definitely put in the charge, producing copies or translations
of the Casket Letters. These the commissioners examined; later on, they
were shown the originals, which they judged to be genuine documents in
the Queen's hand. Whether they were competent to test forgeries
executed with tolerable skill is at least open to question. The rest of
the evidence produced was not only that of interested persons, but
contained inconsistencies; neither Mary herself nor her agents were
ever put in possession of copies of the incriminating documents; one
side only was heard. If it was Elizabeth's object to create in the
minds of the English lords a strong presumption that Mary was guilty,
that purpose was successfully effected. Under such conditions Mary
declined compromises. The Commission was broken up. The farce was over.
Murray returned to Scotland: the Queen remained a prisoner in England,
to be--with or without her own complicity--the centre of every papist
plot till the final tragedy.

[Sidenote: Comment on the enquiry]

So the mystery of Mary Stewart remains a mystery to this day. That she
was cognisant of the plot to murder Darnley is the more probable theory,
in view of facts which no one denies; yet those facts remain
intelligible if she was innocent. There are no admitted facts which
preclude her guilt: none which prove it conclusively. The various
confessions of interested witnesses, voluntary or extorted, are
untrustworthy. The genuineness of the Casket Letters is doubtful. No
opportunity was given for cross-examining the witnesses or examining
the letters. The world believed that Mary was guilty, however it may
have been disposed to condone the guilt. The world was probably right.
But to pretend that there was a fair or complete investigation--that
Mary's guilt was proved before the Commission--is absurd. That Mary
from first to last protested against being brought to the bar of an
English tribunal--whose authority she could not acknowledge without
implying a recognition of that suzerainty which Edward I of England had
claimed, and Robert I of Scotland had wiped out at Bannockburn--was
entirely compatible with the innocence of a high-spirited and
courageous princess: and would have been so, even if she could have
counted on the absolute impartiality of her judges. Knowing that she
could count on nothing of the kind, fully aware that Elizabeth herself
would in fact be the judge, and suspecting with very good reason that
any verdict pronounced by her would be shaped strictly with a view to
her own political convenience, it is almost inconceivable that Mary
should have acknowledged the jurisdiction merely because Innocence in
the abstract ought to invite enquiry. Had Mary been less beautiful,
less unfortunate, less of a heroine of romance, it is likely enough
that she would find few champions; but the pretence that she had a fair
trial would still be none the less untenable.

[Sidenote: Dec. Seizure of Spanish Treasure]

In the meantime, an incident had occurred which shows what an immense
change had been taking place in England during the ten years of
Elizabeth's reign; how completely the nation had recovered confidence
in itself. Throughout these years, English ships had been multiplying,
English sailors had been ignoring the Spanish and Portuguese monopolies
of ocean traffic, and English captains had been, with only the most
perfunctory official discouragement, and under colour of the flimsiest
pretexts or of no pretext at all, indulging in what was virtually
piracy. Now, the religious struggle, after a few months' smouldering,
had again broken out in France. La Rochelle, the Huguenot head-quarters,
was a nest of privateers, with whom the English adventurers consorted,
and the water-way for Spanish ships to the Netherlands was infested
with dangers. Alva was in want of money. Philip borrowed a great sum
from the Genoese bankers. The vessels conveying the bullion were forced
to put into English ports, in fear of capture. Elizabeth was not ready
to declare war in favour of the revolted provinces; but Cecil was
extremely anxious to render them all the help possible short of
declaring war. The treasure-ships had sailed into a trap. Don Guerau
invited Elizabeth to send them on under escort to the Netherlands; she
replied that as the money belonged not to Philip but to the Genoese
bankers, who would not object, she intended to borrow it herself. Don
Guerau was furious, and sent messages to Alva, who promptly seized all
English goods and persons in the Netherlands. With equal promptitude,
all Spaniards and Spanish goods were seized in England. The balance of
loss was heavily in favour of the English.

It seemed most probable that this astonishingly audacious proceeding
must result either in the fall of Cecil, to whom it was due, or in open
war with Spain, and the immediate committal of England to the formation
of a Protestant League; which might force the English Catholics in
their turn directly to espouse the cause of Mary. The reception given
in this country shortly before to the Cardinal of Chatillon, Coligny's
brother, was a symptom of Cecil's Protestant policy, and he at least
was probably willing enough that any tendency of the English Catholics
towards revolt should be precipitated rather than delayed.

[Sidenote: 1569 The incident passed over]

Even Cecil however was not anxious for open war, while Elizabeth always
shrank from that last extremity. On the other side, Philip had three
very good reasons for passing over the affront he had received. First,
the Netherlands were giving him enough to do for the time. Secondly,
Don Guerau was satisfied that the downfall of Cecil and the reversal of
his policy were imminent. Thirdly, the French court would assuredly
subordinate religious questions to the political gain of uniting with
England against him. A definite league between Condé and the English
might have averted that danger, by driving the French Catholics to make
common cause with Spain; but any immediate prospect of such a solution
of the entanglement vanished when the Huguenots were defeated and Condé
himself killed at the battle of Jarnac in May. The result of that event
was the immediate prohibition of the English adventurers from joining
the Huguenot fleet of Rochelle and sailing under the Huguenot flag; as
many of them had been in the habit of doing.

