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Sine ira et studio, quorum causasprocul liabco. 

TACITUS, Ann. i. 1. 



All rights reserved 

REPRINTED MARCH 1892; 1895; 1897; 1900; 1903; 1906. 


EARLY LIFE, 1533-1558 I 


FOREIGN RELATIONS, 1559-1563 18 

ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART, 1559-1568 ... 38 


FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 1572-1583 . . 101 




THE PAPAL ATTACK, 1570-1583 128 



EXECUTJJN OF THE QUEEN OF SCOTS : 1584-1587 . . 174 

WAR WITH SPAIN, 1587-1603 . . . . / . 188 

DOMESTIC AFFAIRS, 1588-1601 . . . . . .211 

LAST YEARS AND DEATH, 1601-1603 . . . .230 



BETH 243 




EARLY LIFE : 1533-1558 

I HAVE to deal, under strict limitations of space? 
with a long life, almost the whole of its adult period 
passed in the exercise of sovereignty a life which is 
in effect the history of England during forty-five years, 
abounding at the same time in personal interest, and 
the subject, both in its public and private aspects, of 
fierce and probably interminable controversies. Evi- 
dently a bird's-eye view is all that can be attempted : 
and the most important episodes alone can be selected 
for consideration. 

The daughter of Henry vin. and Anne Boleyn was 
born on September 6, 1 533. Anne was niece of Thomas, 
third Duke of Norfolk, and all the great Howard 
kinsmen attended at the baptism four days after- 
wards. Elizabeth was two years and eight months 
old when her mother was beheaded, and she herself 
was declared illegitimate by Act of Parliament. It is 
not recorded that in after years she expressed any 
opinion about her mother or ever mentioned her name. 
She never took any steps to get the Act of attainder 
repealed ; but perhaps she indirectly showed her belief 



m Anne's innocence by raising the son of Norris, her 
alleged paramour, to the peerage, and by the great 
favour she always showed to his family. 

During her father's life Elizabeth lived chiefly at 
Hatfield with her brother Edward, under a governess. 
Henry had been empowered by Parliament in 1536 to 
settle the succession by his will. In 1544 he caused 
an Act to be passed placing Mary and Elizabeth next 
in order of succession after Edward. By his will, made 
a few days before his death, he repeated the provisions 
of the Act of 1544, and placed next to Elizabeth the 
daughters of his younger sister, the Duchess of Suffolk, 
tacitly passing over his elder sister, the Queen of 

After her father's death (Jan. 1547) Elizabeth, then 
a girl of thirteen, went to reside with the Queen 
Dowager Catherine, who had not been many weeks a 
widow before she married her old lover Thomas 
Seymour, the Lord Admiral, brother of the Protector 
Somerset, described as " fierce in courage, courtly in 
fashion, in personage stately, in voice magnificent, but 
somewhat empty of matter." The romping that soon 
began to go on between this dangerous man and 
Elizabeth was of such a nature that early in the next 
year Catherine found it necessary to send her away 
somewhat abruptly. From that time she resided 
chiefly at Hatfield. 

In August 1548 Catherine died, and the Admiral at 
once formed the project of marrying Elizabeth. This 
and other ambitious designs brought him to the scaffold 
(March 1549). It does not appear that Elizabeth saw 
or directly corresponded with him after he was a 

r EARLY LIFE: 1533-1558 

widower. But she listened to his messages, and 
dropped remarks of an encouraging kind which she 
meant to be repeated to him. She knew perfectly 
well that the marriage would not be permitted. She 
was only flirting with a man old enough to be her 
father just as she afterwards flirted with men young 
enough to be her sons. We already get a glimpse of 
the utter absence both of delicacy and depth of feeling 
which characterised her through life. When she heard 
of the Admiral's execution she simply remarked, " This 
day died a man with much wit and very little judg- 
ment." With Elizabeth the heart never really spoke, 
and if the senses did, she had them under perfect 
control. And this was why she never loved or was 
loved, and never has been or will be regarded with 
enthusiasm by either man or woman. For some time 
after this scandal she was evidently somewhat under a 
cloud. She lived at her manor-houses of Ashridge, 
Enfield, and Hatfield, diligently pursuing her studies 
under the celebrated scholar Ascham. 

When Edward died (July 6, 1553) Elizabeth was 
nearly twenty. Although Mary's cause was her own, 
she remained carefully neutral during the short queen- 
ship of Jane. On its collapse she hastened to congratu- 
late her sister, and rode by her side when she made her 
entry into London. During the early part of Mary's 
reign her life hung by a thread. The slightest 
indiscretion would have been fatal to her. Wyatt's 
insurrection was made avowedly in her favour. But 
neither to that nor any other conspiracy did she extend 
the smallest encouragement. Her prudent and blame- 
less conduct gave her the more right in after years to 


deal severely with Mary Stuart, whose behaviour under 
precisely similar circumstances was so very different. 

Renard, the Spanish ambassador, demanded her 
execution as the condition of the Spanish match, and 
Mary assured him that she would do her best to satisfy 
him. In the time of Henry vm. such an intention on 
the part of the sovereign would have been equivalent 
to a sentence of death. But Mary was far from being 
as powerful as her father. The Council had to be 
reckoned with, and in the Council independent and 
even peremptory language was now to be heard. It 
was not without strong protests on the part of some 
of the Lords that Elizabeth was sent to the Tower. 
Sussex, a noble of the old blood, who was charged to 
conduct her there, took upon him to delay her departure, 
that she might appeal to the Queen for an interview. 
Mary was furious : " For their lives/' she said, " they 
durst not have acted so in her father's time ; she 
wished he was alive and among them for a single 
month." But it was usless to storm. The absolute 
monarchy had seen its best days. Sussex, fearing 
foul play, warned the Lieutenant of the Tower to keep 
within his written instructions. Howard of Effingham, 
the Lord Admiral, had done more than any one else to 
place Mary on the throne. But he was Elizabeth's 
great-uncle, and he angrily insisted that her food in the 
Tower should be prepared by her own servants. A 
proposal in Parliament to give the Queen the power to 
nominate a successor was received with such disfavour 
that it had to be withdrawn. Finally the judges 
declared that there was no evidence to convict Eliza- 
beth. Sullenly therefore the Queen had to give way. 

I EARLY LIFE : 1533-1558 5 

Elizabeth was sent to Woodstock, where she resided 
for about a year under guard. This was only reason- 
able. An heir to the throne, in whose favour there 
had been plots, could not expect complete freedom. In 
October 1555 she was allowed to go to Hatfield under 
the surveillance of Sir Thomas Pope. During the rest 
of the reign she escaped molestation by outward con- 
formity to the Catholic religion, and by taking no part 
whatever in politics. But as it became clear that her 
accession was at hand there can be no doubt that she 
was engaged in studying the problems with which she 
would have to deal. She was already in close intimacy 
with Cecil, and it is evident that she mounted the 
throne with a policy carefully thought out in its main 

When Mary was known to be dying, the Spanish 
ambassador, Feria, called on Elizabeth, and told her 
that his master had exerted his influence with the 
Queen and Council on her behalf, and had secured her 
succession. But she declined to be patronised, and told 
him that the people and nobility were on her side. 



MARY died on the 17th of November 1558. Parlia- 
ment was then sitting, and, in communicating the 
event to both Houses, Archbishop Heath frankly took 
the initiative in recognising Elizabeth, " of whose most 
lawful right and title in the succession of the Crown, 
thanks be to God, we need not to doubt." He was a 
staunch Catholic, and two months later refused to 
officiate at her coronation. But he was an Englishman, 
and even the most convinced Catholics, though looking 
forward with uneasiness to the religious policy of the 
new Queen, were sincerely glad that there was no danger 
of a disputed succession. Besides, it was by no means 
clear that Elizabeth would not accept the ecclesiastical 
constitution as established in the late reign. That 
there would be an end of burnings, and of the harassing 
tyranny of the bishops, every one felt certain ; but it 
seemed quite upon the cards that Elizabeth would 
continue to recognise the headship of the Pope in a 
formal way and maintain the Mass. It must be 
remembered that the religious changes had only begun 
some thirty years before. All middle-aged men could 


remember the time when the ecclesiastical fabric 
stood to all appearance unbroken, as it had stood for 
centuries. Only twenty-four years had passed since 
the Act of Supremacy had transferred the headship of 
the Church from the Pope to the King ; only eleven 
since the Protestant doctrine and worship had been 
forced on the country by the Protector Somerset, to 
the horror and disgust of the great majority of Eng- 
lishmen. The nation had sorrowed for the death of 
Edward vi., because it darkened the prospects of the 
succession, and seemed likely sooner or later to bring 
on a civil war. But apart from the hot Protestant 
minority, chiefly to be found in London, the mass of 
the nation was conservative, and welcomed the re- 
establishment of the old religion as a return to order 
and common sense after a short and bitter experience 
of revolutionary anarchy. There was a rooted ob- 
jection to restore the old meddlesome tyranny of the 
bishops, and the nobles and squires who had got hold 
of the abbey lands would not hear of giving them up. 
But the return to communion with the Catholic Church 
and the recognition of the Pope as its head gave satis- 
faction to three-fourths, perhaps to five-sixths, of the 
nation, and to a still larger proportion of its most 
influential class, the great landed proprietors. Mary's 
accession was the great and unique opportunity for 
the old Church. If Mary and Pole had been cool- 
headed politicians instead of excitable fanatics, if they 
had contented themselves with restoring the old 
worship, depriving the few Protestant clergy of their 
benefices, and punishing only outrageous attacks on 
the State religion, Elizabeth would not have had the 


power, it may be doubted whether she would have had 
the inclination, to undo .her sister's work. 

This great opportunity was thrown away. Mary's 
bishops came back brooding over the long catalogue 
of humiliations and indignities which their Church 
had suffered, and thirsting to avenge their own wrongs. 
For six years they had their fling, and contrived to 
make the country forget the period of Protestant mis- 
government. England had never before known what 
it was to be governed by clergymen. It was a sort of 
rule as hateful to most Catholic laymen as to Protes- 
tants. Catholics therefore for the most part, as well as 
Protestants, hailed the accession of Elizabeth. At any 
rate there would be an end of the clerical tyranny. 
Nor were they without hope that she would maintain 
the old worship. She had conformed to it for the last 
five years, and Philip had given the word that she wa? 
to be supported. 

We are now accustomed to the Papal non possumus. 
No nation or Church can hope that the smallest devia- 
tion from Roman doctrine or discipline will be tolerated. 
But in 1558 the hard and fast line had not yet been 
drawn. France was still pressing for such changes 
as communion in both kinds, worship in the vulgar 
tongue, and marriage of priests. The Council of Trent, 
it is true, had already in 1545 decided that Catholic 
doctrine was contained in the Bible and tradition, and 
in 1551 had defined transubstantiation and the sacra- 
ments. But in 1552 the Council was prorogued, and 
it did not resume till 1562. Doctrine and discipline 
therefore might be, and were still considered to be, in 
the melting-pot, and no one could be certain what 


would come out. If Elizabeth had contented herself 
with the French programme, and had joined France in 
pressing it, the other sovereigns, who really cared for 
nothing but uniformity, would probably have forced 
the Pope to compromise. The Lutheran doctrine of 
consubstantiation might have been tolerated. The 
Anglican formulae have been held by many to be com- 
patible with a belief in the Real Presence. The formal 
severance of England from Catholic unity might thus 
have been postponed possibly avoided in the same 
sense that it has been avoided in France. After the 
completion of the Council of Trent (1562-3) it was 
too late. 

Two years after her accession Elizabeth told the 
Spanish ambassador, De Quadra, that her belief was 
the belief of all the Catholics in the realm ; and on 
his asking her how then she could have altered religion 
in 1559, she said she had been compelled to act as she 
did, and that, if he knew how she had been driven to 
it, she was sure he would excuse her. Seven years 
later she made the same statement to De Silva. 
Elizabeth was habitually so regardless of truth that 
her assertions can be allowed little weight when they 
are improbable. No doubt, as a matter of taste and 
feeling, she preferred the Catholic worship. She was 
not pious. She was not troubled with a tender con- 
science or tormented by a sense of sin. She did not 
care to cultivate close personal relations with her God. 
A religion of form and ceremony suited her better. 
But her training had been such as to free her from all 
superstitious fear or prejudice, and her religious con- 
victions were determined by her sense of what was 


most reasonable and convenient. There is not the 
least evidence that she was a reluctant agent in the 
adoption of Protestantism in 1559. Who was there 
to coerce her ? The Protestants could not have set up 
a Protestant competitor. The great nobles, though 
opposed to persecution and desirous of minimising the 
Pope's authority, would have preferred to leave wor- 
ship as it was. But upon one thing Elizabeth was 
determined. She would resume the full ecclesiastical 
supremacy which her father had annexed to the Crown. 
She judged, and she probably judged rightly, that the 
only way to assure this was to make the breach with 
the old religion complete. If she had placed herself 
in the hands of moderate Catholics like Paget, possessed 
with the belief that she could only maintain herself by 
the protection of Philip, they would have advised her 
to be content with the practical authority over the 
English Church which many an English king had 
known how to exercise. That was not enough for her. 
She desired a position free from all ambiguity and 
possibility of dispute, not one which would have to be 
defended with constant vigilance and at the cost of 
incessant bickering. 

From the point of view of her foreign relations the 
moment might seem to be a dangerous one for carrying 
out a religious revolution, and many a statesman 
with a deserved reputation for prudence would have 
counselled delay. But this disadvantage was more 
than counterbalanced by the unpopularity which the 
cruelties and disasters of Mary's last three years had 
brought upon the most active Catholics. Again, Eliza- 
beth no doubt recognised that the Catholics, though 


at present the strongest, were the declining party. 
The future was with the Protestants. It was the 
young men who had fixed their hopes upon her in her 
sister's time, and who were ready to rally round her 
now. By her natural disposition, and by her culture, 
she belonged to the Renaissance rather than to the 
Reformation. But obscurantist as Calvinism essentially 
was, the Calvinists, as a minority struggling for free- 
dom to think and teach what they believed, represented 
for a time the cause of light and intellectual emancipa- 
tion. Was she to put herself at the head of reaction 
or progress 1 She did not love the Calvinists. They 
were too much in earnest for her. Their narrow creed 
was as tainted with superstition as that of Rome, and, 
at bottom, was less humane, less favourable to progress. 
But whom else had she to work with 1 The reason- 
able, secular-minded, tolerant sceptics are not always 
the best fighting material ; and at that time they were 
few in number and tending in England at least to 
be ground out of existence between the upper and 
nether millstones of the rival fanaticisms. If she 
broke with Catholicism she would be sure of the 
ardent and unwavering support of one-third of the 
nation ; so sure, that she would have no need to take 
any further pains to please them. As for the remain- 
ing two-thirds, she hoped to conciliate most of them 
by posing as their protector against the persecution 
which would have been pleasing to Protestant bigots. 

In the policy of a complete breach with Rome, Cecil 
was disposed to go as far as the Queen, and further. 
Cecil was at this time thirty-eight. For forty years he 
continued to be the confidential arid faithful servant 


of Elizabeth. One of those new men whom the 
Tudors most trusted, he was first employed by Henry 
VIII. Under Edward he rose to be Secretary of State, 
and was a pronounced Protestant. On the fall of his 
patron Somerset he was for a short time sent to the 
Tower, but was soon in office again sooner, some 
thought, than was quite decent under his patron's 
old enemy, Northumberland. He signed the letters- 
patent by which the crown was conferred on Lady 
Jane Grey ; but took an early opportunity of going 
over to Mary. During her reign he conformed to 
the old religion, and, though not holding any office, 
was consulted on public business, and was one of the 
three commissioners who went to fetch Cardinal Pole 
to England. Thoroughly capable in business, one of 
those to whom power naturally falls because they 
know how to use it, a shrewd balancer of probabilities, 
without a particle of fanaticism in his composition 
and detesting it in others, though ready to make use 
of it to serve his ends, entirely believing that " what- 
e'er is best administered is best," Cecil nevertheless 
had his religious predilections, and they were all on 
the side of the Protestants. Moreover he had a 
personal motive which, by the nature of the case, was 
not present to the Queen. She might die prematurely ; 
and if that event should take place before the Pro- 
testant ascendancy was firmly established his power 
would be at an end, and his very life would be in 
danger. A time came when he and his party had so 
strengthened themselves, if not in absolute numerical 
superiority, yet by the hold they had established on 
all departments of Government from the highest to 


the lowest, that they were in a condition to resist a 
Catholic claimant to the throne, if need were, sword 
in hand. But during the early years of the reign 
Cecil was working with the rope round his neck. 
Hence he could not regard the progress of events 
with the imperturbable sang-froid which Elizabeth 
always displayed ; and all his influence was employed 
to push the religious revolution through as rapidly 
and completely as possible. 

The story that Elizabeth was influenced in her 
attitude to Eome by an arrogant reply from Pope 
Paul IV. to her official notification of her accession, 
though refuted by Lingard and Hallam in their later 
editions, has been repeated by recent historians. Her 
accession was notified to every friendly sovereign 
except the Pope. He was studiously ignored from 
the first. Equally unsupported by facts are all at- 
tempts to show that during the early weeks of her 
reign she had not made up her mind as to the course 
she would take about religion. All preaching, it is 
true, was suspended by proclamation; and it was 
ordered that the established worship should go on 
"until consultation might be had in Parliament by 
the Queen and the three Estates." In the meantime 
she had herself crowned according to the ancient ritual 
by the Catholic Bishop of Carlisle. But this is only 
what might have been expected from a strong ruler 
who was not disposed to let important alterations be 
initiated by popular commotion or the presumptuous 
forwardness of individual clergymen. The impending 
change was quite sufficiently marked from the first by 
the removal of the most bigoted Catholics from the 


Council and by the appointment of Cecil and Bacon to 
the offices of Secretary and of Lord Keeper. The new 
Parliament, Protestant candidates for which had been 
recommended by the Government, met as soon as 
possible (Jan. 25, 1559). When it rose (May 8th) 
the great change had been legally and decisively 

The government, worship, and doctrine of the Estab- 
lished Church are the most abiding marks left by 
Elizabeth on the national life of England. Logically 
it might have been expected that the settlement of 
doctrine would precede that of government and 
worship. It is characteristic of a State Church that 
the inverse order should have been followed. For 
the Queen the most important question was Church 
government ; for the people, worship Both these 
matters were disposed of with great promptitude at 
the beginning of 1559. Doctrine might interest the 
clergy ; but it could wait. The Thirty-nine Articles 
were not adopted by Convocation till 1563, and were 
not sanctioned by Parliament till 1571. 

The government of the Church was settled by the 
Act of Supremacy (April 1559). It revived the Act 
of Henry VIII., except that the Queen was styled 
Supreme Governor of the Church instead of Supreme 
Head, although the nature of the supremacy was pre- 
cisely the same. The penalties were relaxed. Henry's 
oath of supremacy might be tendered to any subject, 
and to decline it was high treason ; Elizabeth's oath 
was to be obligatory only on persons holding spiritual 
or temporal office under the Crown, and the penalty 
for declining was the loss of such office. Those who 


chose to attack the supremacy were still liable to the 
penalties of treason on the third offence. 

Worship was settled with equal expedition by the 
Act of Uniformity (April 1559), which imposed the 
second or more Protestant Prayer-book of Edward VL, 
but with a few very important alterations. A de- 
precation in the Litany of " the tyranny of the Bishop 
of Rome and all his detestable enormities," and a 
rubric which declared that by kneeling at the Com- 
munion no adoration was intended to any real and 
essential presence of Christ, were expunged. The 
words of administration in the present communion 
service consist of two sentences. The first sentence, 
implying real presence, belonged to Edward's first 
Prayer-book ; the second, implying mere commemora- 
tion, belonged to his second Prayer-book. The Prayer- 
book of 1559 simply pieced the two together, with a 
view to satisfy both Catholics and Protestants. Lastly, 
the vestments prescribed in Edward's first Prayer-book 
were retained till further notice. These alterations of 
Edward's second Prayer-book, all of them designed to 
propitiate the Catholics, were dictated by Elizabeth 
herself. In all this legislation Convocation was entirely 
ignored. Both its houses showed themselves strongly 
Catholic. But their opinion was not asked, and no 
notice was taken of their remonstrances. 

While determining that England should have a 
purely national Church, and for that reason casting 
in her lot with the Protestants, Elizabeth, as we have 
seen, made very considerable sacrifices of logic and 
consistency in order to induce Catholics to conform. 
Like a strong and wise statesman, she did not allow 


herself to be driven into one concession after another, 
but went at once as far as she intended to go. At 
the same time the coercion applied to the Catholics, 
while sufficient to influence the worldly-minded ma- 
jority, was, during the early part of her reign, very 
mild for those times. She wished no one to be 
molested who did not go out of his way to invite it. 
Outward conformity was all she wanted. And of this 
mere attendance at church was accepted as sufficient 
evidence. The principal difficulty, of course, was 
with the clergy. From them more than a mere 
passive conformity had to be exacted. To sign de- 
clarations, take oaths, and officiate in church was a 
severer strain on the conscience. It is said that less 
than 200 out of 9400 sacrificed their benefices rather 
than conform, and that of these about 100 were dig- 
nitaries. The number must be under-stated ; for the 
chief difficulty of the new bishops, for a long time, 
was to find clergymen for the parish churches. But 
we cannot doubt that the large majority of the parish 
clergy stuck to their livings, remaining Catholics at 
heart, and avoiding, where they could, and as long as 
they could, compliance with the new regulations. It 
must not be supposed that the enactment of religious 
changes by Parliament was equivalent, as it would be 
at the present day, to their immediate enforcement 
throughout the country ; especially in the north where 
the great proprietors and justices of the peace did not 
carry out the law. A certain number of the ejected 
priests continued to celebrate the ancient rites privately 
in the houses of the more earnest Catholics ; for which 
they were not unfrequently punished by imprisonment. 


Of course this was persecution. But according to the 
ideas of that day it was a very mild kind of persecu- 
tion ; and where it occurred it seems to have been due 
to the zeal of some of the bishops, and to private 
busybodies who set the law in motion, rather than to 
any systematic action on the part of the Government. 



THE successful wars waged by Edward in. and 
Henry v. are apt to cause an exaggerated estimate 
of the strength of England under the Tudors. The 
population Wales included was probably not much 
more than four millions. That of France was perhaps 
four times as large, and the superiority in wealth was 
even greater. 1 Before the reign of Louis XL, France, 
weakened by feudal disunion, had been an easy prey 
to her smaller but better-organised neighbour. The 
work of concentration effected by the greatest of French 
kings towards the close of the fifteenth century, and 
the simultaneous rise of the great Spanish empire, 
caused England to fall at once into the rank of a 
second-rate power. Such she really was under Henry 
VIII., notwithstanding the rather showy figure he 
managed to make by adhering alternately to Charles v. 
and Francis I. Under the bad government of Edward 
and Mary the fighting strength of England declined 
not only relatively, but absolutely, until in the last 

1 Mr. Motley conjectures that the population of Spain and Portugal 
may have been 12,000,000. 

ill FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 19 

year of Mary it touched the lowest point in our 
history. Although we were at war -with France, there 
were no soldiers, no officers, no arms, no fortresses 
that could resist artillery, few ships, a heavy debt, 
and deep discouragement. The loss of Calais, which 
had been held for 200 years, was the simple and 
natural consequence of this prostration. Justice will 
not be done to the great recovery under Elizabeth 
unless we understand how low the country had sunk 
when she came to the throne. 

During the early years of her reign, it was the ' 
universal opinion at home and abroad that without 
Spanish protection she could not preserve her throne 
against a French invasion in the interests of Mary 
Stuart. Henry 11. meant that, by the marriage of 
the Dauphin Francis with Mary, the kingdoms of 
England and Scotland should be united to one another 
and eventually to France. Philip would thus lose the 
command of the sea route to the Netherlands, and the 
hereditary duel with the House of Austria would be 
decided. This scheme could not seem fantastic in a 
century which had seen such immense agglomerations 
of territory effected by political marriages. Philip, on 
the other hand, made sure that the danger from 
France must necessarily throw Elizabeth and England 
into his arms. Notwithstanding the warnings he 
received from his ambassador Feria that Elizabeth 
was a heretic, he felt certain that she would not 
venture to alter religion at the risk of offending him. 
The only question with him was whether he should 
marry her himself or bestow her on some sure friend 
of his house. That she would refuse both himself 


and his nominee was a contingency he never contem- 

Elizabeth, from the first, made up her mind that 
the cards in her hand could be played to more ad- 
vantage than Philip supposed. England, no doubt, 
needed his protection for the present. But could he 
please himself about granting it? Her bold calcula- 
tion was that his own interests would compel him, 
in any case, to prevent the execution of the Stuart- 
Valois scheme, and that consequently she might settle 
religion without reference to his wishes. 

The offer of marriage came in January 1559. In 
his letter to Feria, Philip spoke as if Elizabeth would 
of course jump at it. After dwelling on its many 
inconveniences, he said he had decided to make the 
sacrifice on condition that Elizabeth would uphold the 
Catholic religion; but she must not expect him to 
remain long with her; he would visit England occa- 
sionally. Feria foolishly allowed this letter to be 
seen, and the contents were reported to Elizabeth. 
She was as much amused as piqued. Their ages were 
not unsuitable. Philip was thirty-two, and Elizabeth 
was twenty-five. But she was as fastidious about 
men as her father was about women ; and for no poli- 
tical consideration would she have tied herself to her 
ugly, disagreeable, little brother-in-law. After some 
fencing, she replied that she did not mean to marry, 
and that she was not afraid of France. 

Before the death of Mary, negotiations for a peace 
between France, Spain, and England had already be- 
gun. Calais was almost the only difficulty remaining 
to be settled. Our country mem have never been able 

in FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 21 

to understand how their possession of a fortress within 
the natural boundaries of another country can be dis- 
agreeable to its inhabitants. Elizabeth shared the 
national feeling, and she wanted Philip to insist on 
the restitution of Calais. He would have done so if 
she had pleased him as to other matters. Even as it 
was, the presence of a French garrison in Calais was 
so inconvenient to the master of the Netherlands that 
he was ready to fight on if England would do her 
part. But Elizabeth would only promise to fight 
Scotland a very indirect and, indeed, useless way of 
supporting Philip. When once this point was made 
clear, peace was soon concluded between the three 
powers at Cateau, near Cambray (March 1559); ap- 
pearances being saved by a stipulation that Calais 
should be restored in eight years, or half a million 
of crowns be forfeited. 

In thus giving way Elizabeth showed her good 
sense. To have fought on would have meant deeper 
debt, terrible exhaustion, and, what was worse, depen- 
dence on Philip. Moreover, Calais could only have 
been recovered by reducing France to helplessness, 
which would have been fatal to the balance of power 
on which Elizabeth relied to make herself independent 
of both her great neighbours. The peace of Cateau 
Cambresis was attended with a secret compact be- 
tween Philip ii. and Henry IL, that each monarch 
should suppress heresy in his own dominions and not 
encourage it in those of his neighbour. By the acces- 
sion of Elizabeth, and the Scotch Reformation which 
immediately followed, Protestantism reached its high- 
water mark in Europe. The long wars of Charles V. 


with France had enabled it to spread. Francis I. had 
intrigued with the Protestant princes of the Empire, 
and Charles had been obliged to humour them. Pro- 
testantism was victorious in Britain, Scandinavia, 
North Germany, the Palatinate, and Swabia. It had 
spread widely in Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands, 
and France. This rapid growth was now about to be 
checked. In some of these countries the new religion 
was destined to succumb ; in some entirely to dis- 
appear. Men who could remember the first preachings 
of Luther lived to see not only the high-water, but 
the ebb, of the Protestant tide. The revolutionary 
tendencies inherent in Protestantism began to alarm 
the sovereigns ; and all the more because the Church 
in Catholic, hardly less than in Protestant, countries 
was becoming a department of the State. Kings had 
been jealous of the spiritual power when it belonged 
to the Popes. They became jealous for it when it 
was annexed to the throne. 

Notwithstanding its secret stipulations, the peace of 
Gateau Cambresis relieved England from the most 
pressing and immediate perils by which she was 
threatened. Neither French nor Spanish troops had 
made their appearance on our soil. A breathing-time 
at least had been gained, during which something might 
be done towards putting the country in a state of 
defence, and restoring the finances. 

But the danger from France was by no means at 
an end. In the treaty with England, the title of 
Elizabeth had been acknowledged. But in that with 
Spain, the Dauphin had styled himself " King of Scot- 
land, England, and Ireland." He and Mary had also 

Hi FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 23 

assumed the English arms. If a French army invaded 
England, it would come by way of Scotland. The 
English Catholics, who had for the most part frankly 
accepted the succession of Elizabeth, were disappointed 
and irritated by the change of religion. If Mary 
should go to Scotland with a French force, it was to 
be apprehended that a rebellion would immediately 
break out in the northern counties. Philip, no doubt, 
would land in the south to drive out the Dauphiness. 
But the remedy would be worse than the disease. 
For he was deeply discontented with the conduct of 
Elizabeth, and would probably take the opportunity 
of deposing her. To establish, therefore, her inde- 
pendence of both her powerful neighbours, Elizabeth 
had to begin by destroying French influence in Scot- 

The wisest heads in Scotland had long seen the 
advantage of uniting their country to England by 
marriage. The blundering and bullying policy of the 
Protector Somerset had driven the Scotch to renew 
their ancient alliance with France. But the attempts 
of the Regent Mary of Guise to increase French in- 
fluence, and to establish a small standing army, in 
order at once to strengthen her authority, and to 
serve the designs of Henry n. against England, had 
again made the French connection unpopular, and 
caused a corresponding revival of friendly feeling to- 
wards England. 

Nowhere was the Church so wealthy, relatively to 
the other estates, as in Scotland. It was supposed to 
possess half the property of the country. Nowhere 
were the clergy so immoral. Nowhere was supersti- 


tion so gross. But the doctrines of the Reformation 
were spreading among the common people, and in 
1557 some of tfhe nobles, hungering for the wealth 
of the Church, put themselves at the head of the Pro- 
testant movement. They were known as the " Lords 
of the Congregation." 

The Scotch Reformation began not from the Govern- 
ment, as in England, but from the people. Hence, 
while change of supremacy was the main question in 
England, change of doctrine and worship took the 
lead in Scotland. The two parties were about equal 
in numbers, the Protestants being strongest in the 
Lowlands. But, with the exception of the murder of 
Beaton in 1546, there had, as yet, been no appeal to 
force, nor any attempt to procure a public change of 
religion. The accession of Elizabeth emboldened the 
Protestants. At Perth they took possession of the 
churches and burnt a monastery. On the other hand, 
after the peace of Gateau Cambresis, Henry II. directed 
the Regent to put down Protestantism, both in pur- 
suance of the agreement with Philip, and in order to 
prepare for the Franco- Scottish invasion of England. 
The result was that the Protestants rose in open re- 
bellion (June 1559). The Lords of the Congregation 
occupied Perth, Stirling, and Edinburgh. All over 
the Lowlands abbeys were wrecked, monks harried, 
churches cleared of images, the Mass abolished, and 
King Edward's service established in its place. In 
England the various changes of religion in the last 
thirty years had always been effected legally by King 
and Parliament. In Scotland the Catholic Church 
was overthrown by a simultaneous popular outbreak. 

in FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 25 

The catastrophe came later than in England ; but 
popular feeling was more prepared for it; and what 
was now cast down was never set up again. 

It seemed at first as if the Regent and her handful 
of regular troops, commanded by d'Oysel, would be 
swept away. But d'Oysel had fortified Leith, and 
was even able to take the field. A French army was 
expected. The tumultuary forces of the needy Scotch 
nobles could not be kept together long, and it became 
clear that, unless supported by Elizabeth, the rebellion 
would be crushed as soon as the French reinforcements 
should arrive, if not sooner. 

Thus early did Elizabeth find herself confronted by 
the Scottish difficulty, which was to cause her so much 
anxiety throughout the greater part of her reign. The 
problem, though varying in minor details, was always 
essentially the same. There was a Protestant faction 
looking for support to England, and a Catholic faction 
looking to France. Two or three of the Protestant 
leaders Moray, Glencairn, Kirkaldy did really care 
something about a religious reformation. The rest 
thought more of getting hold of Church lands and 
pursuing old family feuds. In the experience of 
Elizabeth, they were a needy, greedy, treacherous crew, 
always sponging on her treasury, and giving her very 
little service in return for her money. Besides, the 
whole Scotch nation was so touchy in its patriotism, 
so jealous of foreign interference, that foreign soldiers 
present on its soil were sure to be regarded with an 
evil eye, no matter for what purpose they had come, 
or by whom they had been invited. 

The Lords of the Congregation invoked the pro- 


tection of Elizabeth. They suggested that she should 
marry the Earl of Arran, and that he and she should 
be King and Queen of Great Britain. Arran was the 
eldest son of the Duke of Chatelherault, who, Mary 
being as yet childless, was heir-presumptive to the 
Scottish crown. There were many reasons why Eliza- 
beth should decline interference. It was throwing 
down the glove to France. Interference in Scotland 
had always been disastrous. It might drive the Eng- 
lish Catholics to despair, as cutting off the hope of 
Mary's succession to the English crown. To make a 
Protestant match would irritate Philip. He might 
invade England to forestall the French. Almost all 
her Council even Bacon advised her to leave Scot- 
land alone, marry the Archduke Charles, and trust to 
the Spanish alliance for the defence of England. 

These were serious considerations; and to them 
was to be joined another which with Elizabeth always 
had great weight more, naturally, than it had with 
any of her advisers. She shrank from doing anything 
which might have the practical effect of weakening the 
common cause of monarchs. She felt instinctively 
that with Protestants reverence for the religious basis 
of kingship must tend to become weaker than with 
Catholics. She did not desire to encourage this ten- 
dency or to familiarise her own subjects with it 
Knox's First Blast of the Trumpet against the Mon- 
strous Regimen of Women had been directed against 
Mary. The Blasts that were to follow had been 
dropped ; but the first could not be treated as un- 
blown. And the arrogant preacher did not mend 
matters by writing to Elizabeth that she was to con- 

m FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 27 

sider her case as an exception "contrary to nature," 
allowed by God "for the comfort of His kirk," but 
that if she based her title on her birth or on law, 
" her felicity would be short." 

Nevertheless Elizabeth adopted the bolder course. 
The Lords of the Congregation were assured that Eng- 
land would not see them crushed by French arms. 
A small supply of money was sent to them. As to 
the marriage with Arran, no positive answer was given ; 
but he was sent for to be looked at. When he came, 
he was found to be even a poorer creature than his 
father; at times, indeed, not quite right in his mind. 
It was hard upon the Hamiltons, among whom were 
so many able and daring men, that, with the crown 
almost in their grasp, their chiefs should be such in- 
capables. To Elizabeth it was no doubt a relief to 
find that Arran was an impossible husband. 

In the meantime 2000 French had arrived, and the 
Lords were urgent in their demands for help. But 
Elizabeth determined, and rightly, that they must do 
their own work if they could. She was willing to 
give them such pecuniary help as was necessary. But 
the demand for troops was unreasonable. Fighting 
men abounded in Scotland. Why should English 
troops be sent to do their fighting for them, with the 
certainty of earning black looks rather than thanks 1 
If a large army was despatched from France, she would 
attack it with her fleet. If it landed, she would send 
an English army. But if the Lords of the Congrega- 
tion did not beat the handful of Frenchmen at Leith 
it must be because they were either weak or treacher- 
ous. In either case Elizabeth might have to give up 


the policy she preferred, leave Scotland alone, and fall 
back upon an alliance with Philip. 

In order therefore to preserve this second string to 
her bow, and to let the Scotch Anglophiles see that 
she possessed it, she reopened negotiations for the 
Austrian marriage. Charles, in his turn, was invited 
to come and be looked at. Much as she disliked the 
idea of marriage, she knew that political reasons might 
make it necessary. But, come what would, she would 
never marry a man who was not to her fancy as a 
man. She would take no one on the strength of his 
picture. She had heard that Charles was not over- 
wise, and that he had an extraordinarily big head, 
" bigger than the Earl of Bedford's." 

The Scotch Lords, finding that Elizabeth was de- 
termined to have some solid return for her money, 
went to work with more vigour. They proclaimed 
the deposition of the Regent, drove her from Edin- 
burgh, and besieged her and her French garrison in 
Leith. But this burst of energy was soon over. The 
Protestants were more ready to pull down images and 
harry monks than make campaigns. Leith was not to 
be taken. In three weeks their army dwindled away, 
and the little disciplined force of Frenchmen re-entered 

The position had become very critical for Elizabeth. 
A French army of 15,000 men was daily expected at 
Leith. If once it landed, the Congregation would be 
crushed ; the Hamiltons would make their peace ; and 
the disciplined army of d'Elbceuf, swelled by hordes 
of hungry Scotchmen, would pour over the Border. 
and proclaim Mary in the midst of the Catholic popu- 

ill FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 29 

lation which ten years later rose in rebellion under 
the northern Earls. 

In this difficulty the Spanish Ministers in the 
Netherlands were consulted. If Elizabeth expelled 
the garrison at Leith, and so brought upon herself a 
war with France, could she depend on Philip's assist- 
ance? The reply was menacing. Their master, for 
his own interest, could not allow the Queen of France 
and Scotland to enforce her title to the throne of 
England. But he would oppose it in his own way. 
If a French army entered England from the north, a 
Spanish army would land on the south coast. Turning 
to her own Council for advice, Elizabeth found no 
encouragement. They recommended her to take 
Philip's advice, and even to retrace some of her steps 
in the matter of religion in order to propitiate him. 
She made a personal appeal to the Duke of Norfolk to 
take the command of the forces on the Border. But 
he declined to be the instrument of a policy which 
he disapproved. 

We need not wonder if Elizabeth hesitated for a 
while. Some of these councillors were not too well 
affected to her. But most of them were thoroughly 
loyal, and there was really much to be said for the 
more cautious policy. She herself was an eminently 
cautious politician, inclined by nature to shrink from 
risky courses. Never, therefore, in her whole career 
did she give greater proof of her large-minded com- 
prehension of the main lines of policy which it be- 
hoved her to follow than when she determined to 
override the opinions of so many prudent advisers, 
and expel the French force from the northern kingdom. 


England was not quite in the helpless, disabled 
position that it pleased the Spaniards to believe. 
Twelve months of careful and energetic administration 
had already done wonders. There had been wise 
economy and wise expenditure. Money had been 
scraped together, and, though there was still a heavy 
debt, the legacy of three wasteful reigns, the confidence 
of the Antwerp money-lenders had revived, and they 
were willing to advance considerable sums. A fleet 
had been equipped and manned ; shiploads of arms 
had been imported ; forces had been collected on 
the south coasts. The Border garrisons had been 
quietly raised in strength till they were able to furnish 
an expeditionary force at a moment's notice. 

The smallest energy on the part of the Congregation 
might have finished the war without the presence of 
an English force. Elizabeth had a right to be angry. 
The Scotch Protestants expected to have the hardest 
part of the work done for them, and to be paid for 
executing their own share of it. Lord James and a 
few of the leaders were in earnest, but others were 
selfish time-servers. As for the lower class, their 
Calvinism was still new. It had not yet bred that 
fierce spirit of independence which before long was to 
outweigh the force of nobles and gentry. But if the 
weakness of the Anglophile party was disappointing, it 
had at all events shown that Elizabeth must depend 
upon herself to ward off danger on that side; and 
after some reasonable hesitation she decided to put 
through the work she had begun. 

It says much for the patriotism of Elizabeth's Coun- 
cil that when they found she had made up her mind 

in FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 31 

they did not stand sulkily aloof, but co-operated heartily 
and vigorously in carrying out the policy they had 
opposed. Norfolk himself accepted the command oi 
the Border army, and acted throughout the affair with 
fidelity and diligence. He was not a man distinguished 
by ability of any kind, and the actual fighting was to 
be done by Lord Grey, a firm and experienced, though 
not brilliant, commander. But that the natural leader 
of the Conservative nobility should be seen at the 
head of Elizabeth's army was a useful lesson to traitors 
at home and enemies abroad, who were telling each 
other that her throne was insecure. 

An agreement between the English Queen and the 
Lords of the Congregation was drawn up (February 
27), with scrupulous care to avoid the appearance of 
dictation and encroachment which had gathered all 
Scotland to Pinkie Cleugh eleven years before. It set 
forth that the English troops were entering Scotland 
for no other object than to assist the Duke of Chatel-" 
herault, the heir-presumptive to the throne, and the 
other nobles, to drive out the foreign invaders. They 
would build no fortress. There was no intention to 
prejudice Mary's lawful authority. Cecil appears to 
have wanted to add something about " Christ's true 
religion ; " but Elizabeth struck it out. Circumstances 
might compel her to be the protector of foreign 
Protestants ; but neither then nor at any other time 
did she desire to pose in that character. 

A month later (March 28th) Lord Grey crossed the 
Border, and marched to Leith. The siege of that place 
proved to be tedious. The Lords of the Congregation 
gave very insufficient assistance ; and, when an assault 


had been repulsed with heavy loss, the citizens of 
Edinburgh would not receive the wounded into their 
houses. At last, when food was running short in the 
town, an envoy from France arrived with power to 
treat on behalf of the Queen of Scots. Her mother, 
the Eegent, had died during the siege. After much 
haggling a treaty was signed. No French troops were 
in future to be kept in Scotland. Offices of State 
were to be held only by natives. The government 
during Mary's absence was to be vested in a Council 
of twelve noblemen ; seven nominated by her and five 
by the Estates. Elizabeth's title to the kingdoms of 
England and Ireland was recognised (July 1560). 

