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England Under the Tudors by Arthur D. Innes

Part 7 out of 9

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party, and that she could find some plausible though perhaps
undignified excuse for not taking it herself.

So it was now. So long as France could be deterred from espousing the
cause of Orange, she saw no necessity for her own intervention. If the
Inquisition maltreated some of her sailors, others might be relied on
to effect reprisals and to collect compensation, on their own
responsibility, without her actually applying the grievance as a
_casus belli_: it could always be employed to that end, if
occasion should arise. Requescens died suddenly, a few days before the
prorogation of the English Parliament in March. Elizabeth dismissed the
States' envoys, refused all assistance, and threatened open hostility
if they appealed to France. The Spanish arms were prospering again, and
as the summer advanced, Orange was reduced to such straits that he
seriously contemplated a wholesale emigration to the New World, from
the two States which remained stubborn, Holland and Zeeland.

[Sidenote: 1575-76 The Huguenots and Alençon]

The involved state of French parties probably accounts for Elizabeth's
action. Since the death of Charles IX., the middle party or
_Politiques_ had been revived, and with this, for some time, both
Henry of Navarre and Alençon--now heir presumptive to the French
throne--were associated. In the autumn of 1575 however Alençon betook
himself to the Huguenots at Dreux. Being thus openly supported by the
heir presumptive, the Huguenot position was considerably strengthened.
Once more the English Queen resolved to employ matrimonial negotiations,
as a means for keeping others inactive and evading action herself. The
idea that she should marry Alençon was revived, and found favour at
least with the Politiques. The French King approved. In May 1576, a
peace was patched up which promised to give neither party undue
ascendancy. The great danger of the winter months--that Alençon and the
Huguenots would make common cause with the Netherlanders--had passed;
and Elizabeth thought she could now afford to decline both the marriage
and the entreaties of the revolted States.

[Sidenote: 1576 The States and Don John]

But the impending collapse of the Hollanders was averted. Before a
successor to Requescens arrived, the Spanish troops, whose pay was
heavily in arrear, mutinied, took the law into their own hands,
pillaged in the States which had submitted, and finally perpetrated the
sack of Antwerp, known as "the Spanish Fury," when some thousands of
the inhabitants were wantonly slaughtered. The result was that the
States General, meeting at Ghent, were so alarmed and angered that all
the Provinces again united and by the Pacification of Ghent, resolved
unanimously to demand the total withdrawal of the Spanish troops before
they would admit the new Governor, Don John of Austria, Philip's
illegitimate brother, the victor of Lepanto. Vehemently Catholic as
were the Southern Provinces, they were even ready to demand freedom of
worship for the Protestants, for the sake of political unity in the
face of the Spaniard.

[Sidenote: Attitude of Elizabeth]

Don John's military reputation stood exceedingly high; he was known to
entertain very ambitious ideas; his brother was gloomily jealous of him.
It was more than suspected that in his own mind Don John wished to
invade England, raise the Catholics, marry Mary, set her on the throne,
and from that vantage ground secure the erection of the Netherlands
into a separate kingdom for himself. It was Elizabeth's policy to
retain the good-will of Philip, who would certainly hold Don John in
check, unless she provoked him beyond endurance. Therefore, while she
was ready to lend money but no troops to the States, it was on
condition that they would yield on the question of religion; so that
she could impress upon Philip that while she must support them in the
demands which, after the recent outrages, were obviously reasonable,
her influence was being exerted to make them in turn submit to what she
did and some of them did not consider reasonable terms.

[Sidenote: The Political Kaleidoscope]

When the new year (1577) opened, Don John saw nothing for it but to
accede to the bulk of the States' demands, reserving the question of
freedom of worship for Philip. The Catholic Provinces accepted the
compromise, and the others had to follow suit. The new Governor was
admitted into the Netherlands. Elizabeth sent to Spain a new Ambassador,
Sir John Smith, to demand again that the Inquisition should recognise
the rights of English sailors. Sir John asserted himself with energy;
forced his way into the presence of the Grand Inquisitor, when the two
stormed at each other with picturesque vigour; carried his point with
the King; and, so far as promises went, returned successful towards the
end of the year. In the meantime, the Spanish troops were paid and
withdrawn from the Netherlands: but letters to Spain from Escobeda, Don
John's Secretary, were intercepted, which showed that the Governor
meant after all to reconquer the Provinces, though desiring to postpone
that operation to his schemes in England. Also in the meantime, Alençon
had been won over to the Guises, and there was a danger of France
reviving an aggressively Catholic policy. Once more, circumstances were
forcing Elizabeth towards a Protestant alliance, to counteract the
schemes not so much of Philip as of Don John.

[Sidenote 1: The Archduke Matthias]
[Sidenote 2: 1577-78 Diverse Measures]

Yet fortune again enabled Elizabeth to put off the evil day. The
discovery of Don John's intentions again set the whole of the Provinces
against him, but they were divided on the question of leadership. The
Catholics of the south, disliking the sovereignty of Elizabeth or the
dictatorship of Orange, turned to the Catholic Archduke Matthias,
brother of the Emperor Rudolf. The Archduke favoured the proposal; and
though the English Queen began by promising help in men and money,
before the year was out she had made up her mind that Matthias must
look after his own affairs, and that she could afford to continue an
interested spectator. Nor did her views change materially when, in
January 1578, Don John--having reassembled a number of the recently
withdrawn troops--moved suddenly against the forces of the Southern
States and shattered them at Gemblours (January 29th). She did indeed
send Orange some money, and promised to increase the loan, but declined
to do more. Her public policy, however, had not prevented her from
privately sanctioning, in November 1577, the departure of Francis Drake
on that famous voyage, wherein he circumnavigated the globe, and
incidentally wrought much detriment to Spain. Of that voyage, which
reached its triumphant conclusion almost three years later, in
September 1580, we shall hear more in another chapter.

[Sidenote: 1578 Mendoza]

Since the expulsion of Don Guerau de Espes there had been no regular
Spanish Ambassador in England. Now, in accordance with the arrangements
effected by Sir John Smith, the complete restoration of friendly relations
was to be sealed by accrediting Don Bernardino de Mendoza to England. In
March Mendoza arrived. The English Council was as usual much more inclined
to war than its mistress. But the Ambassador's instructions were entirely
conciliatory. As concerned the Netherlands, Philip could not give way on
the point of allowing religious freedom--for which Elizabeth cared nothing
--but he would concede all the political demands, even to the withdrawal of
Don John in favour of a substitute less dangerous to England.

[Sidenote: Orange and Alençon]

Elizabeth would have been satisfied; but the Protestant provinces were as
resolute as Philip on the religious question. The plan of calling in the
Archduke had collapsed at Gemblours; but the sovereignty of the Netherlands
was still a bait which would tempt Alençon from the Guise alliance; though
no one could tell what he might ultimately do if he were received by the
States, even that desperate remedy was preferable to submission.
Nevertheless, Elizabeth still tried, in despite of her ministers, to force
Orange's hand by the singular process of with-holding the bonds by which
her last loan to him had been effected. Walsingham, who was sent to
overcome Orange's scruples was so disgusted that he thought of giving up
his position; naturally his negotiation was a failure. It was announced
that Orange would wait no longer and that the arrangement with Alençon
would be carried through. Also at this time Don John met with a defeat at
Rymenant, mainly owing to the obstinate valour of a battalion of English
volunteers commanded by Sir John Norreys. For a moment the Queen was
carried away, but immediately reverted to her antagonistic attitude. All
she could be induced to do was at last to issue the bonds. The old trick,
which had so often served her purpose of suspending action, was to do duty
once more. The matrimonial shadow was more alluring to Alençon than the
Netherland bone.

[Sidenote: Sept. Death of Don John]

The persistence of happy accidents--of unforeseen events which saved
Elizabeth from the disasters which her ministers anticipated, giving
her tortuous policy an undeserved success and thereby in the eyes of
some historians discrediting the more honourable and straightforward
courses which Walsingham and Burghley habitually advocated--is one of
the most remarkable features of Elizabeth's reign. Her good fortune did
not desert her now. Don John died suddenly, not without the usual
suspicions of foul play. The peculiar danger of his association with
Mary Stewart, disappeared with his death. No wild schemes were likely
to be conceived or encouraged by his successor Alexander of Parma, one
of the ablest statesmen and probably the ablest soldier of the day.
Moreover about the same time, King Sebastian of Portugal was killed--as
was also the English adventurer Thomas Stukely who had been diverted
from invading Ireland to take part in this affair--in an expedition
against Morocco. Dying without issue, Sebastian was succeeded by his
great-uncle Henry, a cardinal whose Orders precluded the possibility of
his leaving an heir. Philip of Spain therefore was now, through his
mother, claimant to the position of heir apparent. [Footnote Philip
claimed as the son of Isabella, sister of Henry and of John III.,
Sebastian's grandfather. The prior right however really lay with the
daughters of their younger brother Edward, of whom the elder, Katharine,
was married to John of Braganza and the younger, Mary, to Alexander of
Parma. Parma's title was invalidated by Braganza's, and Braganza did
not push his own claim. Don Antonio of Crato who did come forward as a
pretender was himself the illegitimate son of another brother, Luis.
Thus when, later on, Philip claimed the English throne as the lineal
descendant of John of Gaunt, his title, such as it was, was inferior to
that of either Braganza or Parma.] The prospect of this further
accession to his dominions, and increase of his power and resources,
made it more than ever necessary for France to hold aloof from any
alliance with him, in which she must play an entirely subordinate part,
and to court the friendship of England. The stars in their courses
seemed to fight for Elizabeth's policy.

Down to this point the course of events in Ireland does not appear as
materially influencing English policy; and it has seemed better, for
the sake of clearness to defer its history for consecutive treatment.
To this we now turn in the chapter following; after which Irish affairs
will be dealt with in the regular progress of the general narrative.



[Sidenote: 1549-58]

The Deputyship of Bellingham in Ireland, which terminated just before
the fall of Somerset, left the Irish chiefs in a state of angry
discontent. As inaugurating a system of severe but consistent
government, Bellingham's rule might have been valuable; as matters
stood, no doubt he gave the Irish what is commonly called a lesson--
from which nothing was learnt. If the Geraldines--Kildare and Desmond--
of the South, the O'Neills and O'Donnells of the North, the Burkes and
O'Briens in the West, had possessed the slightest capacity for working
in harmony, they might have raised such a revolt as the incapable and
distracted governments of Edward VI. and Mary could not have coped with.
Ormonde however served as a permanent check on the Geraldines, while
the young Kildare had neither the inclination nor the opportunity to
head rebellions: and the great septs were far too ready to turn on each
other for any effective combination. Leix and Offally, the territories
of O'More and O'Connor [Footnote: See p. 201, _ante_.] on the west
of the Pale, were absorbed into it and partially colonised, becoming
King's County and Queen's County; and when Elizabeth ascended the
throne, the extent of the Pale corresponded roughly, though not
accurately, to the Province of Leinster.

[Sidenote: 1558]

In matters ecclesiastical, religion officially swung with the pendulum
in England. Church lands were distributed among the great men under
Edward, and within the Pale the clergy generally conformed after a
fashion, reverting again under Mary. Outside the Pale no great
attention was paid to the orders of the Government. On Elizabeth's
accession, the Act of Uniformity was enforced and some bishops resigned.
But the new Queen had plenty to occupy her in England, and in Ireland
was fain to take the least troublesome course, giving diplomatic sops
to the chiefs and spending as little money as possible: Sussex, who was
Deputy when Mary died, being continued in that office.

[Sidenote: Shan O'Neill]

The policy was destined to prove difficult. The two great chiefs of
Ulster, O'Donnell of Tyrconnel in the West, and O'Neil, created Earl of
Tyrone, in the East, had been more or less successfully conciliated by
the policy of St. Leger. But Tyrone had a numerous progeny, and the
laws of legitimacy were at a discount. The English elected to recognise
as his heir a favourite son, Matthew, who certainly was not legitimate.
But another legitimate son, Shan or Shane, a man of great if erratic
abilities, declined to submit to this arrangement when he grew up.
Matthew was killed in a brawl, leaving a young son to claim the
succession. Thereupon Shan virtually deposed his father, and in
accordance with ancient practice was elected "The O'Neill," head of the
clan which claimed that their chiefs were the old-time Kings of Ulster:
ignoring the choice of the English Government, and scorning the earldom
bestowed by them. Next, no doubt with a view to alliance, Shan married
O'Donnell's sister; but when he found that the minor chiefs were
disposed to attach themselves rather to him than to O'Donnell, he
decided to adopt the policy of breaking his rival in Ulster, as
preferable to alliance with him; and his maltreatment of his wife very
soon resulted in hostilities.