In May, then, the risk of a rupture between the French Government and
England, and of the formation of a universal Protestant league, was
over for the time at least; and within a few months, in England, the
Northern Earls, by a premature rising, inflicted a severe blow on their
own party, and decided large numbers of the Catholics to take their
stand as in the first place patriots and loyalists.

[Sidenote: The Northern Rebellion]

What we have called the Catholic party included many professing
Protestants--_i.e._ men who conformed with entire equanimity, yet
would have preferred to see the old worship restored; such as Norfolk.
Extreme men saw in the union of the Duke with Mary a prospect of
immediately placing the captive Queen on the English throne. The
moderate men wanted the marriage, accompanied by her recognition as
heir presumptive. There were others outside the Catholic connexion who
dreamed rather of Mary under the circumstances conforming to the
Anglican faith. Norfolk dallied with all three. There was a moment when
Elizabeth herself might have been persuaded to assent; but the Duke
missed his opportunity, and she, reverting to a conviction that the
marriage would soon be followed by her own assassination, presently
forbade it, and summoned Norfolk to answer for his loyalty. After brief
hesitation he surrendered himself and was confined in the Tower: but
the Northern Earls, Northumberland and Westmorland, believing that they
must strike at once if at all, rose and marched to deliver Mary from
Tutbury--whither she had been suddenly conveyed to safe keeping, in the
expectation of some such event. The rest of the Catholics however were
not ready for such a venture; being forced to make up their minds, they
resolved to stand loyal. The royal musters were quickly advancing to
meet the insurgents, who presently concluded that the cause was
hopeless, and fled. Northumberland was subsequently arrested and
detained by Murray in Scotland: Westmorland made his way to Spain.
Sussex received and carried out orders to punish with a heavy hand
those who had taken part in the rebellion; and so without any great
difficulty the one serious revolt of the reign was stamped out.

[Sidenote: 1570 Murder of Murray]

The year 1570 had hardly opened when Elizabeth lost one of her most
valuable allies by the murder of the Regent Murray, assassinated by
Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh. Murray's figure in history is a sombre one,
and the sombreness is thrown into the greater relief by the picturesque
brilliancy of his hapless sister. It was his fate to fight on the
gloomy side; to stand at the head of a nobility conspicuously sordid
and unprincipled, half of whom, when not occupied in plotting against
the life of a hereditary foe or a political rival, were posing as
representatives of the "godly"--an attitude held to be entirely
compatible with a total disregard for the decalogue. Perhaps there is
no prominent statesman of his times who came through the heavy ordeal
of public life with cleaner hands. There is no fair ground for
associating him directly and actively with any of the great crimes in
one or another of which almost every one of the Scots lords had a share.
When his sister married Darnley, he took up arms against her: he did so
again when she married Bothwell: and on both occasions he was probably
obeying an elastic conscience. While he was endeavouring to fix the
odium of the Darnley murder on Mary, he must have been quite aware that
both Lethington and Morton, his allies, were steeped in the guilt of it.
But he could neither stand aside from the turmoil, nor pick and choose
his associates. The political support or countenance of Elizabeth
seemed absolutely necessary to the cause of the Reformation in Scotland.
A man of a more generous spirit would more than once have felt that the
price was too high, that he was accepting a too ignominious position;
he stooped to a course which if not exactly dishonourable was
perilously near it. But the part he was forced to play was the hardest
and the most thankless imaginable; and he played it with a constant
effort to be tolerant, to be as just as circumstances permitted, to be
true to himself. He was the one man in Scotland who had striven
resolutely amid the kaleidoscopic chaos of factions to maintain some
sort of order, some sort of liberty, some sort of standard of public
spirit. With his fall, anarchy became more rampant than ever. Elizabeth
lamented, not without reason, that she had lost her best friend; but
while he lived she had not made his task the easier.

[Sidenote: March The Bull of Deposition]

In March, the Pope took the step which paralysed Catholicism as an open
political force in England, by issuing a Bull against Elizabeth which
virtually declared loyalty to the Queen and loyalty to the Faith to be
incompatible; yet since the profession of loyalty was to be condoned,
every Catholic was _ipso facto_ rendered suspect. The suspicion of
disloyalty breeds the disease. Englishmen of the Roman Communion have a
right to be proud that so many in those years of storm and stress
neither relinquished their faith nor forgot their patriotism; yet when
their fellow-subjects had been thus absolved of their allegiance, the
Protestants can hardly be blamed for being over-ready to assume that
they were in league with the Queen's enemies. The Pope could have done
nothing calculated more thoroughly to translate the ordinary sentiment
of loyalty into a passion of resentment against its opposite.