Such was the Treaty of Edinburgh, or of Leith, as 
it is sometimes called, one o f the most successful 
achievements of a successful reign. It was gained by 
wise counsel and bold resolve ; and its fruits, though 
not completely fulfilling its promise, were solid and 
valuable. It was not ratified by Mary. But her non- 
ratification in the long-run injured no one but herself, 
besides putting her in the wrong, and giving Eliza- 
beth a standing excuse for treating her as an enemy. 
England was permanently free from the menace of a 
disciplined French army in the northern kingdom. 
Nothing was settled in the treaty about religion. 
But this was equivalent to a confirmation of the violent 
change that had recently taken place; in itself a 
guarantee of security to England. 

The moral effect of this success was even greater 
than its more tangible results. It had been very 
generally believed, at all events abroad, that Elizabeth 
was tottering on her throne ; that the large majority 

m FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 

were on the point of rising to depose her; that, 
wriggle as she might, she would find she was a mere 
prottgte of Philip, with no option but to follow his 
directions and square her policy to his. Whatever 
small basis of fact underlay this delusive estimate had 
been ridiculously exaggerated in the reports sent to 
Philip by. his ambassador De Quadra, a man who 
evidently paid more attention to hole-and-corner tattle 
than to the broad forces of English politics. 

All these imaginings were now proved to be vain. 
Elizabeth had shown that she could protect herself by 
her own strength and in her own way. She had civilly 
ignored Philip's advice, or rather his injunctions. She 
had thrown down the glove to France, and France had 
not taken it up. She had placed in command of her 
armies the very man whom she was supposed to fear, and 
he had done her bidding, and done it well. England 
once more stood before Europe as an independent 
power, able to take care of itself, aid its friends, and 
annoy its enemies. 

It is true that, as far as Elizabeth personally is con- 
cerned, her Scotch policy had not always in its execu- 
tion been as prompt and firm as could be desired. 
Those who follow it in greater detail than is possible 
here will find much in it that is irresolute and even 
vacillating. This defect appears throughout Elizabeth's 
career, though it will always be ignored, as it ought 
to be ignored, by those who reserve their attention for 
what is worth observing in the course of human affairs. 

In her intellectual grasp of European politics as a 
whole, and of the interests of her own kingdom, Eliza- 
beth was probably superior to any of her counsellors. 


No one could better than she think out the general 
idea of a political campaign. But theoretical and 
practical qualifications are seldom, if ever, combined in 
equal excellence. Not only are the qualities them- 
selves naturally opposed, but the constant exercise of 
either increases the disparity. Her sex obliged 
Elizabeth to leave the large field of execution to 
others. Her practical gifts therefore, whatever they 
were, deteriorated rather than advanced as she grew 
older. In men, who every day and every hour of the 
day are engaged in action, the habit of prompt decision 
and persistence in a course once adopted, even if it 
be not quite the best, is naturally formed and strength- 
ened. It is a habit so valuable, so indispensable to 
continued success, that in practice it largely compen- 
sates for some inferiority in conception and design. 
Elizabeth's irresolution and vacillation were therefore 
a consequence of her position that of an extremely 
able and well-informed woman called upon to conduct 
a government in which so much had to be decided by 
the sovereign at her own discretion. The abler she 
was, the more disposed to make her will felt, the less 
steadiness and consistency in action were to be expected 
from her. As the wife of a king, upon whom the 
final responsibility would have rested her inferior per- 
haps in intellect and knowledge, but with the masculine 
habit of making up his mind once for all, and then 
steering a straight course she would have been a wise 
and enlightened adviser, not afraid of consistently 
maintaining principles, when the time, mode, and 
degree of their application rested with another. As 
it was, Cecil and other able statesmen who served her 

m FOREIGN RELATIONS: 1559-1563 35 

had not only to take their general course of policy 
from their mistress a wise course upon the whole, 
wiser sometimes than they would have selected for 
themselves but they were embarrassed, in their loyal 
attempts to steer in the direction she had prescribed, 
by her nervous habit of catching at the rudder-lines 
whenever a new doubt occurred to her ingenious mind, 
or some private feeling of the woman perverted the 
clear insight of the sovereign. 

The rivalry between France and Spain had hitherto 
been the safety of England. Nothing but reasons of 
religion could bring those two powers to suspend their 
political quarrel. This danger seemed to be averted 
for the moment by the temporary ascendant of the 
Politiques after the death of Francis n. But the 
fanaticism of both Catholics and Huguenots was too 
bitter, and the nobles on both sides were too ambitious, 
to listen to the dictates of reason and patriotism. The 
immense majority of the. nation, except in some districts 
of the south and south-west, was profoundly Catholic. 
The Huguenots, strongest amongst the aristocracy and 
the upper bourgeoisie, daring and intolerant like the 
Calvinists everywhere, had no sooner received some 
countenance from Catherine than they began to preach 
against the mass, to demand the spoliation of the 
Church, the suppression of monasteries, the destruc- 
tion of images, and the expulsion of the Guises. 
Where they were strong enough they began to carry 
out their programme. The Guises, on the other hand, 
forgetting the glory they had won in the wars against 
Spain, were soliciting the patronage of Philip, and 
urging him to put himself at the head of a crusade 


against the heretics of all countries. To this appeal 
he replied by formally summoning Catherine to put 
down heresy in France. An accidential collision at 
Vassy, in which a number of Huguenots were slain, 
brought on the first of those wars of religion which 
were to desolate France for the next thirty years 
(March 1562). Both factions, equally dead to patriot- 
ism, opened their country to foreigners. The Guises 
called in the forces of Spain and the Pope. Cond6 
applied to Elizabeth and the Protestant princes of 

It was necessary to give the Huguenots just so 
much help as would prevent them from being crushed. 
Aggressive in appearance, such interference was in 
reality legitimate self-defence. But unfortunately neither 
Elizabeth nor her Council had forgotten Calais, and 
they extorted from Conde the surrender of Havre as 
a pledge for its restoration. In the case of Scotland 
they had come, as we have seen, to recognise that to 
establish a permanent raw by holding fortified posts 
on the territory of another nation is poor statesman- 
ship. The possession of Calais was of little military 
value as against France. It is true that it would 
enable England to make sea communication between 
Spain and the Netherlands very insecure, and would 
thus give Philip a powerful motive for desiring to 
stand well with this country. But such a calculation 
had less weight with Englishmen at that moment than 
pure Jingoism the longing to be again able to crow 
over their French enemy. 

The occupation of Havre (October 1562) gave to 
the Huguenot cause the minimum of assistance, and 

in FOREIGN RELATIONS : 1559-1563 37 

brought upon it the maximum of odium. A hollow 
reconciliation was soon patched up between the rival 
factions (March 1563), and Elizabeth was summoned 
to evacuate Havre. She refused, loudly complaining 
of the Huguenots for deserting her. She " had come 
to the quiet possession of Havre without force or any 
other unlawful means, and she had good reason to keep 
it." Up to this time the fiction of peace between the 
two nations had been maintained. It was now open 
war. It is only fair to Elizabeth to say that all her 
Council and the whole nation were even hotter than 
she was. The garrison of Havre, with their commander 
Warwick, were eager for the fray. They would " make 
the French cock cry Cuck," they would " spend the 
last drop of their blood before the French should fasten 
a foot in the town." The inhabitants were all expelled, 
and the siege began, Conde as well as the Catholics 
appearing in the Queen-mother's army. After a 
valiant defence the English, reduced to a handful of 
men by typhus, sailed away (July 28, 1563). Peace 
was concluded early in the next year (April 1564). 
Elizabeth did not repeat her mistake. Thenceforward 
to the end of her reign we shall find her carefully 
cultivating friendly relations with every ruler of 



WHEN Elizabeth mounted the throne, it was taken for 
granted that she was to marry, and marry with the 
least possible delay. This was expected of her, not 
merely because in the event of her dying without issue 
there would be a dispute whether the claim of Mary 
Stuart or that of Catherine Grey was to prevail, but for 
a more general reason. The rule of an unmarried woman, 
except provisionally during such short interval as 
might be necessary to provide her with a husband, was 
regarded as quite out of the question. It was the custom 
for the husbands of heiresses to step into the property 
of their wives and stand in the shoes, so to speak, of 
the last male proprietor, in order to perform those 
duties which could not be efficiently performed by a 
woman. Elizabeth's sister, while a subject, had no 
thought of marrying. But her accession was considered 
by herself and every one else to involve marriage. If 
the nobles of England could have foreseen that Eliza- 
beth would elude this obligation, she would probably 
never have been allowed to mount the throne. Her mar- 
riage was thought to be as much a matter of course, 
arid as necessary, as her coronation. 



Accordingly the House of Commons, which met a 
month after her accession, immediately requested her 
to select a husband without delay. Her declaration 
that she had no desire to change her state was supposed 
to indicate only the real or affected coyness to be 
expected from a young lady. There was no lack of 
suitors, foreign or English. The Archduke Charles, 
son of the Emperor and cousin of Philip, would have 
been welcomed by all Catholics and acquiesced in by 
political Protestants like Cecil. The ardent Protes- 
tants were eager for Arran, and Cecil, till he saw it was 
useless, worked his best for him, regardless of the 
personal sacrifice his mistress must make in wedding 
a man who was not always quite sane and eventually 
became a confirmed lunatic. 

Not many months of the new reign had passed 
before it began to be suspected that Elizabeth's par- 
tiality for Lord Eobert Dudley had something to do 
with her evident distaste for all her suitors. To her 
Ministers and the public this partiality for a married 
man became a cause of great disquietude. They not 
unnaturally feared that with a young woman who had 
no relations to advise and keep watch over her, it 
might lead to some disastrous scandal incompatible 
with her continuance on the throne. Marriage with 
Dudley at this time was out of the question. But 
within four months of her accession, the Spanish 
ambassador mentions a report that Dudley's wife had 
a cancer, and that the Queen was only waiting for her 
death to marry him. 

About the humble extraction of Elizabeth's favourite 
much nonsense was talked in his lifetime by his ill- 


wishers, and has been duly repeated since. He was as 
well born as most of the peerage of that time ; very 
few of whom could show nobility of any antiquity in 
the male line. The Duke of Norfolk being the only 
Duke at Elizabeth's accession, and in possession of an 
ancient title, was looked on as the head of his order. 
Yet it was only seventy-five years since a Howard had 
first reached the peerage in consequence of having had 
the good fortune to marry the heiress of the Mowbrays. 
Edmund Dudley, Minister of Henry vii. and father of 
Northumberland, was grandson of John, fourth Lord 
Dudley; and Northumberland, by his mother's side, 
was sole heir and representative of the ancient barony 
of De L'Isle, which title he bore before he received his 
earldom and dukedom. In point of wealth and in- 
fluence, indeed, the favourite might be called an upstart. 
The younger son of an attainted father, he had not an 
acre of land or a farthing of money which he did not 
owe either to his wife or to the generosity of Elizabeth. 
This it was that moved the sneers and ill-will of a 
people with whom nobility has always been a composite 
idea implying, not only birth and title, but territorial 
wealth. Moreover his grandfather, though of good 
extraction, was a simple esquire, and had risen by 
helping Henry vii. to trample on the old nobility. 
After his fall his son had climbed to power under 
Henry vin. and Edward VI. in the same way. Lord 
Robert Dudley, again, had to begin at the bottom of the 

No one will claim for Elizabeth's favourite that he 
was a man of distinguished ability or high character. 
He had a fine figure and a handsome face. He bore 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 41 

himself well in manly exercises. His manners were 
attractive when he wished to please. To these qualities 
he first owed his favour with Elizabeth, who was never 
at any pains to conceal her liking for good-looking men 
and her dislike of ugly ones. Finding himself in favour, 
and inheriting to the full the pushing audacity of his 
father and grandfather, he professed for the Queen a 
love which he certainly did not feel, in order to serve 
his soaring ambition. Elizabeth, it is my firm conviction, 
never loved Dudley or any other man, in any sense of 
the word, high or low. She had neither a tender heart 
nor a sensual temperament. But she had a more than 
feminine appetite for admiration; and the more she 
was, unhappily for herself, a stranger to the emotion of 
love, the more restlessly did she desire to be thought 
capable of inspiring it. She was therefore easily taken 
in by Dudley's professions, and, though she did not care 
for him enough to marry him, she liked to have him 
as well as several other handsome men, dangling about 
her, "like her lap-dog," to use her own expression. 
Further she believed and here came in the mischief 
that his devotion to her person would make him a 
specially faithful servant. 

We know, though Elizabeth did not, that in 1561, 
Dudley was promising the Spanish ambassador to be 
Philip's humble vassal, and to do his best for Catholi- 
cism, if Philip would promote his marriage with the 
Queen ; that, in the same year, he was offering his 
services to the French Huguenots for the same con- 
sideration ; that at one time he posed as the protector 
of the Puritans, while at another he was intriguing 
with the captive Queen of Scots ; whom, again, later 


on, he had a chief share in bringing to the block. But 
we must remember that very few statesmen, English or 
foreign, in the sixteenth century could have shown a re- 
cord free from similar blots. Those who, like Elizabeth 
and Cecil, were undeniably actuated on the whole by 
public spirit, or by any principle more respectable than 
pure selfishness, never hesitated to lie or play a double 
game when it seemed to serve their turn. William of 
Orange is the only eminent statesman, as far as I know, 
against whom this charge cannot be made. When this 
was the standard of honour for consistent politicians 
and real patriots, what was to be expected of lower 
natures 1 Dudley's conduct on several occasions was 
bad and contemptible ; and he must be judged with 
the more severity, because he sinned not only against 
the code of duty binding on the ordinary man and 
citizen, but against his professions of a tender senti- 
ment by means of which he had acquired his special 
influence. I have said that he was not a man of 
great ability. But neither was he the empty-headed 
incapable trifler that some writers have depicted him. 
He was not so judged by his contemporaries. That 
Elizabeth, because she liked him, would have selected 
a man of notorious incapacity to command her armies, 
both in the Netherlands and when the Armada was 
expected, is one of those hypotheses that do not become 
more credible by being often repeated. Cecil himself, 
when it was not a question of the marriage of which 
he was a determined opponent regarded him as a 
useful servant of the Queen. I do not doubt that 
Elizabeth estimated his capacity at about its right 
value. What she over-estimated was his affection for 


herself, and consequently his trustworthiness. Sove- 
reigns and others often place a near relative in an 
important post, not as being the most capable person 
they know, but as most likely to be true to them. 
Elizabeth had no near relatives. If we grant as we 
must grant that she believed in Dudley's love, we 
cannot wonder that she employed him in positions of 
trust. A female ruler will always be liable to make 
these mistakes, unless her Ministers and captains are 
to be of her own sex. 

On the 3rd of September 1560, two months after 
the Treaty of Leith, Elizabeth told De Quadra that she 
had made up her mind to many the Archduke Charles. 
On the 8th, Lady Robert Dudley died at Cumnor Hall. 
On the llth, Elizabeth told De Quadra that she had 
changed her mind. Dudley neglected his wife, and 
never brought her to court. We cannot doubt that 
he fretted under a tie which stood in the way of his 
ambition. Her death had been predicted. It is not 
strange, therefore, that he should have been suspected 
of having caused it. Nevertheless, not a particle of 
evidence pointing in that direction has ever been 
produced, and it seems most probable that the poor 
deserted creature committed suicide. A coroner's jury 
investigated the case diligently, and, it would seem, with 
some animus against Foster, the owner of. Cumnor Hall, 
but returned a verdict of accidental death. 

Anyhow, Dudley was now free. The Scotch Estates 
were eagerly pressing Arran's suit, and the English 
Protestants were as eagerly backing them. The op- 
portunity was certainly unique. Though nothing was 
said about deposing Mary, yet nothing could be more 


certain than that, if this marriage took place, the 
Queen of France would never reign in Scotland. 

At her wits' end how to escape a match so desirable 
for the Queen, so repulsive to the woman, Elizabeth 
had announced her willingness to espouse the Archduke 
in order to gain a short breathing-time. Vienna was 
at least further than Edinburgh, and difficulties were 
sure to arise when details began to be discussed. At 
this moment, by the sudden death of his wife, Dudley 
became marriageable. If Elizabeth had been free to 
marry or not. as she pleased, it seems to me in the 
highest degree improbable that she would ever have 
thought of taking Dudley. But believing that a hus- 
band was inevitable, and expecting that she would be 
forced to take some one who was either unknown to 
her or positively distasteful, it was most natural that 
she should ask herself whether it was not the least 
of evils to put this cruel persecution to an end by 
choosing a man whom at least she admired and liked, 
who loved her, as she thought, for her own sake, and 
would be as obedient " as her lap-dog." When nations 
are ruled by women, and marriageable women, feelings 
and motives which belong to the sphere of private 
life, and should be confined to it, are apt to invade 
the domain of politics. If Elizabeth's subjects expected 
their sovereign to suppress all personal feelings in 
choosing a consort, they ought to have established the 
Salic law. No woman, queen or not queen, can be 
expected voluntarily to make such a sacrifice. Her 
happiness is too deeply involved. 

In the autumn, then, of 1560, when Elizabeth had 
been not quite two years on the throne, she seriously 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 45 

thought of marrying Dudley. It is difficult to say 
how long she continued to think of it seriously. With 
him, as with other suitors, she went on coquetting 
when she had perfectly made up her mind that nothing 
was to come of it. Perhaps we shall be right in say- 
ing that, as long as there was any question of the 
Archduke Charles, she looked to Dudley as a possible 
refuge. This would be till about the beginning of 
1568. It seems to be always assumed, as a matter of 
course, that Cecil played the part of Elizabeth's good 
genius in persistently dissuading her from marrying 
Dudley. I am not so sure of this. If she had been a 
wife and a mother many of her difficulties would have 
at once disappeared, and the weakest points in her 
character would have no longer been brought out. It 
ended in her not marrying at all. I am inclined to 
think that another enemy of Dudley, the Earl of 
Sussex, showed more good sense and truer patriotism 
when he wrote in October 1560 : 

" I wish not her Majesty to linger this matter of so great 
importance, but to choose speedily ; and therein to follow so 
much her own affection as [that], by the looking upon him 
whom she should choose, omnes ejus xensus titillarentur ; which 
shall be the readiest way, with the help of God, to bring us a 
blessed prince which shall redeem us out of thraldom. If I 
knew that England had other rightful inheritors I would then 
advise otherwise, and seek to serve the time by a husband's 
choice [seek for an advantageous political alliance]. But seeing 
that she is ultimum refugium, and that no riches, friendship, 
foreign alliance, or any other present commodity that might 
come by a husband, can serve our turn, without issue of her 
body, if the Queen will love anybody, let her love where and 
whom she lists, so much thirst I to see her love. And whom- 
soever she shall love and choose, him will I love, honour, and 
serve to the uttermost. " 


Perhaps I may be excused for expressing the opinion 
that the ideal husband for Elizabeth, if it had been 
possible, would have been Lord James Stuart, after- 
wards Earl of Moray. Of sufficient capacity, kindly 
heart, undaunted resolution, and unswerving rectitude 
of purpose, he would have supplied just those ele- 
ments that were wanting to correct her defects. 
King of Scotland he perhaps could not be. Regent 
of Scotland he did become. If he could, at the same 
time, have been Elizabeth's husband, the two crowns 
might have, in the next generation, been worn by 
a Stuart of a nobler stock than the son of Mary and 

When Mary Stuart, on the death of her husband 
Francis II., returned to her own kingdom (August 
1561), she found the Scotch nobles sore at the re- 
jection of Arran's suit. Bent on giving a sovereign 
to England, in one way or another, they were now 
ready, Protestants as well as Catholics, to back Mary's 
demand that she should be recognised as Elizabeth's 
heir-presumptive. To this the English Queen could 
not consent, for the very sufficient reason, that not 
only would the Catholic party be encouraged to hold 
together and give trouble, but the more bigoted and 
desperate members of it would certainly attempt her 
life, lest she should disappoint Mary's hopes by marry- 
ing. "She was not so foolish," she said, "as to hang 
a winding-sheet before her eyes or make a funeral 
feast whilst she was alive," but she promised that she 
would neither do anything nor allow anything to be 
done by Parliament to prejudice Mary's title. To 
this undertaking she adhered long after Mary's hostile 


conduct had given ample justification for treating her 
as an enemy. 

Openly Mary was claiming nothing but the succes- 
sion. In reality she cared little for a prospect so 
remote and uncertain. What she was scheming for 
was to hurl Elizabeth from her throne. This was an 
object for which she never ceased to work till her head 
was off her shoulders. Her aims were more sharply 
defined than those of Elizabeth, and she was remark- 
ably free from that indecision which too often marred 
the action of the English Queen. In ability and in- 
formation she was not at all inferior to Elizabeth ; in 
promptitude and energy she was her superior. These 
masculine qualities might have given her the victory 
in the bitter duel, but that, in the all-important do- 
main of feeling, her sex indomitably asserted itself, and 
weighted her too heavily to match the superb self- 
control of Elizabeth. She could love and she could 
hate; Elizabeth had only likes and dislikes, and 
therefore played the cooler game. When Mary really 
loved, which was only once, all selfish calculations 
were flung to the winds ; she was ready to sacrifice 
everything, and not count the cost body and soul, 
crown and life, interest and honour. When she hated, 
which was often,, rancour was apt to get the better of 
prudence. And so at the fatal turning-point of her 
career, when mad hate and madder love possessed her 
soul, she went down before her great rival never to 
rise again. Here was a woman indeed. And if, for 
that reason, she lost the battle in life, for that reason 
too she still disputes it from the tomb. She has 
always had, and always will have, the ardent sympathy 


of a host of champions, to whom the " fair vestal 
throned by the west " is a mere politician, sexless, cold- 
blooded, and repulsive. 

In 1564 Mary, as yet fancy-free, was seeking to 
match herself on purely political grounds. She was 
not so fastidious as Elizabeth, for she does not seem 
to have troubled herself at all about personal qualities, 
if a match seemed otherwise eligible. The Hamiltons 
pressed Arran upon her. But he was a Protestant. 
He was not heir to any throne but that of Scotland ; 
and, though a powerful family in Scotland, the Hamil- 
tons could give her no help elsewhere. Philip, who, 
now that the Guises had become his prottgfa, was less 
jealous of her designs, wished her to marry his cousin, 
the Archduke Charles of Austria. But this prince, 
whom Elizabeth professed to find too much of a 
Catholic, was, in the eyes of Mary and her more 
bigoted co-religionists, too nearly a Lutheran ; and she 
doubted whether Philip cared enough for him to risk 
a war for establishing him and herself upon the Eng- 
lish throne. For this reason the husband on whom 
she had set her heart was Don Carlos, Philip's own 
son, a sort of wild beast. But Philip received her 
overtures doubtfully ; the fact being that he could not 
trust Don Carlos, whom he eventually put to death. 
Catherine de' Medici loved Mary as little as she did 
the other Guises, but the prospect of the Spanish 
match filled her with such terror that she proposed to 
make the Scottish Queen her daughter-in-law a second 
time by a marriage with Charles IX., a lad under 
thirteen, if she would wait two years for him. 

On the other hand, Elizabeth impressed upon Mary 


that, unless she married a member of some Reformed 
Church, the English Parliament would certainly de- 
mand that her title to the succession, whatever it was, 
should be declared invalid. The House of Commons 
was strongly Protestant, and had with difficulty been 
prevented from addressing the Queen in favour of the 
succession of Lady Catherine Grey. Apart from re- 
ligion there was deep irritation against the whole 
Scotch nation. Sir Ralph Sadler, who had been much 
employed in Scotland, denounced them as " false, beg- 
garly, and perjured, whom the very stones in the 
English streets would rise against." When Elizabeth 
was dangerously ill in October 1562, the Council dis- 
cussed whom they should proclaim in the event of her 
death. Some were for the will of Henry VIII. and 
Catherine Grey. Others, sick of female rulers, were 
for taking the Earl of Huntingdon, a descendant of the 
Duke of Clarence. None were for Mary or Darnley. 
Mary's chief friends Montagu, Northumberland, West- 
moreland, and Derby were not on the Council. 

Parliament and the Council being against her, Mary 
could not afford to quarrel with the Queen. Elizabeth 
told her that she would regard a marriage with any 
Spanish, Austrian, or French prince as a declaration 
of war. Help from those quarters was far away, and 
at the mercy of winds and waves : the Border for- 
tresses were near, and their garrisons always ready 
to inarch. Besides, whichever of the two she might 
obtain Charles IX. or the Archduke she drove the 
other into the arms of Elizabeth. 

But there was another possible husband who had 
crossed her mind from time to time ; not a prince 


indeed, yet of royal extraction in the female line, and, 
what was more, not without pretensions to that very 
succession which she coveted. Henry Lord Darnley, 
son of Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox, was, by his 
father's side, of the royal family of Scotland, while 
his mother was the daughter of Margaret Tudor, sister 
of Henry vin., by her second husband, the Earl of 
Angus. Born and brought up in England, where his 
father had been long an exile, he was reckoned as an 
Englishman, which, in the opinion of many lawyers, 
was essential as a qualification for the crown. He 
was also a Catholic, and if Elizabeth had died at this 
time, it was perhaps Darnley, rather than Mary, whom 
the Catholics would have tried to place on the throne. 
Elizabeth had promised that, if Mary would marry 
an English nobleman, she would do her best to get 
Mary's title recognised by Parliament. To Elizabeth, 
therefore, Mary now turned, with the request that 
she would point out such a nobleman, not without 
a hope that she would name Darnley (March 1564). 
But, to Mary's mortification, she formally recommended 
Lord Robert Dudley. 

This recommendation has often been treated as if 
it was a sorry joke perpetrated by Elizabeth, who had 
never any intention of furthering, or even permitting, 
such a match. But nothing is more certain than that 
Elizabeth was most anxious to bring it about; and 
it affords a decisive proof that her feeling for Dudley, 
whatever name she herself may have put to it, was 
not what is usually called love. Cecil and all her 
most intimate advisers entertained no doubt that she 
was sincere. She undertook, if Mary would accept 


Dudley, to make him a duke ; and, in the meantime, 
she created him Earl of Leicester. She regarded him, 
so she told Mary's envoy Melville, as her brother and 
her friend ; if he was Mary's husband she would have 
no suspicion or fear of any usurpation before her 
death, being assured that he was so loving and trusty 
that he would never permit anything to be attempted 
during her time. " But," she said, pointing to Darnley, 
who was present, "you like better yonder long lad." 
Her suspicion was correct. Melville had secret in- 
structions to procure permission for Darnley to go to 
Scotland. However, he answered discreetly that " no 
woman of spirit could choose such an one who more 
resembled a woman than a man." 

How was Elizabeth to be persuaded to let Darnley 
leave England? There was only one way to disarm 
suspicion : Mary declared herself ready to marry Leices- 
ter (January 1565). Darnley immediately obtained 
leave of absence for three months ostensibly to recover 
the forfeited Lennox property. In Scotland the pur- 
pose of his coming was not mistaken, and it roused 
the Protestants to fury. The Queen's chapel, the only 
place in the Lowlands where mass was said, was beset. 
Her priests were mobbed and maltreated. Moray, 
who till lately had supported his sister with such 
loyalty and energy that Knox had quarrelled with 
him, prepared, with the other Lords of the Congrega- 
tion, for resistance. Elizabeth, and Cecil also, had 
been completely overreached. A prudent player some- 
times gets into difficulties by attributing equal pru- 
dence to a daring and reckless antagonist. Elizabeth, 
as a patriotic ruler, desired nothing but peace and 


security for her own kingdom. If she could have that, 
she had no wish to meddle with Scotland. Mary, 
caring nothing for the interests of her subjects, was 
facing civil war with a light heart; and, for the 
chance of obtaining the more brilliant throne, was 
ready to risk her own. 

Undeterred by Elizabeth's threats, Mary married 
Darnley (July 29, 1565). Moray and Argyll, having 
obtained a promise of assistance from England, took 
arms ; but most of the Lords of the Congregation 
showed themselves even more powerless or perfidious 
than they had been five years before. Morton, Kuth- 
ven, and Lindsay, stoutest of Protestants, were related 
to Darnley, and were gratified by the elevation of 
their kinsman. Moray failed to elicit a spark of 
spirit out of the priest-baiting citizens of Edinburgh, 
and the Queen, riding steel cap on head and pistols 
at saddle-bow, chased him into England. Lord Bed- 
ford, who was in command at Berwick, could have 
stepped across the Border and scattered her undis- 
ciplined array without difficulty. He implored Eliza- 
beth to let him do it; offered to do it on his own 
responsibility, and be disavowed. But he found, to 
his mortification, that she had been playing a game 
of brag. She had hoped that a threatening attitude 
would stop the marriage. But as it was an accom- 
plished fact she was not going to draw the sword. 

This was shabby treatment of Moray and his 
friends, and to some of her councillors it seemed 
not only shameful but dangerous to show the white 
feather. But judging from the course of events, 
Elizabeth's policy was the safe one. The English 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 53 

Catholics some of them at all events, as will be 
explained presently were becoming more discontented 
and dangerous. The northern earls were known to 
be disaffected. Mary believed that in every country 
in England the Catholics had their organisation and 
their leaders, and that, if she chose, she could march 
to London. No doubt she was much deceived. In 
reluctance to resort to violence and respect for con- 
stituted authority, England, even north of the Humber, 
was at least two centuries ahead of Scotland, and, if 
she had come attended by a horde of savage High- 
landers and Border ruffians, " the very stones in the 
streets would have risen against them." It was 
Elizabeth's rule and a very good rule too never 
to engage in a war if she could avoid it. From this 
rule she could not be drawn to swerve either by 
passion or ambition, or that most fertile source of 
fighting, a regard for honour. All the old objec- 
tions to an invasion of Scotland still subsisted in 
full strength, and were reinforced by others. It was 
better to wait for an attack which might never come 
than go half-way to meet it. An invasion of Scotland 
might drive the northern earls to declare for Mary, 
which, unless compelled to choose sides, they might 
never do. Some people are more perturbed by the 
expectation and uncertainty of danger than by its 
declared presence. Not so Elizabeth. Smouldering 
treason she could take coolly as long as it only 
smouldered. As for the betrayal of the Scotch 
refugees, Elizabeth never allowed the private interests 
of her own subjects, much less those of foreigners, 
to weigh against the interests of England. Moray 


one of the most magnanimous and self-sacrificing of 
statesmen, evidently felt that Elizabeth's course was 
wise, if not exactly chivalrous. He submitted to her 
public rebuke without publicly contradicting her, and 
waited patiently in exile till it should be convenient 
for her to help him and his cause. Mary, too, though 
elated by her success, and never abandoning her in- 
tention to push it further, found it best to halt for 
a while. Philip wrote to her that he would help 
her secretly with money if Elizabeth attacked her, 
but not otherwise, and warned her against any pre- 
mature clutch at the English crown. Elizabeth's 
seeming tameness could hardly have received a more 
complete justification. 

Mary had determined to espouse Darnley, before 
she had set eyes on him, for purely political reasons. 
There is no reason to suppose she ever cared for him. 
It is more likely, as Mr. Froude suggests, that for a 
great political purpose she was doing an act which in 
itself she loathed. A woman of twenty-two, already 
a widow, mature beyond her years, exceptionally able, 
absorbed in the great game of politics, and accustomed 
to admiration, was not likely to care for a raw lad of 
nineteen, foolish, ignorant, ill-conditioned, vicious, and 
without a single manly quality. One man we know 
she did love later on loved passionately and devotedly, 
no slim girl-faced youngster, but the fierce, stout-limbed, 
dare-devil Both well ; and Both well gradually made his 
way to her heart by his readiness to undertake every 
desperate service she required of him. What Mary 
admired, nay envied, in the other sex was the stout 
heart and the strong arm. She loved herself to rough 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 55 

it on the war-path. She surprised Randolph by her 
spirit: "Never thought I that stomach to be in her 
that I find. She repented nothing but, when the 
Lords and others came in the morning from the 
watches, that she was not a man, to know what life 
it was to lie all night in the fields or to walk upon 
the causeway with a jack and a knapscap, a Glasgow 
buckler and a broadsword." "She desires much," 
says Knollys, "to hear of hardiness and valiancy, 
commending by name all approved hardy men of her 
country, although they be her enemies ; and she con- 
cealeth no cowardice even in her friends." Valuable 
to Mary as a man of action, Bothwell was not worth 
much as an adviser. For advice she looked to the 
Italian Rizzio, in whom she confided because, with 
the detachment of a foreigner, he regarded Scotch 
ambitions, animosities, and intrigues only as so much 
material to be utilised for the purpose of the combined 
onslaught on Protestantism which the Pope was trying 
to organise. Bothwell was at this time thirty, and 
Rizzio, according to Lesley, fifty. 

In spite of all the prurient suggestions of writers 
who have fastened on the story of Mary's life as on a 
savoury morsel, there is no reason whatever for think- 
ing that she was a woman of a licentious disposition, 
and there is strong evidence to the contrary. There 
was never anything to her discredit in France. Her 
behaviour in the affair of Chastelard was irreproach- 
able. The charge of adultery with Rizzio is dismissed 
as unworthy of belief even by Mr. Froude, the severest 
of her judges. Bothwell indeed she loved, and, like 
many another woman who does not deserve to be 


called licentious, she sacrificed her reputation to the 
man she loved. But the most conclusive proof that 
she was no slave to appetite is afforded by her nine- 
teen years' residence in England, which began when 
she was only twenty-five. During almost the whole 
of that time she was mixing freely in the society of 
the other sex, with the fullest opportunity for mis- 
conduct had she been so inclined. It is not to be 
supposed that she was fettered by any scruples of 
religion or morality. Yet no charge of unchastity is 
made against her. 

When Darnley found that his wife, though she 
conferred on him the title of King, did not procure 
for him the crown matrimonial or allow him the 
smallest authority, he gave free vent to his anger. 
No less angry were his kinsmen, Morton, Ruthven, 
and Lindsay. They had deserted the Congregation 
in the expectation that when Darnley was King they 
would be all-powerful. Instead of this they found 
themselves neglected; while the Queen's confidence 
was given to Catholics and to Bothwell, who, though 
nominally a Protestant, always acted with the Catho- 
lics. The Protestant seceders had in fact fallen between 
two stools. It was against Rizzio that their rage 
burnt fiercest. Bothwell was only a bull-headed, 
blundering swordsman. Eizzio was doubly detestable 
to them as the brain of the Queen's clique and as a 
low-born foreigner. Eizzio, therefore, they deter- 
mined to remove in the time-honoured Scottish fashion. 
Notice of the day fixed for the murder was sent to 
the banished noblemen in England, so that they might 
appear in Edinburgh immediately it was accomplished 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 57 

Randolph, the English ambassador, and Bedford, who 
commanded on the Border, were also taken into the 
secret, and they communicated it to Cecil and Leicester. 

It is unnecessary here to repeat the well-known 
story of the murder of Bizzio. It was part of a large 
scheme for bringing back the exiled Protestant lords, 
closing the split in the Protestant party, and securing 
the ascendancy of the Protestant religion. At first it 
appeared to have succeeded. Bedford wrote to Cecil 
that "everything would now go well." But Mary, 
by simulating a return of wifely fondness, managed to 
detach her weak husband from his confederates. By 
his aid she escaped from their hands. Bothwell and 
her Catholic friends gathered round her in arms. In 
a few days she re-entered Edinburgh in triumph, and 
Bizzio's murderers had to take refuge in England. 

But if the Protestant stroke had failed, Mary was 
obliged to recognise that her plan for re-establishing 
the Catholic ascendancy in Scotland could not be 
rushed in the high-handed way she had proposed as 
a mere preliminary to the more important subjugation 
of England. At the very moment when she seemed 
to stand victorious over all opposition, the ground had 
yawned under her feet, and, while she was dreaming of 
dethroning Elizabeth, she had found herself a helpless 
captive in the hands of her own subjects. The lesson 
was a valuable one, and if she could profit by it her 
prospects had never been so good. The barbarous 
outrage of which, in the sixth month of pregnancy, 
she had been the object could not but arouse wide- 
spread sympathy for her. She had extricated herself 
from her difficulties with splendid courage and clever- 


ness. The loss of such an adviser as Bizzio was really 
a stroke of luck for her. All she had to do was to 
abandon, or at all events postpone, her design of re- 
establishing the Catholic religion in Scotland, and to 
discontinue her intrigues against Elizabeth. 

Her prospects in England were still further improved 
when she gave birth to a son (June 19, 1566). Once 
more there was an heir-male to the old royal line, and, 
as Elizabeth continued to evade marriage, most people 
who were not fierce Protestants began to think it 
would be more reasonable and safe to abide by the 
rule of primogeniture than by the will of Henry VIII., 
sanctioned though it was by Act of Parliament. There 
can be no doubt that this was the opinion and intention 
of Elizabeth, though she strongly objected to having 
anything settled during her own lifetime. But she 
had herself gone a long way towards settling it by her 
treatment of Mary's only serious competitor. Catherine 
Grey had contracted a secret marriage with the Earl 
of Hertford, son of the Protector Somerset. Her 
pregnancy necessitated an avowal. The clergyman 
who had married them was not forthcoming, and 
Hertford's sister, the only witness, was dead. Eliza- 
beth chose to disbelieve their story, though she would 
not have been able to prove when, where, or by whom 
her own father and mother had been married. She 
had a right to be angry; but when she sent the 
unhappy couple to the Tower, and caused her tool, 
Archbishop Parker, to pronounce the union invalid 
and its offspring illegitimate, she was playing Mary's 
game. The House of Commons elected in 1563 was 
still undissolved. It was strongly Protestant, and it 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 59 

favoured Catherine's title even after her disgrace. 
In its second session, in the autumn of 1566, it made 
a determined effort to compel Elizabeth to marry, and 
in the meanwhile to recognise Catherine as the heir- 
presumptive. The zealous Protestants knew well that 
the Peers were in favour of the Stuart title, and they 
feared that a new House of Commons might agree 
with the Peers. To get rid of their pertinacity 
Elizabeth dissolved Parliament, not without strong 
expressions of displeasure (Jan. 2, 1567). Cecil him- 
self earned the thanks of Mary for his attitude on this 
occasion. It cannot be doubted that he dreaded her 
succession ; but he saw which way the tide was running, 
and he thought it prudent to swim with it. 

It was at this moment that Mary flung away all her 
advantage, and entered on the fatal course which led to 
her ruin. Her loathing for Darnley, her fierce desire 
to avenge on him the insults and outrage she had 
suffered, left no room in heart or mind for considera- 
tions of policy. She would have been glad to obtain 
a divorce. But the Catholic Church does not grant 
divorce for misconduct after marriage. Some pretext 
must be found for alleging that the marriage was null 
from the beginning. This did not suit Mary. It 
would have made her son illegitimate, and would have 
placed her in exactly the position of Catherine Grey. 
A mere separation a toro would not have suited 
her any better, for it would not have enabled her to 
contract another marriage. 

When Mary's reliance on Both well grew into attach- 
ment, when her attachment warmed into love, it is 
impossible to fix with any exactness. Her infatuation 


presented itself to him as a grand opening for his 
daring ambition. A notorious profligate, he loved 
her if the word is to be so degraded as much or 
as little as he had loved twenty other women. What, 
however, he desired in her case, was marriage. A 
more sensible man would have foreseen that marriage 
would mean certain ruin for himself and the Queen. 
But he was accustomed to despise all difficulties in 
his path, being intellectually incapable of measuring 
them, and believing in nothing but audacity and brute 
force. Husband of the Queen, why should he not be 
master of the kingdom 1 Why not King ? When 
such an idea had once occurred to Bothwell, Darnley's 
expectancy of life would be much the same as that of 
a calf in the presence of the butcher. 

The wretched victim had alienated all his friends 
among the nobility. Some owed him a deadly grudge 
for his treachery. Others had been offended by his 
insolence. To all he was an encumbrance and a 
nuisance. Several, therefore, of the leading personages 
were more or less engaged in the compact for 
putting him out of the way. Moray, Argyll, and 
Maitland offered to assist in ridding Mary of her 
husband by way of a Protestant sentence of divorce, 
on condition that Morton and his friends in exile 
should be pardoned and recalled. The bargain was 
struck, and Mary assented to it. Nothing was said 
about murder. No one had any interest in murder 
except Mary and Bothwell, whose project of marriage 
was as yet unsuspected. At the same time, if Bothwell 
liked to kill Darnley on his own responsibility, as no 
doubt he made it pretty plain that he would why, so 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 61 

much the better. It relieved the other lords of all 
trouble. It was a simple, thorough, old-fashioned 
expedient, which had never been attended with any 
discredit in Scotland, and had only one inconvenience 
that it usually saddled the murderer with a blood 
feud. In the present case Lennox was the only peer 
who would feel the least aggrieved ; and he was in no 
condition to wage blood-feuds. Anyhow, that was 
Both well's look-out. 

So obvious was all this that it was hardly worth 
while to observe secrecy except as to the exact occasion 
and mode of execution. Many persons were more or 
less aware of what was going to be done; but none 
cared to interfere. Moray ' was an honourable and 
conscientious man, if judged by the standard of his 
environment the only fair way of estimating char- 
acter. But Moray chose to leave Edinburgh the 
morning before the deed ; and thought it sufficient 
to be able to say afterwards that " if any man said he 
was present when purposes [talk] were held in his 
audience tending to any unlawful or dishonourable 
end, he spoke wickedly and untruly." The inner circle 
of the plot consisted of Bothwell, Argyll, Huntly, 
Maitland, and Sir James Balfour. 

That Darnley was murdered by Bothwell is not 
disputed. That Mary was cognisant of the plot, and 
lured him to the shambles, has been doubted by few 
investigators at once competent and unbiassed. She 
lent herself to this part not without compunction. 
Bothwell had the advantage over her that the loved 
has over the lover ; and he used it mercilessly for his 
headlong ambition, hardly taking the trouble to pre- 


tend that he cared for the unhappy woman who was 
sacrificing everything for him. He in fact cared more 
for his lawful wife, whom he was preparing to divorce, 
and to whom he had been married only six months. 
Mary was tormented by jealousy of her after the 
divorce as well as before. 