[Sidenote: The Scots of Antrim]

Now in Antrim there was a considerable colony of Scots from the Islands,
whose chief was James M'Connell. Also, a sister of the Earl of Argyle,
curiously referred to in the records as the Countess of Argyle, was the
wife of O'Donnell. The Antrim Scots were supposed to be in alliance
with O'Donnell; whom however Shan's proceedings were now causing to
seek English friendship, whereas the Scots were antagonistic to
Elizabeth, holding that their own Queen Mary had the better title to
the English throne. So Shan got rid of his O'Donnell wife, and married
the sister of James M'Connell by way of cementing a union with the
Scots; but then proceeded to write to Argyle, suggesting that he should
get rid of the M'Connell wife in turn, and that the Countess should be
transferred from O'Donnell to himself, on the assumption that this
would give him an equal hold on the Antrim Scots. Whereby he merely
enraged the Scots and disgusted Argyle. However, a short time
afterwards, Shan raided Tyrconnel's country, and carried off the chief
and his wife; who seems to have been fascinated by her captor, and
willingly became his consort, irregular as the conditions were.
M'Connell was somehow outwardly pacified despite the insult to his
sister; but the bad blood engendered took effect in due time.

[Sidenote: 1560-61 Shan and the Government]

Before the overthrow of Tyrconnel, O'Neill was already becoming a
serious source of alarm to the English. It is the fact that a
considerable number of farmers migrated from the Pale into Ulster,
feeling greater security under the aegis of O'Neill than under English
law; which did little to protect them, while the English soldiery,
badly disciplined and badly maintained, were in effect a serious
element of disorder. O'Neill, cited to appear in England, wrote a
letter to Elizabeth in which he dwelt with some complacency on this
testimony to his own superior government, besides arguing very
conclusively in favour of his own claim to recognition as head of the
O'Neills. But he evaded the journey to London, and made his raid on
Tyrconnel instead.

That exploit made Shan more completely master of Ulster than ever. The
result was that in the summer of 1561, Sussex marched into the Northern
Province. Shan after some preliminary skirmishes surprised his
rearguard, and would have cut his whole force to pieces but for a
desperate rally. When Elizabeth learned what had happened, she made up
her mind that it would be best to concede O'Neill's demands, and induce
him to visit England, while Sussex was actually trying to drive a
bargain for his murder. The plot fell through, but Sussex received some
supplies and was allowed to make another less disastrous expedition
before Kildare was sent to negotiate with O'Neill on the Queen's behalf.
The chief stipulated for complete amnesty, a safe-conduct, and the
payment of his expenses, as a condition of his paying the desired visit.

[Sidenote: 1561-2 Shan in England]

When Shan arrived in London, he made his formal submission, but was
informed that though he had his safe-conduct for return the date when
that return would be permitted lay with the Queen. He must wait for his
rival, young Matthew, to have their claims tried. Meantime Shan, who
seems to have adopted Henry VIII. as his matrimonial model, suggested
that he should be given an English wife, and that he would manage the
government of Ulster admirably in Elizabeth's interests, as soon as he
went back--with the Earldom. But as time went on he learned that
Matthew was being intentionally kept in Ireland. Then another of
O'Neill's kinsmen, Tirlogh, succeeded in murdering Matthew, while Shan
in England was vowing that his great desire was to be instructed in
English ways by Dudley (not yet Earl of Leicester). Now he remarked on
the necessity for his return to keep his kinsmen in order. There was a
good deal of ground for believing that he was in fact the only person
who could rule Ulster: and after four months (April 1562) he was
allowed to return, with promises on his part to be a model ruler and on
the Queen's part a concession of something not far short of sovereignty.

Before the end of the year it was evident enough that Shan's promises
were not intended to be kept. His murder had been plotted; Sussex had
certainly endeavoured to entrap him treacherously; his detention in
England had been technically justified by a distinctly dishonourable
trick. He did not mean to be tricked again, and if there was duplicity
in his conduct the English had set the example. He entered into
correspondence with the Queen's potential enemies on all hands, and
proceeded to suppress every one in the North whose submission to
himself was doubtful.

[Sidenote: 1563 Shan's supremacy recognised]

So in the spring, Sussex made another futile raid, after which
Elizabeth thought it best once more to play at conciliation, and to
adopt the scheme of formally constituting Ulster, Munster and Connaught
into Provinces, with O'Neill as President in the north, Clanricarde
(Burke) or O'Brien in the west, and Desmond or Kildare in the south.
Shan was to be so completely supreme that he was even to be free to
make his own Catholic nominee Archbishop of Armagh. An indubitable
attempt to poison O'Neill gave him a moral advantage, though the
English authorities indignantly repudiated the perpetrator. Shan was
content to allow the affair to be hushed up, and established his own
rule throughout Ulster with a combination of barbarity and real
administrative ability which to students of Indian History recalls the
methods and the ethics of Ranjit Singh or Abdurrhaman. Within the Pale,
the exceedingly corrupt administration of recent years was overhauled
by Sir Nicholas Arnold; who was no respecter of persons, but outside
the Pale regarded the Irish--in his own words--as so many "bears and
bandogs" who were best employed in ravaging and cutting each other's
throats. And in the south, the Butlers and Geraldines carried out that
policy with devastatory results. It is to be noted however that Cecil
found Arnold's views very difficult to stomach. [Footnote: _State
Papers_, _Ireland_, i., p. 252.]

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that in spite of Shan's
peculiar views as to marriage and murder, Ulster under his sway was on
the whole better off than any other part of Ireland.

[Sidenote: 1565]

In 1565 Mary Stewart married Darnley, in pursuit, as we have seen, of
an aggressive policy towards England. In this year, O'Neill was hand in
glove with Sir Thomas Stukely, a gentleman-adventurer of Devon, who
made the harbours of the west coast his base for piratical cruises in
search of treasure-ships. Englishmen at home were devising paper
schemes for an ideal government in the sister island, but something
very different was required if Shan was not to become strong enough to
endanger the very existence of English dominion there. There was
considerable risk that Argyle, in disgust at Elizabeth's double-dealing,
would sink his differences with the Irish Chief, and give him the
active support of the Antrim Scots. Meantime, though Shan himself was
careful to render plausible explanations of his very obvious activity,
Sir Henry Sidney, a man of very different calibre from Sussex, was
appointed to succeed that nobleman in the Deputyship.

[Sidenote: 1566 Sir Henry Sidney Deputy]

Sidney had been in Ireland before and knew the conditions. He said
plain terms that he would not accept office, unless he could have the
troops and the money needed to compel the success of the military
movements of which he foresaw the necessity if order was to be secured.
He required in fact that the Government should possess actually the
sanction of superior force. The experiment of constituting Munster a
Presidency was to be tried, with Ormonde, Desmond, and the other
southern lords as a Council. But before he arrived early in 1566,
Argyle and O'Neill had already made their new pact, and a crisis seemed
to be at hand.

Sidney found the Pale in a state of anarchy, Munster half devastated by
the Ormonde and Desmond feud, and O'Neill supreme in the north.
Summoned to meet Sidney in the Pale, Shan replied in effect that he
knew too much about the traps previously laid for him to run any risks.
Sidney employed Stukely to negotiate. Stukely reported that Shan was
defiant. Sidney wrote urgently both to Leicester and to Cecil that he
mush put O'Neill down and must have money to pay his troops and keep
them paid. The Council were willing enough, but Elizabeth kept the
purse-strings tight. Moreover she was pleased to rate Sidney for
stoutly refusing to settle the Ormonde-Desmond dispute in favour of the
former; the Deputy declaring that the questions between them involved
complicated points of laws which could only be properly dealt with by
lawyers. In April, she sent him half the money he demanded, and
dispatched her kinsman, Knollys, to oversee Sidney. Knollys, who was
given to speaking his mind, promptly told her that Sidney was entirely
in the right and ought to have a free hand. An immediate aggressive
campaign against Shan was necessary, especially as the chief was now in
correspondence with Charles IX. of France. This was at the time when a
general suspicion was prevalent that a universal Catholic League for
the destruction of Protestantism was being formed; and Shan wrote as an
enthusiastic Catholic.

[Sidenote: 1567 End of O'Neill]

Under extreme pressure then, Elizabeth at last increased the supplies.
Unluckily for O'Neill, Argyle's friendship was cooling under pressure
from Murray, and the Antrim M'Connells, in spite of recent marriages,
did not forget the old feud: while Desmond, encouraged by Sidney's
attitude, was deaf to his appeals. Sidney swept Ulster, establishing a
strong garrison in a new and well-chosen fort which in course of time
developed into Londonderry, and restored Tyrconnel in the north-west.
Sidney himself was seriously hampered by constant reproofs from
Elizabeth; but O'Neill was now grievously harassed by the O'Donnells on
one side, the M'Connells on another, and by the garrison at Derry.
Renewed attempts to obtain aid from the Guises, in February (1567),
failed; and though Derry had to be abandoned owing to an outbreak of
plague, the death of the commandant, and a fire which destroyed the
buildings, O'Neill's fate was already sealed. He marched to meet an
incursion of the O'Donnells, but was completely overthrown, and had to
flee for his life to seek the ambiguous hospitality of the M'Connells
of Antrim; who received him for the sake of subsisting relationships.
But the situation was too volcanic. Insults passed over the wine-cup,
knives were drawn, and O'Neill was slaughtered. So perished the most
formidable challenger of the English rule who had appeared in Ireland;
for his one predecessor of equal ability, the old Kildare, had never
schemed for the creation of an independent Nation.

The death of O'Neill was followed by a brief period of rest from
perpetual warfare: but the peace was not to last for long.

[Sidenote: Irish Catholicism in politics]

From the days of Elizabeth until now the antagonism of the Irish to
protestantism has been one of the two great sources of disaffection. As
the English power extended, efforts were made to carry out beyond the
Pale the principles of the Act of Uniformity, and the cause of
Rebellion became more and more identified with the cause of Catholicism.
Before the fall of Shan, Queen and Deputies had been disposed to shut
their eyes to the open disregard of the Act all over the country. Now,
recalcitrant chiefs began to make the preservation of religion the
ground of appeal for foreign assistance to cast off the yoke of England.
Curiously, however, neither they nor the Catholic clergy grasped the
political situation. Irish nationality, _per se_, was profoundly
uninteresting to foreign potentates. In England, Scotland, and Ireland,
the cause of Catholicism was the cause of Mary Stewart. Unless in
support of her, it was impracticable for either France or Spain to move
against Elizabeth. The murder of Darnley, three months before O'Neill's
fall, destroyed the Queen of Scots' chances, but only for a time. Shan
himself had been acute enough to seek Mary's friendship; but now the
disaffected prelates and chiefs will be found hoping vainly to place
themselves under the dominion of a foreign power, in preference even to
a Catholicised English supremacy. Any such scheme would have destroyed
the relations between the English Catholics and their friends abroad.

Of the second great disturbing factor, the Land, we have hitherto heard
little; but now was about to commence the era of attempts at forcibly
establishing an English landed proprietary, displacing the native
owners; on the hypothesis that they would be able to keep the
population in subjection.

[Sidenote: 1568 The Colonisation of Munster]

The first schemes would probably have been beneficial had they been
practicable, as they involved nothing in the shape of forfeiture. But
they would have been costly, while offering no temptations to
Adventurers. In 1568 a scheme was devised which tempted the Adventurers,
made little demand on the exchequer--Elizabeth always argued that
Ireland ought to pay for itself--but involved forfeitures on a large

Desmond, who had declined alliance with O'Neill, was summoned to answer
charges of treason. He surrendered at once, and was sent to London.
Then he tried to escape, and was only allowed to purchase freedom from
close imprisonment or worse by surrendering all his lands to the Queen
to receive back so much as she chose to grant. A group of Devonshire
gentlemen proposed that the titles of other landowners in Munster
should be investigated, and that all the lands held under
unsatisfactory titles should be handed over to themselves. They would
occupy and rule at their own charges, and compel complete submission by
the strong hand; a process by which it is quite evident that they
intended practical extermination of the Irish. The business was started
on Desmond lands; but it was carried to a dangerous point when Sir
Peter Carew took possession of Butler property--seeing that the loyalty
of the Ormonde connexion was the one source of Irish support which had
never been even suspected of failing. There were massacres and
reprisals; but fortunately when the other Munster chiefs took the
opportunity to petition Philip of Spain to come and take possession,
the Butlers still stood firmly to their allegiance.