[Sidenote: The Anjou Match]

The immediate situation however was fraught with sufficient peril. Mary
for the sake of liberty was by this time fairly ready to promise
anything, and trust to the chapter of accidents to find some plausible
ground for repudiating her promises later. Elizabeth would have been
glad enough to get her out of the country if she could by any means be
rendered harmless. Once again, to the dismay of Cecil, a restoration,
on terms, seemed probable, while the Queen herself showed a tendency to
try at any cost to recover the support of the Catholics. In fact
however, she would make up her mind to no decided course. But affairs
in France suggested to her a new scheme which could be played with
indefinitely. In spite of Jarnac, and of another defeat later in the
year at Montcontour, Coligny and the Huguenots remained unvanquished in
1570. In the autumn, there was a fresh pacification, and Coligny became
once more a power at Court as well as in the country. The younger
brother of the young French King, Henry Duke of Anjou, was now old
enough to marry. There had been talk of uniting him to Mary. But if he
were to marry Elizabeth, who was only some seventeen years his senior,
Protestants and Catholics in both countries might make their peace, and
all present a united front to Philip and to Papal aggression--for even
the Cardinal of Lorraine had dallied with the notion of Nationalism in
matters ecclesiastical. Cecil and Walsingham, who had recently come to
the front and now represented England in Paris, were keenly in favour
of the scheme. As for the Queen she probably intended to use it
precisely as she had used all the previous marriage schemes, simply as
an instrument for manipulating foreign courts and her own ministers.

[Sidenote: 1570-71 The Ridolfi plot initiated]

Under these conditions, a new plot was initiated for the liberation of
Mary, her marriage to Norfolk, and the removal of Elizabeth; to be at
last actively if secretly aided by Alva and Philip, on whom the
vehement remonstrances of the Pope were now taking effect--in view of
the threatened alliance between England and France. The agent was one
Ridolfi, who combined cleverness sufficient to deceive even Walsingham
for a time with a garrulity and carelessness which proved ruinous in
the long run. It was fortunate for Elizabeth that of the two necessary
figure-heads for any conspiracy, Mary and Norfolk, one was more than
half-believed even by her own party to be stained by the grossest
crimes, while the other was nerveless and vacillating.

[Sidenote: 1571 April, Parliament]

At this juncture, need of funds made it impossible for Elizabeth to
continue longer without calling a Parliament, which met early in April
(1571). The bulk of the peers were still in sympathy with Catholicism
and the ideas associated therewith; the lower House, always Protestant,
was now more emphatically so than ever. The Puritan element, naturally
enough, had come to regard Catholicism as _prima facie_ evidence
of treason, and was bent on enforcing a more uncompromising conformity,
with a greater severity, than heretofore. The Commons insisted on
discussing religious matters, and ignored the Queen's attempts to
silence them. They gave, what the last parliament had refused, their
sanction to the Thirty-nine Articles. The effect of the Papal
excommunication was seen in an Act making it high Treason to question
the Queen's title, or to call her a heretic, and disqualifying from the
succession any one who laid claim to the crown; they sought even to
make the Act retrospective, which would have forthwith excluded Mary
permanently. They submitted however to some modification of the
original harshness of their intentions; whereby it is probable that not
a few Catholics, who would otherwise have been fatally alienated, did
as matters turned out remain loyal. Finally, a substantial grant of
money was made. The Commons in short were thoroughly at one with Cecil,
now known as Lord Burghley. They were intensely loyal, and showed their
loyalty none the less emphatically because they ignored the Queen's
predilections in the manner of doing it.

[Sidenote: Collapse of Anjou marriage]

At the end of May, Parliament was dissolved. In the meantime, and for some
months longer, the affair of the Anjou marriage was running the usual
course. As mere postponement seemed to become impossible, the old pretended
difficulties by which the Archduke Charles had been finally evaded were
rehabilitated. Anjou must not have even his private Mass. The Queen's
Ministers understood the position, and their one object became the
avoidance of a breach with France. By the exercise of much dexterity, Anjou
was drawn into taking the initiative in breaking off the match in a quite
complimentary manner; and there was even discussion of the substitution for
him of his still younger brother Alençon. France, in fact, at this time was
swaying strongly towards antagonism to Spain, at any price which would
secure English support; the idea of partitioning the Netherlands being part
of the programme. Cecil and Walsingham, believing with reason that an
accident might again turn the balance with the French government, and
painfully distrustful of Elizabeth's endless vacillations, were on
tenterhooks till the amicable conclusion of the Anjou affair.

[Sidenote: Developments of the Ridolfi plot]

They had also been on the alert over the Ridolfi plot. In the spring,
Ridolfi was concocting with Alva designs for an invasion; in the summer he
was in Spain. In the meantime, the capture of an agent, and the liberal use
of spies and of the rack, placed important clues in Burghley's hands. At
this juncture the famous seaman Sir John Hawkins, in collusion with
Burghley, placed himself at the service of Mary and Philip, in the
character of an ill-used and revengeful servant of Elizabeth. Yet it was
only by another accidental capture, and more use of the rack, that
complicity was actually brought home to Norfolk, who was arrested in
September. Norfolk once arrested, traitors and spies soon did what else was
necessary to reveal the whole plot, in which invasion and assassination
were combined. It was no longer possible to account Spain and the Spanish
King as anything but mortal enemies to England and the English Queen. Don
Guerau was ordered to leave the country; his parting move was a plot for
Burghley's assassination, duly detected by spies, Norfolk was convicted for
treason, and condemned to a death which was deferred for some months. Mary
Stewart expected a like fate. Elizabeth however still rejected the extreme
measure. But the _Detectio_ of George Buchanan--in other words a
complete _ex parte_ statement of the case against Mary, including the
contents of the Casket Letters--was published.