The murder of Darnley (Feb. 10, 1567) was uni- 
versally ascribed to Mary at the time by Catholics as 
well as Protestants at home and abroad, and it fatally 
damaged her cause in England and the rest of Europe. 
In Scotland itself such was the backward and bar- 
barous state of the country it would probably not 
have shaken her throne if she had followed it up with 
firm and prudent government. She might even have 
indulged her illicit passion for Both well, with little 
pretence of concealment, if she had not advanced him 
in place and power above his equals. There was 
probably not a noble in Scotland, from Moray down- 
wards, who would have scrupled to be her Minister. 
The Protestant commonalty indeed, who with all the 
national laxity as to the observance of the sixth 
commandment, were shocked by any trifling with 
the seventh, would no doubt have made their bark 
heard. But their bite had not yet become formidable ; 
and in any case they were not to be propitiated. 

What brought sudden and irretrievable ruin on 
Mary was not the murder of Darnley, but the in- 
fatuation which made her the passive instrument 
of Bothwell's presumptuous ambition. The lords, 
Catholic and Protestant alike, allowed the murder 
to pass uncondemned and unpunished ; but they 
were furious when they found that Darnley had 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 63 

only been removed to make room for Bothwell, and 
that they were to have for their master a noble of 
by no means the highest lineage, bankrupt in for- 
tune, and generally disliked for his arrogant and 
bullying demeanour. The project of marriage was 
not disclosed till ten weeks after the murder (April 
19, 1567). Five days later, Bothwell, fearing lest 
he should be frustrated by public indignation or 
interference from England, carried off the Queen, as 
had been previously arranged between them. His 
idea was that, when Mary had been thus publicly 
outraged, it would be recognised as impossible that 
she should marry any one but the ravisher. In this 
coarse expedient, as in the clumsy means employed 
for disposing of Darnley, we see the blundering fool- 
hardiness of the man. The marriage ceremony was 
performed as soon as Bothwell's divorce could be 
managed (May 15). Just a month later Mary sur- 
rendered to the insurgent lords at Carberry Hill, and 
Bothwell, flying for his life, disappears from history. 

The feelings with which Elizabeth had contem- 
plated the course of events in Scotland during the 
last six months were no doubt of a mixed nature. 
At the beginning of 1567, her seven-years' duel with 
Mary appeared to be ending in defeat. The last 
bold thrust, aimed in her interest if not by her hand 
the murder of Bizzio had not improved her posi- 
tion. It seemed that she would soon be obliged to 
make her choice between two equally dreaded alter- 
natives: she must either recognise Mary as her heir 
or take a husband. From this unpleasant dilemma 
she was released by the headlong descent of her 


rival in the first six months of 1567. But all other 
feelings were soon swallowed up in alarm and indig- 
nation at the spectacle of subjects in revolt against 
their sovereign. As tidings came in rapid succes- 
sion of Mary's surrender at Carberry Hill, of her 
return to Edinburgh amidst the insults and threats 
of the Calvinist mob, of her imprisonment at Loch 
Leven, of the proposal to try and execute her, Eliza- 
beth's anger waxed hotter, and she told the Scotch 
lords in her most imperious tones that she could 
not, and would not, permit them to use force with 
their sovereign. If they deposed or punished her, 
she would revenge it upon them. If they could not 
prevail on her to do what was right, they must 
"remit themselves to Almighty God, in whose hands 
only princes' hearts remain." 

This language, addressed as it was to the only 
men in Scotland who were disposed to support the 
English interest, was imprudent. In her fellow-feel- 
ing for a sister sovereign, and her keen perception 
of the revolutionary tendencies of the time, Elizabeth 
spoilt an unique opportunity of placing her relations 
with Scotland on a footing of permanent security, of 
providing for the English succession in a way at once 
advantageous to the nation and free from risk to 
her own life, and lastly, of escaping from the con- 
stant worry about her own marriage. She had seen 
clearly enough what might be made of the situation. 
Throgmorton had been despatched to Scotland 
with instructions to do his best to get the infant 
Prince confided to her care. Once in England, she 
would virtually have adopted him. She would have 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 65 

possessed a son and heir without the inconvenience of 
marriage. To a Parliamentary recognition, indeed, of 
his title she would assuredly not have consented. It 
would have made him independent and dangerous. 
But if he behaved well to her, his succession would 
be more certain than any Act of Parliament could 
make it. Mary, if released and restored to power, 
would no longer be formidable. If she were de- 
posed or put to death, Elizabeth would indirectly 
govern Scotland, at all events, till James should be of 

This splendid opportunity Elizabeth lost by her 
peremptory and domineering language. The old Scotch 
pride took fire. The Anglophile lords, who would 
have been glad enough to send the young Prince to 
England, could not afford to appear less patriotic than 
the Francophiles. Throgmorton's attempt to get hold 
of James was as unsuccessful as that of the Protector 
Somerset to get hold of James's mother had been 
twenty years before. He was told that, before the 
Prince could be sent to England, his title to the 
English succession must be recognised ; a condition 
which Elizabeth could not grant. Her claim that 
Mary should be restored without conditions was 
equally unacceptable to the Anglophile lords. They 
might have been induced to release her if she would 
have consented to give up Both well, or if they could 
have caught and hanged him. But such was her 
devotion to him, that no threats or promises availed 
to shake it. It was in vain that they offered to pro- 
duce letters of his to the divorced Lady Bothwel), in 
which he assured her that he regarded her still as 



his lawful wife, and Mary only as his concubine. 
The unhappy Queen had been aware even before 
her marriage as a pathetic letter to Bothwell 
shows that her passionate love was not returned. 
Two days after the marriage, his unkindness had 
driven her to think of suicide. But nothing they 
could say could shake her constancy. " She would 
not consent by any persuasion to abandon the Lord 
Bothwell for her husband. She would live and die 
with him. If it were put to her choice to relinquish 
her crown and kingdom or the Lord Bothwell, she 
would leave her kingdom and dignity to go as a 
simple damsel with him; and she will never consent 
that he shall fare worse or have more harm than 
herself. Let them put Bothwell and herself on board 
ship to go wherever fortune might carry them." This 
temper made it difficult for the Anglophile lords to 
know what to do with the prisoner of Loch Leven. 
They were disappointed and angry that Elizabeth, 
instead of approving their enterprise, and sending 
the money for which, as usual, they were begging, 
should treat them as rebels, and even secretly urge 
the Hamiltons to rescue Mary by force. The Hamil- 
tons were in arms at Dumbarton. They wanted either 
that the Prince should be proclaimed King, with the 
Duke of Chatelherault for Regent, or that Mary should 
be divorced from Bothwell and married to Lord John 
Hamilton, the Duke's second son, and, in default of 
the crazy Arran, his destined successor. With Argyll, 
too, disgust at Mary's crime was tempered by a desire 
to marry her to his brother. Lady Douglas of Loch 
Leven herself, for whom Sir Walter Scott has invented 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 67 

such magnificent tirades, desired nothing better than 
to be her mother-in-law. 

The prompt action of the confederate lords foiled 
these schemes. By the threat of a public trial on 
the charge of complicity in her husband's murder, or, 
as her advocates believe, by the fear of instant death, 
Mary was compelled to abdicate in favour of her son, 
and to nominate Moray Regent (July 29, 1567). 
Elizabeth would not recognise him; partly from a 
natural fear lest she should be suspected of having 
been in collusion with him all along, partly from 
genuine abhorrence of such revolutionary proceedings. 
The French Government, on the other hand, casting 
principle and sentiment alike to the winds, courted 
his alliance. He might keep his sister in prison, or 
put her to death, or send her to be immured in a 
French convent: only let him embrace the French 
interests, and an army should be sent to support him 
a Huguenot army if he did not like Catholics. But 
Moray turned a deaf ear to these solicitations, and 
waited patiently till Elizabeth's ill-humour should give 
way to more statesmanlike considerations. 

The escape of Mary from Loch Leven (May 2, 1568), 
and the rising of the Hamiltons in her favour, were 
largely due to the unfriendly attitude assumed by 
Elizabeth to the Regent's government. After the 
defeat of Langside (May 13) it would perhaps have 
been difficult for the fugitive Queen to make her way 
to France or Spain. But it was not the difficulty 
which deterred her from making the attempt. Both 
Catherine and Philip, later on, were disposed to be- 
friend her, or, rather, to make use of her; but at 


the time of her escape from Scotland, she had nothing 
to expect from them but severity. Elizabeth was the 
only sovereign who had tried to help her. Moreover, 
Mary had always laboured under the delusion that 
because most Englishmen regarded her as the next 
heir to the crown, and a great many preferred the 
old religion to the new, she had as good a party in 
England as Elizabeth herself, if not a better. During 
her prosperity, she had made repeated applications 
to be allowed to visit the southern kingdom. She 
was convinced that, if she once appeared on English 
ground, Elizabeth's throne would be shaken ; and 
Elizabeth's unwillingness to receive the visit had 
confirmed her in her belief. If she now crossed the 
Solway without waiting for the permission which she 
had requested by letter, it was not because she was 
hard pressed. The Regent had gone to Edinburgh 
after the battle. At Dundrennan, among the Catholic 
Maxwells, Lord Herries guaranteed her safety for 
forty days ; and, at an hour's notice, a boat would 
place her beyond pursuit. Her haste was rather 
prompted by the expectation that Elizabeth, alarmed 
by her application, would refuse to receive her. 

To Elizabeth the arrival of the Scottish Queen was, 
indeed, as unwelcome as it was unexpected. For ten 
years she had governed successfully, because she had 
managed to hold an even course between conflicting 
principles and parties, and to avoid taking up a de- 
cisive attitude on the most burning questions. The 
very indecision, which was the weak spot in her 
character, and which so fretted her Ministers, had, it 
must be confessed, contributed something to the result. 


Cecil might groan over a policy of letting things drift. 
But it may be doubted whether they had not often 
drifted better than Cecil would have steered them if 
he might have had his way. To do nothing is not, 
indeed, the golden rule of statesmanship. But at that 
time, England's peculiar position between France and 
Spain, and between Calvinism and Catholicism, en- 
abled her ruler to play a waiting game. This was 
the general rule applicable to the situation. Elizabeth 
apprehended it more clearly than her Ministers did, 
and she fell back on it again and again, when they 
flattered themselves that they had committed her to 
a forward policy. It was safe. It was cheap. It re- 
quired coolness and intrepidity qualities with which 
Elizabeth was well furnished by nature. But it was 
not spirited: it was not showy. Hence it has not 
found favour with historians, who insist that it ought 
to have ended in disaster. As a matter of fact, 
England was carried safely through unparalleled dif- 
ficulties; and, when all is said, Elizabeth is entitled 
to be judged by the general result of her long reign. 

Mary's arrival was unwelcome to Elizabeth, because 
it seemed likely to force her hand. To do nothing 
would be no longer possible. The Catholic nobles 
and gentry of the north flocked to Carlisle to pay 
court to the heiress of the English crown. It was 
not that they believed her innocent of her husband's 
murder. The suspicion of her complicity was at that 
time universal. But they supposed that it would 
never amount to more than a suspicion. They did 
not expect that the charge would ever be formally 
made. They were not aware that it could be sup- 


ported by overwhelming evidence. Later on, when 
the proofs were produced, they had already committed 
themselves to her cause, and were bound not to be 

If the attitude of these Catholics be thought to in- 
dicate some moral callousness, it may be fairly argued 
that it was less cynical than that of Elizabeth herself, 
who, while not unwilling that Mary should be sus- 
pected, would not allow her to be convicted. Steady 
to her main purpose, though hesitating, and even 
vacillating, in the means she adopted, she still adhered, 
notwithstanding all that had lately taken place, to her 
intention that Mary, if her survivor, should be her 
successor. Like all the greatest statesmen of her time, 
she placed secular interests before religious opinions. 
She was persuaded that the maintenance of the prin- 
ciple of authority was all-important. Nothing else 
could hold society together or prevent the rival fana- 
ticisms from tearing each other to pieces. For 
authority there was no other basis left than the 
principle of hereditary succession by primogeniture. 
This principle must, therefore, be treated as something 
sacred not to be set aside or tampered with in a 
short-sighted grasping at any seeming immediate 
utility. To allow it to be called in question was to 
shake her own title. Already, in France, the Jesuits 
were preaching that orthodoxy and the will of the 
people were the only legitimate foundation of sove- 
reignty. Few English Catholics had learned that 
doctrine; but they would not be slow to learn it il 
the hereditary claim of Mary was to be set aside. 

If Mary had been content to claim what primo- 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 71 

geniture gave her the right to the succession there 
would have been no quarrel between her and Eliza- 
beth. But it was notorious that she had all along 
been plotting to substitute herself for Elizabeth. 
Never had she cherished that dream with more con- 
fidence than when the Percys and Nevilles crowded 
round her at Carlisle. In her sanguine imagination, 
she already saw herself mistress of a finer kingdom 
than that which had just expelled her, and marching, 
at the head of her new subjects, to wreak vengeance 
on her old ones. She seemed likely to be no less 
dangerous as an exile in England than as a Queen in 

Elizabeth had now reason to regret the unnecessary 
warmth with which she had espoused Mary's cause. 
To suppose that she had any sentimental feelings for 
one whom she knew to be her deadly enemy is, in my 
judgment, ridiculous. Elizabeth was not a generous 
woman especially towards other women ; and in this 
case generosity would have been folly, and culpable 
folly. She did not hate Mary she was too cool and 
self-reliant to hate an enemy but she disliked her. 
She was jealous, with a small feminine jealousy, of her 
beauty and fascinations. The consciousness of this 
unworthy feeling made her all the more anxious not 
to betray it. And so, at a time when she did not 
expect to have Mary on her hands, she had been 
tempted to use language implying a pity, sympathy, 
and affection which assuredly she did not feel, and 
which it would not have been creditable to her to 
feel. Petty insincerities of this kind have usually to 
be paid for sooner or later. She had now to exchange 


the language of sympathy for the language of business 
with what grace she could ; and she has not escaped 
the charge, certainly undeserved, of deliberate treachery. 
It was awkward, after such exaggerated professions 
of sympathy, to be obliged to hold the fugitive at 
arm's-length, and even to put restraint on her move- 
ments. But no other course was possible. No 
sovereign, at any time in history, has allowed a pre- 
tender to the crown to move about freely in his 
dominions and make a party among his subjects. 

Wince as she might, and did, under the reproach 
of treachery, Elizabeth was not going to allow her 
unwise words to tie her to unwise action. Only one 
arrangement appeared to her to be at once admissible 
in principle and prudent in practice. Mary must be 
restored to the Scottish throne ; but in such a way 
that she should thenceforth be powerless for mischief. 
She must be content with the title of Queen. The 
real government must be in the hands of Moray. 
Thus the principle of legitimacy and the sacredness 
of royalty would be saved, and the English Catholics 
would be content to bide their time. 

Cecil, for his part, was also anxious to see Mary 
back in Scotland; but not as Queen. Though re- 
garded in Catholic circles as a desperate heretic, he 
was really a politiquc, a worldly-minded man I mean 
the epithet to be laudatory and he would probably 
have admitted in the abstract the wisdom of Eliza- 
beth's opinion that it was of more importance to 
England to have a legitimate sovereign than a gospel 
religion. But he was not prepared to submit frankly 
to the application ot this principle. His personal 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 73 

prospects were too deeply concerned. It was all very 
well for Elizabeth to lay down a principle in which 
she might be said to have a life-interest. She was 
thirteen years his junior; but she might easily pre- 
decease him ; and, with Mary on the throne, his 
power would certainly go, and, not improbably, his 
head with it. It was not in human nature, there- 
fore, that he should cherish the principle of primo- 
geniture as his mistress did ; and, as far as his dread 
of her displeasure would allow him, he was always 
casting about for some means of defeating Mary's 
reversion. Her sudden plunge into crime was to him 
a turn of good fortune beyond his dreams. If he 
could have had his will she would have been promptly 
handed over to the Eegent on the understanding that 
she was to be consigned to perpetual imprisonment, 
or, still better, to the scaffold. 

In order to carry out her plan, Elizabeth called 
on Mary and the Regent to submit their respective 
cases to a Commission, consisting of the Duke of 
Norfolk, the Earl of Sussex, and Sir Ralph Sadler. 
Mary was extremely reluctant, as she well might be, 
to face any investigation ; but she was told that, 
until her character was formally cleared, she could 
not be admitted to Elizabeth's presence; and she 
was at the same time privately assured that her 
restoration should, in any case, be managed without 
any damage to her honour. Moray received an 
equally positive assurance that if his sister was 
proved guilty, she should not be restored. The two 
statements were not absolutely irreconcilable, because 
Elizabeth intended to prevent the worst charges from 


being openly proved. Her sole object and we can 
hardly blame her was to obtain security for herself 
and her own kingdom. She did not wish the Queen 
of Scots to be proved a murderess in open court; 
but she did desire that the charge* should be made, 
and also that the Commissioners should see the 
originals of the casket letters. Any public disclosure 
of the evidence might be prevented, and some sort 
of ambiguous acquittal pronounced, on grounds which 
all the world would see to be nugatory : such, for 
instance, as the culprit's own solemn denial of the 
charge ; which was, in fact, the only answer Mary in- 
tended to make. What was known to the Commis- 
sioners would come to be more or less known to all 
persons of influence in England, and would surely dis- 
credit Mary to such a degree that even her warmest 
partisans would cease to conspire in her favour. Mary 
herself (so Elizabeth hoped), when made aware 
that this terrible weapon was in reserve, and could 
at any moment be used against her, would be per- 
manently humbled and crippled, and would be glad 
to accept such terms as Elizabeth would impose. 

The Commissioners opened their court at York 
(October 1568). But they had not been sitting long 
before Elizabeth discovered that Norfolk was scheming 
to marry Mary, and that the project was approved 
by many of the English nobility. Their purpose 
was not, as yet, disloyal. They thought that, married 
to the head of the English peerage, and residing in 
England, Mary would have to give up her plots with 
France, while her presence would strengthen the Con- 
servative party, which desired to keep up the old 

iv a-LlZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 75 

alliance with Spain, and looked for the re-establish- 
ment sooner or later of the old religion. This scheme, 
though not disloyal, was extremely alarming to Eliza- 
beth. Norfolk was nominally a Protestant. But she 
had placed him on the Commission as a representative 
of the Conservative party, believing that, while he 
would lend himself to hushing up Mary's guilt, his 
eyes would be opened to her real character. Yet here 
he was, like the Hamiltons, Campbells, and Douglases, 
ready to take her with her smirched reputation, simply 
for the chance of her two crowns. It was not a case 
of love, for he had never seen her. He seems to have 
been staggered for a moment by the sight of the 
casket letters, and to have doubted whether it was 
for his honour or even his safety to marry such a 
woman. But in the end, as we shall see, he swallowed 
his scruples. 

On discovering Norfolk's intrigue, Elizabeth hastily 
revoked the Commission, and ordered another investi- 
gation to be held by the most important peers and 
statesmen of England. The casket letters and the 
depositions were submitted to them. Mary's able and 
zealous advocate, the Bishop of Ross, could say nothing 
except that his mistress had sent him on the supposi- 
tion that Moray was to be the defendant : let her 
appear in person before the Queen, and she would give 
reasons why Moray ought not to be allowed to advance 
any charges against her. To make no better answer 
than this was virtually to admit that the charges 
against her were unanswerable. 

It was thought that she was now sufficiently fright- 
ened to be ready to accept Elizabeth's terms, and they 


were unofficially communicated to her. Her return 
to Scotland was no longer contemplated, for Moray 
had absolutely declined to charge her openly with the 
murder or produce the letters unless she were detained 
in England. But in order to get rid of the revolution- 
ary proceedings at Loch Leven she herself, as it were of 
her own free will, and on the ground that she was 
weary of government, was to confer the crown on her 
son and the regency on Moray. James was to be 
educated in England. She herself was to reside in 
England as long as Elizabeth should find it convenient. 
It was not mentioned in the communication, but it 
was probably intended, that she should marry some 
Englishman of no political importance, in order to 
produce more children who would succeed James if, 
as was likely enough, he should die in his infancy. 
If she would accept these conditions the charges against 
her should be "committed to perpetual silence;" if 
not, the trial must go on, and the verdict could not be 
doubtful (December 1568). 

A woman less daring and less keen-sighted than 
Mary would assuredly, at this point, have given up 
the game, and thankfully accepted the conditions 
offered. They would not have prevented her from 
ascending th<i English throne if she had outlived 
Elizabeth. But that was a delay which she had 
always scouted as intolerable, and she was one to 
whom life was worth nothing if it meant defeat, re- 
tirement, even for a time, from the public scene, 
and the abandonment of long-cherished ambitions. 
Moreover her quick wit had divined that Elizabeth 
was using a threat which she did not mean to put 

iv ELIZABETH AND MARY STUART : 1559-1568 77 

into execution. There would be no verdict not even 
any publication to the world of the evidence. Guilty 
therefore as she was, and aware that her guilt could 
be proved, she coolly faced " the great extremities " 
at which Elizabeth had hinted, and rejected the 

Perhaps even Mary's daring would have flinched 
from this bold game but for a quarrel between Eliza- 
beth and Philip, to be mentioned presently. Hitherto 
Philip, much to his credit, had declined to interfere 
in Mary's behalf. To him, as to every one else, Catholic 
as well as Protestant, her guilt seemed evident. She 
had been only a scandal and embarrassment to the 
Catholic cause. But if there was to be war with 
England, every enemy of Elizabeth was a weapon to 
be used. Accordingly he now began, though reluc- 
tantly, to think of helping the Queen of Scots, and 
even of marrying her to his brother Don John of 
Austria. With the prospect of such backing it was 
not wonderful that she declined to own herself beaten. 

Elizabeth's calculations, though reasonable, were 
thus disappointed. The inquiry was dropped with- 
out any decision. The Regent was sent home with a 
small sum of money, and Mary remained in England 
(January 1569). 



FROM the beginning of the reign Cecil had never 
ceased to impress upon his mistress that a French or 
Spanish invasion on behalf of the Pope might at any 
time be expected, and that she should hurry to meet 
it by forming a league with the foreign Protestants 
of both Confessions, and vigorously assisting them to 
carry on a war of religion on the Continent. He was 
assuredly too well informed to believe that France and 
Spain would cease to counteract each other's designs 
on England, or that Lutherans and Calvinists would 
heartily combine for mutual defence. The enemies 
he really feared were his Catholic countrymen, with 
whom he would have to fight for his head if Eliza- 
beth should die. He therefore desired to force on the 
struggle in her lifetime, when they would be rebels, 
and he would wield the power of the Crown. 

Elizabeth, on the other hand, was against interference 
on the Continent, because it would be the surest way 
to bring upon England the calamity of invasion. She 
saw as plainly as Cecil did that it would compel her 
to throw herself into the arms of her own Protestants 


v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 79 

and to become, like her two predecessors, the mere 
chief of a party ; whereas she meant to be the Queen 
of all Englishmen, and to tranquillise the natural fears 
of each party by letting it see that it would not be 
sacrificed to the violence of the other. Moreover the 
unbridled ascendancy of the Protestants would mean 
such alterations in the established worship as would 
have driven from the parish churches thousands of 
the most military class, peers, squires and their tenantry, 
who were enduring Anglicanism with its episcopate, 
its semi- Catholic prayer-book, and its claim to belong 
to the Universal Apostolic Church, because they could 
persuade themselves that its variations from the old 
religion were unimportant and temporary. And this 
again would increase the probability of foreign in- 
vasion. For, though to Philip all forms of heresy 
were equally damnable and equally marked out for 
extermination sooner or later, yet he was in much less 
hurry to begin with the politically harmless Lutherans 
or Anglicans than with the dangerous levellers who 
derived their inspiration from Geneva. Now for 
Elizabeth to gain time was everything. She had 
gained ten precious years already by her moderation. 
She was to gain twenty more before the slow-moving 
Spaniard decided to launch the great Armada. 

But though Elizabeth shunned war with Spain she 
nevertheless recognised that Philip was the enemy, 
and that all ways of damaging him short of war were 
for her advantage. English and Huguenot corsairs 
swarmed in the Channel. Spanish ships were seized. 
The crews were hanged or made to walk the plank ; 
the prizes were carried into English ports, and there 


sold without disguise or rebuke. These outrages 
were represented as reprisals for cruelties inflicted on 
English sailors who occasionally fell into the hands 
of the Inquisition. Practically a ship with a valuable 
cargo was treated as fair game whatever its nationality. 
But while in the case of other countries it was only 
individual traders who suffered, to Spain it meant 
obstruction of her high road to her Belgic dominions, 
then simmering with disaffection. 

The English nobles of the old blood disliked these 
proceedings. Even Cecil did not conceal from himself 
that they fostered a spirit of lawlessness. What the 
corsairs were doing he would have preferred to see 
done by the royal navy. To that Elizabeth would 
not consent. The activity of the corsairs gave her all 
the advantage she could hope to have from war, with- 
out any of its disadvantages. Instead of laying out 
her treasure on a navy, she was deriving an income 
from the piratical ventures of Hawkins and Drake; 
while the ships and sailors of this volunteer navy 
would be available for the defence of the couiitry 
whenever the need should arise. Whatever may be 
thought of the morality of her plan, there can be 110 
question as to its efficiency and economy. 

Since even these outrages, exasperating as they were, 
had not goaded Philip to the point of declaring war, 
a still more daring provocation now followed. Some 
ships, conveying a large sum of money borrowed by 
Philip in Genoa for the payment of Alva's army, 
having put into English ports to avoid the corsairs, 
Elizabeth, with the hearty approval of Cecil, took 
possession of the money, and said she would herself 

v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 81 

borrow it from the Genoese (December 1568). The 
Minister hoped this would bring on a war. The Queen 
audaciously but more correctly anticipated that Philip's 
resentment would still stop short of that extremity. 
He remonstrated : he threatened : he seized all Eng- 
lish ships and sailors in his ports. Elizabeth, undis- 
mayed, swept all the Spaniards and Flemings whom 
she could find in London into her prisons, and seized 
their goods, to a value far greater than that of the 
English property in Philip's grasp. 

In striking contrast with this unflinching attitude 
towards Spain was the behaviour of Elizabeth when 
threatened with war by France, unless she undertook 
to close her harbours to the Huguenots, and to forbid 
her own corsairs to prey on French commerce. The 
summons was promptly obeyed. Full satisfaction was 
made (April 1569). Yet France was at the moment 
a far less formidable antagonist than Spain. The 
French government did not possess the means of in- 
vading England. On this side of the Channel the old 
anti-French feeling was so persistent that all parties 
were ready and willing for the fray. The defeat of 
the Huguenots at Jarnac (April 1569) may have had 
something to do with Elizabeth's compliance. But 
what influenced her still more was her perception that 
war with France would compel her to place herself 
under the protection of Spain ; whereas she desired to 
keep Spain at arm's-length, and to maintain a good 
understanding with France, as did Eliot, Pym, and 
Cromwell afterwards, regardless of the rooted pre- 
judices of their countrymen. Elizabeth probably stood 
alone in her judgment on this occasion. 


The quarrel with Philip had more serious results at 
home than abroad. It was indirectly the cause of the 
only English rebellion that disturbed the long reign of 

Most of the nobility and gentry, even when pro- 
fessedly Protestants, regretted the alienation of England 
from the Universal Church. If they had all pulled 
together they must have had their way, for they were 
the military and political class. But their discontent 
varied widely in its intensity. There were nobles 
like Sussex who were resolved to serve their Queen 
loyally and zealously, but who, all the same, wished 
her to cultivate a good understanding with Philip, to 
marry the Archduke, to abstain from assisting the 
Huguenots, to give no countenance to the rovers, to 
recognise Mary as her heir-presumptive and marry her 
to Norfolk. There were others like Norfolk, Montagu, 
Arundel, and Southampton, who had treasonable re- 
lations with the Spanish ambassador, and aimed at 
overthrowing Cecil, marrying Mary to Norfolk, and 
compelling the Queen to restore the Catholic worship, 
or at least to make such changes in the Anglican model 
as would facilitate a reunion with Rome when Mary 
should succeed. A third party, headed by the Catholic 
lords of the north, was plotting to depose Elizabeth in 
favour of Mary, and to marry the latter to Don John 
of Austria. 

With these powerful nobles in opposition, who, be- 
fore the Reformation, could have hurled any sovereign 
from his throne, where was Elizabeth to look for 
support ? The town populations were Prote&tant 
too Protestant indeed for her taste. But the town 

y ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 83 

populations were a minority, and less military than the 
landowners and their tenants. She had her Cecils, 
Bacons, Walsinghams, Hunsdons, Knollyses, Sadlers, 
Killegrews, Drurys, capable and devoted servants, but 
new men without territorial wealth or influence, and 
with no force except what they possessed as wield- 
ing the power of the Crown. It would be difficult to 
name more than half-a-dozen peers who zealously pro- 
moted her policy. Most of them looked on it coldly, 
and would support her only as long as she seemed to 
be strongest. 

Mary's rejection of Elizabeth's terms coincided with 
the quarrel with Philip (December 1568). The dis- 
affected nobles thought that the time was now come 
for striking a blow. Conscious that the feudal devo- 
tion of the gentry and yeomanry to their local chiefs 
had in Tudor times been largely superseded by awe of 
the central government, they were importuning Philip 
to give them the signal for rebellion by sending a 
division of Alva's army from the Netherlands. Philip, 
cautious as usual, and afraid of driving England into 
alliance with France, declined to send a soldier until 
either the Norfolk party had overthrown Cecil, or the 
northern lords had carried off Mary. Between these 
two sets of conspirators there was much jealousy and 
distrust. The Spanish ambassador thought the southern 
scheme the most feasible. Not without difficulty he 
persuaded the northern lords to wait till it should be 
seen whether the Queen could be induced or compelled 
to sanction the marriage of Mary with Norfolk. If 
she refused, they were to make a dash on Wingfield, a 
seat of Lord Shrewsbury's in Derbyshire where Mary 


was staying, while Norfolk was to raise the eastern 

All through the summer of 1569 these plots were 
brewing. Three times Norfolk and his father-in-law 
Arundel went to the Council with the intention of 
arresting Cecil. Three times their hearts failed them. 
The northern lords, who were not members of the 
Council, came up to London to see Norfolk bell the 
cat, but went back, more suspicious than ever, to make 
their own preparations. Cecil himself seems to have 
been hedging. In his private advice to the Queen 
he was opposing the Norfolk marriage, pointing out 
that free or in prison, married or single, in England 
or in Scotland, Mary must always be dangerous, and 
breathing for the first time the suggestion that she 
might lawfully be put to death in England for com- 
plicity in English plots. In the Council he concurred 
in a vote that she should be married to an Englishman 
in other words, to Norfolk. 

If Elizabeth could have felt any confidence in 
Norfolk's loyalty, it seems probable that much as she 
disliked the marriage she would have yielded to the 
almost unanimous pronouncement of the nobility in 
its favour. But a sure instinct warned her of her 
danger. " If she consented she would be in the Tower 
before four months were over." After much delibera- 
tion she commanded the Duke on his allegiance to re- 
nounce his project. He gave his promise, but soon 
retired to his own county, and sent word to the 
northern earls that "he would stand and abide the 
venture." But while he was shivering and hesitating, 
Elizabeth, for once, was all promptitude and decision. 

v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 85 

Mary was hurried to Tutbury Castle. Arundel and 
Pembroke were summoned to Windsor, and kept under 
surveillance. Norfolk himself came in quietly, and 
was lodged in the Tower. Thus the southern con- 
spiracy collapsed (September-October 1569). 

The Catholic lords and gentlemen of the north 
who had been awaiting Norfolk's signal, were staggered 
by his tame surrender. Sussex, who was in command 
at York, and who, being of the old blood himself, did 
not care to see old houses crushed, advised Elizabeth 
to wink at their half-begun treason, and be thankful 
it had not come to fighting. She winked at the at- 
tempted flight to Alva of Southampton and Montagu, 
and even affected to trust the latter with the command 
of the militia called out in Sussex. She could afford 
to ignore the disaffection of a southern noble. A 
Sussex squire or yeoman, even if he was not a Pro- 
testant, would think twice before he cast in his lot 
with rebellion. The northern counties were mainly 
Catholic. They were much behind the south in 
civilisation. The Tudor sovereigns were never seen 
there. Great families were still looked up to. Eliza- 
beth knew that though rebellion might be adjourned, 
might possibly never come off, it was a constant menace, 
which crippled her policy. She determined therefore 
to have done with it, once for all, and summoned 
Northumberland and Westmoreland to London. 

Thus driven into a corner, the two earls burst into 
rebellion. They entered Durham in arms, overthrew 
the communion table in the cathedral, set up the old 
altar, and had mass said (Nov. 14, 1569). Next day 
they marched south, with the object of rescuing Mary 


from Tutbury. But when they were within fifty 
miles of that place, Shrewsbury and Huntingdon, in 
obedience to hurried orders from London, conveyed her 
to Coventry. Having thus missed their spring, the 
rebel earls halted irresolutely for three days, and then 
turned back. Their followers dropped away from them. 
Clinton and Warwick were on their track, with the 
musters of the Midlands ; and before the end of 
December they were fain to fly across the Border. 
Northumberland was arrested by Moray. Two years 
later he was given up to Elizabeth, and executed. 
Westmoreland, after being protected for a time by Ker 
of Ferniehirst, escaped to the Netherlands, where he 
died. England was not again disturbed by rebellion 
till the great civil war. 

The failure of the northern earls to kindle a 
general rebellion was due to the cautious and tem- 
porising policy for which Elizabeth has been so 
severely blamed by heated partisans. The powerful 
party which preferred a Spanish alliance, disliked 
religious innovation, and looked forward to the succes- 
sion of Mary, had not been driven to despair of 
accomplishing those ends in a lawful way. Their 
avowed policy had not been proscribed had not even 
been repudiated. Some of their chief leaders were on 
the Council as we should say, were members of the 
Government; others were employed and trusted and 
visited by the Queen. They objected to being hurried 
into civil war by the northern lords, who were not of 
the Council, who kept away from London, and were 
rebels by inheritance and tradition. They would have 
nothing to do with the ill-advised movement ; and, as 

v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 8 1 ? 

in those days neutrality in the presence of open in- 
surrection was no more permissible to a nobleman 
than it would be now to an officer in the army, they 
had no choice but to range themselves on the side 
of the Government. If Elizabeth had openly branded 
the Queen of Scots as a murderess, if she had pointed 
to Huntingdon or the son of Catherine Grey as her 
successor, if she had put herself at the head of a 
Protestant league, she might possibly have come vic- 
torious out of a civil war. But a civil war it would 
have been, and of the worst kind : one party calling in 
the Spaniard, and the other, in all probability, driven 
to call in the Frenchman. 

The assassination of Moray a few weeks later (Jan. 
23, 1570) was a severe blow to Elizabeth, and an 
irreparable disaster to his own country. An attempt 
has been made to create an impression that the Eng- 
lish Queen was somehow responsible for his death, 
because she did not march an army into Scotland to sup- 
port him. He no more wished to receive an English 
army into Scotland than Elizabeth wished to send one. 
Therein they were both of them wiser than the critics 
of their own day, or this. What he did ask for was 
money, and the recognition of James. The request 
for money Elizabeth was willing to consider, though, 
as a rule, she did not believe in paying for any 
work she could get done gratis. The recognition of 
James seems a very simple thing to the critics. But 
it was as difficult for Elizabeth as the recognition 
of the Prince of Bulgaria is now to Austria, and for 
similar reasons. She was under no obligation what- 
ever to Moray. His own interest compelled him to 


play her game. But she well knew his value. On 
hearing of his death she shut herself up in her 
chamber, exclaiming, with tears, that she had lost the 
best friend she had in the world. 

As long as Moray lived, and was able to keep the 
Marian lords in some sort of check, Elizabeth judged, 
and rightly, that she had more to lose than to gain by 
any open interference in Scotland. It was no business 
of hers to put down anarchy there. Scotch anarchy 
did not imperil England. What would imperil England 
would be the appearance of French troops in Scotland ; 
and she judged that nothing would be so likely to bring 
them there as any pretension to establish an English 
protectorate. Her Protestant councillors fretted at 
her laisser faire policy. But then they, for personal 
or at least for sectarian reasons, were eager for that 
general European conflagration which she, with superior 
discernment and larger patriotism, was trying to avert. 

The death of Moray so weakened the King's party 
that it became necessary to give them a little help. 
Elizabeth gave it in such a way as she thought would 
be least likely to excite the jealousy of France. She 
told the new Eegent Lennox that, though she could 
not send an army to support him, she would send one 
to chastise the Hamiltons and the Borderers, who 
were harbouring her rebel the Earl of Westmore- 
land, and, along with him, making raids into England. 
This was done sharply and thoroughly. The robber 
holds on the Border, and Hamilton Castle itself, were 
one after another taken and blown up by the English 
Wardens of the Marches (April and May 1570). 

Wheat Elizabeth desired more than anything else 

V ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 89 

was to settle Scotch affairs, in conjunction with France, 
on the terms that neither power should interfere in 
Scotland. To Cecil this was unsatisfactory, because 
the restoration of Mary, on any terms whatever, would, 
if she survived Elizabeth, ensure her succession to the 
English throne, and the ruin of Cecil himself. He did 
not want to conciliate Catholics at home or abroad. 
He wanted to commit his mistress to an internecine 
war with them. In an angry dispute with Arundel at 
the Council board about this time, he blurted out his 
doctrine, that the Queen had no friends but the Pro- 
testants, and that if she restored Mary she would lose 
them all. No language could have been more dis- 
pleasing to Elizabeth, especially in the presence of 
crypto-Catholic lords, and she snubbed him unmerci- 
fully. " Mr Secretary, I mean to have done with this 
business ; I shall listen to the proposals of the French 
King. I am not going to be tied any longer to you 
and your brethren in Christ." 

The peace of St. Germain between the French court 
and the Huguenots (August 8, 1570), and the disgrace 
of the Guises, were followed by negotiations for a tri- 
partite treaty between England, France, and Scotland 
on the basis of the restoration of Mary. Elizabeth, of 
course, insisted on the guarantees she had often sketched 
out. She was willing nay, anxious to leave Scotland 
alone, if the French would do the same. The French, 
on the other hand, felt that the equality of such an 
arrangement was more seeming than real, because 
there were always English troops lying at Berwick, 
within sixty miles of Edinburgh. They haggled over 
the guarantees, and in the meantime, notwithstanding 


the real desire of Catherine and Charles IX. to con- 
clude an alliance with Elizabeth against Philip, they 
continued to send money and encouragement to the 
Marian lords in Scotland. For if, for any reason, the 
English alliance should not come off, they meant to 
take up Mary's cause in earnest, and detach her from 
her Guise relations by marrying her to the Duke of 
Anjou, afterwards Henry in. 

All this was known to Elizabeth, and in her ex- 
treme anxiety for the tripartite treaty, she thought 
the moment was come to dangle the bait which she 
always reserved for occasions of special importance. 
She informed the French ambassador that she was 
ready to marry Anjou herself. It is not to be supposed 
that she had the least intention of doing so. She 
had settled with herself from the first how she would 
get out of her proposal when it had served its turn. 

A minor motive for this move was the hope that 
it would reconcile her Protestant councillors to the 
restoration of Mary. She did not succeed with all 
of them. Some continued to mutter that Anjou was 
a Papist, that tripartite treaties were a delusion, 
and that the only safe course was to grasp the Scotch 
nettle and uphold James with the whole force of 
England. But upon Cecil the effect was almost 
comical. He jumped at the plan. Anything that 
was likely to make Elizabeth a mother would be 
salvation to him. Whether the Queen at the mature 
age of thirty-seven was likely to be happy with a 
husband of twenty was a question that did not give 
him a moment's concern. She was not too old to 
have two or three children, and, that result once 

v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 91 

achieved, Mary might go to Scotland or anywhere else 
for what he cared, and do her worst. The sanguine 
man already saw visions of a converted Valois 
heading an Anglo-French crusade against Philip, and 
establishing the reformed faith throughout Europe. 
Walsingham his right-hand man, then ambassador at 
Paris, was equally bitten. This was in the year before 
the massacre of St. Bartholomew. 

The overture of Elizabeth was very welcome to 
the French court. Negotiations for the match were 
soon opened, and continued during the first six months 
of 1571. At the same time, both the Scotch factions 
were summoned to accept the tripartite arrangement. 
Mary was at first eager for it, and instructed her 
agent, the Bishop of Koss, to swallow every condition 
that might be imposed. She looked on it as the 
only means of obtaining her release. But there is 
ample proof that she intended to throw its stipulations 
to the winds and fight for her own cause when once 
she should get back to Scotland. In playing this per- 
fidious game, she had confidently counted on the help 
of France. The Regent's party, however, declined 
the treaty. They flreaded Mary's return, and they 
had no wish to shake hands with the Marian lords 
or admit them to a share in the Government. The 
tripartite scheme thus fell through. Mary herself 
ceased to care for it as soon as she heard of the pro- 
jected match between Elizabeth and Anjou. She saw 
that if France was going to co-operate heartily with 
England, her sovereignty in Scotland would be merely 
nominal. She might almost as well remain with Lord 


To remain quietly in England and be content with 
her position as heir-presumptive to the English crown 
was indeed the best and safest course open to her. 
She had only to acquiesce in it and give up plotting, 
and she might have lived here in considerable mag- 
nificence, and with as much freedom as she could 
desire. If she wished for a husband, she might have 
married any Englishman of whose loyalty Elizabeth 
could feel assured. It was of the greatest import- 
ance to both countries that she should bear more 
children. For it must be remembered that if James 
had died in his childhood, his next heir was a Hamil- 
ton, who had no title to the English throne. 