[Sidenote: 1569 Insurrection in Munster]

An insurrection was headed in 1569 by Fitzmaurice (Desmond's brother);
some of the English households were wiped out. The O'Neills in Ulster
and the Burkes in Connaught rose. Ormonde declared plainly that if the
colonising policy were carried on it would be impossible for him to
support the government. Sidney ravaged Munster, and left Sir Humphrey
Gilbert in command behind him for a time: but the actual scheme was
dropped. There is no evading the fact that the English, who could wax
hot enough over the cruelties of Spaniards in America or in Holland,
did without compunction or any sense of inconsistency regard the Irish
not even as mere human savages but as wild beasts. And many of these
were men who in any other circumstances were capable of displaying an
admirable chivalry and a heroic valour. Gilbert was a man full of noble
ideals, learned, pious, cultivated, valiant, kindly; but if there was a
chance of killing an Irish man, woman, or child, he took it.

[Sidenote: Ireland and Philip II.]

In England, 1569 was the year of the Northern rebellion. France was
viewing the Scots Queen's pretensions with increasing lukewarmness, and
Philip was regarding her with corresponding favour. The Ridolfi plot
was developing in 1570 and 1571. In brief, at this period Philip's
disposition towards Elizabeth was becoming definitely, though not
avowedly, hostile instead of--as hitherto on the whole--friendly. Yet
he would not accept the Irish invitation to intervene. But he received
at Madrid, and treated with great favour, the very remarkable
adventurer Thomas Stukely, already mentioned as a piratical ally of
Shan O'Neill's. Stukely had been sent over to England to answer for his
miscellaneous misdeeds; but was--perhaps intentionally--allowed to
escape to Spain; where he represented himself as an enthusiastic
Catholic, and the most influential man in Ireland, and bragged hugely
of the coming conquest of that country, of which he was to become in
some sort the Prince, with the assistance of Spain. The entertainment
of Stukely however summed up all that Philip was prepared to do for
Ireland. By September 1572 he was again seeking Elizabeth's amity.

[Sidenote: Experimental Presidencies]

In the meantime, the experiment of constituting Connaught a Presidency
had been tried and failed ignominiously. The curse of the English
Government--a soldiery whose pay was permanently and hugely in arrear,
who were constantly on the verge of mutiny, and lived virtually by
pillage--remained unabated; and Sidney, having tried vigorous
government first and then, lacking the means to maintain it properly,
extirpation as an alternative, but still without success, clamoured to
be recalled, and at last got his wish.

Desmond was still detained in England, but the Geraldines in Munster
had not been crushed either by Sidney or by Gilbert. Despite the
failure in Connaught, the Presidency plan was tried in the southern
province, Sir John Perrot being appointed thereto. Perrot blew up
strongholds, captured and hanged some hundreds of the population, but
could not lay hold of the chiefs or bring the country into subjection.
In 1572, Fitzmaurice made his way to Ulster, gathered a force of Scots,
and came down the Shannon. The President got his chance of a fight, and
shattered the force: but Elizabeth was dissatisfied with the results of
an unwonted if still inadequate expenditure, and declared that the
whole experiment was too costly. A general amnesty and the withdrawal
of Perrot ended it.

[Sidenote: 1573 Essex (the elder) in Ulster]

Yet experiments continued to be the order of the day. The one expedient
not attempted was a government supported by obviously efficient
physical force, but aiming at the prosperity of the people, and not
running violently counter to the customs and the prejudices of
centuries. Another inefficient colony was started in Ulster, which only
excited popular animosity; Desmond was at last in 1573 allowed to
return to Munster with many promises on his part, from which, like
O'Neill before him, he considered himself absolved by a breach of faith
towards him. Finally Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, was allowed to try
the biggest and perhaps the most disastrous of the whole series of
experiments; being virtually granted authority to invade Ulster with a
free hand to make laws and generally to do what seemed to him good
there--all at his own cost--save only for some provisions safe-guarding
the royal prerogative. He went with excellent intentions, romantic
ideals, a respectable force, and a sublime ignorance of facts. The
Irishmen, mindful of the Munster colonisation, tricked him with an
apparently warm welcome at Carrickfergus, permitted him to congratulate
himself on roseate prospects, and then at one swoop cleared the
district of provisions. They professed to owe allegiance to the Queen,
but repudiated the claims of a private adventurer. His own troops were
volunteers, with no mind for hardships and no prospects of plunder. In
three months he found his dreams hopelessly dissipated, and himself
almost deserted, with no remotest chance of carrying out the Utopian
projects with which he had started.

[Sidenote: 1574]

The volunteer method having failed thus ignominiously, Essex was made
officially Governor of Ulster, and supplied with troops; for the
O'Neills were now threatening, and the Deputy, Fitzwilliam, was
inactive. Tirlogh O'Neill and his kinsman Sir Brian were very promptly
brought to submission. In the south Desmond, between threats and
promises, was persuaded to resume an air of loyalty. Essex however had
learned to adopt the common view of the Irish in its extremest form. By
a ruse which anywhere else he would have counted a piece of the
blackest treachery, he seized Sir Brian and his wife and cut up their
following when they were actually his own guests; and followed up the
performance by a hideous and wanton massacre of women and children and
decrepit men at Rathlin off the Antrim Coast; of which things he wrote
with a perfect complacency, and for which he was highly applauded.
Thereafter he returned to England.

[Sidenote: 1576 Sidney's second Deputyship]

Once more, Sidney was persuaded to accept the Deputyship. It is
probable that his honest desire was to govern firmly and justly,
although, when denied the means for steady rule he had fallen back on
extirpation. At any rate the Irish themselves, genuinely or not, hailed
his return with apparent enthusiasm. The chiefs hoped that after so
many experiments had collapsed, the pristine plan of making them
responsible for their own districts and leaving them alone might be
tried again. But no English statesman could divest himself of the idea
that no government was worth having unless it was conducted by English
methods. Sidney insisted on reconstituting the Presidencies of
Connaught and Munster, Malby taking charge of the former and Drury of
the latter. Naturally enough, and with plenty of excuse, they set about
hangings on an extensive scale, and where they met with resistance gave
no quarter. English methods, as usual in Ireland, promptly degenerated
into massacre and devastation. Sidney left the country again two years
after he had returned to it--and left it as ripe for rebellion as it
had ever been.

And the omens abroad were dangerous. For the Jesuit Sanders was seeking
to stir up a Catholic crusade, Stukely was in high favour at Madrid,
and the ablest of the Geraldines, James Fitzmaurice, was in Spain.
Moreover Philip's indisposition to interfere was on the verge of being
seriously disturbed by Drake's great expedition, which had sailed from
England in 1577.



[Sidenote: Union of Utrecht 1579]

The presence of Alexander of Parma in the Netherlands soon resulted in
a definite division between the seven northern and the ten southern
States. The latter, Catholic themselves, were not inclined to hold out
for religious liberty. The rest, being Protestant, and realising that,
while William of Orange lived, two at least, Holland and Zealand, would
hold out to the very death, resolved to stand together; combining,
under the title of the United Provinces, in the Union of Utrecht at the
beginning of 1579. Their strength lay in their command of the estuaries
of the Scheldt and the Meuse.

[Sidenote: 1578 The Matrimonial juggle]

Elizabeth's great object now was to keep Alençon (otherwise known as
Anjou, the title held by Henry III. before he ascended the throne; also
very commonly as "Monsieur") dancing in obedience to her manipulation
of the wires. In this, as in all the previous matrimonial negotiations,
not one of her ministers seems ever to have grasped her policy; the
policy, that is, which modern historians attribute to her: a policy of
which the successful issue really depended on its never being
suspected; which was possible only to one who was entire mistress of
all arts of dissimulation; which did in fact succeed completely every
time she applied it; a policy however of which no statesman could have
dared to recommend the risk. This was, in brief, to make the whole
world including her ministers believe that she really intended to marry,
to keep that conviction alive over a protracted period of time, and yet
to secure a loop-hole for escape at the last moment. She had played the
farce for years with the Archduke Charles; she had played it with Henry
of Anjou; she had already played it with Alençon once; yet every time
she started it afresh, potentates and ambassadors, her own ministers,
and the wooer she selected, took the thing seriously, played into her
hands, and were cajoled by her boundless histrionic ingenuity. Either
she treated the world to a series of successful impositions, carried
through, unaided and unsuspected, with the supreme audacity and skill
of a consummate _comedienne;_ or she was a contemptibly capricious
woman whose inordinate vacillations invariably took the turn which
after-events proved to have been the luckiest possible in the
circumstances. Of these two interpretations, the theory of a deliberate
policy is the more acceptable, if only because it is inconceivable that
the habitual indulgence of sheer wanton caprice should never once have
involved her in some irrevocable blunder, some position from which she
could not be extricated. Yet history affords no parallel to such
repeatedly and universally successful dissimulation.

[Sidenote: Alençon's wooing]

The comedy had fairly begun three months before Don John's death. In
response, as it would seem, to a private invitation, Alençon's envoys
came over at the end of July to propose the marriage. Monsieur wanted
the affair settled at once, as he must decide whether he was going to
help Orange or Don John. After a little formal procrastination,
Elizabeth had her answer ready. She was quite prepared to receive him
as a suitor though somewhat hurt by his conduct before; still she could
not promise to marry any man till they had met, and could really feel
sure that they would be happily mated. He had better come over and see

Alençon did not want to come over and see her; but his alternative plan,
of taking part with Don John, was opportunely spoilt by the Governor's
death, coupled with the new Spanish prospects opened up by the death of
the Portuguese King. An alliance with Parma under these conditions was
not at all the same thing for the French prince as an alliance with the
ambitious and somewhat Quixotic schemer who was now dead. Elizabeth,
thus strengthened, added a new condition, that he must withdraw for the
present from the Netherlands. He could hardly, under the circumstances,
support Orange against her will, and he obeyed her behest. Then she
consented to receive another representative on his behalf, but held to
her declaration that she would settle nothing till she had met Monsieur
himself in person.

[Sidenote: 1579 Popular hostility]

At the beginning of the year (1579) Alençon's emissary Simier arrived.
In England however practically every one--except apparently the Queen
herself--was opposed to the marriage. The traditional animosity to
France was strong, and had been intensified by the Paris massacre. The
French Huguenots, for whom there was some sympathy, had no confidence
in Alençon. The more unpopular the marriage showed itself, the more the
Queen seemed to incline to it--since the more reasonably she could also
insist to him on the necessity of delay, that her people might first be
reconciled to it. Yet however much the Council might dislike it, they
now felt bound to advise that Monsieur should be allowed to pay his
visit. In August he arrived, and she could no longer urge the plea that
she had not seen him. Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador, thought she
would marry him, that a civil war would follow, and the end would be
the return of England to Catholicism. On the whole Mendoza was not ill

[Sidenote: Loyalty to the Queen]

Now however capricious and apparently irrational the conduct of the
Queen might be, however her ministers might resent it, condemn it,
bewail it to each other, and remonstrate with her, they remained always
obstinately loyal. We may cynically attribute the fact to their
consciousness that if they deserted her their doom under her rival
would be sealed. Were that the true interpretation--were they really
guided merely by a more or less enlightened self-interest--it is rather
natural to suppose that some of them would have played a double game
and secured friends in the other camp, like the Whig and Tory statesmen
of the early eighteenth century; that they would have managed their own
affairs so that they could change sides. None of them ever did anything
of the kind. Whatever the Queen did, they held to their own views,
advocated them stubbornly, but obeyed their mistress, even when they
thought her caprices were on the verge of bringing them all to ruin.
And yet they never seem to have fully realised the extent to which
their own loyalty was shared by the people at large. Men may surrender
themselves to such a sentiment, without venturing to count upon its
influence on others. But Elizabeth reckoned on it in ministers and
people alike; and her calculation was invariably justified.