[Sidenote: 1572 Parliament and Mary (May)]

The effect was seen when a new Parliament met in May. The people of England
believed with an absolute conviction in the truth of the whole indictment
against the Scots Queen. Nor was there any question that she had appealed
both to France and Spain to liberate her; so far at least she was
implicated in the Ridolfi plot, even if the assassination proposals had not
come within her ken. She was believed to be a criminal, who had forfeited
all right to sympathy and consideration; she was palpably a standing menace
to the internal peace of the realm, a standing incitement to its enemies
abroad. The Commons therefore demanded her attainder; as for the technical
right, no sovereign at the time or in the past would have hesitated to
ignore or evade the point. The question was outside the range of
technicalities. The plea that England had no right to detain her, or to
judge her, that she had a right to seek her own release by any available
means, was perfectly sound; the counter-plea that the safety of the State
forbade her release, and her attempts to procure war against it justified
her destruction, was equally unanswerable. But Elizabeth could not resolve
to act upon either plea, ignoring the other. So Mary remained a prisoner,
and the centre of intrigue. Even an alternative Bill, supposed to have
Elizabeth's approval, which merely excluded Mary from the succession, never
reached the statute book.

[Sidenote: Lepanto; April Revolt of the Netherlands]

A notable triumph had recently been achieved for Philip's arms, in the
crushing defeat of the Turks at Lepanto by the combined Venetian and
Spanish fleets commanded by the Spanish King's half-brother, Don John of
Austria. To this perhaps may be attributed the less defiant tone of
communications with Spain. The narrow seas were swarming not only with
English privateering craft, but with Dutchmen commanded by the privateer De
la Marck on behalf of William of Orange, who were habitually succoured in
English harbours. But though these were now ordered to depart, and the
English mariners aboard them were commanded to leave them, there is no
doubt that their privy equipment was deliberately connived at, in the
flattest possible contradiction to the public declarations. At the close of
March, De la Marck's fleet sailed from Dover to fall upon a Spanish convoy;
a few days later, it appeared in the Meuse before Brille. The town promptly
surrendered. The whole of the Netherlands was seething under Alva's savage
rule; trade, already in a fair way to be ruined by the cessation of
commerce with England since the seizure of the treasure ships, was being
throttled also by the system of taxation which Alva had recently
instituted. The capture of Brille fired the train. City after city raised
the standard of revolt. The rebellion which Alva fancied he had utterly
stamped out was suddenly in full blaze once more; and on the south, Mons,
like Brille, was seized by a rapid dash of Lewis of Nassau, operating from
French territory.

[Sidenote: The Alençon marriage]

In the meantime also the Alençon marriage project seemed to be
advancing, and in April a defensive treaty was struck between England
and France, where it appeared that Coligny was paramount at court. Both
English and French volunteers were fighting in the Netherlands. Small
wonder that Burghley and Walsingham believed that a French marriage
would clinch matters, make France a virtually Huguenot Power, and
secure a combination which would bring the Pope and the King of Spain
to their knees. The approaching marriage of the French King's sister,
Margaret, to young Henry of Navarre--now standing next after the King's
brothers in the line of succession--pointed emphatically in the same

Walsingham however also knew that, to achieve the desired end, the
Huguenots must at once have convincing proofs that they could depend on the
English alliance. The marriage, and concerted armed intervention in the
Netherlands, were the conditions. But Alençon [Footnote: He was singularly
ugly, and Elizabeth who had nicknames for many of her Court, used to call
him her "Frog" when he was wooing her, later.] was an incredibly
distasteful husband; and however near Elizabeth might suffer herself to be
brought to the brink of war, she hung back when the time came. There was
very good reason [Footnote: _State Papers: Spanish,_ ii., 338.] for
believing that even now she was secretly negotiating with Alva, and in a
very short time the English and French volunteer contingents in Flushing
[Footnote: _S.P., Foreign,_ x., 491, 530.] were on the verge of
hostilities. The power of the Huguenots was on the surface; fanatics
themselves when their religion was not merely political, they were the
objects of savagely fanatical hatred. The queen-mother, who had always
striven to preserve her own domination by holding the balance between
Guises and Huguenots, saw Charles falling more and more under Coligny's
influence instead of her own. It may be that if she had felt sure of
Elizabeth, she would have gone through with the proposed policy;
distrusting the English Queen she resolved to end it. She made a desperate
and successful attempt to recover her ascendancy over her weak-minded
son. She played upon his terrors, and prepared for one of the most
appalling tragedies in all history.

[Sidenote: Aug. St. Bartholomew]

A plot for the assassination of Coligny failed, the Admiral being but
slightly wounded. Paris was full of Huguenots, who had gathered for the
celebration of Navarre's marriage on August 18th; the attempt on Coligny
led to threatening language against the Guises. Katharine stirred her son
into a sudden panic. The attack on the Admiral had taken place on August
22nd; with the booming of a bell on the early morning of the 24th, St.
Bartholomew's day, the most recklessly devastating mob in the world found
itself let loose on its prey, headed and urged on by the Guises and other
Catholic chiefs. The Huguenots, utterly surprised, were slaughtered from
house to house; with the taste of blood the populace went mad; Paris was a
shambles. How many thousands were massacred in that awful frenzy none can
tell. The tale of the tragedy flew from end to end of France; all over the
country, wherever the Catholics were in a majority, like scenes were
enacted. The total of the victims has been computed as high as a hundred
thousand; a fourth of that number would certainly not be an exaggerated
estimate. In England, all the martyrs for religion in the century did not
amount to a thousand, on both sides; in France, twenty thousand at least
were slain in a few days' orgy of fanaticism. And the new Pope Gregory sang
_Te Deum_ in solemn state; and the morose monarch of Spain laughed
aloud in unwonted glee; but Charles of France, men said, was haunted to the
hour of his death by red visions of that ghastly carnival of blood.