If the proposed Anjou match had not produced the 
full results which Elizabeth hoped, it had at least 
defeated the plans and disorganised the party of her 
rival. It had served its turn ; and all that now 
remained was to get out of it as decently as possible. 
The old pretext for breaking off the Austrian match 
was reproduced. Anjou could not be allowed to have 
a private mass ; and when, in its eagerness, the French 
court seemed disposed to give way on this point, 
Elizabeth began to talk about a restitution of Calais. 
Ruefully did poor Cecil watch the vanishing of his 
dream. .It was to no purpose that he tried to 
frighten Elizabeth by representing that a jilted prince 
would be converted into an angry enemy. She knew 
better. Anjou comprehended that she did not mean 
to have him, and, to avoid the indignity of a refusal, 
himself broke off negotiations. But, as Elizabeth had 
calculated, the new alliance did not suffer. The French 
King went out of his way to say that " for her upright 

v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 93 

dealing he would honour the Queen of England during 
his life," and Catherine, most unsentimental of women, 
had another suitor to offer her youngest son Alen9on, 
then just turned seventeen ! 

While the negotiations for the Anjou match were 
going on, what is known as the Ridolfi Plot was 
hatching against Elizabeth. Ridolfi, an Italian banker 
in London, and secretly an agent of the Pope, was in 
close relations with Norfolk and the other peers who 
for two years had been dabbling in treason. They 
were still pressing Philip to invade England ; but he 
and Alva were less than ever disposed to undertake 
the venture since the pitiful collapse of the northern 
insurrection. In order to impress Philip with the 
importance of the conspiracy, Ridolfi went to Madrid, 
and showed Philip a letter purporting to be written 
by Norfolk, to which was attached a list of noble- 
men stated to be favourable to the cause. It con- 
tained the names of forty out of the sixty-seven peers 
then existing, while, of the rest, some were marked 
as neutral, and fifteen at most as true to Elizabeth. 
The classification was on the face of it absurdly un- 
trustworthy. But correct or incorrect, it did not 
weigh with Philip. He wanted deeds, not lists of 
names, and Ridolfi was informed that, unless Eliza- 
beth were first assassinated or imprisoned, not a 
Spanish soldier could be sent to England. 

Whatever secret disaffection might prevail among 
the peers, the temper displayed by the new House 
of Commons, elected in the spring of 1571, was not 
of a kind to encourage Elizabeth's enemies at home 
or abroad. So far as can be judged from its 


proceedings and debates, it was not only entirely 
Protestant, but largely Puritan. 1 A bill was passed by 
which any person refusing, on demand, to acknowledge 
Elizabeth's right to the crown was made incapable 
of succeeding her; a provision which, though it did 
not name Mary, could apply to no one else. It was 
made high treason to deny that the inheritance of 
the crown could be determined by the Queen and 
Parliament. To affirm in writing that any particular 
person was entitled to succeed the Queen, except the 
Queen's issue, or some one established by Parliament, 
was made punishable with imprisonment for life, and 
forfeiture of all property for the second offence. 

The plot which Bidolfi was so busily pushing in 
1571 was, in fact, a continuation of the twin aristo- 
cratic conspiracies, one of which had exploded in the 
northern insurrection. By forcing that insurrection 
to break out before the southern conspirators had 
made up their minds what to do, the Government 
had effectually destroyed what chances of success the 
disaffected nobles had ever had. Alva was right in 
his judgment that, if the Percys, Nevilles, and Dacres 
could do so little, the Howard group, whose estates, 
vast as they were, lay, for the most part, in more 
orderly and civilised parts of the country, could do 
still less. There was, indeed, some talk among them 
of seizing the Queen at the opening of the Parlia- 
ment of 1571, just as there had been a talk of 
arresting Cecil two years before. But the truth was 
that insurrection was a played-out game in England ; 

i The oath of supremacy imposed on members of the House of 
Commons in 1562 practically excluded conscientious Catholics. 

v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 95 

and if Norfolk had been a ten-times abler and bolder 
man than he was, it would have made no difference. 

The true history of the time is not to be read in the 
croakings and wailings privately exchanged between 
Cecil, Walsingham, and the rest of the Protestant 
junto, angry and alarmed because Elizabeth would not 
let them play her cards for her. It is a strange 
perversity which persists in adopting their view that 
she was on the brink of ruin, when the patent fact is 
that Protestantism was making rapid strides, that the 
Queen's personal popularity was increasing every day, 
and that Spain, France, and Scotland, the only coun- 
tries with which she was concerned, were all humble 
suitors for her alliance on almost any terms that it 
might please her to exact. The correspondence of 
Philip with Alva is there to prove, that while writh- 
ing under the repeated aggressions of England, he was 
obliged to put up with them because a war would 
imperil his hold on the Netherlands. To all the in- 
vitations of the Norfolks and Northumberlands, the 
able and well-informed Alva turned a deaf ear, be- 
cause he believed Elizabeth too strong to be over- 
thrown. A French alliance she could always have as 
long as the Guises were excluded from power. If 
they regained their influence the Huguenots would 
keep them fully occupied. Scotland, unless foreign 
troops made their appearance there, could be no source 
of danger to England. 

Elizabeth's policy was thus, in its broad lines, as 
simple as it was successful. At home it was her wisdom 
to wink as long as possible at the disaffection of the 
few, to win the affection of the many by economical 


government, to reserve the persecuting laws for special 
cases, while preventing any general and sweeping appli- 
cation of them, and, lastly, to drive no party to despera- 
tion by a too pronounced encouragement of its opponents. 
Spain, as being the centre of reaction and the hope of 
her disloyal nobles, she meant to harass and weaken as 
far as she could do so without bringing on an open 
war. With Charles IX. and his mother she desired 
a defensive alliance, and an understanding that neither 
country should send troops into Scotland or permit 
Spain to do so. In its general conception, I repeat, 
this policy was simple and coherent. How it succeeded 
we know. There was nothing sentimental about it, 
though, where individuals were concerned, Elizabeth's 
judgment was sometimes warped by sentiment. Upon 
the whole, she kept herself at the English point of 
view. Whereas Cecil was compelled by personal 
considerations to place himself too much at the point 
of view of his " brethren in Christ," both at home 
and abroad. 

However, a plot there was, and it was necessary 
that it should be unravelled and punished. Almost 
from its inception, Cecil (created Lord Burghley 
February 1571), had been more or less on the scent 
of it. Hints had come from abroad : spies had 
been employed : suspected persons had been closely 
watched : inferior agents had been imprisoned, 
questioned, racked: and enough had been discovered 
to make it certain that Englishmen of the highest 
rank were plotting treason. Who they were might 
be suspected, but was not ascertained until a lucky 
arrest put the Minister in possession of evidence 

v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 97 

incriminating Norfolk, Arundel, Southampton, Lum- 
ley, Cobham, the Spanish ambassador, the Bishop of 
Ross, and Mary herself (September 1571). Norfolk 
was sent to the Tower, and the other peers placed 
under arrest. The ambassador was dismissed. The 
Bishop made ample confessions. Mary, who had 
hitherto lived as the guest of Lord Shrewsbury, en- 
joying field-sports, receiving her friends and corre- 
sponding with whom she would, was confined to a 
single room, and carefully cut off, for a time, from all 
communication with the outer world. Both in England 
and abroad it was universally expected that she would 
be brought to trial and executed. James was at 
length officially styled " King " and his mother " late 
Queen." Her partisans in Edinburgh Castle were 
informed that she would never be restored, and that, if 
they did not surrender the Castle to the Regent Mar, 
an English force would be sent to take it. The casket 
letters had hitherto been withheld from publication under 
pressure from Elizabeth ; they were now at last given 
to the world in the famous " Detection " of Buchanan. 
Under any other Tudor, or under the Stuarts, all 
the peers arrested would undoubtedly have lost their 
heads. Norfolk alone was brought to trial (January 
1572). There was much in the proceedings which, 
according to modern notions, was unfair to the accused. 
But the peers who tried him felt sure that he was 
guilty, and they were right. Subsequent investigations 
have established beyond a doubt that he had conspired 
to bring a foreign army into the country the worst 
form that treason can take. He had done this with 
contemptible hypocrisy, for a purely selfish object, and 


after the most lenient and generous construction had 
been placed on his first steps in crime. And yet 
historians have been found to make light of the 
offence, and to pity the malefactor as the victim of a 
romantic attachment to a woman whom he had never 
seen, and whom he believed to be an adulteress and a 

During the spring of 1572 Elizabeth hesitated to 
let justice take its course. She had reigned fourteen 
years without taking the life of a single noble. The 
scaffold on Tower Hill from such long disuse was 
falling to pieces, and Norfolk's sentence had made it 
necessary to erect a new one. Elizabeth was loath to 
break the spell. 

Not knowing with any certainty how many of her 
nobles might have given more or less approval to the 
Eidolfi plot, but confident that she could cow them by 
letting the voice of the untitled aristocracy and middle 
class be heard, she called a new Parliament (l^Eay 
1572). The response went beyond her expectation. 
Of Mary's well-wishers, once so numerous, all except a 
few fanatics had now given her up. Two alternative 
courses of action with respect to her were submitted 
for consideration, with the intimation that the Queen 
would accept whichever of them Parliament should 
approve. The first was attainder. The second was 
that she should be disabled from succession to the 
crown ; that if she attempted treason again she should 
" suffer pains of death without further trouble of 
Parliament ; " and that it should be treason if she 
assented to any enterprise to deliver her out of prison. 
Both houses at once voted to proceed with the 

v ARISTOCRATIC PLOTS : 1568-1572 99 

attainder. Elizabeth, we may be sure, was not sorry 
for this unmistakable exhibition of feeling. It would 
open the eyes of her enemies both at home and abroad. 
But she had no intention of proceeding to such ex- 
tremities this time. Mary should have fair warning. 
Accordingly Parliament was desired to " defer " the 
bill of attainder, and to proceed with the second 
measure. But the Commons were in grim earnest. 
They immediately resolved that the second bill would 
be useless and even mischievous, as it would imply 
that at present Mary had a right of succession, whereas 
she was already disabled by law ; and that they there- 
fore preferred to proceed with the attainder. With this 
resolution the Lords concurred. 

Here they were on dangerous ground. To rake up 
the law empowering Henry vm. to determine the 
succession was to disable all the Stuarts, James in- 
cluded, and so to throw away the opportunity of 
uniting the crowns. Elizabeth had always, for excel- 
lent reasons, refused to allow this question to be raised. 
Accordingly she again directed the House to defer the 
attainder ; she would not have the Scottish Queen 
" either enabled or disabled to or from any manner of 
title to the crown," nor "any other title to the same 
whatsoever touched at all ;" to make sure of which 
she would have the second bill drawn by her own law 
officers. To the repeated demands of the Commons 
for the execution of Norfolk, she at length gave way, 
and a few days later he was beheaded (June 2, 1572). 
The second bill, as drawn by the law officers, passed 
both Houses. Its exact terms are not known, for it 
never received the royal assent. 


Burghley who was of opinion (as some one after- 
wards said about Strafford) that "stone dead hath 
no fellow," bemoaned himself privately to Walsingham 
on the disappointment of their hopes ; and modern 
historians, with whom his authority is final, are loud 
in their condemnation of Elizabeth's vacillation and 
blindness. Vacillation there was really none. She 
had determined from the first not to allow Mary to be 
punished. She had gained all she wanted when the 
temper of Parliament had been ascertained and dis- 
played to the world. There have always been plenty 
of people to accuse her of treachery and cruelty be- 
cause she put Mary to death fifteen years later, for 
complicity in an assassination plot. How would her 
name have gone down to posterity if the Scottish 
Queen had been executed in 1572 merely for inviting 
a foreign army to rescue her from captivity ? 


FOREIGN AFFAIRS l 1572-1583 

THE year 1572 witnessed two events of capital 
importance in European history : the rising in the 
Netherlands, which resulted in the establishment of 
the Dutch Republic (April); and the massacre of 
St. Bartholomew, which marked the decisive rejection 
of Protestantism by France (August). 

In the beginning of that year a few weeks before 
the proceedings in Parliament just narrated Elizabeth 
had at last concluded the defensive alliance with 
France for which she had been so long negotiating 
(April 19). It cannot be too often repeated that this 
was the corner-stone of her foreign policy. For the 
sake of its superior importance she had abstained from 
the interference in Scotland which her Ministers were 
always urging. The more she interfered there the 
more she would have to interfere, till it would end 
in her having a rebellious province on her hands in 
addition to the hostility of both France and Spain; 
whereas an alliance with France would give her 
security on all sides, Scotland included. In the treaty 

it was agreed that if either country were invaded 



"under any pretence or cause, none excepted," the 
other should send 6000 troops to its assistance. This 
was accompanied with an explanation, in the King's 
handwriting, that " any cause " included religion. 
The article relating to Scotland is not less significant. 
The two sovereigns " shall make no innovations in 
Scotland, but defend it against foreigners, not suffer- 
ing strangers to enter, or foment the factions in Scot- 
land ; but it shall be lawful for the Queen of England 
to chastise by arms the Scots who shall countenance 
the English rebels now in Scotland." Mary was not 
mentioned. France therefore tacitly renounced her 
cause. Immediately after the conclusion of the treaty 
Charles IX. formally proposed a marriage between 
Elizabeth and his youngest brother, Alen9on. This 
proposal she managed to encourage and elude for 
eleven years. 

It was just at this moment that the seizure of Brill 
by some Dutch rovers, who had taken refuge on the 
sea from the cruelty of Alva, caused most of the towns 
of Holland and Zealand to blaze into rebellion (April 1). 
Thus began the great war of liberation, which was to last 
thirty-seven years. The Protestant party in England 
hailed the revolt with enthusiasm. Large subscriptions 
were made to assist it, and volunteers poured across 
to take part in the struggle. Charles IX. and his 
mother, full of schemes of conquest in the Netherlands, 
urged Elizabeth to join them in a war against Philip. 
But, with a sagacity and self-restraint which do her in- 
finite honour, she refused to be drawn beyond the lines 
laid down in the recent defensive alliance. Security, 
economy, fructification of the tax-payers' money in the 

vi FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 103 

tax-payers' pocket such were the guiding principles 
of her policy. She was not to be dragged into 
dangerous enterprises either ambitious or Quixotic. 
Schemes for the partition of the Netherlands were laid 
before her. Zealand, it was said, would indemnify 
her for Calais. What Englishman with any common 
sense does not now see that she was right to reject the 
bribe ? 

To Elizabeth no rebellion against a legitimate 
sovereign could be welcome in itself. Since Philip 
was so possessed by religious bigotry as to be danger- 
ous to all Protestant States, she was not sorry that he 
should wear out his crusading ardour in the Nether- 
lands ; and she was ready to give just as much assistance 
to the Dutch, in an underhand way, as would keep him 
fully occupied without bringing a declaration of war 
upon herself. But she would have vastly preferred 
that he should repress Catholic and Protestant fanatics 
alike, and get along quietly with the mass of his subjects 
as his father had done before him. Charles IX. was 
eager to strike in if she would join him. Those who 
blame her so severely for her refusal seem to forget 
that a French conquest of the Netherlands would 
have been far more dangerous to this country than 
their possession by Spain. To keep them out of French 
hands has indeed been the traditional policy of Eng- 
land during the whole of modern history. 

But, it is said, such a war would have clinched 
the alliance recently patched up between the French 
court and the Huguenots ; there would have been no 
Bartholomew Massacre ; " on Elizabeth depended at 
that moment whether the French Government would 


take its place once for all on the side of the Kefor- 

Whether it would have been for the advantage of 
European progress in the long-run that France should 
settle down into Calvinism, I will forbear to inquire. 
Fortunately for the immediate interests of England, 
Elizabeth understood the situation in France better 
than some of her critics do, even with the results 
before their eyes. The Huguenots were but a small 
fraction of the nation. Whatever importance they 
possessed they derived from their rank, their turbulence, 
and the ambition of their leaders. In a few towns of 
the south and south-west they formed a majority of 
the population. But everywhere else they were mostly 
noblemen, full of the arrogance and reckless valour of 
their class, anything but puritans in their morals, and 
ready to destroy the unity of the kingdom for political 
no less than for religious objects. They had been 
losing ground for several years. The mass of the 
people abhorred their doctrines, and protested against 
any concession to their pretensions. Charles and his 
mother were absolutely careless about religion. Their 
feud with the Guises and their designs on the Nether- 
lands had led them to invite the Huguenot chiefs to 
court, and so to give them a momentary influence 
in shaping the policy of France. It was with nothing 
more solid to lean on than this ricketty and short-lived 
combination that Burghley and Walsingham were eager 
to launch England into a war with the most powerful 
monarchy in Europe. 

The massacre of St. Bartholomew (August 24) was 
a rude awakening from these dreams. That thunder- 

VT FOUEIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 105 

clap did not show that, in signing the treaty with Eng- 
land and in proposing an attack on Philip, the French 
Government had been playing a treacherous game all 
along, in order to lure the Huguenots to the shambles. 
But it did show that when the Catholic sentiment 
in France was thoroughly roused, the dynasty itself 
must bend before it or be swept away. England might 
help the Huguenots to keep up a desultory and harass- 
ing civil war; she could no more enable them to 
control the policy of the French nation and wield its 
force, than she could at the present day restore the 
Bourbons or Bonapartes. 

The first idea of Elizabeth and her ministers, on 
receiving the news of the massacre, naturally was that 
the French Government had been playing them false 
from the first, that the Catholic League for the extir- 
pation of heresy in Europe, which had been so much 
talked of since the Bayonne interview in 1565, was 
after all a reality, and that England might expect an 
attack from the combined forces of Spain and France. 
Thanks to the prudent policy of Elizabeth, England 
was in a far better position to meet all dangers than 
she had been in 1565. The fleet was brought round 
to the Downs. The coast was guarded by militia. 
An expedition was organised to co-operate with the 
Dutch insurgents. Money was sent to tbe Prince of 
Orange. Huguenot refugees were allowed to fit out a 
flotilla to assist their co-religionists in Rochelle. The 
Scotch Regent Mar was informed, with great secrecy, 
that if he would demand the extradition of Mary, and 
undertake to punish her capitally for her husband's 
murder, she should be given up to him. 


A few weeks sufficed to show that there was no 
reason for panic. Confidence, indeed, between the 
French and English Governments had been severely 
shaken. Each stood suspiciously on its guard. But 
the alliance was too well grounded in the interests of 
both parties to be lightly cast aside. The French 
ambassador was instructed to excuse and deplore the 
massacre as best he could, and to press on the Alencon 
marriage. Elizabeth, dressed in deep mourning, gave 
him a stiff reception, but let him see her desire to 
maintain the alliance. The massacre did not restore 
the ascendancy of the Guises. To the Huguenots, as 
religious reformers, it gave a blow from which they 
did not recover. But as a political faction they were 
not crushed. Nay, their very weakness became their 
salvation, since it compelled them to fall into the 
second rank behind the Politiques, the true party of 
progress, who were before long to find a victorious 
leader in Henry of Navarre. 

Philip, for his part, was equally far from any thought 
of a crusade against England. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 
commanding several companies of English volunteers, 
with the hardly concealed sanction of his government, 
was fighting against the Spaniards in Walcheren and 
hanging all his prisoners. Sir John Hawkins, with 
twenty ship,s, had sailed to intercept the Mexican 
treasure fleet. Yet Alva, though gnashing his teeth, 
was obliged to advise his master to swallow it all, 
and to be thankful if he could get Elizabeth to re- 
open commercial intercourse, which had been pro- 
hibited on both sides since the quarrel about the 
Genoese treasure. A treaty for this purpose was in 

vi FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 107 

fact concluded early in 1573. Thus the chief result 
of the Bartholomew Massacre, as far as Elizabeth was 
concerned, was to show how strong her position was, 
and that she had no need either to truckle to Catholics 
or let her hand be forced by Protestants. A balance 
of power on the Continent was what suited her, as it 
has generally suited this country. Let her critics say 
what they will, it was no business of hers to organise 
a Protestant league, and so drive the Catholic sovereigns 
to sink their mutual jealousies and combine against the 
common enemy. 

The Scotch Regent was quite ready to undertake 
the punishment of Mary, but only on condition that 
Elizabeth would send the Earl of Bedford or the Earl 
of Huntingdon with an army to be present at the 
execution and to take Edinburgh Castle. It need 
hardly be said that there was also a demand for 
money. Mar died during the negotiations, but they 
were continued by his successor Morton. Elizabeth 
was determined to give no open consent to Mary's 
execution. She meant, no doubt, as soon as it should 
be over, to protest, as she did fifteen years afterwards, 
that there had been an unfortunate mistake, and to 
lay the blame of it on the Scotch Government and 
her own agents. This part of the negotiation there- 
fore came to nothing. But money was sent to Morton, 
which enabled him to establish a blockade of Edin- 
burgh Castle, and by the mediation of Elizabeth's 
ambassador, the Hamiltons, Gordons, and all the other 
Marians except those in the Castle, accepted the very 
favourable terms offered them, and recognised James. 

All that remained was to reduce the Castle. Its 


defenders numbered less than two hundred men. The 
city and the surrounding country were as far as 
preaching and praying went vehemently anti- Marian. 
The Regent had now no other military task on his 
hands. Elizabeth might well complain when she was 
told that unless she sent an army and paid the Scotch 
Protestants to co-operate with it, the Castle could not 
be taken. For some time she resisted this thoroughly 
Scotch demand. But at last she yielded to Morton's 
importunity. Sir William Drury marched in from 
Berwick, did the job, and marched back again (May 
1573). Among the captives were the brilliant Mait- 
land of Lethington, once the most active of Anglo- 
philes, and Kirkaldy of Grange, who had begun the 
Scottish Eeformation by the murder of Cardinal 
Beaton, and had taken Mary prisoner at Carberry Hill. 
A politician who did not turn his coat at least once 
in his life was a rare bird in Scotland. Maitland 
died a few days after his capture, probably by his 
own hand. Kirkaldy was hanged by his old friend 

By taking Edinburgh Castle Elizabeth did not earn 
any gratitude from the party who had called her in. 
What they wanted, and always would want, was 
money. Morton himself, treading in the steps of his 
old leader Moray, remained an unswerving Anglo- 
phile.. But his coadjutors told the English ambassador 
plainly that, if they could not get money from England, 
they could and would earn it from France. Eliza- 
beth's councillors were always teasing her to comply 
with these impudent demands. If there had been a 
grown-up King on the throne, a man with a will 

vi FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 109 

of his own, and whose right to govern could not be 
contested, it might have been worth while to secure 
his good-will by a pension ; and this was what Eliza- 
beth did when James became real ruler of the country. 
But she did not believe in paying a clique of greedy 
lords to call themselves the English party. An 
English party there was sure to be, if only because 
there was a French party. Their services would be 
neither greater nor smaller whether they were paid 
or unpaid. The French poured money into Scotland, 
and were worse served than Elizabeth, who kept her 
money in her treasury. It was no fault of Eliza- 
beth if the conditions of political life in Scotland 
during the King's minority were such that a firmly 
established government was in the nature of things 

As Mary was kept in strict seclusion during the 
panic that followed on the Bartholomew Massacre, 
she did not know how narrow was her escape from 
a shameful death on a Scottish scaffold. When the 
panic subsided she was allowed to resume her former 
manner of life as the honoured guest of Lord Shrews- 
bury, with full opportunities for communication with 
all her friends at home and abroad. Any alarm she 
had felt speedily disappeared. If Elizabeth had for 
a moment contemplated striking at her life or title 
by parliamentary procedure, that intention was evi- 
dently abandoned when the Parliament of 1572 was 
prorogued without any such measure becoming law. 
The public assumed, and rightly, that Elizabeth still 
regarded the Scottish Queen as her successor. Peter 
Wentworth in the next session (1576) asserted, and 


probably with truth, that many who had been loud 
in their demands for severity repented of their for- 
wardness when they found that Mary might yet be 
their Queen, and tried to make their peace with her. 
Wentworth's outburst (for which he was sent to the 
Tower) was the only demonstration against Mary in 
that session. She told the Archbishop of Glasgow 
that her prospects had never been better, and when 
opportunities for secret escape were offered her she 
declined to use them, thinking that it was for her 
interest to remain in England. 

The desire of the English Queen to reinstate her 
rival arose principally from an uneasy consciousness 
that, by detaining her in custody, she was fatally im- 
pairing that religious respect for sovereigns which was 
the main, if not the only, basis of their power. The 
scaffold of Fotheringay was, in truth, the prelude to 
the scaffold of Whitehall. But as year succeeded 
year, and Elizabeth became habituated to the situation 
which had at first given her such qualms, she could 
not shut her eyes to the fact that, troublesome and 
even dangerous as Mary's presence in England was, 
the trouble and the danger had been very much 
greater when she was seated on the Scottish throne. 
The seething caldron of Scotch politics had not, in- 
deed, become a negligible quantity. It required 
watching. But experience had shown that, while the 
King was a child, the Scots were neither valuable 
as friends nor formidable as foes. This was a truth 
quite as well understood at Paris and Madrid as at 
London, though the French, no .less keen in those 
days than they are now to maintain that shadowy 

vr FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 111 

thing called " legitimate French influence " in countries 
with which they had any historical connection, con- 
tinued to intrigue and waste their money among the 
hungry Scotch nobles. It was a fixed principle with 
Elizabeth, as with all English statesmen, not to tolerate 
the presence of foreign troops in Scotland. But she 
believed and her belief was justified by events 
that a French expedition was not the easy matter 
it had been when Mary of Guise was Regent of Scot- 
land and Mary Tudor Queen of England. And, more 
important still, in spite of much treachery and dis- 
trust, the French and English Governments were 
bound together by a treaty which was equally neces- 
sary to each of them. Scotland, therefore, was no 
longer such a cause of anxiety to Elizabeth as it had 
been during the first ten years of her reign. Her 
ministers had neither her coolness nor her insight. 
Yet modern historians, proud of having unearthed 
their croaking criticisms, ask us to judge Elizabeth's 
policy by prognostications which turned out to be false 
rather than by the known results which so brilliantly 
justified it. 

How to deal with the Netherlands was a much more 
complicated and difficult problem. Here again Eliza- 
beth's ministers were for carrying matters with a high 
hand. In their view, England was in constant danger 
of a Spanish invasion, which could only be averted 
by openly and vigorously supporting the revolted pro- 
vinces. They would have had Elizabeth place herself 
at the head of a Protestant league, and dare the worst 
that Philip could do. She, on the other hand, believed 
that every year war could be delayed was so much 


gained for England. There were many ways in which 
she could aid the Netherlands without openly challeng- 
ing Philip. A curious theory of international relations 
prevailed in those days an English Prime Minister, 
by the way, found it convenient not long ago to revive 
it according to which, to carry on warlike opera- 
tions against another country was a very different 
thing from going to war with that country. Of this 
theory Elizabeth largely availed herself. English 
generals were not only allowed, but encouraged, to 
raise regiments of volunteers to serve in the Low 
Countries. When there, they reported to the English 
Government, and received instructions from it with 
hardly a pretence of concealment. Money was openly 
furnished to the Prince of Orange. English fleets 
also nominally of volunteers were encouraged to prey 
on Spanish commerce, Elizabeth herself subscribing to 
their outfit and sharing in the booty. 

We are not to suppose, because the revolt of the 
Netherlands crippled Philip for any attack on Eng- 
land, that Elizabeth welcomed it, or that she con- 
templated the prolongation of the struggle with cold- 
blooded satisfaction. Its immediate advantage to this 
country was obvious. But Elizabeth had a sincere 
abhorrence of war and disorder. She was equally 
provoked with Philip for persecuting the Dutch Pro- 
testants into rebellion, and with the Dutch for insisting 
on religious concessions which Philip could not be 
expected to grant, and which she herself was not 
granting to Catholics in England. At any time during 
the struggle, if Philip would have guaranteed liberty 
of conscience (as distinguished from liberty of public 

vi FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 113 

worship), the restoration of the old charters, and the 
removal of the Spanish troops, Elizabeth would not 
only have withheld all help from the Dutch, but 
would have put pressure on them to submit to Philip. 
The presence of Spanish veterans opposite the mouth 
of the Thames was a standing menace to England. 
" As they are there," argued Burghley, " we must help 
the Dutch to keep them employed." "If the Dutch 
were not such impracticable fanatics," rejoined Eliza- 
beth, " the Spanish veterans need not be there at all." 

The "Pacification of Ghent" (November 1576), by 
which the Belgian Netherlands, for a short time, made 
common cause with Holland and Zealand, relieved 
Elizabeth, for a time, from the necessity of taking any 
decisive step. Philip was still recognised as sovereign, 
but he was required to be content with such powers 
as the old constitution gave him. It seemed likely 
that Catholic bigots would have to give up persecut- 
ing, and Protestant bigots to acquiesce in the official 
establishment of the old religion. This was precisely 
the settlement Elizabeth had always desired. It would 
get rid of the Spanish troops. It would keep out the 
French. It would relieve her from the necessity of 
interfering. If it put some restriction on the open 
profession of Calvinism she would not be sorry. 

If this arrangement could have been carried out, 
would it in the long-run have been for the benefit 
of Europe 1 Those who hold that the conflict be- 
tween Protestantism and Catholicism was simply a 
conflict between truth and falsehood will, of course, 
have no difficulty in giving their answer. Others 
may hold that freedom of conscience was all that was 


needed at the time, and they may picture the many 
advantages which Europe would have reaped during 
the last three centuries from the existence of a united 
Netherlands, independent, as it must soon have be- 
come, of Spain, and able to make its independence 
respected by its neighbours. 

Short-lived as the coalition was destined to be, it 
secured for the Dutch a breathing-time when they 
were most sorely pressed, and enabled Elizabeth to 
avoid quarrelling with Spain. The first step of the 
newly allied States was to apply to her for assistance 
and a loan of money. The loan they obtained 
40,000 a very large sum in those days. But she 
earnestly advised them that if the new Governor, 
Don John of Austria, would accept the Pacification, 
they should use the money to pay the arrears of the 
Spanish troops ; otherwise they would refuse to leave 
the country for Don John or any one else. This was 
done. Don John had treachery in his heart. But the 
departure of the Spaniards was a solid gain ; and if 
the Protestants and Catholics of the Netherlands had 
been able to tolerate each other, they would have 
achieved the practical independence of their country, 
and achieved it by their own unaided efforts. 

But Don John, the crusader, the victor of Lepanto, 
the half-brother of Philip, was a man of soaring 
ambition. His dream was to invade England, marry 
the Queen of Scots, and seat himself with her on the 
English throne. It was in vain that Philip, who 
never wavered in his desire to conciliate Elizabeth, 
and was jealous of his showy brother, had strictly 
enjoined him to leave England alone. He persisted w 

VI FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 115 

his design, and sent his confidant Escovedo to persuade 
Philip that to conquer the Netherlands it was necessary 
to begin by conquering England. 

For a pair of determined enemies, Elizabeth and 
Philip were just now upon most amicable, not to say 
affectionate, terms. She knew well that he had in- 
cited assassins to take her life, and that nothing would 
at any time give him greater pleasure than to hear 
that one of them had succeeded. But she bore him 
no malice for that. She took it all in the way of busi- 
ness, and intended, for her part, to go on robbing and 
damaging him in every way she could short of going to 
war. Philip bore it all meekly. Alva himself insisted 
that he could not afford to quarrel with her. Diplo- 
matic relations by means of resident ambassadors, 
which had been broken off by the expulsion of De 
Espes in 1571, were resumed; and English heretics in 
the prisons of the Inquisition were released in spite 
of the outcries of the Grand Inquisitor. 

In the summer of 1577 it seemed as if Don John's 
restless ambition would interrupt this pacific policy 
which suited both monarchs. He had sent for the 
Spanish troops again. He was known to be projecting 
an invasion of England. He was said to have a 
promise of help from Guise. Elizabeth's ministers, as 
usual, believed that she was on the brink of ruin, 
and implored her to send armies both to the Nether- 
lands and to France. But she refused to be hustled into 
any precipitate action, and reasons soon appeared for 
maintaining an expectant attitude. The treaty of 
Bergerac between Henry in. and Henry of Navarre 
(September 1577) showed once more that the French 


King had no intention of letting the Huguenots be 
crushed. The invitation of the Archduke Matthias by 
the Belgian nobles showed that they were deeply 
jealous of English interference. Here, surely, was 
matter for reflection. The most Elizabeth could be 
got to do was to become security for a loan of 
100,000 to the States, on condition that Matthias 
should leave the real direction of affairs to William of 
Orange, and to promise armed assistance (January 1578). 
At the same time she informed Philip that she was 
obliged to do this for her own safety ; that she had no 
desire to contest his sovereignty of the Netherlands; 
on the contrary, she would help him to maintain it if 
he would govern reasonably ; but he ought to remove 
Don John, who was her mortal enemy, and to appoint 
another Governor of his own family ; in other words, 
Matthias. Her policy could not have been more 
candidly set forth, and Philip showed his disapproval 
of Don John's designs in a characteristic way by 
causing Escovedo to be assassinated. Don John him- 
self died in the autumn, of a fever brought on by 
disappointment, or, as some thought, of a complaint 
similar to Escovedo's (September 1578). 

When Elizabeth feared that Don John's scheme was 
countenanced by his brother, she had risked an open 
rupture by promising to send an army to the Nether- 
lands. The murder of Escovedo and the arrival of 
the Spanish ambassador Mendoza (March 1578) re- 
assured her. Philip was evidently pacific to the point 
of tameness. Instead, therefore, of sending an English 
army, she preferred to pay John Casimir, the Count 
Palatine, to lead a German army to the assistance of 

VI FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 117 

the States. As far as military strength went, they 
were probably no losers by the change. But what 
they wanted wap to see Elizabeth committed to open 
war with Philip, and that was just what she desired to 
avoid. Indirect and underhand blows she was pre- 
pared to deal him, for she knew by experience that 
he would put up with them. Thus in the preceding 
autumn she had despatched Drake on his famous ex- 
pedition to the South Pacific. 

Don John was succeeded by his nephew, Alexander 
of Parma. The fine prospects of the revolted pro- 
vinces were now about to be dashed. In the arts 
which smooth over difficulties and conciliate opposition, 
Parma had few equals. He was a head and shoulders 
above all contemporary generals; and no soldiers of 
that time were comparable to his Spanish and Italian 
veterans. When he assumed the command, he was t 
master of only a small corner of the Low Countries. 
What he effected is represented by their present 
division between Belgians and Dutch. The struggle 
in the Netherlands continued, therefore, to be the 
principal object of Elizabeth's attention. 

Shortly before the death of Don John, the Duke of 
Ale^on, 1 brother and heir-presumptive of Henry in. 
had been invited by the Belgian nobles to become 
their Protector, and Orange, in his anxiety for union, 
had accepted their nominee. Ale^on was to furnish 
12,000 French troops. It was hoped and believed 
that, though Henry had ostensibly disapproved of his 
brother's action, he would in the end give him open 

1 He had received the Duchy of Anjou in addition to that of 
Alencon, and some historians call him by the former title. 


support, thus resuming the enterprise which had been 
interrupted six years before by the Bartholomew Mas- 

Now, how was Elizabeth to deal with this new 
combination? The Protectorship of Ale^on might 
bring on annexation to France, the result which most 
of all she wished to avoid. For a moment she thought 
of offering her own protection (which Orange would 
have much preferred), and an army equal to that 
promised by Alen9on. But upon further reflection, 
she determined to adhere to the policy of not throw- 
ing down the glove to Philip, and to try whether she 
could not put Alen9on in harness, and make him do 
her work. One means of effecting this would be to 
allow him subsidies the means employed on such a 
vast scale by Pitt in our wars with Napoleon. But 
^Elizabeth intended to spend as little as possible in 
this way. She relied chiefly on a revival of the 
marriage comedy now to be played positively for 
the last time ; the lady being forty-five, and her wooer 

A dignified policy it certainly was not. All that 
was ridiculous and repulsive in her coquetry with 
Henry had now to be repeated and outdone with 
his younger brother. To overcome the incredulity 
which her previous performances had produced, she 
was obliged to exaggerate her protestations, to admit a 
personal courtship, to simulate amorous emotion, and 
to go through a tender pantomime of kisses and car 
esses. But Elizabeth never let dignity stand in the 
way of business. What to most women would have 
been an insupportable humiliation did not cost her a 

vi FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 119 

pang. She even found amusement in it. From the 
nature of the case, she could not take one of her 
counsellors into her confidence. There was no chance 
of imposing upon foreigners unless she could persuade 
those about her that she was in earnest. They were 
amazed that she should run the risk of establishing the 
French in the Netherlands. She had no intention of 
doing so. When Philip should be brought so low as 
to be willing to concede a constitutional government, 
she could always throw her weight on his side and 
get rid of the French. 

The match with Alen9on had been proposed six 
years before. It had lately slumbered. But there 
was no difficulty in whistling him back, and making 
it appear that the renewed overture came from his 
side. After tedious negotiations, protracted over 
twelve months, he at length paid his first visit to 
Elizabeth (August 1579). He was an under-sized 
man with an over-sized head, villainously ugly, with 
a face deeply seamed by smallpox, a nose ending 
in a knob that made it look like two noses, and a 
croaking voice. Elizabeth's liking for big handsome 
men is well known. But as she had not the least 
intention of marrying Alen9on, it cost her nothing 
to affirm that she was charmed with his appearance, 
and that he was just the sort of man she could fancy 
for a husband. The only agreeable thing about him 
was his conversation, in which he shone, so that 
people who did not thoroughly know him always 
at first gave him credit for more ability than he 
possessed. Elizabeth, who had a pet name for all 
favourites, dubbed him her " frog " ; and " Grenouille " 


he was fain to subscribe himself in his love-letters. 
This first visit was a short one, and he went away 
hopeful of success. 

The English people could only judge by appear- 
ances, and for the first time in her reign Elizabeth 
was unpopular. The Puritan Stubbs published his 
Discovery of a Gaping Gulf wherein England is like to 
be swallowed by another French Marriage. But the 
excitement was by no means confined to the Puritans. 
Hatred of Frenchmen long remained a ruling senti- 
ment with most Englishmen. Elizabeth vented her 
rage on Stubbs, who had been so rude as to tell her 
that childbirth at her age would endanger her life. 
He was sentenced to have his hand cut off. "I re- 
member," says Camden, "being then present, that 
Stubbs, after his right hand was cut off, put off his 
hat with his left, and said with a loud voice, 'God 
save the Queen/ The multitude standing about was 
deeply silent." 

Not long after Alen9on's visit, a treaty of marriage 
was signed (November 1579), with a proviso that 
two months should be allowed for the Queen's subjects 
to become reconciled to it. If, at the end of that 
time, Elizabeth did not ratify the treaty, it was to 
be null and void. The appointed time came and 
went without ratification. Burghley, as usual, pre- 
dicted that the jilted suitor would become a deadly 
enemy, and drew an alarming picture of the dangers 
that threatened England, with the old exhortation to 
his mistress to form a Protestant league and subsidise 
the Scotch Anglophiles. But in 1572 she had slipped 
out of the Anjou marriage, and yet secured a French 

vi FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 121 

alliance. She confided in her ability to play the same 
game now. Though she had not ratified the marriage 
treaty, she continued to correspond with Alen9on and 
keep up his hopes, urging him at the same time to 
lead an army to the help of the States. This, how- 
ever, he was unwilling to do till he had secured the 
marriage. The French King was ready, and even 
eager, to back his brother. But he, too, insisted on 
the marriage, and that Elizabeth should openly join 
him in war against Spain. 

In the summer of 1580, Philip conquered Portugal, 
thus not only rounding off his Peninsular realm, but 
acquiring the enormous transmarine dominions of the 
Portuguese crown. All Europe was profoundly im- 
pressed and alarmed by this apparent increase of his 
power. Elizabeth incessantly lectured Henry on the 
necessity of abating a preponderance so dangerous to 
all other States, and tried to convince him that it 
was specially incumbent on France to undertake the 
enterprise. But she preached in vain. Henry steadily 
refused to stir unless England would openly assist 
him with troops and money, of which the marriage 
was to be the pledge. He did not conceal his sus- 
picion that, when Elizabeth had pushed him into 
war, she would "draw her neck out of the collar" 
and leave him to bear the whole danger. 

This was, in fact, her intention. She believed that 
a war with France would soon compel Philip to make 
proper concessions to the States ; whereupon she 
would interpose and dictate a peace. "Marry my 
brother," Henry kept saying, "and then I shall have 
security that you will bear your fair share of the 


fighting and expenses." " If I am to go to war," 
argued Elizabeth, " I cannot marry your brother ; for 
my subjects will say that I am dragged into it by my 
husband, and they will grudge the expense. Suppose, 
instead of a marriage, we have an alliance not binding 
me to open war ; then I will furnish you with money 
underhand. You know you have got to fight. You 
cannot afford to let Philip go on increasing his power." 

Henry remained doggedly firm. No marriage, no 
war. At last, finding she could not stir him, Eliza- 
beth again concluded a treaty of marriage, but with 
the extraordinary proviso that six weeks should be 
left for private explanations by letter between herself 
and Alen^on. It soon appeared what this meant. In 
these six weeks Elizabeth furnished her suitor with 
money, and incited him to make a sudden attack on 
Parma, who was then besieging Cambray, close to the 
French frontier. Alencon, thinking himself now sure 
of the marriage, collected 15,000 men; and Henry, 
though not openly assisting him, no longer prohibited 
the enterprise. But, as soon as Elizabeth thought 
they were sufficiently committed, she gave them to 
understand that the marriage must be again deferred, 
that her subjects were discontented, that she could 
only join in a defensive alliance, but that she would 
furnish money " in reasonable sort " underhand. 