[Sidenote: Yea and Nay]

So it was in this instance. What might have happened if she really had
married Alençon can only be guessed. Short of that, popular loyalty was
equal to the strain. A passionate pamphlet against the marriage was
issued by a lawyer named Stubbs. The Council, confident in the real
strength of the country, urged her to take the bold attitude, place
herself frankly at the head of European protestantism, and take
measures at home to make a Catholic rising impossible. They could see
no alternative but the marriage. She stormed at them, burst into tears,
vowed that she had expected them all to declare that the marriage would
be the fulfilment of all their hopes. They replied that since she would
have it so they would do their best to make the marriage acceptable.
She had Stubbs and his publisher pilloried, and their right hands
struck off--on the strength of a most iniquitous misinterpretation of a
law of Queen Mary's. The victims waved their caps with the hand that
was left and cried "God save the Queen". The marriage treaty was drawn
up (November) but a couple of months were to pass before its
ratification, to quiet the public mind. When the two months were over
it was still unratified, and the whole negotiation was treated as
having lapsed. Burghley at the end of January (1580) was falling back
on the leadership of Protestantism as the only alternative to adopt,
since France must be regarded as hopelessly alienated.

[Sidenote: The Papal plan of Campaign]

In the meantime the Papal plan of campaign against England--a plan
which appears to have been matured early in 1579--was well under way.
The Pope himself could not, and Philip of Spain would not, prepare
Armadas to bring the recusant island back to the Roman submission. But
there were other means to be tried than Armadas. Setting aside schemes
for assassination, there was trouble to be made for Elizabeth in
Ireland, trouble in Scotland, and trouble in England itself. Ireland
was ripe for rebellion; a Catholic faction might be reorganised in
Scotland; missionary zeal and martyrs' crowns might still revolutionise
sentiment in England. The triple attack was resolved on--war in Ireland,
diplomacy in Scotland, in England Seminarists from Rheims (whither
Allen's Douay college had migrated some years before) and Jesuits from

In Ireland we have already seen the scheme taking shape, but scotched
for the time by Stukely's diversion to Morocco and his death there, in
1578. In the following summer however, an expedition landed in Kerry,
with Sanders as Papal Nuncio, and half the island was soon in a blaze.
There, for some little time, such of the wilder spirits of English
youth as were not occupied with ventures on the high seas were to find
ample employment: and though Philip would not make open war, Philip's
subjects were not restrained from seeking to pay back the blows which
Drake had been dealing to Spain on the other side of the ocean--the
report whereof had already found its way to Europe. In Scotland, the
autumn was not far advanced when young Esmé Stewart, Count D'Aubigny,
of the House of Lennox, James's cousin, arrived in Scotland to win his
way into the boy-king's favour and plot the overthrow of Morton and of
the Preachers. In the summer of 1580, Campian and Parsons began to
deliver their message to the Catholics of England.

[Sidenote: 1580 Philip annexes Portugal]

In this same summer, the Cardinal-King of Portugal, Sebastian's
successor, died. Philip's opportunity for annexation had arrived, and
he seized it, expelling with little difficulty another claimant, Don
Antonio, prior of Crato, the bastard son of the Cardinal's brother
Luis; who however for the next ten years hovers through English
politics as a pretender to be supported or dropped at convenience; used
as a menace to Philip, much as the enemies of Henry VII. had used
Perkin Warbeck. Then, in September, the great English seaman was back
on English shores, in the ship that had sailed round the world--back
with the spoils of Spain on board.

With this impression in our minds of the leading features of the year
1580, we can turn first to the detailed record of events in Ireland.

[Sidenote: Ireland: 1579 The Desmond rising]

The Expedition which landed in July at Dingle on the furthest south-
west coast was small enough; but it brought with it Sanders the
accredited representative of the Pope, and Fitzmaurice, cousin of
Desmond. It appealed therefore at once to the Catholics at large and
the Geraldine connexion in particular. There was no strong or united
English force in the country; it was the custom of Elizabeth to provide
her officers with the very minimum of equipment. Desmond at first
hesitated; but his brother seized an early opportunity to commit him by
treacherously murdering two English officers and their servants. Half
Munster was up in arms at once, and the new arrivals made haste to
fortify Smerwick, in the neighbourhood of Dingle where they had landed.
It was expected and declared that reinforcements from Spain would soon
be forth-coming. Malby, the President of Connaught, acted with
promptitude and energy, marching south with his own troops and some of
the Burkes who were at feud with the Geraldines. Fortune favoured them;
Fitzmaurice was slain almost at the outset, and the Papal standard
captured and sent off to Dublin. Desmond with his immediate following,
who had not taken part in the engagement, fell back on Ashketyn, near
Limerick; the rest of the insurgents retired on Smerwick. Drury however,
advancing from Cork, was less fortunate, his troops being attacked by
the Irish and very severely handled, so that he was forced to retreat.
He died soon after.

The vigorous Malby assumed control of the Presidency, marched through
Desmond's country dealing miscellaneous slaughter and destruction,
burnt the town at Ashketyn since the castle could not be carried
without cannon, and then went his way into Connaught. When Malby was
gone, Desmond sallied forth, marched quietly south to Youghal where
there was an English colony, sacked it, put the English to the sword,
and burnt the place. Thence, with increasing musters, he marched upon
Cork, which however he abstained from attacking. In January the
insurgents were encouraged by the arrival of some military stores from
abroad, with promises of further assistance in response to messages
from Desmond to the King of Spain.

[Sidenote: 1580 Fire and Sword]

Meantime, neither Malby at Athlone nor Pelham in Dublin had sufficient
troops to take the field in force. Ormonde, dispatched from England to
take the chief command, had neither money nor material allowed him to
take the offensive. It was not till March that the Queen was induced to
send the urgently needed reinforcements, and Admiral Wynter with a
squadron of ships arrived at the mouth of the Shannon. Ormonde from
Kilkenny in the Butler country, and Pelham from Dublin, marched in two
columns converging on Tralee, burning and slaughtering mercilessly
along the route, sparing none. Then they turned on Carrickfoyle,
impregnable without artillery, but easily breached by the heavy guns
landed from Wynter's ships. The garrison was put to the sword. Desmond
at Ashketyn, having no mind for a like fate, withdrew from it, blowing
up the castle behind him. But Elizabeth stopped the supplies; the
English were again forced to inaction, and parties of insurgents went
marauding over Cork and Kerry, taking their turn of murdering. In June
the purse-strings were loosened again; Pelham marched into Kerry, and
only just failed to surprise Desmond and his people, with Sanders, in
their beds. They escaped however, and Pelham went on to Dingle. Ormonde,
making his way to the same point, added considerably to the tale of
burnings and slaughterings. This loyal earl in 1580 accounted for
"forty-six captains and leaders, with eight notorious traitors and
male-factors, and four thousand other folk". [Footnote: _Carew

[Sidenote: Development of the Rebellion]

The people in despair were beginning to turn against Sanders and the
Geraldines, though persistently loyal to Desmond himself. But a
diversion was created by a rising of the Catholics of the Pale. Lord
Grey de Wilton had just arrived in Dublin as Deputy. He marched against
the rebels, but the greater part of his force was ambushed and cut to
pieces in the Wicklow mountains. And on the top of this disaster, the
long delayed foreign expedition landed at Dingle--Wynter having
withdrawn--and Smerwick was re-occupied by a force mainly consisting of
eight hundred Italian and Spanish adventurers. The rebellion seemed to
be reviving everywhere. Ormonde, again marching into Kerry with four
thousand men, accomplished nothing. But the murderous work of the
summer had had effect, and the septs would not openly take the field
without immediate cash inducements, which were lacking.

[Sidenote: Smerwick: and after]

In October Grey made a fresh start and marched down from Dublin to
Kerry: in the first week of November, Wynter's fleet reappeared, having
been held back by stress of weather with the exception of one vessel
which had been lying off Smerwick for three weeks. The siege now was
brief enough. On the 9th, the garrison, after a vain attempt to obtain
terms, surrendered at discretion. The officers were put to ransom; the
rest were slaughtered; even women were hanged. The dead numbered 600.
Grey doubtless regarded the measure as a just return for the doings of
the Inquisition, and the punishment of English sailors as pirates, for
his retort to the garrison's overtures had been that their presence in
Ireland was piracy. But the whole business illustrates the sheer
ruthlessness which characterised both sides, at least where there was a
technical excuse for denying belligerents' rights to the vanquished.

It was no longer possible for the rebellion to make head; but for the
next two years a guerrilla warfare was kept up, in which English and
Irish killed each other without compunction whenever anything in the
shape of an excuse offered itself. Most of the English honestly
believed that the only practicable policy was one of extermination, and
the Irish retaliated in kind. There is nothing so ugly as this history
in the annals of a people which, outside of Ireland, has shown a unique
capacity for tempering conquest with justice. The very men whose blood
boiled, honestly enough, over cruelties to the Indians, adopted to the
Irish the precise attitude of mind which so horrified them in the
Spaniards. Elizabeth herself, Burghley, Walsingham, and Ormonde, were
opposed to the extermination policy; but the bloodshed went on,
unsystematically instead of systematically. Sanders, wandering a hunted
fugitive, died in a bog. It was not till 1583 that Desmond himself was
surprised and slain in his bed. In the meantime, there had been no
variation in the story. But the exhaustion of ceaseless slaughters and
ceaseless famines had practically terminated the struggle. Sir John
Perrot, who became Deputy in 1584, could adopt a conciliatory attitude,
without fear that his leniency would be immediately abused--though it
led to his recall and condemnation for treason [Footnote: This sentence
however was not carried out. It is perhaps worth noting that Sir John
was reputed to be a natural son of Henry VIII.] three years later.

[Sidenote: Scotland, 1579-81]

The diplomatic campaign in Scotland need not detain us long. Morton as
Regent governed that country with a strong hand, and at least held down
its normal turbulence: but while his forcefulness was recognised, he
went his own way, quite regardless of the enemies he made. Despite his
religious professions, he treated the preachers with scant courtesy,
and was unpopular with all parties. D'Aubigny on his arrival promptly
found his way into the young King's good graces, was made Duke of
Lennox very shortly, and set himself to conciliate the Puritans by
professing to have been converted from Popery by James's dialectical
skill. In England, there was no doubt that he was an agent in the papal
programme, and Walsingham would have had him removed in the usual
lawless fashion, failing other means. But Elizabeth, as always, was
confident of the practical impossibility of making Scotland united for
any purpose except resistance of an English invasion. She made it
evident that armed intervention from her need not be looked for; and in
December (1580) Lennox (D'Aubigny) struck at Morton by accusing him of
complicity in the murder of Darnley. The agent in this proceeding was
another James Stewart, an adventurer, now Captain of the Guard, who was
shortly after advanced to the Earldom of Arran. Morton was imprisoned,
brought to trial in the following June (1581) and executed. The strong
hand being gone, the usual chaos supervened. For the time the Papal
party was uppermost, but Elizabeth's calculations were correct. The
risk of French intervention was brought nearer, but it was
counterbalanced partly by the bait of the Alençon marriage, which the
Queen managed to keep dangling, partly by the fact that many of the men
who had overthrown Morton were anti-papal, and preferred playing for
their own hand to encouraging a French ascendancy. By the "Raid of
Ruthven" in 1582 James was removed from the influence of Lennox, who
had to leave the country; and in 1583 James Stewart Earl of Arran was
carrying out a policy which was to make the King himself, with Arran at
his elbow, the force predominating alike over preachers and nobles.

[Sidenote: England 1580]

We may now revert to England and Elizabeth in 1580. Throughout the
earlier half of the year, it was as usual the Queen's first object to
commit herself to nothing, but to persuade Orange that she might yet
help him, and Alençon that she might yet marry him. But in July, Philip
was master of Portugal, and the Jesuit campaign was beginning in
England. In September, Orange's patience was worn out, and the crown of
the Netherlands was definitely offered to Alençon; within a few days
Drake and the Pelican were home, and Mendoza was demanding restitution;
and again a few days later Spanish and Italian adventurers were
fortifying themselves at Smerwick.

[Sidenote: The Jesuit Mission]

The Papal Bull of Deposition ten years before had stiffened the
attitude of Government towards the English Catholics, but had neither
broken down the loyalty of the latter nor led to any serious
persecution. On this head, the mission of 1580 was the turning point of
the reign. The moving spirit was Allen, of Douay and Rheims; a man of
high ability and character who conceived that the recovery of his
country for the true Church was the highest of all objects for a
patriot, and one to which all other considerations should give way.

[Sidenote: Campian and Parsons]

It cannot be disputed that the aim of the Mission was to sow disloyalty
as well as to gain converts, though the allegation that incitement to
assassinate the Queen was part of the programme is not quite
conclusively proved. Of the two chief missioners, Parsons and Campian,
it is at least tolerably certain that the latter, an amiable enthusiast,
was quite innocent of complicity in any such design. That certainty
does not apply to Parsons. But the instructions were clearly
treasonable in character. The Catholics were told that in spite of the
Bull of Deposition they might profess loyalty to the Queen, but must
assist in her overthrow if called upon. That is to say that if treason
were brewing against the _de facto_ Government, it was to be a
point of conscience and a condition of the Church's approval for all
Catholics that they should assist that treason. There is nothing about
that instruction which can fairly be called hypocritical; but _ipso
facto_, it converted every Catholic, willy nilly, into a potential
traitor, who if treason arose could only remain loyal under censure of
the Church. Moreover it was the business of the missioners not only to
impress on those who were already Catholics this view of their duty;
but also, by an active propaganda, to increase the number of such
potential traitors; while it was quite certain that under such
conditions, converts would be actuated by a zeal which would render
them doubly dangerous.

For some months the emissaries travelled the country in various
disguises, shifting their quarters secretly, but in favourable
districts occasionally appearing quite openly, more or less winked at
by the authorities. Their immunity made them the more sanguine, but it
also alarmed the Protestants, and before the end of the year, there was
a change.

[Sidenote: Walsingham]

Walsingham--a sincere Puritan, a man who never soiled his hands for
private gain, who by his outspoken opposition to her political double-
dealing provoked Elizabeth's anger more frequently than any other of
her many outspoken advisers, of whom more than any other statesman of
the day it might be said that he loved righteousness and hated
iniquity--had yet the fault of the Puritan character, a certain
remorselessness in dealing with the servants of the Scarlet Woman. He
would have connived at the murder of D'Aubigny; his organisation of
"Secret Service" was as unscrupulous as Burghley's; and he more than
any one else approved and fostered the revival of the illegal
application of torture as a means of extorting information from
recalcitrant prisoners. In this iniquity, however, it is fair to
recognise that the rack and the boot were not employed wantonly but, as
it would seem, honestly: with the single intention of obtaining true
information for the unravelment of plots which endangered the public
weal, and only on persons who were known to possess that information.

[Sidenote: 1581 An anti-papal Parliament]

Walsingham then, at the close of 1580, appears to have undertaken the
conduct of the operations against the emissaries, several of whom were
promptly captured and put to the torture without result, though one or
two made haste to change sides to save themselves. The rest showed that
magnificent constancy which had characterised alike the Carthusians
under Henry and the Protestants under Mary. In January (1581)
parliament was called, and passed a very stringent act making it
treason to proselytise, or to join the Church of Rome; imposing a heavy
fine as well as imprisonment for celebrating Mass, and a fine of £20
per month for exemption from attendance at the Anglican ritual. Drastic
as the measure was, and a complete departure from the comparative
toleration hitherto prevalent in practice if not altogether in theory,
the basis of it was quite manifestly the conviction that as a result of
the mission every Catholic must now be suspect of treason, and every
convert to Catholicism something more than suspect.

When the parliament had completed its business by voting supplies, it
was prorogued. Through the spring and the summer the pursuit of the
Emissaries and the oppression of the Catholics under the new Act went
on. Campian himself was taken in July, and after some months'
imprisonment, in the course of which he was racked, was executed for
treason at the end of the year: his martyrdom, with others, producing
the usual effect.

[Sidenote: Alençon again]

In the meantime, the acceptance in January of the lordship of the
Netherlands by Alençon forced Elizabeth to redouble her pretence of
desiring the furtherance of the Alençon marriage--a pretence through
which Walsingham alone seems to have penetrated. The French King sent
over a magnificent embassy in April, which was magnificently received.
Then Elizabeth suggested that a League would serve every purpose.
France replied that the League was what it wished for, but the marriage
was a condition. Everything was discussed and agreed upon--but the
Queen succeeded in retaining her saving clause; the agreement was
subject to Alençon and herself being personally satisfied. She was
still able to hold off, while she had brought France into such a
position that if war should be declared between England and Spain,
France must join England. Walsingham was sent off to Paris, with the
task before him of evading the marriage, avoiding war while entangling
France in it, and all with a full conviction that his instructions
would vary from week to week. He believed, and he told her, that France
would make the League without the marriage, if her sincerity were only
guaranteed by something more substantial than promises; but that if
neither the League nor the marriage were completed, she would have
Spain, France, and Scotland--where Morton had just been executed--all
turning their arms against her at once. But contrary to all reasonable
expectation Elizabeth succeeded in avoiding a breach with France and in
keeping Alençon still dangling: and however Mendoza--who had quite
failed to obtain any compensation for Drake's expedition--might
threaten, Philip still refused to declare war openly.

[Sidenote: His visit to England]

The story of the Alençon farce, if it were not unquestionable fact,
would be almost incredible. Monsieur was some twenty years younger than
the amorous Queen; in person he was offensive and contemptible; his
character corresponded to his person, and his intelligence to his
character. Elizabeth was eight and forty. Yet the man's amazing vanity
made him a perpetual dupe, while it must have taken all her own vanity
to persuade the lady that she could play Omphale to his Hercules. Yet
she did it. In November she had him back in England. She kissed him
before Walsingham and the French Ambassador, [Footnote: _State Papers,
Spanish,_ iii., p. 226.] and gave him the ring off her finger,
declaring that she was going to marry him. But as soon as it came to
business, she made one fresh demand after another. When concession was
added to concession, she capped the list by requiring the restoration
of Calais, an obvious absurdity. Burghley thought the whole thing was
ended, and was for conciliating Spain by restoring Drake's booty.
Walsingham would have handed those spoils over to Orange. The Queen did
neither, but told Alençon that his presence in the Netherlands had now
become quite necessary to his own honour--which was true--and that with
a little patience unreasonable people would be pacified, and she would
still marry him.

[Sidenote: Alençon in the Netherlands]

Thus this most unlucky dupe was once more got out of the country, in
February (1582), a dupe still; and the United Provinces swore
allegiance to him under the new title of Duke of Brabant--giving him to
understand, however, that they accepted him simply as a surety for
English support. When he was safely out of the country, Elizabeth
became more emphatic than ever in her declarations that she would marry
him. After all, however, she was reluctantly compelled to salve her
lover's wounded feelings by cash subsidies, real and substantial though

[Sidenote: Exit Alençon]

At the end of March an attempt was made to assassinate the strong man
of Holland, William the Silent. He was in fact very dangerously wounded,
and Elizabeth became alarmed lest a like danger were in store for her.
Orange recovered, but Parma continued his course of gradual conquest,
and Alençon bethought him of playing the traitor, seizing the principal
towns, and handing them over to Spain as a peace-offering. In the
following January he made the attempt; but the capture succeeded only
here and there, and at Antwerp, where he himself lay, the _coup_
failed ignominiously and disastrously. The city got wind of what was
going to happen; the French troops were admitted, and, being in, found
themselves in a trap and were cut to pieces. Alençon was deservedly and
finally ruined, and no one in France or England could pretend any more
that he was a possible husband. The year after he sank to a dishonoured
grave, leaving the Huguenot Henry of Navarre heir presumptive to the
throne of France.

[Sidenote: Scotland]

Before Alençon's disaster, Elizabeth's policy in Scotland had been
justified by results: the raid of Ruthven had placed the King in the
hands of the Protestant nobles again, and Lennox was out of the country
for good. It is probable that from Elizabeth's point of view, it was
not worth while to attempt to obtain the friendship of an Anglophil
party, either by force or by bribery. Bribes would have told only just
for so long as they were accepted as an earnest of more to follow;
while force would have had its invariable result of uniting Scotland in
determined resistance. The one thing which would have given reality to
the overtures perpetually passing between Scotland and the Guises was
an English attempt to grasp at domination. Elizabeth, with Mary a
prisoner, had a permanent diplomatic asset in her hands, since she
could hint a threat of either executing her, or liberating her, or
surrendering her on terms as might seem most convenient at a given
crisis. Intrigues which like the marriage projects were never intended
to be consummated were more effective than either bribery or force--and



[Sidenote: 1583 The Throgmorton Conspiracy]

The collapse of Alençon was the precursor of a comprehensive conspiracy.
Before the Raid of Ruthven (August 1582), the Guise faction in France had
contemplated a descent on Scotland in conjunction with Lennox's friends
there, with a view of course to raising England in favour of Mary.
Alençon's relations with Elizabeth had not made the French King or his
mother, neither of whom loved the Guises, particularly favourable to the
scheme. The Raid destroyed the prospects of the definitely Catholic party
in Scotland; on the other hand, the failure of Alençon affected, though
only slightly, the objections on the part of King Henry. But any enterprise
against England would have to take a somewhat different form. In May, Guise
was planning a fresh scheme of assassination and invasion; [Footnote:
_State Papers, Spanish_, iii., pp. 464, 479.] while as against the
Guise intrigues still going on in Scotland, Elizabeth at the suggestion of
the French ambassador was again proposing diplomatically to release Mary
[Footnote: _Ibid_., p. 465.]--on terms.

[Sidenote: Sanguine Catholic forecast]

The English refugees and the Seminarists suffered from the same sanguine
conviction that two-thirds of the country was thirsting to throw off the
hated yoke of the existing Government, by which Jacobite agents were
eternally possessed in the first half of the eighteenth century; and with a
good deal less reason. For whereas the House of Hanover had no enthusiastic
adherents, while the House of Stuart had many, and the Whig politicians
were for the most part ready to transfer themselves to the other side if
the other side should look like winning: at this time, the most energetic
portion of the population, gentry and commons, including practically all
who had practised the art of war by land or sea, in the Low Countries, in
Ireland, on the Spanish Main and in Spanish waters, were fierily
Protestant, and the Ministers, nearly all irrevocably bound to the Queen,
were singularly prompt and alert men of action. Enthusiasts there were on
the other side, but they were few. Yet in their prolific imaginations, the
enthusiasts multiplied their own numbers pathetically, and believed
passionately in phantom hosts only waiting for the word to draw the sword,
or at least the dagger, in the sacred cause.

Neither the Spaniards nor the Guises appear ever to have allowed themselves
to accept unreservedly the Churchmen's estimate of the state of feeling in
England; but the Spanish Ambassadors, one after another, and Mendoza
certainly not the least, gave more credence to these impressions than they
deserved, placing far too high a value on the assurances of a very small
number of the nobility. It is probable also that the Jesuits greatly
exaggerated the exciting effect of the martyrdom of Campian and his
associates; for these bore no sort of comparison with the burnings of
Mary's reign, of which every man nearing forty years of age was old enough
to have a tolerably vivid personal recollection. At any rate the advices of
Mendoza went far to confirm the declarations of Allen that a determined
Catholic rising might be relied on, in case of an invasion which should
have for its object the substitution of Mary for Elizabeth and the
restoration of the old Religion.

[Sidenote: Divided Counsels]

The counsels however of the plotters were divided. The priests would have
kept the French out of the affair altogether. Philip was as reluctant as
ever to take an English war upon his shoulders until he had completed the
subjugation of the Netherlands. Mendoza, recognising that Guise was not
France--for now as always, Spain could not afford to let France dominate
England--was willing enough that Guise should head an expedition in which
Frenchmen should otherwise play no more than an equal part; on the
hypothesis that, when the revolution was accomplished, circumstances would
compel the new regime to dependence on Spain. All the parties--Guise,
Philip, Allen--were prepared to yield unofficial sanction to the
simplification of the problem by assassination. Even when the different
interests in the scheme had been compromised, prompt action was obviously
essential if the English Government, with its vast network of spies and
secret agents, was not to get wind of the plot. Promptitude however was the
one thing of which Philip was constitutionally incapable, and Guise was
obliged to consent to wait till the following spring.

[Sidenote: The plot discovered]

As a natural result, an active member of the conspiracy, Francis
Throgmorton, was suddenly pounced upon in his house in London. He succeeded
in conveying sundry important documents to Mendoza, but lists of the
English conspirators and other conclusively incriminating documents were
found. The rack did the rest. The unhappy man endured through the first
application: the second conquered him. He told the whole story--possibly
more than the truth, though that is hardly probable; but of course the
persons incriminated denied complicity, and there was in some cases no
other evidence against them, while the confessions of a victim under
torture are--biased.

The main facts at any rate were indisputable--the plan of a Guise invasion,
under Spanish auspices, with the complicity of a number of English
Catholics, as well as of Mendoza. The presumption that Mary was cognisant
of it was supported by Throgmorton's confession, but such presumptions and
such evidence fall short of being absolutely conclusive. [Footnote:
Mendoza's letters of this period (_State Papers, Spanish,_ iii.)
implicate Mary _prima facie_: but do not _necessarily_ mean more
than that her life was endangered by the discoveries.] Under such
conditions however, grave and well founded suspicion was enough to justify
the severest precautionary measures. Northumberland and Arundel [Footnote:
Son of the late Duke of Norfolk. The title came through his mother.] were
thrown into prison; several of the seminarists, already in ward, were
executed; a number of arrests were made; known Catholics all over the
country were placed under strict surveillance, and removed from any
commands they might hold. Mendoza was ordered in uncompromising terms to
leave the country; fleets were manned, and musters levied. The delay had
proved fatal to the combined scheme.

The collapse of two assassination plots, not forming part of the
Throgmorton conspiracy, may be mentioned. One was that of an apparently
half-crazy person named Somerville, who betrayed himself by bragging; the
other, the more curious affair of Parry, who got himself introduced into
the Queen's presence several times, but "let I dare not wait upon I would"
persistently, till he retired with nothing accomplished; to reappear

[Sidenote: 1584 Death of Orange]

Elizabeth escaped; but death was soon to lay his hand on two personages of
consequence. In May (1584) Alençon decayed out of a world in which accident
only had allowed him for a time to occupy a very disproportionate share of
the political stage. A month later, the most heroic figure of a time when
heroes were rare among politicians was struck down by the hand of a
fanatic. William of Orange, the head, hand, and heart of the great fight
for freedom being waged in the Netherlands, was assassinated by a zealot.
More than ever it seemed that the Hollanders must submit to Philip, unless
the power of France or the power of England were devoted whole-heartedly to
their cause. The death of Alençon made Henry of Navarre the actual heir
presumptive to the throne of France. The King and his mother hated and
feared Protestantism less than they hated and feared the Guises, and
publicly acknowledged Navarre as next in succession.

As usual, Elizabeth's advisers would have had her play boldly for
Protestantism; as usual, she herself was bent on evading the open collision
with Spain. Her hope was to entangle France in the Netherlands war, and
herself to strike in--if she must strike in at all--only when her
intervention would enable her to make her own terms. The French King would
not be inveigled. If he could have relied on her support, or if the Guises
had been somewhat less dangerous, he would have been ready to strike; but
his distrust of the English Queen was too justifiably complete. She was in
fact saved from the absolute necessity of yielding to the persuasions of
Burghley and Walsingham only by the dogged tenacity with which the
Hollanders held out. And while they held out, she still held off.

[Sidenote: The "Association"]

In England however, one fact was more universally and vividly present in
men's minds than any other. In the eyes of every Protestant, the supreme
danger still lay in the death or deposition of Elizabeth and the elevation
of Mary Stewart to the throne. Recent events had brought home the enormous
risks of assassination; and an Association was formed for the defence of
the Queen. A declaration was framed, the signatories whereof bound
themselves by a solemn vow not only to pursue to the death all persons
concerned in any plot against the Queen, but also any person in favour of
whose succession to the throne any attempt should be made against her; to
bar any such person absolutely from the succession; and to treat as
perjured traitors any of the Association who failed to carry out this
oath. It was sufficiently obvious that the declaration was aimed directly
against Mary; but it may be said that the entire nation forthwith enrolled
itself. And with the bulk of them, the enrolment was anything but an empty

[Sidenote: 1584-85 The Association ratified]

At the same time, it was difficult to see how the members of the
Association could carry out their pledge without a breach of the law;
stronger legal measures for the defence of the Queen and the frustration of
assassination as a means to secure the inheritance in any particular
quarter were required. Parliament was summoned at the end of November.
Ministers wished to have definite provision made for carrying on the
Government in case of the Queen's murder; but she would go with them no
further than to sanction the Association, with the entirely laudable
modification that the person for whose sake the deed was done should not be
held _ipso facto_ guilty of complicity. The differences of opinion
were so strong that the session closed without the passing of any Act. In
January however, an accomplice of that Parry already mentioned [Footnote:
See p. 330] denounced him for intending to kill the Queen. Threatened with
the rack, Parry made a full confession, and was hanged, drawn, and
quartered. At the renewed Session in February, it was enacted that an
invasion, rebellion, or attempt on the Queen's person, on behalf of any one
with a claim to the succession, should disqualify such person from the
succession absolutely, if complicity in the attempt should be proved after
due enquiry. A commission was appointed to put the Act in execution in the
event of assassination; and the Association was sanctioned subject to these
provisions. Subsidies were then voted, and parliament prorogued, after an
unusually gracious speech from the throne.

[Sidenote: 1585: France: the Holy League]

Meantime the United Provinces, despairing of an English overlordship, were
again making overtures to France for a Protectorate, or even annexation if
France should insist on that alternative. Relations between the King and
Mendoza, now Ambassador at Paris, were so strained that war seemed all but
inevitable; Henry seems to have been held back only by the well-founded
fear that Elizabeth was intriguing to draw him into the war and frustrate
him in carrying it on. But in that fear he declined the offer of the
Provinces. In March the Guises produced a new development by the open
announcement of the formation of the Holy League, for the exclusion of
Navarre from the succession and the enforcement in France of the decrees of
the Council of Trent.

But for the unconquerable mutual distrust of Henry and Elizabeth, Henry,
relying on English support, would have bidden defiance to the League; but
the memories of St. Bartholomew and Elizabeth's character as an intriguer
made confidence on either side impossible. The great siege of Antwerp
seemed to be on the verge of terminating in a catastrophe for the revolting
States, which would enable Parma to co-operate actively with Guise; and
Henry found himself threatened with excommunication. Before midsummer he
capitulated, and declared for the League. On the other hand, Navarre was
not the man to yield, and while Elizabeth again had the chance of playing a
bold part and espousing his cause heartily, she judged rightly that he was
strong enough unaided to keep the alliance of the League and the Court very
thoroughly occupied for some time to come. As a factor in the Netherlands
question. France was for the present at least a negligible quantity. So she
left Navarre to fight his own battles in France, while she should dole out
to the Netherlanders just so much or so little support as might suffice for
her own ends.

While the French King was surrendering to the League, the Spanish King took
a step which was intended to frighten England, and had as usual the
precisely contrary result. He ordered the seizure of all English ships and
crews on his coasts. The order was carried out; and England instead of
being cowed was forthwith ablaze with defiance. The effect was promptly

[Sidenote: Agreement with the States]

The United Provinces were again offering themselves to England. In August
an agreement was arrived at. The Queen was to hold Ostend and Sluys as well
as Flushing and Brille, as security. She was to send over five thousand men
with Leicester in command. Some Queen's troops and large numbers of
volunteers were shipped off in a few days--too late however to save
Antwerp. Still weeks and even months passed before pay or commanders were
allowed to follow. But before the year was out, Sidney, Leicester, and
others had taken up their commands, the last named representing the Queen
of England.

[Sidenote: Drake's raid]

Already, however, an enterprise still more ominous to Spain was in
hand--unofficial, like most other great enterprises of the reign. Letters
of reprisal for the seizure of the English ships had been promptly issued,
and numbers of privateers were quickly in Spanish waters. Among others,
Francis Drake fitted out a flotilla, the Queen being an interested
shareholder in his venture--though even under those conditions he put to
sea before time, lest counter-orders should arrive. The adventurers sailed
into Vigo, demanded the release of all English prisoners in the province,
which was promised, captured some prizes, and betook themselves to the
ocean, with a view to seizing the Spanish Plate Fleet, which was on its way
from America. They just missed the Fleet, but proceeded to San Domingo
(Hayti) which they held to ransom, went on to treat Cartagena in like
manner, and then being attacked by Yellow Fever, came home with the spoils.
Whatever fears of a Spanish war might be entertained by Elizabeth herself,
the English seamen had no qualms as to their own immeasurable superiority,
and desired nothing better than opportunities for demonstrating it.

[Sidenote 1: Elizabeth's intrigues]
[Sidenote 2: 1586 Leicester in the Netherlands]

While Drake was thus congenially employed, Elizabeth was carrying on her
system of inaction and double-dealing. She intrigued--behind the backs of
her ministers--with Parma, for the surrender to him of the towns she held,
on terms which from her point of view were quite good enough for the
Provinces, namely the restitution of their old Constitutional Government
without religious liberty; although in their own view, religious liberty
was primarily essential. Leicester complicated matters for her by
accepting, in flat contradiction to her orders, the formal Governorship of
the United Provinces: finding in fact that if he was to stay in the
Netherlands nothing short of that would prevail against the suspicions of
the Queen's treachery. At home, Burghley himself threatened to resign if
she would not take a straightforward course. Walsingham wrote to Leicester,
with his usual bitterness, of the "peril to safety and honour" from her
behaviour. If she had indeed contemplated the surrender of the cities to
Parma, that plan was frustrated. Still she stormed at Burghley and
Walsingham, flatly and with contumely refused to ratify Leicester's
arrangement, and continued to keep back the pay of the troops. Parma,
though he too was starved in men and money by Philip, continued inch by
inch to absorb the revolted territory. All that Leicester succeeded in
accomplishing by the month of September was the brilliant and entirely
futile action of Zutphen where in one great hour Philip Sidney won death
and immortality (September 22nd). Thereafter, inaction and short supplies
continued to be the rule, on both sides. In November, Leicester was back in
England, where a fresh situation was developing.

[Sidenote:1585-86 The trapping of Mary]

While the arrangements for armed intervention in the Netherlands were in
progress, Walsingham had been busy preparing for the last act in the
Tragedy of Mary Stewart. The Secretary was foremost among those who held
not only that the captive Queen deserved death, but that her death was more
necessary to the welfare of England than any other event. Yet it was quite
certain that Elizabeth would not assent to her death, unless she thought
she could convince herself and the world that Mary had been actively
engaged in treasonous plots. Recently however at Tutbury under the charge
of Sir Amyas Paulet, she had been guarded so strictly that no surreptitious
correspondence had a chance of passing. Walsingham was confident that if
the opportunity were given, a treasonous correspondence would be opened. It
became his object therefore to give her the opportunity in appearance,
while securing that the channel through which communications passed should
be a treacherous one, and the whole of what was supposed to be secret
should be betrayed to him. To this end, the Queen was removed in December
1585 to Chartley Manor, avowedly in response to her own demands for a less
rigorously unpleasant residence than Tutbury. The instrument of the plot
was a young man named Giffard, supposed to be in the inner counsels of the
Jesuits, actually in Walsingham's service. Through Giffard, communications
were opened between Mary and a devoted adherent of hers in France named
Morgan: but every letter passing was deciphered and copied, and the copies
placed in the Secretary's hands.

[Sidenote: 1586 Babington's plot]

In the late spring, the great Babington conspiracy was set on foot; whereof
the main features were, that Elizabeth was to be assassinated by a group of
half a dozen young men who had places at court and occasional access to her
person. The two leading spirits were Anthony Babington and a Jesuit named
Ballard. Of course a Catholic rising and a foreign invasion were part of
the plan, and Mendoza at Paris was playing his own part. Much of the plot
was confided to Giffard, who reported to Walsingham. The Secretary and his
Queen were satisfied to let the plot develop while they gathered all the
threads in their own hands before striking. The correspondence, as copied
for Walsingham at Chartley, conveyed not details but general intelligence
of what was on foot to Mary, and approval from Mary to the conspirators. In
August, Walsingham's moment came: the conspirators were seized; under
torture or threat of torture they made complete confession. The Scottish
Queen's rooms at Chartley were ransacked, and all her papers impounded.
Again, as after the Throgmorton conspiracy, fleets were manned and musters
called out. In September, the conspirators were tried and executed, and a
Commission was appointed to try Mary herself in October.

[Sidenote: Trial of Mary]

Mary, as before, denied the jurisdiction, professing readiness to answer
only before Parliament. She ignored an invitation from the Queen to obtain
pardon by a confession of guilt. She assented under protest to appear
before the Court, and there avowed that she had consistently appealed to
the Powers of Europe to aid her, as she was entitled to do, but flatly
denied complicity in the Babington plot. The evidence against her was
entirely that of letters--said to be copied from her correspondence, but
quite possibly invented in whole or in part--and the confessions of the
conspirators or of her secretaries, extorted under torture or the fear of
it. Those letters might even have been concocted to suit Walsingham without
his actual privity, by the man who had the task of deciphering and copying
them. Having heard her denial, the Court was transferred from Fotheringay,
where it first sat, to Westminster: and at Westminster, after further
examination of the documents and of Mary's secretaries, it unanimously
pronounced her guilty. The sentence was left for Parliament and the Queen
to settle. The Parliament which had passed the recent Act for the Defence
of the Queen was dissolved, and a new one was summoned. On its meeting in
November, it petitioned for Mary's execution, in accordance with the terms
of the "Association" which Mary herself had offered to join. The
publication of the sentence was received with public acclamation: but
whether the Queen would assent to it remained to be seen.

What then were the guiding considerations, whether of Ethics or of

[Sidenote: The situation reviewed;]

For eighteen years, Mary had been in Elizabeth's power. Elizabeth had held
her captive for the sufficient reason--amongst others--that were she
outside of England and free from restraint, there was nothing to prevent
her from actively agitating the Catholics of Europe to assert her claim to
the English throne. No monarch having in his grip a claimant with an
undeniably strong title to his throne would have allowed that claimant to
escape from his clutches. Few would have hesitated to concoct some more or
less plausible pretext for the claimant's death. Half England considered
that a sufficient pretext was provided by Kirk o' Field; but even assuming
that Mary's guilt in that matter was legally proved, which it assuredly was
not, it is sufficiently obvious that the sovereign of England had no
jurisdiction. Still any monarch situated like Elizabeth would have
maintained, and probably have acted upon, the right to put the captive to
death, if proved to be guilty of complicity in treason or subornation
thereof. Throughout the eighteen years, Elizabeth had deliberately
abstained from seeking to prove definitely that Mary was an accomplice in
the various plots on her behalf, while she was no less careful to leave the
imputation of complicity clinging to her. But now, if the Chartley
correspondence were genuine, the case was decided. The Court, which cannot
be said to have been packed, was satisfied. Again it does not appear that
any monarch, regarding the captive's death as _per se_ desirable,
would have doubted the sufficiency of the ground for her execution.

But hitherto the English Queen had not regarded her rival's death as _per
se_ desirable. Conceivably there was an element of generosity in that
view. Certainly there was the fact that Mary was an anointed Queen, and
Elizabeth had a most profound respect for the sanctity of crowned
heads. But apart from this, there was the purely political argument. Mary
living, and in her power, was an asset. She might always be set at liberty
on terms. Elizabeth hated parting with a political asset even at a high
price, for good value. Hitherto she had reckoned the living Mary as worth
more than Mary's death would be: for Mary might simply be replaced as a
claimant by James, who was not, like his mother, in her power, and might
very well think the crown of England worth a Mass.

[Sidenote: its recent developments]

Now however, a considerable change had come over the situation. Failing
Mary the English Catholics were divided as to the succession. James could
profess filial affection when it suited him; but for some time past he had
dropped that attitude; he had just made a convenient compact with England;
and his mother, making up her mind to his antagonism, had by will
disinherited him and bequeathed her rights to Philip of Spain, who had a
clear claim to the blood Royal of England as descending through his mother
Isabella of Portugal from John of Gaunt. [Footnote: See _Front._
Philip's cousins, however, the duchesses of Braganza and Parma, daughters
of Isabella's brother, had a better title--as they also had to the crown of
Portugal. See p. 303. The exiled Westmorland had a better title still.] The
accession of Philip would suit neither France, nor the Pope; the accession
of James would be at best an uncertain gain to the Catholics; and so Mary's
execution would leave no one claimant for the discontented to rally to. On
the other hand, if Mary were allowed to live, her restoration by Elizabeth
would be almost incredible. Her value as an asset had fallen, the security
given by her death would be much more assured. Political expediency,
therefore, entirely favoured her death, unless the execution would bring
France or Scotland against Elizabeth in arms. France protested earnestly,
but clearly intended nothing stronger than protests, and it very soon
became equally clear that no serious trouble need be feared from James.

[Sidenote: 1587 The sentences carried out]

Still through December and January Elizabeth continued to vacillate. The
sentiment as to the sanctity of an anointed Queen still influenced her; yet
it is sufficiently clear that her real motive for hesitation was the
desire, not to spare Mary, but herself to escape the odium of sanctioning
the execution. At last however the warrant was signed, and received the
Chancellor's seal. Yet she made the Secretary Davison write to Paulet and
urge him to put Mary to death without waiting for the warrant. Paulet
flatly refused. She used such terms to Davison that he feared on his own
responsibility to forward the warrant to the appointed authorities
Shrewsbury and Kent. He went to Burghley: Burghley summoned privately all
members of the Council then in London. They agreed to share the
responsibility for acting without further reference to the Queen. On
February 4th, the letters were issued. On the 7th, in the afternoon, Kent
and Shrewsbury presented themselves at Fotheringay and told Mary that on
the following morning she must die.

[Sidenote: Death of Mary]

It was characteristic of her that during the few hours of life left to her,
she forgot neither loyal servant nor victorious foe. Her last written words
were to bid her friends remember both. When the morrow came, she mounted
the low scaffold in the great hall with unfaltering step, far less moved
outwardly than the six attendants whom she had chosen for her last moments,
a splendid tragic figure; every word, every gesture those of a woman
falsely charged and deeply wronged, majestic in her proud self-control. Was
it merely a superb, an unparalleled piece of acting? [Footnote: See
Appendix C. Mr. Froude is dramatically at his best in telling the story;
but his partisan bias is correspondingly emphasized.] Was it the heroism of
a martyr? The voice of England had doomed her; she appealed to a higher
Tribunal than England. King or Queen never faced their end more
triumphantly. Mary Stewart, royal in the fleeting moments of her
prosperity, royal throughout the long years of her adversity, was never so
supremely royal as in her last hour on earth.


ELIZABETH (viii), 1558-87--THE SEAMEN

As before we postponed the story of Ireland, in order to give a consecutive
narrative down to the point at which the interaction of Irish and English
affairs became marked and definite, so we have hitherto deferred
consideration of the most tremendous factor in the Elizabethan evolution,
the development of the Island nation into the greatest Ocean Power in the
world. The charter of the Queen of the Seas was drawn by the Tudor seamen,
and received its seal when the great Armada perished. It is time therefore
to see how it came about that England was able to challenge and to shatter
the Power which threatened to dominate the world.

[Sidenote: The New World]

Throughout the Middle Ages, until what we conveniently term, from the
English point of view, the Tudor Period, the European peoples were
confined to the European Continent and the adjacent islands. In Asia
and in Mediterranean Africa the Mohammedan races were a militant
barrier to expansion. The discoveries of Columbus and Vasco da Gama
opened new fields, whereof the inheritance was destined to the nations
who should achieve the dominion of the Ocean. Always important, the
capacity for maritime development now became the primary condition of
ultimate greatness. The fact was at the first recognised by Spain and
Portugal; and an immediate incentive was given to those two Powers, and
something of a check to the rest, when Pope Alexander VI., with an
authority as yet unchallenged, divided between them the newly found
countries and the lands still to be discovered. Acquiescence in the
award was limited; with the ecclesiastical revolt from Rome it
vanished; but Spaniards and Portuguese were already in full possession
of vast territories before their exclusive title to the whole was
called in question.

[Sidenote: The English Marine before Elizabeth]

Nevertheless, more than before, the eyes of statesmen were turned to
the sea and the eyes of merchants to the ocean. The nucleus of a Royal
Navy was formed by Henry VII., and his son very greatly increased the
number of the King's ships and built many tall vessels. The merchants
of Bristol and the western ports made daring voyages in hitherto
unexplored and half-explored waters, as we have seen; while the general
activity of the mercantile marine was greatly increased.

Prosperity, and as a necessary result, enterprise, suffered a check
under the disastrous financial conditions prevalent in the reigns of
Edward and Mary; yet the closing months of Edward's reign had been
marked by the departure of the expedition of Willoughby and Chancellor
in search of a North-East Passage; while several voyages to the Guinea
Coast--whither William Hawkins had sailed in Henry's day--were
undertaken by John Lock and Towerson, during the reign of Mary. We have
seen also how the young hot-heads of Protestantism had taken to
privateering in the Channel, in the name of Patriotism and true
Religion. That course was reprehensible enough; but it led at least to
the cultivation of the art of seamanship. On the other hand, that art
suffered from a curious draw-back. The partial cessation of the
practice of fasting which accompanied the development of Protestantism
reacted on the fishing trade, which was the regular school of sailors;
insomuch that not only Somerset but Cecil in Elizabeth's time, proposed
ordinances in favour of fasting, simply and solely to check the
collapse of that industry.

[Sidenote: The Royal Navy]

The Royal Navy developed by Henry VIII. was allowed perforce to decay
under his two immediate successors. According to the most authentic
lists, [Footnote: Sir W. Laird Clowes, _The Royal Navy_, vol. i.,
pp. 419 ff. Throughout this chapter, the figures for tonnage are
adopted from this work.] in 1548 there were 53 ships in the Fleet, with
a total tonnage of about 11,000. In 1558 there were but 26, with a
tonnage of little more than 7,000. During the first half of Elizabeth's
reign, the numbers were not increased; in 1575 there were but 24
vessels; but the tonnage had risen 50 per cent., and was within 10 per
cent, of what Henry had bequeathed to Edward. When the Armada came, in
the twenty-ninth year of Elizabeth's reign, 34 ships of the Royal Navy
were engaged, which had a slight superiority [Footnote: Clowes,
_Royal Navy_, i., p. 561.] of armament over any equal number of
the enemy's fleet. The aggregate tonnage is given [Footnote:
_Ibid_., p. 588.] as 15 per cent. more than that of Henry's 53--an
average per ship of very nearly double. It is clear therefore that the
policy of strengthening the navy was not neglected; but it took the
form of acquiring not more ships, but larger and better fighting
craft. [Footnote: Corbett, _Drake and the Tudor Navy_, i., pp. 370
ff. It is pointed out (p. 372) that medium sized ships were regarded as
better weapons in general than those of the largest size.] The
multiplication of smaller craft would have been a far less effective
means for achieving the desired end. The Royal Navy, a creation of the
century, was not supposed to constitute the naval defences of the
country. It occupied a position among the marine fighting force
analogous to that of our white troops in India to-day; who form only
one-third of the army there while reckoned and intended to be its

[Sidenote: Privateering]

It is possible that in the simple legitimate processes of trade, the
merchant captains would never have learnt the art of extracting every
ounce of value out of their ships as fighting machines; certainly they
would not have developed the very marked supremacy in gunnery which was
so decisive a feature in the contest with Spain. The mere temptations
of successful barter would not have sufficed to attract the fiery and
alert young gentlemen of Devon or elsewhere, and the daring mariners
who revelled in meeting and overcoming any apparent odds. But the
circumstances of the time presented to the men, who in other days would
have found no outlet for their energies but in land-service abroad, the
opportunity of giving those energies a wider scope in the more exacting
but also more inspiring service by sea: where richer prizes were to be
won, with greater risk no doubt, but risk which called every faculty of
manhood into vigorous play.

[Sidenote: Piracy?]

It has become the common practice to apply the term "piracy" at large
to the doings of the Elizabethan seamen; but a single category which
embraces Captain Kidd and Francis Drake ceases to imply any very
specific condemnation. The suggestion that their acts were on the same
moral plane is absurd. The "piracy" of the great Elizabethans was
compatible with a clean conscience. At the present day we rightly
account a man a murderer who slays another in his own private quarrel;
but we do not give that name to one who two centuries ago killed his
man in a duel. We decline to recognise the validity of the reasoning by
which men justified such acts to themselves; but before the fallacy in
that reasoning was understood, the degree of guilt involved in acting
upon it was something very different from what it would be to-day. In
the same way, a century ago honourable and honest men countenanced
smuggling; but we do not classify them with footpads. Yet a similar
confusion of thought is involved in this indiscriminate application of
the term piracy, unless we emphasize the fact that in this connexion it
must be divested of its ordinary moral connotation.

Plain sea-robbers there were, not a few, who had no compunction about
seizing and looting any vessel of any nationality except--for politic
reasons--their own. The records show clearly enough that there were
plenty of these, who found harbourage in the Scillies or on the Irish
Coast, or even on the English Channel, or would lie in wait to cut out
peaceable traders of any nation almost at the mouth of the Thames. The
Government took little enough pains to repress them. They did not
attack their own countrymen, and were a useful source for recruiting:
but they were indisputably Pirates.

[Sidenote: Volunteers]

Then there were the privateers who had a colour for their depredations;
professedly volunteers on the side of recognised belligerents. As it
was considered legitimate for troops of English volunteers to fight for
the revolted Netherland States, while the Government refused to
acknowledge that their doing so constituted an act of war against
Spain; so Englishmen were allowed to man ships and sail under the flag
of the Huguenots of Rochelle, carrying a commission to wage war on
"Papist" ships, French, or others regarded as in alliance with them.
This was not piracy in the accepted sense, though it was not perhaps
very far removed from it in the majority of cases. The kind of
fanaticism which, two hundred years after Elizabeth's accession,
elevated Frederick the Great into "the Protestant Hero" could easily,
without conscious insincerity, make Religion an excuse for spoiling the
Papists in Elizabeth's day; and the privateers who looted a Spanish
vessel or one carrying Spanish treasure or merchandise believed as a
rule that they were thereby laying up treasure in Heaven as well as on
Earth, Their Ethics were derived from the Old Testament; and they
looked upon the "Idolaters" very much as the Israelites were told by
the prophets to look upon the Philistines, or Amalek, or Ammon.

[Sidenote: Reprisal]

Moreover it must be borne in mind that as concerned the raiding of
Spanish ships, the Government balanced the injury done against the
grievances of the British sailors and ships seized in Spanish ports by
the Inquisition. So long as the Spanish King refused to interfere with
the jurisdiction of the Holy Office, the English Queen in effect
refused to interfere with acts of reprisal. If these rovers could have
been caught and hanged at the yard-arm, she could hardly have
protested; but as breaches of international amity the practices were
very much on a par. In the technical sense, that they made war on their
own account on the ships of a theoretically friendly Power, the rovers
of this class were no doubt pirates; what we have to recognise is that
the normal condition of affairs was one unknown to the law-books, a
state of quasi-war; having no little resemblance to that prevalent for
centuries on the Anglo-Scottish border, where it was not to be expected
that the Wardens of the Marches on the one side would carry out their
duties while the Wardens on the other side were neglecting theirs with
the connivance of the Government. And in this case, Philip's connivance
at the proceedings of the Inquisition was open and avowed; by
consequence, the English Government refused to treat the proceedings of
the privateers as piracy; and again by consequence the privateers
considered themselves to be acting in a perfectly legitimate, not to
say laudable, manner, in treating the enemy's commerce precisely as
they would have done under a state of declared war.

No doubt the desire of plunder was usually a stronger incentive than
either retaliation or religion. Privateering was not _per se_
admirable or praiseworthy. But it was something entirely different from
what we understand by Piracy pure and simple. And manifestly it
provided a very excellent and efficient school for the sons of a nation
which was about to challenge the Colossus of the South for the title to
the Empire of the Seas.

[Sidenote: The Explorers]

But while privateering bred in numbers men who knew how to handle and
fight their ships, something more was needed to produce a race of great
captains; something which was provided by the vast fields opened to
exploration. Here was to be found the necessary training in calculated
daring, in conquering seemingly impossible obstacles, in defying
apparently insurmountable dangers, in rising to overwhelming
emergencies, in learning to a nicety what it was possible for
seamanship to accomplish.

[Endnote: Spain in America]

At the opening of Elizabeth's reign, Spain and Portugal were
practically and theoretically in possession of the inheritance of the
explorers and the Conquistadores. The latter Power held complete sway
on the African Guinea Coast, and in the Indian Ocean, undisturbed by
European rivals; while the Pope had bestowed upon it so much of the New
World as lies East of the mouth of the Amazon--in effect, what lies
behind the coast-line of Brazil. All that lies west of the mouth of the
Amazon he had bestowed upon Spain; and this gift the swords of
Spaniards had made good. In the West India Islands, their head-quarters
were the Island and port of San Domingo (Hayti). From Florida, north,
to the mouth of the Amazon, south, all was Spanish territory. On the
Atlantic coast: Mexico had Vera Cruz with its haven of San Juan
d'Ulloa; on Darien was Nombre de Dios; on the _Tierra Firma_ known
to the English as the Spanish Main lay Cartagena and several other
ports of varying importance. On the Pacific coast, the most notable
spots were Panama, the port whither came the treasure ships from Peru
to transport their stores by land to Nombre de Dios; Lima, the great
city of Peru, which had its port of Callao; and further south the town
of Santiago and the harbour of Valparaiso. The straits of Magellan, the
only known entry for ships to the Pacific from the Atlantic, were
deemed virtually impassable, while Tierra del Fuego was supposed to be
the head of another Continent extending continuously to the south. In
all these regions, the Spaniard claimed an absolute monopoly, and the
right of excluding foreign vessels and foreign trade from what he
regarded as Spanish waters.

It is chiefly with transactions on these seas and territories that we
are concerned, in giving some account of the rovers, who first in their
private capacity challenged the power of Spain, and then led the
English fleets to their triumph over the "Invincible" Armada.

[Sidenote: John Hawkins's early voyages, 1562-1566]

First on the roll stands the name of John Hawkins--greatest of the
"sea-dogs" till his fame was surpassed by the mightiest of all, Francis
Drake. In Henry's day his father, old William Hawkins, had won high
repute, for himself as a sailor and for his countrymen as honourable
dealers, by his voyages to the Guinea coast, where the Portuguese were
in very evil odour, and to the Brazils. John Hawkins fell as far behind
his father in the latter respect as he surpassed him in the former: for
he was responsible for initiating the Slave-trade. His first notable
voyage was made in 1562, when he sailed to the Guinea coast, purchased
or kidnapped from the African chiefs some three hundred negroes,
crossed the Ocean, and sold them to the Spaniards in Hayti (or
Hispaniola). In 1564 he sailed again with four ships; but on reaching
America he was told at Rio de La Hacha and Cartagena that the traffic
was forbidden. The Englishmen, however, held that these regulations
were invalid, as a contravention of ancient treaty rights of free trade
with the Spanish dominions. The Spaniards for their part were willing
enough to find an excuse for transgressing their orders, which was
given by a slight display of force; and Hawkins came home again with
large profits, after visiting Florida where there were Huguenot
settlers, and Newfoundland where fishing fleets of all nations
congregated. It is noteworthy that while the Queen herself and sundry
of her courtiers had a large pecuniary interest in these ventures of
Hawkins, Cecil conscientiously declined to have part or lot in them,
now or later: lawlessness being to him a thing abominable.

Philip was naturally indignant at the Englishman's method of overriding
his trade regulations, and Hawkins had to lie quiet for a time; but in
1567 he sailed for the third time, taking with him his young cousin
Francis Drake.

[Sidenote: San Juan d'Ulloa 1567]

For a while all went well. The Spaniards wanted to buy in spite of the
regulations; though at Rio de La Hacha Hawkins had to emphasise the
advantages of trading with him by seizing the town in force. But when
he started for home, contrary winds and storms compelled him to put
back to the Mexican port of San Juan d'Ulloa (Vera Cruz) to refit his
three vessels. He was well received; but while he was in harbour, a
Spanish fleet of thirteen sail arrived. The entry was narrow, and
Hawkins could have held them at bay; but his theory was that he was
behaving in a perfectly regular and well-conducted manner. For three
days there was a peaceful interchange of courtesies; then without
warning the Spaniards attacked him. Two of his ships succeeded in
escaping, despite the heavy odds against them, taking a number of
survivors from the third. But next day they parted company; Hawkins's
ship was terribly overcrowded; a hundred of his men, by their own
desire, were landed--to fall into the hands of the Inquisition; and
Hawkins and Drake finally reached England separately with a remnant of
their crews, and the loss of all that had been gained in the first
stages of the venture.

[Sidenote: Francis Drake]

Now the Spaniards manifestly had a very good case for arresting Hawkins
on the ground of his overriding forcibly the regulations which they
were, in their own view at least, entitled to make: but they had chosen
to receive him hospitably and attempt his capture by flagrant treachery.
When his men fell into their hands, they might have been tried as
participators in his lawlessness; but the crime laid to their charge
was heresy. It is small wonder then that the feeling inspired by the
affair of San Juan d'Ulloa was: first, that the Inquisition, claiming
itself to be above international law, was outside international law, a
tyranny which should be fought without regard to law: second, that
Spain had no more right to the wealth of the New World than any one
else; third, that since in the New World she elected to rule not by
legal methods but by the high hand, it was legitimate to ignore law in
dealing with her. There and then Francis Drake, now twenty-seven years
old, made up his mind that he would for his own hand wage war on Spain
and the Inquisition in the New World. If to do so was piracy, Drake
resolved to become a pirate. But he assuredly did not conceive himself
to be a pirate; nor were his motives the same; and his methods were
utterly unstained by the blood-thirstiness and cruelty inseparably
associated with the title. He was rather an Ocean knight-errant,
smiting and spoiling, and incidentally enriching himself, but in
knightly fashion and for a great cause: not a miscellaneous robber, but
a scourge of the enemies of his country and his faith.

[Sidenote: The Venture of 1572]

Drake laid his plans with care and deliberation, making two more
voyages in small vessels to the West Indies to acquire thorough
knowledge and information, before starting on the first of his great
expeditions. Then in 1572, some months before the _rapprochement_
with Spain which followed St. Bartholomew, he sailed for the Spanish
Main; his whole force consisting of three small ships of a burden
ranging from 25 to 70 tons [Footnote: _Royal Navy,_ i., p. 621.]
with picked crews numbering in all 111 men. With this small company,
arriving by night, he fell suddenly upon Nombre de Dios, a principal
port of embarkation on the Isthmus of Darien. The surprise was not
complete, and though the resistance of the Spaniards was overcome and a
large capture of silver ingots was effected, Drake himself was somewhat
severely wounded. One of the ships went home; the other two with the
commander remained, and took several prizes. But this did not satisfy
him, and he conceived the daring scheme of landing and crossing the
Isthmus, to intercept the trains of treasure on their way overland from
Panama. In February he got, from a tree-top, his first sight of the
Pacific. He succeeded in ambushing a small train of mules laden with
gold, and, on his way back, another large one laden with silver. Then
where he expected to meet his own ships he found a Spanish squadron;
but undaunted by this ill-fortune, reached the shore undiscovered,
improvised a raft, put to sea, found his own ships, and returned to
Plymouth a rich man: having won golden opinions from the Cimmaroons--
escaped slaves of the district--from the contrast between the English
and the Spanish methods of treating them.

[Sidenote: 1575 John Oxenham]

This was but the precursor of that most famous of his voyages which
made his name more terrible to the Spaniards than that of John Hawkins
had ever been. More than four years, however, elapsed before that
expedition started; and in the interval one of his lieutenants, John
Oxenham in 1575 undertook his own disastrous venture, [Footnote: The
details of his story are familiar to all readers of Westward Ho.] which
well illustrates the boldness of conception and audacity of execution
that characterise the Elizabethan seamen. His plan was a development of
Drake's Darien exploit. On reaching the Isthmus, he hid his ship and
guns, crossed the mountains as Drake had done, built himself a pinnace,
and first of all Englishmen sailed on the Pacific. He captured two

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