[Sidenote: The Queen's diplomacy]

The picture of Elizabeth and of her surroundings hitherto presented in
these pages has been one which rouses rather a reluctant admiration for
a combination of good fortune and dexterity than a moral enthusiasm.
Statesmen, in fact, had to pick their way with such extreme wariness
through such a labyrinth of intrigues that little play was permitted to
their more generous instincts; and it is undeniable that Elizabeth
herself loved intricate methods, and made it quite unnecessarily
difficult for her ministers to pursue a straightforward course. This is
the aspect of the national life which is inevitably forced on our
attention--the diplomatic aspect in an age when diplomacy was playing
an immense part in public affairs. For England, it might almost be said
that diplomatic methods had been created by Henry VII., maintained by
Wolsey, dropped again for thirty years, and then re-created by
Elizabeth. As Wolsey had played France and the Empire against each
other, to make England the arbiter of Europe, so Elizabeth played
France and Spain against each other, so that neither could afford to go
beyond empty threats against her in her own territory; while both
governments had recalcitrant Protestant subjects who were a good deal
more hampering and disquieting to them than were Elizabeth's Catholic
subjects to her. In Scotland, Elizabeth's policy, like her father's,
was that of maintaining factions which kept the country divided.

Now the persons with whom Elizabeth had to deal were for the most part
perfectly unscrupulous. The Queen-mother in France, the Scots lords,
Philip of Spain, and the Spanish ambassadors with the exception of De
Silva, were as ready to make and ignore promises and professions as was
Elizabeth herself. If they found her fully a match for them at their
own game, we can hardly reproach her if we cannot applaud. But it is
notable that in England, the arch-dissembler is Elizabeth herself. It
is she who manages the undignified but eminently successful trickery of
the marriage negotiations. It is she who evades committing herself
irrevocably to the Huguenots or to the Prince of Orange. It is she who
preserves Mary's restoration as a possibility, to be held _in
terrorem_ over Scotland after publishing her accusers' evidence
against her.

[Sidenote: The Queen's subjects]

But the success of this supreme wiliness, a quality in which perhaps
Elizabeth's one rival was Lethington, was due to the presence in her
ministers and in her people of moral qualities which she did not
herself display. First and foremost was their loyalty to her. They
acted boldly on secret instructions, with entire certainty that they
must take the whole responsibility upon themselves; that to be pardoned
for success was the highest official recognition they could hope for;
that flat repudiation and probable ruin would follow failure. Burghley
in particular repeatedly risked favour to save the Queen from herself,
when her vacillation, calculated or not, was on the verge of being
carried too far; nor was he alone in speaking his mind; yet in spite of
merciless snubs his fidelity was unimpaired; none of her enemies ever
dreamed for an instant that he could be tampered with. Nor did it ever
appear that more than a very few even among the most discontented of
her subjects would lend themselves to open disloyalty. In England,
there were almost none who would have anything to say to the political
assassinations which repeatedly stained the annals of the nations of
the Continent and of Scotland: a peculiarity remarked on in the Spanish

Again, the religious tone and temper of the country were in striking
contrast to those prevailing where the Reformation assumed the
Calvinistic model. In France and in Scotland, Protestants and Catholics
were ready to fly at each other's throats; in England that inclination
was confined to extremists of either party. The bulk of the population
was quite content with conformity to a compromise, and was tolerant of
a very considerable theoretical disagreement, and even of actual
nonconformity, so long as it was not actively aggressive. It was not
till Jesuits on one side, and ultra-puritans on the other, developed an
active propaganda directed against the established order, that there
was any general desire to strike hard at either; nor did even the
puritan parliaments display any violent anti-Catholic animus till
roused by the insult to the nation of the Bull of Deposition.

[Sidenote: Development of Protestantism]

While the characteristically English love of compromise and devotion to
conventions kept the bulk of the population loyal to the established
Forms of religion, acquiescent but not enthusiastic, their normal
conservatism also disposed them more favourably to teachers of the old
than of the innovating school; but other forces were at work, which
encouraged the growth of what may be called the Old Testament spirit of
militant religiosity directed against Rome and all that savoured of
Rome. Stories of the doings of the Inquisition, the enormities
perpetrated by Alva in the Netherlands, the fate of English sailors who
might, not without justice, have been punished for piracy, but were in
fact made to suffer on the ground of heresy, the crowning horror of St.
Bartholomew, appealed luridly to the popular imagination. The country
was threatened with internal discord by the presence of a Catholic
aspirant to the throne, which concentrated the forces of
disorganisation on the Catholic side. Protestantism, thereby at once
extended and intensified, took its colour from the most active and
energetic of the religious teachers, and developed a vehement popular
sympathy with the French Huguenots and the revolting Netherlanders; and
however politicians might evade official entanglement, English
sentiment--at any rate after St. Bartholomew--was always ready to take
arms openly in the Protestant cause.