All this is very unscrupulous, very shameless, even 
for that shameless age. Hardened liars like Henry 
and Alen9on thought it too bad. They were ready 
for violence as well as fraud, and availed themselves 
of whichever method came handiest. Elizabeth also 
used the weapon which nature had given her. Being 

vi FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 123 

constitutionally averse from any but peaceful methods, 
she made up for it by a double dose of fraud. Dente 
lupus, cornu taurus. It would have been useless for a 
male statesman to try to pass himself off as a fickle 
impulsive, susceptible being, swayed from one moment 
to another in his political schemes by passions and 
weaknesses that are thought natural in the other sex. 
This was Elizabeth's advantage, and she made the 
most of it. She was a masculine woman simulating, 
when it suited her purpose, a feminine character. The > 
men against whom she was matched were never sure 
whether they were dealing with a crafty and determined 
politician, or a vain, flighty, amorous woman. This un- 
certainty was constantly putting them out in their cal- 
culations. Alen^on would never have been so taken in if 
he had not told himself that any folly might be expected 
from an elderly woman enamoured of a young man. 

On this occasion Elizabeth scored, if not the full suc- 
cess she had hoped from her audacious mystification, 
yet no inconsiderable portion of it. Henry managed to 
draw back just in time, and was not let in for a big war. 
But Alencon, at the head of 15,000 men, and close 
to Cambray, could not for very shame beat a retreat. 
Parma retired at his approach, and the French army 
entered Cambray in triumph (August 1581). Alenori 
therefore had been put in harness to some purpose. 

Though Henry in. had good reason to complain 
of the way he had been treated, he did not make it 
a quarrel with Elizabeth. His interests, as she saw 
all along, were too closely bound up with hers to 
permit him to think of such a thing. On the con- 
trary, he renewed the alliance of 1572 in an ampler 


form, though it still remained strictly defensive. 
Ale^on, after relieving and victualling Cambray, dis- 
banded his army, and went over to England again 
to press for the marriage (Nov. 1581). Thither 
he was followed by ambassadors from the States. 
By the advice of Orange they had resolved to take 
him as their sovereign, and they were now urgently 
pressing him to return to the Netherlands to be in- 
stalled. Elizabeth added her pressure; but he was 
unwilling to leave England until he should have 
secured the marriage. For three months (Nov. 1581 
Feb. 1582) did Elizabeth try every art to make 
him accept promise for performance. She was thor- 
oughly in her element. To win her game in this 
way, not by the brutal arbitrament of war, or even 
by the ordinary tricks of vicarious diplomacy, but by 
artifices personally executed, feats of cajolery that 
might seem improbable on the stage, this was de- 
lightful in the highest degree. The more distrustful 
Alen9on showed himself, the keener was the pleasure 
of handling him. One day he is hidden behind a 
curtain to view her elegant dancing ; not, surely, that 
he might be smitten with it, but that he might think 
she desired him to be smitten. Another day she 
kisses him on the lips (en la boca) in the presence 
of the French ambassador. She gives him a ring. 
She presents him to her household as their future 
master. She orders the Bishop of Lincoln to draw 
up a marriage service. It is a repulsive spectacle; 
but, after all, we are not so much disgusted with the 
elderly woman who pretends to be willing to marry 
the young man, as with the young man who is really 

vi FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1583 125 

willing to marry the elderly woman. Unfortunately 
for Elizabeth, her acting was so realistic that it not 
only took in contemporaries, but has persuaded many 
modern writers that she was really influenced by a 
degrading passion. 

Henry in. himself was at last induced to believe 
that Elizabeth was this time in earnest. But he could 
not be driven from his determination to risk nothing 
till he saw the marriage actually concluded. Pinart, 
the French Secretary of State, was accordingly sent 
over to settle the terms. Elizabeth demanded one 
concession after another, and finally asked for the 
restitution of Calais. There was no mistaking what 
this meant. Pinart, in the King's name, formally 
forbade Alen9on to proceed to the Netherlands except 
as a married man, and tried to intimidate Elizabeth 
by threatening that his master would ally himself 
with Philip. But she laughed at him, and told him 
that she could have the Spanish alliance whenever 
she chose, which was perfectly true, Alenc/m him- 
self gave way. He felt that he was being played 
with. He had come over here, with a fatuitt not un- 
common among young Frenchmen, expecting to bend 
a love-sick Queen to serve his political designs. He 
found himself, to his intense mortification, bent to 
serve hers. Ashamed to show his face in France 
without either his Belgian dominions or his English 
wife, he was fain to accept Elizabeth's solemn promise 
that she would marry him as soon as she could, and 
allowed himself to be shipped off under the escort 
of an English fleet to the Netherlands (Feb. 1582). 

According to Mr. Froude, :% 'the Prince of Orange 


intimated that Alei^on was accepted by the States 
only as a pledge that England would support them; 
if England failed them, they would not trust their 
fortunes to so vain an idiot." This statement appears 
to be drawn from the second-hand tattle of Mendoza, 
and is probably, like much else from that source, un- 
worthy of credit. But whether Orange sent such an 
" intimation " or not, it cannot be allowed to weigh 
against the ample evidence that Alen9on was accepted 
by him and by the States mainly for the sake of the 
French forces he could raise on his own account, and 
the assistance which he undertook to procure from 
his brother. Neither Orange nor any one else re- 
garded him as an idiot. Orange had not been led 
to expect that he would bring any help from England 
except money supplied underhand ; and money Eliza- 
beth did furnish in very considerable quantities. But 
the Netherlander now expected everything to be 
done for them, and were backward with their con- 
tributions both in men and money. Clearly there is 
something to be said for the let-alone policy to which 
Elizabeth usually leant. 

The States intended Ale^on's sovereignty to be 
of the strictly constitutional kind, such as it had 
been before the encroachments of Philip and his father. 
This did not suit the young Frenchman, and at the 
beginning of 1583 he attempted a coup-d'dtat, not 
without encouragement from some of the Belgian 
Catholics. At Antwerp his French troops were 
defeated with great bloodshed by the citizens, and 
the general voice of the country was for sending him 
about his business. But both Elizabeth and Orange, 

n FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1572-1533 127 

though disconcerted and disgusted by his treachery, 
still saw nothing better to be done than to patch 
up the breach and retain his services. Both of them 
urged this course on the States Orange with his 
usual dignified frankness; Elizabeth in the crooked, 
blustering fashion which has brought upon her policy, 
in so many instances, reproach which it does not 
really deserve. Norris, the commander of the English 
volunteers, had discountenanced the coup-d'tiat and 
taken his orders from the States. Openly Elizabeth 
reprimanded him, and ordered him to bring his men 
back to England. Secretly she told him he had 
done well, and bade him remain where he was. 
Norris was in fact there to protect the interests of 
England quite as much against the French as against 
Spain. There is not the least ground for the assertion 
that in promoting, a reconciliation with Alen9on, Orange 
acted under pressure from Elizabeth. Everything goes 
to show that he, the wisest and noblest statesman of 
his time, thought it the only course open to the States, 
unless they were prepared to submit to Philip. Both 
Elizabeth and Orange felt that the first necessity was 
to keep the quarrel alive between the Frenchman and 
the Spaniard. The English Queen therefore continued 
to feed Alen9on with hopes of marriage, and the States 
patched up a reconciliation with him (March 1583). 
But his heart failed him. He saw Parma taking town 
after town. He knew that he had made himself 
odious to the Netherlander. He was covered with 
shame. He was fatally stricken with consumption. 
In June 1583 he left Belgium never to return. 
Within a twelvemonth he was dead. 


THE PAPAL ATTACK: 1570-1583 

SOVEREIGNS and statesmen in the sixteenth century are 
to be honoured or condemned according to the degree 
in which they aimed on the one hand at preserving 
political order, and on the other at allowing freedom 
of opinion. It was not always easy to reconcile these 
two aims. The first was a temporary necessity, and 
yet was the more urgent as indeed is always the case 
with the tasks of the statesman. He is responsible 
for the present; it is not for him to attempt to 
provide for a remote future. Political order and the 
material well-being of nations may be disastrously 
impaired by the imprudence or weakness of a ruler. 
Thought, after all, may be trusted to take care of 
itself in the long-run. 

To the modern Liberal, with his doctrine of absolute 
religious equality, toleration seems an insult, and any- 
thing short of toleration is regarded as persecution. 
In the sixteenth century the most advanced statesmen 
did not see their way to proclaim freedom of public 
worship and of religious discussion. It was much if 
they tolerated freedom of opinion, and connived at 


vii THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 129 

a quiet, private propagation of other religions than 
those established by law. It would be wrong to 
condemn and despise them as actuated by superstition 
and narrow-minded prejudice. Their motives were 
mainly political, and it is reasonable to suppose that 
they knew better than we do whether a larger tolera- 
tion was compatible with public order. 

We have seen that under the Act of Supremacy, in 
the first year of Elizabeth, the oath was only tendered 
to persons holding office, spiritual or temporal, under 
the crown, and that the penalty for refusing it was 
only deprivation. But in her fifth year (1563), it was 
enacted that the oath might be tendered to members 
of the House of Commons, schoolmasters, and attorneys, 
who, if they refused it, might be punished by forfeiture 
of property and perpetual imprisonment. To those 
who had held any ecclesiastical office, or who should 
openly disapprove of the established worship, or cele- 
brate or hear mass, the oath might be tendered a 
second time, with the penalties of high treason for 

That this law authorised an atrocious persecution 
cannot be disputed, and there is no doubt that many 
zealous Protestants wished it to be enforced. But the 
practical question is, Was it enforced ? The govern- 
ment wished to be armed with the power of using it, 
and for the purpose of expelling Catholics from offices 
it was extensively used. But no one was at this time 
visited with the severer penalties, the bishops having 
been privately forbidden to tender the oath a second 
time to any one without special instructions. 

The A<it of Uniformity, passed in the first year of 


Elizabeth, prohibited the use of any but the established 
liturgy, whether in public or private, under pain of 
perpetual imprisonment for the third offence, and 
imposed a fine of one shilling on recusants that is, 
upon persons who absented themselves from church on 
Sundays and holidays. To what extent Catholics were 
interfered with under this Act has been a matter of 
much dispute. Most of them, during the first eleven 
years of Elizabeth, either from ignorance or worldli- 
ness, treated the Anglican service as equivalent to the 
Catholic, and made no difficulty about attending church, 
even after this compliance with the law had been for- 
bidden by Pius IV. in the sixth year of Elizabeth. 
Only the more scrupulous absented themselves, and 
called in the ministrations of the "old priests," who 
with more or less secrecy said mass in private houses. 
Some of these offenders were certainly punished before 
Elizabeth had been two years on the throne. The 
enforcement of lav/s was by no means so uniform in 
those days as it is now. Much depended on the lean- 
ings of the noblemen and justices of the peace in 
different localities. Both from disposition and policy 
Elizabeth desired, as a general rule, to connive at 
Catholic nonconformity when it did not take an ag- 
gressive and fanatical form. But she had no scruple 
about applying the penalties of these Acts to indivi- 
duals who for any reason, religious or political, were 
specially obnoxious to her. 

So things went on till the northern insurrection : 
the laws authorising a searching and sanguinary per- 
secution; the Government, much to the disgust of 
zealous Protestants, declining to put those laws in 


vii THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 131 

execution. Judged by modern ideas, the position of 
the Catholics was intolerable ; but if measured by the 
principles of government then universally accepted, or 
if compared with the treatment of persons ever so 
slightly suspected of heresy in countries cursed with 
the Inquisition, it was not a position of which they had 
any great reason to complain; nor did the large 
majority of them complain. 

Pope Pius rv. (1559-1566) was comparatively cau- 
tious and circumspect in his attitude towards Elizabeth. 
But his successor Pius V. (1566-1572), having made 
up his mind that her destruction was the one thing 
necessary for the defeat of heresy in Europe, strove to 
stir up against her rebellion at home and invasion from 
abroad. A bull deposing her, and absolving her sub- 
jects from their allegiance, was drawn up. But while 
Pius, conscious of the offence which it would give to 
all the sovereigns of Europe, delayed to issue it, the 
northern rebellion flared up and was trampled out. 
The absence of such a bull was by many Catholics 
made an excuse for holding aloof from the rebel earls. 
When it was too late the bull was issued (Feb. 1570). 
Philip and Charles IX. sovereigns first and Catholics 
afterwards refused to let it be published in their 

After the northern insurrection the Queen issued a 
remarkable appeal to her people, which was ordered 
to be placarded in every parish, and read in every 
church. She could point with honest pride to eleven 
years of such peace abroad and tranquillity at home 
as no living Englishman could remember. Her 
economy had enabled her to conduct the government 


without any of the illegal exactions to which former 
sovereigns had resorted. " She had never sought the 
life, the blood, the goods, the houses, estates or lands 
of any person in her dominions." This happy state of 
things the rebels had tried to disturb on pretext of 
religion. They had no real grievance on that score. 
Attendance at parish church was indeed obligatory by 
law, though, she might have added, it was very loosely 
enforced. But she disclaimed any wish to pry into 
opinions, or to inquire in what sense any one under- 
stood rites or ceremonies. In other words, the language 
of the communion service was not incompatible with 
the doctrine of transubstantiation, and loyal Catholics 
were at liberty, were almost invited, to interpret it in 
that sense if they liked. 

This compromise between their religious and political 
obligations had in fact been hitherto adopted by the 
large majority of English Catholics. But a time was 
come when it was to be no longer possible for them. 
They were summoned to make their choice between 
their duty as citizens and their duty as Catholics. 
The summons had come, not from the Queen, but from 
the Pope, and it is not strange that they had thence- 
forth a harder time of it. Many of them, indignant 
with the Pope for bringing trouble upon them, gave up 
the struggle and conformed to the Established Church. 
The temper of the rest became more bitter and danger- 
ous. The Puritan Parliament of 1571 passed a bill to 
compel all persons not only to attend church, but to 
receive the communion twice a year; and another 
making formal reconciliation to the Church of Rome 
high treason both for the convert and the priest who 

vii THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 138 

should receive him. Here we have the persecuting 
spirit, which was as inherent in the zealous Protestant 
as in the zealous Catholic. Attempts to excuse such 
legislation, as prompted by political reasons, can only 
move the disgust of every honest-minded man. The 
first of these bills did not receive the royal assent, 
though Cecil just made Lord Burghley had strenu- 
ously pushed it through the Upper House. Elizabeth 
probably saw that its only effect would be to enable 
the Protestant zealots in every parish to enjoy the 
luxury of harassing their quiet Catholic neighbours, 
who attended church but would scruple to take the 

The Protestant spirit of this House of Commons 
showed itself not only in laws for strengthening the 
Government and persecuting the Catholics, but in at- 
tempts to puritanise the Prayer-book, which much 
displeased the Queen. Strickland, one of the Puritan 
leaders, was forbidden to attend the House. But such 
was the irritation caused by this invasion of its privi- 
leges, that the prohibition was removed after one day. 
It was in this session of Parliament that the doctrines 
of the Church of England were finally determined by 
the imposition on the clergy of the Thirty-nine Articles, 
which, as every one knows, are much more Protestant 
than the Prayer-book. Till then they had only had 
the sanction of Convocation. 

During the first forty years or so, from the beginning 
of the Eeformation, Protestantism spread in most parts 
of Europe with great rapidity. It was not merely an 
intellectual revolt against doctrines no longer credible. 
The numbers of the reformers were swelled, and their 


force intensified by the flocking in of pious souls, 
athirst for personal holiness, and of many others who, 
without being high-wrought enthusiasts, were by nature 
disposed to value whatever seemed to make for a purer 
morality. The religion which had nurtured Bernard 
and A Kempis was deserted, not merely as being 
untrue, but as incompatible with the highest spiritual 
life nay, as positively corrupting to society. This 
imagination, of course, had but a short day. The 
return to the Bible and the doctrines of primitive 
Christianity, the deliverance from " the Bishop of Kome 
and his detestable enormities," were not found to be 
followed by any general improvement of morals in 
Protestant countries. He that was unjust was unjust 
still ; he that was filthy was filthy still. The repulsive 
contrast too often seen between sanctimonious profes- 
sions and unscrupulous conduct contributed to the 

In the meanwhile a great regeneration was going on 
within the Catholic Church itself. Signs of this can 
be detected quite as early as the first rise of Protes- 
tantism. It is, therefore, not to be attributed to 
Protestant teaching and example, though doubtless the 
rivalry of the younger religion stimulated the best 
energies of the older. No long time elapsed before 
this regeneration had worked its way to the highest 
places in the Church. The Popes by whom Elizabeth 
was confronted were all men of pure lives and single- 
hearted devotion to the Catholic cause. 

The last two years of the Council of Trent (1562-3) 
were the starting-point of the modern Catholic Church. 
Many proposals had been made for compromise with 

vn THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 135 

Protestantism. But the Fathers of Trent saw that 
che only chance of survival for a Church claiming to 
be Catholic was to remain on the old lines. By the 
canons and decrees of the Council, ratified by Pius IV., 
the old doctrines and discipline were confirmed and 
definitely formulated. One branch indeed of the 
Papal power was irretrievably gone. Royal authority 
had become absolute, and the kings, including Philip II., 
refused to tolerate any interference with it. The 
Papacy had to acquiesce in the loss of its power over 
sovereigns. But as regards the bishops and clergy, and 
things strictly appertaining to religion, its spiritual 
autocracy, which the great councils of the last century 
had aimed at breaking, was re-established, and has con- 
tinued. The new situation, though it seemed to place 
the Popes on a humbler footing than in the days of 
Gregory vii. or Innocent in., was a healthy one. It 
confined them to their spiritual domain, and drove 
them to make the best of it. 

Until the decrees of the Council of Trent, the split 
between Protestants and Catholics was not definitely 
and irrevocably decided. Many on both sides had 
shrunk from admitting it. The Catholic world might 
seem to be narrowed by the defection of the Protestant 
States. But all the more clearly did it appear that a 
Church claiming to be universal is not concerned with 
political boundaries. The resistance to the spread of 
heresy had hitherto consisted of many local struggles, 
in which the repressive measures had emanated from 
the orthodox sovereigns, and had therefore been fitful 
and unconnected. But not long after the Tridentine 
reorganisation, the Pope appears again as commander- 


in-chief of the Catholic forces, surveying and directing 
combined operations from one end of Europe to the 
other. Pius IV. had been with difficulty prevented 
by Philip from excommunicating Elizabeth. Pius V. 
had launched his bull, as we have seen, a few months 
too late (1570); and even then it was not allowed to 
be published in either Spain or France. The life of 
that Pope was wasted in earnest remonstrances with 
the Catholic sovereigns for not executing the sentence 
of the Church against the heretic Queen. Gregory XIIL, 
who succeeded him just before the Bartholomew 
Massacre, took the attack into his own hands. He 
was a warm patron of the Jesuits, who were especially 
devoted to the centralising- system re-established at 
Trent. He and they had made up their minds that 
England was the key of the Protestant position that 
until Elizabeth was removed no advance was to be 
hoped for anywhere. 

The decline of a religion may be accompanied by a 
positive increase of earnestness and activity on the 
part of its remaining votaries, deluding them into a 
belief that they are but passing through, or have 
successfully passed through, a period of temporary 
depression and eclipse. Among the Catholics of the 
latter part of the sixteenth century there was all the 
enthusiasm of a religious revival. In no place did 
this show itself more than at Oxford. There the 
weak points of popular movements have never been 
allowed to pass without challenge, and what is really 
valuable or beautiful in time-worn faiths has been 
sure of receiving fair-play and something more. The 
gloss of the Reformation was already worn off. The 

vii THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 137 

worldly and carnal were its supporters and directors. 
It no longer demanded enthusiasm and sacrifice. It 
walked in purple and fine linen. Young men of quick 
intellect and high aspirations who, a generation earlier, 
would have been captivated by its fair promise and 
have thrown themselves into its current, yielded now 
to the eternal spell of the older Church, cleansed as 
she was of her pollutions, and purged of her dross by 
the discipline of adversity. 

The leader of these Oxford enthusiasts was a young 
fellow of Oriel, William Allen. In the third year of 
Elizabeth, at the age of twenty-eight, he resigned the 
Principalship of St. Mary Hall. The next eight years 
were spent partly abroad, partly in secret missionary 
work in England, carried on at the peril of his life. 
The old priests, who with more or less concealment 
and danger continued to exercise their office among the 
English Catholics, were gradually dying off. In order 
to train successors to them, Allen founded an English 
seminary at Douai (1568). To this important step it 
was mainly due that the Catholic religion did not 
become extinct in this country. In the first five years 
of its existence the college at Douai sent nearly a 
hundred priests to England. 

It was the aim of Allen to put an end to the 
practical toleration allowed to Catholic laymen of the 
quieter sort. The Catholic who began by putting in 
the compulsory number of attendances at his parish 
church was likely to end by giving up his faith alto- 
gether. If he did not, his son would. Allen delibe- 
rately preferred a sweeping persecution one that would 
make the position of Catholics intolerable, and ripen 


them for rebellion. He wanted martyrs. The ardent 
young men whom he trained at Douai and (after 1578) 
at Rheims, went back to their native land with the 
clear understanding that of all the services they could 
render to the Church the greatest would be to die 
under the hangman's knife. 

Gregory xni. hoped great things from Allen's 
seminary, and furnished funds for its support. In 
1579 Allen went to Some, and enlisted the support 
of Mercurian, General of the Jesuits. Two English 
Jesuits, Robert Parsons and Edward Campion, ex- 
fellows of Balliol and St. John's, were selected as 
missionaries. Campion was eight years younger than 
Allen. He had had a brilliant career at Oxford, being 
especially distinguished for his eloquence. He was at 
that time personally known to both Cecil and the 
Queen, and enjoyed their favour. He took deacon's 
orders in 1568, but not long afterwards joined Allen 
at Douai, and formally abjured the Anglican Church. 
He had been six years a Jesuit when he was despatched 
on his dangerous mission to England. 

Tired of waiting for the initiative of Philip, Gregory 
XIII. and the Jesuits had planned a threefold attack 
on Elizabeth in England, Scotland, and Ireland. In 
England a revivalist movement was to be carried on 
among the Catholics by the missionaries. Catholic 
writers have been at great pains to argue that this 
was a purely religious movement, prosecuted with the 
single object of saving souls. The Jesuits have always 
known their men and employed them with discrimina- 
tion. Saving of souls was very likely the simple 
object of a man of Campion's saintly and exalted 

vn THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 139 

nature. He himself declared that he had heen strictly 
forbidden to meddle with worldly concerns or affairs 
of State, and nothing inconsistent with this declaration 
was proved against him at his trial. But without 
laying any stress on statements extracted from pri- 
soners under torture, we cannot doubt that his em- 
ployers aimed at re-establishing Catholicism in England 
by rebellion and foreign invasion. This was thoroughly 
understood by every missionary who crossed the sea; 
and if Campion never alluded to it even in his most 
familiar conversations he must have had an extra- 
ordinary control over his tongue. 

The evidence that the assassination of the Queen 
was a recognised part of the Jesuit plan, determined 
by the master spirits and accepted by all the sub- 
ordinate agents, is perhaps not quite conclusive. If 
proved, it would only show that they were not more 
scrupulous than most statesmen and politicians of the 
time. Lax as sixteenth century notions were about 
political murder, there were always some consciences 
more tender than others. It is likely enough that 
Campion personally disapproved of such projects, and 
that they were not thrust upon his attention. But he 
can hardly have avoided being aware that they were 
contemplated by the less squeamish of his brethren. 

Campion and Parsons came to England in disguise 
in the summer of 1580. Their mission was not a 
success. It only served to show how much more 
securely Elizabeth was seated on her throne than in 
the earlier years of her reign. In his letters to Eome, 
Campion boasts of the welcome he met with every- 
where, the crowds that attended his preaching, the 


ardour of the Catholics, and the disrepute into which 
Protestantism was falling. He had evidently worked 
himself up to such a state of ecstasy that he was 
living in a world of his own imagination, and was no 
competent witness of facts. He crept about England 
in various disguises, and when he was in districts 
where the nobles and gentry favoured the old religion, 
he preached with a publicity which seems extra- 
ordinary to us in these days when the laws are 
executed with prompt uniformity by means of rail- 
ways, telegraphs, and a well-organised police. In the . 
sixteenth century England had nothing that can be 
called an organised machinery for the prevention and 
detection of crime. If an outbreak occurred the 
Government collected militia, and trampled it out with 
an energy that took no account of law and feared no 
consequences. But in ordinary times it had to depend 
on the local justices of the peace and parish constables, 
and if they were remiss the laws were a dead letter. 
There were no newspapers. The high-roads were few 
and bad. One parish did not know what was going 
on in the next. Campion could be passed on from one 
gentleman's house to another on horses quite as good 
as any officer of the Government rode, and could travel 
all over England without ever using a high-road or 
showing his face in a town. If he preached to a 
hundred people in some Lancashire village, Lord Derby 
did not want to know it, and before the news reached 
Burghley or Walsingham he would be in another 
county, or perhaps back in London then, as now, the 
safest of all hiding-places. Thus, though a warrant 
was issued for his arrest as soon as he arrived in 

VTI THE PAPAL ATTACK: 1570-1583 141 

England, it was not till July in the next year (1581) 
that he was taken, after an unusually public and pro- 
tracted appearance in the neighbourhood of Oxford. 

He had little or nothing to show for his twelve 
months' tour, and this although the Government had, 
as Allen hoped, allowed itself to be provoked into an 
increase of severity which seems to have been quite 
unnecessary. The large majority of Catholic laymen 
would evidently have preferred that both Seminarists 
and Jesuits should keep away. They did not want 
civil war. They did not want to be persecuted. 
They were against a foreign invasion, without which 
they knew very well that Elizabeth could not be 
deposed. They were even loyal to her. They were 
content to wait till she should disappear in the course 
of nature and make room for the Queen of Scots. 
Mendoza writes to Philip that " they place them- 
selves in the hands of God, and are willing to sacrifice 
life and all in the service, hit scarcely with that burning 
zeal which they ought to show." 

By the bull of Pius v., Englishmen were forbidden 
to acknowledge Elizabeth as their Queen ; in other 
words, they were ordered to expose themselves to the 
penalties of treason. If the Pope would be satisfied 
with nothing less than this, it was quite certain that 
he would alienate most of his followers in England. 
Gregory XIII. therefore had authorised the Jesuits to 
explain that although the Protestants, by willingly 
acknowledging the Queen, were incurring the damna- 
tion pronounced by the bull, Catholics would be 
excused for unwillingly acknowledging her until some 
opportunity arrived for dethroning her. Protestant 


writers have exclaimed against this distinction as 
treacherous. It was perfectly reasonable. It repre- 
sents, for instance, the attitude of every Alsatian who 
accords an unwilling recognition to the German 
Emperor. But the English Government intolerantly 
and unwisely made it the occasion for harassing the 
consciences of men who were most of them guiltless 
of any intention to rebel. 

Amongst other persecuting laws passed early in 
1581, was one which raised the fine for non-attendance 
at church to twenty pounds a month. Such a measure 
was calculated to excite much more wide-spread dis- 
affection than the hanging of a few priests. It was 
not intended to be a Irutum fulmen. The names of 
all recusants in each parish were returned to the 
Council. They amounted to about 50,000, and the 
fines exacted became a not inconsiderable item in the 
royal revenue. That number certainly formed but a 
small portion of the Catholic population. But if all 
the rest had been in the habit of going to church, 
contrary to the Pope's express injunction, rather than 
pay a small fine, the Government ought to have seen 
that they were not the stuff of which rebels are made. 

Campion, after being compelled by torture to disclose 
the names of his hosts in different counties, was called 
on to maintain the Catholic doctrines in a three days' 
discussion before a large audience against four Protes- 
tant divines, who do not seem to have been ashamed 
of themselves. He was offered pardon if he would 
attend once in church. As he steadfastly refused, he 
was racked again till his limbs were dislocated. When 
he had partially recovered he was put on his trial. 

vii THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 143 

along with several of his companions, not under any 
of the recent anti- catholic laws but under the ordinary 
statute of Edward in., for " compassing and imagining 
the Queen's death " such a horror had the Burghleys 
and Walsinghams of anything like religious persecu- 
tion ! Being unable to hold up his hand to plead Not 
Guilty, " two of his companions raised it for him, first 
kissing the broken joints." According to Mendoza 
(whom on other occasions we are invitfed to accept as 
a witness of truth), his nails had been torn from his 
fingers. Apart from his religious belief nothing 
treasonable was proved against him in deed or word. 
He acknowledged Elizabeth for his rightful sovereign, 
as the new interpretation of the papal bull permitted 
him to do, but he declined to give any opinion about 
the Pope's right to depose princes. This was enough 
for the judge and jury, and he was found guilty. At 
the place of execution he was again offered his pardon 
if he would deny the papal right of deposition, or even 
hear a Protestant sermon. He wished the Queen a 
long and quiet reign and all prosperity, but more he 
would not say. At the quartering " a drop of blood 
spirted on the clothes of a youth named Henry Wai- 
pole, to whom it came as a divine command. Walpole, 
converted on the spot, became a Jesuit, and soon after 
met the same fate on the same spot." 

Mr. Froude's comment is that " if it be lawful in 
defence of national independence to kill open enemies 
in war, it is more lawful to execute the secret con- 
spirator who is teaching doctrines in the name of God 
which are certain to be fatal to it." It would perhaps 
be enough to remark that this reasoning amply justifies 


some of the worst atrocities of the French Revolution. 
Hallam and Macaulay have condemned it by anticipa- 
tion in language which will commend itself to all who 
are not swayed by religious, or, what is more offensive, 
anti-religious bigotry. 1 

Cruel as the English criminal law was, and long 
remained, it never authorised the use of torture to 
extract confession. The rack in the Tower is said to 
have made its appearance, with other innovations of 
absolute government, in the reign of Edward IV. But 
it seems to have been little used before the reign of 
Elizabeth, under whom it became the ordinary pre- 
liminary to a political trial. For this the chief blame 
must rest personally on Burghley. Opinions may 
differ as to his rank as a statesman, but no one will 
contest his eminent talents as a minister of police. In 
the former capacity he had sufficient sense of shame 
to publish a Pecksniffian apology for his employment 
of the rack. " None," he says, " of those who were at 
any time put to the rack were asked, during their 
torture, any question as to points of doctrine, but 
merely concerning their plots and conspiracies, and 
the persons with whom they had dealings, and what was 
their own opinion as to the Pope's right to deprive the 
Queen of her crown." What was this but a point of 
doctrine ? The wretched victim who conscientiously 
believed it (as all Christendom once did), but wished 
to save himself by silence, was driven either to tell a 
lie or to consign himself to rope and knife. " The 
Queen's servants, the warders, whose office and act it 

i Hallam, Constitutional History, Chapter ni. Macaulay, Mssay 
on Hallam's Constitutional History. 

VTI THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 145 

is to handle the rack, were ever, by those that attended 
the examinations, specially charged to use it in so 
charitable a manner as such a thing might be." It 
may be hoped that there are not many who would 
dissent from Hallam's remark that " such miserable 
excuses serve only to mingle contempt with our 
detestation." He adds : " It is due to Elizabeth to 
observe that she ordered the torture to be disused." 
I do not know what authority there is for this state- 
ment. Three years later the Protestant Archbishop 
of Dublin was puzzled how to torture the Catholic 
Archbishop of Cashel, because there was no " rack 
or other engine " in Dublin. Walsingham, on being 
consulted, suggested that his feet might be toasted 
against the fire, which was accordingly done. Some 
of the Anglican bishops, as might be expected from 
fanatics, were forward in recommending torture. But 
Cecil was no more of a fanatic than his mistress. What 
both of them cared for was not a particular religious 
belief they had both of them conformed to Popery 
under Queen Mary but the sovereign's claim to pre- 
scribe religious belief, or rather religious profession, 
and they were provoked with the missionaries for 
thwarting them. Provoking it was, no doubt. But 
everything seems to show that it would have been 
better to pursue the earlier policy of the reign ; to be 
content with enacting severe laws which practically 
were not put into execution. 

The English branch of the Jesuit attack was, for 
political purposes, a dead failure. A few persons of 
rank, who at heart were Catholics before, were form- 
ally reconciled to the Pope. Mendoza claims that 


among them were six peers whose names he conceals. 
These peers, if he is to be believed, were treasonable 
enough in their designs. But, even by his account, 
they were determined not to stir unless a foreign 
army should have first entered England. 

How far Mendoza' s master was from seeing his way 
to attack England at this time was strikingly shown 
by his behaviour under the most audacious outrage 
that Elizabeth had yet inflicted on him. Some twelve 
months before (October 1580), Drake had returned 
from his famous voyage round the world. That 
voyage was nothing else than a piratical expedition, 
for which it was notorious that the funds had been 
mainly furnished by Elizabeth and Leicester. On 
sea and land Drake had robbed Philip of gold, silver, 
and precious stones to the value of at least 750,000. 
In vain did Mendoza clamour for restitution and talk 
about war. Elizabeth kept the booty, knighted Drake, 
and. openly showed him every mark of confidence and 
favour. When Mendoza told her that as she would 
not hear words, they must come to cannon and see 
if she would hear them, she replied ( " quietly in her 
most natural voice ") that, if he used threats of that 
kind, she would throw him into prison. The corre- 
spondence between the Spanish ambassador and his 
master shows that, however big they might talk about 
cannon, they felt themselves paralysed by Elizabeth's 
intimate relations with France. She had managed 
to keep free from any offensive alliance with Henry in. 
But at the first sound of the Spanish cannon she 
could have it. She was, therefore, secure. Probably 
the whole history of diplomacy does not show another 

vn THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 147 

instance of such a complicated balance of forces so 
dexterously manipulated. 

The Irish branch of the Papal attack, the landing 
of the legate Sanders, the insurrection of Desmond 
(1579-1583), the massacre of the Pope's Italian sol- 
diers at Smerwick (1580), must be passed over here. 
It is enough to say that, in Ireland, too, the Catholics 
were beaten. We turn now to their attempt to get 
hold of Scotland (1579-1582). 

Scotland was in a state of anarchy, from which it 
could only be rescued by an able and courageous king. 
The nobles, instead of becoming weaker, as elsewhere, 
had acquired a strength and independence greater 
even than their fathers had enjoyed. Thirty years 
earlier, the Church had possessed quite half the land 
of the country, and had steadily supported the crown. 
Almost the whole of this wealth had been seized in 
one form or another by the nobles. And though, as 
compared with English noblemen, they were still poor 
in money, they were much bigger men relatively to 
their sovereign. The power of the crown was exten- 
sive enough in theory. What was wanted was a king 
who should know how to convert it into a reality. 
That was more than any regent could do. Even 
Moray had not succeeded. The house of Douglas 
was one of the most powerful in Scotland, and Mor- 
ton, who had been looked on as its head during the 
minority of the Earl of Angus, was an able and 
daring man. But he had not the large views, the 
public spirit, or the integrity of Moray. He was 
feared by all, hated by many, respected by none. 
As a mere party chief, no one would have been better 


able to hold his own. As representing the crown, 
he had every man's hand against him. To subsidise 
such a man was perfectly useless. If Elizabeth was 
to make his cause her own, she might just as well 
undertake the conquest of Scotland at once. 

The essence of the good understanding between 
England and France was that both countries should 
keep their hands off Scotland. Elizabeth, knowing 
that if worst came to worst, she could always be 
beforehand with France in the northern kingdom, 
could afford to respect this arrangement, and she did 
mean to respect it. France, on the other hand, being 
also well aware of the advantage given to England 
by geographical situation, was always tempted to steal 
a march on her, and even when most desirous of her 
alliance, never quite gave up intrigues in Scotland. 
This was equally the case whatever party was upper- 
most at the French court, whether its policy was being 
directed by the King or by the Duke of Guise. 

The Jesuits looked on Guise as their fighting man, 
who was to do the work which they could not prevail 
on crowned heads to undertake. James, though only 
thirteen, had been declared of age. It was too late 
to think of deposing him. If his character was feeble, 
his understanding and acquirements were much beyond 
his years, and his preferences were already a force to 
be reckoned with in Scotch politics. His interests 
were evidently opposed to those of his mother. But 
the Jesuits hoped to persuade him that his seat would 
never be secure unless he came to a compromise with 
her on the terms that he was to accept the crown as 
her gift arid recognise her joint-sovereignty. This 

vu THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 149 

would throw him entirely into the hands of the 
Catholic nobles, and would be a virtual declaration 
of war against Elizabeth. He would have to pro- 
claim himself a Catholic, and call in the French. It 
was hoped that Philip, jealous though he had always 
been of French interference, would not object to an 
expedition warranted by the Jesuits and commanded 
by Guise, who was more and more sinking into a tool 
of Spain and Kome. A combined army of Scotch and 
French would pour across the Border. It would be 
joined by the English Catholics. Elizabeth would be 
deposed, and Mary set on the throne. 

It was a pretty scheme on paper, but certain to 
break down in every stage of its execution. James 
might chaffer with his mother; but, young as he 
was, he knew well that she meant to overreach him. 
He would be glad enough to get rid of Morton, but 
he did not want to be a puppet in the hands of the 
Marians. He did not like the Presbyterian preachers ; 
but the young pedant already valued himself on his 
skill in confuting the apologists of Popery. He re- 
sented Elizabeth's lectures; but he knew that his 
succession to the English crown depended on her good 
will, and he meant to keep on good terms with her. 
No approval of the scheme could be obtained from 
Philip, and if he did not peremptorily forbid the 
expedition, it was because he did not believe it would 
come off. If a French army had appeared in Scot- 
land, it would have been treated as all foreigners 
were in that country. And finally, if, per impossibile, 
the French and Scotch had entered England, they 
would have been overwhelmed by such an unanimous 


uprising of the English people of all parties and creeds 
as had never been witnessed in our history. 

Historians, who would have us believe that Eliza- 
beth was constantly bringing England to the verge of 
ruin by her stinginess and want of spirit, represent 
this combination as highly formidable. It required 
careful watching ; but the only thing that could make 
it really dangerous was rash and premature employ- 
ment of force by England the course advocated not 
only by Burghley, but by the whole Council. Eliza- 
beth seems to have stood absolutely alone in her 
opinion; but here, as always, though she allowed her 
ministers to speak their minds freely, she did not fear 
to act on her own judgment against their unanimous 

To carry out their schemes, Guise and the Jesuits 
sent to Scotland a nephew of the late Kegent Lennox, 
Esme Stuart, who had been brought up in France, 
and bore the title of Count d'Aubigny (September 
1579). He speedily won the heart of the King, who 
created him Earl, and afterwards Duke of Lennox. 
Elizabeth soon obtained proof of his designs, and 
urged Morton to resist them by force. But the 
favourite, professing to be converted to Protestantism, 
enlisted the preachers on his side, and, by this un- 
natural coalition, Morton was brought to the scaffold 
(June 1581). During the interval between his arrest 
and execution, the English Council were urgent with 
Elizabeth to invade Scotland, rescue the Anglophile 
leader, and crush Lennox. She went all lengths in 
the way of threats. Lord Hunsdon was even ordered 
to muster an army on the Border. But this last step 

vii THE PAPAL ATTACK i 1570-1583 151 

at once produced an energetic protest from the French 
ambassador ; and in Scotland there was a general rally 
of all parties against the "auld enemies." Elizabeth 
had never meant to make her threats good, and Mor- 
ton was left to his fate. She was quite right not to 
invade Scotland; but, that being her intention, she 
should not have tempted Morton to treason by the 
promise of her protection. No male statesman would 
have been so insensible to dishonour. 

The death of the man who, next to Moray, had 
been the mainstay of the Reformation and the scourge 
of the Marian party, was received with a shout of 
exultation from Catholic Europe. Already in their 
heated imaginations the Jesuits saw the Kirk over- 
thrown and the vantage ground gained for an attack 
on England. Some modern historians with less 
excuse, since they have the sequel before their eyes 
make the same blunder. The situation was really 
unchanged. Morton, who had the true antipathy of a 
Scottish noble to clerics of all sorts, had plundered 
the Kirk ministers, and tried to bring them under 
the episcopal yoke. He had quarrelled with most of 
his old associates of the Congregation. It was their 
enmity quite as much as the attack of Lennox that 
had pulled him down. When he was out of the 
way they naturally reverted to an Anglophile policy. 
The weakness of the Catholic party was plainly 
shown by the fact that Lennox himself, the pupil 
of the Jesuits, never ventured to throw off the 
disguise of a heretic. 

The further development of the Jesuit scheme met 
with difficulties on all sides. Most even of the 


Catholic lords were alarmed by the suggestion that 
James should hold the crown by the gift of his 
mother, because it would imply that hitherto he had 
not been lawful King; and this would invalidate 
their titles to all the lands they had grabbed from 
Church and crown during the last fourteen years. 
It would seem therefore that, if they had harassed 
the Government during all that time, it was from a 
liking for anarchy rather than from attachment to 
Mary. Two Jesuits, Crichton and Holt, who were 
sent in disguise to Scotland, found Lennox desponding. 
He was obliged to confess that, greatly as he had 
fascinated the King, he could not move him an inch 
in his religious opinions. On the contrary, James 
imagined that his controversial skill had converted 
Lennox, and was extremely proud of the feat. The 
only course remaining was to seize him, and send 
him to France or Spain, Lennox in the meantime 
administering the Government in the name of Mary. 
But to carry out this stroke, Lennox said he must 
have a foreign army. In view of the mutual jealousy 
of France and Spain it was suggested that, if Philip 
would furnish money underhand, the Pope might send 
an Italian army direct to Scotland, vid the Straits of 
Gibraltar. Crichton went to Rome to arrange this 
precious scheme, and Holt was proceeding to Madrid. 
But Philip forbade him to come. If Lennox could 
convert James, or send him to Spain, well and good. 
But until one of these preliminaries was accomplished 
he was to expect no help from Philip. Nor were 
prospects more hopeful on the side of France. Mary 
from her prison implored Guise to undertake the 

vn THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 153 

long-planned expedition. But he would not venture 
it without the assent of his own sovereign and the 
King of Spain. While he was hesitating, the Anglo- 
philes patched up their differences and got posses- 
sion of the King's person (Raid of Ruthven, August 
1582). His tears were unavailing. "Better bairns 
greet," said the Master of Glamis, "than bearded 
men." The favourite fled to France, where he died 
in the next year. 