[Sidenote: Katharine de Medici]

When Katharine and the Guises let the Paris mob loose on the Huguenots,
they had doubtless no intention of perpetrating so vast a slaughter.
They found that it was one thing to cry "Havoc" and quite another to
cry "Halt". When the thing was done, they could not have disavowed it
wholly, even if they would. Katharine however made desperate efforts to
minimise her own responsibility, and to justify what she had done by
charges of treason against the murdered admiral and his associates. She
had in fact meant to cripple the Huguenots by destroying their leaders,
yet to provide a defence sufficiently plausible to prevent a breach
with England. Her object had been to recover her own ascendancy in
France, not to replace Coligny by the Guises. What she succeeded in
doing was to turn France into two hostile camps; since the massacres
had not sufficed to destroy the Huguenot power of offering an organised
defence and defiance. On the other hand Alva was prompt, and Philip as
prompt as his nature permitted, to realise that some capital might be
made out of the revulsion in England against the French Government.

[Sidenote: The aim of Elizabeth]

Walsingham, the English Ambassador in Paris, was a sincere Puritan;
Burghley's sympathies, personal as well as political, were strongly
Protestant. For some time past, both had desired on the mere grounds of
political expediency to bid defiance to Spain and frankly avow the
cause of the Prince of Orange. They believed that England was already
strong enough to face the might of Philip. The moral incentive was now
infinitely stronger. That this would be the generous and the courageous
course was manifest. Now, too, the English people would have adopted it
with a stern enthusiasm worth many ships and many battalions. The
course Elizabeth adopted was less heroic, more selfish, safer for the
interests of England. That sooner or later a duel with Spain was all
but inevitable she must have recognised; but she had seen the power and
wealth of England growing year by year, the stability of the Government
becoming ever more assured; if an immediate collision could be averted,
she calculated that the process would continue, whereas the strain of
repressing and holding down the Netherlanders would tell adversely on
the power of Spain. The longer, therefore, that the struggle could be
staved off, the better.

Fortune favoured her: for the resistance of the Netherlands was very
much more stubborn than could have been anticipated. The Protestant
fervour in her people, aroused by St. Bartholomew, was kept alive and
intensified, as time went on, by other events, and was moreover
concentrated upon animosity to Spain. When the great conflict took
place, sixteen years later, its result was decisive. It cannot be
affirmed with confidence that it would have been so now. From the
prudential point of view, Elizabeth was justified by the event. But it
is at least possible that the victory would have been equally decisive
at the earlier date, and its moral value in that case would undoubtedly
have been greater.

[Sidenote: 1572 England and St. Bartholomew]

At the first moment when intelligence of the massacre at Paris was
brought to England, the Queen as well as her ministers believed that it
was simply the prelude to a Romanist crusade. It was imagined that the
plot had been concocted in collusion with Philip and Alva, the outcome
of the suspected Catholic League of 1565. Instant preparations were
made for war; the musters were called out, the fleet was manned, troops
were raised in readiness to embark for Flushing; and immediate
overtures were made to Mar--the second Regent in Scotland since the
murder of Murray--for handing Mary over to him to be executed. The
popular indignation was expressed in bold and uncompromising terms by
Walsingham in Paris, in answer to the attempts of the French Government
to excuse itself. In England, it was long before the Queen would admit
the French Ambassador to audience; when she did so, her Council was in
presence; all were clad in mourning; Elizabeth spoke in terms of the
most formal frigidity; on her withdrawal, Burghley, speaking for the
Council, expressed their sentiments in very plain language. It is
abundantly clear that the whole nation from the Queen down was grimly
and confidently prepared for war if war should come.

[Sideline: Spain seeks amity]

But war was not to come. Katharine was not in collusion with Philip;
she knew well enough that as things stood, in such an alliance France
would begin in a subordinate position, and success would only
accentuate and render overwhelming the predominance of Spain. Her one
desire was to patch up a reconciliation with England. Alva had no
illusions about a Catholic crusade; he only rejoiced that the danger of
an Anglo-French coalition was scotched; and only desired to make sure
that Elizabeth, left to herself, should not make his task in the
Netherlands more difficult. Therefore he strove strenuously, and with
ultimate success, to impress the same view of affairs on the slowly
moving mind of his master at Madrid, who was at first bitten with the
idea of effecting a Catholic revolution in England and marrying Mary to

So when Mons, with Lewis of Nassau in it, was forced to capitulate,
Alva, by way of contrast to the massacre at Paris, allowed the
Huguenots to march out with the honours of war--ostentatiously
reversing his usual merciless policy: and he pointedly adopted the most
conciliatory attitude towards England.

[Sidenote: 1573]

Elizabeth for her part was ready enough to respond. A renewal of the
commercial relations in the Netherlands was eminently desirable. The
war going on in that country was not to her own taste; politically and
theologically she thought the example of the Netherlanders dangerous--
one of the real reasons which helped to make her hold back from
espousing their cause--and she offered to mediate between Alva and
William of Orange, expressing readiness for her own part to have a
settlement of all the outstanding grievances between Spain and England.
She even went so far as to revive the suggestion of a really
representative Council, for the purpose of arriving at a general
religious settlement---a suggestion so entirely impracticable that it
was quite safe to make it. Also with regard to some of the grievances,
it was tolerably certain that no solution could be offered in which
both the parties would acquiesce. But the fundamental thing, both in
her eyes and in Alva's, was to revive the old status of amity,
officially if also superficially.

[Sidenote: April: A Spanish alliance]

Finally, in spite of the remonstrances of the Pope and the protests of
the English Catholic exiles of the Northern Rebellion, who had found an
asylum in the Netherlands under the aegis of Spain, a provisional
alliance was effected, to last for two years, in April 1573. Spain
deserted the English revolutionary Catholics; Elizabeth recalled the
English volunteers from Flanders; and commerce was restored. There was
a brief lull in the piratical activity of English sailors; and the
French were officially left alone to settle the domestic hostilities
which afforded them a quite sufficient occupation.

[Sidenote: Scotland: End of the Marians]

By this time, too, the last serious struggle of the Marian party in
Scotland was entering on its final stage. There, after Murray's death,
the Hamiltons, joined by Lethington and Kirkcaldy of Grange, refused to
acknowledge the young King, or the authority of the Regency---an office
in which Murray was succeeded first by the incompetent Lennox, and
afterwards by Mar, Lennox being killed in the course of a fight.
Finally Lethington and Grange were shut up in Edinburgh Castle, where
they continued to bid defiance to the Government. When however
overtures were made by England for the delivery of Mary to Mar for
execution, the negotiation broke down on the question of Responsibility.
Mar would not carry out the extreme measure, unless supported by
English troops and by the presence of high English officials. Elizabeth
as usual insisted, in effect, that she must be able to repudiate
complicity. As the fear of a combined Catholic attack melted away, the
English Queen lost her anxiety to be rid of her rival. Mar died; Morton
was nominated to the regency. Then also died John Knox, the last of the
men who had seen the Reformation through from its commencement; grim to
the end.

[Sidenote: The Netherlands, France, and Spain]

When the new year, 1573, came in, Elizabeth, fearing that the Scots
lords might, unless they received something besides vague promises,
turn to France after all, at length acknowledged the Regent and the
King. A compromise was accepted by the Marian lords with the exception
of Lethington and Grange in the Castle. But while these held out, the
conflagration might be renewed at any time. Elizabeth then reluctantly
yielded to the pressure on her from every side. Money, troops, siege-
guns, and Drury in command, were sent in April to the help of Morton.
After a stubborn resistance, the siege artillery proved too much for
the garrison; their outworks were carried, their water-supply cut off,
and they were forced to surrender in the last days of May. Lethington
survived only a few days; rumour had it that he died by his own act.
The craftiest brain in Scotland was stilled but a few months after her
sincerest and fiercest tongue was silenced. With Maitland's death, all
prospect of reconstructing an organised Queen's-party vanished. It was
not many months after these events that Alva, in accordance with his
own wishes, was recalled. Conquest did not mean pacification. Haarlem
after a prolonged and desperate resistance, fell in July, and the
garrison was put to the sword; but there was no hint of yielding on the
part of the Hollanders. When the Spaniards advanced on Alkmaar, they
were threatened with the opening of the dykes.

Hardly less significant of the determination of Orange and his
following never to submit, at whatever cost, is the fact that they were
prepared in the last resort to receive Anjou as their Protector---Anjou,
who was regarded as a ring-leader in the Paris massacre. The same fact
is convincing evidence of the overwhelming antagonism of French and
Spanish political interests. Had the French been capable of arranging
their religious quarrels on the basis of a fairly inclusive compromise,
like that in England, so that the moderates could have worked together,
such a league as Walsingham had hoped for before St. Bartholomew would
have been entirely in the interest both of France and of England. The
advantage of it to France was so obvious that, even after the massacre,
it was possible for the perpetrators to contemplate friendly relations
with foreign Protestants, and for foreign Protestants to regard such
relations as possible. Still it was only in the last resort that the
Anjou scheme could have been embraced, and perhaps it was now
propounded more by way of forcing Elizabeth's hand than for any other
purpose. At any rate the project did not deter Anjou from accepting the
crown of Poland---only to drop it and hurry back to assume the sceptre
of France as Henry III. when King Charles IX. sank to the grave in 1574.

[Sidenote: 1573-74 The Netherlands, Spain, and England]

Requescens, Alva's successor, adopted a comparatively conciliatory
policy. The restoration of the constitutional Government of the States
of the Netherlands was offered, on condition of acceptance of
Catholicism. In the eyes of Elizabeth, who regarded religious
observances as falling entirely to the supreme government to settle,
while she could not understand a conscientious objection to outward
conformity, the refusal of those terms by Orange seemed quite
unreasonable; even Burghley was detached from Walsingham and from those
who, thinking with him, still counted the maintenance of Protestantism,
and as a necessary corollary hostility to Spain, as the first object
which ought to be pursued. This attitude of England, coupled with the
irreconcilable character of French religious animosities, which made
the prospects of effective French interference a mere will-o'-the-wisp,
reduced Orange and his party to a condition verging on desperation.