Thus once more had it been clearly shown that if 
the Anglophiles were left to depend on themselves 
they would not fail to do all that was necessary 
to safeguard English interests. " Anglophiles " is a 
convenient appellation. But, strictly speaking, there 
was no party in Scotland that loved England. There 
was a religious party to whom it was of the highest 
importance that Elizabeth should be safe and power- 
ful. She was therefore certain of its co-operation. 
This party would not be always uppermost; for 
Scottish nobles were too selfish, too treacherous, too 
much interested in disorder to permit any stability. 
But, whether in power or in opposition, it would be 
able and it would be obliged to serve English inter- 
ests. There was only one way in which it could be 
paralysed or alienated, and that was by a recurrence 
on the part of England to the traditions of armed 
interference inherited by Elizabeth's councillors from 
Henry vm. and the Protector Somerset. 

Such is the plain history of this Jesuit and Papal 
scheme which we are asked to believe was so danger- 
ous to England and so inadequately handled by Eliza- 
beth. She had not shown much concern for her 


honour. But her coolness, her intrepidity, her correct 
estimate of the forces with which she had to deal, her 
magnificent confidence in her own judgment, saved 
England from the endless expenditure of blood and 
treasure into which her advisers would have plunged, 
and prolonged the formal peace with her three prin- 
cipal neighbours, a peace of already unexampled dura- 
tion, and of incalculable advantage to her country. 

The policy which Elizabeth had thus deliberately 
adopted towards Scotland she persisted in. The 
successful Anglophiles clamoured for pensions, and 
her ministers were for gratifying them. She was 
willing to give a moderate pension to James, but 
not a penny to the nobles. "Her servants and 
favourites," she said, "professed to love her for her 
high qualities, Alengon for her beauty, and the Scots 
for her crown ; but they all wanted the same thing 
in the end ; they wanted nothing but her money, and 
they should not have it." She had ascertained that 
James regarded his mother as his rival for the crowns 
of both kingdoms, and that, whatever he might some- 
times pretend, his real wish was that she should be 
kept under lock and key. She had also satisfied 
herself that the Scottish noblemen on whom Mary 
counted would, with very few exceptions, throw every 
difficulty in the way of her restoration, out of regard 
for their own private interests the only datum from 
which it was safe to calculate in dealing with a 
Scottish nobleman. She therefore felt herself secure. 
By communicating her knowledge to Mary she could 
show her the hopelessness of her intrigues in Scotland ; 
while a resumption of friendly negotiations for her 

vii THE PAPAL ATTACK : 1570-1583 155 

restoration would always be a cheap and effectual way 
of intimidating James. Thus she could look on with 
equanimity when his new favourite Stewart, Earl of 
Arran, 1 again chased the Anglophiles into England 
(December 1583). Arran himself urgently entreated 
her to accept him and his young master as the genuine 
Anglophiles. Walsingham's voice was still for war. 
But, with both factions at her feet and suing for her 
favour, Elizabeth had good reason to be satisfied with 
her policy of leaving the Scottish nobles to worry it 
out among themselves. 

1 James had given this man the title and estates of the eziled 



WE are now approaching the great crisis of the reign 
some may think of English history the grand struggle 
with Spain ; a struggle which, if Elizabeth had allowed 
herself to be guided by her most celebrated coun- 
sellors, would have been entered upon a quarter of 
a century earlier. England was then unarmed and 
weighed down with a load of debt, the legacy of three 
thriftless and pugnacious reigns. The population was 
still mainly Catholic. The great nobles still thought 
themselves a match for the crown, and many of them 
longed to make one more effort to assert their old 
position in the State. Trade and industry were lan- 
guishing. The poorer classes were suffering and discon- 
tented. Scotland was in the hands of a most dangerous 
enemy, whose title to the English crown was held 
by many to be better than Elizabeth's. Philip II., 
as yet unharassed by revolt, seemed almost to have 
drawn England as a sort of satellite into the vast orbit 
of his empire. 

Nearly a generation had now passed away since 
Elizabeth ascended the throne. Every year of it had 



seen some amendment in the condition of the country. 
Under a pacific and thrifty Government taxation had 
been light beyond precedent. All debts, even those 
of Henry vili., had been honourably paid off". While 
the lord of American gold mines and of the richest 
commercial centres in Europe could not raise a loan on 
any terms, Elizabeth could borrow when she pleased 
at five per cent. But she had ceased to borrow, for 
she had a modest surplus stored in her treasury, a 
department of the administration managed under her 
own close personal supervision. A numerous militia 
had been enrolled and partially trained. Large maga- 
zines of arms had been accumulated. A navy had been 
created ; not a large one indeed ; but it did not need 
to be large, for the warship of those days did not differ 
from the ordinary vessel of commerce, nor was its 
crew differently trained. The royal navy could there- 
fore be indefinitely increased if need arose. Philip's 
great generals, Alva and Parma, had long come to the 
conclusion that the conquest of England would be the 
most difficult enterprise their master could undertake. 
The wealth of landed proprietors and traders had 
increased enormously. New manufactures had been 
started by exiles from the Netherlands. New branches 
of foreign commerce had been opened up. The poor 
were well employed and contented. I believe it would 
be impossible to find in the previous history of Eng- 
land, or, for that matter, of Europe, since the fall of 
the Roman Empire, any instance of peace, prosperity, 
and good government extending over so many years. 

Looking abroad we find that in all directions the 
strength and security of Elizabeth's position had beeu 


immensely increased. Her ministers, especially Wal- 
singham for Burghley in his old age came at last to 
see more with the eyes of his mistress believed that 
by a more spirited policy Scotland might have been 
converted into a submissive and valuable ally. Eliza- 
beth alone saw that this was impossible ; that, so 
treated, Scotland would become to England what 
Holland was to Philip, what "the Spanish ulcer" 
was afterwards to Napoleon a fatal drain on her 
strength and resources. It was enough for Elizabeth 
if the northern kingdom was so handled as to be 
harmless ; and this, as I have shown, was in fact its 
condition from the moment that the only Scottish 
ruler who could be really dangerous was locked up in 

The Dutch revolt crippled Philip. The conquest of 
England was postponed till the Dutch revolt should 
be suppressed. Why then, it has been asked, did not 
Elizabeth support the Dutch more vigorously? The 
answer is a simple one. If she had done so the 
suppression of the Dutch revolt would have been 
postponed to the conquest of England. This is proved 
by the events now to be related. Elizabeth was 
obliged by new circumstances to intervene more vigor- 
ously in the Netherlands, and the result was the 
Armada. If the attack had come ten or fifteen years 
earlier the fortune of England might have been 

Elizabeth's foreign policy has been judged unfavour- 
ably by writers who have failed to keep in view how 
completely it turned on her relations with France. 
Though her interests and those of Henry III. cannot 


be called identical, they coincided sufficiently to make 
it possible to keep up a good understanding which 
was of the highest advantage to both countries. But 
to maintain this good understanding there was need 
of the coolest temper and judgment on the part of 
the rulers; for the two peoples were hopelessly hos- 
tile. They were like two gamecocks in adjoining 
pens. The Spaniards were respected and liked by 
our countrymen. Their grave dignity, even their stiff 
assumption of intrinsic superiority, were too like our 
own not to awake a certain appreciative sympathy. 
Whereas all Englishmen from peer to peasant would 
at any time have enjoyed a tussle with France, until 
its burdens began to be felt. 

Henry in., with whom the Valois dynasty was 
about to expire, was far from being the incompetent 
driveller depicted by most historians. He had good 
abilities, plenty of natural courage when roused, and 
a thorough comprehension of the politics of his day. 
His aims and plans were well conceived. But with no 
child to care for, and immersed in degrading self- 
indulgence, he wearied of the exertions and sacrifices 
necessary for carrying them through. Short spells of 
sensible and energetic action were succeeded by periods 
of unworthy lassitude and pusillanimous surrender. 
Before he came to the throne he had been the chief 
organiser of the Bartholomew Massacre. As King he 
naturally inclined, like Elizabeth, William of Orange, 
and Henry of Navarre, to make considerations of re- 
ligion subordinate to considerations of State. Both 
he and Navarre would have been glad to throw over 
the fanatical or factious partisans by whom they were 


surrounded, and rally the Politiques ^o their support. 
But it was a step that neither as yet ventured openly 
to take. The one was obliged to affect zeal for the 
old religion, the other for the new. 

Elizabeth's ministers, with short-sighted animosity, 
had been urging her throughout her reign to give 
vigorous support to the Huguenots. She herself took 
a broader view of the situation. She preferred to 
deal with the legitimate government of France recog- 
nised by the vast majority of Frenchmen. Henry III., 
as she well knew, did not intend or desire to exter- 
minate the Huguenots. If that turbulent faction had 
been openly abetted in its arrogant claims by English 
assistance, he would have been obliged to become the 
mere instrument of Elizabeth's worst enemies, Guise 
and the Holy League. France would have ceased to 
be any counterpoise to Spain. The English Queen 
had so skilfully played a most difficult and delicate 
game that Henry of Navarre had been able to keep 
his head above water ; Guise had upon the whole been 
held in check; the royal authority, though impaired, 
had still controlled the foreign policy of France, and 
so, since 1572, had given England a firm and useful 
ally. As long as this balanced situation could be 
maintained, England was safe. 

But the time was now at hand when this nice 
equilibrium of forces would be disturbed by events 
which neither Elizabeth nor any one else could help. 
Alen9on, the last of the Valois line, was dying. When 
he should be gone, the next heir to the French King 
would be no other than the Huguenot Henry of 
Bourbon, King of the tiny morsel of Navarre that lay 


north of the Pyrenees. Henry in. wished to recognise 
his right. But it was impossible that Guise or Philip, 
or the French nation itself, should tolerate this pro- 
spect. Thus the great war of religion which Elizabeth 
had so carefully abstained from stirring up was now 
inevitable. The French alliance, the key-stone of her 
policy, was about to crumble away with the authority 
of the French King which she had buttressed up. He 
would be compelled either to become the mere instru- 
ment of the Papal party or to combine openly with the 
Huguenot leader. In either case, Guise, not Henry m., 
would be the virtual sovereign, and Elizabeth's alliance 
would not be with France but with a French faction. 
She would thus be forced into the position which she 
had hitherto refused to accept that of sole protector 
of French and Dutch Protestants, and open antagonist 
of Spain. The more showy part she was now to play 
has been the chief foundation of her glory with 
posterity. It is a glory which she deserves. The 
most industrious disparagement will never rob her of 
it. But the sober student will be of opinion that her 
reputation as a statesman has a more solid basis in 
the skill and firmness with which during so many 
years she staved off the necessity for decisive action. 

Although the discovery of the Throgmorton plot 
(Nov. 1583), and the consequent expulsion of the 
Spanish ambassador, Mendoza, were not immediately 
followed by open war between England and Spain, 
yet the course of events thenceforward tended directly 
to that issue. Elizabeth immediately proposed to the 
Dutch States to form a naval alliance against Spain, 
and to concert other measures for mutual defence. 



Orange met the offer with alacrity, and pressed Eliza- 
beth to accept the sovereignty of Holland, Zealand, 
and Utrecht. Perhaps there was no former ruler of 
England who would not have clutched at such an 
opportunity of territorial aggrandisement. For Eliza- 
beth it had no charms. Every sensible person now 
will applaud the sobriety of her aims. But though' 
she eschewed territory, she desired to have military 
occupation of one or more coast fortresses, at all 
events for a time, both as a security for the fidelity 
of the Dutch to any engagements they might make 
with her, and to enable her to treat on more equal 
terms with France or Spain, if the Netherlands were 
destined, after all, to fall into the hands of one of those 

While these negotiations were in progress, William 
of Orange was murdered (^S, 1584). Ale^on 
had died a month earlier. The sovereignty of the 
revolted Netherlands was thus vacant. Elizabeth 
advised a joint protectorate by France and England. 
But the Dutch had small confidence in protectorates, 
especially of the joint kind. What they wanted was 
a sovereign, and as Elizabeth would not accept them 
as her subjects they offered themselves to Henry in. 
But after nibbling at the offer for eight months Henry 
was obliged to refuse it. His openly expressed inten- 
.tion to recognise the King of Navarre as his heir had 
caused a revival of the Holy League. During the 
winter 1584-5 its reorganisation was busily going on. 
Philip promised to subsidise it. Mendoza, now am- 
bassador at Paris, was its life and soul. The insurrec- 
tion was on the point of breaking out. Henry in. 


knew that the vast majority of Frenchmen were 
Catholics. To accept the Dutch offer would, he 
feared, drive them all into the ranks of the Holy 
League. He therefore dismissed the Dutch envoys 
with the recommendation that they should apply to 
England for protection (?'*?, 1585). 

The manifesto of the Leaguers appeared at the end 
of March (1585). Henry of Navarre was declared 
incapable, as a Protestant, of succeeding to the crown. 
Henry ill. was summoned to extirpate heresy. To 
enforce these demands the Leaguers flew to arms all 
over France. Had Henry ill. been a man of spirit 
he would have placed himself at the head of the loyal 
Catholics and fought it out. But by the compact of 
Nemours he conceded all the demands of the League 
(^g|8, 1585). Thus began the last great war of 
religion, which lasted till Henry of Navarre was firmly 
seated on the throne of France. 

Elizabeth had now finally lost the French alliance, 
the sheet-anchor of her policy since 1572, and she 
prepared for the grand struggle which could no longer 
be averted. As France failed her, she must make the 
best of the Dutch alliance. She did not conceal from 
herself that she would have to do her share of the 
fighting. But she was determined that the Dutch 
should also do theirs.* Deprived of all hope of help 
from France they wished for annexation to the English 
crown, because solidarity between the two countries 
would give them an unlimited claim upon English 
resources. Elizabeth uniformly told them, first and 
last, that nothing should induce her to accept that 
proposal. She would give them a definite amount of 


assistance in men and money. But every farthing 
would have to be repaid when the war was over ; and 
in the meantime she must have Flushing and Brill as 
security. They must also bind themselves to make 
proper exertions in their own defence. Gilpin, her 
agent in Zealand, had warned her that if she showed 
herself too forward they would simply throw the 
whole burden of the war upon her. Splendid as had 
often been the resistance of separate towns when 
besieged, there had been, from the first, lamentable 
selfishness and apathy as to measures for combined 
defence. The States had less than 6000 men in the 
field half of them English volunteers at the very 
time when they were assuring Elizabeth that, if she 
would come to their assistance, they could and would 
furnish 15,000. She was justified in regarding their 
fine promises with much distrust. 

While this discussion was going on, Antwerp was 
lost. The blame of the delay, if blame there was, 
must be divided equally between the bargainers. The 
truth is that, cavil as they might about details, the 
strength of the English contingent was not the real 
object of concern to either of them. Each was think- 
ing of something else. Though Elizabeth had so 
peremptorily refused the sovereignty offered by the 
United Provinces, they were still bent on forcing it 
upon her. She, on the other hand, had not given 
up the hope that her more decisive intervention 
would drive Philip to make the concessions to his 
revolted subjects which she had so often urged upon 
him. In her eyes, Philip's sovereignty over them 
was indefeasible. They were, perhaps, justified in 


asserting their ancient constitutional rights. But if 
those were guaranteed, continuance of the rebellion 
would be criminal. Moreover, she held that elected 
deputies were but amateur statesmen, and had better 
leave the haute politigue to princes to settle. " Princes," 
she once told a Dutch deputation, "are not to be 
charged with breach of faith if they sometimes listen 
to both sides ; for they transact business in a princely 
way and with a princely understanding such as pri- 
vate persons cannot have." Her promise not to make 
peace behind their backs was not to be interpreted 
as literally as if it had been made to a brother prince. 
It merely bound her so she contended not to make 
peace without safeguarding their interests ; that is to 
say, what she considered to be their true interests. 
Conduct based on such a theory would not be toler- 
ated now, and was not tamely acquiesced in by the 
Dutch then. But to speak of it as base and treacher- 
ous is an abuse of terms. 

It would be impossible to follow' in detail the 
peace negotiations which went on between Elizabeth and 
Parma up to the very sailing of the Armada (1586-8). 
The terms on which the Queen was prepared to make 
peace never varied substantially from first to last. 
We know very well what they were. She claimed for 
the Protestants of the Netherlands (who were a 
minority, perhaps, even in the rebel provinces) pre- 
cisely the same degree of toleration which she allowed 
to her own Catholics. They were not to be questioned 
about their religion ; but there was to be no public 
worship or proselytising. The old constitution, as 
before Alva, was to be restored, which would have 


involved the departure of the foreign troops. These 
terms would not have satisfied the States, and if 
Philip could have been induced to grant them, the 
States and Elizabeth must have parted company. 
But, as he would make no concessions, the Anglo- 
Dutch alliance could, and did, continue. The caution- 
ary towns she was determined never to give up to 
any one unless (first) she was repaid her expenses 
for which they had been mortgaged, and (secondly) 
the struggle in the Netherlands was brought to an 
end on terms which she approved. There was, there- 
fore, never any danger of their being surrendered to 
Philip, and they did, in fact, remain in Elizabeth's 
hands till her death. 

Elizabeth has been severely censured for selecting 
Leicester to command the English army in the Nether- 
lands. It is certain that he was marked out by public 
opinion as the fittest person. The Queen's choice was 
heartily approved by all her ministers, especially by 
Walsingham, who kept up the most confidential re- 
lations with Leicester, and backed him throughout. 
Custom prescribed that an English army should be 
commanded, not by a professional soldier, but by a 
great nobleman. Among the nobility there Were a 
few who had done a little soldiering in a rough way 
in Scotland or Ireland, but no one who could be called 
a professional general. The momentous step which 
Elizabeth was taking would have lost half its signifi- 
cance in the eyes of Europe if any less conspicuous 
person than Leicester had been appointed. Moreover, 
it was essential that the nobleman selected should be 
able and willing to spend largely out of his own 


resources. By traditional usage, derived from feudal 
times, peers who were employed on temporary ser- 
vices not only received no salary, but were expected 
to defray their own expenses, and defray them hand- 
somely. Never did an English nobleman show more 
public spirit in this respect than Leicester. He raised 
every penny he could by mortgaging his estates. He 
not only paid his own personal expenses, but advanced 
large sums for military purposes, which his mistress 
never thought of repaying him. If he effected little 
as a general, it was because he was not provided with 
the means. Serious mistakes he certainly made, but 
they were not of a military kind. 

Leicester was now fifty-four, bald, white-bearded, 
and red-faced, but still imposing in figure, carriage, 
and dress. To Elizabeth he was dear as the friend 
of her youth, one who, she was persuaded, had loved 
her for herself when they were both thirty years 
younger, and was still her most devoted and trust- 
worthy servant. Burghley she liked and trusted, and 
all the more since he had become a more docile in- 
strument of her policy. Walsingham, a keener intel- 
lect and more independent character, she could not 
but value, though impatient under his penetrating 
suspicion and almost constant disapproval. Leicester 
was the intimate friend, the frequent companion of 
her leisure hours. None of her younger favourites 
had supplanted him in her regard. By long intimacy 
he knew the molles aditus et tempora when things might 
be said without offence which were not acceptable at 
the council-board. The other ministers were glad to 
use him for this purpose. There can be no question 


that his appointment to the command in the Nether- 
lands was meant as the most decisive indication that 
could be given of Elizabeth's determination to face 
open war with Philip rather than allow him to estab- 
lish absolute government in that country. 

Since the deaths of Alen9on and William of Orange, 
the United Provinces had been without a ruler. The 
government had been provisionally carried on by the 
"States," or deputies from each province. Leicester 
had come with no other title than that of Lieutenant- 
General of the Queen's troops. But what the States 
wanted was not so much a military leader as a 
sovereign ruler. They therefore urged Leicester to 
accept the powers and title of Governor-General, the 
office which had been held by the representatives of 
Philip. From this it would follow, both logically and 
practically, that Elizabeth herself stood in the place 
of Philip in other words, that she was committed 
to the sovereignty which .she had so peremptorily 

The offer was accepted by Leicester almost imme- 
diately after his arrival (Jan. |4> 1586). There can 
be little doubt that it was a preconcerted plan be- 
tween the States and Elizabeth's ministers, who had 
all along supported the Dutch proposals. Leicester, 
we know, had contemplated it before leaving England. 
Davison, who was in Holland, hurried it on, and 
undertook to carry the news to Elizabeth. Burghley 
and Walsingham maintained that the step had been 
absolutely necessary, and implored her not to undo it. 
Elizabeth herself had suspected that something of the 
sort would be attempted, and had strictly enjoined 


Leicester at his departure to accept no such title. It 
was not that she wished his powers that is to say, her 
own powers to be circumscribed. On the contrary, 
she desired that they should in practice be as large 
and absolute as possible. What she objected to was 
the title, with, all the consequences it involved. And 
what enraged her most of all was the attempt of her 
servants to push the thing through behind her back, 
on the calculation that she would be obliged to accept 
the accomplished fact. Her wrath vented itself on 
all concerned, on her ministers, on the States, and on 
Leicester. To the latter she addressed a characteristic 
letter : 
"To my Lord of Leicester from the Queen by Sir Thomas Heneage. 

" How contemptuously we conceive ourself to have been used 
by you, you shall by this bearer understand, whom we have 
expressly sent unto you to charge you withal. We could 
never have imagined, had we not seen it fall out in experience, 
that a man raised up by ourself and extraordinarily favoured 
by us above any other subject of this land, would have in so 
contemptible [contemptuous] a sort, broken our commandment, 
in a cause that so greatly toucheth us in honour ; whereof 
although you have showed yourself to make but little account, 
in most undutiful a sort, you may not therefore think that we 
have so little care of the reparation thereof as we mind to pass 
so great a wrong in silence unredressed. And therefore our 
express pleasure and command is that, all delays and excuses 
laid apart, you do presently, on the duty of your allegiance, 
obey and fulfil whatsoever the bearer hereof shall direct you to 
do in our name. Whereof fail not, as you will answer the 
contrary at your uttermost peril. " 

Nor were these cutting reproaches reserved for his 
private perusal. She severely rebuked the States for 
encouraging " a creature of her own " to disobey her in- 
junctions, and, as a reparation from them and from him, 


she required that he should make a public resignation 
of the government in the place where he had accepted 

It is not to be wondered at that Elizabeth should 
think the vindication of her outraged authority to 
be the most pressing requirement of the moment. 
But the result was unfortunate for the object of the 
expedition. The States had conferred "absolute" 
authority upon Leicester, and would have thought it a 
cheap price to pay if, by their adroit manoeuvre, they 
had succeeded in forcing the Queen's hand. But they 
did not care to intrust absolute powers to a mere 
general of an English contingent. After long discus- 
sion, Elizabeth was at length persuaded that the least 
of evils was to allow him to retain the title which the 
States had conferred on him (June 1586). But in the 
meantime they had repented of their haste in letting 
power go out of their own hands. Their efforts were 
thenceforth directed to explain away the term "absolute." 
The long displeasure of the Queen had destroyed the 
principal value of Leicester in their eyes. He himself 
had soon incurred their dislike. Impetuous and domi- 
neering, he could not endure opposition. Every man 
who did not fall in with his plans was a malicious 
enemy, a traitor, a tool of Parma, who ought to be 
hanged. He still enjoyed the favour of the democratic 
and bigoted Calvinist party, especially in Utrecht, and 
he tried to play them ok against the States, thereby 
promoting the rise of the factions which long after- 
wards distracted the United Provinces. The displeasure 
of the Queen had taken the shape of not sending him 
money, and his troops were in great distress and un- 


able to move. Moreover, rumours of the secret peace 
negotiations were craftily spread by Parma, who, know- 
ing well that they would come to nothing, turned 
them to the best account by leading the States to 
suspect that they were being betrayed to Spain. 

Elizabeth had sent her army abroad more as a 
warning to Philip than with a view to active operations. 
It was no part of her plan to recover any of the 
territory already conquered by Parma, even if it had 
lain in her power. She knew that the majority of its 
inhabitants were Catholics and royalists. She knew 
also that Parma's attenuated army was considerably 
outnumbered by the Anglo-Dutch forces, and that he 
was in dire distress for food and money. The recovered 
provinces were completely ruined by the war. Their 
commerce was swept from the sea. The mouths of 
their great rivers were blockaded. The Protestants of 
Flanders and Brabant had largely migrated to the 
unsubdued provinces, whose prosperity, notwithstand- 
ing the burdens of war, was advancing by leaps and 
bounds. Their population was about two millions. 
That of England itself was little more than four. 
Religion was no longer the only or the chief motive of 
their resistance. For even the Catholics among them, 
who were still very numerous some said a majority 
keenly relished the material prosperity which had 
grown with independence. Encouraged by English 
protection, the States were in no humour to listen to 
compromise. But a compromise was what Elizabeth 
desired. She was therefore not unwilling that her 
forces should be confined to an attitude of observation, 
till it should appear whether her open intervention 


would extract from Philip such concessions as she 
deemed reasonable. 

Leicester was eager to get to work, and he was 
warmly supported by Walsingham. Burghley's conduct 
was less straightforward. He had long found it 
advisable to cultivate amicable relations with the 
favourite. He had probably concurred in the plan for 
making him Governor-General. Even now he was pro- 
fessing to take his part. In reality he was not sorry 
to see him under a cloud ; and though he sympathised 
as much as ever with the Dutch, he cared more for 
crippling his rival. Hence his activity in those obscure 
peace negotiations which he so carefully concealed from 
Leicester and Walsingham. To keep Walsingham long 
in the dark, on that or any other subject, was indeed 
impossible. It was found necessary at last to let him 
be present at an interview with the agents employed 
by Burghley and Parma, which brought their back- 
stairs diplomacy to an abrupt conclusion. " They that 
have been the employers of them," he wrote to 
Leicester, "are ashamed of the matter." The nego- 
tiations went on through other channels, but never 
made any serious progress. 

To compel Philip to listen to a compromise, without 
at the same time emboldening the Dutch to turn a deaf 
ear to it such was the problem which Elizabeth had 
set herself. She therefore preferred to apply pressure 
in other quarters. Towards the end of 1585, Drake 
appeared on the coast of Spain itself, and plundered 
Vigo. Then crossing the Atlantic, he sacked and burned 
St. Domingo and Carthagena. Again in 1587, he 
forced his way into Cadiz harbour, burnt all the ship- 


ping and the stores collected for the Armada, and 
for two months plundered and destroyed every vessel 
he met off the coast of Portugal. 

Philip had so long and so tamely submitted to the 
many injuries and indignities which Elizabeth heaped 
upon him, that it is not wonderful if she had come to 
think that he would never pluck up courage to retaliate. 
This time she was wrong. The conquest of England 
had always had its place in his overloaded programme. 
But it was to be in that hazy ever-receding future, 
when he should have put down the Dutch rebellion 
and neutralised France. Elizabeth's open intervention 
in the Netherlands at length induced him to change 
his plan. England, he now decided, must be first 
dealt with. 

In the meantime, Parma's operations in the Nether- 
lands were starved quite as much as Leicester's. Plun- 
dering excursions, two or three petty combats not de- 
serving the name of battles, half-a-dozen small towns 
captured on one side or the other such is the mili- 
tary record from the date of Elizabeth's intervention to 
the arrival of the Armada. Parma had somewhat the 
best of this work, such as it was. But the war in the 
Netherlands was practically stagnant. 

At the end of the first year of Leicester's govern- 
ment, events of the highest importance obliged him to 
pay a visit to England (Nov. 1586). The Queen of 
Scots had been found guilty of conspiring to assassinate 
Elizabeth, and Parliament had been summoned to 
decide upon her fate. 



THROGMORTON'S plot of which the Queen of Scots was 
undoubtedly cognisant, though it was not pressed against 
her brought home to every one the danger in which 
Elizabeth stood (1584). To the Catholic conspiracy, 
the temptation to take her life was enormous. It was 
becoming clear that, while she lived, the much talked 
of insurrection would never come off. The large ma- 
jority of Catholics would have nothing to do with it 
still less with foreign invasion. They would obey 
their lawful sovereign. But if once Elizabeth were 
dead, by whatever means, their lawful sovereign would 
be Mary. The rebels would be the Protestants, if they 
should try to place any one else on the throne. The 
Protestants had no organisation. They had no can- 
didate for the crown ready. It was to be feared that 
no great noble would step forward to lead them. 
Burghley himself, though longing as much as ever for 
Mary's head, had with a prudent eye to all eventualities, 
contrived some time before to persuade her that he 
was her well-wisher. Houses of Commons, it is true, 
had shown themselves strongly and increasingly Pro- 


CH. ix EXECUTION OF MARY : 1584-1587 175 

testant. But with the demise of the crown, Parliament, 
if in being at the time, would be ipso facto dissolved. 
The Privy Council, in like manner, would cease to have 
any legal existence. Burghley, Walsingham, and the 
other new men of whom it was mostly composed, had 
no power or weight, except as instruments of the 
sovereign. Her death would leave them helpless. 
The country would take its direction not from them, 
but from the great nobles of large ancestral possessions. 
Nor could they provide for such an emergency by 
privately selecting a Protestant successor beforehand, 
and privately organising their partisans. It would have 
been as much as their lives were worth if their mis- 
tress had caught them doing anything of the kind. 

In this dilemma an ingenious plan suggested itself 
to them. They drew up a " Bond of Association," by 
which the subscribers engaged that, if the Queen were 
murdered, they would never accept as successor any one 
" by whom or for whom " such act should be committed, 
but would " prosecute such person to death." 

This was a hypothetical way of excluding Mary and 
organising a Protestant resistance to which Elizabeth 
could make no objection. But the ministers knew 
that, as a merely voluntary association without Par- 
liamentary sanction, it would add little strength or 
confidence to the Protestant party. It would not even 
test their numbers; for no Marian ventured to refuse 
the oath. Mary herself desired to be allowed to take 
it. The bond was therefore converted into a Statute 
by Parliament, though not without some important 
alterations (March 1585). It was enacted that if the 
realm was invaded, or a rebellion instigated, by or for 


any one pretending a title to the succession, or if the 
Queen's murder was plotted by any one, or with the 
privity of any one that pretended title, such pretender, 
after examination and judgment by an extraordinary 
commission to be nominated by the Queen, and con- 
sisting of at least twenty-four privy councillors and 
lords of Parliament assisted by the chief judges, should 
be excluded from the succession, and that, on pro- 
clamation of the sentence and direction by the Queen, 
all subjects might and should pursue the offender to 
death. If the Queen were murdered, 1;he lords of the 
Council at the time of her death, or the majority of 
them, should join to themselves at least twelve other 
lords of Parliament not making title to the crown, 
and the chief judges ; and if, after examination, they 
should come to the above-mentioned conclusion, they 
should without delay, by all forcible and possible 
means, prosecute the guilty persons to death, and 
should have power to raise and use such forces as 
should in that behalf be needful and convenient ; and 
no subjects should be liable to punishment for any- 
thing done aecording to the tenor of the Statute. 

Here, then, was a legal way provided by which the 
Protestant ministers might act against Mary if Eliza- 
beth were murdered. They were in fact created a 
Provisional Government, with power to exclude Mary 
from the throne. Whether they would have the 
courage or strength to do so remained to be seen; 
but they would at least have formal law on their side. 

It had never entered into Mary's plans to wait for 
Elizabeth's natural death. She therefore read the new 
Act as a sentence of exclusion. Another blow soon 

ix EXECUTION OF MARY : 1584-1587 177 

fell on her. In 1584, elated by her son's victory over 
the raiders of Ruthven, and believing that he was 
willing to recognise her joint sovereignty and co- 
operate with a Guise invasion, she had scornfully 
refused the last overtures that Elizabeth ever made to 
her. She now learnt that he had never intended to 
accept association with her, and that he had urged 
Elizabeth not to release her. In the following year he 
had accepted an annual pension of 4000 with some 
grumbling at its amount ; and a defensive alliance was 
at length concluded between the two countries, Mary's 
name not being mentioned in the treaty (July 1586). 

As the prospects of the Scottish Queen became 
darker both in England and her own country, she 
grew more desperate and reckless. Early in 1586, 
Walsingham contrived a way of regularly inspecting 
all her most secret correspondence. He soon dis- 
covered that she was encouraging Babington's plot 
for assassinating Elizabeth. Some of the conspirators, 
though avowed Catholics, had offices in the royal 
household ; such was Elizabeth's easy-going confidence. 
It was hoped that Parma would at the moment of the 
murder land troops on the east coast. Mendoza, now 
Spanish ambassador in Paris, warmly encouraged the 

The Scottish Queen was now in the case contem- 
plated by the Statute of the previous year. But it 
required all the urgency of the Council to prevail 
with Elizabeth to have her brought to trial. Eliza- 
beth's whole conduct shows that she would even now 
have preferred to deal with her rival as she did in 
the inquiry into the Darnley murder. She would 


have been content to discredit her, to expose her 
guilt, and, if possible, to bring her to her knees con- 
fessing her crimes and pleading for mercy. But 
Mary was not of the temper to confess. Humiliation 
and effacement were to her worse than death. She 
chose to brazen it out with a well-grounded con. 
fidence that, as long as she asserted her innocence, 
people would always be found to believe in it, let 
the evidence be what it would. Besides, long im- 
punity had convinced her that Elizabeth did not 
dare to take her life. 

There was nothing for it, therefore, but to bring 
her to trial. A Special Commission was nominated 
under the provisions of the Statute of 1585, con- 
sisting of forty-five persons peers, privy councillors, 
and judges who proceeded to Fotheringay Castle, 
whither Mary had been removed. 1 She at first re- 
fused their jurisdiction; but on being informed that 
they would proceed in her absence, she appeared be- 
fore them under protest (October 14, 1586). After 
sitting at Fotheringay for two days, the Court ad- 
journed to Westminster, where it pronounced her 
guilty (October 25). 2 A declaration was added that 
her disqualification for the succession, which followed 
by the Statute, did not affect any rights that her son 
might possess. The verdict was immediately known ; 
but its proclamation was deferred till Parliament could 
be consulted. 

1 Some persons whose names do not appear in the Commission 
sat on the trial, while some who were appointed did not sit. 

2 Those who wish to know the grounds on which Mary's com- 
plicity in Babington's plot has been denied can consult Lingard, 
Tytlev, and Labanoff. In my opinion, their arguments are very feeble. 

ix EXECUTION OF MARY : 1584-1587 179 

A general election had been held while the trial 
was going on, and Parliament met four days after 
its conclusion (October 29). The whole evidence was 
gone into afresh. Not a word seems to have been 
said in Mary's favour ; and an address was presented 
to the Queen praying for execution. If precedents 
were wanted for the capital punishment of an anointed 
sovereign, there were the cases of Agag, Jezebel, Atha- 
liah, Deiotarus, king of Galatia, put to death by Julius 
Csesar, Rhescuporis, king of Thrace, by Tiberius, and 
Conradin by Charles of Anjou. In vain did Eliza- 
beth request them to reconsider their vote, and de- 
vise some other expedient. Usually so deferential 
to her suggestions, they reiterated their declaration 
that " the Queen's safety could no way be secured as 
long as the Queen of Scots lived." 

Elizabeth's hesitation has been generally set down 
to hypocrisy. It has been taken for granted that 
she desired Mary's death, and was glad to have it 
pressed upon her by her subjects. I believe that her 
reluctance was most genuine. If not of generous 
disposition, neither was she revengeful or cruel. She 
had no animosity against her enemies. She lacked 
gall. She was never in any hurry to punish the 
disaffected, or even to weed them out of her service. 
She rather prided herself on employing them even 
about her person. Since her accession only two 
English peers had been put to death, though several 
had richly deserved it. She could affirm with perfect 
truth that, for the last fifteen years, she, and she 
alone, had stood between Mary and the scaffold, and 
this at great and increasing risk to her own life. 


There had, perhaps, been a time when to destroy the 
prospect of a Catholic succession would have driven 
the Catholics into rebellion. But that time had long 
gone by, as every one knew. Elizabeth had only 
two dangers now to fear, invasion and assassination, 
the latter being the most threatening. There would 
be little inducement to attempt it if Mary were not 
alive to profit by it. Yet Elizabeth hesitated. The 
explanation of her reluctance is very simple. She 
flinched from the obloquy, the undeserved obloquy, 
which she saw was in store for her. Careless to an 
extraordinary degree about her personal danger, she 
would have preferred, as far as she was herself con- 
cerned, to let Mary live. It was her ministers and 
the Protestant party who, for their own interest, were 
forcing her to shed her cousin's blood ; and it seemed 
to her unfair that the undivided odium should fall, 
as she foresaw it would fall, on her alone. 

The suspense continued through December and 
January. In the meantime it became abundantly 
clear that no foreign court would interfere actively to 
save Mary's life. While she had been growing old in 
captivity, new interests had sprung up, fresh schemes 
had been formed in which she had no place. She 
stood in the way of half-a-dozen ambitions. Every- 
body was weary of her and her wrongs and her 
pretensions. The Pope had felt less interest of late 
in a princess whose rights, if established, would pass 
to a Protestant heir. Philip could not intercede 
for her even if he had desired to save her life. 
He was already at war with England, and, if she had 
known it, not with any intention of supporting her 

IX EXECUTION OF MARY: 1584-1587 181 

claims. 1 James by his recent treaty with England had 
tacitly treated his mother as an enemy. Her scheme 
for kidnapping and disinheriting him, found among her 
papers at Chartley, had been promptly communicated 
to him. Decency required that he should make a 
show of remonstrance and menace. But he had every 
reason to desire her death, and his only thought was 
to use the opportunity for extorting from Elizabeth 
a recognition of his title to the English crown and 
an increase of his pension. He sent the Master of 
Gray to drive this bargain. The very choice of his 
envoy, the man who had persuaded him to break 
with his mother, showed Elizabeth how the land lay, 
and she did not think it worth her while to bribe 
him in either way. The Marian nobles blustered and 
called for war. Not one of them wanted to see Mary 
back in Scotland or cared what became of her; but 
they had got an idea that Philip would pay them 
for a plundering raid into England, and the doubly 
lucrative prospect was irresistible. James, however, 
though pretending resentment and really sulky at his 
rebuff, knew his own interests too well to quarrel with 
England. What the action of the French King was is 
less certain. Openly he remonstrated with consider- 
able vigour and persistence ; not entering into the 
question of Mary's guilt, but protesting against the 
punishment of a Queen and a member of his family. 
Probably his efforts, so far as they went, were sincere, 
for he instructed his ambassador to bribe the English 
ministers if possible to save her life. But it was 
evident that, however offended Henry in. might be 
1 There was no formal proclamation of war on either side. 


by the execution of his sister-in-law, he would not be 
provoked into playing the game of Spain. 

A warrant for the execution had been drawn soon 
after the adjournment of Parliament, and all through 
December and January Elizabeth's ministers kept 
urging her to sign it. At length, when the Scotch 
and French ambassadors were gone, and with them 
the last excuse for delay, she signed it in the presence 
of Davison (who had lately been made co-secretary 
with Walsingham), and directed him to have it sealed 
(February 1). What else passed between them on 
that occasion must always remain uncertain, because 
Davison's four written statements, and his answers at 
his trial, differ in important particulars not only from 
the Queen's account but from one another. So much, 
however, will to most persons who examine the 
evidence be very clear. Elizabeth meant the execution 
to take place. There is no reason to doubt Davison's 
statement that she "forbade him to trouble her any 
further, or let her hear any more thereof till it was 
done, seeing that for her part she had now performed 
all that either in law or reason could be required of 
her." But signing the warrant, as both of them knew, 
was not enough. The formal delivery of it to some 
person, with direction to carry it out, was the final 
step necessary. This, by Davison's own admission, the 
Queen managed to evade. He saw that she wished to 
thrust the responsibility upon him and Walsingham, 
and he suspected that she meant to disavow them. 
Although, therefore, she had enjoined strict secrecy, 
he laid the matter before Hatton and Burghley. 

Burghley assembled in his own room the Earls of 

IX EXECUTION OF MARY : 1584-1587 183 

Derby and Leicester, Lords Howard of Effingham, 
Hunsdon, and Cobham, Knollys, Hatton, Walsingham. 
and Davison (February 3). These ten were probably 
the only privy councillors then at Greenwich. 1 He laid 
before them Davison's statement of what had passed 
between the Queen and himself at both interviews. 
He said that she had done as much as could be ex- 
pected of her ; that she evidently wished her ministers to 
take whatever responsibility remained upon themselves 
without informing her; and that they ought to do so. 
His proposal was agreed to. A letter was written to 
the Earls of Kent and Shrewsbury instructing them 
to carry out the execution. This letter all the ten 
signed, and it was at once despatched along with the 
warrant. They quite understood that Elizabeth would 
disavow them. They saw that she wished to have a 
pretext for saying that Mary had been put to death 
without her knowledge, and before she had finally 
made up her mind. They were willing to furnish her 
with this pretext. Of course there would be more or 
less of a storm to keep up the make-believe. But ten 
privy councillors acting together could not well be 

On Thursday (February 9) the news of the execution 
arrived. Elizabeth now learnt for the first time that 
the responsibility which she had intended to fix on the 
two secretaries, one a nobody and the other no favourite, 
had been shared by eight others of the Council, includ- 

1 The remaining Privy Councillors were Archbishop Whitgift, 
Lord Chancellor Bromley, the Earls of Shrewsbury and Warwick, 
Lord Buckhurst, Sir James Crofts, Sir Kalph Sadler, Sir Walter 
Mildmay, Sir Amyas Paulet, and the Latin Secretary, Wolley. 


ing all its most important members. Storm at them 
she might and did, and all the more furiously because 
they had combined for self-protection. But to punish 
the whole ten was out of the question. Yet if no one 
were punished, with what face could she tender her 
improbable explanation to foreign courts'? The un- 
lucky Davison was singled out. He could be charged 
with divulging what he had been ordered to keep 
secret and misleading the others. He was tried be- 
fore a Special Commission, fined 10,000 marks, and 
imprisoned for some time in the Tower. The fine 
was rigidly exacted, and it reduced him to poverty. 
Burghley, whose tool he had been almost as much as 
Elizabeth's, took pains to make his disgrace perman- 
ent, because he wanted the secretaryship for his son, 
Robert Cecil. 

The strange thing is, that Elizabeth not only ex- 
pected her transparent falsehoods to be formally ac- 
cepted as satisfactory, but hoped that they would be 
really believed. Her letter to James was an insult to 
his understanding. " I would you knew (though not 
felt) the extreme dolour that overwhelms my mind, 
for that miserable accident which (far contrary to my 
meaning) hath befallen. ... I beseech you that 
as God and many more know how innocent I am in 
this case, so you will believe me that if I had bid 
[bidden] ought I would have bid [abided] by it. ... 
Thus assuring yourself of me that as I know this [the 
execution] was deserved, yet if I had meant it I would 
never lay it on others' shoulders, no more will I not 
damnify myself that thought it not." 

Little as James cared what became of his mother. 

ix EXECUTION OF MARY : 1584-1587 185 

it was impossible that he should not feel humiliated 
when he was expected to swallow such a pill as this 
and ungilded too. He had no intention of going to 
war with the country of which he might now at 
any moment become the legitimate King. But to let 
Elizabeth see that unless he was paid he could be 
disagreeable, he winked at raids across the border and 
coquetted with the faction who were inviting Philip 
to send a Spanish army to Scotland. It was but a 
passing display of temper. The end of the year 
(1587) saw him again drawing close to Elizabeth, and 
she was able to give her undivided attention to the 
coming Armada. 

It cannot be seriously maintained that because Mary 
was not an English subject she could not be lawfully 
tried and punished for crimes committed in England. 
Those, if any there now be, who adopt her own con- 
tention that, being an anointed Queen, she was not 
amenable to any earthly tribunal, but to God alone, 
are beyond the reach of earthly argument. The 
English government had a right to detain her as a 
dangerous public enemy. She, on the other hand, had 
a right to resist such restraint if she could, and she 
might have carried conspiracy very far without in- 
curring our blame. But for good reasons we draw a 
line at conspiracy to murder. No government ever 
did or will let it pass unpunished. If Napoleon at 
St. Helena had engaged in conspiracies for seizing the 
island, no one could have blamed him, even though 
they might have involved bloodshed. But if he had 
been convicted of plotting the assassination of Sir Hud- 
son Lowe, he would assuredly have been hanged. 


That the execution was a wise and opportune stroke 
of policy can hardly be disputed. It broke up the 
Catholic party in England at the moment when their 
disaffection was about to be tempted by the appearance 
of the Armada. There had been a time when they 
had hopes of James. But he was now known to be a 
stiff Protestant. Only the small Jesuitical faction 
was prepared to accept Philip either as an heir of 
John of Gaunt or as Mary's legatee. There was no 
other Catholic with a shadow of a claim. The bulk of 
the party therefore ceased to look forward to a restora- 
tion of the old religion, and rallied to the cause of 
national independence. 


I have not alluded in the text to the story, generally repeated 
by historians, that Elizabeth urged Paulet and Drury to 
murder Mary privately. There is no doubt that, after the 
signature of the warrant, Walsingham and Davison, by Eliza- 
beth's direction, urged Paulet and Drury to put Mary to death, 
and that they refused. But was it a private murder that was 
meant or a public execution without delivery of the warrant ? 
There is nothing in any of Davison 's statements inconsistent 
with the latter and far more probable explanation. The 
blacker charge is founded solely on the two letters which are 
generally accepted as being those which passed between the 
secretaries and Paulet, but which may be confidently set down 
as impudent forgeries. They were first given to the world in 
1722 by Dr. George Mackenzie, a violent Marian, who says 
that a copy of them was sent him by Mr. Urry of Christ 
Church, Oxford, and that they had been found among Paulet's 
papers. Two years later they were printed by Hearne, an 
Oxford Jacobite and Nonjuror, who says he got them from a 
copy furnished him by a friend unnamed (Urry ?), who told 
him he had copied them in 1717 from a MS. letter-book of 

rr EXECUTION OF MARY : 1584-1587 187 

Pallet's. There is also a MS. copy in the Harleian collection, 
which contains erasures and emendations an extraordinary 
thing in a copy. It is said to be in the handwriting of the 
Earl of Oxford himself. There is nothing to show whence he 
copied it. 

No one has ever seen the originals of these letters. Neither 
has any one, except Hearne's unnamed friend, seen the " letter- 
book " into which Paulet is supposed to have copied them. 
Where had this " letter-book " been before 1717? Where was 
it in 1717 ? What became of it after 1717 ? To none of these 
questions is there any answer. The most rational conclusion 
is that the " letter-book " never existed, and that the letters 
were fabricated in the reign of George i. by some Oxford 
Jacobite, who thought it easier and more prudent to circulate 
copies than to attempt an imitation of Paulet's well-known 
handwriting, with all the other difficulties involved in forging 
a manuscript. 

But it may be said, Do not the letters fit in with Davison's 
narrative ? Of course they do. It was for the very purpose 
of putting an odious meaning on that narrative that they were 
fabricated. It was known that letters about putting Mary to 
death had passed. The real letters had never been seen, and 
had doubtless been destroyed. Here therefore was a fine 
opportunity for manufacturing spurious ones. 


WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 

ELIZABETH is not seen at her best in war. She did 
not easily resign herself to its sacrifices. It frightened 
her to see the money which she had painfully put 
together, pound by pound, during so many years, by 
many a small economy, draining out at the rate of 
17,000 a month into the bottomless pit of military 
expenditure. When Leicester came back she simply 
stopped all remittances to the Netherlands, making 
sure that if she did not feed her soldiers some one 
else would have to do it. She saw that Parma was 
not pressing forward. And though rumours of the 
enormous preparations in Spain, which accounted for 
his inactivity, continued to pour in, she still hoped 
that her intervention in the Netherlands was bending 
Philip to concessions. All this time Parma was 
steadily carrying out his master's plans for the invasion. 
His little army was to be trebled in the autumn by 
reinforcements principally from Italy. In the mean- 
time he was collecting a flotilla of flat-bottomed boats. 
As soon as the Armada should appear they were to 
make the passage under its protection. 

It would answer no useful purpose, even if my limits 
permitted it, to enter into the particulars of Elizabeth's 

CH. x WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 189 

policy towards the United Provinces during the twelve 
months that preceded the appearance of the Armada. 
Her proceedings were often tortuous, and by setting 
them forth in minute detail her detractors have not 
found it difficult to represent them as treacherous. 
But, living three centuries later, what have we to con- 
sider but the general scope and drift of her policy? 
Looking at it as a whole we shall find that, whether 
we approve of it or not, it was simple, consistent, and 
undisguised. She had no intention of abandoning the 
Provinces to Philip, still less* of betraying them. But 
she did wish them to return to their allegiance, if she 
could procure for them proper guarantees for such 
liberties as they had been satisfied with before Philip's 
tyranny began. If Philip had been wise he would 
have made those concessions. Elizabeth is not to be 
over-much blamed if she clung too long to the belief 
that he could be persuaded or compelled to do what 
was so much for his own interest. If she was deceived 
so was Burghley. Walsingham is entitled to the 
credit of having from first to last refused to believe 
that the negotiations were anything but a blind. 

Though Elizabeth desired peace, she did not cease 
to deal blows at Philip. In the spring of 1587 (April- 
June), while she was most earnestly pushing her 
negotiations with Parma, she despatched Drake on a 
new expedition to the Spanish coast. He forced his 
way into the harbours of Cadiz and Corunna, destroyed 
many ships and immense stores, and came back loaded 
with plunder. The Armada had not been crippled, 
for most of the ships that were to compose it were 
lying in the Tagus. But the concentration had been 


delayed. Fresh stores had to be collected. Drake 
calculated, and as it proved rightly, that another 
season at least would be consumed in repairing the 
loss, and that England, for that summer and autumn, 
could rest secure of invasion. 

The delay was most unwelcome to Philip. The 
expense of keeping such a fleet and army on foot 
through the winter would be enormous. Spain was 
maintaining not only the Armada but the army of 
Parma ; for the resources of the Netherlands, which 
had been the true El Dorado of the Spanish monarchy, 
were completely dried up. So impatient was Philip 
usually the slowest of men that he proposed to 
despatch the Armada even in September, and actually 
wrote to Parma that he might expect it at any moment. 
But, as Drake had calculated, September was gone 
before everything was ready. The naval experts pro- 
tested against the rashness of facing the autumnal 
gales, with no friendly harbour on either side of the 
Channel in which to take refuge. Philip then made 
the absurd suggestion that the army from the Nether- 
lands should cross by itself in its flat-bottomed boats. 
But Parma told him that it was absolutely out of the 
question. Four English ships could sink the whole 
flotilla. In the meantime his soldiers, waiting on the 
Dunkirk Downs and exposed to the severities of the 
weather, were dying off like flies. Philip and Elizabeth 
resembled one another in this, that neither of them 
had any personal experience of war either by land or 
sea. For a Queen this was natural. For a King it 
was unnatural, and for an ambitious King unprece- 
dented. They did not understand the proper adap 

x WAR WITH SPAIN: 1587-1603 191 

tation of means to ends. Yet it was necessary to 
obtain their sanction before anything could be done. 
Hence there was much mismanagement on both sides. 
Still England was in no real danger during the 
summer and autumn of 1587, because Philip's prepara- 
tions were not completed ; and before the end of the 
year the English fleet was lying in the Channel. But 
the Queen grudged the expense of keeping the crews 
up to their full complement. The supply of provisions 
and ammunition was also very inadequate. The ex- 
pensiveness of war is generally a sufficient reason for 
not going to war ; but to attempt to do war cheaply 
is always unwise. " Sparing and war," as Effingham 
observed, " have no affinity together." 

Drake strongly urged that, instead of trying to 
guard the Channel, the English fleet should make for 
the coast of Spain, and boldly assail the Armada as 
soon as it put to sea. This was the advice of a man 
who had all the shining qualities of Nelson, and seems 
to have been in no respect his inferior. It' was no 
counsel of desperation. He was confident of success. 
Lord Howard of Effingham, the Admiral, was of the 
same opinion. The negotiations were odious to him. 
For Burghley, who clings to them, he has no more 
reverence than Hamlet had for Polonius. "Since 
England was England," he writes to Walsingham, 
"there was never such a stratagem and mask to 
deceive her as this treaty of peace. I pray God that 
we do not curse for this a long grey beard with a 
white head witless, that will make all the world think 
us heartless. You know whom I mean." 

With the hopes and fears of these sea-heroes, it is 


instructive to compare the forecast of the great soldier 
who was to conduct the invasion. Always obedient 
and devoted to his sovereign, Parma played his part 
in the deceptive negotiations with consummate skill. 
But his own opinion was that it would be wise to 
negotiate in good faith and accept the English terms. 
Though prepared to undertake the invasion, he took 
a very serious view of the risks to be encountered. 
He tells Philip that the English preparations are 
formidable both by laud and sea. Even if the passage 
should be safely accomplished, disembarkation would 
be difficult. His army, reduced by the hardships of 
the winter from 30,000 men, which he had estimated 
as the proper number, to less than 17,000, was dan- 
gerously small for the work expected of it. He would 
have to fight battle after battle, and the further he 
advanced the weaker would bis army become both 
from losses and from the necessity of protecting his 

Parma had carefully informed himself of the pre- 
parations in England. From the beginning of Eliza- 
beth's reign, attention had been paid to the organisa- 
tion, training, and equipment of the militia, and 
especially since the relations with Spain had become 
more hostile. On paper it seems to have amounted 
to 117,000 men. Mobilisation was a local business. 
Sir John Norris drew up the plan of defence. Beacon 
fires did the work of the telegraph. Every man 
knew whither he was to repair when their blaze 
should be seen. The districts to be abandoned, the 
positions to be defended, the bridges to be broken, 
were all marked out. Three armies, calculated to. 

X WAR WITH SPAIN: 1587-1603 193 

amount in the aggregate to 73,000 men, were ordered 
to assemble in July. Whether so many were actually 
mustered is doubtful. But Parma would certainly 
have found himself confronted by forces vastly superior 
in numbers to his own, and would have had, as he 
said, to fight battle after battle. The bow had not 
been entirely abandoned, but the greater part of the 
archers two-thirds in some counties had lately been 
armed with calivers. What was wanting in discipline 
would have been to some extent made up by the 
spontaneous cohesion of a force organised under its 
natural leaders, the nobles and gentry of each locality, 
not a few of whom had seen service abroad. But, 
after all, the greatest element of strength was the free 
spirit of the people. England was, and had long 
been, a nation of freemen. There were a few peers, 
and a great many knights and gentlemen. But there 
was no noble caste, as on the Continent, separated by 
an impassable barrier of birth and privilege from the 
mass of the people. All felt themselves fellow-country- 
men bound together by common sentiments, common 
interests, and mutual respect. 

This spirit of freedom one might almost say of 
equality made itself felt still more in the navy, and 
goes far to account for the cheerful energy and dash 
with which every service was performed. " The 
English officers lived on terms of sympathy with their 
men unknown to the Spaniards, who raised between 
the commander and the commanded absurd barriers 
of rank and blood which forbade to his pride any 
labour but that of fighting. Drake touched the true 
mainspring of English success when he once (in his 



voyage round the world) indignantly rebuked some 
coxcomb gentlemen- ad venturers with, ' I should like 
to see the gentleman that will refuse to set his hand 
to a rope. I must have the gentlemen to hale and 
draw with the mariners.' " l Drake, Hawkins, Fro- 
bisher were all born of humble parents. They rose 
by their own valour and capacity. They had gentle- 
men of birth serving under them. To Howard and 
Cumberland and Seymour they were brothers-in-arms. 
The master of every little trading vessel was fired by 
their example, and hoped to climb as high. 

It is the pleasure of some writers to speak of 
Elizabeth's naval preparations as disgracefully insuf- 
ficient, and to treat the triumphant result as a sort 
of miracle. To their apprehension, indeed, her whole 
reign is one long interference by Providence with the 
ordinary relations of cause and effect. The number 
of royal ships as compared with those of private 
owners in the fleet which met the great Armada 
34 to 161 is represented as discreditably small. 
By Englishmen of that day, it was considered to be 
creditably large. Sir Edward Coke (who was thirty- 
eight at the time of the Armada), writing under 
Charles I., when the royal navy was much larger, 
says : " In the reign of Queen Elizabeth (I being then 
acquainted with this business) there were thirty-three 
[royal ships] besides pinnaces, which so guarded and 
regarded the navigation of the merchants, as they 
had safe vent for their commodities, and trade and 
traffic flourished." 2 

It seems to be overlooked that the royal navy, 

1 Kingsley, Westward Ho. 2 Institutes, Fourth Part, Chap. I. 

x WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 195 

such as it was, was almost the creation of Elizabeth. 
Her father was the first English king who made any 
attempt to keep a standing navy of his own. He 
established the Admiralty and the first royal dock- 
yard. Under Edward and Mary the navy, like 
everything else, went to ruin. Elizabeth's ship-build- 
ing, humble as it seems to us, excited the admiration 
of her subjects, and was regarded as one of the chief 
advances of her reign. The ships, when not in com- 
mission, were kept in the Medway. The Queen 
personally paid the greatest attention to them. They 
were always kept in excellent condition, and could 
be fitted out for sea at very short notice. Economy 
was enforced in this, as in other departments, but 
not at the expense of efficiency. The wages of officers 
and men were very much augmented; but in the 
short periods for which crews were enlisted, and in 
the victualling, there seems to have been unwise parsi- 
mony in 1588. The grumbling of alarmists about 
unpreparedness, apathy, stinginess, and red-tape was 
precisely what it is in our own day. We know that 
some allowance is to be made for it. 

The movements of the Armada were perfectly well 
known in England, and all the dispositions to meet 
it at sea were completed in a leisurely manner. Con- 
ferences were still going on at Ostend between English 
and Spanish commissioners. On the part of Elizabeth 
there was sincerity, but not blind credulity nor any 
disposition to make unworthy concessions. Conferences 
quite as protracted have often been held between belli- 
gerents while hostilities were being actively carried on. 
The large majority of Englishmen were resolved to 


fight to the death against any invader. But, as against 
Spain, there was not that eager pugnacity which a 
war with France always called forth, except, perhaps, 
among the sea-rovers ; and even they would have 
contented themselves, if it had been possible, with 
the unrecognised privateering which had so long given 
them the profits of war with the immunities of peace. 
The rest of the nation respected their Queen for her 
persevering endeavour to find a way of reconciliation 
with an ancient ally, and to limit, in the meantime, 
the area of hostilities. They were confident, and with 
good reason, that she would surrender no important 
interest, and that aggressive designs would be met, 
as they had always been met, more than half-way. 

The story of the great victory is too well known to 
need repetition here. But some comments are necessary. 
It is usual, for one reason or other, to exaggerate the 
disparity of the opposing fleets, and to represent 
England as only saved from impending ruin by the 
extraordinary daring of her seamen, and a series of 
fortunate accidents. The final destruction of the 
Armada, after the pursuit was over, was certainly the 
work of wind and sea. But if we fairly weigh the 
available strength on each side, we shall see that the 
English commanders might from the first feel, as they 
did feel, a reasonable assurance of defeating the invaders. 

Let us first compare the strength of the fleets : 





not stated 











x WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 197 

The Armada carried besides 21,855 soldiers. 1 The 
first thing that strikes us is the immense preponderance 
in tonnage on the part of the Spaniards, and in sailors 
on the part of the English. This really goes far to 
explain the result. Nothing is more certain than that 
the Spanish ships, notwithstanding their superior size, 
were for fighting and sailing purposes very inferior 
to the English. It had always been believed that, 
to withstand the heavy seas of the Atlantic, a ship 
should be constructed like a lofty fortress. The English 
builders were introducing lower and longer hulls and a 
greater spread of canvas. Their crews, as has always 
been the case in our navy, were equally handy as sailors 
and gunners. The Spanish ships were under-manned. 
The soldiers were not accustomed to work the guns, 
and were of no use unless it came to boarding, which 
Howard ordered his captains to avoid. The English 
guns, if fewer than the Spanish, were heavier and 
worked by more practised men. 2 Their balls not only 
cut up the rigging of the Spaniards but tore their 
hulls (which were supposed to be cannon-proof), while 
the English ships were hardly touched. The slaughter 
among the wretched soldiers crowded between decks 
was terrible. Blood was seen pouring out of the lee- 
scuppers. " The English ships," says a Spanish officer, 
"were under such good management that they did 
with them what they pleased." The work was done 
almost entirely by the Queen's ships. "If you had 

1 These figures are taken from Barrow's Life of Drake. 

2 We hear of thirty -three-pounders and even sixty -pounders in the 
Queen's ships. Whereas the Spanish admiral, sending to Parma for 
balls, asks for nothing heavier than ten pounds. 


says Sir William Winter, " the simple service 
done by the merchants and coast ships, you would 
have said we had been little helped by them, other- 
wise than that they did make a show." 

The principal and final battle was fought off Grave- 
lines (TSTT). The Armada therefore did arrive at its 

\ AUg. O / 

destination, but only to show that the general plan of 
the invasion was an impracticable one. The superiority 
in tonnage and number of guns on the morning of that 
day, though not what it had been when the fighting 
began a week before, was still immense, if superiority 
in those particulars had been of any use. But with 
this battle the plan of Philip was finally shattered. 
So far from being in a condition to cover Parma's 
passage, the Spanish admiral was glad to escape as best 
he could from the English pursuit. 

During the eight days' fight, be it observed, the 
Armada had experienced no unfavourable weather or 
other stroke of ill-fortune. The wind had been mostly 
in the west, and not tempestuous. After the last battle, 
when the crippled Spanish ships were drifting upon 
the Dutch shoals, it opportunely shifted, and enabled 
them to escape into the North Sea. 

It would not be easy to find any great naval engage- 
ment in which the victors suffered so little. In the 
last battle, when they came to close quarters, they had 
about sixty killed. During the first seven days their 
loss seems to have been almost nil. One vessel only 
not belonging to the Queen became entangled among 
the enemy, and succumbed. Except the master of this 
vessel not one of the captains was killed from first to 
last. Many men of rank were serving in the fleet. It 

X WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 199 

is not mentioned that one of them was so much as 

Looking at all these facts, we can surely come to 
only one conclusion. Philip's plan was hopeless from 
the first. Barring accidents, the English were bound 
to win. On no other occasion in our history was our 
country so well prepared to meet her enemies. Never 
was her safety from invasion so amply guaranteed. 
The defeat of the Great Armada was the deserved 
and crowning triumph of thirty years of good govern- 
ment at home and wise policy abroad ; of careful pro- 
vision for defence and sober abstinence from adventure 
and aggression. 

Of the land preparations it is impossible to speak 
with equal confidence, as they were never put to the test. 
If the Spaniards had landed, Leicester's militia would 
no doubt have experienced a bloody defeat. London 
might have been taken and plundered. But Parma 
himself never expected to become master of the country 
without the aid of a great Catholic rising. This, we 
may affirm with confidence, would not have taken 
place on even the smallest scale. Overwhelming forces 
would soon have gathered round the Spaniards. They 
would probably have retired to the coast, and there 
fortified some place from which it would have been 
difficult to dislodge them as long as they retained the 
command of the sea. ^ 

Such seems to have been the utmost success which, 
in the most favourable event, could have attended the 
invasion. A great disaster, no doubt, for England, and 
one for which Elizabeth would have been judged by 
history with more severity than justice ; for Englishmen 


have always chosen to risk it, down to our own time. 1 
No government which insisted on making adequate 
provision for the military defence of the country 
would have been tolerated then, or, to all appearance, 
would be tolerated now. We have always trusted to 
our navy. It were to be wished that our naval 
superiority were as assured now as when we defeated 
the Armada. 

The arrangements for feeding the soldiers and 
sailors were very defective. A praiseworthy system 
of control had been introduced to check waste and 
peculation in time of peace. Of course it did not 
easily adapt itself to the exigencies of war. Military 
operations are sure to suffer where a certain, or rather 
uncertain, amount of waste and peculation is not risked. 
We have not forgotten the "horrible and heart-rend- 
ing" sufferings of our army in the Crimea, which, like 
those of Elizabeth's fleet, had to be relieved by private 
effort. In the sixteenth century the lot of the soldier 
and sailor everywhere was want and disease, varied 
at intervals by plunder and excess. Philip's soldiers 
and sailors were worse off than Elizabeth's, though he 
grudged no money for purposes of war. 

Those who profess to be scandalised by the ap- 
pointment of Leicester to the command of the army 
should point out what fitter choice could have been 
mde. He was the only great nobleman with any 
military experience ; and to suppose that any one 

1 The Earl of Sussex, after inspecting the preparations for defence 
in Hampshire towards the end of 1587, writes to the Council that he 
had found nothing ready. The "better sort" said, "We are much 
charged many ways, and when the enemy comes we will provide for 
him ; but he will not come yet." 

x WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 201 

but a great nobleman could have been appointed to 
such a command is to show a profound ignorance of 
the ideas of the time. He had Sir John Norris, a 
really able soldier, as his marshal of the camp. 
After all, no one has alleged that he did not do his 
duty with energy and intelligence. The story that the 
Queen thought of making him her " Lieutenant in the 
government of England and Ireland," but was dis- 
suaded from it by Burghley and Hatton, rests on no 
authority but that of Camden, who is fond of repeating 
spiteful gossip about Leicester. No sensible person 
will believe that she meant to create a sort of Grand 
Vizier. She may have thought of making him what 
we should call " Commander-in-Chief." There would 
be much to say for such a concentration of authority 
while the kingdom was threatened with invasion. 
The title of " Lieutenant " was a purely military one, 
and began to be applied under the Tudors to the 
commanders of the militia in each county. Leicester's 
title for the time was " Lieutenant and Captain-General 
of the Queen's armies and companies." But we find 
him complaining to Walsingham that the patent of 
Hunsdon, the commander of the Midland army, gave 
him independent powers. " I shall have wrong if he 
absolutely command where my patent doth give me 
power. You may easily conceive what absurd dealings 
are likely to fall out if you allow two absolute com- 
manders" (28 July). Camden's story is probably a 
confused echo of this dispute. 

Writers who are loth to admit that the trust, the 
gratitude, the enthusiastic loyalty which Elizabeth in- 
spired were the first and most important cause of the 


great victory, have sought to belittle the grandest 
moment of her life by pointing out that the famous 
speech at Tilbury was made after the battle of Grave- 
lines. But the dispersal of the Armada by the storm 
of August 5th was not yet known in England. Drake, 
writing on the 8th and 10th, thinks that it is gone 
to Denmark to refit, and begs the Queen not to 
diminish any of her forces. The occasion of the speech 
on the 10th seems to have been the arrival of a post 
on that day, while the Queen was at dinner in 
Leicester's tent, with a false alarm that Parma had 
embarked all his forces, and might be expected in 
England immediately. 1 

But the Lieutenant-General had reached the end of 
his career. Three weeks after the Tilbury review he 
died of "a continued fever," at the age of fifty-six. 
He kept Elizabeth's regard to the last, because she 
believed and during the latter part of his life, not 
wrongly in his fidelity and devotion. There is no 
sign that she at any time valued his judgment or 
suffered him to sway her policy, except so far as he 
was the mouthpiece of abler advisers ; nor did she 
ever allow his enmities, violent as they were, to 
prejudice her against any of her other servants. His 
fortune was no doubt much above his deserts, and he 
has paid the usual penalty. There are few personages 
in history about whom so much malicious nonsense 
has been written. 

We cannot help looking on England as placed in a 
quite new position by the defeat of the Armada a 

1 Sir Edward Radcliffe to the Earl of Sussex. Ellis, 2nd Series, 
vol. iii. p. 142. 

x WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 203 

position of security and independence. In truth, what 
was changed was not so much the relative strength of 
England and Spain as the opinion of it held by 
Englishmen and Spaniards, and indeed by all Europe. 
The loss to Philip in mere ships, men, and treasure 
was no doubt considerable. But his inability to 
conquer England was demonstrated rather than caused 
by the destruction of the Armada. Philip himself 
talked loftily about "placing another fleet upon the 
seas." But his subjects began to see that defence, not 
conquest, was now their business and had been for 
some time if they had only known it : 

Cervi, luporum praeda rapacium, 
Sectamur ultro quos opimus 
Fallere et effugere est triumphus. 

Elizabeth's attitude to Philip underwent a marked 
change. Till then she had been unwilling to abandon 
the hope of a peaceful settlement. She had dealt him 
not a few stinging blows, but always with a certain 
restraint and forbearance, because they were meant 
for the purpose of bringing him to reason. Thirty 
years of patience on his part had led her to believe 
that he would never carry retaliation beyond assassina- 
tion plots. At last, in his slow way, he had gathered 
up all his strength and essayed to crush her. Thence- 
forward she was a convert to Drake's doctrine that 
attack was the surest way of defence. She had still 
good reasons for devolving this work as much as 
possible on the private enterprise of her subjects. 
The burden fell on those who asked nothing better 
than to be allowed to bear it. Thus arose that system, 
or rather practice, of leaving national work to be 


executed by private enterprise, which has had so much 
to do with the building up of the British Empire. 
Private gain has been the mainspring of action. 
National defence and aggrandisement have been almost 
incidental results. With Elizabeth herself national 
and private aims could not be dissevered. The nation 
and she had but one purse. She was cheaply defend- 
ing England, and she shared in the plunder. 

The favourite cruising-ground of the English adven- 
turers was off the Azores, where the Spanish treasure 
fleets always halted for fresh water and provisions, on 
their way to Europe. Some of these expeditions were 
on a large scale. But they were not so successful or 
profitable, in proportion to their size, as the smaller 
ventures of Drake and Hawkins earlier in the reign. 
The Spaniards were everywhere on the alert. The 
harbours of the New World, which formerly lay in 
careless security, were put into a state of defence. 
Treasure fleets made their voyages with more caution. 
" Not a grain of gold, silver, or pearl, but what must 
be got through the fire." The day of great prizes was 
gone by. 

Two of these expeditions are distinguished by their 
importance. The first was a joint-stock venture of 
Drake and Norris the foremost sailor and the fore- 
most soldier among Englishmen of that day in the 
year after the great Armada (April 1589). They and 
some private backers found most of the capital. The 
Queen contributed six royal ships and 20,000. This 
fleet carried no less than 11,000 soldiers, for the aim 
was to wrest Portugal from the Spaniard and set up 
Don Antonio, a representative of the dethroned dynasty. 

X WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 205 

Stopping on their way at Corunna, they took the lower 
town, destroyed large stores, and defeated in the field 
a much superior force marching to the relief of the 
place. N orris mined and breached the walls of the 
upper town; but the storming parties having been 
repulsed with great loss, the army re-embarked and 
pursued its voyage. Landing at Penich6, Norris 
marched fifty miles by Vimiero and Torres Vedras, 
names famous afterwards in the military annals of 
England, and on the seventh day arrived before Lisbon. 
But he had no battering train ; for Drake, who had 
brought the fleet round to the mouth of the Tagus, 
judged it dangerous to enter the river. Nor did the 
Portuguese rise, as had been hoped. The army there- 
fore, marching through the suburbs of Lisbon, rejoined 
the fleet at Cascaes, and proceeded toTlYigo. That 
town was burnt, and the surrounding country plundered. 
This was the last exploit of the expedition. Great 
loss and dishonour had been inflicted on Spain ; but no 
less than half of the soldiers and sailors had perished 
by disease ; and the booty, though said to have been 
large, was a disappointment to the survivors. 

The other great expedition was in 1596. The 
capture of Calais in April of that year by the Spaniards, 
had renewed the alarm of invasion, and *it was deter- 
mined to meet the danger at a distance from home. 
A great fleet, with 6000 soldiers on board, commanded 
by Essex and Howard of Efiingham sailed straight to 
Cadiz, the principal port and arsenal of Spain. The 
harbour was forced by the fleet, the town and castle 
stormed by the army, several men-of-war taken or 
destroyed, a large merchant-fleet burnt, together with 


an immense quantity of stores and merchandise ; the 
total value being estimated at twenty millions of ducats. 
This was by far the heaviest blow inflicted by England 
upon Spain during the reign, and was so regarded in 
Europe ; for though the great Armada had been signally 
defeated by the English fleet, its subsequent destruction 
was due to the winds and waves. Essex was vehe- 
mently desirous to hold Cadiz ; but Effingham and the 
Council of War appointed by the Queen would not 
hear of it. The expedition accordingly returned home, 
having effectually relieved England from the fear of 
invasion. The burning of Penzance by four Spanish 
galleys (1595) was not much to set against these great 

One reason for the comparative impunity with which 
the English assailed the unwieldy empire of Philip was 
the insane pursuit of the French crown, to which he 
devoted all his resources after the murder of Henry in. 
In 1598, with one foot in the grave, and no longer able 
to conceal from himself that, with the exception of 
the conquest of Portugal, all the ambitious schemes of 
his life had failed, he was fain to conclude the peace 
of Yervins with Henry IV. Henry was ready to insist 
that England and the United Provinces should be com- 
prehended in the treaty. Philip offered terms which 
Elizabeth would have welcomed ten years earlier. He 
proposed that the whole of the Low Countries should 
be constituted a separate sovereignty under his son- 
in-law the Archduke Albert. The Dutch, who were 
prospering in war as well as in trade, scouted the offer. 
English feeling was divided. There was a war-party 
headed by Essex and Kaleigh, personally bitter enemies, 

x WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 207 

but both athirst for glory, conquest, and empire, believ- 
ing in no right but that of the strongest, greedy for 
wealth, and disdaining the slower, more laborious, and 
more legitimate modes of acquiring it. They were 
tired of campaigning it in France arid the Low 
Countries, where hard knocks and beggarly plunder 
were all that a soldier had to look to. They proposed 
to carry a great English army across the Atlantic, to 
occupy permanently the isthmus of Panama, and from 
that central position to wrestle with the Spaniard for 
the trade and plunder of the New World. The peace 
party held that these ambitious schemes would bring 
no profit except possibly to a few individuals; that 
the treasury would be exhausted and the country 
irritated by taxation and the pressing of soldiers ; that 
to re-establish the old commercial intercourse with 
Spain would be more reputable and attended with 
more solid advantage to the nation at large ; and finally, 
that the English arms would be much better employed 
in a thorough conquest of Ireland. These were the 
views of Burghley ; and they were strongly supported 
by Buckhurst, the best of the younger statesmen who 
now surrounded Elizabeth. 

Elizabeth always encouraged her ministers to speak 
their minds ; but, as Buckhurst said on this occasion, 
"when they have done their extreme duty she wills 
what she wills." She determined to maintain the 
treaty of 1585 with the Dutch; but she took the op- 
portunity of getting it amended in such a way as to 
throw upon them a larger share of the expenses of the 
war, and to provide more definitely for the ultimate 
repayment of her advances. 


We have seen that three years before the Armada 
Elizabeth had lost the French alliance, which had till 
then been the key-stone of her policy. Since then, 
though aware that Henry in. wished her well, and that 
he would thwart the Spanish faction as much as he 
dared, she had not been able to count on him. He 
might at any moment be pushed by Guise into an at- 
tack on England, either with or without the concurrence 
of Spain. The accession, therefore, of Henry iv. afforded 
her great relief. In him she had a sure ally. It is 
true that, like her other allies the Dutch, he was more 
in a condition to require help than to afford it. But 
the more work she provided for Philip in Holland or 
France, the safer England would be. The armies of 
the Holy League might be formidable to Henry ; but 
as long as he could hold them at bay they were not 
dangerous to England. She had never quite got over 
her scruple about helping the Dutch against their 
lawful sovereign. But Henry iv. was the legitimate 
King of France, and she could heartily aid him to put 
down his rebels. From 2000 to 5000 English troops 
were therefore constantly serving in France down to 
the peace of Vervins. 

Philip, in defiance of the Salic law, claimed the 
crown of France for his daughter in right of her mother, 
who was a sister of Henry in. To Brittany he alleged 
that she had a special claim, as being descended from 
Anne of Brittany, which the Bourbons were not. 
Brittany, therefore, he invaded at once by sea. Eliza- 
beth, alarmed by the proximity of this Spanish force, de- 
sired that her troops in France should be employed in 
expelling it, and that they should be vigorously supported 

x WAR WITH SPAIN : 1587-1603 209 

by Henry rv. Henry, on the other hand, was always 
drawing away the English to serve his more pressing 
needs in other parts of France. This brought upon 
him many harsh rebukes and threats from the English 
Queen. But she had, for the first time, met her match. 
He judged, and rightly, that she would not desert him. 
So, with oft-repeated apologies, light promises, and well- 
turned compliments, he just went on doing what suited 
him best, getting all the fighting he could out of the 
English, and airily eluding Elizabeth's repeated de- 
mands for some coast town, which could be held, like 
Brill and Flushing, as a security for her heavy subsidies. 
When Henry was reconciled to the Catholic Church, 
Elizabeth went through the form of expressing surprise 
and regret at a step which she must have long ex- 
pected, and must have felt to be wise (1593). Her 
alliance with Henry was not shaken. It was drawn 
even closer by a new treaty, each sovereign engaging 
not to make peace without the consent of the other. 
This engagement did not prevent Henry from con- 
cluding the separate peace of Vervins five years later, 
when he judged that his interest required it (1598). 
Elizabeth's dissatisfaction was, this time, genuine 
enough. But Henry was no longer her protege", a 
homeless, landless, penniless king, depending on 
English subsidies, roaming over the realm he called his 
own with a few thousands, or sometimes hundreds, of 
undisciplined cavaliers, who gathered and dispersed at 
their own pleasure. He was master of a re-united 
France, and could no longer be either patronised or 
threatened. Elizabeth might expostulate, and declare 
that " if there was such a sin as that against the Holy 


Ghost it must needs be ingratitude : " gratitude was 
a sentiment to which she was as much a stranger as 
Henry. The only difference between them was the 
national one : the Englishwoman preached ; the French- 
man mocked. What made her so sore was that he 
had, so to speak, stolen her policy from her. His 
predecessor had always suspected her and with good 
reason of intending "to draw her neck out of the 
collar" if once she could induce him to undertake a 
joint war. The joint war had at length been under- 
taken by Henry iv., and it was he who had managed 
to slip out of it first, while Elizabeth, who longed for 
peace, was obliged to stand by the Dutch. 

The two sovereigns, however, knew their own 
interests too well to quarrel. Henry gave Elizabeth 
to understand that his designs against Spain had 
undergone no change ; he was only halting for breath ; 
he would help the Dutch underhand just what she 
used to say to Henry in. She had now to deal with 
a French King as sagacious as herself, and a great deal 
more prompt and vigorous in action ; not the man to 
be made a cat's-paw by any one. She had to accept 
him as a partner, if not on her own terms, then on his. 
Both sovereigns were thoroughly veracious in Carlyle's 
sense of the word. That is to say, their policy was 
determined not by passion, or vanity, or sentiment of 
any kind, but by enlightened self-interest, and was 
therefore calculable by those who knew how to cal- 



IT was a boast of Elizabeth that when once her ser- 
vants were chosen she did not lightly displace them. 
Difference of opinion from their mistress, or from one 
another, did not involve resignation or dismissal, 
because, though they were free to speak their minds, 
all had to carry out with fidelity and even zeal, what- 
ever policy the Queen prescribed. This condition they 
accepted ; not only the astute and compliant Burghley, 
but the more eager and opinionated Walsingham ; and 
therefore they had practically a life-tenure of office. 
Soon after the Armada the first generation of them 
began to disappear. Bacon, Sussex, and Bedford were 
already gone. Leicester died in 1588; his brother 
Warwick, and Mildmay in 1589; Walsingham and 
Randolph in 1591 ; Hatton in 1592 ; Grey de Wilton 
in 1593; Knollys and Hunsdon in 1596. Of the 
trusty servants with whom she began her reign, 
Burghley alone remained. The leading men of the 
new generation were Robert Cecil, the Treasurer's 
second son, trained to business under his father's eye, 
and of qualities similar, though inferior ; Nottingham 



(formerly Howard of Effingham), a straightforward 
man of no great ability, but acceptable to the Queen 
for his father's services and his own (and not the less 
so for his fine presence) ; the accomplished Buckhurst ; 
the brilliant Raleigh ; and, younger than the rest, Essex. 
The last was the son of a man much favoured by 
Elizabeth. Leicester was his step-father, Knollys his 
grandfather, Hunsdon his great-uncle, Walsingham 
his father-in-law, Burghley his guardian. Ardent, 
impulsive, presumptuous, a warm friend, a rancorous 
enemy, profuse in expense, lawless in his amours, 
jealous of his equals, brooking no superior, impatient 
of all rule or order that delayed him from leaping at 
once to the highest place, he was possessed with a 
most exaggerated notion of his own capacity, which 
appears to have been only moderate. As the ward of 
Burghley he had been much in the company of his 
future enemy, Robert Cecil, whose sly prim ways were 
most unlike his own. The contrast did him no harm 
with the public, to whom the younger man was a 
Tom Jones and the elder a Blifil. Two vastly abler 
men, Francis Bacon and Raleigh, less advantageously 
placed, but unhampered with any scruples, were busily 
trying to profit by the all-pervading animosity of Ceci 1 
and Essex. 

Belonging, as Essex did by his connections, to the 
inner circle who stood closest to Elizabeth, it was 
natural that she should take an interest in him, and 
give him opportunities for turning his showy qualities 
to account. In 1586 he was sent to the Low Countries 
as general of cavalry under his step-father, Leicester. 
He distinguished himself by his fiery valour in the 

xi DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 213 

expeditions to Spain, and as commander of the English 
army in France, though he does not seem to have had 
any real military talent. But Elizabeth's regard for 
him was soon shaken by his presumptuous and unruly 
behaviour. When he fought a duel with Sir Charles 
Blount because she had conferred some favour on the 
latter, she swore " by God's death it were fitting some 
one should take him down and teach him better 
manners, or there were no rule with him." He 
displeased her by his quarrels with Cecil and Effing- 
ham, and his discontented grumbling. She was highly 
dissatisfied with his management of the Azores ex- 
pedition in 1597. In July 1598, at a meeting of the 
Council, she was provoked by his insolence to strike 
him; and though after three months he obtained his 
pardon, he never regained her favour. 

It was at this time that Burghley died (August 4), 
in his seventy-eighth year. Elizabeth, though she 
could call him " a froward old fool " about a trifling 
matter (March 1596), could not but feel that much 
was changed when she lost the able and faithful 
servant who had worked with her for forty years. 
"She seemeth to take it very grievously, shedding 
of tears and separating herself from all company." 
Buckhurst was the new Treasurer. 

Essex had for some time cast his eyes on Ireland as 
a field where glory and power might be won. There 
can be little doubt that he was already speculating on 
the advantage that the possession of an army might 
give him in any difficulty with his rivals or with the 
Queen herself. Cecil perfidiously advocated his ap- 
pointment to a post which had been the grave of so 


many reputations. The Queen at length consented, 
though reluctantly. Essex was a popular favourite. 
He had managed it is not very clear how to win 
the confidence of both Puritans and Papists. The 
general belief was that, for the first time since she 
had mounted the throne, Elizabeth was afraid of one 
of her subjects. 

During the whole of the reign Ireland had been a 
cause of trouble and anxiety. Elizabeth's treatment 
of that unhappy country was not more creditable or 
successful than that of other English statesmen before 
and after her. There was the same absence of any 
systematic policy steadily carried out, the same weari- 
some and disreputable alternation between bursts of 
savage repression and intervals of pusillanimity, con- 
cession, and neglect. In the competition of the various 
departments of the public service for attention and 
expenditure, Ireland generally came last. All other 
needs had to be served first whether at home or 

In the early years of the reign the chief trouble lay 
in Ulster, then the most purely Celtic part of Ireland, 
and practically untouched by English conquest. Twice, 
in her weariness of the struggle with Shan O'Neill, 
Elizabeth conceded to him something like a sub- 
kingship of Ulster in return for his nominal sub- 
mission. In the end he was beaten, and his head 
was fixed on the walls of Dublin Castle (1566). But 
nothing further was done to anglicise Ulster. During 
the attempt of the Devonshire adventurers to colonise 
South Munster (1569-71), and the consequent re- 
bellion, the northern province remained an unconcerned 

xi DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 215 

spectator. Nor did it join in the great Desmond 
rising (1579-83), which, with the insurrection of the 
Catholic lords of the Pale and the landing of the Pope's 
Italians at Smerwick, was the Irish branch of the 
threefold attack on Elizabeth directed by Gregory xin. 
The attempt of the elder Essex to colonise Antrim 
(1573-75) was a disastrous failure, and Ulster still 
remained practically independent of the Dublin Govern- 

The most successful Deputy of the reign was Perrot 
(1584-87), a valiant soldier and strict ruler, who, after 
long experience in the Irish wars, had come to the con- 
clusion that what Ireland most wanted was justice. 
The native chiefs, released from the constant dread of 
spoliation, and finding that English encroachment was 
repressed as inflexibly as Irish disorder, became quiet 
and friendly. But this system did not suit the domi- 
nant race. The Deputy was accused to the Queen of 
seeking to betray the country to the Irish and the 
Spaniard. Recalled, and put upon his trial for treason, 
he was found guilty on suborned evidence, and 
sentenced to death. It is usually said that his real 
offence was some disrespectful language about the 
Queen, which he confessed. But it seems that she 
forbore to take his life precisely because she would 
not have it thought that she was influenced by personal 

His successor, Fitzwilliam, was a Deputy of the old 
sort greedy, violent, careless of consequences, and 
always acting on the principle that, as against an 
Englishman, a Celt had no rights. The execution of 
MacMahon in Monaghan, and the confiscation of his 


lands on a trivial pretext, alarmed the North. Ulster 
had not been bled white like the rest of Ireland. 
The O'Neills had a nephew of their old hero Shan for 
their chief, who had been brought up at the English 
Court and made Earl of Tyrone by Elizabeth. An 
educated and remarkably able man, he had none of his 
uncle's illusions. He clung to his ancestral rights and 
dignity, but he hoped to preserve them by zealously 
discharging his obligations as a vassal of the Queen. 
He served in the war against Desmond, and exerted 
himself to maintain order in Ulster. But he had no 
mind to sink into the position of a mere dignified 
land-owner like the English nobles; nor indeed, under 
such a Deputy as Fitzwilliam, was he likely to pre- 
serve even his lands if he lost his power. Eather than 
that, he determined to enter into what he knew was 
a most unequal struggle, on the off-chance of pulling 
through by help from Spain. It is clear that he was 
driven into rebellion against his inclination. But 
when he had once drawn the sword he maintained the 
struggle against one Deputy after another with wonder- 
ful tenacity and resource. For the first time in Irish 
history, the rebel forces were disciplined and armed 
like those of the crown, and stood up to them in equal 
numbers on equal terms. At length, in August 1598, 
Tyrone inflicted upon Sir Henry Bagnall near Armagh 
the severest defeat that the English had ever suffered 
in Ireland; slaying 1500 of his men, and capturing all 
his artillery and baggage. Insurrections at once broke 
out all over Ireland. 

This was the situation with which Essex undertook 
to deal. He had loudly blamed other Deputies for 

xi DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 217 

not vigorously attacking Tyrone in his own country. 
Vigour was the one military quality which he himself 
possessed. He went with the title of Lieutenant and 
Governor-General, and with extraordinary powers, at 
the head of 21,000 men such an army as had never 
been sent to Ireland (April 1599). The Queen, 
who trembled at the expense, and did not wish to see 
any of her nobles, least of all Essex, permanently 
established in a great military command, enjoined him 
to push at once into Ulster, a^ he had himself pro- 
posed, and finish the war. Instead of doing this, he 
went south into districts that had been depopulated 
and desolated by the savage warfare of the last thirty 
years. Even here he met with discreditable reverses. 
When he got back to Dublin (July) his army was 
reduced by disease and desertion to less than 5000 
men. Disregarding the Queen's express prohibition, 
he made his friend Southampton General of horse. 
When she censured his bad management, he replied 
with impertinent complaints about the favour she was 
showing to Cecil, Raleigh, and Cobham, and began to 
consult with his friends about carrying selected troops 
over to England to remove them. Rumours of his 
intention to return reached the Queen. "We do 
charge you," she wrote, "as you tender our pleasure, 
that you adventure not to come out of that kingdom." 
He declared that he could not invade Ulster without 
reinforcements. They were sent, and at length he 
marched into Louth (September). There he was met 
by Tyrone, who, in an interview, completely twisted 
him round his finger, and obtained a cessation of arms 
and the promise of concessions amounting to what 


would now be called Home Kule. A few days later, on 
receipt of an angry letter from the Queen forbidding 
him to grant any terms without her permission, he 
deserted his post and hurried to England. The first 
notice Elizabeth received of this astounding piece of 
insubordination was his still more astounding incur- 
sion into her bedroom, all muddy from his ride, before 
she was completely dressed (September 28, 1599). 

Elizabeth seems to have been so much taken aback 
by the Earl's unparalleled presumption, that she did 
not blaze out as might have been expected. She gave 
him audience an hour or two later, and heard what he 
had to say. Probably he adopted an injured tone as 
usual, and inveighed against " that knave Raleigh " 
and " that sycophant Cobham." But his insubordina- 
tion had been gross, and no talking could make it 
anything else. It was more dangerous than Leicester's 
disobedience in 1586, because it came from a vastly 
more dangerous person. The same afternoon the 
Queen referred the matter to the Council. Essex was 
put under arrest, and never saw her again. The more 
she reflected, the more indignant and alarmed she 
became. " By God's son," she said to Harington, " I 
am no Queen ; this man is above me." After a delay 
of nine months, occasioned by his illness, the fallen 
favourite was brought before a special Commission on 
the charge of contempt and disobedience, and sentenced 
to be suspended from his offices and confined to his 
house during the Queen's pleasure (June 1600). In 
a few weeks he was released from arrest, but he could 
not obtain permission to appear at court, though he 
implored it in most abject letters. 

xi DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 219 

There are persons who consider themselves to be 
intolerably wronged and persecuted if they cannot 
have precedence and power over their fellow-citizens. 
Essex was such a person. Instead of being thankful 
that he had escaped the punishment which under 
most sovereigns he would have suffered, he entered 
into criminal plots for coercing, if not overthrowing, 
che Queen. He urged the Scotch King to enforce the 
recognition of his title by arms. He tried to persuade 
Mountjoy, his successor in Ireland, to carry his army 
to Scotland to co-operate with James. These intrigues 
were not known to the Government. But it did not 
escape observation that he was collecting men of the 
sword in the neighbourhood of his house ; that he was 
holding consultations with suspected nobles and gentle- 
men (some of whom were afterwards engaged in the 
Gunpowder Plot); that the Puritan clergy were preach- 
ing and praying for his cause; and that there was 
a certain ferment in the city. Essex was therefore 
summoned to attend before the Council. Instead of 
obeying, he flew to arms, with Lords Southampton, 
Rutland, Sandys, Cromwell, and Monteagle, and about 
300 gentlemen. But the citizens of London did not 
respond to his appeal, and the insurrection was easily 
suppressed, less than a dozen persons being slain on 
both sides (February 8, 1601). A more senseless and 
profligate attempt to overthrow a good government 
it would be difficult to find in history. It was not 
dignified by any semblance of principle, and it would 
sufficiently stamp the character of its author, even if it 
stood alone as an evidence of his vanity, egotism, and 
want of common sense. 


The trial and execution of the principal malefactor 
followed as a matter of course and without delay 
(February 25). It would have been scandalous to 
spare him. Elizabeth had once been fond of him, and 
had no reason to be ashamed of it. To talk of her 
" passion " and her " amorous inclination," as Hume 
and others have done, is revolting and malignant 
nonsense. It is creditable to old age when it can 
take pleasure in the unfolding of bright and promising 
youth. But royal favour was not good for such a man 
as Essex. It developed the worst features in his 
showy but faulty character. As he steadily deterio- 
rated, her regard cooled ; but so much of it remained 
that she tried to amend him by chastisement, "ad 
correctionem" as she said, " non ad ruinam." She had 
long before warned him that, though she had put up 
with much disrespect to her person, he must not touch 
her sceptre, or he would be dealt with according to the 
law of England. She was as good as her word, and, 
though the memory of it was painful to her, there is 
not the smallest evidence that she ever repented of 
having allowed the law to take its course. 1 Only three 
of the accomplices of Essex were punished capitally. 
The five peers, none of them powerful or formidable, 
experienced Elizabeth's accustomed clemency. 

It has been suggested by an admirer of Essex that 
he failed in Ireland . because his " sensitively attuned 
nature " shrank from the systematic desolation and 
starvation afterwards employed by his successor. No 

1 The story of the ring, said to have been intercepted by Lady 
Nottingham, has been shown to be unworthy of belief. See Ranke, 
History of England, vol. i. p. 352 ; transl. 

xi DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 221 

evidence is offered for this suggestion. In a letter to 
the Queen (June 25, 1599) he advocates "burning 
and spoiling the country in all places" which method 
"shall starve the rebels in one year." This course 
Mountjoy carried out. With means far inferior to 
those of Essex, and notwithstanding the landing of 
3000 Spaniards at Kinsale (September 1601), he was 
the first Englishman who completely subdued Ireland. 
Tyrone surrendered a few days before the Queen's 

Little has been said in these pages about parlia- 
mentary proceedings. The real history of the reign 
does not lie there. The country was governed wholly 
by the Queen, with the advice of her Council, and not 
at all by Parliament. In the forty-five years of her 
reign there were only thirteen sessions of Parliament. 
The functions of Parliament were to vote grants of 
money when the ordinary revenues of the crown were 
insufficient, and to make laws. Its right in these 
matters was unquestioned. If the Queen had never 
wanted subsidies or penal laws against her political 
and religious opponents (of other laws she often said 
there were more than enough already), it would never 
have been summoned at all ; nor is there any reason 
to suppose that the country would have complained as 
long as it was governed with prudence and success. 
In fact, to do without Parliaments was distinctly 
popular, because it meant doing without subsidies. 

In the thirty years preceding the Armada the 
sessions of Parliament being nine Elizabeth applied 
for only eight subsidies, and of one of them a portion 
was remitted. By her economy she not only defrayed 


the expenses of government out of the ordinary 
revenue, which, at the end of the reign was about 
300,000 a year, but paid off old debts. It was not till 
the twenty-fourth year of her reign that she discharged 
the last of her father's debts, up to which time she had 
been paying interest on it. Subsequently she even 
accumulated a small reserve, which, as she told Parlia- 
ment, was a most necessary thing if she was not to 
be driven to borrow on sudden emergency. But this 
reserve vanished immediately she became involved in 
the great war with Spain ; and during the last fifteen 
years of her life, although she received twelve sub- 
sidies, she was always in difficulty for money. She had 
to sell crown lands to the value of 372,000. Par- 
liament, which had voted the usual single subsidies 
without complaint, grumbled and pretended poverty 
when she asked for three and even four. 1 Bacon's 
famous outburst (1593) about gentlemen having to 
sell their plate and farmers their brass pots to pay the 
tax, was a piece of claptrap. The nation was, rela- 
tively to former times, rolling in wealth. But the old 
belief had still considerable strength that govern- 
ment being the affair of the King, not of his subjects, 
he should provide for its expenses out of his hereditary 
income, just as they paid their private expenses out of 
their private incomes ; that he had no more claim to 
dip into their pockets than they had to dip into his ; 
and that a subsidy, as its name imports, was an 
occasional and extraordinary assistance furnished as 
a matter not of duty but of good-will. 

1 The increase was not so great as it appears. A subsidy with two 
tenths and fifteenths in the thirteenth year of the reign yielded 
175,000 ; in the forty-third only 134,000. 

xi DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 223 

This might have been healthy doctrine when kings 
were campaigning on the Continent for personal or 
dynastic objects. It was out of place when a large 
expenditure was indispensable for the interests and 
safety of the country. The grumbling, therefore, about 
taxation towards the end of the reign was unreason- 
able and discreditable to the grumblers. The Queen 
met them with her usual good sense. She explained 
to them though, as she correctly said, she was under 
no constitutional obligation to do so how the money 
went, what she had spent on the Spanish war, on 
Ireland, and in loans to the Dutch and the French 
King. The plea was unanswerable. Her private ex- 
penditure was on a very modest scale. In particular 
she had never indulged in that besetting and cosfly sin 
of princes, palace-building ; and this at a time when 
the noble mansions which still testify to the wealth of 
the England of that day were rising in every county. 
Her only extravagance was dress. Some have carped 
at her collection of jewelry. But jewels, like the silver 
balustrades of Frederick William I., were a mode of 
hoarding, and in her later years she reconverted jewels 
into money to meet the expenses of the State. Modern 
writers, who so airily blame her for not subsidising 
more liberally her Scotch, Dutch, and French allies, 
would find it difficult, if they condescended to particu- 
lars, to explain how she was able to give them as much 
money as she did. 

It is common to make much of the debate on 
monopolies in the last Parliament of Elizabeth (1601), 
as showing the rise of a spirit of resistance to the royal 
prerogative. I do not think that the report of that 


debate would convey such an impression to any one 
reading it without preconceived views. None of the 
speakers contested the prerogative. They only com- 
plained that it was being exercised in a way prejudicial 
to the public interest. If the monopolies had been 
unimportant, or if the patentees had used their privilege 
less greedily, there would evidently have been no 
complaint as to the principle involved. No course of 
action was decided on, because the Queen intervened 
by a message in which she stated that she had not 
been aware of the abuses prevailing, that she was as 
indignant at them as Parliament could be, and that 
she would put a stop, not to monopolies, but to such 
as were injurious. With this message the House of 
Commons was more than satisfied. As a matter of fact 
monopolies went on till dealt with by the declaratory 
statute in the twenty-first year of James I. 

If the last Tudor handed down the English Constitu- 
tion to the first Stuart as she had received it from her 
predecessors, unchanged either in theory or practice, it 
was far otherwise with the English Church. There 
are two conflicting views as to the historical position 
of the Church in this country. According to one it 
was, all through the Middle Age, National as well as 
Catholic. The changes which took place at the Refor- 
mation made no difference in that respect, and involved 
no break in its continuity. It is not a Protestant 
Church. It is still National and still Catholic, resting 
on precisely the same foundations, and existing by the 
same title as it did in the days .of Dunstan and Becket. 
According to the other view, the epithets National and 
Catholic are contradictory. A Church which undergoes 

XT DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 225 

radical changes of government, worship, and doctrine 
is no longer the same Church but a new one, and must 
be held to have been established by the authority 
which prescribed these changes, which, in this case, 
was the Queen and Parliament. The word "Protestant" 
was avoided in its formularies to make conformity 
easier for Catholics ; but it is a Protestant Church all 
the same. Whichever of these views is nearer to the 
truth, it cannot be denied that, by the legislation of 
Elizabeth the English Church became what it was 
not in the Middle Age a spiritual organisation en- 
tirely dependent on the State. This it remains still ; 
the supremacy having been virtually transferred from 
the crown to Parliament in the next century. I shall 
not venture to inquire how far this condition of 
dependence has affected its ability and inclination to 
perform the part of a true spiritual power. It is 
enough to say that no act of will on the part of any 
English statesman has had such important and lasting 
consequences, for good or for evil, as the decision of 
Elizabeth to make the Church of England what it is. 

We have seen that the government and worship of 
the Church were established by Act of Parliament in 
1559, and its doctrines in 1571. But when once 
Elizabeth had placed her ecclesiastical powers beyond 
dispute, by obtaining statutory sanction for them, she 
allowed no further interference by Parliament. All its 
attempts, even at mere discussion of ecclesiastical 
matters, she peremptorily suppressed. She supplied 
any further legislation that was needed by virtue of 
her supremacy, and she exercised her ecclesiastical 
government by the Court of High Commission. The 



new Anglican model was acquiesced in by the majority 
of the nation. But it had, at first, no hearty support 
except from the Government. The earnest religion- 
ists were either Catholics or Puritans. The object of 
Elizabeth was to compel these two extreme parties to 
outward conformity of worship. What their real beliefs 
were she did not care. 

The large majority of the Catholics showed a loyal 
and patriotic spirit at the time of the Armada. But 
they were not treated with confidence by the Govern- 
ment. Great numbers of them were imprisoned or 
confined in the houses of Protestant gentlemen, by way 
of precaution, when the Armada was approaching. No 
Catholic, I believe, was intrusted with any command 
either by land or sea ; and after the danger was over, 
the persecution, in all its forms, became sharper than 
ever. There was the less reason for this, inasmuch 
as it was no secret that the secular priests and the 
great majority of the English Catholics had become 
bitterly hostile to the small Jesuitical faction whose 
treasonable conspiracies had brought so much trouble 
on their loyal co-religionists. 

The term " Puritan " is used loosely, though con- 
veniently, to designate several shades of belief. By 
far the larger number of those to whom it is applied 
were, and meant to remain, members of the Established 
Church. They objected to certain ceremonies and 
vestments. They hoped to procure the abolition of 
these, and, in the meantime, evadod them when they 
could. They were what would now be called the 
Evangelical or Low Church party. They held Calvin's 
distinctive doctrines on predestination, as indeed did 

n DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 227 

most of the bishops ; but though preferring his Presby- 
terian organisation, or something like it, they did not 
treat it as essential. They were broadly distinguished 
from the Brownists or Independents, then an insig- 
nificant minority, who held each congregation to be a 
church, and therefore protested against the establish- 
ment of any national church. 

Though Elizabeth persecuted the Catholics with a 
severity steadily increasing in proportion as they be- 
came less numerous and formidable, she remained to 
the last anxious to make conformity easy for them. 
This was her reason for so obstinately refusing the 
concessions in the matter of ritual and vestments 
trifling as they appear to the modern mind which 
would have satisfied almost the whole of the Puritan 
party. This policy (for policy it assuredly was rather 
than conviction), which drove the most earnest Pro- 
testants into an attitude of opposition destined in the 
next two reigns to have such serious consequences, has 
been severely censured. But there can be no question 
that it did answer the purpose she had in view, 
which for the moment was most important. It did 
induce great numbers of Catholics to conform. She 
avoided a civil war in her own time between Catholics 
and Anglicans at the price of a civil war later on 
between Anglicans and Puritans. Looking at the 
great drama as a whole, perhaps the Puritans of the 
Great Eebellion might congratulate themselves on the 
part that Elizabeth chose to play in its earlier acts. 
It cannot be doubted that a civil war in the sixteenth 
century between Catholics and Protestants would have 
been waged with far more ferocity than was displayed 


by either Cavaliers or Koundheads, and would have 
been attended with the horrors of foreign invasion. 
To conciliate the earnest religionists on both sides 
was impossible. Elizabeth chose the via media, and 
the successful equilibrium which she maintained during 
nearly half a century proves that she hit upon what 
in her own day was the true centre of gravity. 

But while doing justice to Elizabeth's insight and 
prudence, we may not excuse her extreme severity to 
the nonconformists of either party. It was not neces- 
sary. It seems to have been even impolitic. It arose 
from her arbitrary temper from a quality, that is to 
say, valuable in a ruler, but apt, in great rulers, to be 
somewhat in excess. I have condemned her persecution 
of the Catholics. Her persecution of the Protestant 
nonconformists was marked by even greater injustice. 
Against the Catholics it might at least be urged that their 
opinions logically led to disloyalty. But the Indepen- 
dents, Barrow, Greenwood, and Penry, were indisputably 
loyal men. They were put to death nominally for 
spreading writings which, contrary to common sense, 
were held to be seditious, but really for their religious 
opinions, which, in the case of the first two, were 
extracted from them by the interrogatories of Arch- 
bishop Whitgift, an Inquisitor as strenuous and 
merciless as Torquemada. Some of the Council, espe- 
cially Burghley and Knollys, were strongly opposed to 
Whitgift's proceedings. It must therefore be assumed 
that he had the Queen's personal approval. She had 
committed herself to a struggle with intrepid and 
obstinate men. The crowded gaols were a visible 
demonstration that she could not compel them to 

xi DOMESTIC AFFAIRS : 1588-1601 229 

submit ; and to hang them all was out of the question. 
An Act was therefore passed in 1593, by which those 
who would not promise to attend church were to be 
banished the country. Thus most of the Independents 
were at last got rid of. The non-separatist Puritans, 
who aimed at less radical changes, and hoped to effect 
them, if not under their present sovereign, yet under 
her successor, kept on the windy side of the law, 
attending church once a month, and not entering till 
the service was nearly over. Thus, at the end of her 
reign, Elizabeth perhaps flattered herself that she was 
within measurable distance of religious uniformity. 


LAST YEARS AND DEATH : 1601-1603, 

THE death of Mary Stuart did something to simplify 
parties in Scotland; and, if her son had possessed 
the qualities of a ruler, he would have had a better 
chance of reducing his kingdom to order than any 
of his predecessors, because a middle class was at 
length rising into importance. As far as knowledge 
and discernment went, he was an able politician, and 
on several occasions he showed not only skill in his 
combinations, but what he is not generally credited 
with by those who study only his career in England 
considerable energy and courage. But he was 
wanting in perseverance, and a slave to idle pleasures. 
He had always some favourite upon whom he lavished 
any money that came into his hands. What was 
needed in his own interest and that of his country 
was that he should exercise rigid economy, develop 
all the forces that made for order, ally himself with 
the burghs and lower barons, cultivate good relations 
with the Kirk, industriously attend to all the details 
of government, and seize every opportunity to humble 
the great nobles of whatever party or creed. Instead 


OH. xii LAST YEARS AND DEATH : 1601-1603 231 

of this, he tried to maintain himself by balancing 
rival parties, and employing one nobleman to execute 
his vengeance on another. Instead of honestly and 
zealously seconding the policy of Elizabeth, and so 
deserving her confidence and support, which would 
have been of the utmost value to him, he tried to 
levy blackmail on her by coquetting with Spain and 
the Catholics. 

Elizabeth is accused of deliberately encouraging 
Scottish factions in order to keep the northern king- 
dom weak. She certainly supported Stewart, Earl of 
Bothwell, a turbulent and unprincipled man, while 
he was the antagonist of the Catholic nobles who 
were inviting the Spaniard. But it is plain that she 
desired nothing so much as to see James crush all 
aristocratic disorder, and make himself master of his 
kingdom. Her exhortations to him on this subject 
are full of wisdom, and expressed in most stirring lan- 
guage. But they only produced petitions for money. 
Notwithstanding her own difficulties, she long allowed 
him 3000 a year, which, in 1600, was increased to 
6000. But ten times that amount would have done 
him no good, because he would immediately have 
squandered it. 

As Elizabeth grew old, James naturally became 
absorbed in the prospect of his succession to the 
English crown. All Scotchmen shared his eagerness. 
In England, feeling was almost unanimous in his 
favour, though some of the Catholics continued to 
talk of the Infanta or Arabella Stuart the niece of 
Darnley. By teasing Elizabeth to recognise his title, 
intriguing with her courtiers, and calling on his own 


subjects to furnish him with the means of asserting 
his rights, James irritated the English Queen. But 
she had always intended that he should succeed her, 
and she did nothing to prejudice his claim. 

The two leading men at the English court Cecil 
and Raleigh who had been united in their hostility 
to Essex, were now secretly competing for the favour 
of James. Each warned the Scottish King against 
the other, and represented himself as the only trust- 
worthy adviser. Cecil, from his confidential relations 
with the Queen, had the most difficult game to play, 
and it was not till her health was evidently failing 
that he ventured to open private communications with 
James. Even then he did not dare to correspond 
with him directly, but it was understood that every- 
thing written by Lord Henry Howard (brother of 
the last Duke of Norfolk) was to be taken as written 
by Cecil. To make up for his previous backwardness, 
he lent James 10,000 a pledge of fidelity which it 
was out of his rival's power to emulate. 

The long career of Elizabeth was now drawing to 
its close. Her sun might seem to be going down in 
calm splendour. She had triumphed over all her 
enemies. She might say with Virgil's" heroine 

" Vixi, et quern dederat cursum fortuna, peregi ; 
Et mine magna mei sub terras ibit imago." 

The mighty Philip had gone to his grave five years 
before her (1598), a beaten man, having failed in 
Holland, failed in France, failed against England. 
Of the three great champions who withstood him, 
Elizabeth, if not the most distinguished by high 

xn LAST YEARS AND DEATH : 1601-1603 233 

qualities, had yet, perhaps, the largest share in saving 
Europe from the retrograde tyranny which menaced it. 
The glorious resistance of William of Orange covered 
only sixteen years (1568-84). That of Henry IV. 
can hardly be said to have had any European import- 
ance before his accession to the French throne, from 
which date to the peace of Vervins and the death 
of Philip is a period of nine years (1589-98). But 
the whole of Elizabeth's long reign was spent in 
abating the power of Spain. It was the persistent, 
never-relaxing pressure from an unassailable enemy 
which wore out Philip, as it afterwards wore out 
Bonaparte. Elizabeth had found England weak and 
distracted : she was leaving it united and powerful. 
Nor was she of those to whom their due meed of 
praise is denied during life, and accorded only by the 
tardy justice of posterity. Her wisdom and courage 
were the admiration not of her own people alone, 
but of all Europe. " Her very enemies," says a 
French historian, "proclaimed her the most glorious 
and fortunate of all women who ever wore a crown." 
From the point of view of public life, little or nothing 
was wanting so Bacon thought to fill up the full 
measure of her felicity. 

Yet it seems that the last months of her life were 
clouded by melancholy, and deformed by a querulous 
ill-temper. Some have suggested that she suffered 
from remorse for her severity to Essex; others that 
she felt herself out of sympathy with the Puritan 
tendencies of the time. It is not necessary to resort 
to these unfounded or far-fetched suppositions to 
account for her gloom. If we turn from her public 


to her private life, what situation could be more 
profoundly pitiable] Honour and obedience, indeed, 
still surrounded her. But that which also should 
accompany old age, love and troops of friends, she 
might not look to have. Near relations she had none. 
Alone she had chosen to live, and alone she must 
die. As her time approached, she was haunted by 
the consciousness that, among all those who treated 
her with so much reverence, there was not one who 
had any reason to be attached to her or to care that 
her life should be prolonged. Those who have not 
loved when they were young must not expect to find 
love when they are old. While health and strength 
remained, she had tasted the satisfaction of living 
her own life and playing the great game of politics, 
for which she was exceptionally gifted. But to a 
woman who has passed through life without knowing 
what it is to love or be loved, who has no memory 
of even an unrequited affection to feed on, who has 
never shared a husband's joys and sorrows, never 
borne the sweet burden of maternity, never suckled 
babe or rocked cradle, who must finish her journey 
alone, sitting in the solemn twilight before the last 
dark hour uncared for and uncaring, without the 
cheer of children or the varied interests that gather 
round the family to such a one, what avails it that 
she has tasted the excitement of public life, that she 
has borne a share in politics or business what even 
that her aims have been high or that she has done 
the State some service, if she has renounced the crown 
of womanhood, and turned from their appointed use 
those numbered years within which the female heart 

i LAST YEARS AND DEATH: 1601-1603 235 

can find present joy and lay up store of calm satis- 
faction for declining age 1 

Elizabeth had always enjoyed good health, thanks 
to her " exact temperance both as to wine and diet, 
which, she used to say, was the noblest part of 
physic," and her active habits. In capacity for re- 
sisting bodily fatigue and freedom from nervous 
ailments, she was like a man. It was not till the 
beginning of 1602 that those about her noticed any 
signs of failing strength. She still went on hunting 
and dancing. In dancing she excelled, and she kept 
it up for exercise, as many an old man keeps up his 
skating or tennis without being exposed to ill-natured 
remarks. In December 1602 her godson Harington, 
an amusing person, whose company she enjoyed, found 
her " in most pitiable state," both in body and mind. 
" She held in her hand a golden cup which she often 
put to her lips; but in sooth her heart seemeth too 
full to lack more filling." He read her some verses 
he had written, "whereat she smiled once," but said, 
"When thou dost feel creeping Time at thy gate, 
these fooleries will please thee less. I am past my 
relish for such matters. Thou seest my bodily meat 
doth not suit me well. I have eaten but one ill- 
tasted cake since yesternight." Harington hastened 
to send a present to the King of Scots, with the in- 
scription, " Domine memento mei cum veneris in regnum" 

In the same month Eobert Carey, son of her cousin 
Lord Hunsdon, visited her, and professed to think 
her looking well. " No, Robin," she said, " I am 
not well," and then "discoursed of her indisposition, 
and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten 


or twelve days, and in her discourse she fetched 
not so few as forty or fifty great sighs. . . . Here- 
upon I wrote to the King of Scots." 1 Her melancholy 
was not caused by any weakening of her mind. A 
long letter to James, dated January 5, 1603, though 
hardly legible, is very vigorous and characteristic. 

At the beginning of March 1603 she became much 
worse. There was some disease of the throat, attended 
with swelling and a distressing formation of phlegm, 
which made speaking difficult. The only relatives 
about her were Eobert Carey and his sister Lady 
Scrope, watching keenly that they might be the first 
to inform James of her death. She could not be 
brought by any of her Council to take food or go to 
bed. When in bed she had been troubled by a visual 
illusion; "she saw her body exceedingly lean and 
fearful in a light of fire." At last Nottingham, the 
Admiral, who was mourning the recent death of his 
wife, was sent for. He was a second cousin of Anne 
Boleyn, and was the one person to whom the dying 
Queen seemed to cling with some trust. He induced 
her to take some broth. "For any of the rest," says 
her maid-of-honour, Mistress Southwell, "she would 
not answer them to any question, but said softly to my 
Lord Admiral's earnest persuasions that if he knew 
what she had seen in her bed he would not persuade 

1 Elizabeth made large use of the courage and fidelity of her kins- 
men on the Boleyn side, but she did little to advance them either 
in rank or wealth. Hunsdon had set his heart on regaining the Boleyn 
Earldom of Wiltshire. When he was dying, Elizabeth brought the 
patent and robes of an earl, and laid them on his bed ; but the choleric 
old man replied, " Madam, seeing you counted me not worthy of this 
honour while I was living, I count myself unworthy of it now I am 

xn LAST YEARS AND DEATH : 1601-1603 237 

ner as he did. And Secretary Cecil, overhearing her, 
asked if her Majesty had seen any spirits; to which 
she said she scorned to answer him so idle a question. 
Then he told her how, to content the people, her 
Majesty must go to bed. To which she smiled, wonder- 
fully contemning him, saying that the word must was 
not to be used to princes ; and thereupon said, ' Little 
man, little man, if your father had lived ye [he ?] durst 
not have said so much : but thou knowest I must die, 
and that maketh thee so presumptuous.' And presently 
commanding him and the rest to depart her chamber, 
willed my Lord Admiral to stay ; to whom she shook 
her head, and with a pitiful voice said, * My Lord, I am 
tied with a chain of iron about my neck.' He alleging 
her wonted courage to her, she replied, ' I am tied, and 
the case is altered with me.'" At last, "what by fair 
means," says Carey, " what by force, he got her to bed." 
It was perfectly understood that she meant James 
to be her successor. The Admiral now told his 
colleagues that she had confided her intention to him 
just before her illness took a serious turn. Two years 
before, in conversation with Eosni, the minister of 
Henry iv., she had spoken of the approaching union of 
the Scotch and English crowns as a matter of course. 
But it was not till a few hours before her death that 
her councillors ventured to question her on the subject. 
They gave out that she indicated James by a sign ; 
and this is also asserted by Carey, who, however, does 
not seem to have been present, though probably hia 
sister was. Mistress Southwell seems to write as an 
eye-witness, but betrays a Catholic bias, which may 
cast some doubt on her testimony. " The Council sent 


to her the bishop of Canterbury and other of the 
prelates, upon sight of whom she was much offended, 
cholericly rating them, bidding them be packing, saying 
she was no atheist, but knew full well they were hedge- 
priests, and took it for an indignity that they should 
speak to her. Now being given over by all, and at the 
last gasp, keeping still her sense in everything and 
giving ever when she spoke apt answers, though she 
spake very seldom, having then a sore throat, she 
desired to wash it, that she might answer more freely 
to what the Council demanded ; which was to know 
whom she would have king ; but they, seeing her throat 
troubled her so much, desired her to hold up her finger 
when they named whom liked her. Whereupon they 
named the king of France, the king of Scotland, at 
which she never stirred. They named my lord 
Beauchamp, 1 whereto she said, ' I will have no rascal's 
son in my seat, but one worthy to be a king/ Here- 
upon instantly she died." (March 23, afternoon.) 

It is certain, however, that she lived several hours 
after this characteristic outburst. Carey says that at 
six o'clock in the evening he went into her room with 
the Archbishop ; that, though speechless, she showed by 
signs that she followed his prayers, and twice desired 
him to remain when he was going away. She died in 
the early hours of Thursday, March 24. 

There have been many greater statesmen than 
Elizabeth. She was far from being an admirable type 
of womanhood. She does not, in my opinion, stand 
first even among female sovereigns, for I should put 

* Son of Catherine Grey by the Earl of Hertford. "Kascal" at 
that time meant a person of low birth. 

ill LAST YEARS AND DEATH : 1601-1603 239 

that able ruler and perfect woman, Isabella of Castile, 
above her. I admit, however, that such comparisons 
are -apt to be unjust. Few rulers have had to contend 
with such formidable and complicated difficulties as 
the English Queen. Few have surmounted them so 
triumphantly. This is the criterion, and the sufficient 
criterion, which determines the judgment of practical 
men. Research, if applied with fairness and common 
sense, may perhaps modify, it can never set aside, the 
popular verdict. There are writers who have made 
the discovery that Elizabeth was a very poor ruler, 
selfish and wayward, shortsighted, easily duped, faint- 
hearted, rash, miserly, wasteful, and swayed by the 
pettiest impulses of vanity, spite, and personal inclina- 
tion. They have not explained, and never will, how 
it was that a woman with all these disqualifications for 
government should have ruled England with signal 
success for forty-four years. Statesmen are indebted to 
good luck occasionally, like other people. But when 
this explanation is offered again and again with dull 
regularity, we are compelled to say, with one who had 
at once the best opportunity and the highest capacity 
for estimating the greatness of Elizabeth : " It is not 
to closet penmen that we are to look for guidance in 
such a case ; for men of that order being keen in style, 
poor in judgment, and partial in feeling, are no faith- 
ful witnesses as to the real passages of business. It is 
for ministers and great officers to judge of these things, 
and those who have handled the helm of government 
and been acquainted with the difficulties and mysteries 
of State business." l 

1 Bacon, Infdicem memoriam Mizabethce. 


The judgment of those who have handled the helm 
of government is to be found in the words of her 
contemporary, the great Henry "She was my other 
self : " and of a greater still in the next generation 
" Queen Elizabeth of famous memory ; we need not be 
ashamed to call her so ! " l 

1 Carlyle, Letters and Speeches yf Oliver Cromwell, Speech v. 













25 Jan. 155| 

8 May 1559 



12 Jan. 156f 

10 April 1563 

2nd' L 
Sess. 1 


30 Sep. 1566 

30 Dec. 1566 

2 Jan. 156? 



2 April 1571 

29 May 1571 



8 May 1572 

30 June 1572 


2nd }- 


8 Feb. 157* 

15 Mar. 157$ 


3rd* [ 

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16 Jan. 158$ 

18 Mar. 158$ 

19 April 1583 

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23 Nov. 1584* 

29 Mar. 1585 

14 Sep. 1586 





VI. \ 


15 Oct. 1586* 

29 Oct. 1586 

23 Mar. 158? 





4 Feb. 158f 

29 Mar. 1589 



19 Feb. 159| 
24 Oct. 1597* 

10 April 1593 
9 Feb. 159 



27 Oct. 1601 

19 Dec. 1601 

Adjourned over Christmas Vacation. 


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Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty, 
at the Edinburgh University Press 

twelve lEnaltsto Statesmen. 


Crown 8uo. 2s. 6d. each. 

D.C.L., LL.D. 

Times. 'Gives with great picturesqueness . . . the dramatic incidents of a 
memorable career far removed from our times and our manner of thinking.' 


Times. ' It is delightfully real and readable, and in spite of severe compression 
has the charm of a mediaeval romance.' 

EDWARD I. By T. F. TOUT, M.A., Professor of History, the Owens 

College, Manchester. 

Speaker. 'A truer or more life-like picture of the king, the conqueror, the over- 
lord, the duke, has never yet been drawn.' 


Athenaeum. ' The best account of Henry vn. that has yet appeared.' 

Saturday Review. ' Is exactly what one of a series of short biographies of 
English Statesmen ought to be." 


Manchester Guardian. ' It may be recommended as the best and briefest and 
most trustworthy of the many books that in this generation have dealt with the life 
and deeds of that " bright Occidental Star, Queen Elizabeth of happy memory."' 


Times. ' Gives a wonderfully vivid picture of events.' 

Spectator. ' Mr. Traill has done his work well in the limited space at his com- 
mand. The narrative portion is clear and vivacious, and his criticisms, although 
sometimes trenchant, are substantially just.' 


St. James's Gazette. ' It deserves to be read, not only as a work of one of the 
most prominent politicians of the day, but for its intrinsic merits. It is a clever, 
thoughtful, and interesting biography." 


Times. ' Brilliant and fascinating. . . . The style is terse, masculine, nervous, 
articulate, and clear ; the grasp of circumstance and character is firm, penetrating, 
luminous, and unprejudiced ; the judgment is broad, generous, humane, and scrupu- 
loufcly candid. . . . It is not only a luminous estimate of Pitt's character and policy, 
it is also a brilliant gallery of portraits. The portrait of Fox, for example, is a 


Daily News. 'A model of what such a book should be. We can give it no 
higher praise than to say that it is worthy to rank with Mr. John Morley's Walpole 
in the same series.' 



JL O J U 1 

(TDen of action. 

With Portraits. Crown 8uo, Cloth. 2s. 6d. each. 

Saturday Review. 'The obligation laid upon him to be brief, and his own 
anxiety to leave untold nothing of first-rate importance, have combined to give us 
an almost ideal short life of Nelson. ' 


Times. ' It appears to us to be very well done. The narrative is easy, the facts 
have been mastered and well marshalled, and Mr. Bradley is excellent both in his 
geographical and in his biographical details." 


Times. 'A vigorous sketch of a great soldier, a fine character, and a noble 
career. . . . Mr. Forbes writes with a practised and lively pen, and his experience of 
warfare in many lands stands him in good stead in describing Lord Clyde's services 
and campaigns.' 


Spectator. 'This is beyond all question the best of the narratives of the career 
of General Gordon that have yet been published." 

Scotsman. 'No page lacks interest ; and whether the book is regarded as a 
biographical sketch or as a chapter in English military history it is equally attractive." 


Spectator. ' The volume is an excellent instance of miniature biography. 

Leeds Mercury. 'A lucid, temperate, and impressive summary." 

Scotsman. ' The story of the great Duke's life is admirably told by Mr. Hooper.' 


Athenaeum. ' Mr. Clark Russell's practical knowledge of the sea enables him 
to discuss the seafaring life of two centuries ago with intelligence and vigour. As a 
commentary on Dampier's voyages this little book is among the best." 


Saturday Review. ' Mr. Corbett indeed gives you the real man.' 


Athenaeum. 'A clear and accurate summary of Strafford's life, especially as 
regards his Irish government." 

Daily News. ' May be pronounced without hesitation as the final and decisive 
verdict of history on the conduct and career of Hastings." 

Saturday Review. 'An excellent piece of work." 


Scottish Leader. 'It is simply the best and most readable account of the 
great navigator yet published. 1 

Speaker. 'There is no lack of good writing in this book, and the narrative is 
sympathetic as well as spirited." 


Times. ' Sir Charles Wilson, whose literary skill is unquestionable, does ample 
justice to a great and congenial theme." 


Daily News. 'The "English Men of Action" series contains no volume more 
fascinating, both in matter and in style.' 

Glasgow Herald. ' One of the best and most discerning word-pictures of the 
Wars of the Two Roses to be found in the whole range of English literature." 


Scottish Leader. 'Perhaps the most fascinating of all the fifteen that have so far 
appeared. . . . Written really with excellent judgment, in a breezy and buoyant style." 

Spectator. ' An admirable contribution to an admirable series.' 


Times. 'A singularly vivid and careful picture of one of the most romantic 
figures in Scottish history." 


Daily News. ' There are many excellent volumes in the " English Men of 
Action" Series ; but none better written or more interesting than this." 



DA 357 .841 1906 SMC 
Beesly, Edward Spencer, 
Queen Elizabeth 47090950