[Sidenote: 1574 Spain amicable]

Requescens, however, made no haste to crush the stubborn remnant. It
was his policy rather to achieve a _modus vivendi_ in which the
bulk of the Netherlands would concur, and to conciliate England. Alva
before him had realised the true danger of the island-nation's
hostility. As we shall presently see in more detail, the growth of the
English marine had rendered it extremely formidable. Not only had
English rovers for years past been giving unspeakable trouble on the
Spanish Main and the Ocean highways, but the English fleets also
practically controlled the narrow seas: and could make it impossible
for any ordinary convoys, whether of transports, or merchantmen, or
treasure-ships, to pass up-channel. In other words, England could block
the lines of communication between Spain and the Netherlands. Until
Spain should bestir all her might, rise up, and annihilate the English
shipping, Elizabeth must be kept neutral; whereas, if Orange were
pressed too hard, she might be forced even against her will to support
him vigorously, if only to prevent France from doing so single-handed,
and perhaps thereby capturing the Netherlands for herself.

[Sidenote: Reciprocal Concessions; 1575]

So the Spaniard was polite to Elizabeth, Elizabeth was polite to the
Spaniard, and in France the factions fought furiously round Rochelle or
rested in temporary truce. The politeness was carried to very
considerable lengths. Allen's seminary at Douay, where young English
Catholics had been trained to go forth as missionaries and seek
martyrdom in their native land, was ordered to remove itself. The
refugees who had found shelter at Louvain and elsewhere were required
to depart across Philip's borders. Claims on either side for the
seizure of merchandise or treasure were balanced against each other. In
the spring of 1575, Elizabeth fell upon certain anabaptists with
ostentatious severity, by way of demonstrating how narrow after all was
the division between Anglican and Catholic in their fundamental ideas.
Yet there remained one serious difficulty to adjust; one point, or
perhaps we should say two points, on which neither side could or would
give way.

[Sidenote: A Deadlock]

On the soil of Spain the dominating force was the Inquisition. Within
his own dominions, Philip was absolutely committed to the rigid
enforcement of orthodoxy, as understood by the Holy Office. The Holy
Office claimed, and the claim was endorsed by Philip, that its
jurisdiction extended over vessels in Spanish waters, and it was in the
habit of haling English sailors from their ships into its dungeons, as
heretics. In this Elizabeth declined to acquiesce; and Sir Henry Cobham
was sent to Madrid to demand recognition of the English view, and to
propose that resident Ambassadors should again be established, the
Englishman to be privileged--as the Spaniard should be in England--to
enjoy the Services of his own Church. Further, inasmuch as fortune had
so far smiled upon Orange of late that Leyden had triumphantly resisted
a determined siege, Elizabeth offered friendly mediation; emphasising
the suggestion by a hint that unless Spain could see her way to a
pacification, Orange could now appeal with a prospect of success to
France; and England could not afford to decline the preferable
alternative of an appeal to herself.

On Spanish soil, however, Catholic zealotry was too strong. Alva would
fain have made diplomatic concessions, which could be revoked when
convenient; Philip was dominated by the extremists, who were
scandalised by the presence of a heretic envoy, who in his turn was
furious at being called a heretic. The proffered mediation was
declined; Philip flatly refused to concede religious privileges to an
Ambassador, suggesting only that the difficulty could be got over by
sending a Catholic; as to the action of the Inquisition, he was pledged
not to interfere.

[Sidenote: 1576 Attitude of the Nation]

With this message Cobham returned, to find that the revolted States
were on their part offering the sovereignty of the Provinces to
Elizabeth. Walsingham and his allies were supporting the proposal, and
under present conditions Burghley too inclined to it. Elizabeth,
confident that Spain would not declare war, was ready to carry what we
can only call bluff to the extreme limit, though she scolded her
Council with energy. The Spaniards took the opportunity to render the
Council most effective support, by seizing the crew of another English
ship. Elizabeth sent warnings or threats to Requescens; and in February
(1576), Parliament was summoned to vote supplies; which it did without
hesitation. If the action of Parliament was any sort of index to
popular sentiment, the idea that there was any widespread or deep-
rooted feeling in the country against a war of religion is certainly
fallacious; while there can be no question that the entire sea-going
population--which had attracted into its ranks all that was most
adventurous, most daring, most energetic, and most capable in the
country--was heart and soul hostile to Spain. How much of that feeling
was due to enthusiastic Protestantism, and how much to the fact that
men hankered after the Spanish El Dorado may be matter of debate; but
that the feeling was there is patent. That the attitude of Parliament
was not due to any subserviency is emphasised by the open attack in
this session on the granting of Monopolies to the Queen's favourites,
which sent Wentworth who made it to the Star-Chamber--and found for him
early and popular pardon instead of severe punishment.

[Sidenote: The Queen evades war]

Evidently, the force which did really operate against war was the Queen
herself. From beginning to end of her reign, she never entered upon any
war at all, so long as any possible means could be found for evading it
without surrendering some right or claim vital in her eyes either to
the nation's interests or her own. On such points she was never
prepared to yield: in the last resort she would fight, but at the same
time make the most of her reluctance, and relieve her feelings by
roundly rating her ministers. Yet repeatedly she went as far as it was
possible to go without actually declaring war, relying securely on the
certainty that the irrevocable step would not be taken by the other

Book of the day: