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Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1586-89 — Complete
Author: Motley, John Lothrop, 1814-1877
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands, 1586-89 — Complete" ***

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HISTORY OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS From the Death of William the Silent to
the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

Volume II.

By John Lothrop Motley

History of the United Netherlands, 1586


   Military Plans in the Netherlands--The Elector and Electorate of
   Cologne--Martin Schenk--His Career before serving the States--
   Franeker University founded--Parma attempts Grave--Battle on the
   Meuse--Success and Vainglory of Leicester--St. George's Day
   triumphantly kept at Utrecht--Parma not so much appalled as it was
   thought--He besieges and reduces Grave--And is Master of the Meuse--
   Leicester's Rage at the Surrender of Grave--His Revenge--Parma on
   the Rhine--He besieges aid assaults Neusz--Horrible Fate of the
   Garrison and City--Which Leicester was unable to relieve--Asel
   surprised by Maurice and Sidney--The Zeeland Regiment given to
   Sidney--Condition of the Irish and English Troops--Leicester takes
   the Field--He reduces Doesburg--He lays siege to Zutphen--Which
   Parma prepares to relieve--The English intercept the Convoy--Battle
   of Warnsfeld--Sir Philip Sidney wounded--Results of the Encounter--
   Death of Sidney at Arnheim--Gallantry of Edward Stanley.

Five great rivers hold the Netherland territory in their coils. Three are
but slightly separated--the Yssel, Waal, and ancient Rhine, while the
Scheldt and, Meuse are spread more widely asunder. Along each of these
streams were various fortified cities, the possession of which, in those
days, when modern fortification was in its infancy, implied the control
of the surrounding country. The lower part of all the rivers, where they
mingled with the sea and became wide estuaries, belonged to the Republic,
for the coasts and the ocean were in the hands of the Hollanders and
English. Above, the various strong places were alternately in the hands
of the Spaniards and of the patriots. Thus Antwerp, with the other
Scheldt cities, had fallen into Parma's power, but Flushing, which
controlled them all, was held by Philip Sidney for the Queen and States.
On the Meuse, Maastricht and Roermond were Spanish, but Yenloo, Grave,
Meghem, and other towns, held for the commonwealth. On the Waal, the town
of Nymegen had, through the dexterity of Martin Schenk, been recently
transferred to the royalists, while the rest of that river's course was
true to the republic. The Rhine, strictly so called, from its entrance
into Netherland, belonged to the rebels. Upon its elder branch, the
Yssel, Zutphen was in Parma's hands, while, a little below, Deventer had
been recently and adroitly saved by Leicester and Count Meurs from
falling into the same dangerous grasp.

Thus the triple Rhine, after it had crossed the German frontier, belonged
mainly, although not exclusively, to the States. But on the edge of the
Batavian territory, the ancient river, just before dividing itself into
its three branches, flowed through a debatable country which was even
more desolate and forlorn, if possible, than the land of the obedient

This unfortunate district was the archi-episcopal electorate of Cologne.
The city of Cologne itself, Neusz, and Rheinberg, on the river, Werll and
other places in Westphalia and the whole country around, were endangered,
invaded, ravaged, and the inhabitants plundered, murdered, and subjected
to every imaginable outrage, by rival bands of highwaymen, enlisted in
the support of the two rival bishops--beggars, outcasts, but high-born
and learned churchmen both--who disputed the electorate.

At the commencement of the year a portion of the bishopric was still in
the control of the deposed Protestant elector Gebhard Truchsess, assisted
of course by the English and the States. The city of Cologne was held by
the Catholic elector, Ernest of Bavaria, bishop of Liege; but Neusz and
Rheinberg were in the hands of the Dutch republic.

The military operations of the year were, accordingly, along the Meuse,
where the main object of Parma was to wrest Grave From the Netherlands;
along the Waal, where, on the other hand, the patriots wished to recover
Nymegen; on the Yssel, where they desired to obtain the possession of
Zutphen; and in the Cologne electorate, where the Spaniards meant, if
possible, to transfer Neusz and Rheinberg from Truchsess to Elector
Ernest. To clear the course of these streams, and especially to set free
that debatable portion of the river-territory which hemmed him in from
neutral Germany, and cut off the supplies from his starving troops, was
the immediate design of Alexander Farnese.

Nothing could be more desolate than the condition of the electorate. Ever
since Gebhard Truchsess had renounced the communion of the Catholic
Church for the love of Agnes Mansfeld, and so gained a wife and lost his
principality, he had been a dependant upon the impoverished Nassaus, or a
supplicant for alms to the thrifty Elizabeth. The Queen was frequently
implored by Leicester, without much effect, to send the ex-elector a few
hundred pounds to keep him from starving, as "he had not one groat to
live upon," and, a little later, he was employed as a go-between, and
almost a spy, by the Earl, in his quarrels with the patrician party
rapidly forming against him in the States.

At Godesberg--the romantic ruins of which stronghold the traveller still
regards with interest, placed as it is in the midst of that enchanting
region where Drachenfels looks down on the crumbling tower of Roland and
the convent of Nonnenwerth--the unfortunate Gebhard had sustained a
conclusive defeat. A small, melancholy man, accomplished, religious,
learned, "very poor but very wise," comely, but of mean stature,
altogether an unlucky and forlorn individual, he was not, after all, in
very much inferior plight to that in which his rival, the Bavarian
bishop, had found himself. Prince Ernest, archbishop of Liege and
Cologne, a hangeron of his brother, who sought to shake him off, and a
stipendiary of Philip, who was a worse paymaster than Elizabeth, had a
sorry life of it, notwithstanding his nominal possession of the see. He
was forced to go, disguised and in secret, to the Prince of Parma at
Brussels, to ask for assistance, and to mention, with lacrymose
vehemence, that both his brother and himself had determined to renounce
the episcopate, unless the forces of the Spanish King could be employed
to recover the cities on the Rhine. If Neusz and Rheinberg were not
wrested from the rebels; Cologne itself would soon be gone. Ernest
represented most eloquently to Alexander, that if the protestant
archbishop were reinstated in the ancient see, it would be a most
perilous result for the ancient church throughout all northern Europe.
Parma kept the wandering prelate for a few days in his palace in
Brussels, and then dismissed him, disguised and on foot, in the dusk of
the evening, through the park-gate. He encouraged him with hopes of
assistance, he represented to his sovereign the importance of preserving
the Rhenish territory to Bishop Ernest and to Catholicism, but hinted
that the declared intention of the Bavarian to resign the dignity, was
probably a trick, because the archi-episcopate was no such very bad thing
after all.

The archi-episcopate might be no very bad thing, but it was a most
uncomfortable place of residence, at the moment, for prince or peasant.
Overrun by hordes of brigands, and crushed almost out of existence by
that most deadly of all systems of taxations, the 'brandschatzung,' it
was fast becoming a mere den of thieves. The 'brandschatzung' had no name
in English, but it was the well-known impost, levied by roving
commanders, and even by respectable generals of all nations. A hamlet,
cluster of farm-houses, country district, or wealthy city, in order to
escape being burned and ravaged, as the penalty of having fallen into a
conqueror's hands, paid a heavy sum of ready money on the nail at command
of the conqueror. The free companions of the sixteenth century drove a
lucrative business in this particular branch of industry; and when to
this was added the more direct profits derived from actual plunder, sack,
and ransoming, it was natural that a large fortune was often the result
to the thrifty and persevering commander of free lances.

Of all the professors of this comprehensive art, the terrible Martin
Schenk was preeminent; and he was now ravaging the Cologne territory,
having recently passed again to the service of the States. Immediately
connected with the chief military events of the period which now occupies
us, he was also the very archetype of the marauders whose existence was
characteristic of the epoch. Born in 1549 of an ancient and noble family
of Gelderland, Martin Schenk had inherited no property but a sword.
Serving for a brief term as page to the Seigneur of Ysselstein, he
joined, while yet a youth, the banner of William of Orange, at the head
of two men-at-arms. The humble knight-errant, with his brace of squires,
was received with courtesy by the Prince and the Estates, but he soon
quarrelled with his patrons. There was a castle of Blyenbeek, belonging
to his cousin, which he chose to consider his rightful property, because
he was of the same race, and because it was a convenient and productive
estate and residence, The courts had different views of public law, and
supported the ousted cousin. Martin shut himself up in the castle, and
having recently committed a rather discreditable homicide, which still
further increased his unpopularity with the patriots, he made overtures
to Parma. Alexander was glad to enlist so bold a soldier on his side, and
assisted Schenk in his besieged stronghold. For years afterwards, his
services under the King's banner were most brilliant, and he rose to the
highest military command, while his coffers, meantime, were rapidly
filling with the results of his robberies and 'brandschatzungs.' "'Tis a
most courageous fellow," said Parma, "but rather a desperate highwayman
than a valiant soldier."  Martin's couple of lances had expanded into a
corps of free companions, the most truculent, the most obedient, the most
rapacious in Christendom. Never were freebooters more formidable to the
world at large, or more docile to their chief, than were the followers of
General Schenk. Never was a more finished captain of highwaymen. He was a
man who was never sober, yet who never smiled. His habitual intoxication
seemed only to increase both his audacity and his taciturnity, without
disturbing his reason. He was incapable of fear, of fatigue, of remorse.
He could remain for days and nights without dismounting-eating, drinking,
and sleeping in the saddle; so that to this terrible centaur his horse
seemed actually a part of himself. His soldiers followed him about like
hounds, and were treated by him like hounds. He habitually scourged them,
often took with his own hand the lives of such as displeased him, and had
been known to cause individuals of them to jump from the top of church
steeples at his command; yet the pack were ever stanch to his orders, for
they knew that he always led them where the game was plenty. While
serving under Parma he had twice most brilliantly defeated Hohenlo. At
the battle of Hardenberg Heath he had completely outgeneralled that
distinguished chieftain, slaying fifteen hundred of his soldiers at the
expense of only fifty or sixty of his own. By this triumph he had
preserved the important city of Groningen for Philip, during an
additional quarter of a century, and had been received in that city with
rapture. Several startling years of victory and rapine he had thus run
through as a royalist partisan. He became the terror and the scourge of
his native Gelderland, and he was covered with wounds received in the
King's service. He had been twice captured and held for ransom. Twice he
had effected his escape. He had recently gained the city of Nymegen. He
was the most formidable, the most unscrupulous, the most audacious
Netherlander that wore Philip's colours; but he had received small public
reward for his services, and the wealth which he earned on the high-road
did not suffice for his ambition. He had been deeply disgusted, when, at
the death of Count Renneberg, Verdugo, a former stable-boy of Mansfeld, a
Spaniard who had risen from the humblest rank to be a colonel and
general, had been made governor of Friesland. He had smothered his
resentment for a time however, but had sworn within himself to desert at
the most favourable opportunity. At last, after he had brilliantly saved
the city of Breda from falling into the hands of the patriots, he was
more enraged than he had ever been before, when Haultepenne, of the house
of Berlapmont, was made governor of that place in his stead.

On the 25th of May, 1585, at an hour after midnight, he had a secret
interview with Count Meurs, stadholder for the States of Gelderland, and
agreed to transfer his mercenary allegiance to the republic. He made good
terms. He was to be lieutenant-governor of Gelderland, and he was to have
rank as marshal of the camp in the States' army, with a salary of twelve
hundred and fifty guilders a month. He agreed to resign his famous castle
of Blyenbeek, but was to be reimbursed with estates in Holland and
Zeeland, of the annual value of four thousand florins.

After this treaty, Martin and his free lances served the States
faithfully, and became sworn foes to Parma and the King. He gave and took
no quarter, and his men, if captured, "paid their ransom with their
heads." He ceased to be the scourge of Gelderland, but he became the
terror of the electorate. Early in 1586, accompanied by Herman Kloet, the
young and daring Dutch commandant of Neusz, he had swept down into the
Westphalian country, at the head of five hundred foot and five hundred
horse. On the 18th of March he captured the city of Werll by a neat
stratagem. The citizens, hemmed in on all sides by marauders, were in
want of many necessaries of life, among other things, of salt. Martin
had, from time to time, sent some of his soldiers into the place,
disguised as boors from the neighbourhood, and carrying bags of that
article. A pacific trading intercourse had thus been established between
the burghers within and the banditti without the gates. Agreeable
relations were formed within the walls, and a party of townsmen had
agreed to cooperate with the followers of Schenk. One morning a train of
waggons laden with soldiers neatly covered with salt, made their
appearance at the gate. At the same time a fire broke out most
opportunely within the town. The citizens busily employed themselves in
extinguishing the flames. The salted soldiers, after passing through the
gateway, sprang from the waggons, and mastered the watch. The town was.
carried at a blow. Some of the inhabitants were massacred as a warning to
the rest; others were taken prisoners and held for ransom; a few, more
fortunate, made their escape to the citadel. That fortress was stormed in
vain, but the city was thoroughly sacked. Every house was rifled of its
contents. Meantime Haultepenne collected a force of nearly four thousand
men, boors, citizens, and soldiers, and came to besiege Schenk in the
town, while, at the same time, attacks were made upon him from the
castle. It was impossible for him to hold the city, but he had completely
robbed it of every thing valuable. Accordingly he loaded a train of
waggons with his booty, took with him thirty of the magistrates as
hostages, with other wealthy citizens, and marching in good order against
Haultepenne, completely routed him, killing a number variously estimated
at from five hundred to two thousand, and effected his retreat,
desperately wounded in the thigh, but triumphant, and laden with the
spoils to Venlo on the Meuse, of which city he was governor.

"Surely this is a noble fellow, a worthy fellow," exclaimed Leicester,
who was filled with admiration at the bold marauder's progress, and vowed
that he was "the only soldier in truth that they had, for he was never
idle, and had succeeded hitherto very happily."

And thus, at every point of the doomed territory of the little
commonwealth, the natural atmosphere in which the inhabitants existed was
one of blood and rapine. Yet during the very slight lull, which was
interposed in the winter of 1585-6 to the eternal clang of arms in
Friesland, the Estates of that Province, to their lasting honour, founded
the university of Franeker. A dozen years before, the famous institution
at Leyden had been established, as a reward to the burghers for their
heroic defence of the city. And now this new proof was given of the love
of Netherlanders, even in the midst of their misery and their warfare,
for the more humane arts. The new college was well endowed from ancient
churchlands, and not only was the education made nearly gratuitous, while
handsome salaries were provided for the professors, but provision was
made by which the poorer scholars could be fed and boarded at a very
moderate expense. There was a table provided at an annual cost to the
student of but fifty florins, and a second and third table at the very
low price of forty and thirty florins respectively. Thus the sum to be
paid by the poorer class of scholars for a year's maintenance was less
than three pounds sterling a year [1855 exchange rate D.W.]. The voice
with which this infant seminary of the Muses first made itself heard
above the din of war was but feeble, but the institution was destined to
thrive, and to endow the world, for many successive generations, with the
golden fruits of science and genius.

Early in the spring, the war was seriously taken in hand by Farnese. It
has already been seen that the republic had been almost entirely driven
out of Flanders and Brabant. The Estates, however, still held Grave,
Megem, Batenburg, and Venlo upon the Meuse. That river formed, as it
were, a perfect circle of protection for the whole Province of Brabant,
and Farnese determined to make himself master of this great natural moat.
Afterwards, he meant to possess himself of the Rhine, flowing in a
parallel course, about twenty-five miles further to the east. In order to
gain and hold the Meuse, the first step was to reduce the city of Grave.
That town, upon the left or Brabant bank, was strongly fortified on its
land-side, where it was surrounded by low and fertile pastures, while,
upon the other, it depended upon its natural Toss, the river. It was,
according to Lord North and the Earl of Leicester, the "strongest town in
all the Low Countries, though but a little one."

Baron Hemart, a young Gueldrian noble, of small experience in military
affairs, commanded in the city, his garrison being eight hundred
soldiers, and about one thousand burgher guard. As early as January,
Farnese had ordered Count Mansfeld to lay siege to the place. Five forts
had accordingly been constructed, above and below the town, upon the left
bank of the river, while a bridge of boats thrown across the stream led
to a fortified camp on the opposite side. Mansfeld, Mondragon, Bobadil,
Aquila, and other distinguished veterans in Philip's service, were
engaged in the enterprise. A few unimportant skirmishes between Schenk
and the Spaniards had taken place, but the city was already hard pressed,
and, by the series of forts which environed it, was cut off from its
supplies. It was highly important, therefore, that Grave should be
relieved, with the least possible delay.

Early in Easter week, a force of three thousand men, under Hohenlo and
Sir John Norris, was accordingly despatched by Leicester, with orders, at
every hazard, to throw reinforcements and provisions into the place. They
took possession, at once, of a stone sconce, called the Mill-Fort, which
was guarded by fifty men, mostly boors of the country. These were nearly
all hanged for "using malicious words," and for "railing against Queen
Elizabeth," and--a sufficient number of men being left to maintain the
fort--the whole relieving force marched with great difficulty--for the
river was rapidly rising, and flooding the country--along the right bank
of the Meuse, taking possession of Batenburg and Ravenstein castles, as
they went. A force of four or five hundred Englishmen was then pushed
forward to a point almost exactly opposite Grave, and within an English
mile of the head of the bridge constructed by the Spaniards. Here, in the
night of Easter Tuesday, they rapidly formed an entrenched camp, upon the
dyke along the river, and, although molested by some armed vessels,
succeeded in establishing themselves in a most important position.

On the morning of Easter Wednesday, April 16, Mansfeld, perceiving that
the enemy had thus stolen a march upon him, ordered one thousand picked
troops, all Spaniards, under Aquila, Casco and other veterans, to assault
this advanced post. A reserve of two thousand was placed in readiness to
support the attack. The Spaniards slowly crossed the bridge, which was
swaying very dangerously with the current, and then charged the
entrenched camp at a run. A quarrel between the different regiments as to
the right of precedence precipitated the attack, before the reserve,
consisting of some picked companies of Mondragon's veterans, had been
able to arrive. Coming in breathless and fatigued, the first assailants
were readily repulsed in their first onset. Aquila then opportunely made
his appearance, and the attack was renewed with great vigour: The
defenders of the camp yielded at the third charge and fled in dismay,
while the Spaniards, leaping the barriers, scattered hither and thither
in the ardour of pursuit. The routed Englishmen fled swiftly along the
oozy dyke, in hopes of joining the main body of the relieving party, who
were expected to advance, with the dawn, from their position six miles
farther down the river. Two miles long the chace lasted, and it seemed
probable that the fugitives would be overtaken and destroyed, when, at
last, from behind a line of mounds which stretched towards Batenburg and
had masked their approach, appeared Count Hohenlo and Sir John Norris, at
the head of twenty-five hundred Englishmen and Hollanders. This force,
advanced as rapidly as the slippery ground and the fatigue of a two
hours' march would permit to the rescue of their friends, while the
retreating English rallied, turned upon their pursuers, and drove them
back over the path along which they had just been charging in the full
career of victory. The fortune of the day was changed, and in a few
minutes Hohenlo and Norris would have crossed the river and entered
Grave, when the Spanish companies of Bobadil and other commanders were
seen marching along the quaking bridge.

Three thousand men on each side now met at push of pike on the bank of
the Meuse. The rain-was pouring in torrents, the wind was blowing a gale,
the stream was rapidly rising, and threatening to overwhelm its shores.
By a tacit and mutual consent, both armies paused for a few moments in
full view of each other. After this brief interval they closed again,
breast to breast, in sharp and steady conflict. The ground, slippery with
rain and with blood, which was soon flowing almost as fast as the rain,
afforded an unsteady footing to the combatants. They staggered like
drunken men, fell upon their knees, or upon their backs, and still,
kneeling or rolling prostrate, maintained the deadly conflict. For the
space of an hour and a half the fierce encounter of human passion
outmastered the fury of the elements. Norris and Hohenlo fought at the
head of their columns, like paladins of old. The Englishman was wounded
in the mouth and breast, the Count was seen to gallop past one thousand
musketeers and caliver-men of the enemy, and to escape unscathed. But as
the strength of the soldiers exhausted itself, the violence of the
tempest increased. The floods of rain and the blasts of the hurricane at
last terminated the affray. The Spaniards, fairly conquered, were
compelled to a retreat, lest the rapidly rising river should sweep away
the frail and trembling bridge, over which they had passed to their
unsuccessful assault. The English and Netherlanders remained masters of
the field. The rising flood, too, which was fast converting the meadows
into a lake, was as useful to the conquerors as it was damaging to the

In the course of the few following days, a large number of boats was
despatched before the very eyes of Parma, from Batenburg into Grave;
Hohenlo, who had "most desperately adventured his person" throughout the
whole affair, entering the town himself.

A force of five hundred men, together with provisions enough to last a
year, was thrown into the city, and the course of the Meuse was,
apparently, secured to the republic. In this important action about one
hundred and fifty Dutch and English were killed, and probably four
hundred Spaniards, including several distinguished officers.

The Earl of Leicester was incredibly elated so soon as the success of
this enterprise was known. "Oh that her Majesty knew," he cried, "how
easy a match now she hath with the King of Spain, and what millions of
aficted people she hath relieved in these, countries. This summer, this
summer, I say, would make an end to her immortal glory." He was no friend
to his countryman, the gallant Sir John Norris--whom, however, he could
not help applauding on this occasion,--but he was in raptures with
Hohenlo. Next to God, he assured the Queen's government that the victory
was owing to the Count. "He is both a valiant man and a wise man, and the
painfullest that ever I knew," he said; adding--as a secret--that "five
hundred Englishmen of the best Flemish training had flatly and shamefully
run away," when the fight had been renewed by Hohenlo and Norris. He
recommended that her Majesty should, send her picture to the Count, worth
two hundred pounds, which he would value at more than one thousand pounds
in money, and he added that "for her sake the Count had greatly left his

As for the Prince of Parma, Leicester looked upon him as conclusively
beaten. He spoke of him as "marvellously appalled" by this overthrow of
his forces; but he assured the government that if the Prince's "choler
should press him to seek revenge," he should soon be driven out of the
country. The Earl would follow him "at an inch," and effectually
frustrate all his undertakings. "If the Spaniard have such a May as he
has had an April," said Lord North, "it will put water in his wine."

Meantime, as St. George's Day was approaching, and as the Earl was fond
of banquets and ceremonies, it was thought desirable to hold a great
triumphal feast at Utrecht. His journey to that city from the Hague was a
triumphal procession. In all the towns through which he passed he was
entertained with military display, pompous harangues, interludes, dumb
shows, and allegories. At Amsterdam--a city which he compared to Venice
for situation and splendour, and where one thousand ships were constantly
lying--he was received with "sundry great whales and other fishes of
hugeness," that gambolled about his vessel, and convoyed him to the
shore. These monsters of the deep presented him to the burgomaster and
magistrates who were awaiting him on the quay. The burgomaster made him a
Latin oration, to which Dr. Bartholomew Clerk responded, and then the
Earl was ushered to the grand square, upon which, in his honour, a
magnificent living picture was exhibited, in which he figured as Moses,
at the head of the Israelites, smiting the Philistines hip and thigh.
After much mighty banqueting in Amsterdam, as in the other cities, the
governor-general came to Utrecht. Through the streets of this antique and
most picturesque city flows the palsied current of the Rhine, and every
barge and bridge were decorated with the flowers of spring. Upon this
spot, where, eight centuries before the Anglo-Saxon, Willebrod had first
astonished the wild Frisians with the pacific doctrines of Jesus, and had
been stoned to death as his reward, stood now a more arrogant
representative of English piety. The balconies were crowded with fair
women, and decorated with scarves and banners. From the Earl's
residence--the ancient palace of the Knights of Rhodes--to the cathedral,
the way was lined with a double row of burgher guards, wearing red roses
on their arms, and apparelled in the splendid uniforms for which the
Netherlanders were celebrated. Trumpeters in scarlet and silver, barons,
knights, and great officers, in cloth of gold and silks of all colours;
the young Earl of Essex, whose career was to be so romantic, and whose
fate so tragic; those two ominous personages, the deposed little
archbishop-elector of Cologne, with his melancholy face, and the unlucky
Don Antonio, Pretender of Portugal, for whom, dead or alive, thirty
thousand crowns and a dukedom were perpetually offered by Philip II.;
young Maurice of Nassau, the future controller of European destinies;
great counsellors of state, gentlemen, guardsmen, and portcullis-herald,
with the coat of arms of Elizabeth, rode in solemn procession along. Then
great Leicester himself, "most princelike in the robes of his order,"
guarded by a troop of burghers, and by his own fifty halberd-men in
scarlet cloaks trimmed with white and purple velvet, pranced gorgeously

The ancient cathedral, built on the spot where Saint Willebrod had once
ministered, with its light, tapering, brick tower, three hundred and
sixty feet in height, its exquisitely mullioned windows, and its
elegantly foliaged columns, soon received the glittering throng. Hence,
after due religious ceremonies, and an English sermon from Master
Knewstubs, Leicester's chaplain, was a solemn march back again to the
palace, where a stupendous banquet was already laid in the great hall.

On the dais at the upper end of the table, blazing with plate and
crystal, stood the royal chair, with the Queen's plate and knife and fork
before it, exactly as if she had been present, while Leicester's trencher
and stool were set respectfully quite at the edge of the board. In the
neighbourhood of this post of honour sat Count Maurice, the Elector, the
Pretender, and many illustrious English personages, with the fair Agnes
Mansfeld, Princess Chimay, the daughters of William the Silent, and other
dames of high degree.

Before the covers were removed, came limping up to the dais grim-visaged
Martin Schenk, freshly wounded, but triumphant, from the sack of Werll,
and black John Norris, scarcely cured of the spearwounds in his face and
breast received at the relief of Grave. The sword of knighthood was laid
upon the shoulder of each hero, by the Earl of Leicester, as her
Majesty's vicegerent; and then the ushers marshalled the mighty feast.
Meats in the shape of lions, tigers, dragons, and leopards, flanked by
peacocks, swans, pheasants, and turkeys "in their natural feathers as in
their greatest pride," disappeared, course after course, sonorous metal
blowing meanwhile the most triumphant airs. After the banquet came
dancing, vaulting, tumbling; together with the "forces of Hercules, which
gave great delight to the strangers," after which the company separated
until evensong.

Then again, "great was the feast," says the chronicler,--a mighty supper
following hard upon the gigantic dinner. After this there was tilting at
the barriers, the young Earl of Essex and other knights bearing
themselves more chivalrously than would seem to comport with so much
eating and drinking. Then, horrible to relate, came another "most
sumptuous banquet of sugar-meates for the men-at-arms and the ladies,"
after which, it being now midnight, the Lord of Leicester bade the whole
company good rest, and the men-at-arms and ladies took their leave.

But while all this chivalrous banqueting and holiday-making was in hand,
the Prince of Parma was in reality not quite so much "appalled" by the
relief of Grave as his antagonist had imagined. The Earl, flushed with
the success of Hohenlo, already believed himself master of the country,
and assured his government, that, if he should be reasonably well
supplied, he would have Antwerp back again and Bruges besides before mid
June. Never, said he, was "the Prince of Parma so dejected nor so
melancholy since he came into these countries, nor so far out of
courage." And it is quite true that Alexander had reason to be
discouraged. He had but eight or nine thousand men, and no money to pay
even this little force. The soldiers were perishing daily, and nearly all
the survivors were described by their chief, as sick or maimed. The
famine in the obedient Provinces was universal, the whole population was
desperate with hunger; and the merchants, frightened by Drake's
successes, and appalled by the ruin all around them, drew their
purse-strings inexorably. "I know not to what saint to devote myself,"
said Alexander. He had been compelled, by the movement before Grave, to
withdraw Haultepenne from the projected enterprise against Neusz, and he
was quite aware of the cheerful view which Leicester was inclined to take
of their relative positions. "The English think they are going to do
great things," said he; "and consider themselves masters of the field."

Nevertheless, on the 11th May, the dejected melancholy man had left
Brussels, and joined his little army, consisting of three thousand
Spaniards and five thousand of all other nations. His veterans, though
unpaid; ragged, and half-starved were in raptures to, have their idolized
commander among them again, and vowed that under his guidance there was
nothing which they could not accomplish. The King's honour, his own, that
of the army, all were pledged to take the city. On the success of, that
enterprise, he said, depended all his past conquests, and every hope for
the future. Leicester and the English, whom he called the head and body
of the rebel forces, were equally pledged to relieve the place, and were
bent upon meeting him in the field. The Earl had taken some forts in the
Batavia--Betuwe; or "good meadow," which he pronounced as fertile and
about as large as Herefordshire,--and was now threatening Nymegen, a city
which had been gained for Philip by the last effort of Schenk, on the
royalist side. He was now observing Alexander's demonstrations against
Grave; but, after the recent success in victualling that place, he felt a
just confidence in its security.

On the 31st May the trenches were commenced, and on the 5th June the
batteries were opened. The work went rapidly forward when Farnese was in
the field. "The Prince of Parma doth batter it like a Prince," said Lord
North, admiring the enemy with the enthusiasm of an honest soldier: On
the 6th of June, as Alexander rode through the camp to reconnoitre,
previous to an attack. A well-directed cannon ball carried away the
hinder half, of his horse. The Prince fell to the ground, and, for a
moment, dismay was in the Spanish ranks. At the next instant, though
somewhat bruised, he was on his feet again, and, having found the breach
sufficiently promising, he determined on the assault.

As a preliminary measure, he wished to occupy a tower which had been
battered nearly to ruins, situate near the river. Captain de Solis was
ordered, with sixty veterans, to take possession of this tower, and to
"have a look at the countenance of the enemy, without amusing himself
with anything else." The tower was soon secured, but Solis, in
disobedience to his written instructions led his men against the ravelin,
which was still in a state of perfect defence. A musket-ball soon
stretched him dead beneath the wall, and his followers, still attempting
to enter the impracticable breach, were repelled by a shower of stones
and blazing pitch-hoops. Hot sand; too, poured from sieves and baskets,
insinuated itself within the armour of the Spaniards, and occasioned such
exquisite suffering, that many threw themselves into the river to allay
the pain. Emerging refreshed, but confused, they attempted in vain to
renew the onset. Several of the little band were slain, the assault was
quite unsuccessful, and the trumpet sounded a recal. So completely
discomfited were the Spaniards by this repulse, and so thoroughly at
their ease were the besieged, that a soldier let himself down from the
ramparts of the town for the sake of plundering the body of Captain
Solis, who was richly dressed, and, having accomplished this feat, was
quietly helped back again by his comrades from above.

To the surprise of the besiegers, however, on the very next morning came
a request from the governor of the city, Baron Hemart, to negotiate for a
surrender. Alexander was, naturally, but too glad to grant easy terms,
and upon the 7th of June the garrison left the town with colours
displayed and drums beating, and the Prince of Parma marched into it, at
the head of his troops. He found a year's provision there for six
thousand men, while, at the same time, the walls had suffered so little,
that he must have been obliged to wait long for a practicable breach.

"There was no good reason even for women to have surrendered the place,"
exclaimed Leicester, when he heard the news. And the Earl had cause to be
enraged at such a result. He had received a letter only the day before,
signed by Hemart himself and by all the officers in Grave, asserting
their determination and ability to hold the place for a good five months,
or for an indefinite period, and until they should be relieved. And
indeed all the officers, with three exceptions, had protested against the
base surrender. But at the bottom of the catastrophe--of the disastrous
loss of the city and the utter ruin of young Hemart--was a woman. The
governor was governed by his mistress, a lady of good family in the
place, but of Spanish inclinations, and she, for some mysterious reasons,
had persuaded him thus voluntarily to capitulate.

Parma lost no time, however, in exulting over his success. Upon the same
day the towns of Megen and Batenburg surrendered to him, and immediately
afterwards siege was laid to Venlo, a town of importance, lying thirty
miles farther up the Meuse. The wife and family of Martin Schenk were in
the city, together with two hundred horses, and from forty to one hundred
thousand crowns in money, plate; and furniture belonging to him.

That bold partisan, accompanied by the mad Welshman, Roger Williams, at
the head of one hundred and thirty English lances and thirty of Schenk's
men, made a wild nocturnal attempt to cut their way through the besieging
force, and penetrate to the city. They passed through the enemy's lines,
killed all the corps-de-garde, and many Spanish troopers--the terrible
Martin's own hand being most effective in this midnight slaughter--and
reached the very door of Parma's tent, where they killed his secretary
and many of his guards. It was even reported; and generally believed,
that Farnese himself had been in imminent danger, that Schenk had fired
his pistol at him unsuccessfully, and had then struck him on the head
with its butt-end, and that the Prince had only saved his life by leaping
from his horse, and scrambling through a ditch. But these seem to have
been fables. The alarm at last became general, the dawn of a summer's day
was fast approaching; the drums beat to arms, and the bold marauders were
obliged to effect their retreat, as they best might, hotly pursued by
near two thousand men. Having slain many of, the Spanish army, and lost
nearly half their own number, they at last obtained shelter in

Soon afterwards the place capitulated without waiting for a battery, upon
moderate terms. Schenk's wife was sent away (28 June 1586) courteously
with her family, in a coach and four, and with as much "apparel" as might
be carried with her. His property was confiscated, for "no fair wars
could be made with him."

Thus, within a few weeks after taking the field, the "dejected,
melancholy" man, who was so "out of courage," and the soldiers who were
so "marvellously beginning to run away"--according to the Earl of
Leicester--had swept their enemy from every town on the Meuse. That river
was now, throughout its whole course, in the power of the Spaniards. The
Province of Brabant became thoroughly guarded again by its foes, and the
enemy's road was opened into the northern Provinces.

Leicester, meantime, had not distinguished himself. It must be confessed
that he had been sadly out-generalled. The man who had talked of
following the enemy inch by inch, and who had pledged himself not only to
protect Grave, and any other place that might be attacked, but even to
recover Antwerp and Bruges within a few weeks, had wasted the time in
very desultory operations. After the St. George feasting, Knewstub
sermons, and forces of Hercules, were all finished, the Earl had taken
the field with five thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse. His
intention was to clear the Yssel; by getting possession of Doesburg and
Zutphen, but, hearing of Parma's demonstrations upon Grave, he abandoned
the contemplated siege of those cities, and came to Arnheim. He then
crossed the Rhine into the Isle of Batavia, and thence, after taking a
few sconces of inferior importance--while Schenk, meanwhile, was building
on the Island of Gravenweert, at the bifurcation of the Rhine and Waal,
the sconce so celebrated a century later as 'Schenk's Fort'
(Schenkenschans)---he was preparing to pass the Waal in order to attack
Farnese, when he heard to his astonishment, of the surrender of Grave.

He could therefore--to his chagrin--no longer save that important city,
but he could, at least, cut off the head of the culprit. Leicester was in
Bommel when he heard of Baron Hemart's faint-heartedness or treachery,
and his wrath was extravagant in proportion to the exultation with which
his previous success had inspired him. He breathed nothing but revenge
against the coward and the traitor, who had delivered up the town in
"such lewd and beastly sort."

"I will never depart hence," he said, "till by the goodness of God I be
satisfied someway of this villain's treachery." There could be little
doubt that Hemart deserved punishment. There could be as little that
Leicester would mete it out to him in ample measure. "The lewd villain
who gave up Grave," said he, "and the captains as deep in fault as
himself, shall all suffer together."

Hemart came boldly to meet him. "The honest man came to me at Bommel,"
said Leicester, and he assured the government that it was in the hope of
persuading the magistrates of that and other towns to imitate his own

But the magistrates straightway delivered the culprit to the
governor-general, who immediately placed him under arrest. A
court-martial was summoned, 26th of June, at Utrecht, consisting of
Hohenlo, Essex, and other distinguished officers. They found that the
conduct of the prisoner merited death, but left it to the Earl to decide
whether various extenuating circumstances did not justify a pardon.
Hohenlo and Norris exerted themselves to procure a mitigation of the
young man's sentence, and they excited thereby the governor's deep
indignation. Norris, according to Leicester, was in love with the
culprit's aunt, and was therefore especially desirous of saving his life.
Moreover, much use was made of the discredit which had been thrown by the
Queen on the Earl's authority, and it was openly maintained, that, being
no longer governor-general, he had no authority to order execution upon a
Netherland officer.

The favourable circumstances urged in the case, were, that Hemart was a
young man, without experience in military matters, and that he had been
overcome by the supplications and outcries of the women, panic-struck
after the first assault. There were no direct proofs of treachery, or
even of personal cowardice. He begged hard for a pardon, not on account
of his life, but for the sake of his reputation. He earnestly implored
permission to serve under the Queen of England, as a private soldier,
without pay, on land or sea, for as many years as she should specify, and
to be selected for the most dangerous employments, in order that, before
he died, he might wipe out the disgrace, which, through his fault, in an
hour of weakness, had come upon an ancient and honourable house. Much
interest was made for him--his family connection being powerful--and a
general impression prevailing that he had erred through folly rather than
deep guilt. But Leicester beating himself upon the breast--as he was wont
when excited--swore that there should be no pardon for such a traitor.
The States of Holland and Zeeland, likewise, were decidedly in favour of
a severe example.

Hemart was accordingly led to the scaffold on the 28th June. He spoke to
the people with great calmness, and, in two languages, French and
Flemish, declared that he was guiltless of treachery, but that the terror
and tears of the women, in an hour of panic, had made a coward of him. He
was beheaded, standing. The two captains, Du Ban and Koeboekum, who had
also been condemned, suffered with him. A third captain, likewise
convicted, was, "for very just cause,", pardoned by Leicester. The Earl
persisted in believing that Hemart had surrendered the city as part of a
deliberate plan, and affirmed that in such a time, when men had come to
think no more of giving up a town than of abandoning a house, it was
highly necessary to afford an example to traitors and satisfaction to the
people. And the people were thoroughly satisfied, according to the
governor, and only expressed their regret that three or four members of
the States-General could not have their heads cut off as well, being as
arrant knaves as Henlart; "and so I think they be," added Leicester.

Parma having thus made himself master of the Meuse, lost no time in
making a demonstration upon the parallel course of the Rhine, thirty
miles farther east. Schenk, Kloet; and other partisans, kept that portion
of the archi-episcopate and of Westphalia in a state of perpetual
commotion. Early in the preceding year, Count de Meurs had, by a
fortunate stratagem, captured the town of Neusz for the deposed elector,
and Herman Kloet, a young and most determined Geldrian soldier, now
commanded in the place.

The Elector Ernest had made a visit in disguise to the camp of Parma, and
had represented the necessity of recovering the city. It had become the
stronghold of heretics, rebels, and banditti. The Rhine was in their
hands, and with it the perpetual power of disturbing the loyal
Netherlands. It was as much the interest of his Catholic Majesty as that
of the Archbishop that Neusz should be restored to its lawful owner.
Parma had felt the force of this reasoning, and had early in the year
sent Haultepenne to invest the city. He had been obliged to recal that
commander during the siege of Grave. The place being reduced, Alexander,
before the grass could grow beneath his feet advanced to the Rhine in
person. Early in July he appeared before the walls of Neusz with eight
thousand foot and two thousand horse. The garrison under Kloet numbered
scarcely more than sixteen hundred effective soldiers, all Netherlanders
and Germans, none being English.

The city is twenty-miles below Cologne. It was so well fortified that a
century before it had stood a year's siege from the famous Charles the
Bold, who, after all, had been obliged to retire. It had also resisted
the strenuous efforts of Charles the Fifth; and was now stronger than it
ever had been. It was thoroughly well provisioned, so that it was safe
enough "if those within it," said Leicester, "be men." The Earl expressed
the opinion, however, that "those fellows were not good to defend towns,
unless the besiegers were obliged to swim to the attack." The issue was
to show whether the sarcasm were just or not. Meantime the town was
considered by the governor-general to be secure, "unless towns were to be
had for the asking."

Neusz is not immediately upon the Rhine, but that river, which sweeps
away in a north-easterly direction from the walls, throws out an arm
which completely encircles the town. A part of the place, cut into an
island by the Erpt, was strengthened by two redoubts. This island was
abandoned, as being too weak to hold, and the Spaniards took possession
of it immediately. There were various preliminary and sanguinary sorties
and skirmishes, during which the Spaniards after having been once driven
from the island, again occupied that position. Archbishop Ernest came
into the camp, and, before proceeding to a cannonade, Parma offered to
the city certain terms of capitulation, which were approved by that
prelate. Kloet replied to this proposal, that he was wedded to the town
and to his honour, which were as one. These he was incapable of
sacrificing, but his life he was ready to lay down. There was, through
some misapprehension, a delay in reporting this answer to Farnese.
Meantime that general became impatient, and advanced to the battery of
the Italian regiment. Pretending to be a plenipotentiary from the
commander-in-chief, he expostulated in a loud voice at the slowness of
their counsels. Hardly had he begun to speak, when a shower of balls
rattled about him. His own soldiers were terrified at his danger, and a
cry arose in the town that "Holofernese"--as the Flemings and Germans
were accustomed to nickname Farnese--was dead. Strange to relate, he was
quite unharmed, and walked back to his tent with dignified slowness and a
very frowning face. It was said that this breach of truce had been begun
by the Spaniards, who had fired first, and had been immediately answered
by the town. This was hotly denied, and Parma sent Colonel Tasais with a
flag of truce to the commander, to rebuke and to desire an explanation of
this dishonourable conduct.

The answer given, or imagined, was that Commander Kloet had been sound
asleep, but that he now much regretted this untoward accident. The
explanation was received with derision, for it seemed hardly probable
that so young and energetic a soldier would take the opportunity to
refresh himself with slumber at a moment when a treaty for the
capitulation of a city under his charge was under discussion. This
terminated the negotiation.

A few days afterwards, the feast of St James was celebrated in the
Spanish camp, with bonfires and other demonstrations of hilarity. The
townsmen are said to have desecrated the same holiday by roasting alive
in the market-place two unfortunate soldiers, who had been captured in a
sortie a few days before; besides burning the body of the holy Saint
Quirinus, with other holy relics. The detestable deed was to be most
horribly avenged.

A steady cannonade from forty-five great guns was kept up from 2 A.M. of
July 15 until the dawn of the following day; the cannoneers--being all
provided with milk and vinegar to cool the pieces. At daybreak the
assault was ordered. Eight separate attacks were made with the usual
impetuosity of Spaniards, and were steadily repulsed.

At the ninth, the outer wall was carried, and the Spaniards shouting
"Santiago" poured over it, bearing back all resistance. An Italian Knight
of the Sepulchre, Cesar Guidiccioni by name, and a Spanish ensign, one
Alphonao de Mesa, with his colours in one hand and a ladder in the other,
each claimed the honour of having first mounted the breach. Both being
deemed equally worthy of reward, Parma, after the city had been won, took
from his own cap a sprig of jewels and a golden wheat-ear ornamented with
a gem, which he had himself worn in place of a plume, and thus presented
each with a brilliant token of his regard. The wall was then strengthened
against the inner line of fortification, and all night long a desperate
conflict was maintained in the dark upon the narrow space between the two
barriers. Before daylight Kloet, who then, as always, had led his men in
the moat desperate adventures, was carried into the town, wounded in five
places, and with his leg almost severed at the thigh. "'Tis the bravest
man," said the enthusiastic Lord North, "that was ever heard of in the
world."--"He is but a boy," said Alexander Farnese, "but a commander of
extraordinary capacity and valour."

Early in the morning, when this mishap was known, an officer was sent to
the camp of the besiegers to treat. The soldiers received him with
furious laughter, and denied him access to the general. "Commander Kloet
had waked from his nap at a wrong time," they said, "and the Prince of
Parma was now sound asleep, in his turn." There was no possibility of
commencing a negotiation. The Spaniards, heated by the conflict, maddened
by opposition, and inspired by the desire to sack a wealthy city,
overpowered all resistance. "My little soldiers were not to be
restrained," said Farnese, and so compelling a reluctant consent on the
part of the commander-in-chief to an assault, the Italian and Spanish
legions poured into the town at two opposite gates; which were no longer
strong enough to withstand the enemy. The two streams met in the heart of
the place, and swept every living thing in their path out of existence.
The garrison was butchered to a man, and subsequently many of the
inhabitants--men, women, and children-also, although the women; to the
honour of Alexander, had been at first secured from harm in some of the
churches, where they had been ordered to take refuge. The first blast of
indignation was against the commandant of the place. Alexander, who had
admired, his courage, was not unfavourably disposed towards him, but
Archbishop Ernest vehemently, demanded his immediate death, as a personal
favour to himself. As the churchman was nominally sovereign of the city
although in reality a beggarly dependant on Philip's alms, Farnese felt
bound to comply. The manner in which it was at first supposed that the
Bishop's Christian request had; been complied, with, sent a shudder
through every-heart in the Netherlands. "They took Kloet, wounded as he
was," said Lord North, "and first strangled, him, then smeared him with
pitch, and burnt him with gunpowder; thus, with their holiness, they,
made a tragical end of an heroical service. It is wondered that the
Prince would suffer so great an outrage to be done to so noble a soldier,
who did but his duty."

But this was an error. A Jesuit priest was sent to the house of the
commandant, for a humane effort was thought necessary in order to save
the soul of the man whose life was forfeited for the crime of defending
his city. The culprit was found lying in bed. His wife, a woman of
remarkable beauty, with her sister, was in attendance upon him. The
spectacle of those two fair women, nursing a wounded soldier fallen upon
the field of honour, might have softened devils with sympathy. But the
Jesuit was closely followed by a band of soldiers, who, notwithstanding
the supplications of the women, and the demand of Kloet to be indulged
with a soldier's death, tied a rope round the commandant's necks dragged
him from his bed, and hanged him from his own window. The Calvinist
clergyman, Fosserus of Oppenheim, the deacons of the congregation, two
military officers, and--said Parma--"forty other rascals," were murdered
in the same way at the same time. The bodies remained at the window till
they were devoured by the flames, which soon consumed the house. For a
vast conflagration, caused none knew whether by accident, by the despair
of the inhabitants; by the previous, arrangements of the commandant, by
the latest-arrived bands of the besiegers enraged that the Italians and
Spaniards had been beforehand with them in the spoils, or--as Farnese
more maturely believed--by the special agency of the Almighty, offended
with the burning of Saint Quirinus,--now came to complete the horror of
the scene. Three-quarters of the town were at once in a blaze. The
churches, where the affrighted women had been cowering during the sack
and slaughter, were soon on fire, and now, amid the crash of falling
houses and the uproar of the drunken soldiery, those unhappy victims were
seen flitting along the flaming streets; seeking refuge against the fury
of the elements in the more horrible cruelty of man. The fire lasted all
day and night, and not one stone would have been left upon another, had
not the body of a second saint, saved on a former occasion from the
heretics by the piety of a citizen, been fortunately deposited in his
house. At this point the conflagration was stayed--for the flames refused
to consume these holy relics--but almost the whole of the town was
destroyed, while at least four thousand people, citizens and soldiers,
had perished by sword or fire.

Three hundred survivors of the garrison took refuge in a tower. Its base
was surrounded, and, after brief parley, they descended as prisoners. The
Prince and Haultepenne attempted in vain to protect them against the fury
of the soldiers, and every man of them was instantly put to death.

The next day, Alexander gave orders that the wife and sister of the
commandant should be protected--for they had escaped, as if by miracle,
from all the horrors of that day and night--and sent, under escort, to
their friends! Neusz had nearly ceased to exist, for according to
contemporaneous accounts, but eight houses had escaped destruction.

And the reflection was most painful to Leicester and to every generous
Englishman or Netherlander in the country, that this important city and
its heroic defenders might have been preserved, but for want of harmony
and want of money. Twice had the Earl got together a force of four
thousand men for the relief of the place, and twice had he been obliged
to disband them again for the lack of funds to set them in the field.

He had pawned his plate and other valuables, exhausted his credit, and
had nothing for it but to wait for the Queen's tardy remittances, and to
wrangle with the States; for the leaders of that body were unwilling to
accord large supplies to a man who had become personally suspected by
them, and was the representative of a deeply-suspected government.
Meanwhile, one-third at least of the money which really found its way
from time to time out of England, was filched from the "poor starved
wretches," as Leicester called his soldiers, by the dishonesty of Norris,
uncle of Sir John and army-treasurer. This man was growing so rich on his
peculations, on his commissions, and on his profits from paying the
troops in a depreciated coin, that Leicester declared the whole revenue
of his own landed estates in England to be less than that functionary's
annual income. Thus it was difficult to say whether the "ragged rogues"
of Elizabeth or the maimed and neglected soldiers of Philip were in the
more pitiable plight.

The only consolation in the recent reduction of Neusz was to be found in
the fact that Parma had only gained a position, for the town had ceased
to exist; and in the fiction that he had paid for his triumph by the loss
of six thousand soldiers, killed and wounded. In reality not more than
five hundred of Farnese's army lost their lives, and although the town,
excepting some churches, had certainly been destroyed; yet the Prince was
now master of the Rhine as far as Cologne, and of the Meuse as far as
Grave. The famine which pressed so sorely upon him, might now be
relieved, and his military communications with Germany be considered

The conqueror now turned his attention to Rheinberg, twenty-five miles
farther down the river.

Sir Philip Sidney had not been well satisfied by the comparative idleness
in which, from these various circumstances; he had been compelled to
remain. Early in the spring he had been desirous of making an attack upon
Flanders by capturing the town of Steenberg. The faithful Roger Williams
had strongly seconded the proposal. "We wish to show your Excellency,"
said he to Leicester, "that we are not sound asleep." The Welshman was
not likely to be accused of somnolence, but on this occasion Sidney and
himself had been overruled. At a later moment, and during the siege of
Neusz, Sir Philip had the satisfaction of making a successful foray into

The expedition had been planned by Prince Maurice of Nassau, and was his.
earliest military achievement. He proposed carrying by surprise, the city
of Axel, a well-built, strongly-fortified town on the south-western edge
of the great Scheldt estuary, and very important from its position. Its
acquisition would make the hold of the patriots and the English upon
Sluys and Ostend more secure, and give them many opportunities of
annoying the enemy in Flanders.

Early in July, Maurice wrote to the Earl of Leicester, communicating the
particulars of his scheme, but begging that the affair might be "very
secretly handled," and kept from every one but Sidney. Leicester
accordingly sent his nephew to Maurice that they might consult together
upon the enterprise, and make sure "that there was no ill intent, there
being so much treachery in the world." Sidney found no treachery in young
Maurice, but only, a noble and intelligent love of adventure, and the two
arranged their plans in harmony.

Leicester, then, in order to deceive the enemy, came to Bergen-op-Zoom,
with five hundred men, where he remained two days, not sleeping a wink,
as he averred, during the whole time. In the night of Tuesday, 16th of
July, the five hundred English soldiers were despatched by water, under
charge of Lord Willoughby, "who," said the Earl, "would needs go with
them." Young Hatton, too, son of Sir Christopher, also volunteered on the
service, "as his first nursling." Sidney had, five hundred of his own
Zeeland regiment in readiness, and the rendezvous was upon the broad
waters of the Scheldt, opposite Flushing. The plan was neatly carried
out, and the united flotilla, in a dark, calm, midsummer's night, rowed
across the smooth estuary and landed at Ter Neuse, about a league from
Axel. Here they were joined by Maurice with some Netherland companies,
and the united troops, between two and three thousand strong, marched at
once to the place proposed. Before two in the morning they had reached
Axel, but found the moat very deep. Forty soldiers immediately plunged
in, however, carrying their ladders with them, swam across, scaled the
rampart, killed, the guard, whom they found asleep in their beds, and
opened the gates for their comrades. The whole force then marched in, the
Dutch companies under Colonel Pyion being first, Lord Willoughby's men
being second, and Sir Philip with his Zeelanders bringing up the rear.
The garrison, between five and six hundred in number, though surprised,
resisted gallantly, and were all put to the sword. Of the invaders, not a
single man lost his life. Sidney most generously rewarded from his own
purse the adventurous soldiers who had swum the moat; and it was to his
care and intelligence that the success of Prince Maurice's scheme was
generally attributed. The achievement was hailed with great satisfaction,
and it somewhat raised the drooping spirits of the patriots after their
severe losses at Grave and Venlo. "This victory hath happened in good
time," wrote Thomas Cecil to his father, "and hath made us somewhat to
lift up our heads." A garrison of eight hundred, under Colonel Pyron, was
left in Axel, and the dykes around were then pierced. Upwards of two
millions' worth of property in grass, cattle, corn, was thus immediately
destroyed in the territory of the obedient Netherlands.

After an unsuccessful attempt to surprise Gravelines, the governor of
which place, the veteran La Motte, was not so easily taken napping; Sir
Philip having gained much reputation by this conquest of Axel, then
joined the main body of the army, under Leicester, at Arnheim.

Yet, after all, Sir Philip had not grown in favour with her Majesty
during his service in the Low Countries. He had also been disappointed in
the government of Zeeland, to which post his uncle had destined him. The
cause of Leicester's ambition had been frustrated by the policy of
Barneveld and Buys, in pursuance of which Count or Prince Maurice--as he
was now purposely designated, in order that his rank might surpass that
of the Earl--had become stadholder and captain general both of Holland
and Zeeland. The Earl had given his nephew, however, the colonelcy of the
Zeeland regiment, vacant by the death of Admiral Haultain on the
Kowenstyn Dyke. This promotion had excited much anger among the high
officers in the Netherlands who, at the instigation of Count Hohenlo, had
presented a remonstrance upon the subject to the governor-general. It had
always been the custom, they said, with the late Prince of Orange, to
confer promotion according to seniority, without regard to social rank,
and they were therefore unwilling that a young foreigner, who had just
entered the service; should thus be advanced over the heads of veterans
who had been campaigning there so many weary years. At the same time the
gentlemen who signed the paper protested to Sir Philip, in another
letter, "with all the same hands," that they had no personal feeling
towards him, but, on the contrary, that they wished him all honour.

Young Maurice himself had always manifested the most friendly feelings
toward Sidney, although influenced in his action by the statesmen who
were already organizing a powerful opposition to Leicester. "Count
Maurice showed himself constantly, kind in the matter of the regiment,"
said Sir Philip, "but Mr. Paul Buss has so many busses in his head, such
as you shall find he will be to God and man about one pitch. Happy is the
communication of them that join in the fear of God." Hohenlo, too, or
Hollock, as he was called by the French and English, was much governed by
Buys and Olden-Barneveld. Reckless and daring, but loose of life and
uncertain of purpose, he was most dangerous, unless under safe guidance.
Roger Williams--who vowed that but for the love he bore to Sidney and
Leicester, he would not remain ten days in the Netherlands--was much
disgusted by Hohenlo's conduct in regard to the Zeeland regiment. "'Tis a
mutinous request of Hollock," said he, "that strangers should not command
Netherlanders. He and his Alemaynes are farther born from Zeeland than
Sir Philip is. Either you must make Hollock assured to you, or you must
disgrace him. If he will not be yours, I will show you means to
disinherit him of all his commands at small danger. What service doth he,
Count Solms, Count Overatein, with their Almaynes, but spend treasure and
consume great contributions?"

It was, very natural that the chivalrous Sidney, who had come to the
Netherlands to win glory in the field, should be desirous of posts that
would bring danger and distinction with them. He was not there merely
that he might govern Flushing, important as it was, particularly as the
garrison was, according to his statement, about as able to maintain the
town, "as the Tower was to answer for London." He disapproved of his
wife's inclination to join him in Holland, for he was likely--so he wrote
to her father, Walsingham--"to run such a course as would not be fit for
any of the feminine gender." He had been, however; grieved to the heart,
by the spectacle which was perpetually exhibited of the Queen's
parsimony, and of the consequent suffering of the soldiers. Twelve or
fifteen thousand Englishmen were serving in the Netherlands--more than
two thirds of them in her Majesty's immediate employment. No troops had
ever fought better, or more honourably maintained the ancient glory of
England. But rarely had more ragged and wretched warriors been seen than
they, after a few months' campaigning.

The Irish Kernes--some fifteen hundred of whom were among the
auxiliaries--were better off, for they habitually dispensed with
clothing; an apron from waist to knee being the only protection of these
wild Kelts, who fought with the valour, and nearly, in the costume of
Homeric heroes. Fearing nothing, needing nothing, sparing nothing, they
stalked about the fens of Zeeland upon their long stilts, or leaped
across running rivers, scaling ramparts, robbing the highways, burning,
butchering, and maltreating the villages and their inhabitants, with as
little regard for the laws of Christian warfare as for those of civilized

Other soldiers, more sophisticated as to apparel, were less at their
ease. The generous Sidney spent all his means, and loaded himself with
debt, in order to relieve the necessities of the poor soldiers. He
protested that if the Queen would not pay her troops, she would lose her
troops, but that no living man should say the fault was in him. "What
relief I can do them I will," he wrote to his father-in-law; "I will
spare no danger, if occasion serves. I am sure that no creature shall lay
injustice to my charge."

Very soon it was discovered that the starving troops had to contend not
only with the Queen's niggardliness but with the dishonesty of her
agents. Treasurer Norris was constantly accused by Leicester and Sidney
of gross peculation. Five per cent., according to Sir Philip, was lost to
the Zeeland soldiers in every payment, "and God knows," he said, "they
want no such hindrance, being scarce able to keep life with their entire
pay. Truly it is but poor increase to her Majesty, considering what loss
it is to the miserable soldier." Discipline and endurance were sure to be
sacrificed, in the end, to such short-sighted economy. "When soldiers,"
said Sidney, "grow to despair, and give up towns, then it is too late to
buy with hundred thousands what might have been saved with a trifle."

This plain dealing, on the part of Sidney, was anything but agreeable to
the Queen, who was far from feeling regret that his high-soaring
expectations had been somewhat blighted in the Provinces. He often
expressed his mortification that her Majesty was disposed to interpret
everything to, his disadvantage. "I understand," said he, "that I am
called ambitious, and very proud at home, but certainly, if they knew my
heart, they would not altogether so judge me." Elizabeth had taken part
with Hohenlo against Sir Philip in the matter of the Zeeland regiment,
and in this perhaps she was not entirely to be blamed. But she inveighed
needlessly against his ambitious seeking of the office, and--as
Walsingham observed--"she was very apt, upon every light occasion, to
find fault with him." It is probable that his complaints against the army
treasurer, and his manful defence of the "miserable soldiers," more than
counterbalanced, in the Queen's estimation, his chivalry in the field.

Nevertheless he had now the satisfaction of having gained an important
city in Flanders; and on subsequently joining the army under his uncle,
he indulged the hope of earning still greater distinction.

Martin Schenk had meanwhile been successfully defending Rheinberg, for
several weeks, against Parma's forces. It was necessary, however, that
Leicester, notwithstanding the impoverished condition of his troops,
should make some diversion, while his formidable antagonist was thus
carrying all before him.

He assembled, accordingly, in the month of August, all the troops that
could be brought into the field, and reviewed them, with much ceremony,
in the neighbourhood of Arnheim. His army--barely numbered seven thousand
foot and two thousand horse, but he gave out, very extensively, that he
had fourteen thousand under his command, and he was moreover expecting a
force of three thousand reiters, and as many pikemen recently levied in
Germany. Lord Essex was general of the cavalry, Sir William Pelham--a
distinguished soldier, who had recently arrived out of England, after the
most urgent solicitations to the Queen, for that end, by Leicester--was
lord-marshal of the camp, and Sir John Norris was colonel-general of the

After the parade, two sermons were preached upon the hillside
to the soldiers, and then there was a council of war: It was
decided--notwithstanding the Earl's announcement of his intentions to
attack Parma in person--that the condition of the army did not warrant
such an enterprise. It was thought better to lay siege to Zutphen. This
step, if successful, would place in the power of the republic and her
ally a city of great importance and strength. In every event the attempt
would probably compel Farnese to raise the siege of Berg.

Leicester, accordingly, with "his brave troop of able and likely
men"--five thousand of the infantry being English--advanced as far as
Doesburg. This city, seated at the confluence of the ancient canal of
Drusus and the Yssel, five miles above Zutphen, it was necessary, as a
preliminary measure, to secure. It was not a very strong place, being
rather slightly walled with brick, and with a foss drawing not more than
three feet of water. By the 30th August it had been completely invested.

On the same night, at ten o'clock, Sir William Pelham, came to the Earl
to tell him "what beastly pioneers the Dutchmen were." Leicester
accordingly determined, notwithstanding the lord-marshal's entreaties, to
proceed to the trenches in person. There being but faint light, the two
lost their way, and soon found themselves nearly, at the gate of the
town. Here, while groping about in the dark; and trying to effect their
retreat, they were saluted with a shot, which struck Sir William in the
stomach. For an instant; thinking himself mortally injured, he expressed
his satisfaction that he had been, between the commander-in-chief and the
blow, and made other "comfortable and resolute speeches." Very
fortunately, however, it proved that the marshal was not seriously hurt,
and, after a few days, he was about his work as usual, although
obliged--as the Earl of Leicester expressed it--"to carry a bullet in his
belly as long as he should live."

Roger Williams, too, that valiant adventurer--"but no, more valiant than
wise, and worth his weight in gold," according to the appreciative
Leicester--was shot through the arm. For the dare-devil Welshman, much to
the Earl's regret, persisted in running up and down the trenches "with a
great plume of feathers in his gilt morion," and in otherwise making a
very conspicuous mark of himself "within pointblank of a caliver."

Notwithstanding these mishaps, however, the siege went successfully
forward. Upon the 2nd September the Earl began to batter, and after a
brisk cannonade, from dawn till two in the afternoon, he had considerably
damaged the wall in two places. One of the breaches was eighty feet wide,
the other half as large, but the besieged had stuffed them full of beds,
tubs, logs of wood, boards, and "such like trash," by means whereof the
ascent was not so easy as it seemed. The soldiers were excessively eager
for the assault. Sir John Norris came to Leicester to receive his orders
as to the command of the attacking party.

The Earl referred the matter to him. "There is no man," answered Sir
John, "fitter for that purpose than myself; for I am colonel-general of
the infantry."

But Leicester, not willing to indulge so unreasonable a proposal, replied
that he would reserve him for service of less hazard and greater
importance. Norris being, as usual, "satis prodigus magnae animae," was
out of humour at the refusal, and ascribed it to the Earl's persistent
hostility to him and his family. It was then arranged that the assault
upon the principal breach should be led by younger officers, to be
supported by Sir John and other veterans. The other breach was assigned
to the Dutch and Scotch-black Norris scowling at them the while with
jealous eyes; fearing that they might get the start of the English party,
and be first to enter the town. A party of noble volunteers clustered
about Sir John-Lord Burgh, Sir Thomas Cecil, Sir Philip Sidney, and his
brother Robert among the rest--most impatient for the signal. The race
was obviously to be a sharp one. The governor-general forbade these
violent demonstrations, but Lord Burgh, "in a most vehement passion,
waived the countermand," and his insubordination was very generally
imitated. Before the signal was given, however, Leicester sent a trumpet
to summon the town to surrender, and could with difficulty restrain his
soldiers till the answer should be returned. To the universal
disappointment, the garrison agreed to surrender. Norris himself then
stepped forward to the breach, and cried aloud the terms, lest the
returning herald, who had been sent back by Leicester, should offer too
favourable a capitulation. It was arranged that the soldiers should
retire without arms, with white wands in their hands--the officers
remaining prisoners--and that the burghers, their lives, and property,
should be at Leicester's disposal. The Earl gave most peremptory orders
that persons and goods should be respected, but his commands were dis
obeyed. Sir William Stanley's men committed frightful disorders, and
thoroughly, rifled the town."

"And because," said Norris, "I found fault herewith, Sir William began to
quarrel with me, hath braved me extremely, refuseth to take any direction
from me, and although I have sought for redress, yet it is proceeded in
so coldly, that he taketh encouragement rather to increase the quarrel
than to leave it."

Notwithstanding therefore the decree of Leicester, the expostulations and
anger of Norris, and the energetic efforts of Lord Essex and other
generals, who went about smiting the marauders on the head, the soldiers
sacked the city, and committed various disorders, in spite of the

Doesburg having been thus reduced, the Earl now proceeded toward the more
important city which he had determined to besiege. Zutphen, or South-Fen,
an antique town of wealth and elegance, was the capital of the old
Landgraves of Zutphen. It is situate on the right bank of the Yssel, that
branch of the Rhine which flows between Gelderland and Overyssel into the

The ancient river, broad, deep, and languid, glides through a plain of
almost boundless extent, till it loses itself in the flat and misty
horizon. On the other side of the stream, in the district called the
Veluwe, or bad meadow, were three sconces, one of them of remarkable
strength. An island between the city and the shore was likewise well
fortified. On the landward side the town was protected by a wall and moat
sufficiently strong in those infant days of artillery. Near the
hospital-gate, on the east, was an external fortress guarding the road to
Warnsfeld. This was a small village, with a solitary slender
church-spire, shooting up above a cluster of neat one-storied houses. It
was about an English mile from Zutphen, in the midst of a wide, low,
somewhat fenny plain, which, in winter, became so completely a lake, that
peasants were not unfrequently drowned in attempting to pass from the
city to the village. In summer, the vague expanse of country was fertile
and cheerful of aspect. Long rows of poplars marking the straight
highways, clumps of pollard willows scattered around the little meres,
snug farm-houses, with kitchen-gardens and brilliant flower-patches
dotting the level plain, verdant pastures sweeping off into seemingly
infinite distance, where the innumerable cattle seemed to swarm like
insects, wind-mills swinging their arms in all directions, like
protective giants, to save the country from inundation, the lagging sail
of market-boats shining through rows of orchard trees--all gave to the
environs of Zutphen a tranquil and domestic charm.

Deventer and Kampen, the two other places on the river, were in the hands
of the States. It was, therefore, desirable for the English and the
patriots, by gaining possession of Zutphen, to obtain control of the
Yssel; driven, as they had been, from the Meuse and Rhine.

Sir John Norris, by Leicester's direction, took possession of a small
rising-ground, called 'Gibbet Dill' on the land-side; where he
established a fortified camp, and proceeded to invest the city. With him
were Count Lewis William of Nassau, and Sir Philip Sidney, while the Earl
himself, crossing the Yssel on a bridge of boats which he had
constructed, reserved for himself the reduction of the forts upon the
Veluwe side.

Farnese, meantime, was not idle; and Leicester's calculations proved
correct. So soon as the Prince was informed of this important
demonstration of the enemy he broke up--after brief debate with his
officers--his camp before Rheinberg, and came to Wesel. At this place he
built a bridge over the Rhine, and fortified it with two block-houses.
These he placed under command of Claude Berlot, who was ordered to watch
strictly all communication up the river with the city of Rheinberg, which
he thus kept in a partially beleaguered state. Alexander then advanced
rapidly by way of Groll and Burik, both which places he took possession
of, to the neighbourhood of Zutphen. He was determined, at every hazard,
to relieve that important city; and although, after leaving necessary
detachments on the way; he had but five thousand men under his command,
besides fifteen hundred under Verdugo--making sixty-five hundred in
all--he had decided that the necessity of the case, and his own honour;
required him to seek the enemy, and to leave, as he said, the issue with
the God of battles, whose cause it was.

Tassis, lieutenant-governor of Gelderland, was ordered into the city with
two cornets of horse and six hundred foot. As large a number, had already
been stationed there. Verdugo, who had been awaiting the arrival of the
Prince at Borkelo, a dozen miles from Zutphen, with four hundred foot and
two hundred horse, now likewise entered the city.

On the night of 29th August Alexander himself entered Zutphen for the
purpose of encouraging the garrison by promise of-relief, and of
ascertaining the position of the enemy by personal observation. His
presence as it always did, inspired the soldiers with enthusiasm, so that
they could with difficulty be restrained from rushing forth to assault
the besiegers. In regard to the enemy he found that Gibbet Hill was still
occupied by Sir John Norris, "the best soldier, in his opinion, that they
had," who had entrenched himself very strongly, and was supposed to have
thirty-five hundred men under his command. His position seemed quite
impregnable. The rest of the English were on the other side of the river,
and Alexander observed, with satisfaction, that they had abandoned a
small redoubt, near the leper-house, outside the Loor-Gate, through which
the reinforcements must enter the city. The Prince determined to profit
by this mistake, and to seize the opportunity thus afforded of sending
those much needed supplies. During the night the enemy were found to be
throwing up works "most furiously," and skirmishing parties were sent out
of the town to annoy them. In the darkness nothing of consequence was
effected, but a Scotch officer was captured, who informed the Spanish
commander that the enemy was fifteen thousand strong--a number which was
nearly double that of Leicester's actual force. In the morning Alexander
returned to his camp at Borkelo--leaving Tassis in command of the Veluwe
Forts, and Verdugo in the city itself--and he at once made rapid work in
collecting victuals. He had soon wheat and other supplies in readiness,
sufficient to feed four thousand mouths for three months, and these he
determined to send into the city immediately, and at every hazard.

The great convoy which was now to be despatched required great care and a
powerful escort. Twenty-five hundred musketeers and pikemen, of whom one
thousand were Spaniards, and six hundred cavalry, Epirotes; Spaniards,
and Italians, under Hannibal Gonzaga, George Crescia, Bentivoglio, Sesa,
and others, were accordingly detailed for this expedition. The Marquis
del Vasto, to whom was entrusted the chief command, was ordered to march
from Borkelo at midnight on Wednesday, October 1 (St. Nov.) [N.S.]. It
was calculated that he would reach a certain hillock not far from
Warnsfeld by dawn of day. Here he was to pause, and send forward an
officer towards the town, communicating his arrival, and requesting the
cooperation of Verdugo, who was to make a sortie with one thousand men,
according to Alexander's previous arrangements. The plan was successfully
carried out. The Marquis arrived by daybreak at the spot indicated, and
despatched Captain de Vega who contrived to send intelligence of the
fact. A trooper, whom Parma had himself sent to Verdugo with earlier
information of the movement, had been captured on the way. Leicester had
therefore been apprized, at an early moment, of the Prince's intentions,
but he was not aware that the convoy would be accompanied by so strong a
force as had really been detailed.

He had accordingly ordered Sir John Norris, who commanded on the outside
of the town near the road which the Spaniards must traverse, to place an
ambuscade in his way. Sir John, always ready for adventurous enterprises,
took a body of two hundred cavalry, all picked men, and ordered Sir
William Stanley, with three hundred pikemen, to follow. A much stronger
force of infantry was held in reserve and readiness, but it was not
thought that it would be required. The ambuscade was successfully placed,
before the dawn of Thursday morning, in the neighbourhood of Warnsfeld
church. On the other hand, the Earl of Leicester himself, anxious as to
the result, came across the river just at daybreak. He was accompanied by
the chief gentlemen in his camp, who could never be restrained when blows
were passing current.

The business that morning was a commonplace and practical though an
important, one--to "impeach" a convoy of wheat and barley, butter,
cheese, and beef--but the names of those noble and knightly volunteers,
familiar throughout Christendom, sound like the roll-call for some
chivalrous tournament. There were Essex and Audley, Stanley, Pelham,
Russell, both the Sidneys, all the Norrises, men whose valour had been.
proved on many a hard-fought battle-field. There, too, was the famous
hero of British ballad whose name was so often to ring on the plains of
the Netherlands--

          "The brave Lord Willoughby,
          Of courage fierce and fell,
          Who would not give one inch of way
          For all the devils in hell."

Twenty such volunteers as these sat on horseback that morning around the
stately Earl of Leicester. It seemed an incredible extravagance to send a
handful of such heroes against an army.

But the English commander-in-chief had been listening to the insidious
tongue of Roland York--that bold, plausible, unscrupulous partisan,
already twice a renegade, of whom more was ere long to be heard in the
Netherlands and England. Of the man's courage there could be no doubt,
and he was about to fight that morning in the front rank at the head of
his company. But he had, for some mysterious reason, been bent upon
persuading the Earl that the Spaniards were no match for Englishmen at a
hand-to-hand contest. When they could ride freely up and down, he said,
and use their lances as they liked, they were formidable. But the English
were stronger men, better riders, better mounted, and better armed. The
Spaniards hated helmets and proof armour, while the English trooper, in
casque, cuirass, and greaves, was a living fortress impregnable to
Spanish or Italian light horsemen. And Leicester seemed almost convinced
by his reasoning.

It was five o'clock of a chill autumn morning. It was time for day to
break, but the fog was so thick that a man at the distance of five yards
was quite invisible. The creaking of waggon-wheels and the measured tramp
of soldiers soon became faintly audible however to Sir John Norris and
his five hundred as they sat there in the mist. Presently came galloping
forward in hot haste those nobles and gentlemen, with their esquires,
fifty men in all--Sidney, Willoughby, and the rest--whom Leicester had no
longer been able to restrain from taking part in the adventure.

A force of infantry, the amount of which cannot be satisfactorily
ascertained, had been ordered by the Earl to cross the bridge at a later
moment. Sidney's cornet of horse was then in Deventer, to which place it
had been sent in order to assist in quelling an anticipated revolt, so
that he came, like most of his companions, as a private volunteer and

The arrival of the expected convoy was soon more distinctly heard, but no
scouts or outposts had been stationed to give timely notice, of the
enemy's movements. Suddenly the fog, which had shrouded the scene so
closely, rolled away like a curtain, and in the full light of an October
morning the Englishmen found themselves face to face with a compact body
of more than three thousand men. The Marquis del Vasto rode at the head
of the forces surrounded by a band of mounted arquebus men. The cavalry,
under the famous Epirote chief George Crescia, Hannibal Gonzaga,
Bentivoglio, Sesa, Conti, and other distinguished commanders, followed;
the columns of pikemen and musketeers lined the hedge-rows on both sides
the causeway; while between them the long train of waggons came slowly
along under their protection. The whole force had got in motion after
having sent notice of their arrival to Verdugo, who, with one or two
thousand men, was expected to sally forth almost immediately from the

There was but brief time for deliberation. Notwithstanding the tremendous
odds there was no thought of retreat. Black Norris called to Sir William
Stanley, with whom he had been at variance so lately at Doesburg.

"There hath been ill-blood between us," he said. "Let us be friends
together this day, and die side by side, if need be, in her Majesty's

"If you see me not serve my prince with faithful courage now," replied
Stanley, "account, me for ever a coward. Living or dying I will stand err
lie by you in friendship."

As they were speaking these words the young Earl of Essex, general of the
horse, cried to his, handful of troopers:

"Follow me, good fellows, for the honour of England and of England's

As he spoke he dashed, lance in rest, upon the enemy's cavalry, overthrew
the foremost man, horse and rider, shivered his own spear to splinters,
and then, swinging his cartel-axe, rode merrily forward. His whole little
troop, compact, as an arrow-head, flew with an irresistible shock against
the opposing columns, pierced clean through them, and scattered them in
all directions. At the very first charge one hundred English horsemen
drove the Spanish and Albanian cavalry back upon the musketeers and
pikemen. Wheeling with rapidity, they retired before a volley of
musket-shot, by which many horses and a few riders were killed; and then
formed again to renew the attack. Sir Philip Sidney, an coming to the
field, having met Sir William Pelham, the veteran lord marshal, lightly
armed, had with chivalrous extravagance thrown off his own cuishes, and
now rode to the battle with no armour but his cuirass. At the second
charge his horse was shot under him, but, mounting another, he was seen
everywhere, in the thick of the fight, behaving himself with a gallantry
which extorted admiration even from the enemy.

For the battle was a series of personal encounters in which high officers
were doing the work of private, soldiers. Lord North, who had been lying
"bed-rid" with a musket-shot in the leg, had got himself put on
horseback, and with "one boot on and one boot off," bore himself, "most
lustily" through the whole affair. "I desire that her Majesty may know;"
he said, "that I live but to, serve her. A better barony than I have
could not hire the Lord North to live, on meaner terms." Sir William
Russell laid about him with his curtel-axe to such purpose that the
Spaniards pronounced him a devil and not a man. "Wherever," said an
eye-witness, "he saw five or six of the enemy together; thither would he,
and with his hard knocks soon separated their friendship." Lord
Willoughby encountered George Crescia, general of the famed Albanian
cavalry, unhorsed him at the first shock, and rolled him into the ditch.
"I yield me thy prisoner," called out the Epirote in French, "for thou
art a 'preux chevalier;'" while Willoughby, trusting to his captive's
word, galloped onward, and with him the rest of the little troop, till
they seemed swallowed up by the superior numbers of the enemy. His horse
was shot under him, his basses were torn from his legs, and he was nearly
taken a prisoner, but fought his way back with incredible strength and
good fortune. Sir William Stanley's horse had seven bullets in him, but
bore his rider unhurt to the end of the battle. Leicester declared Sir
William and "old Reads" to be "worth their weight in pearl."

Hannibal Gonzaga, leader of the Spanish cavalry, fell mortally wounded a
The Marquis del Vasto, commander of the expedition, nearly met the same
fate. An Englishman was just cleaving his head with a battle-axe, when a
Spaniard transfixed the soldier with his pike. The most obstinate
struggle took place about the train of waggons. The teamsters had fled in
the beginning of the action, but the English and Spanish soldiers,
struggling with the horses, and pulling them forward and backward, tried
in vain to get exclusive possession of the convoy which was the cause of
the action. The carts at last forced their way slowly nearer and nearer
to the town, while the combat still went on, warm as ever, between the
hostile squadrons. The action, lasted an hour and a half, and again and
again the Spanish horsemen wavered and broke before the handful of
English, and fell back upon their musketeers. Sir Philip Sidney, in the
last charge, rode quite through the enemy's ranks till he came upon their
entrenchments, when a musket-ball from the camp struck him upon the
thigh, three inches above the knee. Although desperately wounded in a
part which should have been protected by the cuishes which he had thrown
aside, he was not inclined to leave the field; but his own horse had been
shot under him at the-beginning of the action, and the one upon which he
was now mounted became too restive for him, thus crippled, to control. He
turned reluctantly away, and rode a mile and a half back to the
entrenchments, suffering extreme pain, for his leg was dreadfully
shattered. As he past along the edge of the battle-field his attendants
brought him a bottle of water to quench his raging thirst. At, that
moment a wounded English soldier, "who had eaten his last at the same
feast," looked up wistfully, in his face, when Sidney instantly handed
him the flask, exclaiming, "Thy necessity is even greater than mine." He
then pledged his dying comrade in a draught, and was soon afterwards met
by his uncle. "Oh, Philip," cried Leicester, in despair, "I am truly
grieved to see thee in this plight." But Sidney comforted him with manful
words, and assured him that death was sweet in the cause of his Queen and
country. Sir William Russell, too, all blood-stained from the fight,
threw his arms around his friend, wept like a child, and kissing his
hand, exclaimed, "Oh! noble Sir Philip, never did man attain hurt so
honourably or serve so valiantly as you." Sir William Pelham declared
"that Sidney's noble courage in the face of our enemies had won him a
name of continuing honour."

The wounded gentleman was borne back to the camp, and thence in a barge
to Arnheim. The fight was over. Sir John Norris bade Lord Leicester "be
merry, for," said he, "you have had the honourablest day. A handful of
men has driven the enemy three times to retreat." But, in truth, it was
now time for the English to retire in their turn. Their reserve never
arrived. The whole force engaged against the thirty-five hundred
Spaniards had never exceeded two hundred and fifty horse and three
hundred foot, and of this number the chief work had beer done by the
fifty or sixty volunteers and their followers. The heroism which had been
displayed was fruitless, except as a proof--and so Leicester wrote to the
Palatine John Casimir--"that Spaniards were not invincible." Two thousand
men now sallied from the Loor Gate under Verdugo and Tassis, to join the
force under Vasto, and the English were forced to retreat. The whole
convoy was then carried into the city, and the Spaniards remained masters
of the field.

Thirteen troopers and twenty-two foot soldiers; upon the English side,
were killed. The enemy lost perhaps two hundred men. They were thrice
turned from their position, and thrice routed, but they succeeded at last
in their attempt to carry their convoy into Zutphen. Upon that day, and
the succeeding ones, the town was completely victualled. Very little,
therefore, save honour, was gained by the display of English valour
against overwhelming numbers; five hundred against, near, four thousand.
Never in the whole course of the war had there been such fighting, for
the troops upon both sides were picked men and veterans. For a long time
afterwards it was the custom of Spaniards and Netherlanders, in
characterising a hardly-contested action, to call it as warm as the fight
at Zutphen.

"I think I may call it," said Leicester, "the most notable encounter that
hath been in our age, and it will remain to our posterity famous."

Nevertheless it is probable that the encounter would have been forgotten
by posterity but for the melancholy close upon that field to Sidney's
bright career. And perhaps the Queen of England had as much reason to
blush for the incompetency of her general and favourite as to be proud.
of the heroism displayed by her officers and soldiers.

"There were too many indeed at this skirmish of the better sort," said
Leicester; "only a two hundred and fifty horse, and most of them the best
of this camp, and unawares to me. I was offended when I knew it, but
could not fetch them back; but since they all so well escaped (save my
dear nephew), I would not for ten thousand pounds but they had been
there, since they have all won that honour they have. Your Lordship never
heard of such desperate charges as they gave upon the enemies in the face
of their muskets."

He described Sidney's wound as "very dangerous, the bone being broken in
pieces;" but said that the surgeons were in good hope. "I pray God to
save his life," said the Earl, "and I care not how lame he be." Sir
Philip was carried to Arnheim, where the best surgeons were immediately
in attendance upon him. He submitted to their examination and the pain
which they inflicted, with great cheerfulness, although himself persuaded
that his wound was mortal. For many days the result was doubtful,
and messages were sent day by day to England that he was
convalescent--intelligence which was hailed by the Queen and people as a
matter not of private but of public rejoicing. He soon began to fail,
however. Count Hohenlo was badly wounded a few days later before the
great fort of Zutphen. A musket-ball entered his mouth; and passed
through his cheek, carrying off a jewel which hung in his ear.
Notwithstanding his own critical condition, however, Hohenlo sent his
surgeon, Adrian van den Spiegel, a man of great skill, to wait upon Sir
Philip, but Adrian soon felt that the case was hopeless. Meantime fever
and gangrene attacked the Count himself; and those in attendance upon
him, fearing for his life, sent for his surgeon. Leicester refused to
allow Adrian to depart, and Hohenlo very generously acquiescing in the
decree, but, also requiring the surgeon's personal care, caused himself
to be transported in a litter to Arnheim.

Sidney was first to recognise the symptoms of mortification, which made a
fatal result inevitable. His demeanour during his sickness and upon his
death-bed was as beautiful as his life. He discoursed with his friends
concerning the immortality of the soul, comparing the doctrines of Plato
and of other ancient philosophers, whose writings were so familiar to
him, with the revelations of Scripture and with the dictates of natural
religion. He made his will with minute and elaborate provisions, leaving
bequests, remembrances, and rings, to all his friends. Then he indulged
himself with music, and listened particularly to a strange song which he
had himself composed during his illness, and which he had entitled 'La
Cuisse rompue.' He took leave of the friends around him with perfect
calmness; saying to his brother Robert, "Love my memory. Cherish my
friends. Above all, govern your will and affections by the will and word
of your Creator; in me beholding the end of this world with all her

And thus this gentle and heroic spirit took its flight.

Parma, after thoroughly victualling Zutphen, turned his attention to the
German levies which Leicester was expecting under the care of Count
Meurs. "If the enemy is reinforced by these six thousand fresh troops,"
said Alexander; "it will make him master of the field." And well he might
hold this opinion, for, in the meagre state of both the Spanish and the
liberating armies, the addition of three thousand fresh reiters and as
many infantry would be enough to turn the scale. The Duke of Parma--for,
since the recent death of his father, Farnese had succeeded to his
title--determined in person to seek the German troops, and to destroy
them if possible. But they never gave him the chance. Their muster-place
was Bremen, but when they heard that the terrible 'Holofernese' was in
pursuit of them, and that the commencement of their service would be a
pitched battle with his Spaniards and Italians, they broke up and
scattered about the country. Soon afterwards the Duke tried another
method of effectually dispersing them, in case they still retained a wish
to fulfil their engagement with Leicester. He sent a messenger to treat
with them, and in consequence two of their rittmeisters; paid him a
visit. He offered to give them higher pay, and "ready money in place of
tricks and promises." The mercenary heroes listened very favourably to
his proposals, although they had already received--besides the tricks and
promises--at least one hundred thousand florins out of the States'

After proceeding thus far in the negotiation, however, Parma concluded,
as the season was so far advanced, that it was sufficient to have
dispersed them, and to have deprived the English and patriots of their
services. So he gave the two majors a gold chain a-piece, and they went
their way thoroughly satisfied. "I have got them away from the enemy for
this year," said Alexander; "and this I hold to be one of the best
services that has been rendered for many a long day to your Majesty."

During the period which intervened between the action at Warnsfeld and
the death of Sidney, the siege-operations before Zutphen had been
continued. The city, strongly garrisoned and well supplied with
provisions, as it had been by Parma's care, remained impregnable; but the
sconces beyond the river and upon the island fell into Leicester's hands.
The great fortress which commanded the Veluwe, and which was strong
enough to have resisted Count Hohenlo on a former, occasion for nearly a
whole year, was the scene of much hard fighting. It was gained at last by
the signal valour of Edward Stanley, lieutenant to Sir William. That
officer, at the commencement of an assault upon a not very practicable
breach, sprang at the long pike of a Spanish soldier, who was endeavoring
to thrust him from the wall, and seized it with both hands. The Spaniard
struggled to maintain his hold of the weapon, Stanley to wrest it from
his grasp. A dozen other soldiers broke their pikes upon his cuirass or
shot at him with their muskets. Conspicuous by his dress, being all in
yellow but his corslet, he was in full sight of Leicester and of fire
thousand men. The earth was so shifty and sandy that the soldiers who
were to follow him were not able to climb the wall. Still Stanley grasped
his adversary's pike, but, suddenly changing his plan, he allowed the
Spaniard to lift him from the ground. Then, assisting himself with his
feet against the wall, he, much to the astonishment of the spectators,
scrambled quite over the parapet, and dashed sword in hand among the
defenders of the fort. Had he been endowed with a hundred lives it seemed
impossible for him to escape death. But his followers, stimulated by his
example, made ladders for themselves of each others' shoulders, clambered
at last with great exertion over the broken wall, overpowered the
garrison, and made themselves masters of the sconce. Leicester,
transported with enthusiasm for this noble deed of daring, knighted
Edward Stanley upon the spot, besides presenting him next day with forty
pounds in gold and an annuity of one hundred marks, sterling for life.
"Since I was born, I did never see any man behave himself as he did,"
said the Earl. "I shall never forget it, if I live a thousand year, and
he shall have a part of my living for it as long as I live."

The occupation of these forts terminated the military operations of the
year, for the rainy season, precursor of the winter, had now set in.
Leicester, leaving Sir William Stanley, with twelve hundred English and
Irish horse, in command of Deventer; Sir John Burrowes, with one thousand
men, in Doesburg; and Sir Robert Yorke, with one thousand more, in the
great sconce before Zutphen; took his departure for the Hague. Zutphen
seemed so surrounded as to authorize the governor to expect ere long its
capitulation. Nevertheless, the results of the campaign had not been
encouraging. The States had lost ground, having been driven from the
Meuse and Rhine, while they had with difficulty maintained themselves on
the Flemish coast and upon the Yssel.

It is now necessary to glance at the internal politics of the Republic
during the period of Leicester's administration and to explain the
position in which he found himself at the close of the year.


     And thus this gentle and heroic spirit took its flight
     Five great rivers hold the Netherland territory in their coils
     High officers were doing the work of private, soldiers
     I did never see any man behave himself as he did
     There is no man fitter for that purpose than myself


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History of the United Netherlands, Volume 49, 1586


   Should Elizabeth accept the Sovereignty?--The Effects of her Anger--
   Quarrels between the Earl and the Staten--The Earl's three
   Counsellors--Leicester's Finance--Chamber--Discontent of the
   Mercantile Classes--Paul Buys and the Opposition--Been Insight of
   Paul Buys--Truchsess becomes a Spy upon him--Intrigues of Buys with
   Denmark--His Imprisonment--The Earl's Unpopularity--His Quarrels
   with the States--And with the Norrises--His Counsellors Wilkes and
   Clerke--Letter from the Queen to Leicester--A Supper Party at
   Hohenlo's--A drunken Quarrel--Hohenlo's Assault upon Edward Norris--
   Ill Effects of the Riot.

The brief period of sunshine had been swiftly followed by storms. The
Governor Absolute had, from the outset, been placed in a false position.
Before he came to the Netherlands the Queen had refused the sovereignty.
Perhaps it was wise in her to decline so magnificent an offer; yet
certainly her acceptance would have been perfectly honourable. The
constituted authorities of the Provinces formally made the proposition.
There is no doubt whatever that the whole population ardently desired to
become her subjects. So far as the Netherlands were concerned, then, she
would have been fully justified in extending her sceptre over a free
people, who, under no compulsion and without any, diplomatic chicane, had
selected her for their hereditary chief. So far as regarded England, the
annexation to that country of a continental cluster of states, inhabited
by a race closely allied to it by blood, religion, and the instinct for
political freedom, seemed, on the whole, desirable.

In a financial point of view, England would certainly lose nothing by the
union. The resources of the Provinces were at leant equal to her own. We
have seen the astonishment which the wealth and strength of the
Netherlands excited in their English visitors. They were amazed by the
evidences of commercial and manufacturing prosperity, by the spectacle of
luxury and advanced culture, which met them on every side. Had the
Queen--as it had been generally supposed--desired to learn whether the
Provinces were able and willing to pay the expenses of their own defence
before she should definitely decide on, their offer of sovereignty, she
was soon thoroughly enlightened upon the subject. Her confidential agents
all--held one language. If she would only, accept the sovereignty, the
amount which the Provinces would pay was in a manner boundless. She was
assured that the revenue of her own hereditary realm was much inferior to
that of the possessions thus offered to her sway.

In regard to constitutional polity, the condition of the Netherlands was
at least, as satisfactory as that of England. The great amount of civil
freedom enjoyed by those countries--although perhaps an objection--in the
eyes of Elizabeth Tudor--should certainly have been a recommendation to
her liberty-loving subjects. The question of defence had been
satisfactorily answered. The Provinces, if an integral part of the
English empire, could protect themselves, and would become an additional
element of strength--not a troublesome encumbrance.

The difference of language was far, less than that which already existed
between the English and their Irish fellow-subjects, while it was
counterbalanced by sympathy, instead of being aggravated by mutual
hostility in the matter of religion.

With regard to the great question of abstract sovereignty, it was
certainly impolitic for an absolute monarch to recognize the right of a
nation to repudiate its natural allegiance. But Elizabeth had already
countenanced that step by assisting the rebellion against Philip. To
allow the rebels to transfer their obedience from the King of Spain to
herself was only another step in the same direction. The Queen, should
she annex the Provinces, would certainly be accused by the world of
ambition; but the ambition was a noble one, if, by thus consenting to the
urgent solicitations of a free people, she extended the region of civil
and religious liberty, and raised up a permanent bulwark against
sacerdotal and royal absolutism.

A war between herself and Spain was inevitable if she accepted the
sovereignty, but peace had been already rendered impossible by the treaty
of alliance. It is true that the Queen imagined the possibility of
combining her engagements towards the States with a conciliatory attitude
towards their ancient master, but it was here that she committed the
gravest error. The negotiations of Parma and his sovereign with the
English court were a masterpiece of deceit on the part of Spain. We have
shown, by the secret correspondence, and we shall in the sequel make it
still clearer, that Philip only intended to amuse his antagonists; that
he had already prepared his plan for the conquest of England, down to the
minutest details; that the idea of tolerating religious liberty had never
entered his mind; and that his fixed purpose was not only thoroughly to
chastise the Dutch rebels, but to deprive the heretic Queen who had
fostered their rebellion both of throne and life. So far as regarded the
Spanish King, then, the quarrel between him and Elizabeth was already
mortal; while in a religious, moral, political, and financial point of
view, it would be difficult to show that it was wrong, or imprudent for
England to accept the sovereignty over his ancient subjects. The cause of
human, freedom seemed likely to gain by the step, for the States did not
consider themselves strong enough to maintain the independent republic
which had already risen.

It might be a question whether, on the whole, Elizabeth made a mistake in
declining the sovereignty. She was certainly wrong, however, in wishing
the lieutenant-general of her six thousand auxiliary troops to be
clothed, as such, with vice-regal powers. The States-General, in a moment
of enthusiasm, appointed him governor absolute, and placed in his hands,
not only the command of the forces, but the entire control of their
revenues, imposts, and customs, together with the appointment of civil
and military officers. Such an amount of power could only be delegated by
the sovereign. Elizabeth had refused the sovereignty: it then rested with
the States. They only, therefore, were competent to confer the power
which Elizabeth wished her favourite to exercise simply as her

Her wrathful and vituperative language damaged her cause and that of the
Netherlands more severely than can now be accurately estimated. The Earl
was placed at once in a false, a humiliating, almost a ridiculous
position. The authority which the States had thus a second time offered
to England was a second time and most scornfully thrust back upon them.
Elizabeth was indignant that "her own man" should clothe himself in the
supreme attributes which she had refused. The States were forced by the
violence of the Queen to take the authority into their own hands again,
and Leicester was looked upon as a disgraced man.

Then came the neglect with which the Earl was treated by her Majesty and
her ill-timed parsimony towards the cause. No letters to him in four
months, no remittances for the English troops, not a penny of salary for
him. The whole expense of the war was thrown for the time upon their
hands, and the English soldiers seemed only a few thousand starving,
naked, dying vagrants, an incumbrance instead of an aid.

The States, in their turn, drew the purse-strings. The two hundred
thousand florins monthly were paid. The four hundred thousand florins
which had been voted as an additional supply were for a time held back,
as Leicester expressly stated, because of the discredit which had been
thrown upon him from home.

   [Strangely enough, Elizabeth was under the impression that the extra
   grant of 400,000 florins (L40,000) for four months was four hundred
   thousand pounds sterling. "The rest that was granted by the States,
   as extraordinary to levy an army, which was 400,000 florins, not
   pounds, as I hear your Majesty taketh it. It is forty thousand
   pounds, and to be paid In March, April, May, and June last," &c.
   Leicester to the Queen, 11 Oct. 1586. (S. P. Office MS.)]

The military operations were crippled for want of funds, but more fatal
than everything else were the secret negotiations for peace. Subordinate
individuals, like Grafigni and De Loo, went up and down, bringing
presents out of England for Alexander Farnese, and bragging that Parma
and themselves could have peace whenever they liked to make it, and
affirming that Leicester's opinions were of no account whatever.
Elizabeth's coldness to the Earl and to the Netherlands was affirmed to
be the Prince of Parma's sheet-anchor; while meantime a house was
ostentatiously prepared in Brussels by their direction for the reception
of an English ambassador, who was every moment expected to arrive. Under
such circumstances it was in, vain for the governor-general to protest
that the accounts of secret negotiations were false, and quite natural
that the States should lose their confidence in the Queen. An unfriendly
and suspicious attitude towards her representative was a necessary
result, and the demonstrations against the common enemy became still more
languid. But for these underhand dealings, Grave, Venlo, and Neusz, might
have been saved, and the current 'of the Meuse and Rhine have remained in
the hands of the patriots.

The Earl was industrious, generous, and desirous of playing well his
part. His personal courage was undoubted, and, in the opinion of his
admirers--themselves, some of them, men of large military experience--his
ability as a commander was of a high order. The valour displayed by the
English nobles and gentlemen who accompanied him was magnificent, worthy
the descendants of the victors at Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt; and the
good behaviour of their followers--with a few rare exceptions--had been
equally signal. But now the army was dwindling to a ghastly array of
scarecrows, and the recruits, as they came from England, were appalled by
the spectacle presented by their predecessors. "Our old ragged rogues
here have so discouraged our new men," said Leicester; "as I protest to
you they look like dead men." Out of eleven hundred freshly-arrived
Englishmen, five hundred ran away in two days. Some were caught and
hanged, and all seemed to prefer hanging to remaining in the service,
while the Earl declared that he would be hanged as well rather than again
undertake such a charge without being assured payment for his troops

The valour of Sidney and Essex, Willoughby and Pelham, Roger Williams and
Martin Schenk, was set at nought by such untoward circumstances. Had not
Philip also left his army to starve and Alexander Farnese to work
miracles, it would have fared still worse with Holland and England, and
with the cause of civil and religious liberty in the year 1586.

The States having resumed, as much as possible; their former authority,
were on very unsatisfactory terms with the governor-general. Before long,
it was impossible for the twenty or thirty individuals called the States
to be in the same town with the man whom, at the commencement of the
year, they had greeted so warmly. The hatred between the Leicester
faction and the municipalities became intense, for the foundation of the
two great parties which were long to divide the Netherland commonwealth
was already laid. The mercantile patrician interest, embodied in the
states of Holland and Zeeland and inclined to a large toleration in the
matter of religion, which afterwards took the form of Arminianism, was
opposed by a strict Calvinist party, which desired to subject the
political commonwealth to the reformed church; which nevertheless
indulged in very democratic views of the social compact; and which was
controlled by a few refugees from Flanders and Brabant, who had succeeded
in obtaining the confidence of Leicester.

Thus the Earl was the nominal head of the Calvinist democratic party;
while young Maurice of Nassau; stadholder of Holland and Zeeland, and
guided by Barneveld, Buys, and other leading statesmen of these
Provinces; was in an attitude precisely the reverse of the one which he
was destined at a later and equally memorable epoch to assume. The chiefs
of the faction which had now succeeded in gaining the confidence of
Leicester were Reingault, Burgrave, and Deventer, all refugees.

The laws of Holland and of the other United States were very strict on
the subject of citizenship, and no one but a native was competent to hold
office in each Province. Doubtless, such regulations were
narrow-spirited; but to fly in the face of them was the act of a despot,
and this is what Leicester did. Reingault was a Fleming. He was a
bankrupt merchant, who had been taken into the protection of Lamoral
Egmont, and by that nobleman recommended to Granvelle for an office under
the Cardinal's government. The refusal of this favour was one of the
original causes of Egmont's hostility to Granvelle. Reingault
subsequently entered the service of the Cardinal, however, and rewarded
the kindness of his former benefactor by great exertions in finding, or
inventing, evidence to justify the execution of that unfortunate
nobleman. He was afterwards much employed by the Duke of Alva and by the
Grand Commander Requesens; but after the pacification of Ghent he had
been completely thrown out of service. He had recently, in a subordinate
capacity, accompanied the legations of the States to France and to
England, and had now contrived to ingratiate himself with the Earl of
Leicester. He affected great zeal for the Calvinistic religion--an
exhibition which, in the old servant of Granvelle and Alva, was far from
edifying--and would employ no man or maid-servant in his household until
their religious principles had been thoroughly examined by one or two
clergymen. In brief, he was one of those, who, according to a homely
Flemish proverb, are wont to hang their piety on the bell-rope; but, with
the exception of this brief interlude in his career, he lived and died a

Gerard Proninck, called Deventer, was a respectable inhabitant of
Bois-le-Duc, who had left that city after it had again become subject to
the authority of Spain. He was of decent life and conversation, but a
restless and ambitious demagogue. As a Brabantine, he was unfit for
office; and yet, through Leicester's influence and the intrigues of the
democratic party, he obtained the appointment of burgomaster in the city
of Utrecht. The States-General, however, always refused to allow him to
appear at their sessions as representative of that city.

Daniel de Burgrave was a Flemish mechanic, who, by the exertion of much
energy and talent, had risen to the poet of procureur-general of
Flanders. After the conquest of the principal portion of that Province by
Parma, he had made himself useful to the English governor-general in
various ways, and particularly as a linguist. He spoke English--a tongue
with which few Netherlanders of that day were familiar--and as the Earl
knew no other, except (very imperfectly) Italian, he found his services
in speaking and writing a variety of languages very convenient. He was
the governor's private secretary, and, of course, had no entrance to the
council of state, but he was accused of frequently thrusting himself into
their hall of sessions, where, under pretence of arranging the Earl's
table, or portfolio, or papers, he was much addicted to whispering into
his master's ear, listening to conversation,--to eaves-dropping; in
short, and general intrusiveness.

"A most faithful, honest servant is Burgrave," said Leicester; "a
substantial, wise man. 'Tis as sufficient a man as ever I met withal of
any nation; very well learned, exceeding wise, and sincere in religion. I
cannot commend the man too much. He is the only comfort I have had of any
of this nation."

These three personages were the leaders of the Leicester faction. They
had much, influence with all the refugees from Flanders, Brabant, and the
Walloon Provinces. In Utrecht, especially, where the Earl mainly resided,
their intrigues were very successful. Deventer was appointed, as already
stated, to the important post of burgomaster; many, of the influential
citizens were banished, without cause or, trial; the upper branch of the
municipal government, consisting of the clerical delegates of the
colleges, was in an arbitrary manner abolished; and, finally, the
absolute sovereignty of, the Province, without condition, was offered to
the Queen, of England.

Leicester was now determined to carry out one of the great objects which
the Queen had in view when she sent him to the Netherlands. She desired
thoroughly to ascertain the financial resources of the Provinces, and
their capacity to defend themselves. It was supposed by the States, and
hoped by the Earl and by a majority of the Netherland people, that she
would, in case the results were satisfactory, accept, after all, the
sovereignty. She certainly was not to be blamed that she wished to make
this most important investigation, but it was her own fault that any new
machinery had been rendered necessary. The whole control of the finances
had, in the beginning of the year, been placed in the Earl's hands, and
it was only by her violently depriving him of his credit and of the
confidence of the country that he had not retained it. He now established
a finance-chamber, under the chief control of Reingault, who promised him
mountains of money, and who was to be chief treasurer. Paul Buys was
appointed by Leicester to fill a subordinate position in the new council.
He spurned the offer with great indignation, saying that Reingault was
not fit to be his clerk, and that he was not likely himself, therefore,
to accept a humble post under the administration of such an individual.
This scornful refusal filled to the full the hatred of Leicester against
the ex-Advocate of Holland.

The mercantile interest at once took the alarm, because it was supposed
that the finance-chamber, was intended to crush the merchants. Early in
April an Act had been passed by the state-council, prohibiting commerce
with the Spanish possessions. The embargo was intended to injure the
obedient Provinces and their sovereign, but it was shown that its effect
would be to blast the commerce of Holland. It forbade the exportation
from the republic not only of all provisions and munitions of war, but of
all goods and merchandize whatever, to Spain, Portugal, the Spanish
Netherlands, or any other of Philip's territories, either in Dutch or
neutral vessel. It would certainly seem, at first sight, that such an act
was reasonable, although the result would really be, not to deprive the
enemy of supplies, but to throw the whole Baltic trade into the hands of
the Bremen, Hamburg, and "Osterling" merchants. Leicester expected to
derive a considerable revenue by granting passports and licenses to such
neutral traders, but the edict became so unpopular that it was never
thoroughly enforced, and was before long rescinded.

The odium of the measure was thrown upon the governor-general, yet he had
in truth opposed it in the state-council, and was influential in
procuring its repeal.

Another important Act had been directed against the mercantile interest,
and excited much general discontent. The Netherlands wished the staple of
the English cloth manufacture to be removed from Emden--the petty,
sovereign of which place was the humble servant of Spain--to Amsterdam or
Delft. The desire was certainly, natural, and the Dutch merchants sent a
committee to confer with Leicester. He was much impressed with their
views, and with the sagacity of their chairman, one Mylward, "a wise
fellow and well languaged, an ancient man and very, religious," as the
Earl pronounced him to be.

Notwithstanding the wisdom however, of this well-languaged fellow, the
Queen, for some strange reason, could not be induced to change the staple
from Emden, although it was shown that the public revenue of the
Netherlands would gain twenty thousand pounds a year by the measure. "All
Holland will cry out for it," said Leicester; "but I had rather they
cried than that England should weep."

Thus the mercantile community, and especially the patrician families of
Holland and Zeeland, all engaged in trade, became more and more hostile
to the governor-general and to his financial trio, who were soon almost
as unpopular as the famous Consults of Cardinal Granvelle had been. It
was the custom of the States to consider the men who surrounded the Earl
as needy and unprincipled renegades and adventurers. It was the policy of
his advisers to represent the merchants and the States--which mainly
consisted of, or were controlled by merchants--as a body of corrupt,
selfish, greedy money-getters.

The calumnies put in circulation against the States by Reingault and his
associates grew at last so outrageous, and the prejudice created in the
mind of Leicester and his immediate English adherents so intense, that it
was rendered necessary for the States, of Holland and Zeeland to write to
their agent Ortell in London, that he might forestall the effect of these
perpetual misrepresentations on her Majesty's government. Leicester, on
the other hand, under the inspiration; of his artful advisers, was
vehement in his entreaties that Ortell should be sent away from England.

The ablest and busiest of the opposition-party, the "nimblest head" in
the States-General was the ex-Advocate of Holland; Paul Buys. This man
was then the foremost statesman in, the Netherlands. He had been the
firmest friend to the English alliance; he had resigned his office when
the States were-offering the sovereignty to France, and had been on the
point of taking service in Denmark. He had afterwards been prominent in
the legation which offered the sovereignty to Elizabeth, and, for a long
time, had been the most firm, earnest, and eloquent advocate of the
English policy. Leicester had originally courted him, caressed him,
especially recommended him to the Queen's favour, given him money--as he
said, "two hundred pounds sterling thick at a time"--and openly
pronounced him to be "in ability above all men." "No man hath ever sought
a man," he said, "as I have sought P. B."

The period of their friendship was, however, very brief. Before many
weeks had passed there was no vituperative epithet that Leicester was not
in the daily habit of bestowing upon Paul. The Earl's vocabulary of abuse
was not a limited one, but he exhausted it on the head of the Advocate.
He lacked at last words and breath to utter what was like him. He
pronounced his former friend "a very dangerous man, altogether hated of
the people and the States;"--"a lewd sinner, nursled in revolutions; a
most covetous, bribing fellow, caring for nothing but to bear the sway
and grow rich;"--"a man who had played many parts, both lewd and
audacious;"--"a very knave, a traitor to his country;"--"the most
ungrateful wretch alive, a hater of the Queen and of all the English; a
most unthankful man to her Majesty; a practiser to make himself rich and
great, and nobody else;"--"among all villains the greatest;"--"a
bolsterer of all papists and ill men, a dissembler, a devil, an atheist,"
a "most naughty man, and a most notorious drunkard in the worst degree."

Where the Earl hated, his hatred was apt to be deadly, and he was
determined, if possible, to have the life of the detested Paul. "You
shall see I will do well enough with him, and that shortly," he said. "I
will course him as he was not so this twenty year. I will warrant him
hanged and one or two of his fellows, but you must not tell your shirt of
this yet;" and when he was congratulating the government on his having at
length procured the execution of Captain Hemart, the surrenderer of
Grave, he added, pithily, "and you shall hear that Mr. P. B. shall

Yet the Earl's real griefs against Buys may be easily summed up. The lewd
sinner, nursled in revolutions, had detected the secret policy of the
Queen's government, and was therefore perpetually denouncing the
intrigues going on with Spain. He complained that her Majesty was tired
of having engaged in the Netherland enterprise; he declared that she
would be glad to get fairly out of it; that her reluctance to spend a
farthing more in the cause than she was obliged to do was hourly
increasing upon her; that she was deceiving and misleading the
States-General; and that she was hankering after a peace. He said that
the Earl had a secret intention to possess himself of certain towns in
Holland, in which case the whole question of peace and war would be in
the hands of the Queen, who would also have it thus in her power to
reimburse herself at once for all expenses that she had incurred.

It would be difficult to show that there was anything very calumnious in
these charges, which, no doubt, Paul was in the habit of making. As to
the economical tendencies of her Majesty, sufficient evidence has been
given already from Leicester's private letters. "Rather than spend one
hundred pounds," said Walsingham, "she can be content to be deceived of
five thousand." That she had been concealing from the Staten, from
Walsingham, from Leicester, during the whole summer, her secret
negotiations with Spain, has also been made apparent. That she was
disgusted with the enterprise in which she had embarked, Walsingham,
Burghley, Hatton, and all the other statesmen of England, most abundantly
testified. Whether Leicester had really an intention to possess himself
of certain cities in Holland--a charge made by Paul Buys, and denounced
as especially slanderous by the Earl--may better appear from his own
private statements.

"This I will do," he wrote to the Queen, "and I hope not to fail of it,
to get into my hands three or four most principal places in North
Holland; which will be such a strength and assurance for your Majesty, as
you shall see you shall both rule these men and make war or peace as you
list, always provided--whatsoever you hear, or is--part not with the
Brill; and having these places in your hands, whatsoever should chance to
these countries, your Majesty, I will warrant sure enough to make what
peace you will in an hour, and to have your debts and charges readily
answered." At a somewhat later moment it will be seen what came of these
secret designs. For the present, Leicester was very angry with Paul for
daring to suspect him of such treachery.

The Earl complained, too, that the influence of Buys with Hohenlo and
young Maurice of Nassau was most pernicious. Hohenlo had formerly stood
high in Leicester's opinion. He was a "plain, faithful soldier, a most
valiant gentleman," and he was still more important, because about to
marry Mary of Nassau; eldest slaughter, of William the Silent, and
coheiress with Philip William, to the Buren property. But he had been
tampered with by the intriguing Paul Buys, and had then wished to resign
his office under Leicester. Being pressed for reasons, he had "grown
solemn," and withdrawn himself almost entirely.

Maurice; with his "solemn, sly wit," also gave the Earl much trouble,
saying little; but thinking much, and listening to the insidious Paul. He
"stood much on making or marring," so Leicester thought, "as he met with
good counsel." He had formerly been on intimate terms with the
governor-general, who affected to call him his son; but he had
subsequently kept aloof, and in three months had not come near him. The
Earl thought that money might do much, and was anxious for Sir Francis
Drake to come home from the Indies with millions of gold, that the Queen
might make both Hohenlo and Maurice a handsome present before it should
be too late.

Meantime he did what he could with Elector Truchsess to lure them back
again. That forlorn little prelate was now poorer and more wretched than
ever. He was becoming paralytic, though young, and his heart was broken
through want. Leicester, always generous as the sun, gave him money, four
thousand florins at a time, and was most earnest that the Queen should
put him on her pension list. "His wisdom, his behaviour, his languages,
his person," said the Earl, "all would like her well. He is in great
melancholy for his town of Neusz, and for his poverty, having a very
noble mind. If, he be lost, her Majesty had better lose a hundred
thousand pounds."

The melancholy Truchsess now became a spy and a go-between. He insinuated
himself into the confidence of Paul Buys, wormed his secrets from him,
and then communicated them to Hohenlo and to Leicester; "but he did it
very wisely," said the Earl, "so that he was not mistrusted." The
governor always affected, in order to screen the elector from suspicion,
to obtain his information from persons in Utrecht; and he had indeed many
spies in that city; who diligently reported Paul's table-talk.
Nevertheless, that "noble gentleman, the elector," said Leicester, "hath
dealt most deeply with him, to seek out the bottom." As the ex-Advocate
of Holland was very communicative in his cups, and very bitter against
the governor-general, there was soon such a fund of information collected
on the subject by various eaves-droppers, that Leicester was in hopes of
very soon hanging Mr. Paul Buys, as we have already seen.

The burthen of the charges against the culprit was his statement that the
Provinces would be gone if her Majesty did not declare herself,
vigorously and generously, in their favour; but, as this was the
perpetual cry of Leicester himself, there seemed hardly hanging matter in
that. That noble gentleman, the elector, however, had nearly saved the
hangman his trouble, having so dealt with Hohenlo as to "bring him into
as good a mind as ever he was;" and the first fruits of this good mind
were, that the honest Count--a man of prompt dealings--walked straight to
Paul's house in order to kill him on the spot. Something fortunately
prevented the execution of this plan; but for a time at least the
energetic Count continued to be "governed greatly" by the ex-archbishop,
and "did impart wholly unto him his most secret heart."

Thus the "deep wise Truxy," as Leicester called him, continued to earn
golden opinions, and followed up his conversion of Hohenlo by undertaking
to "bring Maurice into tune again also," and the young Prince was soon on
better terms with his "affectionate father" than he had ever been before.
Paul Buys was not so easily put down, however, nor the two magnates so
thoroughly gained over. Before the end of the season Maurice stood in his
old position, the nominal head of the Holland or patrician party, chief
of the opposition to Leicester, while Hohenlo had become more bitter than
ever against the Earl. The quarrel between himself and Edward Norris, to
which allusion will soon be made, tended to increase the dissatisfaction,
although he singularly misunderstood Leicester's sentiments throughout
the whole affair. Hohenlo recovered of his wound before Zutphen; but, on
his recovery, was more malcontent than ever. The Earl was obliged at last
to confess that "he was a very dangerous man, inconstant, envious; and
hateful to all our nation, and a very traitor to the cause. There is no
dealing to win him," he added, "I have sought it to my cost. His best
friends tell me he is not to be trusted."

Meantime that lewd sinner, the indefatigable Paul, was plotting
desperately--so Leicester said and believed--to transfer the sovereignty
of the Provinces to the King of Denmark. Buys, who was privately of
opinion that the States required an absolute head, "though it were but an
onion's head," and that they would thankfully continue under Leicester as
governor absolute if Elizabeth would accept the sovereignty, had made up
his mind that the Queen would never take that step. He was therefore
disposed to offer the crown to the King of Denmark, and was believed to
have brought Maurice--who was to espouse that King's daughter--to the
same way of thinking. Young Count Rantzan, son of a distinguished Danish
statesman, made a visit to the Netherlands in order to confer with Buys.
Paul was also anxious to be appointed envoy to Denmark, ostensibly to
arrange for the two thousand cavalry, which the King had long before
promised for the assistance of the Provinces, but in reality, to examine
the details of this new project; and Leicester represented to the Queen
very earnestly how powerful the Danish monarch would become, thus
rendered master of the narrow seas, and how formidable to England.

In the midst of these plottings, real or supposed, a party of armed men,
one fine summer's morning, suddenly entered Paul's bedroom as he lay
asleep at the house of the burgomaster, seized his papers, and threw him:
into prison in the wine-cellar of the town-house. "Oh my papers, oh my
papers!" cried the unfortunate politician, according to Leicester's
statement, "the Queen of England will for ever hate me." The Earl
disavowed all, participation in the arrest; but he was not believed. He
declared himself not sorry that the measure had been taken, and promised
that he would not "be hasty to release him," not doubting that "he would
be found faulty enough." Leicester maintained that there was stuff enough
discovered to cost Paul his head; but he never lost his head, nor was
anything treasonable or criminal ever found against him. The intrigue
with Denmark--never proved--and commenced, if undertaken at all, in utter
despair of Elizabeth's accepting the sovereignty, was the gravest charge.
He remained, however, six months in prison, and at the beginning of 1587
was released, without trial or accusation, at the request of the English

The States could hardly be blamed for their opposition to the Earl's
administration, for he had thrown himself completely into the arms of a
faction, whose object was to vilipend and traduce them, and it was now
difficult for him to recover the functions of which the Queen had
deprived him. "The government they had given from themselves to me stuck
in their stomachs always," he said. Thus on the one side, the States
were, "growing more stately than ever," and were-always "jumbling
underhand," while the aristocratic Earl, on, his part, was resolute not
to be put down by "churls and tinkers." He was sure that the people were
with him, and that, "having always been governed by some prince, they,
never did nor could consent to be ruled by bakers, brewers, and hired
advocates. I know they hate them," said this high-born tribune of the
people. He was much disgusted with the many-headed chimaera, the
monstrous republic, with which he found himself in such unceasing
conflict, and was disposed to take a manful stand. "I have been fain of
late," he said, "to set the better leg foremost, to handle some of my
masters somewhat plainly; for they thought I would droop; and whatsoever
becomes of me, you shall hear I will keep my reputation, or die for it."

But one great accusation, made against the churls and tinkers, and bakers
and hired advocates, and Mr. Paul Buys at their head, was that they were
liberal towards the Papists. They were willing that Catholics should
remain in the country and exercise the rights of citizens, provided they,
conducted themselves like good citizens. For this toleration--a lesson
which statesmen like Buys and Barneveld had learned in the school of
William the Silent--the opposition-party were denounced as bolsterers of
Papists, and Papists themselves at heart, and "worshippers of idolatrous

From words, too, the government of Leicester passed to acts. Seventy
papists were banished from the city of Utrecht at the time of the arrest
of Buys. The Queen had constantly enforced upon Leicester the importance
of dealing justly with the Catholics in the Netherlands, on the ground
that they might be as good patriots and were as much interested in the
welfare of their country as were the Protestants; and he was especially
enjoined "not to meddle in matters of religion." This wholesome advice it
would have been quite impossible for the Earl, under the guidance of
Reingault, Burgrave, and Stephen Perret, to carry out. He protested that
he should have liked to treat Papists and Calvinists "with indifference,"
but that it had proved impossible; that the Catholics were perpetually
plotting with the Spanish faction, and that no towns were safe except
those in which Papists had been excluded from office. "They love the Pope
above all," he said, "and the Prince of Parma hath continual intelligence
with them." Nor was it Catholics alone who gave the governor trouble. He
was likewise very busy in putting down other denominations that differed
from the Calvinists. "Your Majesty will not believe," he said, "the
number of sects that are in most towns; especially Anabaptists, Families
of Love, Georgians; and I know not what. The godly and good ministers
were molested by them in many places, and ready to give over; and even
such diversities grew among magistrates in towns, being caused by some
sedition-sowers here." It is however, satisfactory to reflect that the
anabaptists and families of love, although discouraged and frowned upon,
were not burned alive, buried alive, drowned in dungeons, and roasted at
slow fires, as had been the case with them and with every other species
of Protestants, by thousands and tens of thousands, so long as Charles V.
and Philip II. had ruled the territory of that commonwealth. Humanity had
acquired something by the war which the Netherlanders had been waging for
twenty years, and no man or woman was ever put to death for religious
causes after the establishment of the republic.

With his hands thus full of business, it was difficult for the Earl to
obey the Queen's command not to meddle in religious matters; for he was
not of the stature of William the Silent, and could not comprehend that
the great lesson taught by the sixteenth century was that men were not to
meddle with men in matters of religion.

But besides his especial nightmare--Mr. Paul Buys--the governor-general
had a whole set of incubi in the Norris family. Probably no two persons
ever detested each other more cordially than did Leicester and Sir John
Norris. Sir John had been commander of the forces in the Netherlands
before Leicester's arrival, and was unquestionably a man of larger
experience than the Earl. He had, however, as Walsingham complained,
acquired by his services in "countries where neither discipline military
nor religion carried any sway," a very rude and licentious kind of
government. "Would to God," said the secretary, "that, with his value and
courage, he carried the mind and reputation of a religious soldier." But
that was past praying for. Sir John was proud, untractable, turbulent,
very difficult to manage. He hated Leicester, and was furious with Sir
William Pelham, whom Leicester had made marshal of the camp. He
complained, not unjustly, that from the first place in the army, which he
had occupied in the Netherlands, he had been reduced to the fifth. The
governor-general--who chose to call Sir John the son of his ancient
enemy, the Earl of Sussex--often denounced him in good set terms. "His
brother Edward is as ill as he," he said, "but John is right the late
Earl of Sussex' son; he will so dissemble and crouch, and so cunningly
carry his doings, as no man living would imagine that there were half the
malice or vindictive mind that plainly his words prove to be." Leicester
accused him of constant insubordination, insolence, and malice,
complained of being traduced by him everywhere in the Netherlands and in
England, and declared that he was followed about by "a pack of lewd
audacious fellows," whom the Earl vowed he would hang, one and all,
before he had done with them. He swore openly, in presence of all his
camp, that he would hang Sir John likewise; so that both the brothers,
who had never been afraid of anything since they had been born into the
world, affected to be in danger of their lives.

The Norrises were on bad terms with many officers--with Sir William
Pelham of course, with "old Reade," Lord North, Roger Williams, Hohenlo,
Essex, and other nobles--but with Sir Philip Sidney, the gentle and
chivalrous, they were friends. Sir John had quarrelled in former
times--according to Leicester--with Hohenlo and even with the "good and
brave" La None, of the iron arm; "for his pride," said the Earl, "was the
spirit of the devil." The governor complained every day of his malignity,
and vowed that he "neither regarded the cause of God, nor of his prince,
nor country."

He consorted chiefly with Sir Thomas Cecil, governor of Brill, son of
Lord Burghley, and therefore no friend to Leicester; but the Earl
protested that "Master Thomas should bear small rule," so long as he was
himself governor-general. "Now I have Pelham and Stanley, we shall do
well enough," he said, "though my young master would countenance him. I
will be master while I remain here, will they, nill they."

Edward Norris, brother of Sir John, gave the governor almost as much
trouble as he; but the treasurer Norris, uncle to them both, was, if
possible, more odious to him than all. He was--if half Leicester's
accusations are to be believed--a most infamous peculator. One-third of
the money sent by the Queen for the soldiers stuck in his fingers. He
paid them their wretched four-pence a-day in depreciated coin, so that
for their "naughty money they could get but naughty ware." Never was such
"fleecing of poor soldiers," said Leicester.

On the other hand, Sir John maintained that his uncle's accounts were
always ready for examination, and earnestly begged the home-government
not to condemn that functionary without a hearing. For himself, he
complained that he was uniformly kept in the background, left in
ignorance of important enterprises, and sent on difficult duty with
inadequate forces. It was believed that Leicester's course was inspired
by envy, lest any military triumph that might be gained should redound to
the glory of Sir John, one of the first commanders of the age, rather
than to that of the governor-general. He was perpetually thwarted,
crossed, calumniated, subjected to coarse and indecent insults, even from
such brave men as Lord North and Roger Williams, and in the very presence
of the commander-in-chief, so that his talents were of no avail, and he
was most anxious to be gone from the country.

Thus with the tremendous opposition formed to his government in the
States-General, the incessant bickerings with the Norrises, the
peculations of the treasurer, the secret negotiations with Spain, and the
impossibility of obtaining money from home for himself or for his
starving little army, the Earl was in anything but a comfortable
position. He was severely censured in England; but he doubted, with much
reason, whether there were many who would take his office, and spend
twenty thousand pounds sterling out of their own pockets, as he had done.
The Earl was generous and brave as man could be, full of wit, quick of
apprehension; but inordinately vain, arrogant, and withal easily led by
designing persons. He stood up manfully for the cause in which he was
embarked, and was most strenuous in his demands for money. "Personally he
cared," he said, "not sixpence for his post; but would give five thousand
sixpences, and six thousand shillings beside, to be rid of it;" but it
was contrary to his dignity to "stand bucking with the States" for his
salary. "Is it reason," he asked, "that I, being sent from so great a
prince as our sovereign is, must come to strangers to beg my
entertainment: If they are to pay me, why is there no remembrance made of
it by her Majesty's letters, or some of the lords?"

The Earl and those around him perpetually and vehemently urged upon the
Queen to reconsider her decision, and accept the sovereignty of the
Provinces at once. There was no other remedy for the distracted state of
the country--no other safeguard for England. The Netherland people
anxiously, eagerly desired it. Her Majesty was adored by all the
inhabitants, who would gladly hang the fellows called the States. Lord
North was of this opinion--so was Cavendish. Leicester had always held
it. "Sure I am," he said, "there is but one way for our safety, and that
is, that her Majesty may take that upon her which I fear she will not."
Thomas Wilkes, who now made his appearance on the scene, held the same
language. This distinguished civilian had been sent by the Queen, early
in August, to look into the state of Netherland affairs. Leicester having
expressly urged the importance of selecting as wise a politician as could
be found--because the best man in England would hardly be found a match
for the dullards and drunkards, as it was the fashion there to call the
Dutch statesmen--had selected Wilkes. After fulfilling this important
special mission, he was immediately afterwards to return to the
Netherlands as English member of the state-council, at forty shillings
a-day, in the place of "little Hal Killigrew," whom Leicester pronounced
a "quicker and stouter fellow" than he had at first taken him for,
although he had always thought well of him. The other English counsellor,
Dr. Bartholomew Clerk, was to remain, and the Earl declared that he too,
whom he had formerly undervalued, and thought to have "little stuff in
him," was now "increasing greatly in understanding." But notwithstanding
this intellectual progress, poor Bartholomew, who was no beginner, was
most anxious to retire. He was a man of peace, a professor, a doctor of
laws, fonder of the learned leisure and the trim gardens of England than
of the scenes which now surrounded him. "I beseech your good Lordship to
consider," he dismally observed to Burghley, "what a hard case it is for
a man that these fifteen years hath had vitam sedentariam, unworthily in
a place judicial, always in his long robe, and who, twenty-four years
since, was a public reader in the University (and therefore cannot be
young), to come now among guns and drums, tumbling up and down, day and
night, over waters and banks, dykes and ditches, upon every occasion that
falleth out; hearing many insolences with silence, bearing many hard
measures with patience--a course most different from my nature, and most
unmeet for him that hath ever professed learning."

Wilkes was of sterner stuff. Always ready to follow the camp and to face
the guns and drums with equanimity, and endowed beside with keen
political insight, he was more competent than most men to unravel the
confused skein of Netherland politics. He soon found that the Queen's
secret negotiations with Spain, and the general distrust of her
intentions in regard to the Provinces, were like to have fatal
consequences. Both he and Leicester painted the anxiety of the Netherland
people as to the intention of her Majesty in vivid colours.

The Queen could not make up her mind--in the very midst of the Greenwich
secret conferences, already described--to accept the Netherland
sovereignty. "She gathereth from your letter," wrote Walsingham, "that
the only salve for this sore is to make herself proprietary of the
country, and to put in such an army as may be able to make head to the
enemy. These two things being so contrary to her Majesty's
disposition--the one, for that it breedeth a doubt of a perpetual war,
the other, for that it requireth an increase of charges--do marvellously
distract her, and make her repent that ever she entered into the action."

Upon the great subject of the sovereignty, therefore, she was unable to
adopt the resolution so much desired by Leicester and by the people of
the Provinces; but she answered the Earl's communications concerning
Maurice and Hohenlo, Sir John Norris and the treasurer, in characteristic
but affectionate language. And thus she wrote:

"Rob, I am afraid you will suppose, by my wandering writings, that a
midsummer's moon hath taken large possession of my brains this month; but
you must needs take things as they come in my head, though order be left
behind me. When I remember your request to have a discreet and honest man
that may carry my mind, and see how all goes there, I have chosen this
bearer (Thomas Wilkes), whom you know and have made good trial of. I have
fraught him full of my conceipts of those country matters, and imparted
what way I mind to take and what is fit for you to use. I am sure you can
credit him, and so I will be short with these few notes. First, that
Count Maurice and Count Hollock (Hohenlo) find themselves trusted of you,
esteemed of me, and to be carefully regarded, if ever peace should
happen, and of that assure them on my word, that yet never deceived any.
And for Norris and other captains that voluntarily, without commandment,
have many years ventured their lives and won our nation honour and
themselves fame, let them not be discouraged by any means, neither by
new-come men nor by old trained soldiers elsewhere. If there be fault in
using of soldiers, or making of profit by them, let them hear of it
without open shame, and doubt not I will well chasten them therefore. It
frets me not a little that the poor soldiers that hourly venture life
should want their due, that well deserve rather reward; and look, in whom
the fault may truly be proved, let them smart therefore. And if the
treasurer be found untrue or negligent, according to desert he shall be
used. But you know my old wont, that love not to discharge from office
without desert. God forbid! I pray you let this bearer know what may be
learned herein, and for the treasure I have joined Sir Thomas Shirley to
see all this money discharged in due sort, where it needeth and behoveth.

"Now will I end, that do imagine I talk still with you, and therefore
loathly say farewell one hundred thousand times; though ever I pray God
bless you from all harm, and save you from all foes. With my million and
legion of thanks for all your pains and cares,

             "As you know ever the same,

                            "E. R.

"P. S. Let Wilkes see that he is acceptable to you. If anything there be
that W. shall desire answer of be such as you would have but me to know,
write it to myself. You know I can keep both others' counsel and mine
own. Mistrust not that anything you would have kept shall be disclosed by
me, for although this bearer ask many things, yet you may answer him such
as you shall think meet, and write to me the rest."

Thus, not even her favourite Leicester's misrepresentations could make
the Queen forget her ancient friendship for "her own crow;" but meantime
the relations between that "bunch of brethren," black Norris and the
rest, and Pelham, Hollock, and other high officers in Leicester's army,
had grown worse than ever.

One August evening there was a supper-party at Count Hollock's quarters
in Gertruydenberg. A military foray into Brabant had just taken place,
under the lead of the Count, and of the Lord Marshal, Sir William Pelham.
The marshal had requested Lord Willoughby, with his troop of horse and
five hundred foot, to join in the enterprise, but, as usual, particular
pains had been taken that Sir John Norris should know nothing of the
affair. Pelham and Hollock--who was "greatly in love with Mr.
Pelham"--had invited several other gentlemen high in Leicester's
confidence to accompany the expedition; and, among the rest, Sir Philip
Sidney, telling him that he "should see some good service." Sidney came
accordingly, in great haste, from Flushing, bringing along with him
Edward Norris--that hot-headed young man, who, according to Leicester,
"greatly governed his elder brother"--but they arrived at Gertruydenberg
too late. The foray was over, and the party--"having burned a village,
and killed some boors"--were on their return. Sidney, not perhaps much
regretting the loss of his share in this rather inglorious shooting
party, went down to the water-side, accompanied by Captain Norris, to
meet Hollock and the other commanders.

As the Count stepped on shore he scowled ominously, and looked very much
out of temper.

"What has come to Hollock?" whispered Captain Patton, a Scotchman, to
Sidney. "Has he a quarrel with any of the party? Look at his face! He
means mischief to somebody."

But Sidney was equally amazed at the sudden change in the German
general's countenance, and as unable to explain it.

Soon afterwards, the whole party, Hollock, Lewis William of Nassau, Lord
Carew, Lord Essex, Lord Willoughby, both the Sidneys, Roger Williams,
Pelham, Edward Norris, and the rest, went to the Count's lodgings, where
they supped, and afterwards set themselves seriously to drinking.

Norris soon perceived that he was no welcome guest; for he was not--like
Sidney--a stranger to the deep animosity which had long existed between
Sir John Norris and Sir William Pelham and his friends. The carouse was a
tremendous one, as usually was the case where Hollock was the Amphitryon,
and, as the potations grew deeper, an intention became evident on the
part of some of the company to behave unhandsomely to Norris.

For a time the young Captain ostentatiously restrained himself, very much
after the fashion of those meek individuals who lay their swords on the
tavern-table, with "God grant I may have no need of thee!" The custom was
then prevalent at banquets for the revellers to pledge each other in
rotation, each draining a great cup, and exacting the same feat from his
neighbour, who then emptied his goblet as a challenge to his next

The Lord Marshal took a beaker, and called out to Edward Norris. "I drink
to the health of my Lord Norris, and of my lady; your mother." So saying,
he emptied his glass.

The young man did not accept the pledge.

"Your Lordship knows," he said somewhat sullenly, "that I am not wont to
drink deep. Mr. Sidney there can tell you that, for my health's sake, I
have drank no wine these eight days. If your Lordship desires the
pleasure of seeing me drunk, I am not of the same mind. I pray you at
least to take a smaller glass."

Sir William insisted on the pledge. Norris then, in no very good humour,
emptied his cup to the Earl of Essex.

Essex responded by draining a goblet to Count Hollock.

"A Norris's father," said the young Earl; as he pledged the Count, who
was already very drunk, and looking blacker than ever.

"An 'orse's father--an 'orse's father!" growled' Hollock; "I never drink
to horses, nor to their fathers either:" and with this wonderful
witticism he declined the pledge.

Essex explained that the toast was Lord Norris, father of the Captain;
but the Count refused to understand, and held fiercely, and with damnable
iteration, to his jest.

The Earl repeated his explanation several times with no better success.
Norris meanwhile sat swelling with wrath, but said nothing.

Again the Lord Marshal took the same great glass, and emptied it to the
young Captain.

Norris, not knowing exactly what course to take, placed the glass at the
side of his plate, and glared grimly at Sir William.

Pelham was furious. Reaching over the table, he shoved the glass towards
Norris with an angry gesture.

"Take your glass, Captain Norris," he cried; "and if you have a mind to
jest, seek other companions. I am not to be trifled with; therefore, I
say, pledge me at once."

"Your Lordship shall not force me to drink more wine than I list,"
returned the other. "It is your pleasure to take advantage of your
military rank. Were we both at home, you would be glad to be my

Norris was hard beset, and although his language was studiously moderate,
it was not surprising that his manner should be somewhat insolent. The
veteran Lord Marshal, on the other hand, had distinguished himself on
many battle-fields, but his deportment at this banqueting-table was not
much to his credit. He paused a moment, and Norris, too, held his peace,
thinking that his enemy would desist.

It was but for a moment.

"Captain Norris," cried Pelham, "I bid you pledge me without more ado.
Neither you nor your best friends shall use me as you list. I am better
born than you and your brother, the colonel-general, and the whole of

"I warn you to say nothing disrespectful against my brother," replied the
Captain. "As for yourself, I know how to respect your age and superior

"Drink, drink, drink!" roared the old Marshal. "I tell you I am better
born than the best of you. I have advanced you all too, and you know it;
therefore drink to me."

Sir William was as logical as men in their cups are prone to be.

"Indeed, you have behaved well to my brother Thomas," answered Norris,
suddenly becoming very courteous, "and for this I have ever loved your
Lordship, and would, do you any service."

"Well, then," said the Marshal, becoming tender in his turn, "forget what
hath past this night, and do as you would have done before."

"Very well said, indeed!" cried Sir Philip Sidney, trying to help the
natter into the smoother channel towards which it was tending.

Norris, seeing that the eyes of the whole company were upon them; took
the glass accordingly, and rose to his feet.

"My Lord Marshal," he said, "you have done me more wrong this night than
you can easily make satisfaction for. But I am unwilling that any trouble
or offence should grow through me. Therefore once more I pledge you."

He raised the cup to his lips. At that instant Hollock, to whom nothing
had been said, and who had spoken no word since his happy remark about
the horse's father, suddenly indulged in a more practical jest; and
seizing the heavy gilt cover of a silver vase, hurled it at the head of
Norris. It struck him full on the forehead, cutting him to the bone. The
Captain, stunned for a moment, fell back in his chair, with the blood
running down his eyes and face. The Count, always a man of few words, but
prompt in action, now drew his dagger, and strode forward, with the
intention of despatching him upon the spot. Sir Philip Sidney threw his
arms around Hollock, however, and, with the assistance of others in the
company, succeeded in dragging him from the room. The affair was over in
a few seconds.

Norris, coming back to consciousness, sat for a moment as one amazed,
rubbing the blood out of his eyes; then rose from the table to seek his
adversary; but he was gone.

Soon afterwards he went to his lodgings. The next morning he was advised
to leave the town as speedily as possible; for as it was under the
government of Hollock, and filled with his soldiers, he was warned that
his life would not be safe there an hour. Accordingly he went to his
boat, accompanied only by his man and his page, and so departed with his
broken head, breathing vengeance against Hollock, Pelham, Leicester, and
the whole crew, by whom he had been thus abused.

The next evening there was another tremendous carouse at the Count's,
and, says the reporter of the preceding scene, "they were all on such
good terms, that not one of the company had falling band or ruff left
about his neck. All were clean torn away, and yet there was no blood

Edward Norris--so soon as might be afterwards--sent a cartel to the
Count, demanding mortal combat with sword and dagger. Sir Philip Sidney
bore the message. Sir John Norris, of course warmly and violently
espoused the cause of his brother, and was naturally more incensed
against the Lord Marshal than ever, for Sir William Pelham was considered
the cause of the whole affray. "Even if the quarrel is to be excused by
drink," said an eye-witness, "'tis but a slender defence for my Lord to
excuse himself by his cups; and often drink doth bewray men's humours and
unmask their malice. Certainly the Count Hollock thought to have done a
pleasure to the company in killing him."

Nothing could be more ill-timed than this quarrel, or more vexatious to
Leicester. The Count--although considering himself excessively injured at
being challenged by a simple captain and an untitled gentleman, whom he
had attempted to murder--consented to waive his privilege, and grant the

Leicester interposed, however, to delay, and, if possible, to patch up
the affair. They were on the eve of active military operations, and it
was most vexatious for the commander-in-chief to see, as he said, "the
quarrel with the enemy changed to private revenge among ourselves." The
intended duel did not take place; for various influential personages
succeeded in deferring the meeting. Then came the battle of Zutphen.

Sidney fell, and Hollock was dangerously wounded in the attack which was
soon afterwards made upon the fort. He was still pressed to afford the
promised satisfaction, however, and agreed to do so whenever he should
rise from his bed.

Strange to say, the Count considered Leicester, throughout the whole
business, to have taken part against him.

Yet there is no doubt whatever that the Earl--who detested the Norrises,
and was fonder of Pelham than of any man living--uniformly narrated the
story most unjustly, to the discredit of the young Captain. He considered
him extremely troublesome, represented him as always quarrelling with
some one--with Colonel Morgan, Roger Williams, old Reade, and all the
rest--while the Lord Marshal, on the contrary, was depicted as the
mildest of men. "This I must say," he observed, "that all present, except
my two nephews (the Sidneys), who are not here yet, declare the greatest
fault to be in Edward Norris, and that he did most arrogantly use the

It is plain, however, that the old Marshal, under the influence of wine,
was at least quite as much to blame as the young Captain; and Sir Philip
Sidney sufficiently showed his sense of the matter by being the bearer of
Edward Norris's cartel. After Sidney's death, Sir John Norris, in his
letter of condolence to Walsingham for the death of his illustrious
son-in-law, expressed the deeper regret at his loss because Sir Philip's
opinion had been that the Norrises were wronged. Hollock had conducted
himself like a lunatic, but this he was apt to do whether in his cups or
not. He was always for killing some one or another on the slightest
provocation, and, while the dog-star of 1586 was raging, it was not his
fault if he had not already despatched both Edward Norris and the
objectionable "Mr. P. B."

For these energetic demonstrations against Leicester's enemies he
considered himself entitled to the Earl's eternal gratitude, and was
deeply disgusted at his apparent coldness. The governor was driven almost
to despair by these quarrels.

His colonel-general, his lord marshal, his lieutenant-general, were all
at daggers drawn. "Would God I were rid of this place!" he exclaimed.
"What man living would go to the field and have his officers divided
almost into mortal quarrel? One blow but by any of their lackeys brings
us altogether by the ears."

It was clear that there was not room enough on the Netherland soil for
the Earl of Leicester and the brothers Norris. The queen, while
apparently siding with the Earl, intimated to Sir John that she did not
disapprove his conduct, that she should probably recall him to England,
and that she should send him back to the Provinces after the Earl had
left that country.

Such had been the position of the governor-general towards the Queen,
towards the States-General, and towards his own countrymen, during the
year 1586.


     Are wont to hang their piety on the bell-rope
     As logical as men in their cups are prone to be
     Tolerating religious liberty had never entered his mind


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 50, 1586


   Drake in the Netherlands--Good Results of his Visit--The Babington
   Conspiracy--Leicester decides to visit England--Exchange of parting

Late in the autumn of the same year an Englishman arrived in the
Netherlands, bearer of despatches from the Queen. He had been entrusted
by her Majesty with a special mission to the States-General, and he had
soon an interview with that assembly at the Hague.

He was a small man, apparently forty-five years of age, of a fair but
somewhat weather-stained complexion, with light-brown, closely-curling
hair, an expansive forehead, a clear blue eye, rather commonplace
features, a thin, brown, pointed beard, and a slight moustache. Though
low of stature, he was broad-chested, with well-knit limbs. His hands,
which were small and nervous, were brown and callous with the marks of
toil. There was something in his brow and glance not to be mistaken, and
which men willingly call master; yet he did not seem, to have sprung of
the born magnates of the earth. He wore a heavy gold chain about his
neck, and it might be observed that upon the light full sleeves of his
slashed doublet the image of a small ship on a terrestrial globe was
curiously and many times embroidered.

It was not the first time that he had visited the Netherlands. Thirty
years before the man had been apprentice on board a small lugger, which
traded between the English coast and the ports of Zeeland. Emerging in
early boyhood from his parental mansion--an old boat, turned bottom
upwards on a sandy down he had naturally taken to the sea, and his
master, dying childless not long afterwards, bequeathed to him the
lugger. But in time his spirit, too much confined by coasting in the
narrow seas, had taken a bolder flight. He had risked his hard-earned
savings in a voyage with the old slave-trader, John Hawkins--whose
exertions, in what was then considered an honourable and useful vocation,
had been rewarded by Queen Elizabeth with her special favour, and with a
coat of arms, the crest whereof was a negro's head, proper, chained--but
the lad's first and last enterprise in this field was unfortunate.
Captured by Spaniards, and only escaping with life, he determined to
revenge himself on the whole Spanish nation; and this was considered a
most legitimate proceeding according to the "sea divinity" in which he,
had been schooled. His subsequent expeditions against the Spanish
possessions in the West Indies were eminently successful, and soon the
name of Francis Drake rang through the world, and startled Philip in the
depths of his Escorial. The first Englishman, and the second of any
nation, he then ploughed his memorable "furrow round the earth," carrying
amazement and, destruction to the Spaniards as he sailed, and after three
years brought to the Queen treasure enough, as it was asserted, to
maintain a war with the Spanish King for seven years, and to pay himself
and companions, and the merchant-adventurers who had participated in his
enterprise, forty-seven pounds sterling for every pound invested in the
voyage. The speculation had been a fortunate one both, for himself and
for the kingdom.

The terrible Sea-King was one of the great types of the sixteenth
century. The self-helping private adventurer, in his little vessel the
'Golden Hind,' one hundred tons burthen, had waged successful war against
a mighty empire, and had shown England how to humble Philip. When he
again set foot on his native soil he was followed by admiring crowds, and
became the favourite hero of romance and ballad; for it was not the
ignoble pursuit of gold alone, through toil and peril, which had endeared
his name to the nation. The popular instinct recognized that the true
means had been found at last for rescuing England and Protestantism from
the overshadowing empire of Spain. The Queen visited him in his 'Golden
Hind,' and gave him the honour of knighthood.

The treaty between the United Netherlands and England had been followed
by an embargo upon English vessels, persons, and property, in the ports
of Spain; and after five years of unwonted repose, the privateersman
again set forth with twenty-five small vessels--of which five or six only
were armed--under his command, conjoined with that of General Carlisle.
This time the voyage was undertaken with full permission and assistance
of the Queen who, however, intended to disavow him, if she should find
such a step convenient. This was the expedition in which Philip Sidney
had desired to take part. The Queen watched its result with intense
anxiety, for the fate of her Netherland adventure was thought to be
hanging on the issue. "Upon Drake's voyage, in very truth, dependeth the
life and death of the cause, according to man's judgment," said

The issue was encouraging, even, if the voyage--as a mercantile
speculation--proved not so brilliant as the previous enterprises of Sir
Francis had been. He returned in the midsummer of 1586, having captured
and brandschatzed St. Domingo and Carthagena; and burned St. Augustine.
"A fearful man to the King of Spain is Sir Francis Drake," said Lord
Burghley. Nevertheless, the Queen and the Lord-Treasurer--as we have
shown by the secret conferences at Greenwich--had, notwithstanding these
successes, expressed a more earnest desire for peace than ever.

A simple, sea-faring Englishman, with half-a-dozen miserable little
vessels, had carried terror, into the Spanish possessions all over the
earth: but even then the great Queen had not learned to rely on the
valour of her volunteers against her most formidable enemy.

Drake was, however, bent on another enterprise. The preparations for
Philip's great fleet had been going steadily forward in Lisbon, Cadiz,
and other ports of Spain and Portugal, and, despite assurances to the
contrary, there was a growing belief that England was to be invaded. To
destroy those ships before the monarch's face, would be, indeed, to
"singe his beard." But whose arm was daring enough for such a stroke?
Whose but that of the Devonshire skipper who had already accomplished so

And so Sir Francis, "a man true to his word, merciful to those under him,
and hating nothing so much as idleness," had come to the Netherlands to
talk over his project with the States-General, and with the Dutch
merchants and sea-captains. His visit was not unfruitful. As a body the
assembly did nothing; but they recommended that in every maritime city of
Holland and Zeeland one or two ships should be got ready, to participate
in all the future enterprises of Sir Francis and his comrades.

The martial spirit of volunteer sailors, and the keen instinct of
mercantile speculation, were relied upon--exactly as in England--to
furnish men, ships, and money, for these daring and profitable
adventures. The foundation of a still more intimate connection between
England and Holland was laid, and thenceforth Dutchmen and Englishmen
fought side by side, on land and sea, wherever a blow was to be struck in
the cause of human freedom against despotic Spain.

The famous Babington conspiracy, discovered by Walsingham's "travail and
cost," had come to convince the Queen and her counsellors--if further
proof were not superfluous--that her throne and life were both
incompatible with Philip's deep designs, and that to keep that monarch
out of the Netherlands, was as vital to her as to keep him out of
England. "She is forced by this discovery to countenance the cause by all
outward means she may," said Walsingham, "for it appeareth unto her most
plain, that unless she had entered into the action, she had been utterly
undone, and that if she do not prosecute the same she cannot continue."
The Secretary had sent Leicester information at an early day of the great
secret, begging his friend to "make the letter a heretic after he had
read the same," and expressing the opinion that "the matter, if well
handled, would break the neck of all dangerous practices during her
Majesty's reign."

The tragedy of Mary Stuart--a sad but inevitable portion of the vast
drama in which the emancipation of England and Holland, and, through
them, of half Christendom, was accomplished--approached its catastrophe;
and Leicester could not restrain his anxiety for her immediate execution.
He reminded Walsingham that the great seal had been put upon a warrant
for her execution for a less crime seventeen years before, on the
occasion of the Northumberland and Westmorland rebellion. "For who can
warrant these villains from her," he said, "if that person live, or shall
live any time? God forbid! And be you all stout and resolute in this
speedy execution, or be condemned of all the world for ever. It is most.
certain, if you will have your Majesty safe, it must be done, for justice
doth crave it beside policy." His own personal safety was deeply
compromised. "Your Lordship and I," wrote Burghley, "were very great
motes in the traitors' eyes; for your Lordship there and I here should
first, about one time, have been killed. Of your Lordship they thought
rather of poisoning than slaying. After us two gone, they purposed her
Majesty's death."

But on this great affair of state the Earl was not swayed by such
personal considerations. He honestly thought--as did all the statesmen
who governed England--that English liberty, the very existence of the
English commonwealth, was impossible so long as Mary Stuart lived. Under
these circumstances he was not impatient, for a time at least, to leave
the Netherlands. His administration had not been very successful. He had
been led away by his own vanity, and by the flattery of artful
demagogues, but the immense obstacles with which he had to contend in the
Queen's wavering policy, and in the rivalry of both English and Dutch
politicians have been amply exhibited. That he had been generous,
courageous, and zealous, could not be denied; and, on the whole, he had
accomplished as much in the field as could have been expected of him with
such meagre forces, and so barren an exchequer.

It must be confessed, however, that his leaving the Netherlands at that
moment was a most unfortunate step, both for his own reputation and for
the security of the Provinces. Party-spirit was running high, and a
political revolution was much to be dreaded in so grave a position of
affairs, both in England and Holland. The arrangements--and particularly
the secret arrangements which he made at his departure--were the most
fatal measures of all; but these will be described in the following

On the 31st October; the Earl announced to the state-council his
intention of returning to England, stating, as the cause of this sudden
determination, that he had been summoned to attend the parliament then
sitting in Westminster. Wilkes, who was of course present, having now
succeeded Killigrew as one of the two English members, observed that "the
States and council used but slender entreaty to his Excellency for his
stay and countenance there among them, whereat his Excellency and we that
were of the council for her Majesty did not a little marvel."

Some weeks later, however, upon the 21st November, Leicester summoned
Barneveld, and five other of the States General, to discuss the necessary
measures for his departure, when those gentlemen remonstrated very
earnestly upon the step, pleading the danger and confusion of affairs
which must necessarily ensue. The Earl declared that he was not retiring
from the country because he was offended, although he had many causes for
offence: and he then alluded to the Navigation Act, to the establishment
council, and spoke of the finance of Burgrave and Reingault, for his
employment of which individuals so much obloquy had been heaped upon his,
head. Burgrave he pronounced, as usual, a substantial, wise, faithful,
religious personage, entitled to fullest confidence; while Reingault--who
had been thrown into prison by the States on charges of fraud,
peculation, and sedition--he declared to be a great financier, who had
promised, on penalty of his head, to bring "great sums into the treasury
for carrying on the war, without any burthen to the community." Had he
been able to do this, he had certainly claim to be considered the
greatest of financiers; but the promised "mountains of gold" were never
discovered, and Reingault was now awaiting his trial.

The deputies replied that the concessions upon the Navigation Act had
satisfied the country, but that Reingault was a known instrument of the
Spaniards, and Burgrave a mischief-making demagogue, who consorted with
malignants, and sent slanderous reports concerning the States and the
country to her Majesty. They had in consequence felt obliged to write
private despatches to envoy Ortel in England, not because they suspected
the Earl, but in order to counteract the calumnies of his chief advisers.
They had urged the agent to bring the imprisonment of Paul Buys before
her Majesty, but for that transaction Leicester boldly disclaimed all

It was agreed between the Earl and the deputies that, during his absence,
the whole government, civil and military, should devolve upon the
state-council, and that Sir John Norris should remain in command of the
English forces.

Two days afterwards Leicester, who knew very well that a legation was
about to proceed to England, without any previous concurrence on his
part, summoned a committee of the States-General, together with
Barneveld, into the state-council. Counsellor Wilkes on his behalf then
made a speech, in which he observed that more ample communications on the
part of the States were to be expected. They had in previous colloquies
touched upon comparatively unimportant matters, but he now begged to be
informed why these commissioners were proceeding to England, and what was
the nature of their instructions. Why did not they formally offer the
sovereignty of the Provinces to the Queen without conditions? That step
had already been taken by Utrecht.

The deputies conferred apart for a little while, and then replied that
the proposition made by Utrecht was notoriously factious, illegal, and
altogether futile. Without the sanction of all the United States, of what
value was the declaration of Utrecht? Moreover the charter of that
province had been recklessly violated, its government overthrown, and its
leading citizens banished. The action of the Province under such
circumstances was not deserving of comment; but should it appear that her
Majesty was desirous of assuming the sovereignty of the Provinces upon
reasonable conditions, the States of Holland and of Zeeland would not be
found backward in the business.

Leicester proposed that Prince Maurice of Nassau should go with him to
England, as nominal chief of the embassy, and some of the deputies
favoured the suggestion. It was however, vigorously and successfully
opposed by Barneveld, who urged that to leave the country without a head
in such a dangerous position of affairs, would be an act of madness.
Leicester was much annoyed when informed of this decision. He was
suspected of a design, during his absence, of converting Maurice entirely
to his own way of thinking. If unsuccessful, it was believed by the
Advocate and by many others that the Earl would cause the young Prince to
be detained in England as long as Philip William, his brother, had been
kept in Spain. He observed peevishly that he knew how it had all been
brought about.

Words, of course, and handsome compliments were exchanged between the
Governor and the States-General on his departure. He protested that he
had never pursued any private ends during his administration, but had
ever sought to promote the good of the country and the glory of the
Queen, and that he had spent three hundred thousand florins of his own
money in the brief period of his residence there.

The Advocate, on part of the States, assured him that they were all aware
that in the friendship of England lay their only chance of salvation, but
that united action was the sole means by which that salvation could be
effected, and the one which had enabled the late Prince of Orange to
maintain a contest unequalled by anything recorded in history. There was
also much disquisition on the subject of finance--the Advocate observing
that the States now raised as much in a month as the Provinces in the
time of the Emperor used to levy in a year--and expressed the hope that
the Queen would increase her contingent to ten thousand foot, and two
thousand horse. He repudiated, in the name of the States-General and his
own, the possibility of peace-negotiations; deprecated any allusion to
the subject as fatal to their religion, their liberty, their very
existence, and equally disastrous to England and to Protestantism, and
implored the Earl, therefore, to use all his influence in opposition to
any pacific overtures to or from Spain.

On the 24th November, acts were drawn up and signed by the Earl,
according to which the supreme government of the United Netherlands was
formally committed to the state-council during his absence. Decrees were
to be pronounced in the name of his Excellency, and countersigned by
Maurice of Nassau.

On the following day, Leicester, being somewhat indisposed, requested a
deputation of the States-General to wait upon him in his own house. This
was done, and a formal and affectionate farewell was then read to him by
his secretary, Mr. Atye. It was responded to in complimentary fashion by
Advocate Barneveld, who again took occasion at this parting interview to
impress upon the governor the utter impossibility, in his own opinion and
that of the other deputies, of reconciling the Provinces with Spain.

Leicester received from the States--as a magnificent parting present--a
silver gilt vase "as tall as a man," and then departed for Flushing to
take shipping for England.


   Ill-timed Interregnum in the Provinces--Firmness of the English and
   Dutch People--Factions during Leicester's Government--Democratic
   Theories of the Leicestriana--Suspicions as to the Earl's Designs--
   Extreme Views of the Calvinists--Political Ambition of the Church--
   Antagonism of the Church and States--The States inclined to
   Tolerance--Desolation of the Obedient Provinces--Pauperism and
   Famine--Prosperity of the Republic--The Year of Expectation.

It was not unnatural that the Queen should desire the presence of her
favourite at that momentous epoch, when the dread question, "aut fer aut
feri," had at last demanded its definite solution. It was inevitable,
too, that Leicester should feel great anxiety to be upon the spot where
the great tragedy, so full of fate to all Christendom, and in which his
own fortunes were so closely involved, was to be enacted. But it was most
cruel to the Netherlands--whose well-being was nearly as important to
Elizabeth as that of her own realm--to plunge them into anarchy at such a
moment. Yet this was the necessary result of the sudden retirement of

He did not resign his government. He did not bind himself to return. The
question of sovereignty was still unsettled, for it was still hoped by a
large and influential party, that the English Queen would accept the
proposed annexation. It was yet doubtful, whether, during the period of
abeyance, the States-General or the States-Provincial, each within their
separate sphere, were entitled to supreme authority. Meantime, as if here
were not already sufficient elements of dissension and doubt, came a
sudden and indefinite interregnum, a provisional, an abnormal, and an
impotent government. To the state-council was deputed the executive
authority. But the state-council was a creature of the States-General,
acting in concert with the governor-general, and having no actual life of
its own. It was a board of consultation, not of decision, for it could
neither enact its own decrees nor interpose a veto upon the decrees of
the governor.

Certainly the selection of Leicester to fill so important a post had not
been a very fortunate one; and the enthusiasm which had greeted him, "as
if he had been a Messiah," on his arrival, had very rapidly dwindled
away, as his personal character became known. The leading politicians of
the country had already been aware of the error which they had committed
in clothing with almost sovereign powers the delegate of one who had
refused the sovereignty. They, were too adroit to neglect the
opportunity, which her Majesty's anger offered them, of repairing what
they considered their blunder. When at last the quarrel, which looked so
much like a lovers' quarrel, between Elizabeth and 'Sweet Robin,' had
been appeased to the satisfaction of Robin, his royal mistress became
more angry with the States for circumscribing than she had before been
for their exaggeration of his authority. Hence the implacable hatred of
Leicester to Paul Buys and Barneveld.

Those two statesmen, for eloquence, learning, readiness, administrative
faculty, surpassed by few who have ever wielded the destinies of free
commonwealths, were fully equal to the task thrown upon their hands by
the progress of events. That task was no slight one, for it was to the
leading statesmen of Holland and England, sustained by the indomitable
resistance to despotism almost universal in the English and Dutch
nations, that the liberty of Europe was entrusted at that, momentous
epoch. Whether united under one crown, as the Netherlands ardently
desired, or closely allied for aggression and defence, the two peoples
were bound indissolubly together. The clouds were rolling up from the
fatal south, blacker and more portentous than ever; the artificial
equilibrium of forces, by which the fate of France was kept in suspense,
was obviously growing every day more uncertain; but the prolonged and
awful interval before the tempest should burst over the lands of freedom
and Protestantism, gave at least time for the prudent to prepare. The
Armada was growing every day in the ports of Spain and Portugal, and
Walsingham doubted, as little as did Buys or Barneveld, toward what
shores that invasion was to be directed. England was to be conquered in
order that the rebellious Netherlands might be reduced; and 'Mucio' was
to be let slip upon the unhappy Henry III. so soon as it was thought
probable that the Bearnese and the Valois had sufficiently exhausted each
other. Philip was to reign in Paris, Amsterdam, London, and Edinburgh,
without stirring from the Escorial. An excellent programme, had there not
been some English gentlemen, some subtle secretaries of state, some
Devonshire skippers, some Dutch advocates and merchants, some Zeeland
fly-boatsmen, and six million men, women, and children, on the two sides
of the North Sea, who had the power of expressing their thoughts rather
bluntly than otherwise, in different dialects of old Anglo-Saxon speech.

Certainly it would be unjust and ungracious to disparage the heroism of
the great Queen when the hour of danger really came, nor would it be
legitimate for us, who can scan that momentous year of expectation, 1587,
by the light of subsequent events and of secret contemporaneous record,
to censure or even sharply to criticise the royal hankering for peace,
when peace had really become impossible. But as we shall have occasion to
examine rather closely the secrets of the Spanish, French, English, and
Dutch councils, during this epoch, we are likely to find, perhaps, that
at least as great a debt is due to the English and Dutch people, in mass,
for the preservation of European liberty at that disastrous epoch as to
any sovereign, general, or statesman.

For it was in the great waters of the sixteenth century that the nations
whose eyes were open, discovered the fountain of perpetual youth, while
others, who were blind, passed rapidly onward to decrepitude. England
was, in many respects, a despotism so far as regarded governmental forms;
and no doubt the Catholics were treated with greater rigour than could be
justified even by the perpetual and most dangerous machinations of the
seminary priests and their instigators against the throne and life of
Elizabeth. The word liberty was never musical in Tudor ears, yet
Englishmen had blunt tongues and sharp weapons which rarely rusted for
want of use. In the presence of a parliament, and the absence of a
standing army, a people accustomed to read the Bible in the vernacular,
to handle great questions of religion and government freely, and to bear
arms at will, was most formidable to despotism. There was an advance on
the olden time. A Francis Drake, a John Hawkins, a Roger Williams, might
have been sold, under the Plantagenets, like an ox or an ass. A 'female
villain' in the reign of Henry III. could have been purchased for
eighteen shillings--hardly the price of a fatted pig, and not one-third
the value of an ambling palfrey--and a male villain, such an one as could
in Elizabeth's reign circumnavigate the globe in his own ship, or take
imperial field-marshals by the beard, was worth but two or three pounds
sterling in the market. Here was progress in three centuries, for the
villains were now become admirals and generals in England and Holland,
and constituted the main stay of these two little commonwealths, while
the commanders who governed the 'invincible' fleets and armies of
omnipotent Spain, were all cousins of emperors, or grandees of bluest
blood. Perhaps the system of the reformation would not prove the least
effective in the impending crisis.

It was most important, then, that these two nations should be united in
council, and should stand shoulder to shoulder as their great enemy
advanced. But this was precisely what had been rendered almost impossible
by the course of events during Leicester's year of administration, and by
his sudden but not final retirement at its close. The two great national
parties which had gradually been forming, had remained in a fluid state
during the presence of the governor-general. During his absence they
gradually hardened into the forms which they were destined to retain for
centuries. In the history of civil liberty, these incessant contests,
these oral and written disquisitions, these sharp concussions of opinion,
and the still harder blows, which, unfortunately, were dealt on a few
occasions by the combatants upon each other, make the year 1587 a
memorable one. The great questions of the origin of government, the
balance of dynastic forces, the distribution of powers, were dealt with
by the ablest heads, both Dutch and English, that could be employed in
the service of the kingdom and republic. It was a war of protocols,
arguments, orations, rejoinders, apostilles, and pamphlets; very
wholesome for the cause of free institutions and the intellectual
progress of mankind. The reader may perhaps be surprised to see with how
much vigour and boldness the grave questions which underlie all polity,
were handled so many years before the days of Russell and Sidney, of
Montesquieu and Locke, Franklin, Jefferson, Rousseau, and Voltaire; and
he may be even more astonished to find exceedingly democratic doctrines
propounded, if not believed in, by trained statesmen of the Elizabethan
school. He will be also apt to wonder that a more fitting time could not
be found for such philosophical debate than the epoch at which both the
kingdom and the republic were called upon to strain every sinew against
the most formidable and aggressive despotism that the world had known
since the fall of the Roman Empire.

The great dividing-line between the two parties, that of Leicester and
that of Holland, which controlled the action of the States-General, was
the question of sovereignty. After the declaration of independence and
the repudiation of Philip, to whom did the sovereignty belong? To the
people, said the Leicestrians. To the States-General and the
States-Provincial, as legitimate representatives of the people, said the
Holland party. Without looking for the moment more closely into this
question, which we shall soon find ably discussed by the most acute
reasoners of the time, it is only important at present to make a
preliminary reflection. The Earl of Leicester, of all men is the world,
would seem to have been precluded by his own action, and by the action of
his Queen, from taking ground against the States. It was the States who,
by solemn embassy, had offered the sovereignty to Elizabeth. She had not
accepted the offer, but she had deliberated on the subject, and certainly
she had never expressed a doubt whether or not the offer had been legally
made. By the States, too, that governor-generalship had been conferred
upon the Earl, which had been so thankfully and eagerly accepted. It was
strange, then, that he should deny the existence of the power whence his
own authority was derived. If the States were not sovereigns of the
Netherlands, he certainly was nothing. He was but general of a few
thousand English troops.

The Leicester party, then, proclaimed extreme democratic principles as to
the origin of government and the sovereignty of the people. They sought
to strengthen and to make almost absolute the executive authority of
their chief, on the ground that such was the popular will; and they
denounced with great acrimony the insolence of the upstart members of the
States, half a dozen traders, hired advocates, churls, tinkers, and the
like--as Leicester was fond of designating the men who opposed him--in
assuming these airs of sovereignty.

This might, perhaps, be philosophical doctrine, had its supporters not
forgotten that there had never been any pretence at an expression of the
national will, except through the mouths of the States. The
States-General and the States-Provincial, without any usurpation, but as
a matter of fact and of great political convenience, had, during fifteen
years, exercised the authority which had fallen from Philip's hands. The
people hitherto had acquiesced in their action, and certainly there had
not yet been any call for a popular convention, or any other device to
ascertain the popular will. It was also difficult to imagine what was the
exact entity of this abstraction called the "people" by men who expressed
such extreme contempt for "merchants, advocates, town-orators, churls,
tinkers, and base mechanic men, born not to command but to obey." Who
were the people when the educated classes and the working classes were
thus carefully eliminated? Hardly the simple peasantry--the boors--who
tilled the soil. At that day the agricultural labourers less than all
others dreamed of popular sovereignty, and more than all others submitted
to the mild authority of the States. According to the theory of the
Netherland constitutions, they were supposed--and they had themselves not
yet discovered the fallacies to which such doctrines could lead--to be
represented by the nobles and country-squires who maintained in the
States of each Province the general farming interests of the republic.
Moreover, the number of agricultural peasants was comparatively small.
The lower classes were rather accustomed to plough the sea than the land,
and their harvests were reaped from that element, which to Hollanders and
Zeelanders was less capricious than the solid earth. Almost every
inhabitant of those sea-born territories was, in one sense or another, a
mariner; for every highway was a canal; the soil was percolated by rivers
and estuaries, pools and meres; the fisheries were the nurseries in which
still more daring navigators rapidly learned their trade, and every child
took naturally to the ocean as to its legitimate home.

The "people," therefore, thus enthroned by the Leicestrians over all the
inhabitants of the country, appeared to many eyes rather a misty
abstraction, and its claim of absolute sovereignty a doctrine almost as
fantastic as that of the divine right of kings. The Netherlanders were,
on the whole, a law-abiding people, preferring to conduct even a
revolution according to precedent, very much attached to ancient usages
and traditions, valuing the liberties, as they called them, which they
had wrested from what had been superior force, with their own right
hands, preferring facts to theories, and feeling competent to deal with
tyrants in the concrete rather than to annihilate tyranny in the abstract
by a bold and generalizing phraseology. Moreover the opponents of the
Leicester party complained that the principal use to which this newly
discovered "people" had been applied, was to confer its absolute
sovereignty unconditionally upon one man. The people was to be sovereign
in order that it might immediately abdicate in favour of the Earl.

Utrecht, the capital of the Leicestrians, had already been deprived of
its constitution. The magistracy was, according to law, changed every
year. A list of candidates was furnished by the retiring board, an equal
number of names was added by the governor of the Province, and from the
catalogue thus composed the governor with his council selected the new
magistrates for the year. But De Villiers, the governor of the Province,
had been made a prisoner by the enemy in the last campaign; Count Moeurs
had been appointed provisional stadholder by the States; and, during his
temporary absence on public affairs, the Leicestrians had seized upon the
government, excluded all the ancient magistrates, banished many leading
citizens from the town, and installed an entirely new board, with Gerard
Proninck, called Deventer, for chief burgomaster, who was a Brabantine
refugee just arrived in the Province, and not eligible to office until
after ten years' residence.

It was not unnatural that the Netherlanders, who remembered the scenes of
bloodshed and disorder produced by the memorable attempt of the Duke of
Anjou to obtain possession of Antwerp and other cities, should be
suspicious of Leicester. Anjou, too, had been called to the Provinces by
the voluntary action of the States. He too had been hailed as a Messiah
and a deliverer. In him too had unlimited confidence been reposed, and he
had repaid their affection and their gratitude by a desperate attempt to
obtain the control of their chief cities by the armed hand, and thus to
constitute himself absolute sovereign of the Netherlands. The inhabitants
had, after a bloody contest, averted the intended massacre and the
impending tyranny; but it was not astonishing that--so very, few years
having elapsed since those tragical events--they should be inclined to
scan severely the actions of the man who had already obtained by
unconstitutional means the mastery of a most important city, and was
supposed to harbour designs upon all the cities.

No, doubt it was a most illiberal and unwise policy for the inhabitants
of the independent States to exclude from office the wanderers, for
conscience' sake, from the obedient Provinces. They should have been
welcomed heart and hand by those who were their brethren in religion and
in the love of freedom. Moreover, it was notorious that Hohenlo,
lieutenant-general under Maurice of Nassau, was a German, and that by the
treaty with England, two foreigners sat in the state council, while the
army swarmed with English, Irish, end German officers in high command.
Nevertheless, violently to subvert the constitution of a Province, and to
place in posts of high responsibility men who were ineligible--some whose
characters were suspicious, and some who were known to be dangerous, and
to banish large numbers of respectable burghers--was the act of a despot.

Besides their democratic doctrines, the Leicestrians proclaimed and
encouraged an exclusive and rigid Calvinism.

It would certainly be unjust and futile to detract from the vast debt
which the republic owed to the Geneva Church. The reformation had entered
the Netherlands by the Walloon gate. The earliest and most eloquent
preachers, the most impassioned converts, the sublimest martyrs, had
lived, preached, fought, suffered, and died with the precepts of Calvin
in their hearts. The fire which had consumed the last vestige of royal
and sacerdotal despotism throughout the independent republic, had been
lighted by the hands of Calvinists.

Throughout the blood-stained soil of France, too, the men who were
fighting the same great battle as were the Netherlanders against Philip
II. and the Inquisition, the valiant cavaliers of Dauphiny and Provence,
knelt on the ground, before the battle, smote their iron breasts with
their mailed hands, uttered a Calvinistic prayer, sang a psalm of Marot,
and then charged upon Guise, or upon Joyeuse, under the white plume of
the Bearnese. And it was on the Calvinist weavers and clothiers of
Rochelle that the great Prince relied in the hour of danger as much as on
his mountain chivalry. In England too, the seeds of liberty, wrapped up
in Calvinism and hoarded through many trying years, were at last destined
to float over land and sea, and to bear large harvests of temperate
freedom for great commonwealths, which were still unborn. Nevertheless
there was a growing aversion in many parts of the States for the rigid
and intolerant spirit of the reformed religion. There were many men in
Holland who had already imbibed the true lesson--the only, one worth
learning of the reformation--liberty of thought; but toleration in the
eyes of the extreme Calvinistic party was as great a vice as it could be
in the estimation of Papists. To a favoured few of other habits of
thought, it had come to be regarded as a virtue; but the day was still
far distant when men were to scorn the very word toleration as an insult
to the dignity of man; as if for any human being or set of human beings,
in caste, class, synod, or church, the right could even in imagination be
conceded of controlling the consciences of their fellow-creatures.

But it was progress for the sixteenth century that there were
individuals, and prominent individuals, who dared to proclaim liberty of
conscience for all. William of Orange was a Calvinist, sincere and rigid,
but he denounced all oppression of religion, and opened wide the doors of
the Commonwealth to Papists, Lutherans, and Anabaptists alike. The Earl
of Leicester was a Calvinist, most rigid in tenet, most edifying of
conversation, the acknowledged head of the Puritan party of England, but
he was intolerant and was influenced only by the most intolerant of his
sect. Certainly it would have required great magnanimity upon his part to
assume a friendly demeanour towards the Papists. It is easier for us, in
more favoured ages, to rise to the heights of philosophical abstraction,
than for a man, placed as was Leicester, in the front rank of a mighty
battle, in which the triumph of either religion seemed to require the
bodily annihilation of all its adversaries. He believed that the success
of a Catholic conspiracy against the life of Elizabeth or of a Spanish
invasion of England, would raise Mary to the throne and consign himself
to the scaffold. He believed that the subjugation of the independent
Netherlands would place the Spaniards instantly in England, and he
frequently received information, true or false, of Popish plots that were
ever hatching in various parts of the Provinces against the English
Queen. It was not surprising, therefore, although it was unwise, that he
should incline his ear most seriously to those who counselled severe
measures not only against Papists, but against those who were not
persecutors of Papists, and that he should allow himself to be guided by
adventurers, who wore the mask of religion only that they might plunder
the exchequer and rob upon the highway.

Under the administration of this extreme party, therefore, the Papists
were maltreated, disfranchised, banished, and plundered. The distribution
of the heavy war-taxes, more than two-thirds of which were raised in
Holland only, was confided to foreigners, and regulated mainly at
Utrecht, where not one-tenth part of the same revenue was collected. This
naturally excited the wrath of the merchants and manufacturers of Holland
and the other Provinces, who liked not that these hard-earned and
lavishly-paid subsidies should be meddled with by any but the cleanest

The clergy, too, arrogated a direct influence in political affairs. Their
demonstrations were opposed by the anti-Leicestrians, who cared not to
see a Geneva theocracy in the place of the vanished Papacy. They had as
little reverence in secular affairs for Calvinistic deacons as for the
college of cardinals, and would as soon accept the infallibility of
Sixtus V. as that of Herman Modet. The reformed clergy who had
dispossessed and confiscated the property of the ancient ecclesiastics
who once held a constitutional place in the Estates of Utrecht--although
many of those individuals were now married and had embraced the reformed
religion who had demolished, and sold at public auction, for 12,300
florins, the time-honoured cathedral where the earliest Christians of the
Netherlands had worshipped, and St. Willibrod had ministered, were
roundly rebuked, on more than one occasion, by the blunt matters beyond
their sphere.

The party of the States-General, as opposed to the Leicester party, was
guided by the statesmen of Holland. At a somewhat later period was formed
the States-right party, which claimed sovereignty for each Province, and
by necessary consequence the hegemony throughout the confederacy, for
Holland. At present the doctrine maintained was that the sovereignty
forfeited by Philip had naturally devolved upon the States-General. The
statesmen of this party repudiated the calumny that it had therefore
lapsed into the hands of half a dozen mechanics and men of low degree.
The States of each Province were, they maintained, composed of nobles and
country-gentlemen, as representing the agricultural interest, and of
deputies from the 'vroedschappen,' or municipal governments, of every
city and smallest town.

Such men as Adrian Van der Werff, the heroic burgomaster of Leyden during
its famous siege, John Van der Does, statesman, orator, soldier, poet,
Adolphus Meetkerke, judge, financier, politician, Carl Roorda, Noel de
Carom diplomatist of most signal ability, Floris Thin, Paul Buys, and
Olden-Barneveld, with many others, who would have done honour to the
legislative assemblies and national councils in any country or any age,
were constantly returned as members of the different vroedschaps in the

So far from its being true then that half a dozen ignorant mechanics had
usurped the sovereignty of the Provinces, after the abjuration of the
Spanish King, it may be asserted in general terms, that of the eight
hundred thousand inhabitants of Holland at least eight hundred persons
were always engaged in the administration of public affairs, that these
individuals were perpetually exchanged for others, and that those whose
names became most prominent in the politics of the day were remarkable
for thorough education, high talents, and eloquence with tongue and pen.
It was acknowledged by the leading statesmen of England and France, on
repeated occasions throughout the sixteenth century, that the
diplomatists and statesmen of the Netherlands were even more than a match
for any politicians who were destined to encounter them, and the profound
respect which Leicester expressed for these solid statesmen, these
"substantial, wise, well-languaged" men, these "big fellows," so soon as
he came in contact with them, and before he began to hate them for
outwitting him, has already appeared. They were generally men of the
people, born without any of the accidents of fortune; but, the leaders
had studied in the common schools, and later in the noble universities of
a land where to be learned and eloquent was fast becoming almost as great
an honour as to be wealthy or high born.

The executive, the legislative, and the judiciary departments were more
carefully and scientifically separated than could perhaps have been
expected in that age. The lesser municipal courts, in which city-senators
presided, were subordinate to the supreme court of Holland, whose
officers were appointed by the stadholders and council; the supplies were
in the hands of the States-Provincial, and the supreme administrative
authority was confided to a stadholder appointed by the states.

The States-General were constituted of similar materials to those of
which the States-Provincial were constructed, and the same individuals
were generally prominent in both. They were deputies appointed by the
Provincial Estates, were in truth rather more like diplomatic envoys than
senators, were generally bound very strictly by instructions, and were
often obliged, by the jealousy springing from the States-right principle,
to refer to their constituents, on questions when the times demanded a
sudden decision, and when the necessary delay was inconvenient and

In religious matters, the States-party, to their honour, already leaned
to a wide toleration. Not only Catholics were not burned, but they were
not banished, and very large numbers remained in the territory, and were
quite undisturbed in religious matters, within their own doors. There
were even men employed in public affairs who were suspected of papistical
tendencies, although their hostility, to Spain and their attachment to
their native land could not fairly be disputed. The leaders of the
States-party had a rooted aversion to any political influence on the part
of the clergy of any denomination whatever. Disposed to be lenient to all
forms of worship, they were disinclined to an established church, but
still more opposed to allowing church-influence in secular affairs. As a
matter of course, political men with such bold views in religious matters
were bitterly assailed by their rigid opponents. Barneveld, with his "nil
scire tutissima fides," was denounced as a disguised Catholic or an
infidel, and as for Paul Buys, he was a "bolsterer of Papists, an
atheist, a devil," as it has long since been made manifest.

Nevertheless these men believed that they understood the spirit of their
country and of the age. In encouragement to an expanding commerce, the
elevation and education of the masses, the toleration of all creeds, and
a wide distribution of political functions and rights, they looked for
the salvation of their nascent republic from destruction, and the
maintenance of the true interests of the people. They were still loyal to
Queen Elizabeth, and desirous that she should accept the sovereignty of
the Provinces. But they were determined that the sovereignty should be a
constitutional one, founded upon and limited by the time-honoured laws
and traditions of their commonwealth; for they recognised the value of a
free republic with an hereditary chief, however anomalous it might in
theory appear. They knew that in Utrecht the Leicestrian party were about
to offer the Queen the sovereignty of their Province, without conditions,
but they were determined that neither Queen Elizabeth nor any other
monarch should ever reign in the Netherlands, except under conditions to
be very accurately defined and well secured.

Thus, contrasted, then, were the two great parties in the Netherlands, at
the conclusion of Leicester's first year of administration. It may easily
be understood that it was not an auspicious moment to leave the country
without a chief.

The strength of the States-party lay in Holland, Zeeland, Friesland. The
main stay of the democratic or Leicester faction was in the city of
Utrecht, but the Earl had many partizans in Gelderland, Friesland, and in
Overyssel, the capital of which Province, the wealthy and thriving
Deventer, second only in the republic to Amsterdam for commercial and
political importance, had been but recently secured for the Provinces by
the vigorous measures of Sir William Pelham.

The condition of the republic and of the Spanish Provinces was, at that
moment, most signally contrasted. If the effects of despotism and of
liberty could ever be exhibited at a single glance, it was certainly only
necessary to look for a moment at the picture of the obedient and of the
rebel Netherlands.

Since the fall of Antwerp, the desolation of Brabant, Flanders, and of
the Walloon territories had become complete. The King had recovered the
great commercial capital, but its commerce was gone. The Scheldt, which,
till recently, had been the chief mercantile river in the world, had
become as barren as if its fountains had suddenly dried up. It was as if
it no longer flowed to the ocean, for its mouth was controlled by
Flushing. Thus Antwerp was imprisoned and paralyzed. Its docks and
basins, where 2500 ships had once been counted, were empty, grass was
growing in its streets, its industrious population had vanished, and the
Jesuits had returned in swarms. And the same spectacle was presented by
Ghent, Bruges, Valenciennes, Tournay, and those other fair cities, which
had once been types of vigorous industry and tumultuous life. The
sea-coast was in the hands of two rising commercial powers, the great and
free commonwealths of the future. Those powers were acting in concert,
and commanding the traffic of the world, while the obedient Provinces
were excluded from all foreign intercourse and all markets, as the result
of their obedience. Commerce, manufactures, agriculture; were dying
lingering deaths. The thrifty farms, orchards, and gardens, which had
been a proverb and wonder of industry were becoming wildernesses. The
demand for their produce by the opulent and thriving cities, which had
been the workshops of the world, was gone. Foraging bands of Spanish and
Italian mercenaries had succeeded to the famous tramp of the artizans and
mechanics, which had often been likened to an army, but these new
customers were less profitable to the gardeners and farmers. The
clothiers, the fullers, the tapestry-workers, the weavers, the cutlers,
had all wandered away, and the cities of Holland, Friesland, and of
England, were growing skilful and rich by the lessons and the industry of
the exiles to whom they afforded a home. There were villages and small
towns in the Spanish Netherlands that had been literally depopulated.
Large districts of country had gone to waste, and cane-brakes and squalid
morasses usurped the place of yellow harvest-fields. The fog, the wild
boar, and the wolf, infested the abandoned homes of the peasantry;
children could not walk in safety in the neighbourhood even of the larger
cities; wolves littered their young in the deserted farm-houses; two
hundred persons, in the winter of 1586-7, were devoured by wild beasts in
the outskirts of Ghent. Such of the remaining labourers and artizans as
had not been converted into soldiers, found their most profitable
employment as brigands, so that the portion of the population spared by
war and emigration was assisting the enemy in preying upon their native
country. Brandschatzung, burglary, highway-robbery, and murder, had
become the chief branches of industry among the working classes. Nobles
and wealthy burghers had been changed to paupers and mendicants. Many a
family of ancient lineage, and once of large possessions, could be seen
begging their bread, at the dusk of evening, in the streets of great
cities, where they had once exercised luxurious hospitality; and they
often begged in vain.

For while such was the forlorn aspect of the country--and the portrait,
faithfully sketched from many contemporary pictures, has not been
exaggerated in any of its dark details--a great famine smote the land
with its additional scourge. The whole population, soldiers and brigands,
Spaniards and Flemings, beggars and workmen, were in danger of perishing
together. Where the want of employment had been so great as to cause a
rapid depopulation, where the demand for labour had almost entirely
ceased, it was a necessary result, that during the process, prices should
be low, even in the presence of foreign soldiery, and despite the
inflamed' profits, which such capitalists as remained required, by way
not only of profit but insurance, in such troublous times. Accordingly,
for the last year or two, the price of rye at Antwerp and Brussels had
been one florin for the veertel (three bushels) of one hundred and twenty
pounds; that of wheat, about one-third of a florin more. Five pounds of
rye, therefore, were worth, one penny sterling, reckoning, as was then
usual, two shillings to the florin. A pound weight of wheat was worth
about one farthing. Yet this was forty-one years after the discovery of
the mines of Potosi (A.D. 1545), and full sixteen years after the epoch;
from which is dated that rapid fall in the value of silver, which in the
course of seventy years, caused the average price of corn and of all
other commodities, to be tripled or even quadrupled. At that very moment
the average cost of wheat in England was sixty-four shillings the
quarter, or about seven and sixpence sterling the bushel, and in the
markets of Holland, which in truth regulated all others, the same prices
prevailed. A bushel of wheat in England was equal therefore to eight
bushels in Brussels.

Thus the silver mines, which were the Spanish King's property, had
produced their effect everywhere more signally than within the obedient
Provinces. The South American specie found its way to Philip's coffers,
thence to the paymasters of his troops in Flanders, and thence to the
commercial centres of Holland and England. Those countries, first to feel
and obey the favourable expanding impulse of the age, were moving surely
and steadily on before it to greatness. Prices were rising with
unexampled rapidity, the precious metals were comparatively a drug, a
world-wide commerce, such as had never been dreamed of, had become an
every-day concern, the arts and sciences and a most generous culture in
famous schools and universities, which had been founded in the midst of
tumult and bloodshed, characterized the republic, and the golden age of
English poetry, which was to make the Elizabethan era famous through all
time, had already begun.

In the Spanish Netherlands the newly-found treasure served to pay the
only labourers required in a subjugated and almost deserted country, the
pikemen of Spain and Italy, and the reiters of Germany. Prices could not
sustain themselves in the face of depopulation. Where there was no
security for property, no home-market, no foreign intercourse, industrial
pursuits had become almost impossible. The small demand for labour had
caused it, as it were, to disappear, altogether. All men had become
beggars, brigands, or soldiers. A temporary reaction followed. There were
no producers. Suddenly it was discovered that no corn had been planted,
and that there was no harvest. A famine was the inevitable result. Prices
then rose with most frightful rapidity. The veertel of rye, which in the
previous year had been worth one florin at Brussels and Antwerp, rose in
the winter of 1586-7 to twenty, twenty-two, and even twenty-four florins;
and wheat advanced from one and one-third florin to thirty-two florins
the veertel. Other articles were proportionally increased in
market-value; but it is worthy of remark that mutton was quoted in the
midst of the famine at nine stuyvers (a little more than ninepence
sterling) the pound, and beef at fivepence, while a single cod-fish sold
for twenty-two florins. Thus wheat was worth sixpence sterling the pound
weight (reckoning the veertel of one hundred and twenty pounds at thirty
florins), which was a penny more than the price of a pound of beef; while
an ordinary fish was equal in value to one hundred and six pounds of
beef. No better evidence could be given that the obedient Provinces were
relapsing into barbarism, than that the only agricultural industry then
practised was to allow what flocks and herds were remaining to graze at
will over the ruined farms and gardens, and that their fishermen were
excluded from the sea.

The evil cured itself, however, and, before the expiration of another
year, prices were again at their previous level. The land was
sufficiently cultivated to furnish the necessaries of life for a
diminishing population, and the supply of labour was more than enough,
for the languishing demand. Wheat was again at tenpence the bushel, and
other commodities valued in like proportion, and far below the
market-prices in Holland and England.

On the other, hand, the prosperity of the republic was rapidly
increasing. Notwithstanding the war, which had beer raging for a
terrible quarter of a century without any interruption, population was
increasing, property rapidly advancing in value, labour in active demand.
Famine was impossible to a state which commanded the ocean. No corn grew
in Holland and Zeeland, but their ports were the granary of the world.
The fisheries were a mine of wealth almost equal to the famous Potosi,
with which the commercial world was then ringing. Their commerce with the
Baltic nations was enormous. In one month eight hundred vessels left
their havens for the eastern ports alone. There was also no doubt
whatever--and the circumstance was a source of constant complaint and of
frequent ineffective legislation--that the rebellious Provinces were
driving a most profitable trade with Spain and the Spanish possessions,
in spite of their revolutionary war. The mines of Peru and Mexico were as
fertile for the Hollanders and Zeelanders as for the Spaniards
themselves. The war paid for the war, one hundred large frigates were
constantly cruising along the coasts to protect the fast-growing traffic,
and an army of twenty thousand foot soldiers and two thousand cavalry
were maintained on land. There were more ships and sailors at that moment
in Holland and Zeeland than in the whole kingdom of England.

While the sea-ports were thus rapidly increasing in importance, the towns
in the interior were advancing as steadily. The woollen manufacture, the
tapestry, the embroideries of Gelderland, and Friesland, and Overyssel,
were becoming as famous as had been those of Tournay, Ypres, Brussels,
and Valenciennes. The emigration from the obedient Provinces and from
other countries was very great. It was difficult to obtain lodgings in
the principal cities; new houses, new streets, new towns, were rising
every day. The single Province of Holland furnished regularly, for
war-expenses alone, two millions of florins (two hundred thousand pounds)
a year, besides frequent extraordinary grants for the same purpose, yet
the burthen imposed upon the vigorous young commonwealth seemed only to
make it the more elastic. "The coming generations may see," says a
contemporary historian, "the fortifications erected at that epoch in the
cities, the costly and magnificent havens, the docks, the great extension
of the cities; for truly the war had become a great benediction to the
inhabitants." Such a prosperous commonwealth as this was not a prize to
be lightly thrown away. There is no doubt whatever that a large majority
of the inhabitants, and of the States by whom the people were
represented, ardently and affectionately desired to be annexed to the
English crown. Leicester had become unpopular, but Elizabeth was adored,
and there was nothing unreasonable in the desire entertained by the
Provinces of retaining their ancient constitutions, and of transferring
their allegiance to the English Queen.

But the English Queen could not resolve to take the step. Although the
great tragedy which was swiftly approaching its inevitable catastrophe,
the execution of the Scottish Queen, was to make peace with Philip
impossible--even if it were imaginable before--Elizabeth, during the year
1587, was earnestly bent on peace. This will be made manifest in
subsequent pages, by an examination of the secret correspondence of the
court. Her most sagacious statesmen disapproved her course, opposed it,
and were often overruled, although never convinced; for her imperious
will would have its way.

The States-General loathed the very name of peace with Spain. The people
loathed it. All knew that peace with Spain meant the exchange of a
thriving prosperous commonwealth, with freedom of religion,
constitutional liberty, and self-government, for provincial subjection to
the inquisition and to despotism: To dream of any concession from Philip
on the religious point was ridiculous. There was a mirror ever held up
before their eyes by the obedient Provinces, in which they might see
their own image, should, they too return to obedience. And there was
never a pretence, on the part of any honest adviser of Queen Elizabeth in
the Netherlands, whether Englishman or Hollander, that the idea of
peace-negotiation could be tolerated for a moment by States or people.
Yet the sum of the Queen's policy, for the year 1587, may be summed up in
one word--peace; peace for the Provinces, peace for herself, with their
implacable enemy.

In France, during the same year of expectation, we shall see the long
prologue to the tragic and memorable 1588 slowly enacting; the same
triangular contest between the three Henrys and their partizans still
proceeding. We shall see the misguided and wretched Valois lamenting over
his victories, and rejoicing over his defeats; forced into hollow
alliance with his deadly enemy; arrayed in arms against his only
protector and the true champion of the realm; and struggling vainly in
the toils of his own mother and his own secretary of state, leagued with
his most powerful foes. We shall see 'Mucio,' with one 'hand extended in
mock friendship toward the King, and with the other thrust backward to
grasp the purse of 300,000 crowns held forth to aid his
fellow-conspirator's dark designs against their common victim; and the
Bearnese, ever with lance in rest, victorious over the wrong antagonist,
foiled of the fruits of victory, proclaiming himself the English Queen's
devoted knight, but railing at her parsimony; always in the saddle,
always triumphant, always a beggar, always in love, always cheerful, and
always confident to outwit the Guises and Philip, Parma and the Pope.

And in Spain we shall have occasion to look over the King's shoulder, as
he sits at his study-table, in his most sacred retirement; and we shall
find his policy for the year 1587 summed up in two words--invasion of
England. Sincerely and ardently as Elizabeth meant peace with Philip,
just so sincerely did Philip intend war with England, and the
dethronement and destruction of the Queen. To this great design all
others were now subservient, and it was mainly on account of this
determination that there was sufficient leisure in the republic for the
Leicestrians and the States-General to fight out so thoroughly their


     Acknowledged head of the Puritan party of England (Leicester)
     Geneva theocracy in the place of the vanished Papacy
     Hankering for peace, when peace had really become impossible
     Hating nothing so much as idleness
     Mirror ever held up before their eyes by the obedient Provinces
     Rigid and intolerant spirit of the reformed religion
     Scorn the very word toleration as an insult
     The word liberty was never musical in Tudor ears


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 51, 1587


   Barneveld's Influence in the Provinces--Unpopularity of Leicester
   intrigues--of his Servants--Gossip of his Secretary--
   Its mischievous Effects--The Quarrel of Norris and Hollock--
   The Earl's Participation in the Affair--His increased Animosity to
   Norris--Seizure of Deventer--Stanley appointed its Governor--York
   and Stanley--Leicester's secret Instructions--Wilkes remonstrates
   with Stanley--Stanley's Insolence and Equivocation--Painful Rumours
   as to him and York--Duplicity of York--Stanley's Banquet at
   Deventer--He surrenders the City to Tassis--Terms of the Bargain--
   Feeble Defence of Stanley's Conduct--Subsequent Fate of Stanley and
   York--Betrayal of Gelder to Parma--These Treasons cast Odium on the
   English--Miserable Plight of the English Troops--Honesty and Energy
   of Wilkes--Indignant Discussion in the Assembly.

The government had not been laid down by Leicester on his departure. It
had been provisionally delegated, as already mentioned to the
state-council. In this body-consisting of eighteen persons--originally
appointed by the Earl, on nomination by the States, several members were
friendly to the governor, and others were violently opposed to him. The
Staten of Holland, by whom the action of the States-General was mainly
controlled, were influenced in their action by Buys and Barneveld. Young
Maurice of Nassau, nineteen years of age, was stadholder of Holland and
Zeeland. A florid complexioned, fair-haired young man, of
sanguine-bilious temperament; reserved, quiet, reflective, singularly
self-possessed; meriting at that time, more than his father had ever
done, the appellation of the taciturn; discreet, sober, studious. "Count
Maurice saith but little, but I cannot tell what he thinketh," wrote
Leicester's eaves-dropper-in-chiefs. Mathematics, fortification, the
science of war--these were his daily pursuits. "The sapling was to become
the tree," and meantime the youth was preparing for the great destiny
which he felt, lay before him. To ponder over the works and the daring
conceptions of Stevinus, to build up and to batter the wooden blocks of
mimic citadels; to arrange in countless combinations, great armies of
pewter soldiers; these were the occupations of his leisure-hours. Yet he
was hardly suspected of bearing within him the germs of the great
military commander. "Small desire hath Count Maurice to follow the wars,"
said one who fancied himself an acute observer at exactly this epoch.
"And whereas it might be supposed that in respect to his birth and place,
he would affect the chief military command in these countries, it is
found by experience had of his humour, that there is no chance of his
entering into competition with the others." A modest young man, who could
bide his time--but who, meanwhile, under the guidance of his elders, was
doing his best, both in field and cabinet, to learn the great lessons of
the age--he had already enjoyed much solid practical instruction, under
such a desperate fighter as Hohenlo, and under so profound a statesman as
Barneveld. For at this epoch Olden-Barneveld was the preceptor, almost
the political patron of Maurice, and Maurice, the official head of the
Holland party, was the declared opponent of the democratic-Calvinist
organization. It is not necessary, at this early moment, to foreshadow
the changes which time was to bring. Meantime it would be seen, perhaps
ere long, whether or no, it would be his humour to follow the wars. As to
his prudent and dignified deportment there was little doubt. "Count
Maurice behaveth himself very discreetly all this while," wrote one, who
did not love him, to Leicester, who loved him less: "He cometh every day
to the council, keeping no company with Count Hollock, nor with any of
them all, and never drinks himself full with any of them, as they do
every day among themselves."

Certainly the most profitable intercourse that Maurice could enjoy with
Hohenlo was upon the battle-field. In winter-quarters, that
hard-fighting, hard-drinking, and most turbulent chieftain, was not the
best Mentor for a youth whose destiny pointed him out as the leader of a
free commonwealth. After the campaigns were over--if they ever could be
over--the Count and other nobles from the same country were too apt to
indulge in those mighty potations, which were rather characteristic of
their nation and the age.

"Since your Excellency's departure," wrote Leicester's secretary, "there
hath been among the Dutch Counts nothing but dancing and drinking, to the
grief of all this people; which foresee that there can come no good of
it. Specially Count Hollock, who hath been drunk almost a fortnight

Leicester had rendered himself unpopular with the States-General, and
with all the leading politicians and generals; yet, at that moment, he
had deeply mortgaged his English estates in order to raise
funds to expend in the Netherland cause. Thirty thousand pounds
sterling--according to his own statement--he was already out of pocket,
and, unless the Queen would advance him the means to redeem his property;
his broad lands were to be brought to the hammer. But it was the Queen,
not the States-General, who owed the money; for the Earl had advanced
these sums as a portion of the royal contingent. Five hundred and sixty
thousand pounds sterling had been the cost of one year's war during the
English governor's administration; and of this sum one hundred and forty
thousand had been paid by England. There was a portion of the sum, over
and above their monthly levies; for which the States had contracted a
debt, and they were extremely desirous to obtain, at that moment, an
additional loan of fifty thousand pounds from Elizabeth; a favour
which--Elizabeth was very firmly determined not to grant. It was this
terror at the expense into which the Netherland war was plunging her,
which made the English sovereign so desirous for peace, and filled the
anxious mind of Walsingham with the most painful forebodings.

Leicester, in spite of his good qualities--such as they were--had not
that most necessary gift for a man in his position, the art of making
friends. No man made so many enemies. He was an excellent hater, and few
men have been more cordially hated in return. He was imperious, insolent,
hot-tempered. He could brook no equal. He had also the fatal defect of
enjoying the flattery, of his inferiors in station. Adroit intriguers
burned incense to him as a god, and employed him as their tool. And now
he had mortally offended Hohenlo, and Buys, and Barneveld, while he hated
Sir John Norris with a most passionate hatred. Wilkes, the English
representative, was already a special object of his aversion. The
unvarnished statements made by the stiff counsellor, of the expense of
the past year's administration, and the various errors committed, had
inspired Leicester with such ferocious resentment, that the friends of
Wilkes trembled for his life.

   ["It is generally bruited here," wrote Henry Smith to his brother-
   in-law Wilkes, "of a most heavy displeasure conceived by my Lord of
   Leicester against you, and it is said to be so great as that he hath
   protested to be revenged of you; and to procure you the more
   enemies, it is said he hath revealed to my Lord Treasurer, and
   Secretary Davison some injurious speeches (which I cannot report)
   you should have used of them to him at your last being with him.
   Furthermore some of the said Lord's secretaries have reported here
   that it were good for you never to return hither, or, if their Lord
   be appointed to go over again, it will be too hot for you to tarry
   there. These things thus coming to the ears of your friends have
   stricken a great fear and grief into the minds of such as love you,
   lest the wonderful force and authority of this man being bent
   against you, should do you hurt, while there is none to answer for
   you." Smith to Wilkes, 26 Jan. 1587. (S. P. Office MS.)]

Cordiality between the governor-general and Count Maurice had become
impossible. As for Willoughby and Sir William Pelham, they were both
friendly to him, but Willoughby was a magnificent cavalry officer, who
detested politics, and cared little for the Netherlands, except as the
best battle-field in Europe, and the old marshal of the camp--the only
man that Leicester ever loved--was growing feeble in health, was broken
down by debt, and hardly possessed, or wished for, any general influence.

Besides Deventer of Utrecht, then, on whom, the Earl chiefly relied
during his, absence, there were none to support him cordially, except two
or three members of the state-council. "Madame de Brederode hath sent
unto you a kind of rose," said his intelligencer, "which you have asked
for, and beseeches you to command anything she has in her garden, or
whatsoever. M. Meetkerke, M. Brederode, and Mr. Dorius, wish your return
with all, their hearts. For the rest I cannot tell, and will not swear.
But Mr. Barneveld is not your very great friend, whereof I can write no
more at this time."

This certainly was a small proportion out of a council of eighteen, when
all the leading politicians of the country were in avowed hostility to
the governor. And thus the Earl was, at this most important crisis, to
depend upon the subtle and dangerous Deventer, and upon two inferior
personages, the "fellow Junius" and a non-descript, whom Hohenlo
characterized as a "long lean Englishman, with a little black beard."
This meagre individual however seems to have been of somewhat doubtful
nationality. He called himself Otheman, claimed to be a Frenchman, had
lived much in England, wrote with great fluency and spirit, both in
French and English, but was said, in reality, to be named Robert Dale.

It was not the best policy for the representative of the English Queen to
trust to such counsellors at a moment when the elements of strife between
Holland and England were actively at work; and when the safety, almost
the existence, of the two commonwealths depended upon their acting
cordially in concert. "Overyssel, Utrecht, Friesland, and Gelderland,
have agreed to renew the offer of sovereignty to her Majesty," said
Leicester. "I shall be able to make a better report of their love and
good inclination than I can of Holland." It was thought very desirable by
the English government that this great demonstration should be made once
more, whatever might be the ultimate decision of her Majesty upon so
momentous a measure. It seemed proper that a solemn embassy should once
more proceed to England in order to confer with Elizabeth; but there was
much delay in regard to the step, and much indignation, in consequence,
on the part of the Earl. The opposition came, of course, from the
Barneveld party. "They are in no great haste to offer the sovereignty,"
said Wilkes. "First some towns of Holland made bones thereat, and now
they say that Zeeland is not resolved."

The nature and the causes of the opposition offered by Barneveld and the
States of Holland have been sufficiently explained. Buys, maddened by his
long and unjustifiable imprisonment, had just been released by the
express desire of Hohenlo; and that unruly chieftain, who guided the
German and Dutch magnates; such as Moeurs and Overstein, and who even
much influenced Maurice and his cousin Count Lewis William, was himself
governed by Barneveld. It would have been far from impossible for
Leicester, even then, to conciliate the whole party. It was highly
desirable that he should do so, for not one of the Provinces where he
boasted his strength was quite secure for England. Count Moeurs, a potent
and wealthy noble, was governor of Utrecht and Gelderland, and he had
already begun to favour the party in Holland which claimed for that
Province a legal jurisdiction over the whole ancient episcopate. Under
these circumstances common prudence would have suggested that as good an
understanding as possible might be kept up with the Dutch and German
counts, and that the breach might not be rendered quite irreparable.

Yet, as if there had not been administrative blunders enough committed in
one year, the unlucky lean Englishman, with the black beard, who was the
Earl's chief representative, contrived--almost before his master's back
was turned--to draw upon himself the wrath of all the fine ladies in
Holland. That this should be the direful spring of unutterable disasters,
social and political, was easy to foretell.

Just before the governor's departure Otheman came to pay his farewell
respects, and receive his last commands. He found Leicester seated at
chess with Sir Francis Drake.

"I do leave you here, my poor Otheman," said the Earl, "but so soon as I
leave you I know very well that nobody will give you a good look."

"Your Excellency was a true prophet," wrote the secretary a few weeks
later, "for, my good Lord, I have been in as great danger of my life as
ever man was. I have been hunted at Delft from house to house, and then
besieged in my lodgings four or five hours, as though I had been the
greatest thief, murderer, and traitor in the land."

And why was the unfortunate Otheman thus hunted to his lair? Because he
had chosen to indulge in 'scandalum magnatum,' and had thereby excited
the frenzy of all the great nobles whom it was most important for the
English party to conciliate.

There had been gossip about the Princess of Chimay and one Calvaert, who
lived in her house, much against the advice of all her best friends. One
day she complained bitterly to Master Otheman of the spiteful ways of the

"I protest," said she, "that I am the unhappiest lady upon earth to have
my name thus called in question."

So said Otheman, in order to comfort her: "Your Highness is aware that
such things are said of all. I am sure I hear every day plenty of
speeches about lords and ladies, queens and princesses. You have little
cause to trouble yourself for such matters, being known to live honestly,
and like a good Christian lady. Your Highness is not the only lady spoken

The Princess listened with attention.

"Think of the stories about the Queen of England and my Lord of
Leicester!" said Otheman, with infinite tact. "No person is exempted from
the tongues of evil, speakers; but virtuous and godly men do put all such
foolish matter under their feet. Then there is the Countess of Hoeurs,
how much evil talk does one hear about her!"

The Princess seemed still more interested and even excited; and the
adroit Otheman having thus, as he imagined, very successfully smoothed
away her anger, went off to have a little more harmless gossip about the
Princess and the Countess, with Madame de Meetkerke, who had sent
Leicester the rose from her garden.

But, no sooner, had he gone, than away went her Highness to Madame de
Moeurs, "a marvellous wise and well-spoken gentlewoman and a grave," and
informed her and the Count, with some trifling exaggeration, that the
vile Englishman, secretary to the odious Leicester, had just been there,
abusing and calumniating the Countess in most lewd and abominable
fashion. He had also, she protested, used "very evil speeches of all the
ladies in the country." For her own part the Princess avowed her
determination to have him instantly murdered. Count Moeurs was quite of
the same mind, and desired nothing better than to be one of his
executioners. Accordingly, the next Sunday, when the babbling secretary
had gone down to Delft to hear the French sermon, a select party,
consisting of Moeurs, Lewis William of Nassau, Count Overstein, and
others, set forth for that city, laid violent hands on the culprit, and
brought him bodily before Princess Chimay. There, being called upon to
explain his innuendos, he fell into much trepidation, and gave the names
of several English captains, whom he supposed to be at that time in
England. "For if I had denied the whole matter," said he, "they would
have given me the lie, and used me according to their evil mind." Upon
this they relented, and released their prisoner, but, the next day they
made another attack upon him, hunted him from house to house, through the
whole city of Delft, and at last drove him to earth in his own lodgings,
where they kept him besieged several hours. Through the intercession of
Wilkes and the authority of the council of state, to which body he
succeeded in conveying information of his dangerous predicament, he was,
in his own language, "miraculously preserved," although remaining still
in daily danger of his life. "I pray God keep me hereafter from the anger
of a woman," he exclaimed, "quia non est ira supra iram mulieris."

He was immediately examined before the council, and succeeded in clearing
and justifying himself to the satisfaction of his friends. His part was
afterwards taken by the councillors, by all the preachers and godly men,
and by the university of Leyden. But it was well understood that the blow
and the affront had been levelled at the English governor and the English

"All your friends do see," said Otheman, "that this disgrace is not meant
so much to me as to your Excellency; the Dutch Earls having used such
speeches unto me, and against all law, custom, and reason, used such
violence to me, that your Excellency shall wonder to hear of it."

Now the Princess Chimay, besides being of honourable character, was a
sincere and exemplary member of the Calvinist church, and well inclined
to the Leicestrians. She was daughter of Count Meghem, one of the
earliest victims of Philip II., in the long tragedy of Netherland
independence, and widow of Lancelot Berlaymont. Count Moeurs was governor
of Utrecht, and by no means, up to that time, a thorough supporter of the
Holland party; but thenceforward he went off most abruptly from the party
of England, became hand and glove with Hohenlo, accepted the influence of
Barneveld, and did his best to wrest the city of Utrecht from English
authority. Such was the effect of the secretary's harmless gossip.

"I thought Count Moeurs and his wife better friends to your Excellency
than I do see them to be," said Otheman afterwards. "But he doth now
disgrace the English nation many ways in his speeches--saying that they
are no soldiers, that they do no good to this country, and that these
Englishmen that are at Arnheim have an intent to sell and betray the town
to the enemy."

But the disgraceful squabble between Hohenlo and Edward Norris had been
more unlucky for Leicester than any other incident during the year, for
its result was to turn the hatred of both parties against himself. Yet
the Earl of all men, was originally least to blame for the transaction.
It has been seen that Sir Philip Sidney had borne Norris's cartel to
Hohenlo, very soon after the outrage had been committed. The Count had
promised satisfaction, but meantime was desperately wounded in the attack
on Fort Zutphen. Leicester afterwards did his best to keep Edward Norris
employed in distant places, for he was quite aware that Hohenlo, as
lieutenant-general and count of the empire, would consider himself
aggrieved at being called to the field by a simple English captain,
however deeply he might have injured him. The governor accordingly
induced the Queen to recall the young man to England, and invited
him--much as he disliked his whole race--to accompany him on his
departure for that country.

The Captain then consulted with his brother Sir John, regarding the
pending dispute with Hohenlo. His brother advised that the Count should
be summoned to keep his promise, but that Lord Leicester's permission
should previously be requested.

A week before the governor's departure, accordingly, Edward Norris
presented himself one morning in the dining-room, and, finding the Earl
reclining on a window-seat, observed to him that "he desired his
Lordship's favour towards the discharging of his reputation."

"The Count Hollock is now well," he proceeded, "and is fasting and
banqueting in his lodgings, although he does not come abroad."

"And what way will you take?" inquired Leicester, "considering that he
keeps his house."

"'Twill be best, I thought," answered Norris, "to write unto him, to
perform his promise he made me to answer me in the field."

"To whom did he make that promise?" asked the Earl.

"To Sir Philip Sidney," answered the Captain.

"To my nephew Sidney," said Leicester, musingly; "very well; do as you
think best, and I will do for you what I can."

And the governor then added many kind expressions concerning the interest
he felt in the young man's reputation. Passing to other matters, Morris
then spoke of the great charges he had recently been put to by reason of
having exchanged out of the States' service in order to accept a
commission from his Lordship to levy a company of horse. This levy had
cost him and his friends three hundred pounds, for which he had not been
able to "get one groat."

"I beseech your Lordship to stand good for me," said he; "considering the
meanest captain in all the country hath as good entertainment as I."

"I can do but little for you before my departure," said Leicester; "but
at my return I will advise to do more."

After this amicable conversation Morris thanked his Lordship, took his
leave, and straightway wrote his letter to Count Hollock.

That personage, in his answer, expressed astonishment that Norris should
summon him, in his "weakness and indisposition;" but agreed to give him
the desired meeting; with sword and dagger, so soon as he should be
sufficiently recovered. Morris, in reply, acknowledged his courteous
promise, and hoped that he might be speedily restored to health.

The state-council, sitting at the Hague, took up the matter at once
however, and requested immediate information of the Earl. He accordingly
sent for Norris and his brother Sir John, who waited upon him in his
bed-chamber, and were requested to set down in writing the reasons which
had moved them in the matter. This statement was accordingly furnished,
together with a copy of the correspondence. The Earl took the papers, and
promised to allow most honourably of it in the Council.

Such is the exact narrative, word for word, as given by Sir John and
Edward Norris, in a solemn memorial to the Lords of Her Majesty's privy
council, as well as to the state-council of the United Provinces. A very
few days afterwards Leicester departed for England, taking Edward Norris
with him.

Count Hohenlo was furious at the indignity, notwithstanding the polite
language in which he had accepted the challenge. "'T was a matter
punishable with death," he said, "in all kingdoms and countries, for a
simple captain to send such a summons to a man of his station, without
consent of the supreme authority. It was plain," he added, "that the
English governor-general had connived at the affront," for Norris had
been living in his family and dining at his table. Nay, more, Lord
Leicester had made him a knight at Flushing just before their voyage to
England. There seems no good reason to doubt the general veracity of the
brothers Norris, although, for the express purpose of screening
Leicester, Sir John represented at the time to Hohenlo and others that
the Earl had not been privy to the transaction. It is very certain,
however, that so soon as the general indignation of Hohenlo and his
partizans began to be directed against Leicester, he at once denied, in
passionate and abusive language, having had any knowledge whatever of
Norris's intentions. He protested that he learned, for the first time, of
the cartel from information furnished to the council of state.

The quarrel between Hohenlo and Norris was afterwards amicably arranged
by Lord Buckhurst, during his embassy to the States, at the express
desire of the Queen. Hohenlo and Sir John Norris became very good
friends, while the enmity between them and Leicester grew more deadly
every day. The Earl was frantic with rage whenever he spoke of the
transaction, and denounced Sir John Norris as "a fool, liar, and coward"
on all occasions, besides overwhelming his brother, Buckhurst, Wilkes,
and every other person who took their part, with a torrent of abuse; and
it is well known that the Earl was a master of Billingsgate.

"Hollock says that I did procure Edward Norris to send him his cartel,"
observed Leicester on one occasion, "wherein I protest before the Lord, I
was as ignorant as any man in England. His brother John can tell whether
I did not send for him to have committed him for it; but that, in very
truth, upon the perusing of it" (after it had been sent), "it was very
reasonably written, and I did consider also the great wrong offered him
by the Count, and so forbore it. I was so careful for the Count's safety
after the brawl between him and Norris, that I charged Sir John, if any
harm came to the Count's person by any of his or under him, that he
should answer it. Therefore, I take the story to be bred in the bosom of
some much like a thief or villain, whatsoever he were."

And all this was doubtless true so far as regarded the Earl's original
exertions to prevent the consequences of the quarrel, but did not touch
the point of the second correspondence preceded by the conversation in
the dining-room, eight days before the voyage to England. The affair, in
itself of slight importance, would not merit so much comment at this late
day had it not been for its endless consequences. The ferocity with which
the Earl came to regard every prominent German, Hollander, and
Englishman, engaged in the service of the States, sprang very much from
the complications of this vulgar brawl. Norris, Hohenlo, Wilkes,
Buckhurst, were all denounced to the Queen as calumniators, traitors, and
villains; and it may easily be understood how grave and extensive must
have been the effects of such vituperation upon the mind of Elizabeth,
who, until the last day of his life, doubtless entertained for the Earl
the deepest affection of which her nature was susceptible. Hohenlo, with
Count Maurice, were the acknowledged chiefs of the anti-English party,
and the possibility of cordial cooperation between the countries may be
judged of by the entanglement which had thus occurred.

Leicester had always hated Sir John Norris, but he knew that the mother
had still much favour with the Queen, and he was therefore the more
vehement in his denunciations of the son the more difficulty he found in
entirely destroying his character, and the keener jealousy he felt that
any other tongue but his should influence her Majesty. "The story of John
Norris about the cartel is, by the Lord God, most false," he exclaimed;
"I do beseech you not to see me so dealt withal, but that especially her
Majesty may understand these untruths, who perhaps, by the mother's fair
speeches and the son's smooth words, may take some other conceit of my
doings than I deserve."

He was most resolute to stamp the character of falsehood upon both the
brothers, for he was more malignant towards Sir John than towards any man
in the world, not even excepting Wilkes. To the Queen, to the Lords of
the Privy Council, to Walsingham, to Burghley, he poured forth endless
quantities of venom, enough to destroy the characters of a hundred honest

"The declaration of the two Norrises for the cartel is most false, as I
am a Christian," he said to Walsingham. "I have a dozen witnesses, as
good and some better than they, who will testify that they were present
when I misliked the writing of the letter before ever I saw it. And by
the allegiance I owe to her Majesty, I never knew of the letter, nor gave
consent to it, nor heard of it till it was complained of from Count
Hollock. But, as they are false in this, so you will find J. N. as false
in his other answers; so that he would be ashamed, but that his old
conceit hath made him past shame, I fear. His companions in Ireland, as
in these countries, report that Sir John Norris would often say that he
was but an ass and a fool, who, if a lie would serve his turn, would
spare it. I remember I have heard that the Earl of Sussex would say so;
and indeed this gentleman doth imitate him in divers things."

But a very grave disaster to Holland and England was soon the fruit of
the hatred borne by Leicester to Sir John Norris. Immediately after the
battle of Zutphen and the investment of that town by the English and
Netherlanders, great pains were taken to secure the city of Deventer.
This was, after Amsterdam and Antwerp, the most important mercantile
place in all the Provinces. It was a large prosperous commercial and
manufacturing capital, a member of the Hanseatic League, and the great
centre of the internal trade of the Netherlands with the Baltic nations.
There was a strong Catholic party in the town, and the magistracy were
disposed to side with Parma. It was notorious that provisions and
munitions were supplied from thence to the beleaguered Zutphen; and
Leicester despatched Sir William Pelham, accordingly, to bring the
inhabitants to reason. The stout Marshal made short work of it. Taking
Sir William Stanley and the greater part of his regiment with him, he
caused them, day by day, to steal into the town, in small parties of ten
and fifteen. No objection was made to this proceeding on the part of the
city government. Then Stanley himself arrived in the morning, and the
Marshal in the evening, of the 20th of October. Pelham ordered the
magistrates to present themselves forthwith at his lodgings, and told
them, with grim courtesy, that the Earl of Leicester excused himself from
making them a visit, not being able, for grief at the death of Sir Philip
Sidney, to come so soon near the scene of his disaster. His Excellency
had therefore sent him to require the town to receive an English
garrison. "So make up your minds, and delay not," said Pelham; "for I
have many important affairs on my hands, and must send word to his
Excellency at once. To-morrow morning, at eight o'clock, I shall expect
your answer."

Next day, the magistrates were all assembled in the townhouse before six.
Stanley had filled the great square with his troops, but he found that
the burghers-five thousand of whom constituted the municipal militia--had
chained the streets and locked the gates. At seven o'clock Pelham
proceeded, to the town-house, and, followed by his train, made his
appearance before the magisterial board. Then there was a knocking at the
door, and Sir William Stanley entered, having left a strong guard of
soldiers at the entrance to the hall.

"I am come for an answer," said the Lord Marshal; "tell me straight." The
magistrates hesitated, whispered, and presently one of them slipped away.

"There's one of you gone," cried the Marshal. "Fetch him straight back;
or, by the living God, before whom I stand, there is not one of you shall
leave this place with life."

So the burgomasters sent for the culprit, who returned.

"Now, tell me," said Pelham, "why you have, this night, chained your
streets and kept such strong watch while your friends and defenders were
in the town? Do you think we came over here to spend our lives and our
goods, and to leave all we have, to be thus used and thus betrayed by
you? Nay, you shall find us trusty to our friends, but as politic as
yourselves. Now, then; set your hands to this document," he proceeded, as
he gave them a new list of magistrates, all selected from stanch

"Give over your government to the men here nominated, Straight; dally
not!" The burgomasters signed the paper.

"Now," said Pelham, "let one of you go to the watch, discharge the guard,
bid them unarm, and go home to their lodgings."

A magistrate departed on the errand.

"Now fetch me the keys of the gate," said Pelham, "and that straightway,
or, before God, you shall die."

The keys were brought, and handed to the peremptory old Marshal. The old
board of magistrates were then clapped into prison, the new ones
installed, and Deventer was gained for the English and Protestant party.

There could be no doubt that a city so important and thus fortunately
secured was worthy to be well guarded. There could be no doubt either
that it would be well to conciliate the rich and influential Papists in
the place, who, although attached to the ancient religion, were not
necessarily disloyal to the republic; but there could be as little that,
under the circumstances of this sudden municipal revolution, it would be
important to place a garrison of Protestant soldiers there, under the
command of a Protestant officer of known fidelity.

To the astonishment of the whole commonwealth, the Earl appointed Sir
William Stanley to be governor of the town, and stationed in it a
garrison of twelve hundred wild Irishmen.

Sir William was a cadet of one of the noblest English houses. He was the
bravest of the brave. His gallantry at the famous Zutphen fight had
attracted admiration, where nearly all had performed wondrous exploits,
but he was known to be an ardent Papist and a soldier of fortune, who had
fought on various sides, and had even borne arms in the Netherlands under
the ferocious Alva. Was it strange that there should be murmurs at the
appointment of so dangerous a chief to guard a wavering city which had so
recently been secured?

The Irish kernes--and they are described by all contemporaries, English
and Flemish, in the same language--were accounted as the wildest and
fiercest of barbarians. There was something grotesque, yet appalling, in
the pictures painted of these rude, almost naked; brigands, who ate raw
flesh, spoke no intelligible language, and ranged about the country,
burning, slaying, plundering, a terror to the peasantry and a source of
constant embarrassment to the more orderly troops in the service of the
republic. "It seemed," said one who had seen them, "that they belonged
not to Christendom, but to Brazil." Moreover, they were all Papists, and,
however much one might be disposed to censure that great curse of the
age, religious intolerance--which was almost as flagrant in the councils
of Queen Elizabeth as in those of Philip--it was certainly a most fatal
policy to place such a garrison, at that critical juncture, in the
newly-acquired city. Yet Leicester, who had banished Papists from Utrecht
without cause and without trial, now placed most notorious Catholics in

Zutphen, which was still besieged by the English and the patriots, was
much crippled by the loss of the great fort, the capture of which, mainly
through the brilliant valour of Stanley's brother Edward, has already
been related. The possession of Deventer and of this fort gave the
control of the whole north-eastern territory to the patriots; but, as if
it were not enough to place Deventer in the hands of Sir William Stanley,
Leicester thought proper to confide the government of the fort to Roland
York. Not a worse choice could be made in the whole army.

York was an adventurer of the most audacious and dissolute character. He
was a Londoner by birth, one of those "ruing blades" inveighed against by
the governor-general on his first taking command of the forces. A man of
desperate courage, a gambler, a professional duellist, a bravo, famous in
his time among the "common hacksters and swaggerers" as the first to
introduce the custom of foining, or thrusting with the rapier in single
combats--whereas before his day it had been customary among the English
to fight with sword and shield, and held unmanly to strike below the
girdle--he had perpetually changed sides, in the Netherland wars, with
the shameless disregard to principle which characterized all his actions.
He had been lieutenant to the infamous John Van Imbyze, and had been
concerned with him in the notorious attempt to surrender Dendermonde and
Ghent to the enemy, which had cost that traitor his head. York had been
thrown into prison at Brussels, but there had been some delay about his
execution, and the conquest of the city by Parma saved him from the
gibbet. He had then taken service under the Spanish commander-in-chief,
and had distinguished himself, as usual, by deeds of extraordinary
valour, having sprung on board the burning volcano-ship at the siege of
Antwerp. Subsequently returning to England, he had, on Leicester's
appointment, obtained the command of a company in the English contingent,
and had been conspicuous on the field of Warnsveld; for the courage which
he always displayed under any standard was only equalled by the audacity
with which he was ever ready to desert from it. Did it seem credible that
the fort of Zutphen should be placed in the hands of Roland York?

Remonstrances were made by the States-General at once. With regard to
Stanley, Leicester maintained that he was, in his opinion, the fittest
man to take charge of the whole English army, during his absence in
England. In answer to a petition made by the States against the
appointment of York, "in respect to his perfidious dealings before," the
Earl replied that he would answer for his fidelity as for his own
brother; adding peremptorily--"Do you trust me? Then trust York."

But, besides his other qualifications for high command, Stanley possessed
an inestimable one in Leicester's eyes. He was, or at least had been, an
enemy of Sir John Norris. To be this made a Papist pardonable. It was
even better than to be a Puritan.

But the Earl did more than to appoint the traitor York and the Papist
Stanley to these important posts. On the very day of his departure, and
immediately after his final quarrel with Sir John about the Hohenlo
cartel, which had renewed all the ancient venom, he signed a secret
paper, by which he especially forbade the council of state to interfere
with or set aside any appointments to the government of towns or forts,
or to revoke any military or naval commissions, without his consent.

Now supreme executive authority had been delegated to the state-council
by the Governor-General during his absence. Command in chief over all the
English forces, whether in the Queen's pay or the State's pay, had been
conferred upon Norris, while command over the Dutch and German troops
belonged to Hohenlo; but, by virtue of the Earl's secret paper, Stanley
and York were now made independent of all authority. The evil
consequences natural to such a step were not slow in displaying

Stanley at once manifested great insolence towards Norris. That
distinguished general was placed in a most painful position. A post of
immense responsibility was confided to him. The honour of England's Queen
and of England's soldiers was entrusted to his keeping; at a moment full
of danger, and in a country where every hour might bring forth some
terrible change; yet he knew himself the mark at which the most powerful
man in England was directing all his malice, and that the Queen, who was
wax in her great favourite's hands, was even then receiving the most
fatal impressions as to his character and conduct. "Well I know," said he
to Burghley, "that the root of the former malice borne me is not
withered, but that I must look for like fruits therefrom as before;" and
he implored the Lord-Treasurer, that when his honour and reputation
should be called in question, he might be allowed to return to England
and clear himself. "For myself," said he, "I have not yet received any
commission, although I have attended his Lordship of Leicester to his
ship. It is promised to be sent me, and in the meantime I understand that
my Lord hath granted separate commissions to Sir William Stanley and
Roland York, exempting them from obeying of me. If this be true, 'tis
only done to nourish factions, and to interrupt any better course in our
doings than before hath been." He earnestly requested to be furnished
with a commission directly from her Majesty. "The enemy is reinforcing,"
he added. "We are very weak, our troops are unpaid these three months,
and we are grown odious, to our friends."

Honest Councillor Wilkes, who did his best to conciliate all parties, and
to do his duty to England and Holland, to Leicester and to Norris, had
the strongest sympathy with Sir John. "Truly, besides the value, wisdom,
and many other good parts that are in him," he said, "I have noted
wonderful patience and modesty in the man, in bearing many apparent
injuries done unto him, which I have known to be countenanced and
nourished, contrary to all reason, to disgrace him. Please therefore
continue your honourable opinion of him in his absence, whatsoever may be
maliciously reported to his disadvantage, for I dare avouch, of my own
poor skill, that her Majesty hath not a second subject of his place and
quality able to serve in those countries as he . . . . I doubt not God
will move her Majesty, in despite of the devil, to respect him as he

Sir John disclaimed any personal jealousy in regard to Stanley's
appointment, but, within a week or two of the Earl's departure, he
already felt strong anxiety as to its probable results. "If it prove no
hindrance to the service," he said, "it shall nothing trouble me. I
desire that my doings may show what I am; neither will I seek, by
indirect means to calumniate him or any other, but will let them show

Early in December he informed the Lord-Treasurer that Stanley's own men
were boasting that their master acknowledged no superior authority to his
own, and that he had said as much himself to the magistracy of Deventer.
The burghers had already complained, through the constituted guardians of
their liberties, of his insolence and rapacity, and of the turbulence of
his troops, and had appealed to Sir John; but the colonel-general's
remonstrances had been received by Sir William with contumely and abuse,
and by daunt that he had even a greater commission than any he had yet

"Three sheep, an ox, and a whole hog," were required weekly of the
peasants for his table, in a time of great scarcity, and it was
impossible to satisfy the rapacious appetites of the Irish kernes. The
paymaster-general of the English forces was daily appealed to by Stanley
for funds--an application which was certainly not unreasonable, as her
Majesty's troops had not received any payment for three months--but there
"was not a denier in the treasury," and he was therefore implored to
wait. At last the States-General sent him a month's pay for himself and
all his troops, although, as he was in the Queen's service, no claim
could justly be made upon them.

Wilkes, also, as English member of the state council, faithfully conveyed
to the governor-general in England the complaints which came up to all
the authorities of the republic, against Sir William Stanley's conduct in
Deventer. He had seized the keys of the gates, he kept possession of the
towers and fortifications, he had meddled with the civil government, he
had infringed all their privileges. Yet this was the board of
magistrates, expressly set up by Leicester, with the armed hand, by the
agency of Marshal Pelham and this very Colonel Stanley--a board of
Calvinist magistrates placed but a few weeks before in power to control a
city of Catholic tendencies. And here was a papist commander displaying
Leicester's commission in their faces, and making it a warrant for
dealing with the town as if it were under martial law, and as if he were
an officer of the Duke of Parma. It might easily be judged whether such
conduct were likely to win the hearts of Netherlanders to Leicester and
to England.

"Albeit, for my own part," said Wilkes, "I do hold Sir William Stanley to
be a wise and a discreet gent., yet when I consider that the magistracy
is such as was established by your Lordship, and of the religion, and
well affected to her Majesty, and that I see how heavily the matter is
conceived of here by the States and council, I do fear that all is not
well. The very bruit of this doth begin to draw hatred upon our nation.
Were it not that I doubt some dangerous issue of this matter, and that I
might be justly charged with negligence, if I should not advertise you
beforehand, I would, have forborne to mention this dissension, for the
States are about to write to your Lordship and to her Majesty for
reformation in this matter." He added that he had already written
earnestly to Sir William, "hoping to persuade him to carry a mild hand
over the people."

Thus wrote Councillor Wilkes, as in duty bound, to Lord Leicester, so
early as the 9th December, and the warning voice of Norris had made
itself heard in England quite as soon. Certainly the governor-general,
having, upon his own responsibility; and prompted, it would seem, by
passion more than reason, made this dangerous appointment, was fortunate
in receiving timely and frequent notice of its probable results.

And the conscientious Wilkes wrote most earnestly, as he said he had
done, to the turbulent Stanley.

"Good Sir William," said he, "the magistrates and burgesses of Deventer
complain to this council, that you have by violence wrested from them the
keys of one of their gates, that you assemble your garrison in arms to
terrify them, that you have seized one of their forts, that the Irish
soldiers do commit many extortions and exactions upon the inhabitants,
that you have imprisoned their burgesses, and do many things against
their laws and privileges, so that it is feared the best affected, of the
inhabitants towards her Majesty will forsake the town. Whether any of
these things be true, yourself doth best know, but I do assure you that
the apprehension thereof here doth make us and our government hateful.
For mine own part, I have always known you for a gentleman of value,
wisdom; and judgment, and therefore should hardly believe any such thing.
. . . . I earnestly require you to take heed of consequences, and to be
careful of the honour of her Majesty and the reputation of our nation.
You will consider that the gaining possession of the town grew by them
that are now in office, who being of the religion, and well affected to
his Excellency's government, wrought his entry into the same . . . . I
know that Lord Leicester is sworn to maintain all the inhabitants of the
Provinces in their ancient privileges and customs. I know further that
your commission carreeth no authority to warrant you to intermeddle any
further than with the government of the soldiers and guard of the town.
Well, you may, in your own conceipt, confer some words to authorize you
in some larger sort, but, believe me, Sir, they will not warrant you
sufficiently to deal any further than I have said, for I have perused a
copy of your commission for that purpose. I know the name itself of a
governor of a town is odious to this people, and hath been ever since the
remembrance of the Spanish government, and if we, by any lack of
foresight, should give the like occasion, we should make ourselves as
odious as they are; which God forbid.

"You are to consider that we are not come into these countries for their
defence only, but for the defence of her Majesty and our own native
country, knowing that the preservation of both dependeth altogether upon
the preserving of these. Wherefore I do eftsoons intreat and require you
to forbear to intermeddle any further. If there shall follow any
dangerous effect of your proceedings, after this my friendly advice, I
shall be heartily sorry for your sake, but I shall be able to testify to
her Majesty that I have done my duty in admonishing you."

Thus spake the stiff councillor, earnestly and well, in behalf of
England's honour and the good name of England's Queen.

But the brave soldier, whose feet were fast sliding into the paths of
destruction, replied, in a tone of indignant innocence, more likely to
aggravate than to allay suspicion. "Finding," said Stanley, "that you
already threaten, I have gone so far as to scan the terms of my
commission, which I doubt not to execute, according to his Excellency's
meaning and mine honour. First, I assure you that I have maintained
justice, and that severely; else hardly would the soldiers have been
contented with bread and bare cheese."

He acknowledged possessing himself of the keys of the town, but defended
it on the ground of necessity; and of the character of the people, "who
thrust out the Spaniards and Almaynes, and afterwards never would obey
the Prince and States." "I would be," he said, "the sorriest man that
lives, if by my negligence the place should be lost. Therefore I thought
good to seize the great tower and ports. If I meant evil, I needed no
keys, for here is force enough."

With much effrontery, he then affected to rely for evidence of his
courteous and equitable conduct towards the citizens, upon the very
magistrates who had been petitioning the States-General, the
state-council, and the English Queen, against his violence:

"For my courtesy and humanity," he said, "I refer me unto the magistrates
themselves. But I think they sent rhetoricians, who could, allege of
little grief, and speak pitiful, and truly I find your ears have been as
pitiful in so timorously condemning me. I assure you that her Majesty
hath not a better servant than I nor a more faithful in these parts. This
I will prove with my flesh and blood. Although I know there be divers
flying reports spread by my enemies, which are come to my ears, I doubt
not my virtue and truth will prove them calumniators and men of little.
So, good Mr. Wilkes, I pray you, consider gravely, give ear discreetly,
and advertise into England soundly. For me, I have been and am your
friend, and glad to hear any admonition from one so wise as yourself."

He then alluded ironically to the "good favour and money" with which he
had been so contented of late, that if Mr. Wilkes would discharge him of
his promise to Lord Leicester, he would take his leave with all his
heart. Captain, officers, and soldiers, had been living on half a pound
of cheese a day. For himself, he had received but one hundred and twenty
pounds in five months, and was living at three pounds by the day. "This
my wealth will not long hold out," he observed, "but yet I will never
fail of my promise to his Excellency, whatsoever I endure. It is for her
Majesty's service and for the love I bear to him."

He bitterly complained of the unwillingness of the country-people to
furnish vivers, waggons, and other necessaries, for the fort before
Zutphen. "Had it not been," he said, "for the travail extraordinary of
myself, and patience of my brother, Yorke, that fort would have been in
danger. But, according to his desire and forethought, I furnished that
place with cavalry and infantry; for I know the troops there be
marvellous weak."

In reply, Wilkes stated that the complaints had been made "by no
rhetorician," but by letter from the magistrates themselves (on whom he
relied so confidently) to the state-council. The councillor added, rather
tartly, that since his honest words of defence and of warning, had been
"taken in so scoffing a manner," Sir William might be sure of not being
troubled with any more of his letters.

But, a day or two before thus addressing him, he had already enclosed to
Leicester very important letters addressed by the council of Gelderland
to Count Moeurs, stadholder of the Province, and by him forwarded to the
state-council. For there were now very grave rumours concerning the
fidelity of "that patient and foreseeing brother York," whom Stanley had
been so generously strengthening in Fort Zutphen. The lieutenant of York,
a certain Mr. Zouch, had been seen within the city of Zutphen, in close
conference with Colonel Tassis, Spanish governor of the place. Moreover
there had been a very frequent exchange of courtesies--by which the
horrors of war seemed to be much mitigated--between York on the outside
and Tassis within. The English commander sent baskets of venison, wild
fowl, and other game, which were rare in the market of a besieged town.
The Spanish governor responded with baskets of excellent wine and barrels
of beer. A very pleasant state of feeling, perhaps, to contemplate--as an
advance in civilization over the not very distant days of the Haarlem and
Leyden sieges, when barrels of prisoners' heads, cut off, a dozen or two
at a time, were the social amenities usually exchanged between Spaniards
and Dutchmen--but somewhat suspicious to those who had grown grey in this
horrible warfare.

The Irish kernes too, were allowed to come to mass within the city, and
were received there with as much fraternity by, the Catholic soldiers of
Tassis as the want of any common dialect would allow--a proceeding which
seemed better perhaps for the salvation of their souls, than--for the
advancement of the siege.

The state-council had written concerning these rumours to Roland York,
but the patient man had replied in a manner which Wilkes characterized as
"unfit to have been given to such as were the executors of the Earl of
Leicester's authority." The councillor implored the governor-general
accordingly to send some speedy direction in this matter, as well to
Roland York as to Sir William Stanley; for he explicitly and earnestly
warned him, that those personages would pay no heed to the remonstrances
of the state-council.

Thus again and again was Leicester--on whose head rested, by his own
deliberate act, the whole responsibility--forewarned that some great
mischief was impending. There was time enough even then--for it was but
the 16th December--to place full powers in the hands of the
state-council, of Norris, or of Hohenlo, and secretly and swiftly to
secure the suspected persons, and avert the danger. Leicester did
nothing. How could he acknowledge his error? How could he manifest
confidence in the detested Norris? How appeal to the violent and deeply
incensed Hohenlo?

Three weeks more rolled by, and the much-enduring Roland York was still
in confidential correspondence with Leicester and Walsingham, although
his social intercourse with the Spanish governor of Zutphen continued to
be upon the most liberal and agreeable footing. He was not quite
satisfied with the general, aspect of the Queen's cause in the
Netherlands, and wrote to the Secretary of State in a tone of
despondency, and mild expostulation. Walsingham would have been less
edified by these communications, had he been aware that York, upon first
entering Leicester's service, had immediately opened a correspondence
with the Duke of Parma, and had secretly given him to understand that his
object was to serve the cause of Spain. This was indeed the fact, as the
Duke informed the King, "but then he is such a scatter-brained, reckless
dare-devil," said Parma, "that I hardly expected much of him." Thus the
astute Sir Francis had been outwitted, by the adventurous Roland, who was
perhaps destined also to surpass the anticipations of the Spanish

Meantime York informed his English patrons, on the 7th January, that
matters were not proceeding so smoothly in the political world as he
could wish. He had found "many cross and indirect proceedings," and so,
according to Lord Leicester's desire, he sent him a "discourse" on the
subject, which he begged Sir Francis to "peruse, add to, or take away
from," and then to inclose to the Earl. He hoped he should be forgiven if
the style of the production was not quite satisfactory; for, said he,
"the place where I am doth too much torment my memory, to call every
point to my remembrance."

It must, in truth, have been somewhat a hard task upon his memory, to
keep freshly in mind every detail of the parallel correspondence which he
was carrying on with the Spanish and with the English government. Even a
cool head like Roland's might be forgiven for being occasionally puzzled.
"So if there be anything hard to be understood," he observed to
Walsingham, "advertise me, and I will make it plainer." Nothing could be
more ingenuous. He confessed, however, to being out of pocket. "Please
your honour," said he, "I have taken great pains to make a bad place
something, and it has cost me all the money I had, and here I can receive
nothing but discontentment. I dare not write you all lest you should
think it impossible," he added--and it is quite probable that even
Walsingham would have been astonished, had Roland written all. The game
playing by York and Stanley was not one to which English gentlemen were
much addicted.

"I trust the bearer, Edward Stanley; a discreet, brave gentleman," he
said, "with details." And the remark proves that the gallant youth who
had captured this very Fort Zutphen in, so brilliant a manner was not
privy to the designs of his brother and of York; for the object of the
"discourse" was to deceive the English government.

"I humbly beseech that you will send for me home," concluded Roland, "for
true as I humbled my mind to please her Majesty, your honour, and the
dead, now am I content to humble myself lower to please myself, for now,
since his, Excellency's departure, there is no form of proceeding neither
honourably nor honestly."

Three other weeks passed over, weeks of anxiety and dread throughout the
republic. Suspicion grew darker than ever, not only as to York and
Stanley, but as to all the English commanders, as to the whole English
nation. An Anjou plot, a general massacre, was expected by many, yet
there were no definite grounds for such dark anticipations. In vain had
painstaking, truth-telling Wilkes summoned Stanley to his duty, and
called on Leicester, time after time, to interfere. In vain did Sir John
Norris, Sir John Conway, the members of the state-council, and all others
who should have had authority, do their utmost to avert a catastrophe.
Their hands were all tied by the fatal letter of the 24th November. Most
anxiously did all implore the Earl of Leicester to return. Never was a
more dangerous moment than this for a country to be left to its fate.
Scarcely ever in history was there a more striking exemplification of the
need of a man--of an individual--who should embody the powers and wishes,
and concentrate in one brain and arm, the whole energy, of a
commonwealth. But there was no such man, for the republic had lost its
chief when Orange died. There was much wisdom and patriotism now.
Olden-Barneveld was competent, and so was Buys, to direct the councils of
the republic, and there were few better soldiers than Norris and Hohenlo
to lead her armies against Spain. But the supreme authority had been
confided to Leicester. He had not perhaps proved himself extraordinarily
qualified for his post, but he was the governor-in-chief, and his
departure, without resigning his powers, left the commonwealth headless,
at a moment when singleness of action was vitally important.

At last, very late in January, one Hugh Overing, a haberdasher from
Ludgate Hill, was caught at Rotterdam, on his way to Ireland, with a
bundle of letters from Sir William Stanley, and was sent, as a suspicious
character, to the state-council at the Hague. On the same day, another
Englishman, a small youth, "well-favoured," rejoicing in a "very little
red beard, and in very ragged clothes," unknown by name; but ascertained
to be in the service of Roland York and to have been the bearer of
letters to Brussels, also passed through Rotterdam. By connivance of the
innkeeper, one Joyce, also an Englishman, he succeeded in making his
escape. The information contained in the letters thus intercepted was
important, but it came too late, even if then the state-council could
have acted without giving mortal offence to Elizabeth and to Leicester.

On the evening of 28th January (N. S.), Sir William Stanley entertained
the magistrates of Deventer at a splendid banquet. There was free
conversation at table concerning the idle suspicions which had been rife
in the Provinces as to his good intentions and the censures which had
been cast upon him for the repressive measures which he had thought
necessary to adopt for the security of the city. He took that occasion to
assure his guests that the Queen of England had not a more loyal subject
than himself, nor the Netherlands a more devoted friend. The company
expressed themselves fully restored to confidence in his character and
purposes, and the burgomasters, having exchanged pledges of faith and
friendship with the commandant in flowing goblets, went home comfortably
to bed, highly pleased with their noble entertainer and with themselves.

Very late that same night, Stanley placed three hundred of his wild Irish
in the Noorenberg tower, a large white structure which commanded the
Zutphen gate, and sent bodies of chosen troops to surprise all the
burgher-guards at their respective stations. Strong pickets of cavalry
were also placed in all the principal thoroughfares of the city. At three
o'clock in the following morning he told his officers that he was about
to leave Deventer for a few hours, in order to bring in some
reinforcements for which he had sent, as he had felt much anxiety for
some time past as to the disposition of the burghers. His officers,
honest Englishmen, suspecting no evil and having confidence in their
chief, saw nothing strange in this proceeding, and Sir William rode
deliberately out of Zutphen. After he had been absent an hour or two, the
clatter of hoofs and the tramp of infantry was heard without, and
presently the commandant returned, followed by a thousand musketeers and
three or four hundred troopers. It was still pitch dark; but, dimly
lighted by torches, small detachments of the fresh troops picked their
way through the black narrow streets, while the main body poured at once
upon the Brink, or great square. Here, quietly and swiftly, they were
marshalled into order, the cavalry, pikemen, and musketeers, lining all
sides of the place, and a chosen band--among whom stood Sir William
Stanley, on foot, and an officer of high rank on horseback--occupying the
central space immediately in front of the town-house.

The drums then beat, and proclamation went forth through the city that
all burghers, without any distinction--municipal guards and all--were to
repair forthwith to the city-hall, and deposit their arms. As the
inhabitants arose from their slumbers, and sallied forth into the streets
to inquire the cause of the disturbance, they soon discovered that they
had, in some mysterious manner, been entrapped. Wild Irishmen, with
uncouth garb, threatening gesture, and unintelligible jargon, stood
gibbering at every corner, instead of the comfortable Flemish faces of
the familiar burgher-guard. The chief burgomaster, sleeping heavily after
Sir William's hospitable banquet, aroused himself at last, and sent a
militia-captain to inquire the cause of the unseasonable drum-beat and
monstrous proclamation. Day was breaking as the trusty captain made his
way to the scene of action. The wan light of a cold, drizzly January
morning showed him the wide, stately square--with its leafless lime-trees
and its tall many storied, gable-ended houses rising dim and spectral
through the mist-filled to overflowing with troops, whose uniforms and
banners resembled nothing that he remembered in Dutch and English
regiments. Fires were lighted at various corners, kettles were boiling,
and camp-followers and sutlers were crouching over them, half perished
with cold--for it had been raining dismally all night--while burghers,
with wives and children, startled from their dreams by the sudden
reveillee, stood gaping about, with perplexed faces and despairing
gestures. As he approached the town-house--one of those magnificent,
many-towered, highly-decorated, municipal palaces of the Netherlands--he
found troops all around it; troops guarding the main entrance, troops on
the great external staircase leading to the front balcony, and officers,
in yellow jerkin and black bandoleer, grouped in the balcony itself.

The Flemish captain stood bewildered, when suddenly the familiar form of
Stanley detached itself from the central group and advanced towards him.
Taking him by the hand with much urbanity, Sir William led the
militia-man through two or three ranks of soldiers, and presented him to
the strange officer on horseback.

"Colonel Tassis," said he, "I recommend to you a very particular friend
of mine. Let me bespeak your best offices in his behalf."

"Ah God!" cried the honest burgher, "Tassis! Tassis! Then are we indeed
most miserably betrayed."

Even the Spanish colonel who was of Flemish origin, was affected by the
despair of the Netherlander.

"Let those look to the matter of treachery whom it concerns," said he;
"my business here is to serve the King, my master."

"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the
things which are God's," said Stanley, with piety.

The burgher-captain was then assured that no harm was intended to the
city, but that it now belonged to his most Catholic Majesty of
Spain--Colonel Stanley, to whom its custody had been entrusted, having
freely and deliberately restored it to its lawful owner. He was then bid
to go and fetch the burgomasters and magistrates.

Presently they appeared--a dismal group, weeping and woe-begone--the same
board of strict Calvinists forcibly placed in office but three months
before by Leicester, through the agency of this very Stanley, who had so
summarily ejected their popish predecessors, and who only the night
before had so handsomely feasted themselves. They came forward, the tears
running down their cheeks, crying indeed so piteously that even Stanley
began to weep bitterly himself. "I have not done this," he sobbed, "for
power or pelf. Not the hope of reward, but the love of God hath moved

Presently some of the ex-magistrates made their appearance, and a party
of leading citizens went into a private house with Tassis and Stanley to
hear statements and explanations--as if any satisfactory ones were

Sir William, still in a melancholy tone, began to make a speech, through
an interpreter, and again to protest that he had not been influenced by
love of lucre. But as he stammered and grew incoherent as he approached
the point, Tassis suddenly interrupted the conference. "Let us look after
our soldiers," said he, "for they have been marching in the foul weather
half the night." So the Spanish troops, who had been, standing patiently
to be rained upon after their long march, until the burghers had all
deposited their arms in the city-hall, were now billeted on the
townspeople. Tassis gave peremptory orders that no injury should be
offered to persons or property on pain of death; and, by way of wholesome
example, hung several Hibernians the same day who had been detected in
plundering the inhabitants.

The citizens were, as usual in such cases, offered the choice between
embracing the Catholic religion or going into exile, a certain interval
being allowed them to wind up their affairs. They were also required to
furnish Stanley and his regiment full pay for the whole period of their
service since coming to the Provinces, and to Tassis three months' wages
for his Spaniards in advance. Stanley offered his troops the privilege of
remaining with him in the service of Spain, or of taking their departure
unmolested. The Irish troops were quite willing to continue under their
old chieftain, particularly as it was intimated to them that there was an
immediate prospect of a brisk campaign in their native island against the
tyrant Elizabeth, under the liberating banners of Philip. And certainly,
in an age where religion constituted country, these fervent Catholics
could scarcely be censured for taking arms against the sovereign who
persecuted their religion and themselves. These honest barbarians had
broken no oath, violated no trust, had never pretended sympathy with
freedom; or affection for their Queen. They had fought fiercely under the
chief who led them into battle--they had robbed and plundered voraciously
as opportunity served, and had been occasionally hanged for their
exploits; but Deventer and Fort Zutphen had not been confided to their
keeping; and it was a pleasant thought to them, that approaching invasion
of Ireland. "I will ruin the whole country from Holland to Friesland,"
said Stanley to Captain Newton, "and then I will play such a game in
Ireland as the Queen has never seen the like all the days of her life."

Newton had already been solicited by Roland York to take service under
Parma, and had indignantly declined. Sir Edmund Carey and his men, four
hundred in all, refused, to a man, to take part in the monstrous treason,
and were allowed to leave the city. This was the case with all the
English officers. Stanley and York were the only gentlemen who on this
occasion sullied the honour of England.

Captain Henchman, who had been taken prisoner in a skirmish a few days
before the surrender of Deventer, was now brought to that city, and
earnestly entreated by Tassis and by Stanley to seize this opportunity of
entering the service of Spain.

"You shall have great advancement and preferment," said Tassis. "His
Catholic Majesty has got ready very many ships for Ireland, and Sir
William Stanley is to be general of the expedition."

"And you shall choose your own preferment," said Stanley, "for I know you
to be a brave man."

"I would rather," replied Henchman, "serve my prince in loyalty as a
beggar, than to be known and reported a rich traitor, with breach of

"Continue so," replied Stanley, unabashed; "for this is the very
principle of my own enlargement: for, before, I served the devil, and now
I am serving God."

The offers and the arguments of the Spaniard and the renegade were
powerless with the blunt captain, and notwithstanding "divers other
traitorous alledgements by Sir William for his most vile facts," as
Henchman expressed it, that officer remained in poverty and captivity
until such time as he could be exchanged.

Stanley subsequently attempted in various ways to defend his character.
He had a commission from Leicester, he said, to serve whom he chose--as
if the governor-general had contemplated his serving Philip II. with that
commission; he had a passport to go whither he liked--as if his passport
entitled him to take the city of Deventer along with him; he owed no
allegiance to the States; he was discharged from his promise to the Earl;
he was his own master; he wanted neither money nor preferment; he had
been compelled by his conscience and his duty to God to restore the city
to its lawful master, and so on, and so on.

But whether he owed the States allegiance or not, it is certain that he
had accepted their money to relieve himself and his troops eight days
before his treason. That Leicester had discharged him from his promises
to such an extent as to justify his surrendering a town committed to his
honour for safe keeping, certainly deserved no answer; that his duty to
conscience required him to restore the city argued a somewhat tardy
awakening of that monitor in the breast of the man who three months
before had wrested the place with the armed hand from men suspected of
Catholic inclinations; that his first motive however was not the mere
love of money, was doubtless true. Attachment to his religion, a desire
to atone for his sins against it, the insidious temptings of his evil
spirit, York, who was the chief organizer of the conspiracy, and the
prospect of gratifying a wild and wicked ambition--these were the springs
that moved him. Sums--varying from L30,000 to a pension of 1500 pistolets
a year--were mentioned, as the stipulated price of his treason, by
Norris, Wilkes, Conway, and others; but the Duke of Parma, in narrating
the whole affair in a private letter to the King, explicitly stated that
he had found Stanley "singularly disinterested."

"The colonel was only actuated by religious motives," he said, "asking
for no reward, except that he might serve in his Majesty's army
thenceforth--and this is worthy to be noted."

At the same time it appears from this correspondence, that the Duke,
recommended, and that the King bestowed, a "merced," which Stanley did
not refuse; and it was very well known that to no persons in, the world
was Philip apt to be so generous as to men of high rank, Flemish,
Walloon, or English, who deserted the cause of his rebellious subjects to
serve under his own banners. Yet, strange to relate, almost at the very
moment that Stanley was communicating his fatal act of treason, in order
that he might open a high career for his ambition, a most brilliant
destiny was about to dawn upon him. The Queen had it in contemplation, in
recompense for his distinguished services, and by advice of Leicester, to
bestow great honors and titles upon him, and to appoint him Viceroy of
Ireland--of that very country which he was now proposing, as an enemy to
his sovereign and as the purchased tool of a foreign despot, to invade.

Stanley's subsequent fate was obscure. A price of 3000 florins was put by
the States upon his head and upon that of York. He went to Spain, and
afterwards returned to the Provinces. He was even reported to have
become, through the judgment of God, a lunatic, although the tale wanted
confirmation; and it is certain that at the close of the year he had
mustered his regiment under Farnese, prepared to join the Duke in the
great invasion of England.

Roland York, who was used to such practices, cheerfully consummated his
crime on the same day that witnessed the surrender of Deventer. He rode
up to the gates of that city on the morning of the 29th January, inquired
quietly whether Tassis was master of the place, and then galloped
furiously back the ten miles to his fort. Entering, he called his
soldiers together, bade them tear in pieces the colours of England, and
follow him into the city of Zutphen. Two companies of States' troops
offered resistance, and attempted to hold the place; but they were
overpowered by the English and Irish, assisted by a force of Spaniards,
who, by a concerted movement, made their appearance from the town. He
received a handsome reward, having far surpassed the Duke of Parma's
expectations, when he made his original offer of service. He died very
suddenly, after a great banquet at Deventer, in the course of the sane
year, not having succeeded in making his escape into Spain to live at
ease on his stipend. It was supposed that he was poisoned; but the charge
in those days was a common one, and nobody cared to investigate the
subject. His body was subsequently exhumed when Deventer came into the
hands of the patriots--and with impotent and contemptible malice hanged
upon a gibbet. This was the end of Roland York.

Parma was highly gratified, as may be imagined, at such successful
results. "Thus Fort Zutphen," said he, "about which there have been so
many fisticuffs, and Deventer--which was the real object of the last
campaign, and which has cost the English so much blood and money, and is
the safety of Groningen and of all those Provinces--is now your
Majesty's. Moreover, the effect of this treason must be to sow great
distrust between the English and the rebels, who will henceforth never
know in whom they can confide."

Parma was very right in this conjuncture. Moreover, there was just then a
fearful run against the States. The castle of Wauw, within a league of
Bergen-op-Zoom, which had been entrusted to one Le Marchand, a Frenchman
in the service of the republic, was delivered by him to Parma for 16,000
florins. "'Tis a very important post," said the Duke, "and the money was
well laid out."

The loss of the city of Gelder, capital of the Province of the same name,
took place in the summer. This town belonged to the jurisdiction of
Martin Schenk, and was, his chief place of deposit for the large and
miscellaneous property acquired by him during his desultory, but most
profitable, freebooting career. The Famous partisan was then absent,
engaged in a lucrative job in the way of his profession. He had made a
contract--in a very-business-like way--with the States, to defend the
city of Rheinberg and all the country, round against the Duke of Parma,
pledging himself to keep on foot for that purpose an army of 3300 foot
and 700 horse. For this extensive and important operation, he was to
receive 20,000 florins a month from the general exchequer; and in
addition he was to be allowed the brandschatz--the black-mail, that is to
say--of the whole country-side, and the taxation upon all vessels going
up and down the river before Rheinberg; an ad valorem duty, in short,
upon all river-merchandise, assessed and collected in summary fashion. A
tariff thus enforced was not likely to be a mild one; and although the
States considered that they had got a "good penny-worth" by the job, it
was no easy thing to get the better, in a bargain, of the vigilant
Martin, who was as thrifty a speculator as he was a desperate fighter. A
more accomplished highwayman, artistically and enthusiastically devoted
to his pursuit, never lived. Nobody did his work more thoroughly--nobody
got himself better paid for his work--and Thomas Wilkes, that excellent
man of business, thought the States not likely to make much by their
contract. Nevertheless, it was a comfort to know that the work would not
be neglected.

Schenk was accordingly absent, jobbing the Rheinberg siege, and in his
place one Aristotle Patton, a Scotch colonel in the States' service, was
commandant of Gelders. Now the thrifty Scot had an eye to business, too,
and was no more troubled with qualms of conscience than Rowland York
himself. Moreover, he knew himself to be in great danger of losing his
place, for Leicester was no friend to him, and intended to supersede him.
Patton had also a decided grudge against Schenk, for that truculent
personage had recently administered to him a drubbing, which no doubt he
had richly deserved. Accordingly, when; the Duke of Parma made a secret
offer to him of 36,000 florins if he would quietly surrender the city
entrusted to him, the colonel jumped at so excellent an opportunity of
circumventing Leicester, feeding his grudge against Martin, and making a
handsome fortune for himself. He knew his trade too well, however, to
accept the offer too eagerly, and bargained awhile for better terms, and
to such good purpose, that it was agreed he should have not only the
36,000 florins, but all the horses, arms, plate, furniture, and other
moveables in the city belonging to Schenk, that he could lay his hands
upon. Here were revenge and solid damages for the unforgotten assault and
battery--for Schenk's property alone made no inconsiderable fortune--and
accordingly the city, towards Midsummer, was surrendered to the Seigneur
d'Haultepenne. Moreover, the excellent Patton had another and a loftier
motive. He was in love. He had also a rival. The lady of his thoughts was
the widow of Pontus de Noyelle, Seigneur de Bours, who had once saved the
citadel of Antwerp, and afterwards sold that city and himself. His rival
was no other than the great Seigneur de Champagny, brother of Cardinal
Granvelle, eminent as soldier, diplomatist, and financier, but now
growing old, not in affluent circumstances, and much troubled with the
gout. Madame de Bours had, however, accepted his hand, and had fixed the
day for the wedding, when the Scotchman, thus suddenly enriched, renewed
a previously unsuccessful suit. The widow then, partially keeping her
promise, actually celebrated her nuptials on the appointed evening; but,
to the surprise of the Provinces, she became not the 'haulte et puissante
dame de Champagny,' but Mrs. Aristotle Patton.

For this last treason neither Leicester nor the English were responsible.
Patton was not only a Scot, but a follower of Hohenlo, as Leicester
loudly protested. Le Merchant was a Frenchman. But Deventer and Zutphen
were places of vital importance, and Stanley an Englishman of highest
consideration, one who had been deemed worthy of the command in chief in
Leicester's absence. Moreover, a cornet in the service of the Earl's
nephew, Sir Robert Sidney, had been seen at Zutphen in conference with
Tassis; and the horrible suspicion went abroad that even the illustrious
name of Sidney was to be polluted also. This fear was fortunately false,
although the cornet was unquestionably a traitor, with whom the enemy had
been tampering; but the mere thought that Sir Robert Sidney could betray
the trust reposed in him was almost enough to make the still unburied
corpse of his brother arise from the dead.

Parma was right when he said that all confidence of the Netherlanders in
the Englishmen would now be gone, and that the Provinces would begin to
doubt their best friends. No fresh treasons followed, but they were
expected every day. An organized plot to betray the country was believed
in, and a howl of execration swept through the land. The noble deeds of
Sidney and Willoughby, and Norris and Pelham, and Roger Williams, the
honest and valuable services of Wilkes, the generosity and courage of
Leicester, were for a season forgotten. The English were denounced in
every city and village of the Netherlands as traitors and miscreants.
Respectable English merchants went from hostelry to hostelry, and from
town to town, and were refused a lodging for love or money. The nation
was put under ban. A most melancholy change from the beginning of the
year, when the very men who were now loudest in denunciation and fiercest
in hate, had been the warmest friends of Elizabeth, of England, and of

At Hohenlo's table the opinion was loudly expressed, even in the presence
of Sir Roger Williams, that it was highly improbable, if a man like
Stanley, of such high rank in the kingdom of England, of such great
connections and large means, could commit such a treason, that he could
do so without the knowledge and consent of her Majesty.

Barneveld, in council of state, declared that Leicester, by his
restrictive letter of 24th November, had intended to carry the authority
over the republic into England, in order to dispose of everything at his
pleasure, in conjunction with the English cabinet-council, and that the
country had never been so cheated by the French as it had now been by the
English, and that their government had become insupportable.

Councillor Carl Roorda maintained at the table of Elector Truchsess that
the country had fallen 'de tyrannide in tyrrannidem;' and--if they had
spurned the oppression of the Spaniards and the French--that it was now
time to, rebel against the English. Barneveld and Buys loudly declared
that the Provinces were able to protect themselves without foreign
assistance, and that it was very injurious to impress a contrary opinion
upon the public mind.

The whole college of the States-General came before the state-council,
and demanded the name of the man to whom the Earl's restrictive letter
had been delivered--that document by which the governor had dared
surreptitiously to annul the authority which publicly he had delegated to
that body, and thus to deprive it of the power of preventing anticipated
crimes. After much colloquy the name of Brackel was given, and, had not
the culprit fortunately been absent, his life might have, been in danger,
for rarely had grave statesmen been so thoroughly infuriated.

No language can exaggerate the consequences of this wretched treason.
Unfortunately, too; the abject condition to which the English troops had
been reduced by the niggardliness of their sovereign was an additional
cause of danger. Leicester was gone, and since her favourite was no
longer in the Netherlands, the Queen seemed to forget that there was a
single Englishman upon that fatal soil. In five months not one penny had
been sent to her troops. While the Earl had been there one hundred and
forty thousand pounds had been sent in seven or eight months. After his
departure not five thousand pounds were sent in one half year.

The English soldiers, who had fought so well in every Flemish
battle-field of freedom, had become--such as were left of them--mere
famishing half naked vagabonds and marauders. Brave soldiers had been
changed by their sovereign into brigands, and now the universal odium
which suddenly attached itself to the English name converted them into
outcasts. Forlorn and crippled creatures swarmed about the Provinces, but
were forbidden to come through the towns, and so wandered about, robbing
hen-roosts and pillaging the peasantry. Many deserted to the enemy. Many
begged their way to England, and even to the very gates of the palace,
and exhibited their wounds and their misery before the eyes of that good
Queen Bess who claimed to be the mother of her subjects,--and begged for
bread in vain.

The English cavalry, dwindled now to a body of five hundred, starving and
mutinous, made a foray into Holland, rather as highwaymen than soldiers.
Count Maurice commanded their instant departure, and Hohenlo swore that
if the order were not instantly obeyed, he would put himself at the head
of his troops and cut every man of them to pieces. A most painful and
humiliating condition for brave men who had been fighting the battles of
their Queen and of the republic, to behold themselves--through the
parsimony of the one and the infuriated sentiment of the other--compelled
to starve, to rob, or to be massacred by those whom they had left their
homes to defend.

At last, honest Wilkes, ever watchful of his duty, succeeded in borrowing
eight hundred pounds sterling for two months, by "pawning his own
carcase" as he expressed himself. This gave the troopers about thirty
shillings a man, with which relief they became, for a time, contented and
well disposed.

Is this picture exaggerated? Is it drawn by pencils hostile to the
English nation or the English Queen? It is her own generals and
confidential counsellors who have told a story in all its painful
details, which has hardly found a place in other chronicles. The
parsimony of the great Queen must ever remain a blemish on her character,
and it was never more painfully exhibited than towards her brave soldiers
in Flanders in the year 1587. Thomas Wilkes, a man of truth, and a man of
accounts, had informed Elizabeth that the expenses of one year's war,
since Leicester had been governor-general, had amounted to exactly five
hundred and seventy-nine thousand three hundred and sixty pounds and
nineteen shillings, of which sum one hundred and forty-six thousand three
hundred and eighty-six pounds and eleven shillings had been spent by her
Majesty, and the balance had been paid, or was partly owing by the
States. These were not agreeable figures, but the figures of honest
accountants rarely flatter, and Wilkes was not one of those financiers
who have the wish or the gift to make things pleasant. He had transmitted
the accounts just as they had been delivered, certified by the treasurers
of the States and by the English paymasters, and the Queen was appalled
at the sum-totals. She could never proceed with such a war as that, she
said, and she declined a loan of sixty thousand pounds which the States
requested, besides stoutly refusing to advance her darling Robin a penny
to pay off the mortgages upon two-thirds of his estates, on which the
equity of redemption was fast expiring, or to give him the slightest help
in furnishing him forth anew for the wars.

Yet not one of her statesmen doubted that these Netherland battles were
English battles, almost as much as if the fighting-ground had been the
Isle of Wight or the coast of Kent, the charts of which the statesmen and
generals of Spain were daily conning.

Wilkes, too, while defending Leicester stoutly behind his back, doing his
best, to explain his short-comings, lauding his courage and generosity,
and advocating his beloved theory of popular sovereignty with much
ingenuity and eloquence, had told him the truth to his face. Although
assuring him that if he came back soon, he might rule the States "as a
schoolmaster doth his boys," he did not fail to set before him the
disastrous effects of his sudden departure and of his protracted absence;
he had painted in darkest colours the results of the Deventer treason, he
had unveiled the cabals against his authority, he had repeatedly and
vehemently implored his return; he had, informed the Queen, that
notwithstanding some errors of, administration, he was much the fittest
man to represent her in the Netherlands, and, that he could accomplish,
by reason of his experience, more in three months than any other man
could do in a year. He bad done his best to reconcile the feuds which
existed between him and important personages in the Netherlands, he had
been the author of the complimentary letters sent to him in the name of
the States-General--to the great satisfaction of the Queen--but he had
not given up his friendship with Sir John Norris, because he said "the
virtues of the man made him as worthy of love as any one living, and
because the more he knew him, the more he had cause to affect and to
admire him."

This was the unpardonable offence, and for this, and for having told the
truth about the accounts, Leicester denounced Wilkes to the Queen as a
traitor and a hypocrite, and threatened repeatedly to take his life. He
had even the meanness to prejudice Burghley against him--by insinuating
to the Lord-Treasurer that he too had been maligned by Wilkes--and thus
most effectually damaged the character of the plain-spoken councillor
with the Queen and many of her advisers; notwithstanding that he
plaintively besought her to "allow him to reiterate his sorry song, as
doth the cuckoo, that she would please not condemn her poor servant

Immediate action was taken on the Deventer treason, and on the general
relations between the States-General and the English government.
Barneveld immediately drew up a severe letter to the Earl of Leicester.
On the 2nd February Wilkes came by chance into the assembly of the
States-General, with the rest of the councillors, and found Barneveld
just demanding the public reading of that document. The letter was read.
Wilkes then rose and made a few remarks.

"The letter seems rather sharp upon his Excellency," he observed. "There
is not a word in it," answered Barneveld curtly, "that is not perfectly
true;" and with this he cut the matter short, and made a long speech upon
other matters which were then before the assembly.

Wilkes, very anxious as to the effect of the letter, both upon public
feeling in England and upon his own position as English councillor,
waited immediately upon Count Maurice, President van der Myle, and upon
Villiers the clergyman, and implored their interposition to prevent the
transmission of the epistle. They promised to make an effort to delay its
despatch or to mitigate its tone. A fortnight afterwards, however, Wilkes
learned with dismay, that the document (the leading passages of which
will be given hereafter) had been sent to its destination.

Meantime, a consultation of civilians and of the family council of Count
Maurice was held, and it was determined that the Count should assume the
title of Prince more formally than he had hitherto done, in order that
the actual head of the Nassaus might be superior in rank to Leicester or
to any man who could be sent from England. Maurice was also appointed by
the States, provisionally, governor-general, with Hohenlo for his
lieutenant-general. That formidable personage, now fully restored to
health, made himself very busy in securing towns and garrisons for the
party of Holland, and in cashiering all functionaries suspected of
English tendencies. Especially he became most intimate with Count Moeurs,
stadholder of Utrecht--the hatred of which individual and his wife
towards Leicester and the English nation; springing originally from the
unfortunate babble of Otheman, had grown more intense than
ever,--"banquetting and feasting" with him all day long, and concocting a
scheme; by which, for certain considerations, the province of Utrecht was
to be annexed to Holland under the perpetual stadholderate of Prince


     Defect of enjoying the flattery, of his inferiors in station
     The sapling was to become the tree


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 52, 1587


   Leicester in England--Trial of the Queen of Scots--Fearful
   Perplexity at the English Court--Infatuation and Obstinacy of the
   Queen--Netherland Envoys in England--Queen's bitter Invective
   against them--Amazement of the Envoys--They consult with her chief
   Councillors--Remarks of Burghley and Davison--Fourth of February
   Letter from the States--Its severe Language towards Leicester--
   Painful Position of the Envoys at Court--Queen's Parsimony towards

The scene shifts, for a brief interval, to England. Leicester had reached
the court late in November. Those "blessed beams," under whose shade he
was wont to find so much "refreshment and nutrition," had again fallen
with full radiance upon him. "Never since I was born," said he, "did I
receive a more gracious welcome."--[Leicester to 'Wilkes, 4 Dec. 1587.
(S. P. Office MS)]--Alas, there was not so much benignity for the
starving English soldiers, nor for the Provinces, which were fast growing
desperate; but although their cause was so intimately connected with the
"great cause," which then occupied Elizabeth, almost to the exclusion of
other matter, it was, perhaps, not wonderful, although unfortunate, that
for a time the Netherlands should be neglected.

The "daughter of debate" had at last brought herself, it was supposed,
within the letter of the law, and now began those odious scenes of
hypocrisy on the part of Elizabeth, that frightful comedy--more
melancholy even than the solemn tragedy which it preceded and
followed--which must ever remain the darkest passage in the history of
the Queen.

It is unnecessary, in these pages, to make more than a passing allusion
to the condemnation and death of the Queen of Scots. Who doubts her
participation in the Babington conspiracy? Who doubts that she was the
centre of one endless conspiracy by Spain and Rome against the throne and
life of Elizabeth? Who doubts that her long imprisonment in England was a
violation of all law, all justice, all humanity? Who doubts that the
fineing, whipping, torturing, hanging, embowelling of men, women, and
children, guilty of no other crime than adhesion to the Catholic faith,
had assisted the Pope and Philip, and their band of English, Scotch, and
Irish conspirators, to shake Elizabeth's throne and endanger her life?
Who doubts that; had the English sovereign been capable of conceiving the
great thought of religious toleration, her reign would have been more
glorious than, it was, the cause of Protestantism and freedom more
triumphant, the name of Elizabeth Tudor dearer to human hearts? Who
doubts that there were many enlightened and noble spirits among her
Protestant subjects who lifted up their voices, over and over again, in
parliament and out of it, to denounce that wicked persecution exercised
upon their innocent Catholic brethren, which was fast converting loyal
Englishmen, against their will, into traitors and conspirators? Yet who
doubts that it would have required, at exactly that moment, and in the
midst of that crisis; more elevation of soul than could fairly be
predicated of any individual, for Elizabeth in 1587 to pardon Mary, or to
relax in the severity of her legislation towards English Papists?

Yet, although a display of sublime virtue, such as the world has rarely
seen, was not to be expected, it was reasonable to look for honest and
royal dealing, from a great sovereign, brought at last face to face with
a great event. The "great cause" demanded, a great, straightforward blow.
It was obvious, however, that it would be difficult, in the midst of the
tragedy and the comedy, for the Netherland business to come fairly before
her Majesty. "Touching the Low Country causes," said Leicester; "very
little is done yet, by reason of the continued business we have had about
the Queen of Scots' matters. All the speech I have had with her Majesty
hitherto touching those causes hath been but private."--[Leicester to
Wilkes, 4 Des 1586. (S. P. Office MS.)]--Walsingham, longing for
retirement, not only on account of his infinite grief for the death of
Sir Philip Sidney, "which hath been the cause;" he said, "that I have
ever since betaken myself into solitariness, and withdrawn; from public
affairs," but also by reason of the perverseness an difficulty manifested
in the gravest affairs by the sovereign he so faithfully served, sent
information, that, notwithstanding the arrival of some of the States'
deputies, Leicester was persuading her Majesty to proceed first in the
great cause. "Certain principal persons, chosen as committees," he said,
"of both Houses are sent as humble suitors, to her Majesty to desire that
she would be pleased to give order for the execution of the Scottish
Queen. Her Majesty made answer that she was loath to proceed in so
violent a course against the said Queen; as the taking away of her life,
and therefore prayed them to think of some other way which might be for
her own and their safety. They replied, no other way but her execution.
Her Majesty, though she yielded no answer to this their latter reply, is
contented to give order that the proclamation be published, and so also
it is hoped that she, will be moved by this, their earnest instance to
proceed to the thorough ending of the cause."

And so the cause went slowly on to its thorough ending. And when "no
other way" could be thought of but to take Mary's life, and when "no
other way of taking that life could be devised," at Elizabeth's
suggestion, except by public execution, when none of the gentlemen "of
the association," nor Paulet, nor Drury--how skilfully soever their
"pulses had been felt" by Elizabeth's command--would commit assassination
to serve a Queen who was capable of punishing them afterwards for the
murder, the great cause came to its inevitable conclusion, and Mary
Stuart was executed by command of Elizabeth Tudor. The world may continue
to differ as to the necessity of the execution but it has long since
pronounced a unanimous verdict as to the respective display of royal
dignity by the two Queens upon that great occasion.

During this interval the Netherland matter, almost as vital to England as
the execution of Mary, was comparatively neglected. It was not absolutely
in abeyance, but the condition of the Queen's mind coloured every
state-affair with its tragic hues. Elizabeth, harassed, anxious, dreaming
dreams, and enacting a horrible masquerade, was in the worst possible
temper to be approached by the envoys. She was furious with the
Netherlanders for having maltreated her favourite. She was still more
furious because their war was costing so much money. Her disposition
became so uncertain, her temper so ungovernable, as to drive her
counsellors to their wit's ends. Burghley confessed himself "weary of his
miserable life," and protested "that the only desire he had in the world
was to be delivered from the ungrateful burthen of service, which her
Majesty laid upon him so very heavily." Walsingham wished himself "well
established in Basle." The Queen set them all together by the ears. She
wrangled spitefully over the sum-totals from the Netherlands; she worried
Leicester, she scolded Burghley for defending Leicester, and Leicester
abused Burghley for taking part against him.

The Lord-Treasurer, overcome with "grief which pierced both his body and
his heart," battled his way--as best he could--through the throng of
dangers which beset the path of England in that great crisis. It was most
obvious to every statesman in the realm that this was not the time--when
the gauntlet had been thrown full in the face of Philip and Sixtus and
all Catholicism, by the condemnation of Mary--to leave the Netherland
cause "at random," and these outer bulwarks of her own kingdom
insufficiently protected.

"Your Majesty will hear," wrote Parma to Philip, "of the disastrous,
lamentable, and pitiful end of the poor Queen of Scots. Although for her
it will be immortal glory, and she will be placed among the number of the
many martyrs whose blood has been shed in the kingdom of England, and be
crowned in Heaven with a diadem more precious than the one she wore on
earth, nevertheless one cannot repress one's natural emotions. I believe
firmly that this cruel deed will be the concluding crime of the many
which that Englishwoman has committed, and that our Lord will be pleased
that she shall at last receive the chastisement which she has these many
long years deserved, and which has been reserved till now, for her
greater ruin and confusion."--[Parma to Philip IL, 22 March. 1587. (Arch.
de Simancas, MS.)]--And with this, the Duke proceeded to discuss the all
important and rapidly-preparing invasion of England. Farnese was not the
man to be deceived by the affected reluctance of Elizabeth before Mary's
scaffold, although he was soon to show that he was himself a master in
the science of grimace. For Elizabeth--more than ever disposed to be
friends with Spain and Rome, now that war to the knife was made
inevitable--was wistfully regarding that trap of negotiation, against
which all her best friends were endeavouring to warn her. She was more
ill-natured than ever to the Provinces, she turned her back upon the
Warnese, she affronted Henry III. by affecting to believe in the fable of
his envoy's complicity in the Stafford conspiracy against her life.

"I pray God to open her eyes," said Walsingham, "to see the evident peril
of the course she now holdeth . . . . If it had pleased her to have
followed the advice given her touching the French ambassador, our ships
had been released . . . . but she has taken a very strange course by
writing a very sharp letter unto the French King, which I fear will cause
him to give ear to those of the League, and make himself a party with
them, seeing so little regard had to him here. Your Lordship may see that
our courage doth greatly increase, for that we make no difficulty to fall
out with all the world . . . . I never saw her worse affected to the
poor King of Navarre, and yet doth she seek in no sort to yield
contentment to the French King. If to offend all the world;" repeated the
Secretary bitterly, "be it good cause of government, then can we not do
amiss . . . . I never found her less disposed to take a course of
prevention of the approaching mischiefs toward this realm than at this
present. And to be plain with you, there is none here that hath either
credit or courage to deal effectually with her in any of her great

Thus distracted by doubts and dangers, at war with her best friends, with
herself, and with all-the world, was Elizabeth during the dark days and
months which, preceded and followed the execution of the Scottish Queen.
If the great fight was at last to be fought triumphantly through, it was
obvious that England was to depend upon Englishmen of all ranks and
classes, upon her prudent and far-seeing statesmen, upon her nobles and
her adventurers, on her Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman blood ever mounting
against, oppression, on Howard and Essex, Drake and Williams, Norris, and
Willoughby, upon high-born magnates, plebeian captains, London merchants,
upon yeomen whose limbs were made in England, and upon Hollanders and
Zeelanders whose fearless mariners were to swarm to the protection of her
coasts, quite as much in that year of anxious expectation as upon the
great Queen herself. Unquestionable as were her mental capacity and her
more than woman's courage, when fairly, brought face, to face with the
danger, it was fortunately not on one man or woman's brain and arm that
England's salvation depended in that crisis of her fate.

As to the Provinces, no one ventured to speak very boldly in their
defence. "When I lay before her the peril," said Walsingham, "she
scorneth at it. The hope of a peace with Spain has put her into a most
dangerous security." Nor would any man now assume responsibility. The
fate of Davison--of the man who had already in so detestable a manner
been made the scape-goat for Leicester's sins in the Netherlands, and who
had now been so barbarously sacrificed by the Queen for faithfully
obeying her orders in regard to the death-warrant, had sickened all
courtiers and counsellors for the time. "The late severe, dealing used by
her Highness towards Mr. Secretary Davison," said Walsingham to Wilkes,
"maketh us very circumspect and careful not to proceed in anything but
wherein we receive direction from herself, and therefore you must not
find it strange if we now be more sparing than heretofore hath been

Such being the portentous state of the political atmosphere, and such the
stormy condition of the royal mind, it may be supposed that the
interviews of the Netherland envoys with her Majesty during this period
were not likely to be genial. Exactly at the most gloomy moment--thirteen
days before the execution of Mary--they came first into Elizabeth's
presence at Greenwich.

The envoys were five in number, all of them experienced and able
statesmen--Zuylen van Nyvelt, Joos de Menyn, Nicasius de Silla, Jacob
Valck, and Vitus van Kammings. The Queen was in the privy
council-chamber, attended by the admiral of England, Lord Thomas Howard,
Lord Hunsdon, great-chamberlain, Sir Christopher Hatton,
vice-chamberlain, Secretary Davison, and many other persons of

The letters of credence were duly presented, but it was obvious from the
beginning of the interview that the Queen was ill-disposed toward the
deputies, and had not only been misinformed as to matters of fact, but as
to the state of feeling of the Netherlanders and of the States-General
towards herself.

Menyu, however, who was an orator by profession--being pensionary of
Dort--made, in the name of his colleagues, a brief but pregnant speech,
to which the Queen listened attentively, although, with frequent
indications of anger and impatience. He commenced by observing that the
United Provinces still entertained the hope that her Majesty would
conclude, upon further thoughts, to accept the sovereignty over them,
with reasonable conditions; but the most important passages of his
address were those relating to the cost of the war. "Besides our
stipulated contributions," said the pensionary, "of 200,000 florins the
month, we have furnished 500,000 as an extraordinary grant; making for
the year 2,900,000 florins, and this over and above the particular and
special expenditures of the Provinces, and other sums for military
purposes. We confess, Madam, that the succour of your Majesty is a truly
royal one, and that there have been few princes in history who have given
such assistance to their neighbours unjustly oppressed. It is certain
that by means of that help, joined with the forces of the United
Provinces, the Earl of Leicester has been able to arrest the course of
the Duke of Parma's victories and to counteract his designs.
Nevertheless, it appears, Madam, that these forces have not been
sufficient to drive the enemy out of the country. We are obliged, for
regular garrison work and defence of cities, to keep; up an army of at
least 27,000 foot and 3500 horse. Of this number your Majesty pays 5000
foot and 1000 horse, and we are now commissioned, Madam, humbly to
request an increase of your regular succour during the war to 10,000 foot
and 2000 horse. We also implore the loan of L60,000 sterling, in order to
assist us in maintaining for the coming season a sufficient force in the

Such, in brief, was the oration of pensionary Menyn, delivered in the
French language. He had scarcely concluded, when the Queen--evidently in
a great passion--rose to her feet, and without any hesitation, replied in
a strain of vehement eloquence in the same tongue.

"Now I am not deceived, gentlemen," she said, "and that which I have been
fearing has occurred. Our common adage, which we have in England, is a
very good one. When one fears that an evil is coming, the sooner it
arrives the better. Here is a quarter of a year that I have been
expecting you, and certainly for the great benefit I have conferred on
you, you have exhibited a great ingratitude, and I consider myself very
ill treated by you. 'Tis very strange that you should begin by soliciting
still greater succour without rendering me any satisfaction for your past
actions, which have been so extraordinary, that I swear by the living God
I think it impossible to find peoples or states more ungrateful or
ill-advised than yourselves.

"I have sent you this year fifteen, sixteen, aye seventeen or eighteen
thousand men. You have left them without payment, you have let some of
them die of hunger, driven others to such desperation that they have
deserted to the enemy. Is it not mortifying for the English nation and a
great shame for you that Englishmen should say that they have found more
courtesy from Spaniards than from Netherlanders? Truly, I tell you
frankly that I will never endure such indignities. Rather will I act
according to my will, and you may do exactly, as you think best.

"If I chose, I could do something very good without you, although some
persons are so fond of saying that it was quite necessary for the Queen
of England to do what she does for her own protection. No, no! Disabuse
yourselves of that impression. These are but false persuasions. Believe
boldly that I can play an excellent game without your assistance, and a
better one than I ever did with it! Nevertheless, I do not choose to do
that, nor do I wish you so much harm. But likewise do I not choose that
you should hold such language to me. It is true that I should not wish
the Spaniard so near me if he should be my enemy. But why should I not
live in peace, if we were to be friends to each other? At the
commencement of my reign we lived honourably together, the King of Spain
and I, and he even asked me to, marry him, and, after that, we lived a
long time very peacefully, without any attempt having been made against
my life. If we both choose, we can continue so to do.

"On the other hand, I sent you the Earl of Leicester, as lieutenant of my
forces, and my intention was that he should have exact knowledge of your
finances and contributions. But, on the contrary, he has never known
anything about them, and you have handled them in your own manner and
amongst yourselves. You have given him the title of governor, in order,
under this name, to cast all your evils on his head. That title he
accepted against my will, by doing which he ran the risk of losing his
life, and his estates, and the grace and favour of his Princess, which
was more important to him than all. But he did it in order to maintain
your tottering state. And what authority, I pray you, have you given him?
A shadowy authority, a purely imaginary one. This is but mockery. He is,
at any rate, a gentleman, a man of honour and of counsel. You had no
right to treat him thus. If I had accepted the title which you wished to
give me, by the living God, I would not have suffered you so to treat me.

"But you are so badly advised that when there is a man of worth who
discovers your tricks you wish him ill, and make an outcry against him;
and yet some of you, in order to save your money, and others in the hope
of bribes, have been favouring the Spaniard, and doing very wicked work.
No, believe me that God will punish those who for so great a benefit wish
to return me so much evil. Believe, boldly too, that the King of Spain
will never trust men who have abandoned the party to which they belonged,
and from which they have received so many benefits, and will never
believe a word of what they promise him. Yet, in order to cover up their
filth, they spread the story that the Queen of England is thinking of
treating for peace without their knowledge. No, I would rather be dead
than that any one should have occasion to say that I had not kept my
promise. But princes must listen to both sides, and that can be done
without breach of faith. For they transact business in a certain way, and
with a princely intelligence, such as private persons cannot imitate.

"You are States, to be sure, but private individuals in regard to
princes. Certainly, I would never choose to do anything without your
knowledge, and I would never allow the authority which you have among
yourselves, nor your privileges, nor your statutes, to be infringed. Nor
will I allow you to be perturbed in your consciences. What then would you
more of me? You have issued a proclamation in your country that no one is
to talk of peace. Very well, very good. But permit princes likewise to do
as they shall think best for the security of their state, provided it
does you no injury. Among us princes we are not wont to make such long
orations as you do, but you ought to be content with the few words that
we bestow upon you, and make yourself quiet thereby.

"If I ever do anything for you again, I choose to be treated more
honourably. I shall therefore appoint some personages of my council to
communicate with you. And in the first place I choose to hear and see for
myself what has taken place already, and have satisfaction about that,
before I make any reply to what you have said to me as to greater
assistance. And so I will leave you to-day, without troubling you

With this her Majesty swept from the apartment, leaving the deputies
somewhat astounded at the fierce but adroit manner in which the tables
had for a moment been turned upon them.

It was certainly a most unexpected blow, this charge of the States having
left the English soldiers--whose numbers the Queen had so suddenly
multiplied by three--unpaid and unfed. Those Englishmen who, as
individuals, had entered the States' service, had been--like all the
other troops regularly paid. This distinctly appeared from the statements
of her own counsellors and generals. On the other hand, the Queen's
contingent, now dwindled to about half their original number, had been
notoriously unpaid for nearly six months.

This has already been made sufficiently clear from the private letters of
most responsible persons. That these soldiers were starving, deserting;
and pillaging, was, alas! too true; but the envoys of the States hardly
expected to be censured by her Majesty, because she had neglected to pay
her own troops. It was one of the points concerning which they had been
especially enjoined to complain, that the English cavalry, converted into
highwaymen by want of pay, had been plundering the peasantry, and we have
seen that Thomas Wilkes had "pawned his carcase" to provide for their
temporary relief.

With regard to the insinuation that prominent personages in the country
had been tampered with by the enemy, the envoys were equally astonished
by such an attack. The great Deventer treason had not yet been heard of
in England for it had occurred only a week before this first
interview--but something of the kind was already feared; for the slippery
dealings of York and Stanley with Tassis and Parma, had long been causing
painful anxiety, and had formed the subject of repeated remonstrances on
the part of the 'States' to Leicester and to the Queen. The deputies were
hardly, prepared therefore to defend their own people against dealing
privately with the King of Spain. The only man suspected of such
practices was Leicester's own favourite and financier, Jacques Ringault,
whom the Earl had persisted in employing against the angry remonstrances
of the States, who believed him to be a Spanish spy; and the man was now
in prison, and threatened with capital punishment.

To suppose that Buys or Barneveld, Roorda, Meetkerk, or any other leading
statesman in the Netherlands, was contemplating a private arrangement
with Philip II., was as ludicrous a conception as to imagine Walsingham a
pensioner of the Pope, or Cecil in league with the Duke of Guise. The end
and aim of the States' party was war. In war they not only saw the safety
of the reformed religion, but the only means of maintaining the
commercial prosperity of the commonwealth. The whole correspondence of
the times shows that no politician in the country dreamed of peace,
either by public or secret negotiation. On the other hand--as will be
made still clearer than ever--the Queen was longing for peace, and was
treating for peace at that moment through private agents, quite without
the knowledge of the States, and in spite of her indignant disavowals in
her speech to the envoys.

Yet if Elizabeth could have had the privilege of entering--as we are
about to do--into the private cabinet of that excellent King of Spain,
with whom, she had once been such good friends, who had even sought her
hand in marriage, and with whom she saw no reason whatever why she should
not live at peace, she might have modified her expressions an this
subject. Certainly, if she could have looked through the piles of
papers--as we intend to do--which lay upon that library-table, far beyond
the seas and mountains, she would have perceived some objections to the
scheme of living at peace with that diligent letter-writer.

Perhaps, had she known how the subtle Farnese was about to express
himself concerning the fast-approaching execution of Mary, and the as
inevitably impending destruction of "that Englishwoman" through the
schemes of his master and himself, she would have paid less heed to the
sentiments couched in most exquisite Italian which Alexander was at the
same time whispering in her ear, and would have taken less offence at the
blunt language of the States-General.

Nevertheless, for the present, Elizabeth would give no better answer than
the hot-tempered one which had already somewhat discomfited the deputies.

Two days afterwards, the five envoys had an interview with several
members of her Majesty's council, in the private apartment of the
Lord-Treasurer in Greenwich Palace. Burghley, being indisposed, was lying
upon his bed. Leicester, Admiral Lord Howard, Lord Hunsden, Sir
Christopher Hatton, Lord Buckhurst, and Secretary Davison, were present,
and the Lord-Treasurer proposed that the conversation should be in Latin,
that being the common language most familiar to them all. Then, turning
over the leaves of the report, a copy of which lay on his bed, he asked
the envoys, whether, in case her Majesty had not sent over the assistance
which she had done under the Earl of Leicester, their country would not
have been utterly ruined.

"To all appearance, yes," replied Menyn.

"But," continued Burghley, still running through the pages of the
document, and here and there demanding an explanation of an obscure
passage or two, "you are now proposing to her Majesty to send 10,000 foot
and 2000 horse, and to lend L60,000. This is altogether monstrous and
excessive. Nobody will ever dare even to speak to her Majesty on the
subject. When you first came in 1585, you asked for 12,000 men, but you
were fully authorized to accept 6000. No doubt that is the case now."

"On that occasion," answered Menyn, "our main purpose was to induce her
Majesty to accept the sovereignty, or at least the perpetual protection
of our country. Failing in that we broached the third point, and not
being able to get 12,000 soldiers we compounded for 5000, the agreement
being subject to ratification by our principals. We gave ample security
in shape of the mortgaged cities. But experience has shown us that these
forces and this succour are insufficient. We have therefore been sent to
beg her Majesty to make up the contingent to the amount originally

"But we are obliged to increase the garrisons in the cautionary towns,"
said one of the English councillors, "as 800 men in a city like Flushing
are very little."

"Pardon me," replied Valck, "the burghers are not enemies but friends to
her Majesty and to the English nation. They are her dutiful subjects like
all the inhabitants of the Netherlands."

"It is quite true," said Burghley, after having made some critical
remarks upon the military system of the Provinces, "and a very common
adage, 'quod tunc tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet,' but,
nevertheless, this war principally concerns you. Therefore you are bound
to do your utmost to meet its expenses in your own country, quite as much
as a man who means to build a house is expected to provide the stone and
timber himself. But the States have not done their best. They have not at
the appointed time come forward with their extraordinary contributions
for the last campaign. How many men," he asked, "are required for
garrisons in all the fortresses and cities, and for the field?"

"But," interposed Lord Hunsden, "not half so many men are needed in the
garrisons; for the burghers ought to be able to defend their own cities.
Moreover it is probable that your ordinary contributions might be
continued and doubled and even tripled."

"And on the whole," observed the Lord Admiral, "don't you think that the
putting an army in the field might be dispensed with for this year? Her
Majesty at present must get together and equip a fleet of war vessels
against the King of Spain, which will be an excessively large pennyworth,
besides the assistance which she gives her neighbours."

"Yes, indeed," said Secretary Davison, "it would be difficult to
exaggerate the enormous expense which her Majesty must encounter this
year for defending and liberating her own kingdoms against the King of
Spain. That monarch is making great naval preparations, and is treating
all Englishmen in the most hostile manner. We are on the brink of
declared war with Spain, with the French King, who is arresting all
English persons and property within his kingdom, and with Scotland, all
which countries are understood to have made a league together on account
of the Queen of Scotland, whom it will be absolutely necessary to put to
death in order to preserve the life of her Majesty, and are about to make
war upon England. This matter then will cost us, the current year, at
least eight hundred thousand pounds sterling. Nevertheless her Majesty is
sure to assist you so far as her means allow; and I, for my part, will do
my best to keep her Majesty well disposed to your cause, even as I have
ever done, as you well know."

Thus spoke poor Davison, but a few days before the fatal 8th of February,
little dreaming that the day for his influencing the disposition of her
Majesty would soon be gone, and that he was himself to be crushed for
ever by the blow which was about to destroy the captive Queen. The
political combinations resulting from the tragedy were not to be exactly
as he foretold, but there is little doubt that in him the Netherlands,
and Leicester, and the Queen of England, were to lose an honest,
diligent, and faithful friend.

"Well, gentlemen," said the Lord-Treasurer, after a few more questions
concerning the financial abilities of the States had been asked and
answered, "it is getting late into the evening, and time for you all to
get back to London. Let me request you, as soon as may be, to draw up
some articles in writing, to which we will respond immediately."

Menyn then, in the name of the deputies, expressed thanks for the
urbanity shown them in the conference, and spoke of the deep regret with
which they had perceived, by her Majesty's answer two days before, that
she was so highly offended with them and with the States-General. He
then, notwithstanding Burghley's previous hint as to the lateness of the
hour, took up the Queen's answer, point by point, contradicted all its
statements, appealing frequently to Lord Leicester for confirmation of
what he advanced, and concluded by begging the councillors to defend the
cause of the Netherlands to her Majesty, Burghley requested them to make
an excuse or reply to the Queen in writing, and send it to him to
present. Thus the conference terminated, and the envoys returned to
London. They were fully convinced by the result of, these interviews, as
they told their constituents, that her Majesty, by false statements and
reports of persons either grossly ignorant or not having the good of the
commonwealth before their eyes, had been very incorrectly informed as to
the condition of the Provinces, and of the great efforts made by the
States-General to defend their country against the enemy: It was obvious,
they said, that their measures had been exaggerated in order to deceive
the Queen and her council.

And thus statements and counter-statements, protocols and apostilles,
were glibly exchanged; the heap of diplomatic rubbish was rising higher
and higher, and the councillors and envoys, pleased with their work, were
growing more and more amicable, when the court was suddenly startled by
the news of the Deventer and Zutphen treason. The intelligence was
accompanied by the famous 4th of February letter, which descended, like a
bombshell, in the midst of the decorous council-chamber. Such language
had rarely been addressed to the Earl of Leicester, and; through him; to
the imperious sovereign herself, as the homely truths with which
Barneveld, speaking with the voice of the States-General, now smote the
delinquent governor.

"My Lord," said he, "it is notorious; and needs no illustration whatever,
with what true confidence and unfeigned affection we received your
Excellency in our land; the States-General, the States-Provincial, the
magistrates, and the communities of the chief cities in the United
Provinces, all uniting to do honour to her serene Majesty of England and
to yourself, and to confer upon you the government-general over us. And
although we should willingly have placed some limitations upon the
authority thus bestowed on you; in, order that by such a course your own
honour and the good and constitutional condition of the country might be
alike preserved, yet finding your Excellency not satisfied with those
limitations, we postponed every objection, and conformed ourselves to
your pleasure. Yet; before coming to that decision, we had well
considered that by doing so we might be opening a door to many ambitious,
avaricious, and pernicious persons, both of these countries and from
other nations, who might seize the occasion to advance their own private
profits, to the detriment of the country and the dishonour of your

"And, in truth, such persons have done their work so efficiently as to
inspire you with distrust against the most faithful and capable men in
the Provinces, against the Estates General and Provincial, magistrates,
and private persons, knowing very well that they could never arrive at
their own ends so long as you were guided by the constitutional
authorities of the country. And precisely upon the distrust; thus created
as a foundation, they raised a back-stairs council, by means of which
they were able to further their ambitious, avaricious, and seditious
practices, notwithstanding the good advice and remonstrances of the
council of state, and the States General and Provincial."

He proceeded to handle the subjects of the English rose-noble; put in
circulation by Leicester's finance or back-stairs council at two florins
above its value, to the manifest detriment of the Provinces, to the
detestable embargo which had prevented them from using the means bestowed
upon them by God himself to defend their country, to the squandering and
embezzlement of the large sums contributed by the Province; and entrusted
to the Earl's administration; to the starving condition of the soldiers;
maltreated by government, and thus compelled to prey upon the
inhabitants--so that troops in the States' service had never been so
abused during the whole war, although the States had never before voted
such large contributions nor paid them so promptly--to the placing in
posts of high honour and trust men of notoriously bad character and even
Spanish spies; to the taking away the public authority from those to whom
it legitimately belonged, and conferring it on incompetent and
unqualified persons; to the illegal banishment of respectable citizens,
to the violation of time-honoured laws and privileges, to the shameful
attempts to repudiate the ancient authority of the States, and to usurp a
control over the communities and nobles by them represented, and to the
perpetual efforts to foster dissension, disunion, and rebellion among the
inhabitants. Having thus drawn up a heavy bill of indictment, nominally
against the Earl's illegal counsellors, but in reality against the Earl
himself, he proceeded to deal with the most important matter of all.

"The principal cities and fortresses in the country have been placed in
hands of men suspected by the States on legitimate grounds, men who had
been convicted of treason against these Provinces, and who continued to
be suspected, notwithstanding that your Excellency had pledged your own
honour for their fidelity. Finally, by means of these scoundrels, it was
brought to pass, that the council of state having been invested by your
Excellency with supreme authority during your absence--a secret document,
was brought to light after your departure, by which the most substantial
matters, and those most vital to the defence of the country, were
withdrawn from the disposition of that council. And now, alas, we see the
effects of these practices!

"Sir William Stanley, by you appointed governor of Deventer, and Rowland
York, governor of Fort Zutphen, have refused, by virtue of that secret
document, to acknowledge any authority in this country. And
notwithstanding that since your departure they and their soldiers have
been supported at our expense, and had just received a full month's pay
from the States, they have traitorously and villainously delivered the
city and the fortress to the enemy, with a declaration made by Stanley
that he did the deed to ease his conscience, and to render to the King of
Spain the city which of right was belonging to him. And this is a crime
so dishonourable, scandalous, ruinous, and treasonable, as that, during
this, whole war, we have never seen the like. And we are now, in daily
fear lest the English commanders in Bergen-op-Zoom, Ostend, and other
cities, should commit the same crime. And although we fully suspected the
designs of Stanley and York, yet your Excellency's secret document had
deprived us of the power to act.

"We doubt not that her Majesty and your Excellency will think this
strange language. But we can assure you, that we too think it strange and
grievous that those places should have been confided to such men, against
our repeated remonstrances, and that, moreover, this very Stanley should
have been recommended by your Excellency for general of all the forces.
And although we had many just and grave reasons for opposing your
administration--even as our ancestors were often wont to rise against the
sovereigns of the country--we have, nevertheless, patiently suffered for
a long time, in order not to diminish your authority, which we deemed so
important to our welfare, and in the hope that you would at last be moved
by the perilous condition of the commonwealth, and awake to the artifices
of your advisers.

"But at last-feeling that the existence of the state can no longer be
preserved without proper authority, and that the whole community is full
of emotion and distrust, on account of these great treasons--we, the
States-General, as well as the States-Provincial, have felt constrained
to establish such a government as we deem meet for the emergency. And of
this we think proper to apprize your Excellency."

He then expressed the conviction that all these evil deeds had been
accomplished against the intentions of the Earl and the English
government, and requested his Excellency so to deal with her Majesty that
the contingent of horse and foot hitherto accorded by her "might be
maintained in good order, and in better pay."

Here, then, was substantial choleric phraseology, as good plain speaking
as her Majesty had just been employing, and with quite as sufficient
cause. Here was no pleasant diplomatic fencing, but straightforward
vigorous thrusts. It was no wonder that poor Wilkes should have thought
the letter "too sharp," when he heard it read in the assembly, and that
he should have done his best to prevent it from being despatched. He
would have thought it sharper could he have seen how the pride of her
Majesty and of Leicester was wounded by it to the quick. Her list of
grievances against the States seem to vanish into air. Who had been
tampering with the Spaniards now? Had that "shadowy and imaginary
authority" granted to Leicester not proved substantial enough? Was it the
States-General, the state-council, or was it the "absolute governor"--who
had carried off the supreme control of the commonwealth in his
pocket--that was responsible for the ruin effected by Englishmen who had
scorned all "authority" but his own?

The States, in another blunt letter to the Queen herself, declared the
loss of Deventer to be more disastrous to them than even the fall of
Antwerp had been; for the republic had now been split asunder, and its
most ancient and vital portions almost cut away. Nevertheless they were
not "dazzled nor despairing," they said, but more determined than ever to
maintain their liberties, and bid defiance to the Spanish tyrant. And
again they demanded of, rather than implored; her Majesty to be true to
her engagements with them.

The interviews which followed were more tempestuous than ever. "I had
intended that my Lord of Leicester should return to you," she said to the
envoys. "But that shall never be. He has been treated with gross
ingratitude, he has served the Provinces with ability, he has consumed
his own property there, he has risked his life, he has lost his near
kinsman, Sir Philip Sidney, whose life I should be glad to purchase with
many millions, and, in place of all reward, he receives these venomous
letters, of which a copy has been sent to his sovereign to blacken him
with her." She had been advising him to return, she added, but she was
now resolved that he should "never set foot in the Provinces again."

Here the Earl, who, was present, exclaimed--beating himself on the
breast--"a tali officio libera nos, Domine!"

But the States, undaunted by these explosions of wrath, replied that it
had ever been their custom, when their laws and liberties were invaded,
to speak their mind boldly to kings and governors, and to procure redress
of their grievances, as became free men.

During that whole spring the Queen was at daggers drawn with all her
leading counsellors, mainly in regard to that great question of
questions--the relations of England with the Netherlands and Spain.
Walsingham--who felt it madness to dream of peace, and who believed it
the soundest policy to deal with Parma and his veterans upon the soil of
Flanders, with the forces of the republic for allies, rather than to
await his arrival in London--was driven almost to frenzy by what he
deemed the Queen's perverseness.

"Our sharp words continue," said the Secretary, "which doth greatly
disquiet her Majesty, and discomfort her poor servants that attend her.
The Lord-Treasurer remaineth still in disgrace, and, behind my back, her
Majesty giveth out very hard speeches of myself, which I the rather
credit, for that I find, in dealing with her, I am nothing gracious; and
if her Majesty could be otherwise served, I know I should not be used . .
. . . Her Majesty doth wholly lend herself to devise some further means
to disgrace her poor council, in respect whereof she neglecteth all other
causes . . . . The discord between her Majesty and her council
hindereth the necessary consultations that were to be destined for the
preventing of the manifold perils that hang over this realm. . . .
Sir Christopher Hatton hath dealt very plainly and dutifully with her,
which hath been accepted in so evil part as he is resolved to retire for
a time. I assure you I find every man weary of attendance here. . . .
I would to God I could find as good resolution in her Majesty to
proceed in a princely course in relieving the United Provinces, as I find
an honorable disposition in your Lordship to employ yourself in their

The Lord-Treasurer was much puzzled, very wretched, but philosophically
resigned. "Why her Majesty useth me thus strangely, I know not," he
observed. "To some she saith that she meant not I should have gone from
the court; to some she saith, she may not admit me, nor give me
contentment. I shall dispose myself to enjoy God's favour, and shall do
nothing to deserve her disfavour. And if I be suffered to be a stranger
to her affairs, I shall have a quieter life."

Leicester, after the first burst of his anger was over, was willing to
return to the Provinces. He protested that he had a greater affection for
the Netherland people--not for the governing powers--even than he felt
for the people of England.--"There is nothing sticks in my stomach," he
said, "but the good-will of that poor afflicted people, for whom, I take
God to record, I could be content to lose any limb I have to do them
good." But he was crippled with debt, and the Queen resolutely refused to
lend him a few thousand pounds, without which he could not stir.
Walsingham in vain did battle with her parsimony, representing how
urgently and vividly the necessity of his return had been depicted by all
her ministers in both countries, and how much it imported to her own
safety and service. But she was obdurate. "She would rather," he said
bitterly to Leicester, "hazard the increase of confusion there--which may
put the whole country in peril--than supply your want. The like course
she holdeth in the rest of her causes, which maketh me to wish myself
from the helm." At last she agreed to advance him ten thousand pounds,
but on so severe conditions, that the Earl declared himself heart-broken
again, and protested that he would neither accept the money, nor ever set
foot in the Netherlands. "Let Norris stay there," he said in a fury; "he
will do admirably, no doubt. Only let it not be supposed that I can be
there also. Not for one hundred thousand pounds would I be in that
country with him."

Meantime it was agreed that Lord Buckhurst should be sent forth on what
Wilkes termed a mission of expostulation, and a very ill-timed one. This
new envoy was to inquire into the causes of the discontent, and to do his
best to remove them: as if any man in England or in Holland doubted as to
the causes, or as to the best means of removing them; or as if it were
not absolutely certain that delay was the very worst specific that could
be adopted--delay--which the Netherland statesmen, as well as the Queen's
wisest counsellors, most deprecated, which Alexander and Philip most
desired, and by indulging in which her Majesty was most directly playing
into her adversary's hand. Elizabeth was preparing to put cards upon the
table against an antagonist whose game was close, whose honesty was
always to be suspected, and who was a consummate master in what was then
considered diplomatic sleight of hand. So Lord Buckhurst was to go forth
to expostulate at the Hague, while transports were loading in Cadiz and
Lisbon, reiters levying in Germany, pikemen and musketeers in Spain and
Italy, for a purpose concerning which Walsingham and Barneveld had for a
long time felt little doubt.

Meantime Lord Leicester went to Bath to drink the waters, and after he
had drunk the waters, the Queen, ever anxious for his health, was
resolved that he should not lose the benefit of those salubrious draughts
by travelling too soon, or by plunging anew into the fountains of
bitterness which flowed perennially in the Netherlands.


   Buckhurst sent to the Netherlands--Alarming State of Affairs on his
   Arrival--His Efforts to conciliate--Democratic Theories of Wilkes--
   Sophistry of the Argument--Dispute between Wilkes and Barneveld--
   Religious Tolerance by the States--Their Constitutional Theory--
   Deventer's bad Counsels to Leicester--Their pernicious Effect--Real
   and supposed Plots against Hohenlo--Mutual Suspicion and Distrust--
   Buckhurst seeks to restore good Feeling--The Queen angry and
   vindictive--She censures Buckhurst's Course--Leicester's wrath at
   Hohenlo's Charges of a Plot by the Earl to murder him--Buckhurst's
   eloquent Appeals to the Queen--Her perplexing and contradictory
   Orders--Despair of Wilkes--Leicester announces his Return--His
   Instructions--Letter to Junius--Barneveld denounces him in the

We return to the Netherlands. If ever proof were afforded of the
influence of individual character on the destiny of nations and of the
world, it certainly was seen in the year 1587. We have lifted the curtain
of the secret council-chamber at Greenwich. We have seen all Elizabeth's
advisers anxious to arouse her from her fatal credulity, from her almost
as fatal parsimony. We have seen Leicester anxious to return, despite all
fancied indignities, Walsingham eager to expedite the enterprise, and the
Queen remaining obdurate, while month after month of precious time was
melting away.

In the Netherlands, meantime, discord and confusion had been increasing
every day; and the first great cause of such a dangerous condition of
affairs was the absence of the governor. To this all parties agreed. The
Leicestrians, the anti-Leicestriana, the Holland party, the Utrecht
party, the English counsellors, the English generals, in private letter,
in solemn act, all warned the Queen against the lamentable effects
resulting from Leicester's inopportune departure and prolonged absence.

On the first outbreak of indignation after the Deventer Affair, Prince
Maurice was placed at the head of the general government, with the
violent Hohenlo as his lieutenant. The greatest exertions were made by
these two nobles and by Barneveld, who guided the whole policy of the
party, to secure as many cities as possible to their cause. Magistrates
and commandants of garrisons in many towns willingly gave in their
adhesion to the new government; others refused; especially Diedrich
Sonoy, an officer of distinction, who was governor of Enkhuyzen, and
influential throughout North Holland, and who remained a stanch partisan
of Leicester. Utrecht, the stronghold of the Leicestrians, was wavering
and much torn by faction; Hohenlo and Moeurs had "banquetted and feasted"
to such good purpose that they had gained over half the captains of the
burgher-guard, and, aided by the branch of nobles, were making a good
fight against the Leicester magistracy and the clerical force, enriched
by the plunder of the old Catholic livings, who denounced as Papistical
and Hispaniolized all who favoured the party of Maurice and Barneveld.

By the end of March the envoys returned from London, and in their company
came Lord Buckhurst, as special ambassador from the Queen.

Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst--afterwards Earl of Dorset and
lord-treasurer--was then fifty-one years of age. A man of large
culture-poet, dramatist, diplomatist-bred to the bar; afterwards elevated
to the peerage; endowed with high character and strong intellect; ready
with tongue and pen; handsome of person, and with a fascinating address,
he was as fit a person to send on a mission of expostulation as any man
to be found in England. But the author of the 'Induction to the Mirror
for Magistrates' and of 'Gorboduc,' had come to the Netherlands on a
forlorn hope. To expostulate in favour of peace with a people who knew
that their existence depended on war, to reconcile those to delay who
felt that delay was death, and to, heal animosities between men who were
enemies from their cradles to their graves, was a difficult mission. But
the chief ostensible object of Buckhurst was to smooth the way for
Leicester, and, if possible, to persuade the Netherlanders as to the good
inclinations of the English government. This was no easy task, for they
knew that their envoys had been dismissed, without even a promise of
subsidy. They had asked for twelve thousand soldiers and sixty thousand
pounds, and had received a volley of abuse. Over and over again, through
many months, the Queen fell into a paroxysm of rage when even an allusion
was made to the loan of fifty or sixty thousand pounds; and even had she
promised the money, it would have given but little satisfaction. As Count
Moeurs observed, he would rather see one English rose-noble than a
hundred royal promises. So the Hollanders and Zeelanders--not fearing
Leicester's influence within their little morsel of a territory--were
concentrating their means of resistance upon their own soil, intending to
resist Spain, and, if necessary, England, in their last ditch, and with
the last drop of their blood.

While such was the condition of affairs, Lord Buckhurst landed at
Flushing--four months after the departure of Leicester--on the 24th
March, having been tossing three days and nights at sea in a great storm,
"miserably sick and in great danger of drowning." Sir William Russell,
governor of Flushing, informed him of the progress making by Prince
Maurice in virtue of his new authority. He told him that the Zeeland
regiment, vacant by Sidney's death, and which the Queen wished bestowed
upon Russell himself, had been given to Count Solms; a circumstance which
was very sure to exite her Majesty's ire; but that the greater number,
and those of the better sort; disliked the alteration of government, and
relied entirely upon the Queen. Sainte Aldegonde visited him at
Middelburgh, and in a "long discourse" expressed the most friendly
sentiments towards England, with free offers of personal service.
"Nevertheless," said Buckhurst, cautiously, "I mean to trust the effect,
not his words, and so I hope he will not much deceive me. His opinion is
that the Earl of Leicester's absence hath chiefly caused this change, and
that without his return it will hardly be restored again, but that upon
his arrival all these clouds will prove but a summershower."

As a matter of course the new ambassador lifted up his voice, immediately
after setting foot on shore, in favour of the starving soldiers of his
Queen. "'Tis a most lamentable thing," said he, "to hear the complaints
of soldiers and captains for want of pay." . . . . Whole companies made
their way into his presence, literally crying aloud for bread. "For
Jesus' sake," wrote Buckhurst, "hasten to send relief with all speed, and
let such victuallers be appointed as have a conscience not to make
themselves rich with the famine of poor soldiers. If her Majesty send not
money, and that with speed, for their payment, I am afraid to think what
mischief and miseries are like to follow."

Then the ambassador proceeded to the Hague, holding interviews with
influential personages in private, and with the States-General in public.
Such was the charm of his manner, and so firm the conviction of sincerity
and good-will which he inspired, that in the course of a fortnight there
was already a sensible change in the aspect of affairs. The enemy, who,
at the time of their arrival, had been making bonfires and holding
triumphal processions for joy of the great breach between Holland and
England, and had been "hoping to swallow them all up, while there were so
few left who knew how to act," were already manifesting disappointment.

In a solemn meeting of the States-General with the State-council,
Buckhurst addressed the assembly upon the general subject of her
Majesty's goodness to the Netherlands. He spoke of the gracious
assistance rendered by her, notwithstanding her many special charges for
the common cause, and of the mighty enmities which she had incurred for
their sake. He sharply censured the Hollanders for their cruelty to men
who had shed their blood in their cause, but who were now driven forth
from their towns; and left to starve on the highways, and hated for their
nation's sake; as if the whole English name deserved to be soiled "for
the treachery of two miscreants." He spoke strongly of their demeanour
towards the Earl of Leicester, and of the wrongs they had done him, and
told them, that, if they were not ready to atone to her Majesty for such
injuries, they were not to wonder if their deputies received no better
answer at her hands. "She who embraced your cause," he said, "when other
mighty princes forsook you, will still stand fast unto you, yea, and
increase her goodness, if her present state may suffer it."

After being addressed in this manner the council of state made what
Counsellor Clerk called a "very honest, modest, and wise answer;" but the
States-General, not being able "so easily to discharge that which had so
long boiled within them," deferred their reply until the following day.
They then brought forward a deliberate rejoinder, in which they expressed
themselves devoted to her Majesty, and, on the whole, well disposed to
the Earl. As to the 4th February letter, it had been written "in
amaritudine cordis," upon hearing the treasons of York and Stanley, and
in accordance with "their custom and liberty used towards all princes,
whereby they had long preserved their estate," and in the conviction that
the real culprits for all the sins of his Excellency's government were
certain "lewd persons who sought to seduce his Lordship, and to cause him
to hate the States."

Buckhurst did not think it well to reply, at that moment, on the ground
that there had been already crimination and recrimination more than
enough, and that "a little bitterness more had rather caused them to
determine dangerously than solve for the best."

They then held council together--the envoys and the State-General, as to
the amount of troops absolutely necessary--casting up the matter "as
pinchingly as possibly might be." And the result was, that 20,000 foot
and 2000 horse for garrison work, and an army of 13,000 foot, 5000 horse,
and pioneers, for a campaign of five or six months, were pronounced
indispensable. This would require all their L240,000 sterling a-year,
regular contribution, her Majesty's contingent of L140,000, and an extra
sum of L150,000 sterling. Of this sum the States requested her Majesty
should furnish two-thirds, while they agreed to furnish the other third,
which would make in all L240,000 for the Queen, and L290,000 for the
States. As it was understood that the English subsidies were only a loan,
secured by mortgage of the cautionary towns, this did not seem very
unreasonable, when the intimate blending of England's welfare with that
of the Provinces was considered.

Thus it will be observed that Lord Buckhurst--while doing his best to
conciliate personal feuds and heart-burnings--had done full justice to
the merits of Leicester, and had placed in strongest light the favours
conferred by her Majesty.

He then proceeded to Utrecht, where he was received with many
demonstrations of respect, "with solemn speeches" from magistrates and
burgher-captains, with military processions, and with great banquets,
which were, however, conducted with decorum, and at which even Count
Moeurs excited universal astonishment by his sobriety. It was difficult,
however, for matters to go very smoothly, except upon the surface. What
could be more disastrous than for a little commonwealth--a mere handful
of people, like these Netherlanders, engaged in mortal combat with the
most powerful monarch in the world, and with the first general of the
age, within a league of their borders--thus to be deprived of all
organized government at a most critical moment, and to be left to wrangle
with their allies and among themselves, as to the form of polity to be
adopted, while waiting the pleasure of a capricious and despotic woman?

And the very foundation of the authority by which the Spanish yoke had
been abjured, the sovereignty offered to Elizabeth, and the
government-general conferred on Leicester, was fiercely assailed by the
confidential agents of Elizabeth herself. The dispute went into the very
depths of the social contract. Already Wilkes, standing up stoutly for
the democratic views of the governor, who was so foully to requite him,
had assured the English government that the "people were ready to cut the
throats" of the Staten-General at any convenient moment. The sovereign
people, not the deputies, were alone to be heeded, he said, and although
he never informed the world by what process he had learned the deliberate
opinion of that sovereign, as there had been no assembly excepting those
of the States-General and States-Provincial--he was none the less fully
satisfied that the people were all with Leicester, and bitterly opposed
to the States.

"For the sovereignty, or supreme authority," said he, through failure of
a legitimate prince, belongs to the people, and not to you, gentlemen,
who are only servants, ministers, and deputies of the people. You have
your commissions or instructions surrounded by limitations--which
conditions are so widely different from the power of sovereignty, as the
might of the subject is in regard to his prince, or of a servant in,
respect to his master. For sovereignty is not limited either as to power
or as to time. Still less do you represent the sovereignty; for the
people, in giving the general and absolute government to the Earl of
Leicester, have conferred upon him at once the exercise of justice, the
administration of polity, of naval affairs, of war, and of all the other
points of sovereignty. Of these a governor-general is however only the
depositary or guardian, until such time as it may please the prince or
people to revoke the trust; there being no other in this state who can do
this; seeing that it was the people, through the instrumentality of your
offices--through you as its servants--conferred on his Excellency, this
power, authority, and government. According to the common rule law,
therefore, 'quo jure quid statuitur, eodem jure tolli debet.' You having
been fully empowered by the provinces and cities, or, to speak more
correctly, by your masters and superiors, to confer the government on his
Excellency, it follows that you require a like power in order to take it
away either in whole or in part. If then you had no commission to curtail
his authority, or even that of the state-council, and thus to tread upon
and usurp his power as governor general and absolute, there follows of
two things one: either you did not well understand what you were doing,
nor duly consider how far that power reached, or--much more probably--you
have fallen into the sin of disobedience, considering how solemnly you
swore allegiance to him.

Thus subtly and ably did Wilkes defend the authority of the man who had
deserted his post at a most critical moment, and had compelled the
States, by his dereliction, to take the government into their own hands.

For, after all, the whole argument of the English counsellor rested upon
a quibble. The people were absolutely sovereign, he said, and had lent
that sovereignty to Leicester. How had they made that loan? Through the
machinery of the States-General. So long then as the Earl retained the
absolute sovereignty, the States were not even representatives of the
sovereign people. The sovereign people was merged into one English Earl.
The English Earl had retired--indefinitely--to England. Was the sovereign
people to wait for months, or years, before it regained its existence?
And if not, how was it to reassert its vitality? How but through the
agency of the States-General, who--according to Wilkes himself--had been
fully empowered by the Provinces and Cities to confer the government on
the Earl? The people then, after all, were the provinces and cities. And
the States-General were at that moment as much qualified to represent
those provinces and cities as they ever had been, and they claimed no
more. Wilkes, nor any other of the Leicester party, ever hinted at a
general assembly of the people. Universal suffrage was not dreamed of at
that day. By the people, he meant, if he meant anything, only that very
small fraction of the inhabitants of a country, who, according to the
English system, in the reign of Elizabeth, constituted its Commons. He
chose, rather from personal and political motives than philosophical
ones, to draw a distinction between the people and the States, but it is
quite obvious, from the tone of his private communications, that by the
'States' he meant the individuals who happened, for the time-being, to be
the deputies of the States of each Province. But it was almost an
affectation to accuse those individuals of calling or considering
themselves 'sovereigns;' for it was very well known that they sat as
envoys, rather than as members of a congress, and were perpetually
obliged to recur to their constituents, the States of each Province, for
instructions. It was idle, because Buys and Barneveld, and Roorda, and
other leaders, exercised the influence due to their talents, patriotism,
and experience, to stigmatize them as usurpers of sovereignty, and to
hound the rabble upon them as tyrants and mischief-makers. Yet to take
this course pleased the Earl of Leicester, who saw no hope for the
liberty of the people, unless absolute and unconditional authority over
the people, in war, naval affairs, justice, and policy, were placed in
his hands. This was the view sustained by the clergy of the Reformed
Church, because they found it convenient, through such a theory, and by
Leicester's power, to banish Papists, exercise intolerance in matters of
religion, sequestrate for their own private uses the property of the
Catholic Church, and obtain for their own a political power which was
repugnant to the more liberal ideas of the Barneveld party.

The States of Holland--inspired as it were by the memory of that great
martyr to religious and political liberty, William the Silent--maintained
freedom of conscience.

The Leicester party advocated a different theory on the religious
question. They were also determined to omit no effort to make the States

"Seeing their violent courses," said Wilkes to Leicester, "I have not
been negligent, as well by solicitations to the ministers, as by my
letters to such as have continued constant in affection to your Lordship,
to have the people informed of the ungrateful and dangerous proceedings
of the States. They have therein travailed with so good effect, as the
people are now wonderfully well disposed, and have delivered everywhere
in speeches, that if, by the overthwart dealings of the States, her
Majesty shall be drawn to stay her succours and goodness to them, and
that thereby your Lordship be also discouraged to return, they will cut
their throats."

Who the "people" exactly were, that had been so wonderfully well disposed
to throat-cutting by the ministers of the Gospel, did not distinctly
appear. It was certain, however, that they were the special friends of
Leicester, great orators, very pious, and the sovereigns of the country.
So much could not be gainsaid.

"Your Lordship would wonder," continued the councillor, "to see the
people--who so lately, by the practice of the said States and the
accident of Deventer, were notably alienated--so returned to their former
devotion towards her Majesty, your Lordship, and our nation."

Wilkes was able moreover to gratify the absent governor-general with the
intelligence--of somewhat questionable authenticity however--that the
States were very "much terrified with these threats of the people." But
Barneveld came down to the council to inquire what member of that body it
was who had accused the States of violating the Earl's authority.
"Whoever he is," said the Advocate, "let him deliver his mind frankly,
and he shall be answered." The man did not seem much terrified by the
throat-cutting orations. "It is true," replied Wilkes, perceiving himself
to be the person intended, "that you have very injuriously, in many of
your proceedings, derogated from and trodden the authority of his
Lordship and of this council under your feet."

And then he went into particulars, and discussed, 'more suo,' the
constitutional question, in which various Leicestrian counsellors
seconded him.

But Barneveld grimly maintained that the States were the sovereigns, and
that it was therefore unfit that the governor, who drew his authority
from them, should call them to account for their doings. "It was as if
the governors in the time of Charles V.," said the Advocate, "should have
taxed that Emperor for any action of his done in the government."

In brief, the rugged Barneveld, with threatening voice, and lion port,
seemed to impersonate the Staten, and to hold reclaimed sovereignty in
his grasp. It seemed difficult to tear it from him again.

"I did what I could," said Wilkes, "to beat them from this humour of
their sovereignty, showing that upon that error they had grounded the
rest of their wilful absurdities."

Next night, he drew up sixteen articles, showing the disorders of the
States, their breach of oaths, and violations of the Earl's authority;
and with that commenced a series of papers interchanged by the two
parties, in which the topics of the origin of government and the
principles of religious freedom were handled with much ability on both
sides, but at unmerciful length.

On the religious question, the States-General, led by Barneveld and by
Francis Franck, expressed themselves manfully, on various occasions,
during the mission of Buckhurst.

"The nobles and cities constituting the States," they said, "have been
denounced to Lord Leicester as enemies of religion, by the self-seeking
mischief-makers who surround him. Why? Because they had refused the
demand of certain preachers to call a general synod, in defiance of the
States-General, and to introduce a set of ordinances, with a system of
discipline, according to their arbitrary will. This the late Prince of
Orange and the States-General had always thought detrimental both to
religion and polity. They respected the difference in religious opinions,
and leaving all churches in their freedom, they chose to compel no man's
conscience--a course which all statesmen, knowing the diversity of human
opinions, had considered necessary in order to maintain fraternal

Such words shine through the prevailing darkness of the religious
atmosphere at that epoch, like characters of light. They are beacons in
the upward path of mankind. Never before, had so bold and wise a tribute
to the genius of the reformation been paid by an organized community.
Individuals walking in advance of their age had enunciated such truths,
and their voices had seemed to die away, but, at last, a little,
struggling, half-developed commonwealth had proclaimed the rights of
conscience for all mankind--for Papists and Calvinists, Jews and
Anabaptists--because "having a respect for differences in religious
opinions, and leaving all churches in their freedom, they chose to compel
no man's conscience."

On the constitutional question, the States commenced by an astounding
absurdity. "These mischief-makers, moreover," said they, "have not been
ashamed to dispute, and to cause the Earl of Leicester to dispute, the
lawful constitution of the Provinces; a matter which has not been
disputed for eight hundred years."

This was indeed to claim a respectable age for their republic. Eight
hundred years took them back to the days of Charlemagne, in whose time it
would have been somewhat difficult to detect a germ of their
States-General and States-Provincial. That the constitutional
government--consisting of nobles and of the vroedschaps of chartered
cities--should have been in existence four hundred and seventeen years
before the first charter had ever been granted to a city, was a very
loose style of argument. Thomas Wilkes, in reply; might as well have
traced the English parliament to Hengist and Horsa. "For eight hundred
years;" they said, "Holland had been governed by Counts and Countesses,
on whom the nobles and cities, as representing the States, had legally
conferred sovereignty."

Now the first incorporated city of Holland and Zeeland that ever existed
was Middelburg, which received its charter from Count William I. of
Holland and Countess Joan of Flanders; in the year 1217. The first Count
that had any legal recognized authority was Dirk the First to whom
Charles the Simple presented the territory of Holland, by letters-patent,
in 922. Yet the States-General, in a solemn and eloquent document,
gravely dated their own existence from the year 787, and claimed the
regular possession and habitual delegation of sovereignty from that epoch

After this fabulous preamble, they proceeded to handle the matter of fact
with logical precision. It was absurd, they said, that Mr. Wilkes and
Lord Leicester should affect to confound the persons who appeared in the
assembly with the States themselves; as if those individuals claimed or
exercised sovereignty. Any man who had observed what had been passing
during the last fifteen years, knew very well that the supreme authority
did not belong to the thirty or forty individuals who came to the
meetings . . . . The nobles, by reason of their ancient dignity and
splendid possessions, took counsel together over state matters, and then,
appearing at the assembly, deliberated with the deputies of the cities.
The cities had mainly one form of government--a college of counsellors;
or wise men, 40, 32, 28, or 24 in number, of the most respectable out of
the whole community. They were chosen for life, and vacancies were
supplied by the colleges themselves out of the mass of citizens. These
colleges alone governed the city, and that which had been ordained by
them was to be obeyed by all the inhabitants--a system against which
there had never been any rebellion. The colleges again, united with those
of the nobles, represented the whole state, the whole body of the
population; and no form of government could be imagined, they said, that
could resolve, with a more thorough knowledge of the necessities of the
country, or that could execute its resolves with more unity of purpose
and decisive authority. To bring the colleges into an assembly could only
be done by means of deputies. These deputies, chosen by their colleges,
and properly instructed, were sent to the place of meeting. During the
war they had always been commissioned to resolve in common on matters
regarding the liberty of the land. These deputies, thus assembled,
represented, by commission, the States; but they are not, in their own
persons, the States; and no one of them had any such pretension. "The
people of this country," said the States, "have an aversion to all
ambition; and in these disastrous times, wherein nothing but trouble and
odium is to be gathered by public employment, these commissions are
accounted 'munera necessaria'. . . . This form of government has, by
God's favour, protected Holland and Zeeland, during this war, against a
powerful foe, without lose of territory, without any popular outbreak,
without military mutiny, because all business has been transacted with
open doors; and because the very smallest towns are all represented, and
vote in the assembly."

In brief, the constitution of the United Provinces was a matter of fact.
It was there in good working order, and had, for a generation of mankind,
and throughout a tremendous war, done good service. Judged by the
principles of reason and justice, it was in the main a wholesome
constitution, securing the independence and welfare of the state, and the
liberty and property of the individual, as well certainly as did any
polity then existing in the world. It seemed more hopeful to abide by it
yet a little longer than to adopt the throat-cutting system by the
people, recommended by Wilkes and Leicester as an improvement on the old
constitution. This was the view of Lord Buckhurst. He felt that threats
of throat-cutting were not the best means of smoothing and conciliating,
and he had come over to smooth and conciliate.

"To spend the time," said he, "in private brabbles and piques between the
States and Lord Leicester, when we ought to prepare an army against the
enemy, and to repair the shaken and torn state, is not a good course for
her Majesty's service." Letters were continually circulating from hand to
hand among the antagonists of the Holland party, written out of England
by Leicester, exciting the ill-will of the populace against the organized
government. "By such means to bring the States into hatred," said
Buckhurst, "and to stir up the people against them; tends to great damage
and miserable end. This his Lordship doth full little consider, being the
very way to dissolve all government, and so to bring all into confusion,
and open the door for the enemy. But oh, how lamentable a thing it is,
and how doth my Lord of Leicester abuse her Majesty, making her authority
the means to uphold and justify, and under her name to defend and
maintain, all his intolerable errors. I thank God that neither his might
nor his malice shall deter me from laying open all those things which my
conscience knoweth, and which appertaineth to be done for the good of
this cause and of her Majesty's service. Herein, though I were sure to
lose my life, yet will I not offend neither the one nor the other,
knowing very well that I must die; and to die in her Majesty's faithful
service, and with a good conscience, is far more happy than the miserable
life that I am in. If Leicester do in this sort stir up the people
against the States to follow his revenge against them, and if the Queen
do yield no better aid, and the minds of Count Maurice and Hohenlo remain
thus in fear and hatred of him, what good end or service can be hoped for
here?"--[Buckhurst to Walsingham, 13th June, 1587. (Brit. Mus. Galba, D.
I. p. 95, MS.)]

Buckhurst was a man of unimpeached integrity and gentle manners. He had
come over with the best intentions towards the governor-general, and it
has been seen that he boldly defended him in, his first interviews with
the States. But as the intrigues and underhand plottings of the Earl's
agents were revealed to him, he felt more and more convinced that there
was a deep laid scheme to destroy the government, and to constitute a
virtual and absolute sovereignty for Leicester. It was not wonderful that
the States were standing vigorously on the defensive.

The subtle Deventer, Leicester's evil genius, did not cease to poison the
mind of the governor, during his protracted absence, against all persons
who offered impediments to the cherished schemes of his master and
himself. "Your Excellency knows very well," he said, "that the state of
this country is democratic, since, by failure of a prince, the sovereign
disposition of affairs has returned to the people. That same people is
everywhere so incredibly affectionate towards you that the delay in your
return drives them to extreme despair. Any one who would know the real
truth has but to remember the fine fear the States-General were in when
the news of your displeasure about the 4th February letter became known."

Had it not been for the efforts of Lord Buckhurst in calming the popular
rage, Deventer assured the Earl that the writers of the letter would
"have scarcely saved their skins;" and that they had always continued in
great danger.

He vehemently urged upon Leicester, the necessity of his immediate
return--not so much for reasons drawn from the distracted state of the
country, thus left to a provisional government and torn by faction--but
because of the facility with which he might at once seize upon arbitrary
power. He gratified his master by depicting in lively colours the abject
condition into which Barneveld, Maurice, Hohenlo, and similar cowards,
would be thrown by his sudden return.

"If," said he, "the States' members and the counts, every one of them,
are so desperately afraid of the people, even while your Excellency is
afar off, in what trepidation will they be when you are here! God,
reason, the affection of the sovereign people, are on your side. There
needs, in a little commonwealth like ours, but a wink of the eye, the
slightest indication of dissatisfaction on your part, to take away all
their valour from men who are only brave where swords are too short. A
magnanimous prince like yourself should seek at once the place where such
plots are hatching, and you would see the fury of the rebels change at
once to cowardice. There is more than one man here in the Netherlands
that brags of what he will do against the greatest and most highly
endowed prince in England, because he thinks he shall never see him
again, who, at the very first news of your return, my Lord, would think
only of packing his portmanteau, greasing his boots, or, at the very
least, of sneaking back into his hole."

But the sturdy democrat was quite sure that his Excellency, that most
magnanimous prince of England would not desert his faithful
followers--thereby giving those "filthy rascals," his opponents, a
triumph, and "doing so great an injury to the sovereign people, who were
ready to get rid of them all at a single blow, if his Excellency would
but say the word."

He then implored the magnanimous prince to imitate the example of Moses,
Joshua, David, and that of all great emperors and captains, Hebrew,
Greek, and Roman, to come at once to the scene of action, and to smite
his enemies hip and thigh. He also informed his Excellency, that if the
delay should last much longer, he would lose all chance of regaining
power, because the sovereign people had quite made up their mind to
return to the dominion of Spain within three months, if they could not
induce his Excellency to rule over them. In that way at least, if in no
other, they could circumvent those filthy rascals whom they so much
abhorred, and frustrate the designs of Maurice, Hohenlo, and Sir John
Norris, who were represented as occupying the position of the triumvirs
after the death of Julius Caesar.

To place its neck under the yoke of Philip II. and the Inquisition, after
having so handsomely got rid of both, did not seem a sublime
manifestation of sovereignty on the part of the people, and even Deventer
had some misgivings as to the propriety of such a result. "What then will
become of our beautiful churches?" he cried, "What will princes say, what
will the world in general say, what will historians say, about the honour
of the English nation?"

As to the first question, it is probable that the prospect of the
reformed churches would not have been cheerful, had the inquisition been
re-established in Holland and Utrecht, three months after that date. As
to the second, the world and history were likely to reply, that the
honour of the English nation was fortunately not entirely, entrusted at
that epoch to the "magnanimous prince" of Leicester, and his democratic,
counsellor-in-chief, burgomaster Deventer.

These are but samples of the ravings which sounded incessantly in the
ears of the governor-general. Was it strange that a man, so thirsty for
power, so gluttonous of flattery, should be influenced by such passionate
appeals? Addressed in strains of fulsome adulation, convinced that
arbitrary power was within his reach, and assured that he had but to wink
his eye to see his enemies scattered before him, he became impatient of
all restraint; and determined, on his return, to crush the States into

Thus, while Buckhurst had been doing his best as a mediator to prepare
the path for his return, Leicester himself end his partisans had been
secretly exerting themselves to make his arrival the signal for discord;
perhaps of civil war. The calm, then, immediately succeeding the mission
of Buckhurst was a deceitful one, but it seemed very promising. The best
feelings were avowed and perhaps entertained. The States professed great
devotion to her Majesty and friendly regard for the governor. They
distinctly declared that the arrangements by which Maurice and Hohenlo
had been placed in their new positions were purely provisional ones,
subject to modifications on the arrival of the Earl. "All things are
reduced to a quiet calm," said Buckhurst, "ready to receive my Lord of
Leicester and his authority, whenever he cometh."

The quarrel of Hohenlo with Sir Edward Norris had been, by the exertions
of Buckhurst, amicably arranged: the Count became an intimate friend of
Sir John, "to the gladding of all such as wished well to, the country;"
but he nourished a deadly hatred to the Earl. He ran up and down like a
madman whenever his return was mentioned. "If the Queen be willing to
take the sovereignty," he cried out at his own dinner-table to a large
company, "and is ready to proceed roundly in this action, I will serve
her to the last drop of my blood; but if she embrace it in no other sort
than hitherto she hath done, and if Leicester is to return, then am I as
good a man as Leicester, and will never be commanded by him. I mean to
continue on my frontier, where all who love me can come and find me."

He declared to several persons that he had detected a plot on the part of
Leicester to have him assassinated; and the assertion seemed so
important, that Villiers came to Councillor Clerk to confer with him on
the subject. The worthy Bartholomew, who had again, most reluctantly,
left his quiet chambers in the Temple to come again among the guns and
drums, which his soul abhorred, was appalled by such a charge. It was
best to keep it a secret, he said, at least till the matter could be
thoroughly investigated. Villiers was of the same opinion, and
accordingly the councillor, in the excess of his caution, confided the
secret only--to whom? To Mr. Atye, Leicester's private secretary. Atye,
of course, instantly told his master--his master in a frenzy of rage,
told the Queen, and her Majesty, in a paroxysm of royal indignation at
this new insult to her favourite, sent furious letters to her envoys, to
the States-General, to everybody in the Netherlands--so that the
assertion of Hohenlo became the subject of endless recrimination.
Leicester became very violent, and denounced the statement as an impudent
falsehood, devised wilfully in order to cast odium upon him and to
prevent his return. Unquestionably there was nothing in the story but
table-talk; but the Count would have been still more ferocious towards
Leicester than he was, had he known what was actually happening at that
very moment.

While Buckhurst was at Utrecht, listening to the "solemn-speeches" of the
militia-captains and exchanging friendly expressions at stately banquets
with Moeurs, he suddenly received a letter in cipher from her Majesty.
Not having the key, he sent to Wilkes at the Hague. Wilkes was very ill;
but the despatch was marked pressing and immediate, so he got out of bed
and made the journey to Utrecht. The letter, on being deciphered, proved
to be an order from the Queen to decoy Hohenlo into some safe town, on
pretence of consultation and then to throw him into prison, on the ground
that he had been tampering with the enemy, and was about to betray the
republic to Philip.

The commotion which would have been excited by any attempt to enforce
this order, could be easily imagined by those familiar with Hohenlo and
with the powerful party in the Netherlands of which he was one of the
chiefs. Wilkes stood aghast as he deciphered the letter. Buckhurst felt
the impossibility of obeying the royal will. Both knew the cause, and
both foresaw the consequences of the proposed step. Wilkes had heard some
rumours of intrigues between Parma's agents at Deventer and Hohenlo, and
had confided them to Walsingham, hoping that the Secretary would keep the
matter in his own breast, at least till further advice. He was appalled
at the sudden action proposed on a mere rumour, which both Buckhurst and
himself had begun to consider an idle one. He protested, therefore, to
Walsingham that to comply with her Majesty's command would not only be
nearly impossible, but would, if successful, hazard the ruin of the
republic. Wilkes was also very anxious lest the Earl of Leicester should
hear of the matter. He was already the object of hatred to that powerful
personage, and thought him capable of accomplishing his destruction in
any mode. But if Leicester could wreak his vengeance upon his enemy
Wilkes by the hand of his other deadly enemy Hohenlo, the councillor felt
that this kind of revenge would have a double sweetness for him. The
Queen knows what I have been saying, thought Wilkes, and therefore
Leicester knows it; and if Leicester knows it, he will take care that
Hohenlo shall hear of it too, and then wo be unto me. "Your honour
knoweth," he said to Walsingham, "that her Majesty can hold no secrets,
and if she do impart it to Leicester, then am I sped."

Nothing came of it however, and the relations of Wilkes and Buckhurst
with Hohenlo continued to be friendly. It was a lesson to Wilkes to be
more cautious even with the cautious Walsingham. "We had but bare
suspicions," said Buckhurst, "nothing fit, God knoweth, to come to such a
reckoning. Wilkes saith he meant it but for a premonition to you there;
but I think it will henceforth be a premonition to himself--there being
but bare presumptions, and yet shrewd presumptions."

Here then were Deventer and Leicester plotting to overthrow the
government of the States; the States and Hohenlo arming against
Leicester; the extreme democratic party threatening to go over to the
Spaniards within three months; the Earl accused of attempting the life of
Hohenlo; Hohenlo offering to shed the last drop of his blood for Queen
Elizabeth; Queen Elizabeth giving orders to throw Hohenlo into prison as
a traitor; Councillor Wilkes trembling for his life at the hands both of
Leicester and Hohenlo; and Buckhurst doing his best to conciliate all
parties, and imploring her Majesty in vain to send over money to help on
the war, and to save her soldiers from starving.

For the Queen continued to refuse the loan of fifty thousand pounds which
the provinces solicited, and in hope of which the States had just agreed
to an extra contribution of a million florins (L100,000), a larger sum
than had been levied by a single vote since the commencement of the war.
It must be remembered, too, that the whole expense of the war fell upon
Holland and Zeeland. The Province of Utrecht, where there was so strong a
disposition to confer absolute authority upon Leicester, and to destroy
the power of the States-General contributed absolutely nothing. Since the
Loss of Deventer, nothing could be raised in the Provinces of Utrecht,
Gelderland or Overyssel; the Spaniards levying black mail upon the whole
territory, and impoverishing the inhabitants till they became almost a
nullity. Was it strange then that the States of Holland and Zeeland, thus
bearing nearly the whole; burden of the war, should be dissatisfied with
the hatred felt toward them by their sister Provinces so generously
protected by them? Was it unnatural that Barneveld, and Maurice, and
Hohenlo, should be disposed to bridle the despotic inclinations of
Leicester, thus fostered by those who existed, as it were, at their

But the Queen refused the L50,000, although Holland and Zeeland had voted
the L100,000. "No reason that breedeth charges," sighed Walsingham, "can
in any sort be digested."

It was not for want of vehement entreaty on the part of the Secretary of
State and of Buckhurst that the loan was denied. At least she was
entreated to send over money for her troops, who for six months past were
unpaid. "Keeping the money in your coffers," said Buckhurst, "doth yield
no interest to you, and--which is above all earthly, respects--it shall
be the means of preserving the lives of many of your faithful subjects
which otherwise must needs, daily perish. Their miseries, through want of
meat and money, I do protest to God so much moves, my soul with
commiseration of that which is past, and makes my heart tremble to think
of the like to come again, that I humbly beseech your Majesty, for Jesus
Christ sake, to have compassion on their lamentable estate past, and send
some money to prevent the like hereafter."

These were moving words,--but the money did not come--charges could not
be digested.

"The eternal God," cried Buckhurst, "incline your heart to grant the
petition of the States for the loan of the L50,000, and that speedily,
for the dangerous terms of the State here and the mighty and forward
preparation of the enemy admit no minute of delay; so that even to grant
it slowly is to deny it utterly."

He then drew a vivid picture of the capacity of the Netherlands to assist
the endangered realm of England, if delay were not suffered to destroy
both commonwealths, by placing the Provinces in an enemy's hand.

"Their many and notable good havens," he said, "the great number of ships
and mariners, their impregnable towns, if they were in the hands of a
potent prince that would defend them, and, lastly, the state of this
shore; so near and opposite unto the land and coast of England--lo, the
sight of all this, daily in mine eye, conjoined with the deep, enrooted
malice of that your so mighty enemy who seeketh to regain them; these
things entering continually into the meditations of my heart--so much do
they import the safety of yourself and your estate--do enforce me, in the
abundance of my love and duty to your Majesty, most earnestly to speak,
write, and weep unto you, lest when the occasion yet offered shall be
gone by, this blessed means of your defence, by God's provident goodness
thus put into your hand, will then be utterly lost, lo; never, never more
to be recovered again."

It was a noble, wise, and eloquent appeal, but it was muttered in vain.
Was not Leicester--his soul filled with petty schemes of reigning in
Utrecht, and destroying the constitutional government of the
Provinces--in full possession of the royal ear? And was not the same ear
lent, at most critical moment, to the insidious Alexander Farnese, with
his whispers of peace, which were potent enough to drown all the
preparations for the invincible Armada?

Six months had rolled away since Leicester had left the Netherlands; six
months long, the Provinces, left in a condition which might have become
anarchy, had been saved by the wise government of the States-General; six
months long the English soldiers had remained unpaid by their sovereign;
and now for six weeks the honest, eloquent, intrepid, but gentle
Buckhurst had done his best to conciliate all parties, and to mould the
Netherlanders into an impregnable bulwark for the realm of England. But
his efforts were treated with scorn by the Queen. She was still maddened
by a sense of the injuries done by the States to Leicester. She was
indignant that her envoy should have accepted such lame apologies for the
4th of February letter; that he should have received no better atonement
for their insolent infringements of the Earl's orders during his absence;
that he should have excused their contemptuous proceedings and that, in
short, he should have been willing to conciliate and forgive when he
should have stormed and railed. "You conceived, it seemeth," said her
Majesty, "that a more sharper manner of proceeding would have exasperated
matters to the prejudice of the service, and therefore you did think it
more fit to wash the wounds rather with water than vinegar, wherein we
would rather have wished, on the other side, that you had better
considered that festering wounds had more need of corrosives than
lenitives. Your own judgment ought to have taught that such a alight and
mild kind of dealing with a people so ingrate and void of consideration
as the said Estates have showed themselves toward us, is the ready way to
increase their contempt."

The envoy might be forgiven for believing that at any rate there would be
no lack of corrosives or vinegar, so long as the royal tongue or pen
could do their office, as the unfortunate deputies had found to their
cost in their late interviews at Greenwich, and as her own envoys in the
Netherlands were perpetually finding now. The Queen was especially
indignant that the Estates should defend the tone of their letters to the
Earl on the ground that he had written a piquant epistle to them. "But
you can manifestly see their untruths in naming it a piquant letter,"
said Elizabeth, "for it has no sour or sharp word therein, nor any clause
or reprehension, but is full of gravity and gentle admonition. It
deserved a thankful answer, and so you may maintain it to them to their

The States doubtless thought that the loss of Deventer and, with it, the
almost ruinous condition of three out of the seven Provinces, might
excuse on their part a little piquancy of phraseology, nor was it easy
for them to express gratitude to the governor for his grave and gentle
admonitions, after he had, by his secret document of 24th November,
rendered himself fully responsible for the disaster they deplored.

She expressed unbounded indignation with Hohenlo, who, as she was well
aware, continued to cherish a deadly hatred for Leicester. Especially she
was exasperated, and with reason, by the assertion the Count had made
concerning the governor's murderous designs upon him. "'Tis a matter,"
said the Queen, "so foul and dishonourable that doth not only touch
greatly the credit of the Earl, but also our own honour, to have one who
hath been nourished and brought up by us, and of whom we have made show
to the world to have extraordinarily favoured above any other of our own
subjects, and used his service in those countries in a place of that
reputation he held there, stand charged with so horrible and unworthy a
crime. And therefore our pleasure is, even as you tender the continuance
of our favour towards you, that you seek, by all the means you may,
examining the Count Hollock, or any other party in this matter, to
discover and to sift out how this malicious imputation hath been wrought;
for we have reason to think that it hath grown out of some cunning device
to stay the Earl's coming, and to discourage him from the continuance of
his service in those countries."

And there the Queen was undoubtedly in the right. Hohenlo was resolved,
if possible, to make the Earl's government of the Netherlands impossible.
There was nothing in the story however; and all that by the most diligent
"sifting" could ever be discovered, and all that the Count could be
prevailed upon to confess, was an opinion expressed by him that if he had
gone with Leicester to England, it might perhaps have fared ill with him.
But men were given to loose talk in those countries. There was great
freedom of tongue and pen; and as the Earl, whether with justice or not,
had always been suspected of strong tendencies to assassination, it was
not very wonderful that so reckless an individual as Hohenlo should
promulgate opinions on such subjects, without much reserve. "The number
of crimes that have been imputed to me," said Leicester, "would be
incomplete, had this calumny not been added to all preceding ones." It is
possible that assassination, especially poisoning, may have been a more
common-place affair in those days than our own. At any rate, it is
certain that accusations of such crimes were of ordinary occurrence. Men
were apt to die suddenly if they had mortal enemies, and people would
gossip. At the very same moment, Leicester was deliberately accused not
only of murderous intentions towards Hohenlo, but towards Thomas Wilkes
and Count Lewis William of Nassau likewise. A trumpeter, arrested in
Friesland, had just confessed that he had been employed by the Spanish
governor of that Province, Colonel Verdugo, to murder Count Lewis, and
that four other persons had been entrusted with the same commission. The
Count wrote to Verdugo, and received in reply an indignant denial of the
charge. "Had I heard of such a project," said the Spaniard, "I would, on
the contrary, have given you warning. And I give you one now." He then
stated, as a fact known to him on unquestionable authority, that the Earl
of Leicester had assassins at that moment in his employ to take the life
of Count Lewis, adding that as for the trumpeter, who had just been
hanged for the crime suborned by the writer, he was a most notorious
lunatic. In reply, Lewis, while he ridiculed this plea of insanity set up
for a culprit who had confessed his crime succinctly and voluntarily,
expressed great contempt for the counter-charge against Leicester. "His
Excellency," said the sturdy little Count, "is a virtuous gentleman, the
most pious and God-fearing I have ever known. I am very sure that he
could never treat his enemies in the manner stated, much less his
friends. As for yourself, may God give me grace, in requital of your
knavish trick, to make such a war upon you as becomes an upright soldier
and a man of honour."

Thus there was at least one man--and a most important, one--in the
opposition--party who thoroughly believed in the honour of the

The Queen then proceeded to lecture Lord Buckhurst very severely for
having tolerated an instant the States' proposition to her for a loan of
L50,000. "The enemy," she observed, "is quite unable to attempt the siege
of any town."

Buckhurst was, however, instructed, in case the States' million should
prove insufficient to enable the army to make head against the enemy, and
in the event of "any alteration of the good-will of the people towards
her, caused by her not yielding, in this their necessity, some convenient
support," to let them then understand, "as of himself, that if they would
be satisfied with a loan of ten or fifteen thousand pounds, he, would do
his best endeavour to draw her Majesty to yield unto the furnishing of
such a sum, with assured hope to obtaining the same at her hands."

Truly Walsingham was right in saying that charges of any kind were
difficult of digestion: Yet, even at that moment, Elizabeth had no more
attached subjects in England than sere the burghers of the Netherlands;
who were as anxious ever to annex their territory to her realms.

'Thus, having expressed an affection for Leicester which no one doubted,
having once more thoroughly brow-beaten the states, and having soundly
lectured Buckhurst--as a requital for his successful efforts to bring
about a more wholesome condition of affairs--she gave the envoy a parting
stab, with this postscript;--"There is small disproportion," she said
"twist a fool who useth not wit because he hath it not, and him that
useth it not when it should avail him." Leicester, too, was very violent
in his attacks upon Buckhurst. The envoy had succeeded in reconciling
Hohenlo with the brothers Norris, and had persuaded Sir John to offer the
hand of friendship to Leicester, provided it were sure of being accepted.
Yet in this desire to conciliate, the Earl found renewed cause for
violence. "I would have had more regard of my Lord of Buckhurst," he
said, "if the case had been between him and Norris, but I must regard my
own reputation the more that I see others would impair it. You have
deserved little thanks of me, if I must deal plainly, who do equal me
after this sort with him, whose best place is colonel under me, and once
my servant, and preferred by me to all honourable place he had." And thus
were enterprises of great moment, intimately affecting the safety of
Holland, of England, of all Protestantism, to be suspended between
triumph and ruin, in order that the spleen of one individual--one Queen's
favourite--might be indulged. The contempt of an insolent grandee for a
distinguished commander--himself the son, of a Baron, with a mother the
dear friend of her sovereign--was to endanger the existence of great
commonwealths. Can the influence of the individual, for good or bad, upon
the destinies of the race be doubted, when the characters and conduct of
Elizabeth and Leicester, Burghley and Walsingham, Philip and Parma, are
closely scrutinized and broadly traced throughout the wide range of their

"And I must now, in your Lordship's sight," continued Leicester, "be made
a counsellor with this companion, who never yet to this day hath done so
much as take knowledge of my mislike of him; no, not to say this much,
which I think would well become his better, that he was sorry, to hear I
had mislike to him, that he desired my suspension till he might either
speak with me, or be charged from me, and if then he were not able to
satisfy me, he would acknowledge his fault, and make me any honest
satisfaction. This manner of dealing would have been no disparagement to
his better. And even so I must think that your Lordship doth me wrong,
knowing what you do, to make so little difference between John Norris, my
man not long since, and now but my colonel under me, as though we were
equals. And I cannot but more than marvel at this your proceeding, when I
remember your promises of friendship, and your opinions resolutely set
down . . . . You were so determined before you went hence, but must have
become wonderfully enamoured of those men's unknown virtues in a few days
of acquaintance, from the alteration that is grown by their own
commendations of themselves. You know very well that all the world should
not make me serve with John Norris. Your sudden change from mislike to
liking has, by consequence, presently cast disgrace upon me. But all is
not gold that glitters, nor every shadow a perfect representation . . . .
You knew he should not serve with me, but either you thought me a very
inconstant man, or else a very simple soul, resolving with you as I did,
for you to take the course you have done." He felt, however, quite strong
in her Majesty's favour. He knew himself her favourite, beyond all chance
or change, and was sure, so long as either lived, to thrust his enemies,
by her aid, into outer darkness. Woe to Buckhurst, and Norris, and
Wilkes, and all others who consorted with his enemies. Let them flee from
the wrath to come! And truly they were only too anxious to do so, for
they knew that Leicester's hatred was poisonous. "He is not so facile to
forget as ready to revenge," said poor Wilkes, with neat alliteration.
"My very heavy and mighty adversary will disgrace and undo me.

"It sufficeth," continued Leicester, "that her Majesty both find my
dealings well enough, and so, I trust will graciously use me. As for the
reconciliations and love-days you have made there, truly I have liked
well of it; for you did sow me your disposition therein before, and I
allowed of it, and I had received letters both from Count Maurice and
Hohenlo of their humility and kindness, but now in your last letters you
say they have uttered the cause of their mislike towards me, which you
forbear to write of, looking so speedily for my return."

But the Earl knew well enough what the secret was, for had it not been
specially confided by the judicious Bartholomew to Atye, who had
incontinently told his master? "This pretense that I should kill
Hohenlo," cried Leicester, "is a matter properly foisted in to bring me
to choler. I will not suffer it to rest, thus. Its authors shall be duly
and severely punished. And albeit I see well enough the plot of this
wicked device, yet shall it not work the effect the devisers have done it
for. No, my Lord, he is a villain and a false lying knave whosoever he
be, and of what, nation soever that hath forged this device. Count
Hohenlo doth know I never gave him cause to fear me so much. There were
ways and means offered me to have quitted him of the country if I had so
liked. This new monstrous villany which is now found out I do hate and
detest, as I would look for the right judgment of God to fall upon
myself, if I had but once imagined it. All this makes good proof of
Wilkes's good dealing with me, that hath heard of so vile and villainous
a reproach of me, and never gave me knowledge. But I trust your Lordship
shall receive her Majesty's order for this, as for a matter that toucheth
herself in honour, and me her poor servant and minister, as dearly as any
matter can do; and I will so take it and use it to the uttermost."

We have seen how anxiously Buckhurst had striven to do his duty upon a
most difficult mission. Was it unnatural that so fine a nature as his
should be disheartened, at reaping nothing but sneers and contumely from
the haughty sovereign he served, and from the insolent favourite who
controlled her councils? "I beseech your Lordship," he said to Burghley,
"keep one ear for me, and do not hastily condemn me before you hear mine
answer. For if I ever did or shall do any acceptable service to her
Majesty, it was in, the stay and appeasing of these countries, ever ready
at my coming to have cast off all good respect towards us, and to have
entered even into some desperate cause. In the meantime I am hardly
thought of by her Majesty, and in her opinion condemned before mine
answer be understood. Therefore I beseech you to help me to return, and
not thus to lose her Majesty's favour for my good desert, wasting here my
mind, body, my wits, wealth, and all; with continual toils, taxes, and
troubles, more than I am able to endure."

But besides his instructions to smooth and expostulate, in which he had
succeeded so well, and had been requited so ill; Buckhurst had received a
still more difficult commission. He had been ordered to broach the
subject of peace, as delicately as possible, but without delay; first
sounding the leading politicians, inducing them to listen to the Queen's
suggestions on the subject, persuading them that they ought to be
satisfied with the principles of the pacification of Ghent, and that it
was hopeless for the Provinces to continue the war with their mighty
adversary any longer.

Most reluctantly had Buckhurst fulfilled his sovereign's commands in this
disastrous course. To talk to the Hollanders of the Ghent pacification
seemed puerile. That memorable treaty, ten years before, had been one of
the great landmarks of progress, one of the great achievements of William
the Silent. By its provisions, public exercise of the reformed religion
had been secured for the two Provinces of Holland and Zeeland, and it had
been agreed that the secret practice of those rites should be elsewhere
winked at, until such time as the States-General, under the auspices of
Philip II., should otherwise ordain. But was it conceivable that now,
after Philip's authority had been solemnly abjured, and the reformed
worship had become the public, dominant religion, throughout all the
Provinces,--the whole republic should return to the Spanish dominion, and
to such toleration as might be sanctioned by an assembly professing
loyalty to the most Catholic King?

Buckhurst had repeatedly warned the Queen, in fervid and eloquent
language, as to the intentions of Spain. "There was never peace well
made," he observed, "without a mighty war preceding, and always, the
sword in hand is the best pen to write the conditions of peace."

"If ever prince had cause," he continued, "to think himself beset with
doubt and danger, you, sacred Queen, have most just cause not only to
think it, but even certainly to believe it. The Pope doth daily plot
nothing else but how he may bring to pass your utter overthrow; the
French King hath already sent you threatenings of revenge, and though for
that pretended cause I think little will ensue, yet he is blind that
seeth not the mortal dislike that boileth deep in his heart for other
respects against you. The Scottish King, not only in regard of his future
hope, but also by reason of some over conceit in his heart, may be
thought a dangerous neighbour to you. The King of Spain armeth and
extendeth all his power to ruin both you and your estate. And if the
Indian gold have corrupted also the King of Denmark, and made him
likewise Spanish, as I marvellously fear; why will not your Majesty,
beholding the flames of your enemies on every side kindling around,
unlock all your coffers and convert your treasure for the advancing of
worthy men, and for the arming of ships and men-of-war that may defend
you, since princes' treasures serve only to that end, and, lie they never
so fast or so full in their chests, can no ways so defend them?

"The eternal God, in whose hands the hearts of kings do rest, dispose and
guide your sacred Majesty to do that which may be most according to His
blessed will, and best for you, as I trust He will, even for His mercy's
sake, both toward your Majesty and the whole realm of England, whose
desolation is thus sought and compassed."

Was this the language of a mischievous intriguer, who was sacrificing the
true interest of his country, and whose proceedings were justly earning
for him rebuke and disgrace at the hands of his sovereign? Or was it
rather the noble advice of an upright statesman, a lover of his country,
a faithful servant of his Queen, who had looked through the atmosphere of
falsehood in which he was doing his work, and who had detected, with rare
sagacity, the secret purposes of those who were then misruling the world?

Buckhurst had no choice, however, but to obey. His private efforts were
of course fruitless, but he announced to her Majesty that it was his
intention very shortly to bring the matter--according to her wish--before
the assembly.

But Elizabeth, seeing that her counsel had been unwise and her action
premature, turned upon her envoy, as she was apt to do, and rebuked him
for his obedience, so soon as obedience had proved inconvenient to

"Having perused your letters," she said, "by which you at large debate
unto us what you have done in the matter of peace . . . . we find it
strange that you should proceed further. And although we had given you
full and ample direction to proceed to a public dealing in that cause,
yet our own discretion, seeing the difficulties and dangers that you
yourself saw in the propounding of the matter, ought to have led you to
delay till further command from us."

Her Majesty then instructed her envoy, in case he had not yet "propounded
the matter in the state-house to the general assembly," to pause entirely
until he heard her further pleasure. She concluded, as usual, with a
characteristic postcript in her own hand.

"Oh weigh deeplier this matter," she said, "than, with so shallow a
judgment, to spill the cause, impair my honour, and shame yourself, with
all your wit, that once was supposed better than to lose a bargain for
the handling."

Certainly the sphinx could have propounded no more puzzling riddles than
those which Elizabeth thus suggested to Buckhurst. To make war without an
army, to support an army without pay, to frame the hearts of a whole
people to peace who were unanimous for war, and this without saying a
word either in private or public; to dispose the Netherlanders favourably
to herself and to Leicester, by refusing them men and money, brow-beating
them for asking for it, and subjecting them to a course of perpetual
insults, which she called "corrosives," to do all this and more seemed
difficult. If not to do it, were to spill the cause and to lose the
bargain, it was more than probable that they would be spilt and lost.

But the ambassador was no OEdipus--although a man of delicate perceptions
and brilliant intellect--and he turned imploringly to a wise counsellor
for aid against the tormentor who chose to be so stony-faced and

"Touching the matter of peace," said he to Walsingham, "I have written
somewhat to her Majesty in cipher, so as I am sure you will be called for
to decipher it. If you did know how infinitely her Majesty did at my
departure and before--for in this matter of peace she hath specially used
me this good while--command me, pray me, and persuade me to further and
hasten the same with all the speed possible that might be, and how, on
the other side, I have continually been the man and the mean that have
most plainly dehorted her from such post-haste, and that she should never
make good peace without a puissant army in the field, you would then say
that I had now cause to fear her displeasure for being too slow, and not
too forward. And as for all the reasons which in my last letters are set
down, her Majesty hath debated them with me many times."

And thus midsummer was fast approaching, the commonwealth was without a
regular government, Leicester remained in England nursing his wrath and
preparing his schemes, the Queen was at Greenwich, corresponding with
Alexander Farnese, and sending riddles to Buckhurst, when the enemy--who,
according to her Majesty, was "quite unable to attempt the siege of any
town" suddenly appeared in force in Flanders, and invested Sluy's. This
most important seaport, both for the destiny of the republic and of
England at that critical moment, was insufficiently defended. It was
quite time to put an army in the field, with a governor-general to
command it.

On the 5th June there was a meeting of the state-council at the Hague.
Count Maurice, Hohenlo, and Moeurs were present, besides several members
of the States-General. Two propositions were before the council. The
first was that it was absolutely necessary to the safety of the republic,
now that the enemy had taken the field, and the important city of Sluy's
was besieged, for Prince Maurice to be appointed captain-general, until
such time as the Earl of Leicester or some other should be sent by her
Majesty. The second was to confer upon the state-council the supreme
government in civil affairs, for the same period, and to repeal all
limitations and restrictions upon the powers of the council made secretly
by the Earl.

Chancellor Leoninus, "that grave, wise old man," moved the propositions.
The deputies of the States were requested to withdraw. The vote of each
councillor was demanded. Buckhurst, who, as the Queen's
representative--together with Wilkes and John Norris--had a seat in the
council, refused to vote. "It was a matter," he discreetly observed with
which "he had not been instructed by her Majesty to intermeddle." Norris
and Wilkes also begged to be excused from voting, and, although earnestly
urged to do so by the whole council, persisted in their refusal. Both
measures were then carried.

No sooner was the vote taken, than an English courier entered the
council-chamber, with pressing despatches from Lord Leicester. The
letters were at once read. The Earl announced his speedy arrival, and
summoned both the States-General and the council to meet him at Dort,
where his lodgings were already taken. All were surprised, but none more
than Buckhurst, Wilkes, and Norris; for no intimation of this sudden
resolution had been received by them, nor any answer given to various
propositions, considered by her Majesty as indispensable preliminaries to
the governor's visit.

The council adjourned till after dinner, and Buckhurst held conference
meantime with various counsellors and deputies. On the reassembling of
the board, it was urged by Barneveld, in the name of the States, that the
election of Prince Maurice should still hold good. "Although by these
letters," said he, "it would seem that her Majesty had resolved upon the
speedy return of his Excellency, yet, inasmuch as the counsels and
resolutions of princes are often subject to change upon new occasion, it
does not seem fit that our late purpose concerning Prince Maurice should
receive any interruption."

Accordingly, after brief debate, both resolutions, voted in the morning,
were confirmed in the afternoon.

"So now," said Wilkes, "Maurice is general of all the forces, 'et quid
sequetur nescimus.'"

But whatever else was to follow, it was very certain that Wilkes would
not stay. His great enemy had sworn his destruction, and would now take
his choice, whether to do him to death himself, or to throw him into the
clutch of the ferocious Hohenlo. "As for my own particular," said the
counsellor, "the word is go, whosoever cometh or cometh not," and he
announced to Walsingham his intention of departing without permission,
should he not immediately receive it from England. "I shall stay to be
dandled with no love-days nor leave-takings," he observed.

But Leicester had delayed his coming too long. The country felt that
it-had been trifled with by his: absence--at so critical a period--of
seven months. It was known too that the Queen was secretly treating with
the enemy, and that Buckhurst had been privately sounding leading
personages upon that subject, by her orders. This had caused a deep,
suppressed indignation. Over and over again had the English government
been warned as to the danger of delay. "Your length in resolving;" Wilkes
had said, "whatsoever your secret purposes may be--will put us to new
plunges before long." The mission of Buckhurst was believed to be "but a
stale, having some other intent than was expressed." And at last, the new
plunge had been fairly taken. It seemed now impossible for Leicester to
regain the absolute authority, which he coveted; and which he had for a
brief season possessed. The States-General, under able leaders, had
become used to a government which had been forced upon them, and which
they had wielded with success. Holland and Zeeland, paying the whole
expense of the war, were not likely to endure again the absolute
sovereignty of a foreigner, guided by a back stairs council of reckless
politicians--most of whom were unprincipled, and some of whom had been
proved to be felons--and established, at Utrecht, which contributed
nothing to the general purse. If Leicester were really-coming, it seemed
certain that he would be held to acknowledge the ancient constitution,
and to respect the sovereignty of the States-General. It was resolved
that he should be well bridled. The sensations of Barneveld and his party
may therefore be imagined, when a private letter of Leicester, to his
secretary "the fellow named Junius," as Hohenlo called him--having been
intercepted at this moment, gave them an opportunity of studying the
Earl's secret thoughts.

The Earl informed his correspondent that he was on the point of starting
for the Netherlands. He ordered him therefore to proceed at once to
reassure those whom he knew well disposed as to the good intentions of
her Majesty and of the governor-general. And if, on the part of Lord
Buckhurst or others, it should be intimated that the Queen was resolved
to treat for peace with the King of Spain; and wished to have the opinion
of the Netherlanders on that subject, he was to say boldly that Lord
Buckhurst never had any such charge, and that her Majesty had not been
treating at all. She had only been attempting to sound the King's
intentions towards the Netherlands, in case of any accord. Having
received no satisfactory assurance on the subject, her Majesty was
determined to proceed with the defence of these countries. This appeared
by the expedition of Drake against Spain, and by the return of the Earl,
with a good cumber of soldiers paid by her Majesty, over and above her
ordinary subsidy.

"You are also;" said the Earl, "to tell those who have the care of the
people" (the ministers of the reformed church and others), "that I am
returning, in the confidence that they will, in future, cause all past
difficulties to cease, and that they will yield to me a legitimate
authority, such as befits for administering the sovereignty of the
Provinces, without my being obliged to endure all the oppositions and
counter-minings of the States, as in times past. The States must content
themselves with retaining the power which they claim to have exercised
under the governors of the Emperor and the King--without attempting
anything farther during my government--since I desire to do nothing of
importance without the advice of the council, which will be composed
legitimately of persons of the country. You will also tell them that her
Majesty commands me to return unless I can obtain from the States the
authority which is necessary, in order not to be governor in appearance
only and on paper. And I wish that those who are good may be apprized of
all this, in order that nothing may happen to their prejudice and ruin,
and contrary to their wishes."

There were two very obvious comments to be made upon this document.
Firstly, the States--de jure, as they claimed, and de facto most
unquestionably--were in the position of the Emperor and King. They were
the sovereigns. The Earl wished them to content themselves with the power
which they exercised under the Emperor's governors. This was like
requesting the Emperor, when in the Netherlands, to consider himself
subject to his own governor. The second obvious reflection was that the
Earl, in limiting his authority by a state-council, expected, no doubt,
to appoint that body himself--as he had done before--and to allow the
members only the right of talking, and of voting,--without the power of
enforcing their decisions. In short, it was very plain that Leicester
meant to be more absolute than ever.

As to the flat contradiction given to Buckhurst's proceedings in the
matter of peace, that statement could scarcely deceive any one who had
seen her Majesty's letters and instructions to her envoy.

It was also a singularly deceitful course to be adopted by Leicester
towards Buckhurst and towards the Netherlands, because his own private
instructions, drawn up at the same moment, expressly enjoined him to do
exactly what Buckhurst had been doing. He was most strictly and earnestly
commanded to deal privately with all such persons as bad influence with
the "common sort of people," in order that they should use their
influence with those common people in favour of peace, bringing vividly
before them the excessive burthens of the war, their inability to cope
with so potent a prince as Philip, and the necessity the Queen was under
of discontinuing her contributions to their support. He was to make the
same representations to the States, and he was further most explicitly to
inform all concerned, that, in case they were unmoved by these
suggestions, her Majesty had quite made up her mind to accept the
handsome offers of peace held out by the King of Spain, and to leave them
to their fate.

It seemed scarcely possible that the letter to Junius and the
instructions for the Earl should have been dated the same week, and
should have emanated from the same mind; but such was the fact.

He was likewise privately to assure Maurice and Hohenlo--in order to
remove their anticipated opposition to the peace--that such care should
be taken in providing for them, as that "they should have no just cause
to dislike thereof, but to rest satisfied withal."

With regard to the nature of his authority, he was instructed to claim a
kind of dictatorship in everything regarding the command of the forces,
and the distribution of the public treasure. All offices were to be at
his disposal. Every florin contributed by the States was to be placed in
his hands, and spent according to his single will. He was also to have
plenary power to prevent the trade in victuals with the enemy by death
and confiscation.

If opposition to any of these proposals were made by the States-General,
he was to appeal to the States of each Province; to the towns and
communities, and in case it should prove impossible for him "to be
furnished with the desired authority," he was then instructed to say that
it was "her Majesty's meaning to leave them to their own counsel and
defence, and to withdraw the support that she had yielded to them: seeing
plainly that the continuance of the confused government now reigning
among them could not but work their ruin."

Both these papers came into Barneveld's hands, through the agency of
Ortel, the States' envoy in England, before the arrival of the Earl in
the Netherlands.

Of course they soon became the topics of excited conversation and of
alarm in every part of the country. Buckhurst, touched to the quick by
the reflection upon those--proceedings of his which had been so
explicitly enjoined upon him, and so reluctantly undertaken--appealed
earnestly to her Majesty. He reminded her, as delicately as possible,
that her honour, as well as his own, was at stake by Leicester's insolent
disavowals of her authorized ambassador. He besought her to remember
"what even her own royal hand had written to the Duke of Parma;" and how
much his honour was interested "by the disavowing of his dealings about
the peace begun by her Majesty's commandment." He adjured her with much
eloquence to think upon the consequences of stirring up the common and
unstable multitude against their rulers; upon the pernicious effects of
allowing the clergy to inflame the passions of the people against the
government. "Under the name of such as have charge over the people," said
Buckhurst, "are understood the ministers and chaplains of the churches in
every town, by the means of whom it, seems that his Lordship tendeth his
whole purpose to attain to his desire of the administration of the
sovereignty." He assured the Queen that this scheme of Leicester to seize
virtually upon that sovereignty, would be a disastrous one. "The States
are resolved," said he, "since your Majesty doth refuse the sovereignty,
to lay it upon no creature else, as a thing contrary to their oath and
allegiance to their country." He reminded her also that the States had
been dissatisfied with the Earl's former administration, believing that
he had exceeded his commission, and that they were determined therefore
to limit his authority at his return. "Your sacred Majesty may consider,"
he said, "what effect all this may work among the common and ignorant
people, by intimating that, unless they shall procure him the
administration of such a sovereignty as he requireth, their ruin may
ensue." Buckhurst also informed her that he had despatched Councillor
Wilkes to England, in order that he might give more ample information on
all these affairs by word of mouth than could well be written.

It need hardly be stated that Barneveld came down to the states'-house
with these papers in his hand, and thundered against the delinquent and
intriguing governor till the general indignation rose to an alarming
height. False statements of course were made to Leicester as to the
substance of the Advocate's discourse. He was said to have charged upon
the English government an intention to seize forcibly upon their cities,
and to transfer them to Spain on payment of the sums due to the Queen
from the States, and to have declared that he had found all this treason
in the secret instructions of the Earl. But Barneveld had read the
instructions, to which the attention of the reader has just been called,
and had strictly stated the truth which was damaging enough, without need
of exaggeration.


     All business has been transacted with open doors
     Beacons in the upward path of mankind
     Been already crimination and recrimination more than enough
     Casting up the matter "as pinchingly as possibly might be"
     Disposed to throat-cutting by the ministers of the Gospel
     During this, whole war, we have never seen the like
     Even to grant it slowly is to deny it utterly
     Evil is coming, the sooner it arrives the better
     Fool who useth not wit because he hath it not
     Guilty of no other crime than adhesion to the Catholic faith
     Individuals walking in advance of their age
     Never peace well made, he observed, without a mighty war
     Rebuked him for his obedience
     Respect for differences in religious opinions
     Sacrificed by the Queen for faithfully obeying her orders
     Succeeded so well, and had been requited so ill
     Sword in hand is the best pen to write the conditions of peace
     Their existence depended on war
     They chose to compel no man's conscience
     Torturing, hanging, embowelling of men, women, and children
     Universal suffrage was not dreamed of at that day
     Waiting the pleasure of a capricious and despotic woman
     Who the "people" exactly were


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 53, 1587


   Situation of Sluys--Its Dutch and English Garrison--Williams writes
   from Sluys to the Queen--Jealousy between the Earl and States--
   Schemes to relieve Sluys--Which are feeble and unsuccessful--The
   Town Capitulates--Parma enters--Leicester enraged--The Queen angry
   with the Anti-Leicestrians--Norris, Wilkes, and Buckhurst punished--
   Drake sails for Spain--His Exploits at Cadiz and Lisbon--He is
   rebuked by Elizabeth.

When Dante had passed through the third circle of the Inferno--a desert
of red-hot sand, in which lay a multitude of victims of divine wrath,
additionally tortured by an ever-descending storm of fiery flakes--he was
led by Virgil out of this burning wilderness along a narrow causeway.
This path was protected, he said, against the showers of flame, by the
lines of vapour which rose eternally from a boiling brook. Even by such
shadowy bulwarks, added the poet, do the Flemings between Kadzand and
Bruges protect their land against the ever-threatening sea.

It was precisely among these slender dykes between Kadzand and Bruges
that Alexander Farnese had now planted all the troops that he could
muster in the field. It was his determination to conquer the city of
Sluys; for the possession of that important sea-port was necessary for
him as a basis for the invasion of England, which now occupied all the
thoughts of his sovereign and himself.

Exactly opposite the city was the island of Kadzand, once a fair and
fertile territory, with a city and many flourishing villages upon its
surface, but at that epoch diminished to a small dreary sand-bank by the
encroachments of the ocean.

A stream of inland water, rising a few leagues to the south of Sluys,
divided itself into many branches just before reaching the city,
converted the surrounding territory into a miniature archipelago--the
islands of which were shifting treacherous sand-banks at low water, and
submerged ones at flood--and then widening and deepening into a
considerable estuary, opened for the city a capacious harbour, and an
excellent although intricate passage to the sea. The city, which was well
built and thriving, was so hidden in its labyrinth of canals and
streamlets, that it seemed almost as difficult a matter to find Sluys as
to conquer it. It afforded safe harbour for five hundred large vessels;
and its possession, therefore, was extremely important for Parma. Besides
these natural defences, the place was also protected by fortifications;
which were as well constructed as the best of that period. There was a
strong rampire and many towers. There was also a detached citadel of
great strength, looking towards the sea, and there was a ravelin, called
St. Anne's, looking in the direction of Bruges. A mere riband of dry land
in that quarter was all of solid earth to be found in the environs of

The city itself stood upon firm soil, but that soil had been hollowed
into a vast system of subterranean magazines, not for warlike purposes,
but for cellars, as Sluys had been from a remote period the great
entrepot of foreign wines in the Netherlands.

While the eternal disputes between Leicester and the States were going on
both in Holland and in England, while the secret negotiations between
Alexander Farnese and Queen slowly proceeding at Brussels and Greenwich,
the Duke, notwithstanding the destitute condition of his troops, and the
famine which prevailed throughout the obedient Provinces, had succeeded
in bringing a little army of five thousand foot, and something less than
one thousand horse, into the field. A portion of this force he placed
under the command of the veteran La Motte. That distinguished campaigner
had assured the commander-in-chief that the reduction of the city would
be an easy achievement. Alexander soon declared that the enterprise was
the most difficult one that he had ever undertaken. Yet, two years
before, he had carried to its triumphant conclusion the famous siege of
Antwerp. He stationed his own division upon the isle of Kadzand, and
strengthened his camp by additionally fortifying those shadowy bulwarks,
by which the island, since the age of Dante, had entrenched itself
against the assaults of ocean.

On the other hand, La Motte, by the orders of his chief, had succeeded,
after a sharp struggle, in carrying the fort of St. Anne. A still more
important step was the surprising of Blankenburg, a small fortified place
on the coast, about midway between Ostend and Sluys, by which the
sea-communications with the former city for the relief of the beleaguered
town were interrupted.

Parma's demonstrations against Sluys had commenced in the early days of
June. The commandant of the place was Arnold de Groenevelt, a Dutch noble
of ancient lineage and approved valour. His force was, however, very
meagre, hardly numbering more than eight hundred, all Netherlanders,
but counting among its officers several most distinguished
personages-Nicholas de Maulde, Adolphus de Meetkerke and his younger
brother, Captain Heraugiere, and other well-known partisans.

On the threatening of danger the commandant had made application to Sir
William Russell, the worthy successor of Sir Philip Sidney in the
government of Flushing. He had received from him, in consequence, a
reinforcement of eight hundred English soldiers, under several eminent
chieftains, foremost among whom were the famous Welshman Roger Williams,
Captain Huntley, Baskerville, Sir Francis Vere, Ferdinando Gorges, and
Captain Hart. This combined force, however, was but a slender one; there
being but sixteen hundred men to protect two miles and a half of rampart,
besides the forts and ravelins.

But, such as it was, no time was lost in vain regrets. The sorties
against the besiegers were incessant and brilliant. On one occasion Sir
Francis Vere--conspicuous in the throng, in his red mantilla, and
supported only by one hundred Englishmen and Dutchmen, under Captain
Baskerville--held at bay eight companies of the famous Spanish legion
called the Terzo Veijo, at push of pike, took many prisoners, and forced
the Spaniards from the position in which they were entrenching
themselves. On the other hand, Farnese declared that he had never in his
life witnessed anything so unflinching as the courage of his troops;
employed as they were in digging trenches where the soil was neither land
nor water, exposed to inundation by the suddenly-opened sluices, to a
plunging fire from the forts, and to perpetual hand-to-hand combats with
an active and fearless foe, and yet pumping away in the coffer-dams-which
they had invented by way of obtaining a standing-ground for their
operations--as steadily and sedately as if engaged in purely pacific
employments. The besieged here inspired by a courage equally remarkable.
The regular garrison was small enough, but the burghers were courageous,
and even the women organized themselves into a band of pioneers. This
corps of Amazons, led by two female captains, rejoicing in the names of
'May in the Heart' and 'Catherine the Rose,' actually constructed an
important redoubt between the citadel and the rampart, which received, in
compliment to its builders, the appellation of 'Fort Venus.'

The demands of the beleaguered garrison, however, upon the States and
upon Leicester were most pressing. Captain Hart swam thrice out of the
city with letters to the States, to the governor-general, and to Queen
Elizabeth; and the same perilous feat was performed several times by a
Netherland officer. The besieged meant to sell their lives dearly, but it
was obviously impossible for them, with so slender a force, to resist a
very long time.

"Our ground is great and our men not so many," wrote Roger Williams to
his sovereign, "but we trust in God and our valour to defend it. . . .
We mean, with God's help, to make their downs red and black, and to
let out every acre of our ground for a thousand of their lives, besides
our own."

The Welshman was no braggart, and had proved often enough that he was
more given to performances than promises. "We doubt not your Majesty will
succour us," he said, "for our honest mind and plain dealing toward your
royal person and dear country;" adding, as a bit of timely advice, "Royal
Majesty, believe not over much your peacemakers. Had they their mind,
they will not only undo your friend's abroad, but, in the end, your royal

Certainly it was from no want of wholesome warning from wise statesmen
and blunt soldiers that the Queen was venturing into that labyrinth of
negotiation which might prove so treacherous. Never had been so
inopportune a moment for that princess to listen to the voice of him who
was charming her so wisely, while he was at the same moment battering the
place, which was to be the basis of his operations against her realm. Her
delay in sending forth Leicester, with at least a moderate contingent, to
the rescue, was most pernicious. The States--ignorant of the Queen's
exact relations with Spain, and exaggerating her disingenuousness into
absolute perfidy became on their own part exceedingly to blame. There is
no doubt whatever that both Hollanders and English men were playing into
the hands of Parma as adroitly as if he had actually directed their
movements. Deep were the denunciations of Leicester and his partisans by
the States' party, and incessant the complaints of the English and Dutch
troops shut up in Sluys against the inactivity or treachery of Maurice
and Hohenlo.

"If Count Maurice and his base brother, the Admiral (Justinus de Nassau),
be too young to govern, must Holland and Zeeland lose their countries and
towns to make them expert men of war?" asked Roger Williams.' A pregnant
question certainly, but the answer was, that by suspicion and jealousy,
rather than by youth and inexperience, the arms were paralyzed which
should have saved the garrison. "If these base fellows (the States) will
make Count Hollock their instrument," continued the Welshman; "to cover
and maintain their folly and lewd dealing, is it necessary for her royal
Majesty to suffer it? These are too great matters to be rehearsed by me;
but because I am in the town, and do resolve to, sign with my blood my
duty in serving my sovereign and country, I trust her Majesty will pardon
me." Certainly the gallant adventurer on whom devolved at least half the
work of directing the defence of the city, had a right to express his
opinions. Had he known the whole truth, however, those opinions would
have been modified. And he wrote amid the smoke and turmoil of daily and
nightly battle.

"Yesterday was the fifth sally we made," he observed: "Since I followed
the wars I never saw valianter captains, nor willinger soldiers. At
eleven o'clock the enemy entered the ditch of our fort, with trenches
upon wheels, artillery-proof. We sallied out, recovered their trenches,
slew the governor of Dam, two Spanish captains, with a number of others,
repulsed them into their artillery, kept the ditch until yesternight, and
will recover it, with God's help, this night, or else pay dearly for it.
. . . I care not what may become of me in this world, so that her
Majesty's honour,--with the rest of honourable good friends, will think
me an honest man."

No one ever doubted the simple-hearted Welshman's honesty, any more than
his valour; but he confided in the candour of others who were somewhat
more sophisticated than himself. When he warned her, royal Majesty
against the peace-makers, it was impossible for him to know that the
great peace-maker was Elizabeth herself.

After the expiration of a month the work had become most fatiguing. The
enemy's trenches had been advanced close to the ramparts, and desperate
conflicts were of daily occurrence. The Spanish mines, too, had been
pushed forward towards the extensive wine-caverns below the city, and the
danger of a vast explosion or of a general assault from beneath their
very feet, seemed to the inhabitants imminent. Eight days long, with
scarcely an intermission, amid those sepulchral vaults, dimly-lighted
with torches, Dutchmen, Englishmen, Spaniards, Italians, fought hand to
hand, with pike, pistol, and dagger, within the bowels of the earth.

Meantime the operations of the States were not commendable. The
ineradicable jealousy between the Leicestrians and the Barneveldians had
done its work. There was no hearty effort for the relief of Sluys. There
were suspicions that, if saved, the town would only be taken possession
of by the Earl of Leicester, as an additional vantage-point for coercing
the country into subjection to his arbitrary authority. Perhaps it would
be transferred to Philip by Elizabeth as part of the price for peace.
There was a growing feeling in Holland and Zeeland that as those
Provinces bore all the expense of the war, it was an imperative necessity
that they should limit their operations to the defence of their own soil.
The suspicions as to the policy of the English government were sapping
the very foundations of the alliance, and there was small disposition on
the part of the Hollanders, therefore, to protect what remained of
Flanders, and thus to strengthen the hands of her whom they were
beginning to look upon as an enemy.

Maurice and Hohenlo made, however, a foray into Brabant, by way of
diversion to the siege of Sluys, and thus compelled Farnese to detach a
considerable force under Haultepenne into that country, and thereby to
weaken himself. The expedition of Maurice was not unsuccessful. There was
some sharp skirmishing between Hohenlo and Haultepenne, in which the
latter, one of the most valuable and distinguished generals on the royal
side, was defeated and slain; the fort of Engel, near Bois-le-Duc, was
taken, and that important city itself endangered; but, on the other hand,
the contingent on which Leicester relied from the States to assist in
relieving Sluys was not forthcoming.

For, meantime, the governor-general had at last been sent back by his
sovereign to the post which he had so long abandoned. Leaving Leicester
House on the 4th July (N. S.), he had come on board the fleet two days
afterwards at Margate. He was bringing with him to the Netherlands three
thousand fresh infantry, and thirty thousand pounds, of which sum fifteen
thousand pounds had been at last wrung from Elizabeth as an extra loan,
in place of the sixty thousand pounds which the States had requested. As
he sailed past Ostend and towards Flushing, the Earl was witness to the
constant cannonading between the besieged city and the camp of Farnese,
and saw that the work could hardly be more serious; for in one short day
more shots were fired than had ever been known before in a single day in
all Parma's experience.

Arriving at Flushing, the governor-general was well received by the
inhabitants; but the mischief, which had been set a-foot six months
before, had done its work. The political intrigues, disputes, and the
conflicting party-organizations, have already been set in great detail
before the reader, in order that their effect might now be thoroughly
understood without--explanation. The governor-general came to Flushing at
a most critical moment. The fate of all the Spanish Netherlands, of
Sluys, and with it the whole of Philip and Parma's great project, were,
in Farnese's own language, hanging by a thread.

It would have been possible--had the transactions of the past six months,
so far as regarded Holland and England, been the reverse of what they had
been--to save the city; and, by a cordial and united effort, for the two
countries to deal the Spanish power such a blow, that summer, as would
have paralyzed it for a long time to come, and have placed both
commonwealths in comparative security.

Instead of all this, general distrust and mutual jealousy prevailed.
Leicester had, previously to his departure from England, summoned the
States to meet him at Dort upon his arrival. Not a soul appeared. Such of
the state-councillors as were his creatures came to him, and Count
Maurice made a visit of ceremony. Discussions about a plan for relieving
the siege became mere scenes of bickering and confusion. The officers
within Sluys were desirous that a fleet should force its way into the
harbour, while, at the same time, the English army, strengthened by the
contingent which Leicester had demanded from the States, should advance
against the Duke of Parma by land. It was, in truth, the only way to
succour the place. The scheme was quite practicable. Leicester
recommended it, the Hollanders seemed to favour it, Commandant Groenevelt
and Roger Williams urged it.

"I do assure you," wrote the honest Welshman to Leicester, "if you will
come afore this town, with as many galliots and as many flat-bottomed
boats as can cause two men-of-war to enter, they cannot stop their
passage, if, your mariners will do a quarter of their duty, as I saw them
do divers times. Before, they make their entrance, we will come with our
boats, and fight with the greatest part, and show them there is no such
great danger. Were it not for my wounded arm, I would be, in your first
boat to enter. Notwithstanding, I and other Englishmen will approach
their boats in such sort, that we will force them to give their saker of
artillery upon us. If, your Excellency will give ear unto those false
lewd fellows (the Captain meant the States-General), you shall lose great
opportunity. Within ten or twelve days the enemy will make his bridge
from Kadzand unto St. Anne, and force you to hazard battle before you
succour this town. Let my Lord Willoughby and Sir William Russell land at
Terhoven, right against Kadzand, with 4000, and entrench hard by the
waterside, where their boats can carry them victual and munition. They
may approach by trenches without engaging any dangerous fight . . . . We
dare not show the estate of this town more than we have done by Captain
Herte. We must fight this night within our rampart in the fort. You may
sure the world here are no Hamerts, but valiant captains and valiant
soldiers, such as, with God's help, had rather be buried in the place
than be disgraced in any point that belongs to such a number of

But in vain did the governor of the place, stout Arnold Froenevelt,
assisted by the rough and direct eloquence of Roger Williams, urge upon
the Earl of Leicester and the States-General the necessity and the
practicability of the plan proposed. The fleet never entered the harbour.
There was no William of Orange to save Antwerp and Sluys, as Leyden had
once been saved, and his son was not old enough to unravel the web of
intrigue by which he was surrounded, or to direct the whole energies of
the commonwealth towards an all-important end. Leicester had lost all
influence, all authority, nor were his military abilities equal to the
occasion, even if he had been cordially obeyed.

Ten days longer the perpetual battles on the ramparts and within the
mines continued, the plans conveyed by the bold swimmer, Captain Hart,
for saving the place were still unattempted, and the city was tottering
to its fall. "Had Captain Hart's words taken place," wrote Williams,
bitterly, "we had been succoured, or, if my letters had prevailed, our
pain had been, no peril: All wars are best executed in sight of the enemy
. . . . The last night of June (10th July, N. S.) the enemy entered the
ditches of our fort in three several places, continuing in fight in mine
and on rampart for the space of eight nights. The ninth; he battered us
furiously, made a breach of five score paces suitable for horse and man.
That day be attempted us in all, places with a general, assault for the
space of almost five hours."

The citadel was now lost. It had been gallantly defended; and it was
thenceforth necessary to hold the town itself, in the very teeth of an
overwhelming force. "We were forced to quit the fort," said-Sir Roger,
"leaving nothing behind us but bare earth. But here we do remain
resolutely to be buried, rather than to be dishonoured in the least

It was still possible for the fleet to succour the city. "I do assure
you," said-Williams, "that your captains and mariners do not their duty
unless they enter with no great loss; but you must consider that no wars
may be made without danger. What you mean to do, we beseech you to do
with expedition, and persuade yourself that we will die valiant,
honest-men. Your Excellency will do well to thank the old President de
Meetkerk far the honesty and valour of his son."

Count Maurice and his natural brother, the Admiral, now undertook the
succour by sea; but, according to the Leicestrians, they continued
dilatory and incompetent. At any rate, it is certain that they did
nothing. At last, Parma had completed the bridge; whose construction, was
so much dreaded: The haven was now enclosed by a strong wooden structure,
resting an boats, on a plan similar to that of the famous bridge with
which he had two years before bridled the Scheldt, and Sluys was thus
completely shut in from the sea. Fire-ships were now constructed, by
order of Leicester--feeble imitations: of the floating volcanoes of
Gianihelli--and it was agreed that they should be sent against the bridge
with the first flood-tide. The propitious moment never seemed to arrive,
however, and, meantime, the citizens of Flushing, of their own accord,
declared that they would themselves equip and conduct a fleet into the
harbour of Sluys. But the Nassaus are said to have expressed great
disgust that low-born burghers should presume to meddle with so important
an enterprise, which of right belonged to their family. Thus, in the
midst of these altercations and contradictory schemes; the month of July
wore away, and the city was reduced to its last gasp.

For the cannonading had thoroughly done its work. Eighteen days long the
burghers and what remained of the garrison had lived upon the ramparts,
never leaving their posts, but eating, sleeping, and fighting day and
night. Of the sixteen hundred Dutch and English but seven hundred
remained. At last a swimming messenger was sent out by the besieged with
despatches for the States, to the purport that the city could hold out no
longer. A breach in the wall had been effected wide enough to admit a
hundred men abreast. Sluys had, in truth, already fallen, and it was
hopeless any longer to conceal the fact. If not relieved within a day or
two, the garrison would be obliged to surrender; but they distinctly
stated, that they had all pledged themselves, soldiers and burghers, men,
women, and all, unless the most honourable terms were granted, to set
fire to the city in a hundred places, and then sally, in mass, from the
gates, determined to fight their way through, or be slain in the attempt.
The messenger who carried these despatches was drowned, but the letters
were saved, and fell into Parma's hands.

At the same moment, Leicester was making, at last, an effort to raise the
siege. He brought three or four thousand men from Flushing, and landed
them at Ostend; thence he marched to Blanckenburg. He supposed that if he
could secure that little port, and thus cut the Duke completely off from
the sea, he should force the Spanish commander to raise (or at least
suspend) the siege in order to give him battle. Meantime, an opportunity
would be afforded for Maurice and Hohenlo to force an entrance into the
harbour of Sluys, In this conjecture he was quite correct; but
unfortunately he did not thoroughly carry out his own scheme. If the Earl
had established himself at Blanckenburg, it would have been necessary for
Parma--as he himself subsequently declared-to raise the siege. Leicester
carried the outposts of the place successfully; but, so soon as Farnese
was aware of this demonstration, he detached a few companies with orders
to skirmish with the enemy until the commander-in-chief, with as large a
force as he could spare, should come in person to his support. To the
unexpected gratification of Farnese, however, no sooner did the advancing
Spaniards come in sight, than the Earl, supposing himself invaded by the
whole of the Duke's army, under their famous general, and not feeling
himself strong enough for such an encounter, retired, with great
precipitation, to his boats, re-embarked his troops with the utmost
celerity, and set sail for Ostend.

The next night had been fixed for sending forth the fireships against the
bridge, and for the entrance of the fleet into the harbour. One fire-ship
floated a little way towards the bridge and exploded ingloriously.
Leicester rowed in his barge about the fleet, superintending the
soundings and markings of the channel, and hastening the preparations;
but, as the decisive moment approached, the pilots who had promised to
conduct the expedition came aboard his pinnace and positively refused to
have aught to do with the enterprise, which they now declared an
impossibility. The Earl was furious with the pilots, with Maurice, with
Hohenlo, with Admiral de Nassau, with the States, with all the world. He
stormed and raged and beat his breast, but all in vain. His ferocity
would have been more useful the day before, in face of the Spaniards,
than now, against the Zeeland mariners: but the invasion by the fleet
alone, unsupported by a successful land-operation, was pronounced
impracticable, and very soon the relieving fleet was seen by the
distressed garrison sailing away from the neighbourhood, and it soon
disappeared beneath the horizon. Their fate was sealed. They entered into
treaty with Parma, who, secretly instructed, as has been seen, of their
desperate intentions, in case any but the most honourable conditions were
offered, granted those conditions. The garrison were allowed to go out
with colours displayed, lighted matches, bullet in mouth, and with bag
and baggage. Such burghers as chose to conform to the government of Spain
and the church of Rome; were permitted to remain. Those who preferred to
depart were allowed reasonable time to make their necessary arrangements.

"We have hurt and slain very near eight hundred," said Sir Roger
Williams. "We had not powder to fight two hours. There was a breach of
almost four hundred paces, another of three score, another of fifty,
saltable for horse and men. We had lain continually eighteen nights all
on the breaches. He gave us honourable composition. Had the state of
England lain on it, our lives could not defend the place, three hours,
for half the rampires were his, neither had we any pioneers but
ourselves. We were sold by their negligence who are now angry with us."

On the 5th August Parma entered the city. Roger Williams with his gilt
morion rather battered, and his great plume of feathers much
bedraggled-was a witness to the victor's entrance. Alexander saluted
respectfully an officer so well known to him by reputation, and with some
complimentary remarks urged him to enter the Spanish service, and to take
the field against the Turks.

"My sword," replied the doughty Welshman, "belongs to her royal Majesty,
Queen Elizabeth, above and before all the world. When her Highness has no
farther use for it, it is at the service of the King of Navarre."
Considering himself sufficiently answered, the Duke then requested Sir
Roger to point out Captain Baskerville--very conspicuous by a greater
plume of feathers than even that of the Welshman himself--and embraced
that officer; when presented to him, before all his staff. "There serves
no prince in Europe a braver man than this Englishman," cried Alexander,
who well knew how to appreciate high military qualities, whether in his
own army or in that of his foes.

The garrison then retired, Sluy's became Spanish, and a capacious
harbour, just opposite the English coast, was in Parma's hands. Sir Roger
Williams was despatched by Leicester to bear the melancholy tidings to
his government, and the Queen was requested to cherish the honest
Welshman, and at least to set him on horseback; for he was of himself not
rich enough to buy even a saddle. It is painful to say that the captain
did not succeed in getting the horse.

The Earl was furious in his invectives against Hohenlo, against Maurice,
against the States, uniformly ascribing the loss of Sluy's to negligence
and faction. As for Sir John Norris, he protested that his misdeeds in
regard to this business would, in King Henry VIII.'s time, have "cost him
his pate."

The loss of Sluys was the beginning and foreshadowed the inevitable end
of Leicester's second administration. The inaction of the States was one
of the causes of its loss. Distrust of Leicester was the cause of the
inaction. Sir William Russell, Lord Willoughby, Sir William Pelham, and
other English officers, united in statements exonerating the Earl from
all blame for the great failure to relieve the place. At the same time,
it could hardly be maintained that his expedition to Blanckenburg and his
precipitate retreat on the first appearance of the enemy were proofs of
consummate generalship. He took no blame to himself for the disaster; but
he and his partisans were very liberal in their denunciations of the
Hollanders, and Leicester was even ungrateful enough to censure Roger
Williams, whose life had been passed, as it were, at push of pike with
the Spaniards, and who was one of his own most devoted adherents.

The Queen was much exasperated when informed of the fall of the city. She
severely denounced the Netherlanders, and even went so far as to express
dissatisfaction with the great Leicester himself. Meantime, Farnese was
well satisfied with his triumph, for he had been informed that "all
England was about to charge upon him," in order to relieve the place. All
England, however, had been but feebly represented by three thousand raw
recruits with a paltry sum of L15,000 to help pay a long bill of arrears.

Wilkes and Norris had taken their departure from the Netherlands before
the termination of the siege, and immediately after the return of
Leicester. They did not think it expedient to wait upon the governor
before leaving the country, for they had very good reason to believe that
such an opportunity of personal vengeance would be turned to account by
the Earl. Wilkes had already avowed his intention of making his escape
without being dandled with leave-takings, and no doubt he was right. The
Earl was indignant when he found that they had given him the slip, and
denounced them with fresh acrimony to the Queen, imploring her to wreak
full measure of wrath upon their heads; and he well knew that his
entreaties would meet with the royal attention.

Buckhurst had a parting interview with the governor-general, at which
Killigrew and Beale, the new English counsellors who had replaced Wilkes
and Clerk, were present. The conversation was marked by insolence on the
part of Leicester, and by much bitterness on that of Buckhurst. The
parting envoy refused to lay before the Earl a full statement of the
grievances between the States-General and the governor, on the ground
that Leicester had no right to be judge in his own cause. The matter, he
said, should be laid before the Queen in council, and by her august
decision he was willing to abide. On every other subject he was ready to
give any information in his power. The interview lasted a whole forenoon
and afternoon. Buckhurst, according to his own statement, answered,
freely all questions put to him by Leicester and his counsellors; while,
if the report of those personages is to be trusted, he passionately
refused to make any satisfactory communication. Under the circumstances,
however, it may well be believed that no satisfactory communication was

On arriving in England, Sir John Norris was forbidden to come into her
Majesty's presence, Wilkes was thrown into the Fleet Prison, and
Buckhurst was confined in his own country house.

Norris had done absolutely nothing, which, even by implication, could be
construed into a dereliction of duty; but it was sufficient that he was
hated by Leicester, who had not scrupled, over and over again, to
denounce this first general of England as a fool, a coward, a knave, and
a liar.

As for Wilkes, his only crime was a most conscientious discharge of his
duty, in the course of which he had found cause to modify his abstract
opinions in regard to the origin of sovereignty, and had come reluctantly
to the conviction that Leicester's unpopularity had made perhaps another
governor-general desirable. But this admission had only been made
privately and with extreme caution; while, on the other hand, he had
constantly defended the absent Earl, with all the eloquence at his
command. But the hatred cf Leicester was sufficient to consign this able
and painstaking public servant to a prison; and thus was a man of worth,
honour, and talent, who had been placed in a position of grave
responsibility and immense fatigue, and who had done his duty like an
upright, straight-forward Englishman, sacrificed to the wrath of a
favourite. "Surely, Mr. Secretary," said the Earl, "there was never a
falser creature, a more seditious wretch, than Wilkes. He is a villain, a
devil, without faith or religion."

As for Buckhurst himself, it is unnecessary to say a word in his defence.
The story of his mission has been completely detailed from the most
authentic and secret documents, and there is not a single line written to
the Queen, to her ministers, to the States, to any public body or to any
private friend, in England or elsewhere, that does not reflect honour on
his name. With sagacity, without passion, with unaffected sincerity, he
had unravelled the complicated web of Netherland politics, and, with
clear vision, had penetrated the designs of the mighty enemy whom England
and Holland had to encounter in mortal combat. He had pointed out the
errors of the Earl's administration--he had fearlessly, earnestly, but
respectfully deplored the misplaced parsimony of the Queen--he had warned
her against the delusions which had taken possession of her keen
intellect--he had done--his best to place the governor-general upon good
terms with the States and with his sovereign; but it had been impossible
for him to further his schemes for the acquisition of a virtual
sovereignty over the Netherlands, or to extinguish the suspicions of the
States that the Queen was secretly negotiating with the Spaniard, when he
knew those suspicions to be just.

For deeds, such as these, the able and high-minded ambassador, the
accomplished statesman and poet, was forbidden to approach his
sovereign's presence, and was ignominiously imprisoned in his own house
until the death of Leicester. After that event, Buckhurst emerged from
confinement, received the order of the garter and the Earldom of Dorset,
and on the death of Burghley succeeded that statesman in the office of
Lord-Treasurer. Such was the substantial recognition of the merits of a
man who was now disgraced for the conscientious discharge of the most
important functions that had yet been confided to him.

It would be a thankless and superfluous task to give the details of the
renewed attempt, during a few months, made by Leicester to govern the
Provinces. His second administration consisted mainly of the same
altercations with the States, on the subject of sovereignty, the same
mutual recriminations and wranglings, that had characterized the period
of his former rule. He rarely met the States in person, and almost never
resided at the Hague, holding his court at Middleburg, Dort, or Utrecht,
as his humour led him.

The one great feature of the autumn of 1587 was the private negotiation
between Elizabeth and the Duke of Parma.

Before taking a glance at the nature of those secrets, however, it is
necessary to make a passing allusion to an event which might have seemed
likely to render all pacific communications with Spain, whether secret or
open, superfluous.

For while so much time had been lost in England and Holland, by
misunderstandings and jealousies, there was one Englishman who had not
been losing time. In the winter and early spring of 1587, the Devonshire
skipper had organized that expedition which he had come to the
Netherlands, the preceding autumn, to discuss. He meant to aim a blow at
the very heart of that project which Philip was shrouding with so much
mystery, and which Elizabeth was attempting to counteract by so much

On the 2nd April, Francis Drake sailed from Plymouth with four ships
belonging to the Queen, and with twenty-four furnished by the merchants
of London, and other private individuals. It was a bold buccaneering
expedition--combining chivalrous enterprise with the chance of enormous
profit--which was most suited to the character of English adventurers at
that expanding epoch. For it was by England, not by Elizabeth, that the
quarrel with Spain was felt to be a mortal one. It was England, not its
sovereign, that was instinctively arming, at all points, to grapple with
the great enemy of European liberty. It was the spirit of self-help, of
self-reliance, which was prompting the English nation to take the great
work of the age into its own hands. The mercantile instinct of the nation
was flattered with the prospect of gain, the martial quality of its
patrician and of its plebeian blood was eager to confront danger, the
great Protestant mutiny. Against a decrepit superstition in combination
with an aggressive tyranny, all impelled the best energies of the English
people against Spain, as the embodiment of all which was odious and
menacing to them, and with which they felt that the life and death
struggle could not long be deferred.

And of these various tendencies, there were no more fitting
representatives than Drake and Frobisher, Hawkins and Essex, Cavendish
and Grenfell, and the other privateersmen of the sixteenth century. The
same greed for danger, for gold, and for power, which, seven centuries
before, had sent the Norman race forth to conquer all Christendom, was
now sending its Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman kindred to take possession
of the old world and the new.

"The wind commands me away," said Drake on the 2nd April, 1587; "our ship
is under sail. God grant that we may so live in His fear, that the enemy
may have cause to say that God doth fight for her Majesty abroad as well
as at home."

But he felt that he was not without enemies behind him, for the strong
influence brought to bear against the bold policy which Walsingham
favoured, was no secret to Drake. "If we deserve ill," said he, "let us
be punished. If we discharge our duty, in doing our best, it is a hard
measure to be reported ill by those who will either keep their fingers
out of the fire; or who too well affect that alteration in our government
which I hope in God they shall never live to see." In latitude 40 deg. he
spoke two Zeeland ships, homeward bound, and obtained information of
great warlike stores accumulating in Cadiz and Lisbon. His mind was
instantly made up. Fortunately, the pinnace which the Queen despatched
with orders to stay his hand in the very act of smiting her great
adversary, did not sail fast enough to overtake the swift corsair and his
fleet. Sir Francis had too promptly obeyed the wind, when it "commanded
him away," to receive the royal countermand. On the 19th April, the
English ships entered the harbour of Cadiz, and destroyed ten thousand
tons of shipping, with their contents, in the very face of a dozen great
galleys, which the nimble English vessels soon drove under their forts
for shelter. Two nights and a day, Sir Francis, that "hater of idleness,"
was steadily doing his work; unloading, rifling, scuttling, sinking, and
burning those transportships which contained a portion of the
preparations painfully made by Philip for his great enterprise.
Pipe-staves and spikes, horse-shoes and saddles, timber and cutlasses,
wine, oil, figs, raisins, biscuits, and flour, a miscellaneous mass of
ingredients long brewing for the trouble of England, were emptied into
the harbour, and before the second night, the blaze of a hundred and
fifty burning vessels played merrily upon the grim walls of Philip's
fortresses. Some of these ships were of the largest size then known.
There was one belonging to Marquis Santa Cruz of 1500 tons, there was a
Biscayan of 1200, there were several others of 1000, 800, and of nearly
equal dimensions.

Thence sailing for Lisbon, Sir Francis, captured and destroyed a hundred
vessels more, appropriating what was portable of the cargoes, and
annihilating the rest. At Lisbon, Marquis Santa Cruz, lord high admiral
of Spain and generalissimo of the invasion, looked on, mortified and
amazed, but offering no combat, while the Plymouth privateersman swept
the harbour of the great monarch of the world. After thoroughly
accomplishing his work, Drake sent a message to Santa Cruz, proposing to
exchange his prisoners for such Englishmen as might then be confined in
Spain. But the marquis denied all prisoners. Thereupon Sir Francis
decided to sell his captives to the Moors, and to appropriate the
proceeds of the sale towards the purchase of English slaves put of the
same bondage. Such was the fortune of war in the sixteenth century.

Having dealt these great blows, Drake set sail again from Lisbon, and,
twenty leagues from St. Michaels, fell in with one of those famous
Spanish East Indiamen, called carracks, then the great wonder of the
seas. This vessel, San Felipe by name, with a cargo of extraordinary
value, was easily captured, and Sir Francis now determined to return. He
had done a good piece of work in a few weeks, but he was by no means of
opinion that he had materially crippled the enemy. On the contrary, he
gave the government warning as to the enormous power and vast
preparations of Spain. "There would be forty thousand men under way ere
long," he said, "well equipped and provisioned;" and he stated, as the
result of personal observation, that England could not be too energetic
in, its measures of resistance. He had done something with his little
fleet, but he was no braggart, and had no disposition to underrate the
enemy's power. "God make us all thankful again and again," he observed,
"that we have, although it be little, made a beginning upon the coast of
Spain." And modestly as he spoke of what he had accomplished, so with
quiet self-reliance did he allude to the probable consequences. It was
certain, he intimated, that the enemy would soon seek revenge with all
his strength, and "with all the devices and traps he could devise." This
was a matter which could not be doubted. "But," said Sir Francis, "I
thank them much that they have staid so long, and when they come they
shall be but the sons of mortal men."

Perhaps the most precious result of the expedition, was the lesson which
the Englishmen had thus learned in handling the great galleys of Spain.
It might soon stand them in stead. The little war-vessels which had come
from Plymouth, had sailed round and round these vast unwieldy hulks, and
had fairly driven them off the field, with very slight damage to
themselves. Sir Francis had already taught the mariners of England, even
if he had done nothing else by this famous Cadiz expedition, that an
armada, of Spain might not be so invincible as men imagined.

Yet when the conqueror returned from his great foray, he received no
laurels. His sovereign met him, not with smiles, but with frowns and cold
rebukes. He had done his duty, and helped to save her endangered throne,
but Elizabeth was now the dear friend of Alexander Farnese, and in
amicable correspondence with his royal master. This "little" beginning on
the coast of Spain might not seem to his Catholic Majesty a matter to be
thankful for, nor be likely to further a pacification, and so Elizabeth
hastened to disavow her Plymouth captain.'

   ["True it is, and I avow it on my faith, her Majesty did send a ship
   expressly before he went to Cadiz with a message by letters charging
   Sir Francis Drake not to show any act of hostility, which messenger
   by contrary winds could never come to the place where he was, but
   was constrained to come home, and hearing of Sir F. Drake's actions,
   her Majesty commanded the party that returned to have been punished,
   but that he acquitted himself by the oaths of himself and all his
   company. And so unwitting yea unwilling to her Majesty those
   actions were committed by Sir F. Drake, for the which her Majesty is
   as yet greatly offended with him." Burghley to Andreas de Loo, 18
   July, 1587. Flanders Correspondence.' (S. P. Office MS.)]


     The blaze of a hundred and fifty burning vessels
     We were sold by their negligence who are now angry with us


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 54, 1587


   Secret Treaty between Queen and Parma--Excitement and Alarm in the
   States--Religious Persecution in England--Queen's Sincerity toward
   Spain--Language and Letters of Parma--Negotiations of De Loo--
   English Commissioners appointed--Parma's affectionate Letter to the
   Queen--Philip at his Writing-Table--His Plots with Parma against
   England--Parma's secret Letters to the King--Philip's Letters to
   Parma Wonderful Duplicity of Philip--His sanguine Views as to
   England--He is reluctant to hear of the Obstacles--and imagines
   Parma in England--But Alexander's Difficulties are great--He
   denounces Philip's wild Schemes--Walsingham aware of the Spanish
   Plot--which the States well understand--Leicester's great
   Unpopularity--The Queen warned against Treating--Leicester's Schemes
   against Barneveld--Leicestrian Conspiracy at Leyden--The Plot to
   seize the City discovered--Three Ringleaders sentenced to Death--
   Civil War in France--Victory gained by Navarre, and one by Guise--
   Queen recalls Leicester--Who retires on ill Terms with the States--
   Queen warned as to Spanish Designs--Result's of Leicester's

The course of Elizabeth towards the Provinces, in the matter of the
peace, was certainly not ingenuous, but it was not absolutely deceitful.
She concealed and denied the negotiations, when the Netherland statesmen
were perfectly aware of their existence, if not of their tenour; but she
was not prepared, as they suspected, to sacrifice their liberties and
their religion, as the price of her own reconciliation with Spain. Her
attitude towards the States was imperious, over-bearing, and abusive. She
had allowed the Earl of Leicester to return, she said, because of her
love for the poor and oppressed people, but in many of her official and
in all her private communications, she denounced the men who governed
that people as ungrateful wretches and impudent liars!

These were the corrosives and vinegar which she thought suitable for the
case; and the Earl was never weary in depicting the same statesmen as
seditious, pestilent, self-seeking, mischief-making traitors. These
secret, informal negotiations, had been carried on during most of the
year 1587. It was the "comptroller's peace;", as Walsingham
contemptuously designated the attempted treaty; for it will be
recollected that Sir James Croft, a personage of very mediocre abilities,
had always been more busy than any other English politician in these
transactions. He acted; however, on the inspiration of Burghley, who drew
his own from the fountainhead.

But it was in vain for the Queen to affect concealment. The States knew
everything which was passing, before Leicester knew. His own secret
instructions reached the Netherlands before he did. His secretary,
Junius, was thrown into prison, and his master's letter taken from him,
before there had been any time to act upon its treacherous suggestions.
When the Earl wrote letters with, his own hand to his sovereign, of so
secret a nature that he did not even retain a single copy for himself,
for fear of discovery, he found, to his infinite disgust, that the States
were at once provided with an authentic transcript of every line that he
had written. It was therefore useless, almost puerile, to deny facts
which were quite as much within the knowledge of the Netherlanders as of
himself. The worst consequence of the concealment was, that a deeper
treachery was thought possible than actually existed. "The fellow they
call Barneveld," as Leicester was in the habit of designating one of the
first statesmen in Europe, was perhaps justified, knowing what he did, in
suspecting more. Being furnished with a list of commissioners, already
secretly agreed upon between the English and Spanish governments, to
treat for peace, while at the same time the Earl was beating his breast,
and flatly denying that there was any intention of treating with Parma at
all, it was not unnatural that he should imagine a still wider and deeper
scheme than really existed, against the best interests of his country. He
may have expressed, in private conversation, some suspicions of this
nature, but there is direct evidence that he never stated in public
anything which was not afterwards proved to be matter of fact, or of
legitimate inference from the secret document which had come into his
hands. The Queen exhausted herself in opprobious language against those
who dared to impute to her a design to obtain possession of the cities
and strong places of the Netherlands, in order to secure a position in
which to compel the Provinces into obedience to her policy. She urged,
with much logic, that as she had refused the sovereignty of the whole
country when offered to her, she was not likely to form surreptitious
schemes to make herself mistress of a portion of it. On the other hand,
it was very obvious, that to accept the sovereignty of Philip's
rebellious Provinces, was to declare war upon Philip; whereas, had she
been pacifically inclined towards that sovereign, and treacherously
disposed towards the Netherlands, it would be a decided advantage to her
to have those strong places in her power. But the suspicions as to her
good faith were exaggerated. As to the intentions of Leicester, the
States were justified in their almost unlimited distrust. It is very
certain that both in 1586, and again, at this very moment, when Elizabeth
was most vehement in denouncing such aspersions on her government, he had
unequivocally declared to her his intention of getting possession, if
possible, of several cities, and of the whole Island of Walcheren, which,
together with the cautionary towns already in his power, would enable the
Queen to make good terms for herself with Spain, "if the worst came to
the worst." It will also soon be shown that he did his best to carry
these schemes into execution. There is no evidence, however, and no
probability, that he had received the royal commands to perpetrate such a

The States believed also, that in those secret negotiations with Parma
the Queen was disposed to sacrifice the religious interests of the
Netherlands. In this they were mistaken. But they had reason for their
mistake, because the negotiator De Loo, had expressly said, that, in her
overtures to Farnese, she had abandoned that point altogether. If this
had been so, it would have simply been a consent on the part of
Elizabeth, that the Catholic religion and the inquisition should be
re-established in the Provinces, to the exclusion of every other form of
worship or polity. In truth, however, the position taken by her Majesty
on the subject was as fair as could be reasonably expected. Certainly she
was no advocate for religious liberty. She chose that her own subjects
should be Protestants, because she had chosen to be a Protestant herself,
and because it was an incident of her supremacy, to dictate uniformity of
creed to all beneath her sceptre. No more than her father, who sent to
the stake or gallows heretics to transubstantiation as well as believers
in the Pope, had Elizabeth the faintest idea of religious freedom.
Heretics to the English Church were persecuted, fined, imprisoned,
mutilated, and murdered, by sword, rope, and fire. In some respects, the
practice towards those who dissented from Elizabeth was more immoral and
illogical, even if less cruel, than that to which those were subjected
who rebelled against Sixtus. The Act of Uniformity required Papists to
assist at the Protestant worship, but wealthy Papists could obtain
immunity by an enormous fine. The Roman excuse to destroy bodies in order
to save souls, could scarcely be alleged by a Church which might be
bribed into connivance at heresy, and which derived a revenue from the
very nonconformity for which humbler victims were sent to the gallows. It
would, however, be unjust in the extreme to overlook the enormous
difference in the amount of persecution, exercised respectively by the
Protestant and the Roman Church. It is probable that not many more than
two hundred Catholics were executed as such, in Elizabeth's reign, and
this was ten score too many. But what was this against eight hundred
heretics burned, hanged, and drowned, in one Easter week by Alva, against
the eighteen thousand two hundred went to stake and scaffold, as he
boasted during his administration, against the vast numbers of
Protestants, whether they be counted by tens or by hundreds of thousands,
who perished by the edicts of Charles V., in the Netherlands, or in the
single Saint Bartholomew Massacre in France? Moreover, it should never be
forgotten--from undue anxiety for impartiality--that most of the
Catholics who were executed in England, suffered as conspirators rather
than as heretics. No foreign potentate, claiming to be vicegerent of
Christ, had denounced Philip as a bastard and, usurper, or had, by means
of a blasphemous fiction, which then was a terrible reality, severed the
bonds of allegiance by which his subjects were held, cut him off from all
communion with his fellow-creatures, and promised temporal rewards and a
crown of glory in heaven to those who should succeed in depriving him of
throne and life. Yet this was the position of Elizabeth. It was war to
the knife between her and Rome, declared by Rome itself; nor was there
any doubt whatever that the Seminary Priests--seedlings transplanted from
foreign nurseries, which were as watered gardens for the growth of
treason--were a perpetually organized band of conspirators and assassins,
with whom it was hardly an act of excessive barbarity to deal in somewhat
summary fashion. Doubtless it would have been a more lofty policy, and a
far more intelligent one, to extend towards the Catholics of England, who
as a body were loyal to their country, an ample toleration. But it could
scarcely be expected that Elizabeth Tudor, as imperious and absolute by
temperament as her father had ever been, would be capable of embodying
that great principle.

When, in the preliminaries to the negotiations of 1587, therefore, it was
urged on the part of Spain, that the Queen was demanding a concession of
religious liberty from Philip to the Netherlanders which she refused to
English heretics, and that he only claimed the same right of dictating a
creed to his subjects which she exercised in regard to her own, Lord
Burghley replied that the statement was correct. The Queen permitted--it
was true--no man to profess any religion but the one which she professed.
At the same time it was declared to be unjust, that those persons in the
Netherlands who had been for years in the habit of practising Protestant
rites, should be suddenly compelled, without instruction, to abandon that
form of worship. It was well known that many would rather die than submit
to such oppression, and it was affirmed that the exercise of this cruelty
would be resisted by her to the uttermost. There was no hint of the
propriety--on any logical basis--of leaving the question of creed as a
matter between man and his Maker, with which any dictation on the part of
crown or state was an act of odious tyranny. There was not even a
suggestion that the Protestant doctrines were true, and the Catholic
doctrines false. The matter was merely taken up on the 'uti possidetis'
principle, that they who had acquired the fact of Protestant worship had
a right to retain it, and could not justly be deprived of it, except by
instruction and persuasion. It was also affirmed that it was not the
English practice to inquire into men's consciences. It would have been
difficult, however, to make that very clear to Philip's comprehension,
because, if men, women, and children, were scourged with rods, imprisoned
and hanged, if they refused to conform publicly to a ceremony at which
their consciences revolted-unless they had money enough to purchase
non-conformity--it seemed to be the practice to inquire very effectively
into their consciences.

But if there was a certain degree of disingenuousness on the part of
Elizabeth towards the States, her attitude towards Parma was one of
perfect sincerity. A perusal of the secret correspondence leaves no doubt
whatever on that point. She was seriously and fervently desirous of peace
with Spain. On the part of Farnese and his master, there was the most
unscrupulous mendacity, while the confiding simplicity and truthfulness
of the Queen in these negotiations was almost pathetic. Especially she
declared her trust in the loyal and upright character of Parma, in which
she was sure of never being disappointed. It is only doing justice to
Alexander to say that he was as much deceived by her frankness as she by
his falsehood. It never entered his head that a royal personage and the
trusted counsellors of a great kingdom could be telling the truth in a
secret international transaction, and he justified the industry with
which his master and himself piled fiction upon fiction, by their utter
disbelief in every word which came to them from England.

The private negotiations had been commenced, or rather had been renewed,
very early in February of this year. During the whole critical period
which preceded and followed the execution of Mary, in the course of which
the language of Elizabeth towards the States had been so shrewish, there
had been the gentlest diplomatic cooing between Farnese and herself. It
was--Dear Cousin, you know how truly I confide in your sincerity, how
anxious I am that this most desirable peace should be arranged; and it
was--Sacred Majesty, you know how much joy I feel in your desire for the
repose of the world, and for a solid peace between your Highness and the
King my master; how much I delight in concord--how incapable I am by
ambiguous words of spinning out these transactions, or of deceiving your
Majesty, and what a hatred I feel for steel, fire, and blood.'

Four or five months rolled on, during which Leicester had been wasting
time in England, Farnese wasting none before Sluys, and the States doing
their best to counteract the schemes both of their enemy and of their
ally. De Loo made a visit, in July, to the camp of the Duke of Parma, and
received the warmest assurances of his pacific dispositions. "I am much
pained," said Alexander, "with this procrastination. I am so full of
sincerity myself, that it seems to me a very strange matter, this hostile
descent by Drake upon the coasts of Spain. The result of such courses
will be, that the King will end by being exasperated, and I shall be
touched in my honour--so great is the hopes I have held out of being able
to secure a peace. I have ever been and I still am most anxious for
concord, from the affection I bear to her sacred Majesty. I have been
obliged, much against my will, to take the field again. I could wish now
that our negotiations might terminate before the arrival of my fresh
troops, namely, 9000 Spaniards and 9000 Italians, which, with Walloons,
Germans, and Lorrainers, will give me an effective total of 30,000
soldiers. Of this I give you my word as a gentleman. Go, then, Andrew de
Loo," continued the Duke, "write to her sacred Majesty, that I desire to
make peace; and to serve her faithfully; and that I shall not change my
mind, even in case of any great success, for I like to proceed rather by
the ways of love than of rigour and effusion of bleed."

"I can assure you, oh, most serene Duke," replied Andrew, "that the most
serene Queen is in the very same dispositions with yourself."

"Excellent well then," said the Duke, "we shall come to an agreement at
once, and the sooner the deputies on both sides are appointed the

A feeble proposition was then made, on the part of the peace-loving
Andrew, that the hostile operations against Sluy's should be at once
terminated. But this did not seem so clear to the most serene Duke. He
had gone to great expense in that business; and he had not built bridges,
erected forts, and dug mines, only to abandon them for a few fine words,
Fine words were plenty, but they raised no sieges. Meantime these pacific
and gentle murmurings from Farnese's camp had lulled the Queen into
forgetfulness of Roger Williams and Arnold Groenevelt and their men,
fighting day and night in trench and mine during that critical midsummer.
The wily tongue of the Duke had been more effective than his batteries in
obtaining the much-coveted city. The Queen obstinately held back her men
and money, confident of effecting a treaty, whether Sluys fell or not.
Was it strange that the States should be distrustful of her intentions,
and, in their turn, become neglectful of their duty?

And thus summer wore into autumn, Sluys fell, the States and their
governor-general were at daggers-drawn, the Netherlanders were full of
distrust with regard to England, Alexander hinted doubts as to the
Queen's sincerity; the secret negotiations, though fertile in suspicions,
jealousies, delays, and such foul weeds, had produced no wholesome fruit,
and the excellent De Loo became very much depressed. At last a letter
from Burghley relieved his drooping spirits. From the most disturbed and
melancholy man in the world, he protested, he had now become merry and
quiet. He straightway went off to the Duke of Parma, with the letter in
his pocket, and translated it to him by candlelight, as he was careful to
state, as an important point in his narrative. And Farnese was fuller of
fine phrases than ever.

"There is no cause whatever," said he, in a most loving manner, "to doubt
my sincerity. Yet the Lord-Treasurer intimates that the most serene Queen
is disposed so to do. But if I had not the very best intentions, and
desires for peace, I should never have made the first overtures. If I did
not wish a pacific solution, what in the world forced me to do what I
have done? On the contrary, it is I that have reason to suspect the other
parties with their long delays, by which they have made me lose the best
part of the summer."

He then commented on the strong expressions in the English letters, as to
the continuance of her Majesty in her pious resolutions; observed that he
was thoroughly advised of the disputes between the Earl of Leicester and
the States; and added that it was very important for the time indicated
by the Queen.

"Whatever is to be done," said he, in conclusion, "let it be done
quickly;" and with that he said he would go and eat a bit of supper.

"And may I communicate Lord Burghley's letter to any one else?" asked De

"Yes, yes, to the Seigneur de Champagny, and to my secretary Cosimo,"
answered his Highness.

So the merchant negotiator proceeded at once to the mansion of Champagny,
in company with the secretary Cosimo. There was a long conference, in
which De Loo was informed of many things which he thoroughly believed,
and faithfully transmitted to the court of Elizabeth. Alexander had done
his best, they said, to delay the arrival of his fresh troops. He had
withdrawn from the field, on various pretexts, hoping, day after day,
that the English commissioners would arrive, and that a firm and
perpetual peace would succeed to the miseries of war. But as time wore
away, and there came no commissioners, the Duke had come to the painful
conclusion that he had been trifled with. His forces would now be sent
into Holland to find something to eat; and this would ensure the total
destruction of all that territory. He had also written to command all the
officers of the coming troops to hasten their march, in order that he
might avoid incurring still deeper censure. He was much ashamed, in
truth, to have been wheedled into passing the whole fine season in
idleness. He had been sacrificing himself for her sacred Majesty, and to,
serve her best interests; and now he found himself the object of her
mirth. Those who ought to be well informed had assured him that the Queen
was only waiting to see how the King of Navarre was getting on with the
auxiliary force just, going to him from Germany, that she had no
intention whatever to make peace, and that, before long, he might expect
all these German mercenaries upon his shoulders in the Netherlands.
Nevertheless he was prepared to receive them with 40,000 good infantry, a
splendid cavalry force, and plenty of money.'

All this and more did the credulous Andrew greedily devour; and he lost
no time in communicating the important intelligence to her Majesty and
the Lord-Treasurer. He implored her, he said, upon his bare knees,
prostrate on the ground, and from the most profound and veritable centre
of his heart and with all his soul and all his strength, to believe in
the truth of the matters thus confided to him. He would pledge his
immortal soul, which was of more value to him--as he correctly
observed--than even the crown of Spain, that the King, the Duke, and his
counsellors, were most sincerely desirous of peace, and actuated by the
most loving and benevolent motives. Alexander Farnese was "the antidote
to the Duke of Alva," kindly sent by heaven, 'ut contraria contrariis
curenter,' and if the entire security of the sacred Queen were not now
obtained, together with a perfect reintegration of love between her
Majesty and the King of Spain, and with the assured tranquillity and
perpetual prosperity of the Netherlands, it would be the fault of
England; not of Spain.

And no doubt the merchant believed all that was told him, and--what was
worse--that he fully impressed his own convictions upon her Majesty and
Lord Burghley, to say nothing of the comptroller, who, poor man, had
great facility in believing anything that came from the court of the most
Catholic King: yet it is painful to reflect, that in all these
communications of Alexander and his agents, there was not one single word
of truth.--It was all false from beginning to end, as to the
countermanding of the troops,--as to the pacific intentions of the King
and Duke, and as to the proposed campaign in Friesland, in case of
rupture; and all the rest. But this will be conclusively proved a little

Meantime the conference had been most amicable and satisfactory. And when
business was over, Champagny--not a whit the worse for the severe jilting
which he had so recently sustained from the widow De Bours, now Mrs.
Aristotle Patton--invited De Loo and Secretary Cosimo to supper. And the
three made a night of it, sitting up late, and draining such huge bumpers
to the health of the Queen of England, that--as the excellent Andrew
subsequently informed Lord Burghley--his head ached most bravely next

And so, amid the din of hostile preparation not only in Cadiz and Lisbon,
but in Ghent and Sluys and Antwerp, the import of which it seemed
difficult to mistake, the comedy of, negotiation was still rehearsing,
and the principal actors were already familiar with their respective
parts. There were the Earl of Derby, knight of the garter, and my Lord
Cobham; and puzzling James Croft, and other Englishmen, actually
believing that the farce was a solemn reality. There was Alexander of
Parma thoroughly aware of the contrary. There was Andrew de Loo, more
talkative, more credulous, more busy than ever, and more fully impressed
with the importance of his mission, and there was the white-bearded
Lord-Treasurer turning complicated paragraphs; shaking his head and
waving his wand across the water, as if, by such expedients, the storm
about to burst over England could, be dispersed.

The commissioners should come, if only the Duke of Parma would declare on
his word of honour, that these hostile preparations with which all
Christendom was ringing; were not intended against England; or if that
really were the case--if he would request his master to abandon all such
schemes, and if Philip in consequence would promise on the honour of a
prince, to make no hostile attempts against that country.

There would really seem an almost Arcadian simplicity in such demands,
coming from so practised a statesman as the Lord-Treasurer, and from a
woman of such brilliant intellect as Elizabeth unquestionably possessed.
But we read the history of 1587, not only by the light of subsequent
events, but by the almost microscopic revelations of sentiments and
motives, which a full perusal of the secret documents in those ancient
cabinets afford. At that moment it was not ignorance nor dulness which
was leading England towards the pitfall so artfully dug by Spain. There
was trust in the plighted word of a chivalrous soldier like Alexander
Farnese, of a most religious and anointed monarch like Philip II. English
frankness, playing cards upon the table, was no match for Italian and
Spanish legerdemain, a system according to which, to defraud the
antagonist by every kind of falsehood and trickery was the legitimate end
of diplomacy and statesmanship. It was well known that there were great
preparations in Spain, Portugal, and the obedient Netherlands, by land
and sea. But Sir Robert Sidney was persuaded that the expedition was
intended for Africa; even the Pope was completely mystified--to the
intense delight of Philip--and Burghley, enlightened by the sagacious De
Loo, was convinced, that even in case of a rupture, the whole strength of
the Spanish arms was to be exerted in reducing Friesland and Overyssel.
But Walsingham was never deceived; for he had learned from Demosthenes a
lesson with which William the Silent, in his famous Apology, had made the
world familiar, that the only citadel against a tyrant and a conqueror
was distrust.

Alexander, much grieved that doubts should still be felt as to his
sincerity, renewed the most exuberant expressions of that sentiment,
together with gentle complaints against the dilatoriness which had
proceeded from the doubt. Her Majesty had long been aware, he said, of
his anxiety to bring about a perfect reconciliation; but he had waited,
month after month, for her commissioners, and had waited in vain. His
hopes had been dashed to the ground. The affair had been indefinitely
spun out, and he could not resist the conviction that her Majesty had
changed her mind. Nevertheless, as Andrew de Loo was again proceeding to
England, the Duke seized the opportunity once more to kiss her hand,
and--although he had well nigh resolved to think no more on the
subject--to renew his declarations, that, if the much-coveted peace were
not concluded, the blame could not be imputed to him, and that he should
stand guiltless before God and the world. He had done, and was still
ready to do, all which became a Christian and a man desirous of the
public welfare and tranquillity.

When Burghley read these fine phrases, he was much impressed; and they
were pronounced at the English court to be "very princely and
Christianly." An elaborate comment too was drawn up by the comptroller on
every line of the letter. "These be very good words," said the

But the Queen was even more pleased with the last proof of the Duke's
sincerity, than even Burghley and Croft had been. Disregarding all the
warnings of Walsingham, she renewed her expressions of boundless
confidence in the wily Italian. "We do assure you," wrote the Lords, "and
so you shall do well to avow it to the Duke upon our honours, that her
Majesty saith she thinketh both their minds to accord upon one good and
Christian meaning, though their ministers may perchance sound upon a
discord." And she repeated her resolution to send over her commissioners,
so soon as the Duke had satisfied her as to the hostile preparations.

We have now seen the good faith of the English Queen towards the Spanish
government. We have seen her boundless trust in the sincerity of Farnese
and his master. We have heard the exuberant professions of an honest
intention to bring about a firm and lasting peace, which fell from the
lips of Farnese and of his confidential agents. It is now necessary to
glide for a moment into the secret cabinet of Philip, in order to satisfy
ourselves as to the value of all those professions. The attention of the
reader is solicited to these investigations, because the year 1587 was a
most critical period in the history of English, Dutch, and European
liberty. The coming year 1588 had been long spoken of in prophecy, as the
year of doom, perhaps of the destruction of the world, but it was in
1587, the year of expectation and preparation, that the materials were
slowly combining out of which that year's history was to be formed.

And there sat the patient letter-writer in his cabinet, busy with his
schemes. His grey head was whitening fast. He was sixty years of age. His
frame was slight, his figure stooping, his digestion very weak, his
manner more glacial and sepulchral than ever; but if there were a
hard-working man in Europe, that man was Philip II. And there he sat at
his table, scrawling his apostilles. The fine innumerable threads which
stretched across the surface of Christendom, and covered it as with a
net, all converged in that silent cheerless cell. France was kept in a
state of perpetual civil war; the Netherlands had been converted into a
shambles; Ireland was maintained in a state of chronic rebellion;
Scotland was torn with internal feuds, regularly organized and paid for
by Philip; and its young monarch--"that lying King of Scots," as
Leicester called him--was kept in a leash ready to be slipped upon
England, when his master should give the word; and England herself was
palpitating with the daily expectation of seeing a disciplined horde of
brigands let loose upon her shores; and all this misery, past, present,
and future, was almost wholly due to the exertions of that grey-haired
letter-writer at his peaceful library-table.

At the very beginning of the year the King of Denmark had made an offer
to Philip of mediation. The letter, entrusted to a young Count de
Rantzan, had been intercepted by the States--the envoy not having availed
himself, in time, of his diplomatic capacity, and having in consequence
been treated, for a moment, like a prisoner of war. The States had
immediately addressed earnest letters of protest to Queen Elizabeth,
declaring that nothing which the enemy could do in war was half so
horrible to them as the mere mention of peace. Life, honour, religion,
liberty, their all, were at stake, they said, and would go down in one
universal shipwreck, if peace should be concluded; and they implored her
Majesty to avert the proposed intercession of the Danish King. Wilkes
wrote to Walsingham denouncing that monarch and his ministers as
stipendiaries of Spain, while, on the other hand, the Duke of Parma,
after courteously thanking the King for his offer of mediation, described
him to Philip as such a dogged heretic, that no good was to be derived
from him, except by meeting his fraudulent offers with an equally
fraudulent response. There will be nothing lost, said Alexander, by
affecting to listen to his proposals, and meantime your Majesty must
proceed with the preparations against England. This was in the first week
of the year 1587.

In February, and almost on the very day when Parma was writing those
affectionate letters to Elizabeth, breathing nothing but peace, he was
carefully conning Philip's directions in regard to the all-important
business of the invasion. He was informed by his master, that one hundred
vessels, forty of them of largest size, were quite ready, together with
12,000 Spanish infantry, including 3000 of the old legion, and that there
were volunteers more than enough. Philip had also taken note, he said, of
Alexander's advice as to choosing the season when the crops in England
had just been got in, as the harvest of so fertile a country would easily
support an invading force; but he advised nevertheless that the army
should be thoroughly victualled at starting. Finding that Alexander did
not quite approve of the Irish part of the plan, he would reconsider the
point, and think more of the Isle of Wight; but perhaps still some other
place might be discovered, a descent upon which might inspire that enemy
with still greater terror and confusion. It would be difficult for him,
he said, to grant the 6000 men asked for by the Scotch malcontents,
without seriously weakening his armada; but there must be no positive
refusal, for a concerted action with the Scotch lords and their adherents
was indispensable. The secret, said the King, had been profoundly kept,
and neither in Spain nor in Rome had anything been allowed to transpire.
Alexander was warned therefore to do his best to maintain the mystery,
for the enemy was trying very hard to penetrate their actions and their

And certainly Alexander did his best. He replied to his master, by
transmitting copies of the letters he had been writing with his own hand
to the Queen, and of the pacific messages he had sent her through
Champagny and De Loo. She is just now somewhat confused, said he, and
those of her counsellors who desire peace, are more eager, than ever for
negotiation. She is very much afflicted with the loss of Deventer, and is
quarrelling with the French ambassador about the new conspiracy for her
assassination. The opportunity is a good one, and if she writes an answer
to my letter, said Alexander, we can keep the negotiation, alive, while,
if she does not, 'twill be a proof that she has contracted leagues with
other parties. But, in any event, the Duke fervently implored Philip not
to pause in his preparations for the great enterprise which he had
conceived in his royal breast. So urgent for the invasion was the
peace-loving general.

He alluded also to the supposition that the quarrel between her Majesty
and the French envoy was a mere fetch, and only one of the results of
Bellievre's mission. Whether that diplomatist had been sent to censure,
or in reality to approve, in the name of his master, of the Scottish
Queen's execution, Alexander would leave to be discussed by Don
Bernardino de Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador in Paris; but he was of
opinion that the anger of the Queen with France was a fiction, and her
supposed league with France and Germany against Spain a fact. Upon this
point, as it appears from Secretary Walsingham's lamentations, the astute
Farnese was mistaken.

In truth he was frequently, led into error to the English policy the same
serpentine movement and venomous purpose which characterized his own; and
we have already seen; that Elizabeth was ready, on the contrary, to
quarrel with the States, with France, with all the world, if she could
only secure the good-will of Philip.

The French-matter, indissolubly connected in that monarch's schemes, with
his designs upon England and Holland, was causing Alexander much anxiety.
He foresaw great difficulty in maintaining that, indispensable civil war
in France, and thought that a peace might, some fine day, be declared
between Henry III. and the Huguenots, when least expected. In
consequence, the Duke of Guise was becoming very importunate for Philip's
subsidies. "Mucio comes begging to me," said Parma, "with the very
greatest earnestness, and utters nothing but lamentations and cries of
misery. He asked for 25,000 of the 150,000 ducats promised him. I gave
them. Soon afterwards he writes, with just as much anxiety, for 25,000
more. These I did not give; firstly, because I had them not," (which
would seem a sufficient reason) "and secondly, because I wished to
protract matters as much as possible. He is constantly reminding me of
your Majesty's promise of 300,000 ducats, in case he comes to a rupture
with the King of France, and I always assure him that your Majesty will
keep all promises."

Philip, on his part, through the months of spring, continued to assure
his generalissimo of his steady preparations--by sea and land. He had
ordered Mendoza to pay the Scotch lords the sum demanded by them, but not
till after they had done the deed as agreed upon; and as to the 6000 men,
he felt obliged, he said, to defer that matter for the moment; and to
leave the decision upon it to the Duke. Farnese kept his sovereign
minutely informed of the negociations carried on through Champagny and De
Loo, and expressed his constant opinion that the Queen was influenced by
motives as hypocritical as his own. She was only seeking, he said, to
deceive, to defraud, to put him to sleep, by those feigned negotiations,
while, she was making her combinations with France and Germany, for the
ruin of Spain. There was no virtue to be expected from her, except she
was compelled thereto by pure necessity. The English, he said, were hated
and abhorred by the natives of Holland and Zeeland, and it behoved Philip
to seize so favourable an opportunity for urging on his great plan with
all the speed in the world. It might be that the Queen, seeing these
mighty preparations, even although not suspecting that she herself was to
be invaded, would tremble for her safety, if the Netherlands should be
crushed. But if she succeeded in deceiving Spain, and putting Philip and
Parma to sleep, she might well boast of having made fools of them all.
The negotiations for peace and the preparations for the invasion should
go simultaneously forward therefore, and the money would, in consequence,
come more sparingly to the Provinces from the English coffers, and the
disputes between England and the States would be multiplied. The Duke
also begged to be informed whether any terms could be laid down, upon
which the King really would conclude peace; in order that he might make
no mistake for want of instructions or requisite powers. The condition of
France was becoming more alarming every day, he said. In other words,
there was an ever-growing chance of peace for that distracted country.
The Queen of England was cementing a strong league between herself, the
French King, and the Huguenots; and matters were looking very serious.
The impending peace in France would never do, and Philip should prevent
it in time, by giving Mucio his money. Unless the French are entangled
and at war among themselves, it is quite clear, said Alexander, that we
can never think of carrying out our great scheme of invading England.

The King thoroughly concurred in all that was said and done by his
faithful governor and general. He had no intention of concluding a peace
on any terms whatever, and therefore could name no conditions; but he
quite approved of a continuance of the negotiations. The English, he was
convinced, were utterly false on their part, and the King of Denmark's
proposition to-mediate was part and parcel of the same general fiction.
He was quite sensible of the necessity of giving Mucio the money to
prevent a pacification in France, and would send letters of exchange on
Agostino Spinola for the 300,000 ducats. Meantime Farnese was to go on
steadily with his preparations for the invasion.

The secretary-of-state, Don Juan de Idiaquez, also wrote most earnestly
on the great subject to the Duke. "It is not to be exaggerated", he said,
"how set his Majesty is in the all-important business. If you wish to
manifest towards him the most flattering obedience on earth, and to
oblige him as much as you could wish, give him this great satisfaction
this year. Since you have money, prepare everything out there, conquer
all difficulties, and do the deed so soon as the forces of Spain and
Italy arrive, according to the plan laid down by your Excellency last
year. Make use of the negotiations for peace for this one purpose, and no
more, and do the business like the man you are. Attribute the liberty of
this advice to my desire to serve you more than any other, to my
knowledge of how much you will thereby gratify his Majesty, and to my
fear of his resentment towards you, in the contrary case."

And, on the same day, in order that there might be no doubt of the royal
sentiments, Philip expressed himself at length on the whole subject. The
dealings of Farnese with the English, and his feeding them with hopes of
peace, would have given him more satisfaction, he observed, if it had
caused their preparations to slacken; but, on the contrary, their
boldness had increased. They had perpetrated the inhuman murder of the
Queen of Scots, and moreover, not content with their piracies at sea and
in the Indies, they had dared to invade the ports of Spain, as would
appear in the narrative transmitted to Farnese of the late events at
Cadiz. And although that damage was small, said Philip; there resulted a
very great obligation to take them 'seriously in hand.' He declined
sending fill powers for treating; but in order to make use of the same
arts employed by the English, he preferred that Alexander should not
undeceive them, but desired him to express, as out of his own head; to
the negotiators, his astonishment that while they were holding such
language they should commit such actions. Even their want of prudence in
thus provoking the King; when their strength was compared to his, should
be spoken of by Farnese as--wonderful, and he was to express the opinion
that his Majesty would think him much wanting in circumspection, should
he go on negotiating while they were playing such tricks. "You must show
yourself very sensitive, about this event," continued Philip, "and you
must give them to understand that I am quite as angry as you. You must
try to draw from them some offer of satisfaction--however false it will
be in reality--such as a proposal to recall the fleet, or an assertion
that the deeds of Drake in Cadiz were without the knowledge and contrary
to the will of the Queen, and that she very much regrets them, or
something of that sort."

It has already been shown that Farnese was very successful in eliciting
from the Queen, through the mouth of Lord' Burghley, as ample a disavowal
and repudiation of Sir Francis Drake as the King could possibly desire.
Whether it would have the desired effect--of allaying the wrath of
Philip; might have been better foretold, could the letter, with which we
are now occupied, have been laid upon the Greenwich council-board.

"When you have got, such a disavowal," continued his Majesty, "you are to
act as if entirely taken in and imposed upon by them, and, pretending to
believe everything they tell you, you must renew the negotiations,
proceed to name commissioners, and propose a meeting upon neutral
territory. As for powers; say that you, as my governor-general, will
entrust them to your deputies, in regard to the Netherlands. For all
other matters, say that you have had full powers for many months, but
that you cannot exhibit them until conditions worthy of my acceptance
have been offered.--Say this only for the sake of appearance. This is the
true way to take them in, and so the peace-commissioners may meet. But to
you only do I declare that my intention is that this shall never lead to
any result, whatever conditions maybe offered by them. On the contrary,
all this is done--just as they do--to deceive them, and to cool them in
their preparations for defence, by inducing them to believe that such
preparations will be unnecessary. You are well aware that the reverse of
all this is the truth, and that on our part there is to be no slackness,
but the greatest diligence in our efforts for the invasion of England,
for which we have already made the most abundant provision in men, ships,
and money, of which you are well aware."

Is it strange that the Queen of England was deceived? Is it matter of
surprise, censure, or shame, that no English statesman was astute enough
or base enough to contend with such diplomacy, which seemed inspired only
by the very father of lies?

"Although we thus enter into negotiations," continued the King--unveiling
himself, with a solemn indecency, not agreeable to contemplate--"without
any intention of concluding them, you can always get out of them with
great honour, by taking umbrage about the point of religion and about
some other of the outrageous propositions which they are like to propose,
and of which there are plenty, in the letters of Andrew de Loo. Your
commissioners must be instructed; to refer all important matters to your
personal decision. The English will be asking for damages for money,
spent in assisting my rebels; your commissioners will contend that
damages are rather due to me. Thus, and in other ways, time will be
agent. Your own envoys are not to know the secret any more than the
English themselves. I tell it to you only. Thus you will proceed with the
negotiations, now, yielding on one point, and now insisting on another,
but directing all to the same object--to gain time while proceeding with
the preparation for the invasion, according to the plan already agreed

Certainly the most Catholic King seemed, in this remarkable letter to
have outdone himself; and Farnese--that sincere Farnese, in whose loyal,
truth-telling, chivalrous character, the Queen and her counsellors placed
such implicit reliance--could thenceforward no longer be embarrassed as
to the course he was to adopt. To lie daily, through, thick, and thin,
and with every variety of circumstance and detail which; a genius fertile
in fiction could suggest, such was the simple rule prescribed by his
sovereign. And the rule was implicitly obeyed, and the English sovereign
thoroughly deceived. The secret confided only, to the faithful breast of
Alexander was religiously kept. Even the Pope was outwitted. His Holiness
proposed to, Philip the invasion of England, and offered a million to
further the plan. He was most desirous to be informed if the project was,
resolved upon, and, if so, when it was to be accomplished. The King took
the Pope's million, but refused the desired information. He answered
evasively. He had a very good will to invade the country, he said, but
there were great difficulties in the way. After a time, the Pope again
tried to pry into the matter, and again offered the million which Philip
had only accepted for the time when it might be wanted; giving him at the
same time, to understand that it was not necessary at that time, because
there were then great impediments. "Thus he is pledged to give me the
subsidy, and I am not pledged for the time," said Philip, "and I keep my
secret, which is the most important of all."

Yet after all, Farnese did not see his way clear towards the consummation
of the plan. His army had wofully dwindled, and before he could seriously
set about ulterior matters, it would be necessary to take the city of
Sluys. This was to prove--as already seen--a most arduous enterprise. He
complained to Philip' of his inadequate supplies both in men and money.
The project conceived in the royal breast was worth spending millions
for, he said, and although by zeal and devotion he could accomplish
something, yet after all he was no more than a man, and without the
necessary means the scheme could not succeed. But Philip, on the
contrary, was in the highest possible spirits. He had collected more
money, he declared than had ever been seen before in the world. He had
two million ducats in reserve, besides the Pope's million; the French
were in a most excellent state of division, and the invasion should be
made this year without fail. The fleet would arrive in the English
channel by the end of the summer; which would be exactly in conformity
with Alexander's ideas. The invasion was to be threefold: from Scotland,
under the Scotch earls and their followers, with the money and troops
furnished by Philip; from the Netherlands, under Parma; and by the great
Spanish armada itself, upon the Isle of Wight. Alexander must recommend
himself to God, in whose cause he was acting, and then do his duty; which
lay very plain before him. If he ever wished to give his sovereign
satisfaction in his life; he was to do the deed that year, whatever might
betide. Never could there be so fortunate a conjunction of circumstances
again. France was in a state of revolution, the German levies were weak,
the Turk was fully occupied in Persia, an enormous mass of money, over
and above the Pope's million, had been got together, and although the
season was somewhat advanced, it was certain that the Duke would conquer
all impediments, and be the instrument by which his royal master might
render to God that service which he was so anxious to perform.
Enthusiastic, though gouty, Philip grasped the pen in order to scrawl a
few words with his own royal hand. "This business is of such importance,"
he said, "and it is so necessary that it should not be delayed, that I
cannot refrain from urging it upon you as much as I can. I should do it
even more amply; if this hand would allow me, which has been crippled
with gout these several days, and my feet as well, and although it is
unattended with pain, yet it is an impediment to writing."

Struggling thus against his own difficulties, and triumphantly,
accomplishing a whole paragraph with disabled hand, it was natural that
the King should expect Alexander, then deep in the siege of Sluy's, to
vanquish all his obstacles as successfully; and to effect the conquest of
England so soon as the harvests of that kingdom should be garnered.

Sluy's was surrendered at last, and the great enterprise seemed opening
from hour to hour. During the months of autumn; upon the very days when
those loving messages, mixed with gentle reproaches, were sent by
Alexander to Elizabeth, and almost at the self-same hours in which honest
Andrew de Loo was getting such head-aches by drinking the Queen's health
with Cosimo, and Champagny, the Duke and Philip were interchanging
detailed information as to the progress of the invasion. The King
calculated that by the middle of September Alexander would have 30,000
men in the Netherlands ready for embarcation.--Marquis Santa Cruz was
announced as nearly ready to, sail for the English channel with 22,000
more, among whom were to be 16,000 seasoned Spanish infantry. The Marquis
was then to extend the hand to Parma, and protect that passage to England
which the Duke was at once to effect. The danger might be great for so
large a fleet to navigate the seas at so late a season of the year; but
Philip was sure that God, whose cause it was, would be pleased to give
good weather. The Duke was to send, with infinite precautions of secrecy,
information which the Marquis would expect off Ushant, and be quite ready
to act so soon as Santa Cruz should arrive. Most earnestly and anxiously
did the King deprecate any, thought of deferring the expedition to
another year. If delayed, the obstacles of the following summer--a peace
in France, a peace between the Turk and Persia, and other
contingencies--would cause the whole project to fail, and Philip
declared, with much iteration, that money; reputation, honour, his own
character and that of Farnese, and God's service, were all at stake. He
was impatient at suggestions of difficulties occasionally, ventured by
the Duke, who was reminded that he had been appointed chief of the great
enterprise by the spontaneous choice of his master, and that all his
plans had been minutely followed. "You are the author of the whole
scheme," said Philip, "and if it, is all to vanish into space, what kind
of a figure shall we cut the coming year?" Again and again he referred to
the immense sum collected--such as never before had been seen since the
world was made--4,800,000 ducats with 2,000,000 in reserve, of which he
was authorized to draw for 500,000 in advance, to say nothing of the
Pope's million.

But Alexander, while straining every nerve to obey his master's wishes
about the invasion, and to blind the English by the fictitious
negotiations, was not so sanguine as his sovereign. In truth, there was
something puerile in the eagerness which Philip manifested. He had made
up his mind that England was to be conquered that autumn, and had
endeavoured--as well as he could--to comprehend, the plans which his
illustrious general had laid down for accomplishing that purpose. Of,
course; to any man of average intellect, or, in truth, to any man outside
a madhouse; it would seem an essential part of the conquest that the
Armada should arrive. Yet--wonderful to relate-Philip, in his impatience,
absolutely suggested that the Duke might take possession of England
without waiting for Santa Cruz and his Armada. As the autumn had been
wearing away, and there had been unavoidable delays about the shipping in
Spanish ports, the King thought it best not to defer matters till, the
winter. "You are, doubtless, ready," he said to Farnese. "If you think
you can make the passage to England before the fleet from Spain arrives,
go at once. You maybe sure that it will come ere long to support, you.
But if, you prefer, to wait, wait. The dangers of winter, to the fleet
and to your own person are to be regretted; but God, whose cause it is;
will protect you."

It was, easy to sit quite out of harm's way, and to make such excellent,
arrangements for smooth weather in the wintry channel, and for the
conquest of a maritime and martial kingdom by a few flat bottoms. Philip
had little difficulty on that score, but the affairs of France were not
quite to his mind. The battle of Coutras, and the entrance of the German
and Swiss mercenaries into that country, were somewhat perplexing. Either
those auxiliaries of the Huguenots would be defeated, or they would be
victorious, or both parties would come to an agreement. In the first
event, the Duke, after sending a little assistance to Mucio, was to
effect his passage to England at once. In the second case, those troops,
even though successful, would doubtless be so much disorganized that it
might be still safe for Farnese to go on. In the third contingency--that
of an accord--it would be necessary for him to wait till the foreign
troops had disbanded and left France. He was to maintain all his forces
in perfect readiness, on pretext of the threatening aspect of French
matters and, so soon as the Swiss and Germane were dispersed, he was to
proceed to business without delay. The fleet would be ready in Spain in
all November, but as sea-affairs were so doubtful, particularly in
winter, and as the Armada could not reach the channel till mid-winter;
the Duke was not to wait for its arrival. "Whenever you see a favourable
opportunity," said Philip, "you must take care not to lose it, even if
the fleet has not made its appearance. For you may be sure that it will
soon come to give you assistance, in one way or another."

Farnese had also been strictly enjoined to deal gently with the English,
after the conquest, so that they would have cause to love their new
master. His troops were not to forget discipline after victory. There was
to be no pillage or rapine. The Catholics were to be handsomely rewarded
and all the inhabitants were to be treated with so much indulgence that,
instead of abhorring Parma and his soldiers, they would conceive a strong
affection for them all, as the source of so many benefits. Again the Duke
was warmly commended for the skill with which he had handled the peace
negotiation. It was quite right to appoint commissioners, but it was
never for an instant to be forgotten that the sole object of treating was
to take the English unawares. "And therefore do you guide them to this
end," said the King with pious unction, "which is what you owe to God, in
whose service I have engaged in this enterprise, and to whom I have
dedicated the whole." The King of France, too--that unfortunate Henry
III., against whose throne and life Philip maintained in constant pay an
organized band of conspirators--was affectionately adjured, through the
Spanish envoy in Paris, Mendoza,--to reflect upon the advantages to
France of a Catholic king and kingdom of England, in place of the
heretics now in power.

But Philip, growing more and more sanguine, as those visions of fresh
crowns and conquered kingdoms rose before him in his solitary cell, had
even persuaded himself that the deed was already done. In the early days
of December, he expressed a doubt whether his 14th November letter had
reached the Duke, who by that time was probably in England. One would
have thought the King addressing a tourist just starting on a little
pleasure-excursion. And this was precisely the moment when Alexander had
been writing those affectionate phrases to the Queen which had been
considered by the counsellors at Greenwich so "princely and Christianly,"
and which Croft had pronounced such "very good words."

If there had been no hostile, fleet to prevent, it was to be hoped, said
Philip, that, in the name of God, the passage had been made. "Once landed
there," continued the King, "I am persuaded that you will give me a good
account of yourself, and, with the help of our Lord, that you will do
that service which I desire to render to Him, and that He will guide our
cause, which is His own, and of such great importance to His Church." A
part of the fleet would soon after arrive and bring six thousand
Spaniards, the Pope's million, and other good things, which might prove
useful to Parma, presupposing that they would find him established on the
enemy's territory.

This conviction that the enterprise had been already accomplished grew
stronger in the King's breast every day. He was only a little disturbed
lest Farnese should have misunderstood that 14th November letter.
Philip--as his wont was--had gone into so many petty and puzzling
details, and had laid down rules of action suitable for various
contingencies, so easy to put comfortably upon paper, but which might
become perplexing in action, that it was no wonder he should be a little
anxious. The third contingency suggested by him had really occurred.
There had been a composition between the foreign mercenaries and the
French King. Nevertheless they had also been once or twice defeated, and
this was contingency number two. Now which of the events would the Duke
consider as having really occurred. It was to be hoped that he would have
not seen cause for delay, for in truth number three was not exactly the
contingency which existed. France was still in a very satisfactory state
of discord and rebellion. The civil war was by no means over. There was
small fear of peace that winter. Give Mucio his pittance with frugal
hand, and that dangerous personage would ensure tranquillity for Philip's
project, and misery for Henry III. and his subjects for an indefinite
period longer. The King thought it improbable that Farnese could have
made any mistake. He expressed therefore a little anxiety at having
received no intelligence from him, but had great confidence that, with
the aid of the Lord and of with his own courage he had accomplished the
great exploit. Philip had only, recommended delay in event of a general
peace in France--Huguenots, Royalists, Leaguers, and all. This had not
happened. "Therefore, I trust," said the King; "that you--perceiving that
this is not contingency number three which was to justify a pause--will
have already executed the enterprise, and fulfilled my desire. I am
confident that the deed is done, and that God has blessed it, and I am
now expecting the news from hour to hour."

But Alexander had not yet arrived in England. The preliminaries for the
conquest caused him more perplexity than the whole enterprise occasioned
to Philip. He was very short of funds. The five millions were not to be
touched, except for the expenses of the invasion. But as England was to
be subjugated, in order that rebellious Holland might be recovered, it
was hardly reasonable to go away leaving such inadequate forces in the
Netherlands as to ensure not only independence to the new republic, but
to hold out temptation for revolt to the obedient Provinces. Yet this was
the dilemma in which the Duke was placed. So much money had been set
aside for the grand project that there was scarcely anything for the
regular military business. The customary supplies had not been sent.
Parma had leave to draw for six hundred thousand ducats, and he was able
to get that draft discounted on the Antwerp Exchange by consenting to
receive five hundred thousand, or sacrificing sixteen per cent. of the
sum. A good number of transports, and scows had been collected, but there
had been a deficiency of money for their proper equipment, as the five
millions had been very slow in coming, and were still upon the road. The
whole enterprise was on the point of being sacrificed, according to
Farnese, for want of funds. The time for doing the deed had arrived, and
he declared himself incapacitated by poverty. He expressed his disgust
and resentment in language more energetic than courtly; and protested
that he was not to blame. "I always thought," said he bitterly, "that
your Majesty would provide all that was necessary even in superfluity,
and not limit me beneath the ordinary. I did not suppose, when it was
most important to have ready money, that I should be kept short, and not
allowed to draw certain sums by anticipation, which I should have done
had you not forbidden."

This was, through life, a striking characteristic of Philip. Enormous
schemes were laid out with utterly inadequate provision for their
accomplishment, and a confident expectation entertained that wild,
visions were; in some indefinite way, to be converted into substantial
realities, without fatigue or personal exertion on his part, and with a
very trifling outlay of ready money.

Meantime the faithful Farnese did his best. He was indefatigable night
and day in getting his boats together and providing his munitions of war.
He dug a canal from Sas de Gand--which was one of his principal
depots--all the way to Sluys, because the water-communication between
those two points was entirely in the hands of the Hollanders and
Zeelanders. The rebel cruisers swarmed in the Scheldt, from, Flushing
almost to Antwerp, so that it was quite impossible for Parma's forces to
venture forth at all; and it also seemed hopeless to hazard putting to
sea from Sluys. At the same, time he had appointed his, commissioners to
treat with the English envoys already named by the Queen. There had been
much delay in the arrival of those deputies, on account of the noise
raised by Barneveld and his followers; but Burghley was now sanguine that
the exposure of what he called the Advocate's seditious, false, and
perverse proceedings, would enable Leicester to procure the consent of
the States to a universal peace.

And thus, with these parallel schemes of invasion and negotiation,
spring; summer, and autumn, had worn away. Santa Cruz was still with his
fleet in Lisbon, Cadiz, and the Azores; and Parma was in Brussels, when
Philip fondly imagined him established in Greenwich Palace. When made
aware of his master's preposterous expectations, Alexander would have
been perhaps amused, had he not been half beside himself with
indignation. Such folly seemed incredible. There was not the slightest
appearance of a possibility of making a passage without the protection of
the Spanish fleet, he observed. His vessels were mere transport-boats,
without the least power of resisting an enemy. The Hollanders and
Zeelanders, with one hundred and forty cruisers, had shut him up in all
directions. He could neither get out from Antwerp nor from Sluys. There
were large English ships, too, cruising in the channel, and they were
getting ready in the Netherlands and in England "most furiously." The
delays had been so great, that their secret had been poorly kept, and the
enemy was on his guard. If Santa Cruz had come, Alexander declared that
he should have already been in England. When he did come he should still
be prepared to make the passage; but to talk of such an attempt without
the Armada was senseless, and he denounced the madness of that
proposition to his Majesty in vehement and unmeasured terms. His army, by
sickness and other causes, had been reduced to one-half the number
considered necessary for the invasion, and the rebels had established
regular squadrons in the Scheldt, in the very teeth of the forts, at
Lillo, Liefkenshoek, Saftingen, and other points close to Antwerp. There
were so many of these war-vessels, and all in such excellent order, that
they were a most notable embarrassment to him, he observed, and his own
flotilla would run great risk of being utterly destroyed. Alexander had
been personally superintending matters at Sluys, Ghent, and Antwerp, and
had strengthened with artillery the canal which he had constructed
between Sas and Sluys. Meantime his fresh troops had been slowly
arriving, but much sickness prevailed among them. The Italians were dying
fast, almost all the Spaniards were in hospital, and the others were so
crippled and worn out that it was most pitiable to behold them; yet it
was absolutely necessary that those who were in health should accompany
him to England, since otherwise his Spanish force would be altogether too
weak to do the service expected. He had got together a good number of
transports. Not counting his Antwerp fleet--which could not stir from
port, as he bitterly complained, nor be of any use, on account of the
rebel blockade--he had between Dunkerk and Newport seventy-four vessels
of various kinds fit for sea-service, one hundred and fifty flat-bottoms
(pleytas), and seventy riverhoys, all which were to be assembled at
Sluys, whence they would--so soon as Santa Cruz should make his
appearance--set forth for England. This force of transports he pronounced
sufficient, when properly protected by the Spanish Armada, to carry
himself and his troops across the channel. If, therefore, the matter did
not become publicly known, and if the weather proved favourable, it was
probable that his Majesty's desire would soon be fulfilled according to
the plan proposed. The companies of light horse and of arquebusmen, with
which he meant to make his entrance into London, had been clothed, armed,
and mounted, he said, in a manner delightful to contemplate, and those
soldiers at least might be trusted--if they could only effect their
passage--to do good service, and make matters quite secure.

But craftily as the King and Duke had been dealing, it had been found
impossible to keep such vast preparations entirely secret. Walsingham was
in full possession of their plans down to the most minute details. The
misfortune was that he was unable to persuade his sovereign, Lord
Burghley, and others of the peace-party, as to the accuracy of his
information. Not only was he thoroughly instructed in regard to the
number of men, vessels, horses, mules, saddles, spurs, lances, barrels of
beer and tons of biscuit, and other particulars of the contemplated
invasion, but he had even received curious intelligence as to the
gorgeous equipment of those very troops, with which the Duke was just
secretly announcing to the King his intention of making his triumphal
entrance into the English capital. Sir Francis knew how many thousand
yards of cramoisy velvet, how many hundredweight of gold and silver
embroidery, how much satin and feathers, and what quantity of pearls and
diamonds; Farnese had been providing himself withal. He knew the tailors,
jewellers, silversmiths, and haberdashers, with whom the great
Alexander--as he now began to be called--had been dealing; but when he
spoke at the council-board, it was to ears wilfully deaf.

   ["There is provided for lights a great number of torches, and so
   tempered that no water can put them out. A great number of little
   mills for grinding corn, great store of biscuit baked and oxen
   salted, great number of saddles and boots also there is made 500
   pair of velvet shoes-red, crimson velvet, and in every cloister
   throughout the country great quantity of roses made of silk, white
   and red, which are to be badges for divers of his gentlemen. By
   reason of these roses it is expected he is going for England. There
   is sold to the Prince by John Angel, pergaman, ten hundred-weight of
   velvet, gold and silver to embroider his apparel withal. The
   covering to his mules is most gorgeously embroidered with gold and
   silver, which carry his baggage. There is also sold to him by the
   Italian merchants at least 670 pieces of velvet to apparel him and
   his train. Every captain has received a gift from the Prince to
   make himself brave, and for Captain Corralini, an Italian, who hath
   one cornet of horse, I have seen with my eyes a saddle with the
   trappings of his horse, his coat and rapier and dagger, which cost
   3,500 French crowns. (!!) All their lances are painted of divers
   colours, blue and white, green and White, and most part blood-red--
   so there is as great preparation for a triumph as for war. A great
   number of English priests come to Antwerp from all places. The
   commandment is given to all the churches to read the Litany daily
   for the prosperity of the Prince in his enterprise." John Giles to
   Walsingham, 4 Dec. 1587.(S. P. Office MS.)

   The same letter conveyed also very detailed information concerning
   the naval preparations by the Duke, besides accurate intelligence in
   regard to the progress of the armada in Cadiz and Lisbon.

   Sir William Russet wrote also from Flushing concerning these
   preparations in much the same strain; but it is worthy of note that
   he considered Farnese to be rather intending a movement against

   "The Prince of Parma," he said, "is making great preparations for
   war, and with all expedition means to march a great army, and for a
   triumph, the coats and costly, apparel for his own body doth exceed
   for embroidery, and beset with jewels; for all the embroiderers and
   diamond-cutters work both night and day, such haste is made. Five
   hundred velvet coats of one sort for lances, and a great number of
   brave new coats made for horsemen; 30,000 men are ready, and gather
   in Brabant and Flanders. It is said that there shall be in two days
   10,000 to do some great exploit in these parts, and 20,000 to march
   with the Prince into France, and for certain it is not known what
   way or how they shall march, but all are ready at an hour's warning
   --4,000 saddles, 4000 lances. 6,000 pairs of boots, 2,000 barrels of
   beer, biscuit sufficient for a camp of 20,000 men, &c. The Prince
   hath received a marvellous costly garland or crown from the Pope,
   and is chosen chief of the holy league..."]

Nor was much concealed from the Argus-eyed politicians in the republic.
The States were more and more intractable. They knew nearly all the truth
with regard to the intercourse between the Queen's government and
Farnese, and they suspected more than the truth. The list of English
commissioners privately agreed upon between Burghley and De Loo was known
to Barneveld, Maurice, and Hohenlo, before it came to the ears of
Leicester. In June, Buckhurst had been censured by Elizabeth for opening
the peace matter to members of the States, according to her bidding, and
in July Leicester was rebuked for exactly the opposite delinquency. She
was very angry that he had delayed the communication of her policy so
long, but she expressed her anger only when that policy had proved so
transparent as to make concealment hopeless. Leicester, as well as
Buckhurst, knew that it was idle to talk to the Netherlanders of peace,
because of their profound distrust in every word that came from Spanish
or Italian lips; but Leicester, less frank than Buckhurst, preferred to
flatter his sovereign, rather than to tell her unwelcome truths. More
fortunate than Buckhurst, he was rewarded for his flattery by boundless
affection, and promotion to the very highest post in England when the
hour of England's greatest peril had arrived, while the truth-telling
counsellor was consigned to imprisonment and disgrace. When the Queen
complained sharply that the States were mocking her, and that she was
touched in honour at the prospect of not keeping her plighted word to
Farnese, the Earl assured her that the Netherlanders were fast changing
their views; that although the very name of peace had till then been
odious and loathsome, yet now, as coming from her Majesty, they would
accept it with thankful hearts.

The States, or the leading members of that assembly, factious fellows,
pestilent and seditious knaves, were doing their utmost, and were singing
sirens' songs' to enchant and delude the people, but they were fast
losing their influence--so warmly did the country desire to conform to
her Majesty's pleasure. He expatiated, however, upon the difficulties in
his path. The knowledge possessed by the pestilent fellows as to the
actual position of affairs, was very mischievous. It was honey to Maurice
and Hohenlo, he said, that the Queen's secret practices with Farnese had
thus been discovered. Nothing could be more marked than the jollity with
which the ringleaders hailed these preparations for peace-making, for
they now felt certain that the government of their country had been fixed
securely in their own hands. They were canonized, said the Earl, for
their hostility to peace.

Should not this conviction, on the part of men who had so many means of
feeling the popular pulse, have given the Queen's government pause? To
serve his sovereign in truth, Leicester might have admitted a possibility
at least of honesty on the part of men who were so ready to offer up
their lives for their country. For in a very few weeks he was obliged to
confess that the people were no longer so well disposed to acquiesce in
her Majesty's policy. The great majority, both of the States and the
people, were in favour, he agreed, of continuing the war. The inhabitants
of the little Province of Holland alone, he said, had avowed their
determination to maintain their rights--even if obliged to fight
single-handed--and to shed the last drop in their veins, rather than to
submit again to Spanish tyranny. This seemed a heroic resolution, worthy
the sympathy of a brave Englishman, but the Earl's only comment upon it
was, that it proved the ringleaders "either to be traitors or else the
most blindest asses in the world." He never scrupled, on repeated
occasions, to insinuate that Barneveld, Hohenlo, Buys, Roorda, Sainte
Aldegonde, and the Nassaus, had organized a plot to sell their country to
Spain. Of this there was not the faintest evidence, but it was the only
way in which he chose to account for their persistent opposition to the
peace-negotiations, and to their reluctance to confer absolute power on
himself. "'Tis a crabbed, sullen, proud kind of people," said he, "and
bent on establishing a popular government,"--a purpose which seemed
somewhat inconsistent with the plot for selling their country to Spain,
which he charged in the same breath on the same persons.

Early in August, by the Queen's command, he had sent a formal
communication respecting the private negotiations to the States, but he
could tell them no secret. The names of the commissioners, and even the
supposed articles of a treaty already concluded, were flying from town to
town, from mouth to mouth, so that the Earl pronounced it impossible for
one, not on the spot, to imagine the excitement which existed.

He had sent a state-counsellor, one Bardesius, to the Hague, to open the
matter; but that personage had only ventured to whisper a word to one or
two members of the States, and was assured that the proposition, if made,
would raise such a tumult of fury, that he might fear for his life. So
poor Bardesius came back to Leicester, fell on his knees, and implored
him; at least to pause in these fatal proceedings. After an interval, he
sent two eminent statesmen, Valk and Menin, to lay the subject before the
assembly. They did so, and it was met by fierce denunciation. On their
return, the Earl, finding that so much violence had been excited,
pretended that they had misunderstood his meaning, and that he had never
meant to propose peace-negotiations. But Valk and Menin were too old
politicians to be caught in such a trap, and they produced a brief, drawn
up in Italian--the foreign language best understood by the Earl--with his
own corrections and interlineations, so that he was forced to admit that
there had been no misconception.

Leicester at last could no longer doubt that he was universally odious in
the Provinces. Hohenlo, Barneveld, and the rest, who had "championed the
country against the peace," were carrying all before them. They had
persuaded the people, that the "Queen was but a tickle stay for them,"
and had inflated young Maurice with vast ideas of his importance, telling
him that he was "a natural patriot, the image of his noble father, whose
memory was yet great among them, as good reason, dying in their cause, as
he had done." The country was bent on a popular government, and on
maintaining the war. There was no possibility, he confessed, that they
would ever confer the authority on him which they had formerly bestowed.
The Queen had promised, when he left England the second time, that his
absence should be for but three months, and he now most anxiously claimed
permission to depart. Above all things, he deprecated being employed as a
peace-commissioner. He was, of all men, the most unfit for such a post.
At the same time he implored the statesmen at home to be wary in
selecting the wisest persons for that arduous duty, in order that the
peace might be made for Queen Elizabeth, as well as for King Philip. He
strongly recommended, for that duty, Beale, the councillor, who with
Killigrew had replaced the hated Wilkes and the pacific Bartholomew
Clerk. "Mr. Beale, brother-in-law to Walsingham, is in my books a
prince," said the Earl. "He was drowned in England, but most useful in
the Netherlands. Without him I am naked."

And at last the governor told the Queen what Buckhurst and Walsingham had
been perpetually telling her, that the Duke of Parma meant mischief; and
he sent the same information as to hundreds of boats preparing, with six
thousand shirts for camisados, 7000 pairs of wading boots, and saddles,
stirrups, and spurs, enough for a choice band of 3000 men. A shrewd
troop, said the Earl, of the first soldiers in Christendom, to be landed
some fine morning in England. And he too had heard of the jewelled suits
of cramoisy velvet, and all the rest of the finery with which the
triumphant Alexander was intending to astonish London. "Get horses
enough, and muskets enough in England," exclaimed Leicester, "and then
our people will not be beaten, I warrant you, if well led."

And now, the governor--who, in order to soothe his sovereign and comply
with her vehement wishes, had so long misrepresented the state of public
feeling--not only confessed that Papists and Protestants, gentle and
simple, the States and the people, throughout the republic, were all
opposed to any negotiation with the enemy, but lifted up his own voice,
and in earnest language expressed his opinion of the Queen's infatuation.

"Oh, my Lord, what a treaty is this for peace," said he to Burghley,
"that we must treat, altogether disarmed and weakened, and the King
having made his forces stronger than ever he had known in these parts,
besides what is coming out, of Spain, and yet we will presume of good
conditions. It grieveth me to the heart. But I fear you will all smart
for it, and I pray God her Majesty feel it not, if it be His blessed
will. She meaneth well and sincerely to have peace, but God knows that
this is not the way. Well, God Almighty defend us and the realm, and
especially her Majesty. But look for a sharp war, or a miserable peace,
to undo others and ourselves after."

Walsingham, too, was determined not to act as a commissioner. If his
failing health did not serve as an excuse, he should be obliged to
refuse, he said, and so forfeit her Majesty's favour, rather than be
instrumental in bringing about her ruin, and that of his country. Never
for an instant had the Secretary of State faltered in his opposition to
the timid policy of Burghley. Again and again he had detected the
intrigues of the Lord-Treasurer and Sir James Croft, and ridiculed the
"comptroller's peace."

And especially did Walsingham bewail the implicit confidence which the
Queen placed in the sugary words of Alexander, and the fatal parsimony
which caused her to neglect defending herself against Scotland; for he
was as well informed as was Farnese himself of Philip's arrangements with
the Scotch lords, and of the subsidies in men and money by which their
invasion of England was to be made part of the great scheme. "No one
thing," sighed Walsingham, "doth more prognosticate an alteration of this
estate, than that a prince of her Majesty's judgment should neglect, in
respect of a little charges, the stopping of so dangerous a gap. . . .
The manner of our cold and careless proceeding here, in this time of
peril, maketh me to take no comfort of my recovery of health, for that I
see, unless it shall please God in mercy and miraculously to preserve us,
we cannot long stand."

Leicester, finding himself unable to counteract the policy of Barneveld
and his party, by expostulation or argument, conceived a very dangerous
and criminal project before he left the country. The facts are somewhat
veiled in mystery; but he was suspected, on weighty evidence, of a design
to kidnap both Maurice and Barneveld, and carry them off to England. Of
this intention, which was foiled at any rate, before it could be carried
into execution, there is perhaps not conclusive proof, but it has already
been shown, from a deciphered letter, that the Queen had once given
Buckhurst and Wilkes peremptory orders to seize the person of Hohenlo,
and it is quite possible that similar orders may have been received at a
later moment with regard to the young Count and the Advocate. At any
rate, it is certain that late in the autumn, some friends of Barneveld
entered his bedroom, at the Hague, in the dead of night, and informed him
that a plot was on foot to lay violent hands upon him, and that an armed
force was already on its way to execute this purpose of Leicester, before
the dawn of day. The Advocate, without loss of time, took his departure
for Delft, a step which was followed, shortly afterwards, by Maurice.

Nor was this the only daring--stroke which the Earl had meditated. During
the progress of the secret negotiations with Parma, he had not neglected
those still more secret schemes to which he had occasionally made
allusion. He had determined, if possible, to obtain possession of the
most important cities in Holland and Zeeland. It was very plain to him,
that he could no longer hope, by fair means, for the great authority once
conferred upon him by the free will of the States. It was his purpose,
therefore, by force and stratagem to recover his lost power. We have
heard the violent terms in which both the Queen and the Earl denounced
the men who accused the English government of any such intention. It had
been formally denied by the States-General that Barneveld had ever used
the language in that assembly with which he had been charged. He had only
revealed to them the exact purport of the letter to Junius, and of the
Queen's secret instructions to Leicester. Whatever he may have said in
private conversation, and whatever deductions he may have made among his
intimate friends, from the admitted facts in the case, could hardly be
made matters of record. It does not appear that he, or the statesmen who
acted with him, considered the Earl capable of a deliberate design to
sell the cities, thus to be acquired, to Spain, as the price of peace for
England. Certainly Elizabeth would have scorned such a crime, and was
justly indignant at rumours prevalent to that effect; but the wrath of
the Queen and of her favourite were, perhaps, somewhat simulated, in
order to cover their real mortification at the discovery of designs on
the part of the Earl which could not be denied. Not only had they been at
last compelled to confess these negotiations, which for several months
had been concealed and stubbornly denied, but the still graver plots of
the Earl to regain his much-coveted authority had been, in a startling
manner, revealed. The leaders of the States-General had a right to
suspect the English Earl of a design to reenact the part of the Duke of
Anjou, and were justified in taking stringent measures to prevent a
calamity, which, as they believed, was impending over their little
commonwealth. The high-handed dealings of Leicester in the city of
Utrecht have been already described. The most respectable and influential
burghers of the place had been imprisoned and banished, the municipal
government wrested from the hands to which it legitimately belonged, and
confided to adventurers, who wore the cloak of Calvinism to conceal their
designs, and a successful effort had been made, in the name of democracy,
to eradicate from one ancient province the liberty on which it prided

In the course of the autumn, an attempt was made to play the same game at
Amsterdam. A plot was discovered, before it was fairly matured, to seize
the magistrates of that important city, to gain possession of the
arsenals, and to place the government in the hands of well-known
Leicestrians. A list of fourteen influential citizens, drawn up in the
writing of Burgrave, the Earl's confidential secretary, was found, all of
whom, it was asserted, had been doomed to the scaffold.

The plot to secure Amsterdam had failed, but, in North Holland, Medenblik
was held firmly for Leicester, by Diedrich Sonoy, in the very teeth of
the States. The important city of Enkhuyzen, too, was very near being
secured for the Earl, but a still more significant movement was made at
Leyden. That heroic city, ever since the famous siege of 1574, in which
the Spaniard had been so signally foiled, had distinguished itself by
great liberality of sentiment in religious matters. The burghers were
inspired by a love of country, and a hatred of oppression, both civil
and, ecclesiastical; and Papists and Protestants, who had fought side by
side against the common foe, were not disposed to tear each other to
pieces, now that he had been excluded from their gates. Meanwhile,
however, refugee Flemings and Brabantines had sought an asylum in the
city, and being, as usual, of the strictest sect of the Calvinists were
shocked at the latitudinarianism which prevailed. To the honour of the
city--as it seems to us now--but, to their horror, it was even found that
one or two Papists had seats in the magistracy. More than all this, there
was a school in the town kept by a Catholic, and Adrian van der Werff
himself--the renowned burgomaster, who had sustained the city during the
dreadful leaguer of 1574, and who had told the famishing burghers that
they might eat him if they liked, but that they should never surrender to
the Spaniards while he remained alive--even Adrian van der Werff had sent
his son to this very school? To the clamour made by the refugees against
this spirit of toleration, one of the favourite preachers in the town, of
Arminian tendencies, had declared in the pulpit, that he would as lieve
see the Spanish as the Calvinistic inquisition established over his
country; using an expression, in regard to the church of Geneva, more
energetic than decorous.

It was from Leyden that the chief opposition came to a synod, by which a
great attempt was to be made towards subjecting the new commonwealth to a
masked theocracy; a scheme which the States of Holland had resisted with
might and main. The Calvinistic party, waxing stronger in Leyden,
although still in a minority, at last resolved upon a strong effort to
place the city in the hands of that great representative of Calvinism,
the Earl of Leicester. Jacques Volmar, a deacon of the church, Cosmo de
Pescarengis, a Genoese captain of much experience in the service of the
republic, Adolphus de Meetkerke, former president of Flanders, who had
been, by the States, deprived of the seat in the great council to which
the Earl had appointed him; Doctor Saravia, professor of theology in the
university, with other deacons, preachers, and captains, went at
different times from Leyden to Utrecht, and had secret interviews with

A plan was at last agreed upon, according to which, about the middle of
October, a revolution should be effected in Leyden. Captain Nicholas de
Maulde, who had recently so much distinguished himself in the defence of
Sluys, was stationed with two companies of States' troops in the city. He
had been much disgusted--not without reason--at the culpable negligence
through which the courageous efforts of the Sluys garrison had been set
at nought, and the place sacrificed, when it might so easily have been
relieved; and he ascribed the whole of the guilt to Maurice, Hohenlo, and
the States, although it could hardly be denied that at least an equal
portion belonged to Leicester and his party. The young captain listened,
therefore, to a scheme propounded to him by Colonel Cosine, and Deacon
Volmar, in the name of Leicester. He agreed, on a certain day, to muster
his company, to leave the city by the Delft gate--as if by command of
superior authority--to effect a junction with Captain Heraugiere, another
of the distinguished malcontent defenders of Sluys, who was stationed,
with his command, at Delft, and then to re-enter Leyden, take possession
of the town-hall, arrest all the magistrates, together with Adrian van
der Werff, ex-burgomaster, and proclaim Lord Leicester, in the name of
Queen Elizabeth, legitimate master of the city. A list of burghers, who
were to be executed, was likewise agreed upon, at a final meeting of the
conspirators in a hostelry, which bore the ominous name of 'The
Thunderbolt.' A desire had been signified by Leicester, in the
preliminary interviews at Utrecht, that all bloodshed, if possible,
should be spared, but it was certainly an extravagant expectation,
considering the temper, the political convictions, and the known courage
of the Leyden burghers, that the city would submit, without a struggle,
to this invasion of all their rights. It could hardly be doubted that the
streets would run red with blood, as those of Antwerp had done, when a
similar attempt, on the part of Anjou, had been foiled.

Unfortunately for the scheme, a day or two before the great stroke was to
be hazarded, Cosmo de Pescarengis had been accidentally arrested for
debt. A subordinate accomplice, taking alarm, had then gone before the
magistrate and revealed the plot. Volmar and de Maulde fled at once, but
were soon arrested in the neighbourhood. President de Meetkerke,
Professor Saravia, the preacher Van der Wauw, and others most
compromised, effected their escape. The matter was instantly laid before
the States of Holland by the magistracy of Leyden, and seemed of the
gravest moment. In the beginning of the year, the fatal treason of York
and Stanley had implanted a deep suspicion of Leicester in the hearts of
almost all the Netherlanders, which could not be eradicated. The painful
rumours concerning the secret negotiations with Spain, and the design
falsely attributed to the English Queen, of selling the chief cities of
the republic to Philip as the price of peace, and of reimbursement for
expenses incurred by her, increased the general excitement to fever. It
was felt by the leaders of the States that as mortal a combat lay before
them with the Earl of Leicester, as with the King of Spain, and that it
was necessary to strike a severe blow, in order to vindicate their
imperilled authority.

A commission was appointed by the high court of Holland, acting in
conjunction with the States of the Provinces, to try the offenders. Among
the commissioners were Adrian van der Werff, John van der Does, who had
been military commandant of Leyden during the siege, Barneveld, and other
distinguished personages, over whom Count Maurice presided. The accused
were subjected to an impartial trial. Without torture, they confessed
their guilt. It is true, however, that Cosmo was placed within sight of
the rack. He avowed that his object had been to place the city under the
authority of Leicester, and to effect this purpose, if possible, without
bloodshed. He declared that the attempt was to be made with the full
knowledge and approbation of the Earl, who had promised him the command
of a regiment of twelve companies, as a recompense for his services, if
they proved successful. Leicester, said Cosmo, had also pledged himself,
in case the men, thus executing his plans, should be discovered and
endangered, to protect and rescue them, even at the sacrifice of all his
fortune, and of the office he held. When asked if he had any written
statement from his Excellency to that effect, Cosmo replied, no, nothing
but his princely word which he had voluntarily given.

Volmar made a similar confession. He, too, declared that he had acted
throughout the affair by express command of the Earl of Leicester. Being
asked if he had any written evidence of the fact, he, likewise, replied
in the negative. "Then his Excellency will unquestionably deny your
assertion," said the judges. "Alas, then am I a dead man," replied
Volmar, and the unfortunate deacon never spoke truer words. Captain de
Maulde also confessed his crime. He did not pretend, however, to have had
any personal communication with Leicester, but said that the affair had
been confided to him by Colonel Cosmo, on the express authority of the
Earl, and that he had believed himself to be acting in obedience to his
Excellency's commands.

On the 26th October, after a thorough investigation, followed by a full
confession on the part of the culprits, the three were sentenced to
death. The decree was surely a most severe one. They had been guilty of
no actual crime, and only in case of high treason could an intention to
commit a crime be considered, by the laws of the state, an offence
punishable with death. But it was exactly because it was important to
make the crime high treason that the prisoners were condemned. The
offence was considered as a crime not against Leyden, but as an attempt
to levy war upon a city which was a member of the States of Holland and
of the United States. If the States were sovereign, then this was a
lesion of their sovereignty. Moreover, the offence had been aggravated by
the employment of United States' troops against the commonwealth of the
United States itself. To cut off the heads of these prisoners was a sharp
practical answer to the claims of sovereignty by Leicester, as
representing the people, and a terrible warning to all who might, in
future; be disposed to revive the theories of Deventer and Burgrave.

In the case of De Maulde the punishment seemed especially severe. His
fate excited universal sympathy, and great efforts were made to obtain
his pardon. He was a universal favourite; he was young; he was very
handsome; his manners were attractive; he belonged to an ancient and
honourable race. His father, the Seigneur de Mansart, had done great
services in the war of independence, had been an intimate friend of the
great Prince of Orange, and had even advanced large sums of money to
assist his noble efforts to liberate the country. Two brothers of the
young captain had fallen in the service of the republic. He, too, had
distinguished himself at Ostend, and his gallantry during the recent
siege of Sluys had been in every mouth, and had excited the warm applause
of so good a judge of soldiership as the veteran Roger Williams. The
scars of the wounds received in the desperate conflicts of that siege
were fresh upon his breast. He had not intended to commit treason, but,
convinced by the sophistry of older soldiers than himself, as well as by
learned deacons and theologians, he had imagined himself doing his duty,
while obeying the Earl of Leicester. If there were ever a time for mercy,
this seemed one, and young Maurice of Nassau might have remembered, that
even in the case of the assassins who had attempted the life of his
father, that great-hearted man had lifted up his voice--which seemed his
dying one--in favour of those who had sought his life.

But they authorities were inexorable. There was no hope of a mitigation
of punishment, but a last effort was made, under favour of a singular
ancient custom, to save the life of De Maulde. A young lady of noble
family in Leyden--Uytenbroek by name--claimed the right of rescuing the
condemned malefactor, from the axe, by appearing upon the scaffold, and
offering to take him for her husband.

Intelligence was brought to the prisoner in his dungeon, that the young,
lady had made the proposition, and he was told to be of good cheer: But
he refused to be comforted. He was slightly acquainted with the
gentle-woman, he observed; and doubted much whether her request would be
granted. Moreover if contemporary chronicle can be trusted he even
expressed a preference for the scaffold, as the milder fate of the two.
The lady, however, not being aware of those uncomplimentary sentiments,
made her proposal to the magistrates, but was dismissed with harsh
rebukes. She had need be ashamed, they said; of her willingness to take a
condemned traitor for her husband. It was urged, in her behalf, that even
in the cruel Alva's time, the ancient custom had been respected, and that
victims had been saved from the executioners, on a demand in marriage
made even by women of abandoned character. But all was of no avail. The
prisoners were executed on the 26th October, the same day on which the
sentence had been pronounced. The heads of Volmar and Cosmo were exposed
on one of the turrets of the city. That of Maulde was interred with his

The Earl was indignant when he heard of the event. As there had been no
written proof of his complicity in the conspiracy, the judges had thought
it improper to mention his name in the sentences. He, of course, denied
any knowledge of the plot, and its proof rested therefore only on the
assertion of the prisoners themselves, which, however, was
circumstantial, voluntary, and generally believed!

France, during the whole of this year of expectation, was ploughed
throughout its whole surface by perpetual civil war. The fatal edict of
June, 1585, had drowned the unhappy land in blood. Foreign armies, called
in by the various contending factions, ravaged its-fair territory,
butchered its peasantry, and changed its fertile plains to a wilderness.
The unhappy creature who wore the crown of Charlemagne and of Hugh Capet,
was but the tool in the hands of the most profligate and designing of his
own subjects, and of foreigners. Slowly and surely the net, spread by the
hands of his own mother, of his own prime minister, of the Duke of Guise,
all obeying the command and receiving the stipend of Philip, seemed
closing over him. He was without friends, without power to know his
friends, if he had them. In his hatred to the Reformation, he had allowed
himself to be made the enemy of the only man who could be his friend, or
the friend of France. Allied with his mortal foe, whose armies were
strengthened by contingents from Parma's forces, and paid for by Spanish
gold, he was forced to a mock triumph over the foreign mercenaries who
came to save his crown, and to submit to the defeat of the flower of his
chivalry, by the only man who could rescue France from ruin, and whom
France could look up to with respect.

For, on the 20th October, Henry of Navarre had at last gained a victory.
After twenty-seven years of perpetual defeat, during which they had been
growing stronger and stronger, the Protestants had met the picked troops
of Henry III., under the Due de Joyeuse, near the burgh of Contras. His
cousins Conde and Soissons each commanded a wing in the army of the
Warnese. "You are both of my family," said Henry, before the engagement,
"and the Lord so help me, but I will show you that I am the eldest born."
And during that bloody day the white plume was ever tossing where the
battle, was fiercest. "I choose to show myself. They shall see the
Bearnese," was his reply to those who implored him to have a care for his
personal safety. And at last, when the day was done, the victory gained,
and more French nobles lay dead on the field, as Catharine de' Medici
bitterly declared, than had fallen in a battle for twenty years; when two
thousand of the King's best troops had been slain, and when the bodies of
Joyeuse and his brother had been laid out in the very room where the
conqueror's supper, after the battle, was served, but where he refused,
with a shudder, to eat, he was still as eager as before--had the wretched
Valois been possessed of a spark of manhood, or of intelligence--to
shield him and his kingdom from the common enemy.'

For it could hardly be doubtful, even to Henry III., at that moment, that
Philip II. and his jackal, the Duke of Guise, were pursuing him to the
death, and that, in his breathless doublings to escape, he had been
forced to turn upon his natural protector. And now Joyeuse was defeated
and slain. "Had it been my brother's son," exclaimed Cardinal de Bourbon,
weeping and wailing, "how much better it would have been." It was not
easy to slay the champion of French Protestantism; yet, to one less
buoyant, the game, even after the brilliant but fruitless victory of
Contras, might have seemed desperate. Beggared and outcast, with
literally scarce a shirt to his back, without money to pay a corporal's
guard, how was he to maintain an army?

But 'Mucio' was more successful than Joyeuse had been, and the German and
Swiss mercenaries who had come across the border to assist the Bearnese,
were adroitly handled by Philip's great stipendiary. Henry of Valois,
whose troops had just been defeated at Contras, was now compelled to
participate in a more fatal series of triumphs. For alas, the victim had
tied himself to the apron-string of "Madam League," and was paraded by
her, in triumph, before the eyes of his own subjects and of the world.
The passage of the Loire by the auxiliaries was resisted; a series of
petty victories was gained by Guise, and, at last, after it was obvious
that the leaders of the legions had been corrupted with Spanish ducats,
Henry allowed them to depart, rather than give the Balafre opportunity
for still farther successes.

Then came the triumph in Paris--hosannahs in the churches, huzzas in the
public places--not for the King, but for Guise. Paris, more madly in love
with her champion than ever, prostrated herself at his feet. For him
paeans as to a deliverer. Without him the ark would have fallen into the
hands of the Philistines. For the Valois, shouts of scorn from the
populace, thunders from the pulpit, anathemas from monk and priest,
elaborate invectives from all the pedants of the Sorbonne, distant
mutterings of excommunication from Rome--not the toothless beldame of
modern days, but the avenging divinity of priest-rid monarchs. Such were
the results of the edicts of June. Spain and the Pope had trampled upon
France, and the populace in her capital clapped their hands and jumped
for joy. "Miserable country miserable King," sighed an illustrious
patriot, "whom his own countrymen wish rather to survive, than to die to
defend him! Let the name of Huguenot and of Papist be never heard of
more. Let us think only of the counter-league. Is France to be saved by
opening all its gates to Spain? Is France to be turned out of France, to
make a lodging for the Lorrainer and the Spaniard?" Pregnant questions,
which could not yet be answered, for the end was not yet. France was to
become still more and more a wilderness. And well did that same brave and
thoughtful lover, of his: country declare, that he who should suddenly
awake from a sleep of twenty-five years, and revisit that once beautiful
land, would deem himself transplanted to a barbarous island of
cannibals.--[Duplessis Mornay, 'Mem.' iv. 1-34.]

It had now become quite obvious that the game of Leicester was played
out. His career--as it has now been fully exhibited--could have but one
termination. He had made himself thoroughly odious to the nation whom he
came to govern. He had lost for ever the authority once spontaneously
bestowed; and he had attempted in vain, both by fair means and foul, to
recover that power. There was nothing left him but retreat. Of this he
was thoroughly convinced. He was anxious to be gone, the republic most
desirous to be rid of him, her Majesty impatient to have her favourite
back again. The indulgent Queen, seeing nothing to blame in his conduct,
while her indignation, at the attitude maintained by the Provinces was
boundless, permitted him, accordingly, to return; and in her letter to
the States, announcing this decision, she took a fresh opportunity of
emptying her wrath upon their heads.

She told them, that, notwithstanding her frequent messages to them,
signifying her evil contentment with their unthankfulness for her
exceeding great benefits, and with their gross violations of their
contract with herself and with Leicester, whom they had, of their own
accord, made absolute governor without her instigation; she had never
received any good answer to move, her to commit their sins to oblivion,
nor had she remarked, any amendment in their conduct. On the contrary,
she complained: that they daily increased their offences, most
notoriously in the sight of--the world and in so many points that she
lacked words to express them in one letter. She however thought it worth
while to allude to some of their transgressions. She, declared that their
sinister, or rather barbarous interpretation of her conduct had been
notorious in perverting and falsifying her princely and Christian
intentions; when she imparted to them the overtures that had been made to
her for a treaty of peace for herself and for them with the King of
Spain. Yet although she had required their allowance, before she would
give her assent, she had been grieved that the world should see what
impudent untruths had been forged upon her, not only by their
sufferance; but by their special permission for her Christian good
meaning towards them. She denounced the statements as to her having
concluded a treaty, not only without their knowledge; but with the
sacrifice of their liberty and religion, as utterly false, either for
anything done in act, or intended in thought, by her. She complained that
upon this most false ground had been heaped a number of like untruths and
malicious slanders against her cousin Leicester, who had hazarded his
life, spend his substance, left his native country, absented himself from
her, and lost his time, only for their service. It had been falsely
stated among them, she said, that the Earl had come over the last time,
knowing that peace had been secretly concluded. It was false that he had
intended to surprise divers of their towns, and deliver them to the King
of Spain. All such untruths contained matter so improbable, that it was
most, strange that any person; having any sense, could imagine them
correct. Having thus slightly animadverted upon their wilfulness,
unthankfulness, and bad government, and having, in very plain English,
given them the lie, eight distinct and separate times upon a single page,
she proceeded to inform them that she had recalled her cousin Leicester,
having great cause to use his services in England, and not seeing how, by
his tarrying there, he could either profit them or herself. Nevertheless
she protested herself not void of compassion for their estate, and for
the pitiful condition of the great multitude of kind and godly people,
subject to the miseries which, by the States government, were like to
fall upon them, unless God should specially interpose; and she had
therefore determined, for the time, to continue her subsidies, according
to the covenant between them. If, meantime, she should conclude a peace
with Spain, she promised to them the same care for their country as for
her own.

Accordingly the Earl, after despatching an equally ill-tempered letter to
the States, in which he alluded, at unmerciful length, to all the old
grievances, blamed them for the loss of Sluys, for which place he
protested that they had manifested no more interest than if it had been
San Domingo in Hispaniola, took his departure for Flushing. After
remaining there, in a very moody frame of mind, for several days,
expecting that the States would, at least, send a committee to wait upon
him and receive his farewells, he took leave of them by letter. "God send
me shortly a wind to blow me from them all," he exclaimed--a prayer which
was soon granted--and before the end of the year he was safely landed in
England. "These legs of mine," said he, clapping his hands upon them as
he sat in his chamber at Margate, "shall never go again into Holland. Let
the States get others to serve their mercenary turn, for me they shall
not have." Upon giving up the government, he caused a medal to be struck
in his own honour. The device was a flock of sheep watched by an English
mastiff. Two mottoes--"non gregem aed ingratos," and "invitus
desero"--expressed his opinion of Dutch ingratitude and his own fidelity.
The Hollanders, on their part, struck several medals to commemorate the
same event, some of which were not destitute of invention. Upon one of
them, for instance, was represented an ape smothering her young ones to
death in her embrace, with the device, "Libertas ne its chara ut simiae
catuli;" while upon the reverse was a man avoiding smoke and falling into
the fire, with the inscription, "Fugiens fumum, incidit in ignem."

Leicester found the usual sunshine at Greenwich. All the efforts of
Norris, Wilkes, and Buckhurst, had been insufficient to raise even a
doubt in Elizabeth's mind as to the wisdom and integrity by which his
administration of the Provinces had been characterised from beginning to
end. Those who had appealed from his hatred to the justice of their
sovereign, had met with disgrace and chastisement. But for the great
Earl; the Queen's favour was a rock of adamant. At a private interview he
threw himself at her feet, and with tears and sobs implored her not to
receive him in disgrace whom she had sent forth in honour. His
blandishments prevailed, as they had always done. Instead, therefore, of
appearing before the council, kneeling, to answer such inquiries as ought
surely to have been instituted, he took his seat boldly among his
colleagues, replying haughtily to all murmurs by a reference to her
Majesty's secret instructions.

The unhappy English soldiers, who had gone forth under his banner in
midsummer, had been returning, as they best might, in winter, starving,
half-naked wretches, to beg a morsel of bread at the gates of Greenwich
palace, and to be driven away as vagabonds, with threats of the stock.
This was not the fault of the Earl, for he had fed them with his own
generous hand in the Netherlands, week after week, when no money for
their necessities could be obtained from the paymasters. Two thousand
pounds had been sent by Elizabeth to her soldiers when sixty-four
thousand pounds arrearage were due, and no language could exaggerate the
misery to which these outcasts, according to eye-witnesses of their own
nation, were reduced.

Lord Willoughby was appointed to the command, of what remained of these
unfortunate troops, upon--the Earl's departure. The sovereignty of the
Netherlands remained undisputed with the States. Leicester resigned his,
commission by an instrument dated 17/27 December, which, however, never
reached the Netherlands till April of the following year. From that time
forth the government of the republic maintained the same forms which the
assembly had claimed for it in the long controversy with the
governor-general, and which have been sufficiently described.

Meantime the negotiations for a treaty, no longer secret, continued. The
Queen; infatuated as ever, still believed in the sincerity of Farnese,
while that astute personage and his master were steadily maturing their
schemes. A matrimonial alliance was secretly projected between the King
of Scots and Philip's daughter, the Infants Isabella, with the consent of
the Pope and the whole college of cardinals; and James, by the whole
force of the Holy League, was to be placed upon the throne of Elizabeth.
In the case of his death, without issue, Philip was to succeed quietly to
the crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Nothing could be simpler or
more rational, and accordingly these arrangements were the table-talk at
Rome, and met with general approbation.

Communications to this effect; coming straight from the Colonna palace,
were thought sufficiently circumstantial to be transmitted to the English
government. Maurice of Nassau wrote with his own hand to Walsingham,
professing a warm attachment to the cause in which Holland and England
were united, and perfect personal devotion to the English Queen.

His language, was not that of a youth, who, according to Leicester's
repeated insinuations, was leagued with the most distinguished soldiers
and statesmen of the Netherlands to sell their country to Spain.

But Elizabeth was not to be convinced. She thought it extremely probable
that the Provinces would be invaded, and doubtless felt some anxiety for
England. It was unfortunate that the possession of Sluys had given
Alexander such a point of vantage; and there was moreover, a fear that he
might take possession of Ostend. She had, therefore, already recommended
that her own troops should be removed from that city, that its walls
should be razed; its marine bulwarks destroyed, and that the ocean.
should be let in to swallow the devoted city forever--the inhabitants
having been previously allowed to take their departure. For it was
assumed by her Majesty that to attempt resistance would be idle, and that
Ostend could never stand a siege.

The advice was not taken; and before the end of her reign Elizabeth was
destined to see this indefensible city--only fit, in her judgment, to be
abandoned to the waves--become memorable; throughout all time, for the
longest; and, in many respects, the most remarkable siege which modern
history has recorded, the famous leaguer, in which the first European
captains of the coming age were to take their lessons, year after year,
in the school of the great Dutch soldier, who was now but a "solemn, sly
youth," just turned of twenty.

The only military achievement which characterized the close of the year,
to the great satisfaction of the Provinces and the annoyance of Parma,
was the surprise of the city of Bonn. The indefatigable Martin Schenk--in
fulfilment of his great contract with the States-General, by which the
war on the Rhine had been farmed out to him on such profitable
terms:--had led his mercenaries against this important town. He had found
one of its gates somewhat insecurely guarded, placed a mortar under it at
night, and occupied a neighbouring pig-stye with a number of his men, who
by chasing, maltreating, and slaughtering the swine, had raised an
unearthly din, sufficient to drown the martial operations at the gate. In
brief, the place was easily mastered, and taken possession of by Martin,
in the name of the deposed elector, Gebhard Truchsess--the first stroke
of good fortune which had for a long time befallen that melancholy

The administration of Leicester has been so minutely pictured, that it
would be superfluous to indulge in many concluding reflections. His acts
and words have been made to speak for themselves. His career in the
country has been described with much detail, because the period was a
great epoch of transition. The republic of the Netherlands, during those
years, acquired consistency and permanent form. It seemed possible, on
the Earl's first advent, that the Provinces might become part and parcel
of the English realm. Whether such a consummation would have been
desirable or not, is a fruitless enquiry. But it is certain that the
selection of such a man as Leicester made that result impossible.
Doubtless there were many errors committed by all parties. The Queen was
supposed by the Netherlands to be secretly desirous of accepting the
sovereignty of the Provinces, provided she were made sure, by the Earl's
experience, that they were competent to protect themselves. But this
suspicion was unfounded. The result of every investigation showed the
country so full of resources, of wealth, and of military and naval
capabilities, that, united with England, it would have been a source of
great revenue and power, not a burthen and an expense. Yet, when
convinced of such facts, by the statistics which were liberally laid
before her by her confidential agents, she never manifested, either in
public or private, any intention of accepting the sovereignty. This being
her avowed determination, it was an error on the part of the States,
before becoming thoroughly acquainted with the man's character, to confer
upon Leicester the almost boundless authority which they granted on, his
first arrival. It was a still graver mistake, on the part of Elizabeth,
to give way to such explosions of fury, both against the governor and the
States, when informed of the offer and acceptance of that authority. The
Earl, elevated by the adulation of others, and by his own vanity, into an
almost sovereign attitude, saw himself chastised before the world, like
an aspiring lackey, by her in whose favour he had felt most secure. He
found, himself, in an instant, humbled and ridiculous. Between himself
and the Queen it was, something of a lovers' quarrel, and he soon found
balsam in the hand that smote him. But though reinstated in authority, he
was never again the object of reverence in the land he was attempting to
rule. As he came to know the Netherlanders better, he recognized the
great capacity which their statesmen concealed under a plain and
sometimes a plebeian exterior, and the splendid grandee hated, where at
first he had only despised. The Netherlanders, too, who had been used to
look up almost with worship to a plain man of kindly manners, in felt hat
and bargeman's woollen jacket, whom they called "Father William," did not
appreciate, as they ought, the magnificence of the stranger who had been
sent to govern them. The Earl was handsome, quick-witted, brave; but he
was, neither wise in council nor capable in the field. He was intolerably
arrogant, passionate, and revengeful. He hated easily, and he hated for
life. It was soon obvious that no cordiality of feeling or of action
could exist between him and the plain, stubborn Hollanders. He had the
fatal characteristic of loving only the persons who flattered him. With
much perception of character, sense of humour, and appreciation of
intellect, he recognized the power of the leading men in the nation, and
sought to gain them. So long as he hoped success, he was loud in their
praises. They were all wise, substantial, well-languaged, big fellows,
such as were not to be found in England or anywhere else. When they
refused to be made his tools, they became tinkers, boors, devils, and
atheists. He covered them with curses and devoted them to the gibbet. He
began by warmly commending Buys and Barneveld, Hohenlo and Maurice, and
endowing them with every virtue. Before he left the country he had
accused them of every crime, and would cheerfully, if he could, have
taken the life of every one of them. And it was quite the same with
nearly every Englishman who served with or under him. Wilkes and
Buckhurst, however much the objects of his previous esteem; so soon as
they ventured to censure or even to criticise his proceedings, were at
once devoted to perdition. Yet, after minute examination of the record,
public and private, neither Wilkes nor Buckhurst can be found guilty of
treachery or animosity towards him, but are proved to have been governed,
in all their conduct, by a strong sense of duty to their sovereign, the
Netherlands, and Leicester himself.

To Sir John Norris, it must be allowed, that he was never fickle, for he
had always entertained for that distinguished general an honest,
unswerving, and infinite hatred, which was not susceptible of increase or
diminution by any act or word. Pelham, too, whose days were numbered, and
who was dying bankrupt and broken-hearted, at the close of the Earl's
administration, had always been regarded by him with tenderness and
affection. But Pelham had never thwarted him, had exposed his life for
him, and was always proud of being his faithful, unquestioning, humble
adherent. With perhaps this single exception, Leicester found himself at
the end of his second term in the Provinces, without a single friend and
with few respectable partisans. Subordinate mischievous intriguers like
Deventer, Junius, and Otheman, were his chief advisers and the
instruments of his schemes.

With such qualifications it was hardly possible--even if the current of
affairs had been flowing smoothly--that he should prove a successful
governor of the new republic. But when the numerous errors and
adventitious circumstances are considered--for some of which he was
responsible, while of others he was the victim--it must be esteemed
fortunate that no great catastrophe occurred. His immoderate elevation;
his sudden degradation, his controversy in regard to the sovereignty, his
abrupt departure for England, his protracted absence, his mistimed
return, the secret instructions for his second administration, the
obstinate parsimony and persistent ill-temper of the Queen--who, from the
beginning to the end of the Earl's government, never addressed a kindly
word to the Netherlanders, but was ever censuring and brow beating them
in public state-papers and private epistles--the treason of York and
Stanley, above all, the disastrous and concealed negotiations with Parma,
and the desperate attempts upon Amsterdam and Leyden--all placed him in a
most unfortunate position from first to last. But he was not competent
for his post under any circumstances. He was not the statesman to deal in
policy with Buys, Barneveld, Ortel, Sainte Aldegonde; nor the soldier to
measure himself against Alexander Farnese. His administration was a
failure; and although he repeatedly hazarded his life, and poured out his
wealth in their behalf with an almost unequalled liberality, he could
never gain the hearts of the Netherlanders. English valour, English
intelligence, English truthfulness, English generosity, were endearing
England more and more to Holland. The statesmen of both countries were
brought into closest union, and learned to appreciate and to respect each
other, while they recognized that the fate of their respective
commonwealths was indissolubly united. But it was to the efforts of
Walsingham, Drake, Raleigh, Wilkes, Buckburst, Norris, Willoughby,
Williams, Vere, Russell, and the brave men who fought under their banners
or their counsels, on every battle-field, and in every beleaguered town
in the Netherlands, and to the universal spirit and sagacity of the
English nation, in this grand crisis of its fate, that these fortunate
results were owing; not to the Earl of Leicester, nor--during the term of
his administration--to Queen Elizabeth herself.

In brief, the proper sphere of this remarkable personage, and the one in
which he passed the greater portion of his existence, was that of a
magnificent court favourite, the spoiled darling, from youth to his
death-bed, of the great English Queen; whether to the advantage or not of
his country and the true interests of his sovereign, there can hardly be
at this day any difference of opinion.


     Act of Uniformity required Papists to assist
     As lieve see the Spanish as the Calvinistic inquisition
     Elizabeth (had not) the faintest idea of religious freedom
     God, whose cause it was, would be pleased to give good weather
     Heretics to the English Church were persecuted
     Look for a sharp war, or a miserable peace
     Loving only the persons who flattered him
     Not many more than two hundred Catholics were executed
     Only citadel against a tyrant and a conqueror was distrust
     Stake or gallows (for) heretics to transubstantiation
     States were justified in their almost unlimited distrust
     Undue anxiety for impartiality
     Wealthy Papists could obtain immunity by an enormous fine


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 55, 1588


   Prophecies as to the Year 1588--Distracted Condition of the Dutch
   Republic--Willoughby reluctantly takes Command--English
   Commissioners come to Ostend--Secretary Gamier and Robert Cecil--
   Cecil accompanies Dale to Ghent--And finds the Desolation complete--
   Interview of Dale and Cecil with Parma--His fervent Expressions in
   favour of Peace--Cecil makes a Tour in Flanders--And sees much that
   is remarkable--Interviews of Dr. Rogers with Parma--Wonderful
   Harangues of the Envoy--Extraordinary Amenity of Alexander--With
   which Rogers is much touched--The Queen not pleased with her Envoy--
   Credulity of the English Commissioners--Ceremonious Meeting of all
   the Envoys--Consummate Art in wasting Time--Long Disputes about
   Commissions--The Spanish Commissions meant to deceive--Disputes
   about Cessation of Arms--Spanish Duplicity and Procrastination--
   Pedantry and Credulity of Dr. Dale--The Papal Bull and Dr. Allen's
   Pamphlet--Dale sent to ask Explanations--Parma denies all Knowledge
   of either--Croft believes to the last in Alexander.

The year 1588 had at last arrived--that fatal year concerning which the
German astrologers--more than a century before had prognosticated such
dire events. As the epoch approached it was firmly believed by many that
the end of the world was at hand, while the least superstitious could not
doubt that great calamities were impending over the nations. Portents
observed during the winter and in various parts of Europe came to
increase the prevailing panic. It rained blood in Sweden, monstrous
births occurred in France, and at Weimar it was gravely reported by
eminent chroniclers that the sun had appeared at mid-day holding a drawn
sword in his mouth--a warlike portent whose meaning could not be

But, in truth, it needed no miracles nor prophecies to enforce the
conviction that a long procession of disasters was steadily advancing.
With France rent asunder by internal convulsions, with its imbecile king
not even capable of commanding a petty faction among his own subjects,
with Spain the dark cause of unnumbered evils, holding Italy in its
grasp, firmly allied with the Pope, already having reduced and nearly
absorbed France, and now, after long and patient preparation, about to
hurl the concentrated vengeance and hatred of long years upon the little
kingdom of England, and its only ally--the just organized commonwealth of
the Netherlands--it would have been strange indeed if the dullest
intellect had not dreamed of tragical events. It was not encouraging that
there should be distraction in the counsels of the two States so
immediately threatened; that the Queen of England should be at variance
with her wisest and most faithful statesmen as to their course of action,
and that deadly quarrels should exist between the leading men of the
Dutch republic and the English governor, who had assumed the
responsibility of directing its energies against the common enemy.

The blackest night that ever descended upon the Netherlands--more
disappointing because succeeding a period of comparative prosperity and
triumph--was the winter of 1587-8, when Leicester had terminated his
career by his abrupt departure for England, after his second brief
attempt at administration. For it was exactly at this moment of anxious
expectation, when dangers were rolling up from the south till not a ray
of light or hope could pierce the universal darkness, that the little
commonwealth was left without a chief. The English Earl departed, shaking
the dust from his feet; but he did not resign. The supreme authority--so
far as he could claim it--was again transferred,--with his person, to

The consequences were immediate and disastrous. All the Leicestrians
refused to obey the States-General. Utrecht, the stronghold of that
party, announced its unequivocal intention to annex itself, without any
conditions whatever, to the English crown, while, in Holland, young
Maurice was solemnly installed stadholder, and captain-general of the
Provinces, under the guidance of Hohenlo and Barneveld. But his authority
was openly defied in many important cities within his jurisdiction by
military chieftains who had taken the oaths of allegiance to Leicester as
governor, and who refused to renounce fidelity to the man who had
deserted their country, but who had not resigned his authority. Of these
mutineers the most eminent was Diedrich Sonoy, governor of North Holland,
a soldier of much experience, sagacity, and courage, who had rendered
great services to the cause of liberty and Protestantism, and had defaced
it by acts of barbarity which had made his name infamous. Against this
refractory chieftain it was necessary for Hohenlo and Maurice to lead an
armed force, and to besiege him in his stronghold--the important city of
Medenblik--which he resolutely held for Leicester, although Leicester had
definitely departed, and which he closed against Maurice, although
Maurice was the only representative of order and authority within the
distracted commonwealth. And thus civil war had broken out in the little
scarcely-organized republic, as if there were not dangers and bloodshed
enough impending over it from abroad. And the civil war was the necessary
consequence of the Earl's departure.

The English forces--reduced as they were by sickness, famine, and abject
poverty--were but a remnant of the brave and well-seasoned bands which
had faced the Spaniards with success on so many battle-fields.

The general who now assumed chief command over them--by direction of
Leicester, subsequently confirmed by the Queen--was Lord Willoughby. A
daring, splendid dragoon, an honest, chivalrous, and devoted servant of
his Queen, a conscientious adherent of Leicester, and a firm believer in
his capacity and character, he was, however, not a man of sufficient
experience or subtlety to perform the various tasks imposed upon him by
the necessities of such a situation. Quick-witted, even brilliant in
intellect, and the bravest of the brave on the battle-field, he was
neither a sagacious administrator nor a successful commander. And he
honestly confessed his deficiencies, and disliked the post to which he
had been elevated. He scorned baseness, intrigue, and petty quarrels, and
he was impatient of control. Testy, choleric, and quarrelsome, with a
high sense of honour, and a keen perception of insult, very modest and
very proud, he was not likely to feed with wholesome appetite upon the
unsavoury annoyances which were the daily bread of a chief commander in
the Netherlands. "I ambitiously affect not high titles, but round
dealing," he said; "desiring rather to be a private lance with
indifferent reputation, than a colonel-general spotted or defamed with
wants." He was not the politician to be matched against the unscrupulous
and all-accomplished Farnese; and indeed no man better than Willoughby
could illustrate the enormous disadvantage under which Englishmen
laboured at that epoch in their dealings with Italians and Spaniards. The
profuse indulgence in falsehood which characterized southern
statesmanship, was more than a match for English love of truth. English
soldiers and negotiators went naked into a contest with enemies armed in
a panoply of lies. It was an unequal match, as we have already seen, and
as we are soon more clearly to see. How was an English soldier who valued
his knightly word--how were English diplomatists--among whom one of the
most famous--then a lad of twenty, secretary to Lord Essex in the
Netherlands--had poetically avowed that "simple truth was highest
skill,"--to deal with the thronging Spanish deceits sent northward by the
great father of lies who sat in the Escorial?

"It were an ill lesson," said Willoughby, "to teach soldiers the
dissimulations of such as follow princes' courts, in Italy. For my own
part, it is my only end to be loyal and dutiful to my sovereign, and
plain to all others that I honour. I see the finest reynard loses his
best coat as well as the poorest sheep." He was also a strong
Leicestrian, and had imbibed much of the Earl's resentment against the
leading politicians of the States. Willoughby was sorely in need of
council. That shrewd and honest Welshman--Roger Williams--was, for the
moment, absent. Another of the same race and character commanded in
Bergen-op-Zoom, but was not more gifted with administrative talent than
the general himself.

"Sir Thomas Morgan is a very sufficient, gallant gentleman," said
Willoughby, "and in truth a very old soldier; but we both have need of
one that can both give and keep counsel better than ourselves. For action
he is undoubtedly very able, if there were no other means to conquer but
only to give blows."

In brief, the new commander of the English forces in the Netherlands was
little satisfied with the States, with the enemy, or with himself; and
was inclined to take but a dismal view of the disjointed commonwealth,
which required so incompetent a person as he professed himself to be to
set it right.

"'Tis a shame to show my wants," he said, "but too great a fault of duty
that the Queen's reputation be frustrate. What is my slender experience!
What an honourable person do I succeed! What an encumbered popular state
is left! What withered sinews, which it passes my cunning to restore!
What an enemy in head greater than heretofore! And wherewithal should I
sustain this burthen? For the wars I am fitter to obey than to command.
For the state, I am a man prejudicated in their opinion, and not the
better liked of them that have earnestly followed the general, and, being
one that wants both opinion and experience with them I have to deal, and
means to win more or to maintain that which is left, what good may be
looked for?"

The supreme authority--by the retirement of Leicester--was once more the
subject of dispute. As on his first departure, so also on this his second
and final one, he had left a commission to the state-council to act as an
executive body during his absence. But, although he--nominally still
retained his office, in reality no man believed in his return; and the
States-General were ill inclined to brook a species of guardianship over
them, with which they believed themselves mature enough to dispense.
Moreover the state-council, composed mainly of Leicestrians, would
expire, by limitation of its commission, early in February of that year.
The dispute for power would necessarily terminate, therefore, in favour
of the States-General.

Meantime--while this internal revolution was taking place in the polity
of the commonwealth-the gravest disturbances were its natural
consequence. There were mutinies in the garrisons of Heusden, of
Gertruydenberg, of Medenblik, as alarming, and threatening to become as
chronic in their character, as those extensive military rebellions which
often rendered the Spanish troops powerless at the most critical epochs.
The cause of these mutinies was uniformly, want of pay, the pretext, the
oath to the Earl of Leicester, which was declared incompatible with the
allegiance claimed by Maurice in the name of the States-General. The
mutiny of Gertruydenberg was destined to be protracted; that of
Medenblik, dividing, as it did, the little territory of Holland in its
very heart, it was most important at once to suppress. Sonoy,
however--who was so stanch a Leicestrian, that his Spanish contemporaries
uniformly believed him to be an Englishman--held out for a long time, as
will be seen, against the threats and even the armed demonstrations of
Maurice and the States.

Meantime the English sovereign, persisting in her delusion, and despite
the solemn warnings of her own wisest counsellors; and the passionate
remonstrances of the States-General of the Netherlands, sent her
peace-commissioners to the Duke of Parma.

The Earl of Derby, Lord Cobham, Sir James Croft, Valentine Dale, doctor
of laws, and former ambassador at Vienna, and Dr. Rogers, envoys on the
part of the Queen, arrived in the Netherlands in February. The
commissioners appointed on the part of Farnese were Count Aremberg,
Champagny, Richardot, Jacob Maas, and Secretary Garnier.

If history has ever furnished a lesson, how an unscrupulous tyrant, who
has determined upon enlarging his own territories at the expense of his
neighbours, upon oppressing human freedom wherever it dared to manifest
itself, with fine phrases of religion and order for ever in his mouth, on
deceiving his friends and enemies alike, as to his nefarious and almost
incredible designs, by means of perpetual and colossal falsehoods; and if
such lessons deserve to be pondered, as a source of instruction and
guidance for every age, then certainly the secret story of the
negotiations by which the wise Queen of England was beguiled, and her
kingdom brought to the verge of ruin, in the spring of 1588, is worthy of
serious attention.

The English commissioners arrived at Ostend. With them came Robert Cecil,
youngest son of Lord-Treasurer Burghley, then twenty-five years of
age.--He had no official capacity, but was sent by his father, that he
might improve his diplomatic talents, and obtain some information as to
the condition of the Netherlands. A slight, crooked, hump-backed young
gentleman, dwarfish in stature, but with a face not irregular in feature,
and thoughtful and subtle in expression, with reddish hair, a thin tawny
beard, and large, pathetic, greenish-coloured eyes, with a mind and
manners already trained to courts and cabinets, and with a disposition
almost ingenuous, as compared to the massive dissimulation with which it
was to be contrasted, and with what was, in aftertimes, to constitute a
portion of his own character, Cecil, young as he was, could not be
considered the least important of the envoys. The Queen, who loved proper
men, called him "her pigmy;" and "although," he observed with whimsical
courtliness, "I may not find fault with the sporting name she gives me,
yet seem I only not to mislike it, because she gives it." The strongest
man among them was Valentine Dale, who had much shrewdness, experience,
and legal learning, but who valued himself, above all things, upon his
Latinity. It was a consolation to him, while his adversaries were
breaking Priscian's head as fast as the Duke, their master, was breaking
his oaths, that his own syntax was as clear as his conscience. The
feeblest commissioner was James-a-Croft, who had already exhibited
himself with very anile characteristics, and whose subsequent
manifestations were to seem like dotage. Doctor Rogers, learned in the
law, as he unquestionably was, had less skill in reading human character,
or in deciphering the physiognomy of a Farnese, while Lord Derby, every
inch a grandee, with Lord Cobham to assist him, was not the man to cope
with the astute Richardot, the profound and experienced Champagny, or
that most voluble and most rhetorical of doctors of law, Jacob Maas of

The commissioners, on their arrival, were welcomed by Secretary Garnier,
who had been sent to Ostend to greet them. An adroit, pleasing, courteous
gentleman, thirty-six years of age, small, handsome, and attired not
quite as a soldier, nor exactly as one of the long robe, wearing a cloak
furred to the knee, a cassock of black velvet, with plain gold buttons,
and a gold chain about his neck, the secretary delivered handsomely the
Duke of Parma's congratulations, recommended great expedition in the
negotiations, and was then invited by the Earl of Derby to dine with the
commissioners. He was accompanied by a servant in plain livery, who--so
soon as his master had made his bow to the English envoys--had set forth
for a stroll through the town. The modest-looking valet, however, was a
distinguished engineer in disguise, who had been sent by Alexander for
the especial purpose of examining the fortifications of Ostend--that town
being a point much coveted, and liable to immediate attack by the Spanish

Meanwhile Secretary Gamier made himself very agreeable, showing wit,
experience, and good education; and, after dinner, was accompanied to his
lodgings by Dr. Rogers and other gentlemen, with whom--especially with
Cecil--he held much conversation.

Knowing that this young gentleman "wanted not an honourable father," the
Secretary was very desirous that he should take this opportunity to make
a tour through the Provinces, examine the cities, and especially "note
the miserable ruins of the poor country and people." He would then
feelingly perceive how much they had to answer for, whose mad rebellion
against their sovereign lord and master had caused so great an effusion
of blood, and the wide desolation of such goodly towns and territories.

Cecil probably entertained a suspicion that the sovereign lord and
master, who had been employed, twenty years long, in butchering his
subjects and in ravaging their territory to feed his executioners and
soldiers, might almost be justified in treating human beings as beasts
and reptiles, if they had not at last rebelled. He simply and
diplomatically answered, however, that he could not but concur with the
Secretary in lamenting the misery of the Provinces and people so utterly
despoiled and ruined, but, as it might be matter of dispute; "from what
head this fountain of calamity was both fed and derived, he would not
enter further therein, it being a matter much too high for his capacity."
He expressed also the hope that the King's heart might sympathize with
that of her Majesty, in earnest compassion for all this suffering, and in
determination to compound their differences.

On the following day there was some conversation with Gamier, on
preliminary and formal matters, followed in the evening by a dinner at
Lord Cobham's lodgings--a banquet which the forlorn condition of the
country scarcely permitted to be luxurious. "We rather pray here for
satiety," said Cecil, "than ever think of variety."

It was hoped by the Englishmen that the Secretary would take his
departure after dinner; for the governor of Ostend, Sir John Conway, had
an uneasy sensation, during his visit, that the unsatisfactory condition
of the defences would attract his attention, and that a sudden attack by
Farnese might be the result. Sir John was not aware however, of the
minute and scientific observations then making at the very moment when
Mr. Garnier was entertaining the commissioners with his witty and
instructive conversation--by the unobtrusive menial who had accompanied
the Secretary to Ostend. In order that those observations might be as
thorough as possible, rather than with any view to ostensible business,
the envoy of Parma now declared that--on account of the unfavourable
state of the tide--he had resolved to pass another night at Ostend. "We
could have spared his company," said Cecil, "but their Lordships
considered it convenient that he should be used well." So Mr. Comptroller
Croft gave the affable Secretary a dinner-invitation for the following

Here certainly was a masterly commencement on the part of the Spanish
diplomatists. There was not one stroke of business during the visit of
the Secretary. He had been sent simply to convey a formal greeting, and
to take the names of the English commissioners--a matter which could have
been done in an hour as well as in a week. But it must be remembered,
that, at that very moment, the Duke was daily expecting intelligence of
the sailing of the Armada, and that Philip, on his part, supposed the
Duke already in England, at the head of his army. Under these
circumstances, therefore--when the whole object of the negotiation, so
far as Parma and his master were, concerned, was to amuse and to gain
time--it was already ingenious in Garnier to have consumed several days
in doing nothing; and to have obtained plans and descriptions of Ostend
into the bargain.

Garnier--when his departure could no longer, on any pretext, be
deferred--took his leave, once more warmly urging Robert Cecil to make a
little tour in the obedient Netherlands, and to satisfy himself, by
personal observation, of their miserable condition. As Dr. Dale purposed
making a preliminary visit to the Duke of Parma at Ghent, it was
determined accordingly that he should be accompanied by Cecil.

That young gentleman had already been much impressed by the forlorn
aspect of the country about Ostend--for, although the town was itself in
possession of the English, it was in the midst of the enemy's territory.
Since the fall of Sluys the Spaniards were masters of all Flanders, save
this one much-coveted point. And although the Queen had been disposed to
abandon that city, and to suffer the ocean to overwhelm it, rather than
that she should be at charges to defend it, yet its possession was of
vital consequence to the English-Dutch cause, as time was ultimately to
show. Meanwhile the position was already a very important one,
for--according to the predatory system of warfare of the day--it was an
excellent starting-point for those marauding expeditions against persons
and property, in which neither the Dutch nor English were less skilled
than the Flemings or Spaniards. "The land all about here," said Cecil,
"is so devastated, that where the open country was wont to be covered
with kine and sheep, it is now fuller of wild boars and wolves; whereof
many come so nigh the town that the sentinels--three of whom watch every
night upon a sand-hill outside the gates--have had them in a dark night
upon them ere they were aware."

But the garrison of Ostend was quite as dangerous to the peasants and the
country squires of Flanders, as were the wolves or wild boars; and many a
pacific individual of retired habits, and with a remnant of property
worth a ransom, was doomed to see himself whisked from his seclusion by
Conway's troopers, and made a compulsory guest at the city. Prisoners
were brought in from a distance of sixty miles; and there was one old
gentlemen, "well-languaged," who "confessed merrily to Cecil, that when
the soldiers fetched him out of his own mansion-house, sitting safe in
his study, he was as little in fear of the garrison of Ostend as he was
of the Turk or the devil."

   [And Doctor Rogers held very similar language: "The most dolorous
   and heavy sights in this voyage to Ghent, by me weighed," he said;
   "seeing the countries which, heretofore; by traffic of merchants, as
   much as any other I have seen flourish, now partly drowned, and,
   except certain great cities, wholly burned, ruined, and desolate,
   possessed I say, with wolves, wild boars, and foxes--a great,
   testimony of the wrath of God," &c. &c. Dr. Rogers to the Queen,-
   April, 1588. (S. P. Office MS.)]

Three days after the departure of Garnier, Dr. Dale and his attendants
started upon their expedition from Ostend to Ghent--an hour's journey or
so in these modern times.--The English envoys, in the sixteenth century,
found it a more formidable undertaking. They were many hours traversing
the four miles to Oudenburg, their first halting-place; for the waters
were out, there having been a great breach of the sea-dyke of Ostend, a
disaster threatening destruction to town and country. At Oudenburg, a
"small and wretched hole," as Garnier had described it to be, there was,
however, a garrison of three thousand Spanish soldiers, under the Marquis
de Renti. From these a convoy of fifty troopers was appointed to protect
the English travellers to Bruges. Here they arrived at three o'clock,
were met outside the gates by the famous General La Motte, and by him
escorted to their lodgings in the "English house," and afterwards
handsomely entertained at supper in his own quarters.

The General's wife; Madame de la Motte, was, according to Cecil, "a fair
gentlewoman of discreet and modest behaviour, and yet not unwilling
sometimes to hear herself speak;" so that in her society, and in that of
her sister--"a nun of the order of the Mounts, but who, like the rest of
the sisterhood, wore an ordinary dress in the evening, and might leave
the convent if asked in marriage"--the supper passed off very agreeably.

In the evening Cecil found that his father had formerly occupied the same
bedroom of the English hotel in which he was then lodged; for he found
that Lord Burghley had scrawled his name in the chimney-corner--a fact
which was highly gratifying to the son.

The next morning, at seven o'clock, the travellers set forth for Ghent.
The journey was a miserable one. It was as cold and gloomy weather as
even a Flemish month of March could furnish. A drizzling rain was falling
all day long, the lanes were foul and miry, the frequent thickets which
overhung their path were swarming with the freebooters of Zeeland, who
were "ever at hand," says Cecil, "to have picked our purses, but that
they descried our convoy, and so saved themselves in the woods." Sitting
on horseback ten hours without alighting, under such circumstances as
these, was not luxurious for a fragile little gentleman like Queen
Elizabeth's "pigmy;" especially as Dr. Dale and himself had only half a
red herring between them for luncheon, and supped afterwards upon an
orange. The envoy protested that when they could get a couple of eggs a
piece, while travelling in Flanders, "they thought they fared like

Nevertheless Cecil and himself fought it out manfully, and when they
reached Ghent, at five in the evening, they were met by their
acquaintance Garnier, and escorted to their lodgings. Here they were
waited upon by President Richardot, "a tall gentleman," on behalf of the
Duke of Parma, and then left to their much-needed repose.

Nothing could be more forlorn than the country of the obedient
Netherlands, through which their day's journey had led them. Desolation
had been the reward of obedience. "The misery of the inhabitants," said
Cecil, "is incredible, both without the town, where all things are
wasted, houses spoiled, and grounds unlaboured, and also, even in these
great cities, where they are for the most part poor beggars even in the
fairest houses."

And all this human wretchedness was the elaborate work of one man--one
dull, heartless bigot, living, far away, a life of laborious ease and
solemn sensuality; and, in reality, almost as much removed from these
fellow-creatures of his, whom he called his subjects, as if he had been
the inhabitant of another planet. Has history many more instructive
warnings against the horrors of arbitrary government--against the folly
of mankind in ever tolerating the rule of a single irresponsible
individual, than the lesson furnished by the life-work of that crowned
criminal, Philip the Second?

The longing for peace on the part of these unfortunate obedient Flemings
was intense. Incessant cries for peace reached the ears of the envoys on
every side. Alas, it would have been better for these peace-wishers, had
they stood side by side with their brethren, the noble Hollanders and
Zeelanders, when they had been wresting, if not peace, yet independence
and liberty, from Philip, with their own right hands. Now the obedient
Flemings were but fuel for the vast flame which the monarch was kindling
for the destruction of Christendom--if all Christendom were not willing
to accept his absolute dominion.

The burgomasters of Ghent--of Ghent, once the powerful, the industrious,
the opulent, the free, of all cities in the world now the most abject and
forlorn--came in the morning to wait upon Elizabeth's envoy, and to
present him, according to ancient custom, with some flasks of wine. They
came with tears streaming down their cheeks, earnestly expressing the
desire of their hearts for peace, and their joy that at least it had now
"begun to be thought on."

"It is quite true," replied Dr. Dale, "that her excellent Majesty the
Queen--filled with compassion for your condition, and having been
informed that the Duke of Parma is desirous of peace--has vouchsafed to
make this overture. If it take not the desired effect, let not the blame
rest upon her, but upon her adversaries." To these words the magistrates
all said Amen, and invoked blessings on her Majesty. And most certainly,
Elizabeth was sincerely desirous of peace; even at greater sacrifices
than the Duke could well have imagined; but there was something almost
diabolic in the cold dissimulation by which her honest compassion was
mocked, and the tears of a whole people in its agony made the
laughingstock of a despot and his tools.

On Saturday morning, Richardot and Garnier waited upon the envoy to
escort him to the presence of the Duke. Cecil, who accompanied him, was
not much impressed with the grandeur of Alexander's lodgings; and made
unfavourable and rather unreasonable comparisons between them and the
splendour of Elizabeth's court. They passed through an ante-chamber into
a dining-room, thence into an inner chamber, and next into the Duke's
room. In the ante-chamber stood Sir William Stanley, the Deventer
traitor, conversing with one Mockett, an Englishman, long resident in
Flanders. Stanley was meanly dressed, in the Spanish fashion, and as
young Cecil, passing through the chamber, looked him in the face, he
abruptly turned from him, and pulled his hat over his eyes. "'Twas well
he did so," said that young gentleman, "for his taking it off would
hardly have cost me mine." Cecil was informed that Stanley was to have a
commandery of Malta, and was in good favour with the Duke, who was,
however, quite weary of his mutinous and disorderly Irish regiment.

In the bed-chamber, Farnese--accompanied by the Marquis del Guasto, the
Marquis of Renty, the Prince of Aremberg, President Richardot, and
Secretary Cosimo--received the envoy and his companion. "Small and mean
was the furniture of the chamber," said Cecil; "and although they
attribute this to his love of privacy, yet it is a sign that peace is the
mother of all honour and state, as may best be perceived by the court of
England, which her Majesty's royal presence doth so adorn, as that it
exceedeth this as far as the sun surpasseth in light the other stars of
the firmament."

Here was a compliment to the Queen and her upholsterers drawn in by the
ears. Certainly, if the first and best fruit of the much-longed-for peace
were only to improve the furniture of royal and ducal apartments, it
might be as well perhaps for the war to go on, while the Queen continued
to outshine all the stars in the firmament. But the budding courtier and
statesman knew that a personal compliment to Elizabeth could never be
amiss or ill-timed.

The envoy delivered the greetings of her Majesty to the Duke, and was
heard with great attention. Alexander attempted a reply in French, which
was very imperfect, and, apologizing, exchanged that tongue for Italian.
He alluded with great fervour to the "honourable opinion concerning his
sincerity and word," expressed to him by her Majesty, through the mouth
of her envoy. "And indeed," said he, "I have always had especial care of
keeping my word. My body and service are at the commandment of the King,
my lord and master, but my honour is my own, and her Majesty may be
assured that I shall always have especial regard of my word to so great
and famous a Queen as her Majesty."

The visit was one of preliminaries and of ceremony. Nevertheless Farnese
found opportunity to impress the envoy and his companions with his
sincerity of heart. He conversed much with Cecil, making particular and
personal inquiries, and with appearance of deep interest, in regard to
Queen Elizabeth.

"There is not a prince in the world--" he said, "reserving all question
between her Majesty and my royal master--to whom I desire more to do
service. So much have I heard of her perfections, that I wish earnestly
that things might so fall out, as that it might be my fortune to look
upon her face before my return to my own country. Yet I desire to behold
her, not as a servant to him who is not able still to maintain war, or as
one that feared any harm that might befall him; for in such matters my
account was made long ago, to endure all which God may send. But, in
truth, I am weary to behold the miserable estate of this people, fallen
upon them through their own folly, and methinks that he who should do the
best offices of peace would perform a 'pium et sanctissimum opus.' Right
glad am I that the Queen is not behind me in zeal for peace." He then
complimented Cecil in regard to his father, whom he understood to be the
principal mover in these negotiations.

The young man expressed his thanks, and especially for the good affection
which the Duke had manifested to the Queen and in the blessed cause of
peace. He was well aware that her Majesty esteemed him a prince of great
honour and virtue, and that for this good work, thus auspiciously begun,
no man could possibly doubt that her Majesty, like himself, was most
zealously affected to bring all things to a perfect peace.

The matters discussed in this first interview were only in regard to the
place to be appointed for the coming conferences, and the exchange of
powers. The Queen's commissioners had expected to treat at Ostend.
Alexander, on the contrary, was unable to listen to such a suggestion, as
it would be utter dereliction of his master's dignity to send envoys to a
city of his own, now in hostile occupation by her Majesty's forces. The
place of conference, therefore, would be matter of future consideration.
In respect to the exchange of powers, Alexander expressed the hope that
no man would doubt as to the production on his commissioners' part of
ample authority both from himself and from the King.

Yet it will be remembered, that, at this moment, the Duke had not only no
powers from the King, but that Philip had most expressly refused to send
a commission, and that he fully expected the negotiation to be superseded
by the invasion, before the production of the powers should become

And when Farnese was speaking thus fervently in favour of peace, and
parading his word and his honour, the letters lay in his cabinet in that
very room, in which Philip expressed his conviction that his general was
already in London, that the whole realm of England was already at the
mercy of a Spanish soldiery, and that the Queen, upon whose perfection
Alexander had so long yearned to gaze, was a discrowned captive, entirely
in her great enemy's power.

Thus ended the preliminary interview. On the following Monday, 11th
March, Dr. Dale and his attendants made the best of their way back to
Ostend, while young Cecil, with a safe conduct from Champagny, set forth
on a little tour in Flanders.

The journey from Ghent to Antwerp was easy, and he was agreeably
surprised by the apparent prosperity of the country. At intervals of
every few miles; he was refreshed with the spectacle of a gibbet well
garnished with dangling freebooters; and rejoiced, therefore, in
comparative security. For it seemed that the energetic bailiff of
Waasland had levied a contribution upon the proprietors of the country,
to be expended mainly in hanging brigands; and so well had the funds been
applied, that no predatory bands could make their appearance but they
were instantly pursued by soldiers, and hanged forthwith, without judge
or trial. Cecil counted twelve such places of execution on his road
between Ghent and Antwerp.

On his journey he fell in with an Italian merchant,--Lanfranchi by name,
of a great commercial house in Antwerp, in the days when Antwerp had
commerce, and by him, on his arrival the same evening in that town, he
was made an honoured guest, both for his father's sake and his Queen's.
"'Tis the pleasantest city that ever I saw," said Cecil, "for situation
and building; but utterly left and abandoned now by those rich merchants
that were wont to frequent the place."

His host was much interested in the peace-negotiations, and indeed,
through his relations with Champagny and Andreas de Loo, had been one of
the instruments by which it had been commenced. He inveighed bitterly
against the Spanish captains and soldiers, to whose rapacity and ferocity
he mainly ascribed the continuance of the war;--and he was especially
incensed with Stanley and other--English renegades, who were thought
fiercer haters of England than were the Spaniards themselves: Even in the
desolate and abject condition of Antwerp and its neighbourhood, at that
moment, the quick eye of Cecil detected the latent signs of a possible
splendour. Should peace be restored, the territory once more be tilled,
and the foreign merchants attracted thither again, he believed that the
governor of the obedient Netherlands might live there in more
magnificence than the King of Spain himself, exhausted as were his
revenues by the enormous expense of this protracted war: Eight hundred
thousand dollars monthly; so Lanfranchi informed Cecil, were the costs of
the forces on the footing then established. This, however, was probably
an exaggeration, for the royal account books showed a less formidable
sum, although a sufficiently large one to appal a less obstinate bigot
than Philip. But what to him were the ruin of the Netherlands; the
impoverishment of Spain, and the downfall of her ancient grandeur
compared to the glory of establishing the Inquisition in England and

While at dinner in Lanfranchi's house; Cecil was witness to another
characteristic of the times, and one which afforded proof of even more
formidable freebooters abroad than those for whom the bailiff of Waasland
had erected his gibbets. A canal-boat had left Antwerp for Brussels that
morning, and in the vicinity of the latter city had been set upon by a
detachment from the English garrison of Bergen-op-Zoom, and captured,
with twelve prisoners and a freight of 60,000 florins in money. "This
struck the company at the dinner-table all in a dump;" said Cecil. And
well it might; for the property mainly belonged to themselves, and they
forthwith did their best to have the marauders waylaid on their return.
But Cecil, notwithstanding his gratitude for the hospitality of
Lanfranchi, sent word next day to the garrison of Bergen of the designs
against them, and on his arrival at the place had the satisfaction of
being informed by Lord Willoughby that the party had got safe home with
their plunder.

"And, well worthy they are of it," said young Robert, "considering how
far they go for it."

The traveller, on, leaving Antwerp, proceeded down the river to
Bergen-op-Zoom, where he was hospitably entertained by that doughty old
soldier Sir William Reade, and met Lord Willoughby, whom he accompanied
to Brielle on a visit to the deposed elector Truchsess, then living in
that neighbourhood. Cecil--who was not passion's slave--had small
sympathy with the man who could lose a sovereignty for the sake of Agnes
Mansfeld. "'Tis a very goodly gentleman," said he, "well fashioned, and
of good speech, for which I must rather praise him than for loving a wife
better than so great a fortune as he lost by her occasion." At Brielle he
was handsomely entertained by the magistrates, who had agreeable
recollections of his brother Thomas, late governor of that city. Thence
he proceeded by way of Delft--which, like all English travellers, he
described as "the finest built town that ever he saw"--to the Hague, and
thence to Fushing, and so back by sea to Ostend.--He had made the most of
his three weeks' tour, had seen many important towns both in the republic
and in the obedient Netherlands, and had conversed with many "tall
gentlemen," as he expressed himself, among the English commanders, having
been especially impressed by the heroes of Sluys, Baskerville and that
"proper gentleman Francis Vere."

He was also presented by Lord Willoughby to Maurice of Nassau, and was
perhaps not very benignantly received by the young prince. At that
particular moment, when Leicester's deferred resignation, the rebellion
of Sonoy in North Holland, founded on a fictitious allegiance to the late
governor-general, the perverse determination of the Queen to treat for
peace against the advice of all the leading statesmen of the Netherlands,
and the sharp rebukes perpetually administered by her, in consequence, to
the young stadholder and all his supporters, had not tended to produce
the most tender feelings upon their part towards the English government,
it was not surprising that the handsome soldier should look askance at
the crooked little courtier, whom even the great Queen smiled at while
she petted him. Cecil was very angry with Maurice.

"In my life I never saw worse behaviour," he said, "except it were in one
lately come from school. There is neither outward appearance in him of
any noble mind nor inward virtue."

Although Cecil had consumed nearly the whole month of March in his tour,
he had been more profitably employed than were the royal commissioners
during the same period at Ostend.

Never did statesmen know better how not to do that which they were
ostensibly occupied in doing than Alexander Farnese and his agents,
Champagny, Richardot, Jacob Maas, and Gamier. The first pretext by which
much time was cleverly consumed was the dispute as to the place of
meeting. Doctor Dale had already expressed his desire for Ostend as the
place of colloquy. "'Tis a very slow old gentleman, this Doctor Dale,"
said Alexander; "he was here in the time of Madam my mother, and has also
been ambassador at Vienna. I have received him and his attendants with
great courtesy, and held out great hopes of peace. We had conversations
about the place of meeting. He wishes Ostend: I object. The first
conference will probably be at some point between that place and

The next opportunity for discussion and delay was afforded by the
question of powers. And it must be ever borne in mind that Alexander was
daily expecting the arrival of the invading fleets and armies of Spain,
and was holding himself in readiness to place himself at their head for
the conquest of England. This was, of course, so strenuously denied by
himself and those under his influence, that Queen Elizabeth implicitly.
believed him, Burghley was lost in doubt, and even the astute Walsingham
began to distrust his own senses. So much strength does a falsehood
acquire in determined and skilful hands.

"As to the commissions, it will be absolutely necessary for, your Majesty
to send them," wrote Alexander at the moment when he was receiving the
English envoy at Ghent, "for unless the Armada arrive soon--it will be
indispensable for me, to have them, in order to keep the negotiation
alive. Of course they will never broach the principal matters without
exhibition of powers. Richardot is aware of the secret which your Majesty
confided to me, namely, that the negotiations are only intended to
deceive the Queen and to gain time for the fleet; but the powers must be
sent in order that we may be able to produce them; although your secret
intentions will be obeyed."

The Duke commented, however, on the extreme difficulty of carrying out
the plan, as originally proposed. "The conquest of England would have
been difficult," he said, "even although the country had been taken by
surprise. Now they are strong and armed; we are comparatively weak. The
danger and the doubt are great; and the English deputies, I think, are
really desirous of peace. Nevertheless I am at your Majesty's
disposition--life and all--and probably, before the answer arrives to
this letter, the fleet will have arrived, and I shall have undertaken the
passage to England."

After three weeks had thus adroitly been frittered away, the English
commissioners became somewhat impatient, and despatched Doctor Rogers to
the Duke at Ghent. This was extremely obliging upon their part, for if
Valentine Dale were a "slow old gentleman," he was keen, caustic, and
rapid, as compared to John Rogers. A formalist and a pedant, a man of red
tape and routine, full of precedents and declamatory commonplaces which
he mistook for eloquence, honest as daylight and tedious as a king, he
was just the time-consumer for Alexander's purpose. The wily Italian
listened with profound attention to the wise saws in which the excellent
diplomatist revelled, and his fine eyes often filled with tears at the
Doctor's rhetoric.

Three interviews--each three mortal hours long--did the two indulge in at
Ghent, and never, was high-commissioner better satisfied with himself
than was John Rogers upon those occasions. He carried every point; he
convinced, he softened, he captivated the great Duke; he turned the great
Duke round his finger. The great Duke smiled, or wept, or fell into his
arms, by turns. Alexander's military exploits had rung through the world,
his genius for diplomacy and statesmanship had never been disputed; but
his talents as a light comedian were, in these interviews, for the first
time fully revealed.

On the 26th March the learned Doctor made his first bow and performed his
first flourish of compliments at Ghent. "I assure your Majesty," said he,
"his Highness followed my compliments of entertainment with so much
honour, as that--his Highness or I, speaking of the Queen of England--he
never did less than uncover his head; not covering the same, unless I was
covered also." And after these salutations had at last been got through
with, thus spake the Doctor of Laws to the Duke of Parma:--

"Almighty God, the light of lights, be pleased to enlighten the
understanding of your Alteza, and to direct the same to his glory, to the
uniting of both their Majesties and the finishing of these most bloody
wars, whereby these countries, being in the highest degree of misery
desolate, lie as it were prostrate before the wrathful presence of the
most mighty God, most lamentably beseeching his Divine Majesty to
withdraw his scourge of war from them, and to move the hearts of princes
to restore them unto peace, whereby they might attain unto their ancient
flower and dignity. Into the hands of your Alteza are now the lives of
many thousands, the destruction of cities, towns, and countries, which to
put to the fortune of war how perilous it were, I pray consider. Think
ye, ye see the mothers left alive tendering their offspring in your
presence, 'nam matribus detestata bells,'" continued the orator. "Think
also of others of all sexes, ages, and conditions, on their knees before
your Alteza, most humbly praying and crying most dolorously to spare
their lives, and save their property from the ensanguined scourge of the
insane soldiers," and so on, and so on.

Now Philip II. was slow in resolving, slower in action. The ponderous
three-deckers of Biscay were notoriously the dullest sailers ever known,
nor were the fettered slaves who rowed the great galleys of Portugal or
of Andalusia very brisk in their movements; and yet the King might have
found time to marshal his ideas and his squadrons, and the Armada had
leisure to circumnavigate the globe and invade England afterwards, if a
succession of John Rogerses could have entertained his Highness with
compliments while the preparations were making.

But Alexander--at the very outset of the Doctor's eloquence--found it
difficult to suppress his feelings. "I can assure your Majesty," said
Rogers, "that his eyes--he has a very large eye--were moistened.
Sometimes they were thrown upward to heaven, sometimes they were fixed
full upon me, sometimes they were cast downward, well declaring how his
heart was affected."

Honest John even thought it necessary to mitigate the effect of his
rhetoric, and to assure his Highness that it was, after all, only he
Doctor Rogers, and not the minister plenipotentiary of the Queen's most
serene Majesty, who was exciting all this emotion.

"At this part of my speech," said he, "I prayed his Highness not to be
troubled, for that the same only proceeded from Doctor Rogers, who, it
might please him to know, was so much moved with the pitiful case of
these countries, as also that which of war was sure to ensue, that I
wished, if my body were full of rivers of blood, the same to be poured
forth to satisfy any that were blood-thirsty, so there might an assured
peace follow."

His Highness, at any rate, manifesting no wish to drink of such
sanguinary streams--even had the Doctor's body contained them--Rogers
became calmer. He then descended from rhetoric to jurisprudence and
casuistry, and argued at intolerable length the propriety of commencing
the conferences at Ostend, and of exhibiting mutually the commissions.

It is quite unnecessary to follow him as closely as did Farnese. When he
had finished the first part of his oration, however, and was "addressing
himself to the second point," Alexander at last interrupted the torrent
of his eloquence.

"He said that my divisions and subdivisions," wrote the Doctor, "were
perfectly in his remembrance, and that he would first answer the first
point, and afterwards give audience to the second, and answer the same

Accordingly Alexander put on his hat, and begged the envoy also to be
covered. Then, "with great gravity, as one inwardly much moved," the Duke
took up his part in the dialogue.

"Signor Ruggieri," said he, "you have propounded unto me speeches of two
sorts: the one proceeds from Doctor Ruggieri, the other from the lord
ambassador of the most serene Queen of England. Touching the first, I do
give you my hearty thanks for your godly speeches, assuring you that
though, by reason I have always followed the wars, I cannot be ignorant
of the calamities by you alleged, yet you have so truly represented the
same before mine eyes as to effectuate in me at this instant, not only
the confirmation of mine own disposition to have peace, but also an
assurance that this treaty shall take good and speedy end, seeing that it
hath pleased God to raise up such a good instrument as you are."

"Many are the causes," continued the Duke, "which, besides my
disposition, move me to peace. My father and mother are dead; my son is a
young prince; my house has truly need of my presence. I am not ignorant
how ticklish a thing is the fortune of war, which--how victorious soever
I have been--may in one moment not only deface the same, but also deprive
me of my life. The King, my master, is now, stricken in years, his
children are young, his dominions in trouble. His desire is to live, and
to leave his posterity in quietness. The glory of God, the honor of both
their Majesties, and the good of these countries, with the stay of the
effusion of Christian blood, and divers other like reasons, force him to

Thus spoke Alexander, like an honest Christian gentleman, avowing the
most equitable and pacific dispositions on the part of his master and
himself. Yet at that moment he knew that the Armada was about to sail,
that his own nights and days were passed in active preparations for war,
and that no earthly power could move Philip by one hair's-breadth from
his purpose to conquer England that summer.

It would be superfluous to follow the Duke or the Doctor through their
long dialogue on the place of conference, and the commissions. Alexander
considered it "infamy" on his name if he should send envoys to a place of
his master's held by the enemy. He was also of opinion that it was
unheard of to exhibit commissions previous to a preliminary colloquy.

Both propositions were strenuously contested by Rogers. In regard to the
second point in particular, he showed triumphantly, by citations from the
"Polonians, Prussians, and Lithuanians," that commissions ought to be
previously exhibited. But it was not probable that even the Doctor's
learning and logic would persuade Alexander to produce his commission;
because, unfortunately, he had no commission to produce. A comfortable
argument on the subject, however, would, none the less, consume time.

Three hours of this work brought them, exhausted and hungry; to the hour
of noon and of dinner Alexander, with profuse and smiling thanks for the
envoy's plain dealing and eloquence, assured him that there would have
been peace long ago "had Doctor Rogers always been the instrument," and
regretted that he was himself not learned enough to deal creditably with
him. He would, however, send Richardot to bear him company at table, and
chop logic with him afterwards.

Next day, at the same, hour, the Duke and Doctor had another encounter.
So soon as the envoy made his appearance, he found himself "embraced most
cheerfully and familiarly by his Alteza," who, then entering at once into
business, asked as to the Doctor's second point.

The Doctor answered with great alacrity.

"Certain expressions have been reported to her Majesty," said he, "as
coming both from your Highness and from Richardot, hinting at a possible
attempt by the King of Spain's forces against the Queen. Her Majesty,
gathering that you are going about belike to terrify her, commands me to
inform you very clearly and very expressly that she does not deal so
weakly in her government, nor so improvidently, but that she is provided
for anything that might be attempted against her by the King, and as able
to offend him as he her Majesty."

Alexander--with a sad countenance, as much offended, his eyes declaring
miscontentment--asked who had made such a report.

"Upon the honour of a gentleman," said he, "whoever has said this has
much abused me, and evil acquitted himself. They who know me best are
aware that it is not my manner to let any word pass my lips that might
offend any prince." Then, speaking most solemnly, he added, "I declare
really and truly (which two words he said in Spanish), that I know not of
any intention of the King of Spain against her Majesty or her realm."

At that moment the earth did not open--year of portents though it
was--and the Doctor, "singularly rejoicing" at this authentic information
from the highest source, proceeded cheerfully with the conversation.

"I hold myself," he exclaimed, "the man most satisfied in the world,
because I may now write to her Majesty that I have heard your Highness
upon your honour use these words."

"Upon my honour, it is true," repeated the Duke; "for so honourably do I
think of her Majesty, as that, after the King, my master, I would honour
and serve her before any prince in Christendom." He added many earnest
asseverations of similar import.

"I do not deny, however," continued Alexander, "that I have heard of
certain ships having been armed by the King against that Draak"--he
pronounced the "a" in Drake's name very broadly, or "Doric"--"who has
committed so many outrages; but I repeat that I have never heard of any
design against her Majesty or against England."

The Duke then manifested much anxiety to know by whom he had been so
misrepresented. "There has been no one with me but Dr. Dale," said, he,
"and I marvel that he should thus wantonly have injured me."

"Dr. Dale," replied Ropers, "is a man of honour, of good years, learned,
and well experienced; but perhaps he unfortunately misapprehended some of
your Alteza's words, and thought himself bound by his allegiance strictly
to report them to her Majesty."

"I grieve that I should be misrepresented and injured," answered Farnese,
"in a manner so important to my honour. Nevertheless, knowing the virtues
with which her Majesty is endued, I assure myself that the protestations
I am now making will entirely satisfy her."

He then expressed the fervent hope that the holy work of negotiation now
commencing would result in a renewal of the ancient friendship between
the Houses of Burgundy and of England, asserting that "there had never
been so favourable a time as the present."

Under former governments of the Netherlands there had been many mistakes
and misunderstandings.

"The Duke of Alva," said he, "has learned by this time, before the
judgment-seat of God, how he discharged his functions, succeeding as he
did my mother, the Duchess of Parma who left the Provinces in so
flourishing a condition. Of this, however, I will say no more, because of
a feud between the Houses of Farnese and of Alva. As for Requesens, he
was a good fellow, but didn't understand his business. Don John of
Austria again, whose soul I doubt not is in heaven, was young and poor,
and disappointed in all his designs; but God has never offered so great a
hope of assured peace as might now be accomplished by her Majesty."

Finding the Duke in so fervent and favourable a state of mind, the envoy
renewed his demand that at least the first meeting of the commissioners
might be held at Ostend.

"Her Majesty finds herself so touched in honour upon this point, that if
it be not conceded--as I doubt not it will be, seeing the singular
forwardness of your Highness"--said the artful Doctor with a smile, "we
are no less than commanded to return to her Majesty's presence."

"I sent Richardot to you yesterday," said Alexander; "did he not content

"Your Highness, no," replied Ropers. "Moreover her Majesty sent me to
your Alteza, and not to Richardot. And the matter is of such importance
that I pray you to add to all your graces and favours heaped upon me,
this one of sending your commissioners to Ostend."

His Highness could hold out no longer; but suddenly catching the Doctor
in his arms, and hugging him "in most honourable and amiable manner," he

"Be contented, be cheerful; my lord ambassador. You shall be satisfied
upon this point also."

"And never did envoy depart;" cried the lord ambassador, when he could
get his breath, "more bound to you; and more resolute to speak honour of
your Highness than I do."

"To-morrow we will ride together towards Bruges;" said the Duke, in
conclusion. "Till then farewell."

Upon, this he again heartily embraced the envoy, and the friends parted
for the day.

Next morning; 28th March, the Duke, who was on his way to Bruges and
Sluys to look after his gun-boats, and, other naval, and military
preparations, set forth on horseback, accompanied by the Marquis del
Vasto, and, for part of the way, by Rogers.

They conversed on the general topics of the approaching negotiations; the
Duke, expressing the opinion that the treaty of peace would be made short
work with; for it only needed to renew the old ones between the Houses of
England and Burgundy. As for the Hollanders and Zeelanders, and their
accomplices, he thought there would be no cause of stay on their account;
and in regard to the cautionary towns he felt sure that her Majesty had
never had any intention of appropriating them to herself, and would
willingly surrender them to the King.

Rogers thought it a good opportunity to put in a word for the Dutchmen;
who certainly, would not have thanked him for his assistance at that

"Not, to give offence to your Highness," he said, "if the Hollanders and
Zeelanders, with their confederates, like to come into this treaty,
surely your Highness would not object?"

Alexander, who had been riding along quietly during this conversation;
with his right, hand, on, his hip, now threw out his arm energetically:

"Let them come into it; let them treat, let them conclude," he exclaimed,
"in the name of Almighty God! I have always been well disposed to peace,
and am now more so than ever. I could even, with the loss of my life, be
content to have peace made at this time."

Nothing more, worthy of commemoration, occurred during this concluding
interview; and the envoy took his leave at Bruges, and returned to

I have furnished the reader with a minute account of these conversations,
drawn entirely, from the original records; not so much because the
interviews were in themselves of vital importance; but because they
afford a living and breathing example--better than a thousand
homilies--of the easy victory which diplomatic or royal mendacity may
always obtain over innocence and credulity.

Certainly never was envoy more thoroughly beguiled than the excellent
John upon this occasion. Wiser than a serpent, as he imagined himself to
be, more harmless than a dove; as Alexander found him, he could not,
sufficiently congratulate himself upon the triumphs of his eloquence and
his adroitness; and despatched most glowing accounts of his proceedings
to the Queen.

His ardour was somewhat damped, however, at receiving a message from her
Majesty in reply, which was anything but benignant. His eloquence was not
commended; and even his preamble, with its touching allusion to the live
mothers tendering their offspring--the passage: which had brought the
tears into the large eyes of Alexander--was coldly and cruelly censured.

"Her Majesty can in no sort like such speeches"--so ran the
return-despatch--"in which she is made to beg for peace. The King of
Spain standeth in as great need of peace as her self; and she doth
greatly mislike the preamble of Dr. Rogers in his address to the Duke at
Ghent, finding it, in very truth quite fond and vain. I am commanded by a
particular letter to let him understand how much her Majesty is offended
with him."

Alexander, on his part, informed his royal master of these interviews, in
which there had been so much effusion of sentiment, in very brief

"Dr. Rogers, one of the Queen's commissioners, has been here," he said,
"urging me with all his might to let all your Majesty's deputies go, if
only for one hour, to Ostend. I refused, saying, I would rather they
should go to England than into a city of your Majesty held by English
troops. I told him it ought to be satisfactory that I had offered the
Queen, as a lady, her choice of any place in the Provinces, or on neutral
ground. Rogers expressed regret for all the bloodshed and other
consequences if the negotiations should fall through for so trifling a
cause; the more so as in return for this little compliment to the Queen
she would not only restore to your Majesty everything that she holds in
the Netherlands, but would assist you to recover the part which remains
obstinate. To quiet him and to consume time, I have promised that
President Richardot shall go and try to satisfy them. Thus two or three
weeks more will be wasted. But at last the time will come for exhibiting
the powers. They are very anxious to see mine; and when at last they find
I have none, I fear that they will break off the negotiations."

Could the Queen have been informed of this voluntary offer on the part of
her envoy to give up the cautionary towns, and to assist in reducing the
rebellion, she might have used stronger language of rebuke. It is quite
possible, however, that Farnese--not so attentively following the
Doctor's eloquence as he had appeared to do-had somewhat inaccurately
reported the conversations, which, after all, he knew to be of no
consequence whatever, except as time-consumers. For Elizabeth, desirous
of peace as she was, and trusting to Farnese's sincerity as she was
disposed to do, was more sensitive than ever as to her dignity.

"We charge you all," she wrote with her own hand to the commissioners,
"that no word he overslipt by them, that may, touch our honour and
greatness, that be not answered with good sharp words. I am a king that
will be ever known not to fear any but God."

It would have been better, however, had the Queen more thoroughly
understood that the day for scolding had quite gone by, and that
something sharper than the sharpest words would soon be wanted to protect
England and herself from impending doom. For there was something almost
gigantic in the frivolities with which weeks and months of such
precious time were now squandered. Plenary powers--"commission
bastantissima"--from his sovereign had been announced by Alexander as in
his possession; although the reader has seen that he had no such powers
at all. The mission of Rogers had quieted the envoys at Ostend for a
time, and they waited quietly for the visit of Richardot to Ostend, into
which the promised meeting of all the Spanish commissioners in that city
had dwindled. Meantime there was an exchange of the most friendly
amenities between the English and their mortal enemies. Hardly a day
passed that La Motte, or Renty, or Aremberg, did not send Lord Derby, or
Cobham, or Robert Cecil, a hare, or a pheasant, or a cast of hawks, and
they in return sent barrel upon barrel of Ostend oysters, five or six
hundred at a time. The Englishmen, too; had it in their power to gratify
Alexander himself with English greyhounds, for which he had a special
liking. "You would wonder," wrote Cecil to his father, "how fond he is of
English dogs." There was also much good preaching among other
occupations, at Ostend. "My Lord of Derby's two chaplains," said Cecil,
"have seasoned this town better with sermons than it had been before for
a year's apace." But all this did not expedite the negotiations, nor did
the Duke manifest so much anxiety for colloquies as for greyhounds. So,
in an unlucky hour for himself, another "fond and vain" old
gentleman--James Croft, the comptroller who had already figured, not much
to his credit, in the secret negotiations between the Brussels and
English courts--betook himself, unauthorized and alone; to the Duke at
Bruges. Here he had an interview very similar in character to that in
which John Rogers had been indulged, declared to Farnese that the Queen
was most anxious for peace, and invited him to send a secret envoy to
England, who would instantly have ocular demonstration of the fact. Croft
returned as triumphantly as the excellent Doctor had done; averring that
there was no doubt as to the immediate conclusion of a treaty. His
grounds of belief were very similar to those upon which Rogers had
founded his faith. "Tis a weak old man of seventy," said Parma, "with
very little sagacity. I am inclined to think that his colleagues are
taking him in, that they may the better deceive us. I will see that they
do nothing of the kind." But the movement was purely one of the
comptroller's own inspiration; for Sir James had a singular facility for
getting himself into trouble, and for making confusion. Already, when he
had been scarcely a day in Ostend, he had insulted the governor of the
place, Sir John Conway, had given him the lie in the hearing of many of
his own soldiers, had gone about telling all the world that he had
express authority from her Majesty to send him home in disgrace, and that
the Queen had called him a fool, and quite unfit for his post. And as if
this had not been mischief-making enough, in addition to the absurd De
Loo and Bodman negotiations of the previous year, in which he had been
the principal actor, he had crowned his absurdities by this secret and
officious visit to Ghent. The Queen, naturally very indignant at this
conduct, reprehended him severely, and ordered him back to England. The
comptroller was wretched. He expressed his readiness to obey her
commands, but nevertheless implored his dread sovereign to take merciful
consideration of the manifold misfortunes, ruin, and utter undoing, which
thereby should fall upon him and his unfortunate family. All this he
protested he would "nothing esteem if it tended to her Majesty's pleasure
or service," but seeing it should effectuate nothing but to bring the
aged carcase of her poor vassal to present decay, he implored compassion
upon his hoary hairs, and promised to repair the error of his former
proceedings. He avowed that he would not have ventured to disobey for a
moment her orders to return, but "that his aged and feeble limbs did not
retain sufficient force, without present death, to comply with her
commandment." And with that he took to his bed, and remained there until
the Queen was graciously pleased to grant him her pardon.

At last, early in May--instead of the visit of Richardot--there was a
preliminary meeting of all the commissioners in tents on the sands;
within a cannon-shot of Ostend, and between that place and Newport. It
was a showy and ceremonious interview, in which no business was
transacted. The commissioners of Philip were attended by a body of one
hundred and fifty light horse, and by three hundred private gentlemen in
magnificent costume. La Motte also came from Newport with one thousand
Walloon cavalry while the English Commissioners, on their part were
escorted from Ostend by an imposing array of English and Dutch troops.'
As the territory was Spanish; the dignity of the King was supposed to be
preserved, and Alexander, who had promised Dr. Rogers that the first
interview should take place within Ostend itself, thought it necessary to
apologize to his sovereign for so nearly keeping his word as to send the
envoys within cannon-shot of the town. "The English commissioners," said
he, "begged with so much submission for this concession, that I thought
it as well to grant it."

The Spanish envoys were despatched by the Duke of Parma, well provided
with full powers for himself, which were not desired by the English
government, but unfurnished with a commission from Philip, which had been
pronounced indispensable. There was, therefore, much prancing of cavalry,
flourishing of trumpets, and eating of oysters; at the first conference,
but not one stroke of business. As the English envoys had now been three
whole months in Ostend, and as this was the first occasion on which they
had been brought face to face with the Spanish commissioners, it must be
confessed that the tactics of Farnese had been masterly. Had the haste in
the dock-yards of Lisbon and Cadiz been at all equal to the magnificent
procrastination in the council-chambers of Bruges and Ghent, Medina
Sidonia might already have been in the Thames.

But although little ostensible business was performed, there was one man
who had always an eye to his work. The same servant in plain livery, who
had accompanied Secretary Garnier, on his first visit to the English
commissioners at Ostend, had now come thither again, accompanied by a
fellow-lackey. While the complimentary dinner, offered in the name of the
absent Farnese to the Queen's representatives, was going forward, the two
menials strayed off together to the downs, for the purpose of
rabbit-shooting. The one of them was the same engineer who had already,
on the former occasion, taken a complete survey of the fortifications of
Ostend; the other was no less a personage than the Duke of Parma himself.
The pair now made a thorough examination of the town and its
neighbourhood, and, having finished their reconnoitring, made the best of
their way back to Bruges. As it was then one of Alexander's favourite
objects to reduce the city of Ostend, at the earliest possible moment, it
must be allowed that this preliminary conference was not so barren to
himself as it was to the commissioners. Philip, when informed of this
manoeuvre, was naturally gratified at such masterly duplicity, while he
gently rebuked his nephew for exposing his valuable life; and certainly
it would have been an inglorious termination to the Duke's splendid
career; had he been hanged as a spy within the trenches of Ostend. With
the other details of this first diplomatic colloquy Philip was delighted.
"I see you understand me thoroughly," he said. "Keep the negotiation
alive till my Armada appears, and then carry out my determination, and
replant the Catholic religion on the soil of England."

The Queen was not in such high spirits. She was losing her temper very
fast, as she became more and more convinced that she had been trifled
with. No powers had been yet exhibited, no permanent place of conference
fixed upon, and the cessation of arms demanded by her commissioners for
England, Spain, and all the Netherlands, was absolutely refused. She
desired her commissioners to inform the Duke of Parma that it greatly
touched his honour--as both before their coming and afterwards, he had
assured her that he had 'comision bastantissima' from his sovereign--to
clear himself at once from the imputation of insincerity. "Let not the
Duke think," she wrote with her own hand, "that we would so long time
endure these many frivolous and unkindly dealings, but that we desire all
the world to know our desire of a kingly peace, and that we will endure
no more the like, nor any, but will return you from your charge."

Accordingly--by her Majesty's special command--Dr. Dale made another
visit to Bruges, to discover, once for all, whether there was a
commission from Philip or not; and, if so, to see it with his own eyes.
On the 7th May he had an interview with the Duke. After thanking his
Highness for the honourable and stately manner in which the conferences
had been, inaugurated near Ostend, Dale laid very plainly before him her
Majesty's complaints of the tergiversations and equivocations concerning
the commission, which had now lasted three months long.

In answer, Alexander made a complimentary harangue; confining himself
entirely to the first part of the envoy's address, and assuring him in
redundant phraseology, that he should hold himself very guilty before the
world, if he had not surrounded the first colloquy between the
plenipotentiaries of two such mighty princes, with as much pomp as the
circumstances of time and place would allow. After this superfluous
rhetoric had been poured forth, he calmly dismissed the topic which Dr.
Dale had come all the way from. Ostend to discuss, by carelessly
observing that President Richardot would confer with him on the subject
of the commission.

"But," said the envoy, "tis no matter of conference or dispute. I desire
simply to see the commission."

"Richardot and Champagny shall deal with you in the afternoon," repeated
Alexander; and with this reply, the Doctor was fair to be contented.

Dale then alluded to the point of cessation of arms.

"Although," said he, "the Queen might justly require that the cessation
should be general for all the King's dominion, yet in order not to stand
on precise points, she is content that it should extend no further than
to the towns of Flushing; Brief, Ostend, and Bergen-op-Zoom."

"To this he said nothing," wrote the envoy, "and so I went no further."

In the afternoon Dale had conference with Champagny and Richardot. As
usual, Champagny was bound hand and foot by the gout, but was as
quick-witted and disputatious as ever. Again Dale made an earnest
harangue, proving satisfactorily--as if any proof were necessary on such
a point--that a commission from Philip ought to be produced, and that a
commission had been promised, over and over again.

After a pause, both the representatives of Parma began to wrangle with
the envoy in very insolent fashion. "Richardot is always their
mouth-piece," said Dale, "only Champagny choppeth in at every word, and
would do so likewise in ours if we would suffer it."

"We shall never have done with these impertinent demands," said the
President. "You ought to be satisfied with the Duke's promise of
ratification contained in his commission. We confess what you say
concerning the former requisitions and promises to be true, but when will
you have done? Have we not showed it to Mr. Croft, one of your own
colleagues? And if we show it you now, another may come to-morrow, and so
we shall never have an end."

"The delays come from yourselves," roundly replied the Englishman, "for
you refuse to do what in reason and law you are bound to do. And the more
demands the more 'mora aut potius culpa' in you. You, of all men, have
least cause to hold such language, who so confidently and even
disdainfully answered our demand for the commission, in Mr. Cecil's
presence, and promised to show a perfect one at the very first meeting.
As for Mr. Comptroller Croft, he came hither without the command of her
Majesty and without the knowledge of his colleagues."

Richardot then began to insinuate that, as Croft had come without
authority, so--for aught they could tell--might Dale also. But Champagny
here interrupted, protested that the president was going too far, and
begged him to show the commission without further argument.

Upon this Richardot pulled out the commission from under his gown, and
placed it in Dr. Dale's hands!

It was dated 17th April, 1588, signed and sealed by the King, and written
in French, and was to the effect, that as there had been differences
between her Majesty and himself; as her Majesty had sent ambassadors into
the Netherlands, as the Duke of Parma had entered into treaty with her
Majesty, therefore the King authorised the Duke to appoint commissioners
to treat, conclude, and determine all controversies and
misunderstandings, confirmed any such appointments already made, and
promised to ratify all that might be done by them in the premises.'

Dr. Dale expressed his satisfaction with the tenor of this document, and
begged to be furnished with a copy of it, but his was peremptorily
refused. There was then a long conversation--ending, as usual, in
nothing--on the two other points, the place for the conferences, namely,
and the cessation of arms.

Nest morning Dale, in taking leave of the Duke of Parma, expressed the
gratification which he felt, and which her Majesty was sure to feel at
the production of the commission. It was now proved, said the envoy, that
the King was as earnestly in favour of peace as the Duke was himself.

Dale then returned, well satisfied, to Ostend.

In truth the commission had arrived just in time. "Had I not received it
soon enough to produce it then," said Alexander, "the Queen would have
broken off the negotiations. So I ordered Richardot, who is quite aware
of your Majesty's secret intentions, from which we shall not swerve one
jot, to show it privately to Croft, and afterwards to Dr. Dale, but
without allowing a copy of it to be taken."

"You have done very well," replied Philip, "but that commission is, on no
account, to be used, except for show. You know my mind thoroughly."

Thus three months had been consumed, and at last one indispensable
preliminary to any negotiation had, in appearance, been performed. Full
powers on both sides had been exhibited. When the Queen of England gave
the Earl of Derby and his colleagues commission to treat with the King's
envoys, and pledged herself beforehand to, ratify all their proceedings,
she meant to perform the promise to which she had affixed her royal name
and seal. She could not know that the Spanish monarch was deliberately
putting his name to a lie, and chuckling in secret over the credulity of
his English sister, who was willing to take his word and his bond. Of a
certainty the English were no match for southern diplomacy.

But Elizabeth was now more impatient than ever that the other two
preliminaries should be settled, the place of conferences, and the

"Be plain with the Duke," she wrote to her envoys, "that we have
tolerated so many weeks in tarrying a commission, that I will never
endure more delays. Let him know he deals with a prince who prizes her
honour more than her life: Make yourselves such as stand of your

Sharp words, but not sharp enough to prevent a further delay of a month;
for it was not till the 6th June that the commissioners at last came
together at Bourbourg, that "miserable little hole," on the coast between
Ostend and Newport, against which Gamier had warned them. And now there
was ample opportunity to wrangle at full length on the next preliminary,
the cessation of arms. It would be superfluous to follow the altercations
step by step--for negotiations there were none--and it is only for the
sake of exhibiting at full length the infamy of diplomacy, when diplomacy
is unaccompanied by honesty, that we are hanging up this series of
pictures at all. Those bloodless encounters between credulity and vanity
upon one side, and gigantic fraud on the other, near those very sands of
Newport, and in sight of the Northern Ocean, where, before long, the most
terrible battles, both by land and sea, which the age had yet witnessed,
were to occur, are quite as full of instruction and moral as the most
sanguinary combats ever waged.

At last the commissioners exchanged copies of their respective powers.
After four months of waiting and wrangling, so much had been achieved--a
show of commissions and a selection of the place for conference. And now
began the long debate about the cessation of arms. The English claimed an
armistice for the whole dominion of Philip and Elizabeth respectively,
during the term of negotiation, and for twenty days after. The Spanish
would grant only a temporary truce, terminable at six days' notice, and
that only for the four cautionary towns of Holland held by the Queen.
Thus Philip would be free to invade England at his leisure out of the
obedient Netherlands or Spain. This was inadmissible, of course, but a
week was spent at the outset in reducing the terms to writing; and when
the Duke's propositions were at last produced in the French tongue, they
were refused by the Queen's commissioners, who required that the
documents should be in Latin. Great was the triumph of Dr. Dale, when,
after another interval, he found their Latin full of barbarisms and
blunders, at which a school-boy would have blushed. The King's
commissioners, however, while halting in their syntax, had kept steadily
to their point.

"You promised a general cessation of aims at our coming," said Dale, at a
conference on the 2/12 June, "and now ye have lingered five times twenty
days, and nothing done at all. The world may see the delays come of you
and not of us, and that ye are not so desirous of peace as ye pretend."

"But as far your invasion of England," stoutly observed the Earl of
Derby, "ye shall find it hot coming thither. England was never so ready
in any former age,--neither by sea nor by land; but we would show your
unreasonableness in proposing a cessation of arms by which ye would bind
her Majesty to forbear touching all the Low Countries, and yet leave
yourselves at liberty to invade England."

While they were thus disputing, Secretary Gamier rushed into the room,
looking very much frightened, and announced that Lord Henry Seymour's
fleet of thirty-two ships of war was riding off Gravelines, and that he
had sent two men on shore who were now waiting in the ante-chamber.

The men being accordingly admitted, handed letters to the English
commissioners from Lord Henry, in which he begged to be informed in what
terms they were standing, and whether they needed his assistance or
countenance in the cause in which they were engaged. The envoys found his
presence very "comfortable," as it showed the Spanish commissioners that
her Majesty was so well provided as to make a cessation of arms less
necessary to her than it was to the King. They therefore sent their
thanks to the Lord Admiral, begging him to cruise for a time off Dunkirk
and its neighbourhood, that both their enemies and their friends might
have a sight of the English ships.

Great was the panic all along the coast at this unexpected demonstration.
The King's commissioners got into their coaches, and drove down to the
coast to look at the fleet, and--so soon as they appeared--were received
with such a thundering cannonade an hour long, by way of salute, as to
convince them, in the opinion of the English envoys, that the Queen had
no cause to be afraid of any enemies afloat or ashore.

But these noisy arguments were not much more effective than the
interchange of diplomatic broadsides which they had for a moment
superseded. The day had gone by for blank cartridges and empty protocols.
Nevertheless Lord Henry's harmless thunder was answered, the next day, by
a "Quintuplication" in worse Latin than ever, presented to Dr. Dale and
his colleagues by Richardot and Champagny, on the subject of the
armistice. And then there was a return quintuplication, in choice Latin,
by the classic Dale, and then there was a colloquy on the
quintuplication, and everything that had been charged, and truly charged,
by the English; was now denied by the King's commissioners; and
Champagny--more gouty and more irascible than ever--"chopped in" at every
word spoken by King's envoys or Queen's, contradicted everybody,
repudiated everything said or done by Andrew de Loo, or any of the other
secret negotiators during the past year, declared that there never had
been a general cessation of arms promised, and that, at any rate, times
were now changed, and such an armistice was inadmissible! Then the
English answered with equal impatience, and reproached the King's
representatives with duplicity and want of faith, and censured them for
their unseemly language, and begged to inform Champagny and Richardot
that they had not then to deal with such persons as they might formerly
have been in the habit of treating withal, but with a "great prince who
did justify the honour of her actions," and they confuted the positions
now assumed by their opponents with official documents and former
statements from those very opponents' lips. And then, after all this
diplomatic and rhetorical splutter, the high commissioners recovered
their temper and grew more polite, and the King's "envoys excused
themselves in a mild, merry manner," for the rudeness of their speeches,
and the Queen's envoys accepted their apologies with majestic urbanity,
and so they separated for the day in a more friendly manner than they had
done the day before.'

"You see to what a scholar's shift we have been driven for want of
resolution," said Valentine Dale. "If we should linger here until there
should be broken heads, in what case we should be God knoweth. For I can
trust Champagny and Richardot no farther than I can see them."

And so the whole month of June passed by; the English commissioners
"leaving no stone unturned to get a quiet cessation of arms in general
terms," and being constantly foiled; yet perpetually kept in hope that
the point would soon be carried. At the same time the signs of the
approaching invasion seemed to thicken. "In my opinion," said Dale, "as
Phormio spake in matters of wars, it were very requisite that my Lord
Harry should be always on this coast, for they will steal out from hence
as closely as they can, either to join with the Spanish navy or to land,
and they may be very easily scattered, by God's grace." And, with the
honest pride of a protocol-maker, he added, "our postulates do trouble
the King's commissioners very much, and do bring them to despair."

The excellent Doctor had not even yet discovered that the King's
commissioners were delighted with his postulates; and that to have kept
them postulating thus five months in succession, while naval and military
preparations were slowly bringing forth a great event--which was soon to
strike them with as much amazement as if the moon had fallen out of
heaven--was one of the most decisive triumphs ever achieved by Spanish
diplomacy. But the Doctor thought that his logic had driven the King of
Spain to despair.

At the same time he was not insensible to the merits of another and more
peremptory style of rhetoric,--"I pray you," said he to Walsingham, "let
us hear some arguments from my Lord Harry out of her Majesty's navy now
and then. I think they will do more good than any bolt that we can shoot
here. If they be met with at their going out, there is no possibility for
them to make any resistance, having so few men that can abide the sea;
for the rest, as you know, must be sea-sick at first."

But the envoys were completely puzzled. Even at the beginning of July,
Sir James Croft was quite convinced of the innocence of the King and the
Duke; but Croft was in his dotage. As for Dale, he occasionally opened
his eyes, and his ears, but more commonly kept them well closed to the
significance of passing events; and consoled himself with his protocols
and his classics, and the purity of his own Latin.

"'Tis a very wise saying of Terence," said he, "omnibus nobis ut res dant
sese; ita magni aut humiles sumus.' When the King's commissioners hear of
the King's navy from Spain, they are in such jollity that they talk loud.
. . . In the mean time--as the wife of Bath sath in Chaucer by her
husband, we owe them not a word. If we should die tomorrow; I hope her
Majesty will find by our writings that the honour of the cause, in the
opinion of the world, must be with her Majesty; and that her
commissioners are, neither of such imperfection in their reasons, or so
barbarous in language, as they who fail not, almost in every line, of
some barbarism not to be borne in a grammar-school, although in
subtleness and impudent affirming of untruths and denying of truths, her
commissioners are not in any respect to match with Champagny and
Richardot, who are doctors in that faculty."

It might perhaps prove a matter of indifference to Elizabeth and to
England, when the Queen should be a state-prisoner in Spain and the
Inquisition quietly established in her kingdom, whether the world should
admit or not, in case of his decease, the superiority of Dr. Dale's logic
and latin to those of his antagonists. And even if mankind conceded the
best of the argument to the English diplomatists, that diplomacy might
seem worthless which could be blind to the colossal falsehoods growing
daily before its eyes. Had the commissioners been able to read the secret
correspondence between Parma and his master--as we have had the
opportunity of doing--they would certainly not have left their homes in
February, to be made fools of until July; but would, on their knees, have
implored their royal mistress to awake from her fatal delusion before it
should be too late. Even without that advantage, it seems incredible that
they should have been unable to pierce through the atmosphere of
duplicity which surrounded them, and to obtain one clear glimpse of the
destruction so, steadily advancing upon England.

For the famous bull of Sixtus V. had now been fulminated. Elizabeth had
bean again denounced as a bastard and usurper, and her kingdom had been
solemnly conferred upon Philip, with title of defender of the Christian,
faith, to have and to hold as tributary and feudatory of Rome. The
so-called Queen had usurped the crown contrary to the ancient treaties
between the apostolic stool and the kingdom of England, which country, on
its reconciliation with the head of the church after the death of St.
Thomas of Canterbury, had recognised the necessity of the Pope's consent
in the succession to its throne; she had deserved chastisement for the
terrible tortures inflicted by her upon English Catholics and God's own
saints; and it was declared an act of virtue, to be repaid with plenary
indulgence and forgiveness of all sins, to lay violent hands on the
usurper, and deliver her into the hands of the Catholic party. And of the
holy league against the usurper, Philip was appointed the head, and
Alexander of Parma chief commander. This document was published in large
numbers in Antwerp in the English tongue.

The pamphlet of Dr. Allen, just named Cardinal, was also translated in
the same city, under the direction of the Duke of Parma, in-order to be
distributed throughout England, on the arrival in that kingdom of the
Catholic troops. The well-known 'Admonition to the Nobility and People of
England and Ireland' accused the Queen of every crime and vice which can
pollute humanity; and was filled with foul details unfit for the public
eye in these more decent days.

So soon as the intelligence of these publications reached England, the
Queen ordered her commissioners at Bourbourg to take instant cognizance
of them, and to obtain a categorical explanation on the subject from
Alexander himself: as if an explanation were possible, as if the designs
of Sixtus, Philip, and Alexander, could any longer be doubted, and as if
the Duke were more likely now than before to make a succinct statement of
them for the benefit of her Majesty.

"Having discovered," wrote Elizabeth on the 9th July (N.S.), "that this
treaty of peace is entertained only to abuse us, and being many ways
given to understand that the preparations which have so long been making,
and which now are consummated, both in Spain and the Low Countries, are
purposely to be employed against us and our country; finding that, for
the furtherance of these exploits, there is ready to be published a vile,
slanderous, and blasphemous book, containing as many lies as lines,
entitled, 'An Admonition,' &c., and contrived by a lewd born-subject of
ours, now become an arrant traitor, named Dr. Allen, lately made, a
cardinal at Rome; as also a bull of the Pope, whereof we send you a copy,
both very lately brought into those Low Countries, the one whereof is
already printed at Antwerp, in a great multitude; in the English tongue,
and the other ordered to be printed, only to stir up our subjects,
contrary to the laws of God and their allegiance, to join with such
foreign purposes as are prepared against us and our realm, to come out of
those Low Countries and out of Spain; and as it appears by the said bull
that the Duke of Parma is expressly named and chosen by the Pope and the
King of Spain to be principal executioner of these intended enterprises,
we cannot think it honourable for us to continue longer the treaty of
peace with them that, under colour of treaty, arm themselves with all the
power they can to a bloody war."

Accordingly the Queen commanded Dr. Dale, as one of the commissioners, to
proceed forthwith to the Duke, in order to obtain explanations as to his
contemplated conquest of her realm, and as to his share in the
publication of the bull and pamphlet, and to "require him, as he would be
accounted a prince of honour, to let her plainly understand what she
might think thereof." The envoy was to assure him that the Queen would
trust implicitly to his statement, to adjure him to declare the truth,
and, in case he avowed the publications and the belligerent intentions
suspected, to demand instant safe-conduct to England for her
commissioners, who would, of course, instantly leave the Netherlands. On
the other hand, if the Duke disavowed those infamous documents, he was to
be requested to punish the printers, and have the books burned by the

Dr. Dale, although suffering from cholic, was obliged to set forth, at
once upon what he felt would be a bootless journey. At his return--which
was upon the 22nd of July (N.S.)the shrewd old gentleman had nearly
arrived at the opinion that her Majesty might as well break off the
negotiations. He had a "comfortless voyage and a ticklish message;" found
all along the road signs of an approaching enterprise, difficult to be
mistaken; reported 10,000 veteran Spaniards, to which force Stanley's
regiment was united; 6000 Italians, 3000 Germans, all with pikes,
corselets, and slash swords complete; besides 10,000 Walloons. The
transports for the cavalry at Gravelingen he did not see, nor was he much
impressed with what he heard as to the magnitude of the naval
preparations at Newport. He was informed that the Duke was about making a
foot-pilgrimage from Brussels to Our Lady of Halle, to implore victory
for his banners, and had daily evidence of the soldier's expectation to
invade and to "devour England." All this had not tended to cure him of
the low spirits with which he began the journey. Nevertheless, although
he was unable--as will be seen--to report an entirely satisfactory answer
from Farnese to the Queen upon the momentous questions entrusted to him,
he, at least, thought of a choice passage in 'The AEneid,' so very apt to
the circumstances, as almost to console him for the "pangs of his cholic"
and the terrors of the approaching invasion.

"I have written two or three verses out of Virgil for the Queen to read,"
said he, "which I pray your Lordship to present unto her. God grant her
to weigh them. If your Lordship do read the whole discourse of Virgil in
that place, it will make your heart melt. Observe the report of the
ambassadors that were sent to Diomedes to make war against the Trojans,
for the old hatred that he, being a Grecian, did bear unto them; and note
the answer of Diomedes dissuading them from entering into war with the
Trojans, the perplexity of the King, the miseries of the country, the
reasons of Drances that spake against them which would have war, the
violent persuasions of Turnus to war; and note, I pray you; one word,
'nec te ullius violentia frangat.' What a lecture could I make with Mr.
Cecil upon that passage in Virgil!"

The most important point for the reader to remark is the date of this
letter. It was received in the very last days of the month of July. Let
him observe--as he will soon have occasion to do--the events which were
occurring on land and sea, exactly at the moment when this classic
despatch reached its destination, and judge whether the hearts of the
Queen and Lord Burghley would be then quite at leisure to melt at the
sorrows of the Trojan War. Perhaps the doings of Drake and Howard, Medina
Sidonia, and Ricalde, would be pressing as much on their attention as the
eloquence of Diomede or the wrath of Turnus. Yet it may be doubted
whether the reports of these Grecian envoys might not in truth, be almost
as much to the purpose as the despatches of the diplomatic pedant, with
his Virgil and his cholic, into whose hands grave matters of peace and
war were entrusted in what seemed the day of England's doom.

"What a lecture I could make with Mr. Cecil on the subject!--" An English
ambassador, at the court of Philip II.'s viceroy, could indulge himself
in imaginary prelections on the AEneid, in the last days of July, of the
year of our Lord 1588!

The Doctor, however--to do him justice--had put the questions
categorically, to his Highness as he had been instructed to do. He went
to Bruges so mysteriously; that no living man, that side the sea, save
Lord Derby and Lord Cobham, knew the cause of his journey. Poor-puzzling
James Croft, in particular, was moved almost to tears, by being kept out
of the secret. On the 8/18 July Dale had audience of the Duke at Bruges.
After a few commonplaces, he was invited by the Duke to state what
special purpose had brought him to Bruges.

"There is a book printed at Antwerp," said Dale, "and set forth by a
fugitive from England, who calleth himself a cardinal."

Upon this the Duke began diligently to listen.

"This book," resumed Dale, "is an admonition to the nobility and people
of England and Ireland touching the execution of the sentence of the Pope
against the Queen which the King Catholic hath entrusted to your Highness
as chief of the enterprise. There is also a bull of the Pope declaring my
sovereign mistress illegitimate and an usurper, with other matters too
odious for any prince or gentleman to name or hear. In this bull the Pope
saith that he hath dealt with the most Catholic King to employ all the
means in his power to the deprivation and deposition of my sovereign, and
doth charge her subjects to assist the army appointed by the King
Catholic for that purpose, under the conduct of your Highness. Therefore
her Majesty would be satisfied from your Highness in that point, and will
take satisfaction of none other; not doubting but that as you are a
prince of word and credit; you will deal plainly with her Majesty.
Whatsoever it may be, her Majesty will not take it amiss against your
Highness, so she may only be informed by you of the truth. Wherefore I do
require you to satisfy the Queen."

"I am glad," replied the Duke, "that her Majesty and her commissioners do
take in good part my good-will towards them. I am especially touched by
the good opinion her Majesty hath of my sincerity, which I should be glad
always to maintain. As to the book to which you refer, I have never read
it, nor seen it, nor do I take heed of it. It may well be that her
Majesty, whom it concerneth, should take notice of it; but, for my part,
I have nought to do with it, nor can I prevent men from writing or
printing at their pleasure. I am at the commandment of my master only."

As Alexander made no reference to the Pope's bull, Dr. Dale observed,
that if a war had been, of purpose, undertaken at the instance of the
Pope, all this negotiation had been in vain, and her Majesty would be
obliged to withdraw her commissioners, not doubting that they would
receive safe-conduct as occasion should require.

"Yea, God forbid else," replied Alexander; "and further, I know nothing
of any bull of the Pope, nor do I care for any, nor do I undertake
anything for him. But as for any misunderstanding (mal entendu) between
my master and her Majesty, I must, as a soldier, act at the command of my
sovereign. For my part, I have always had such respect for her Majesty,
being so noble a Queen, as that I would never hearken to anything that
might be reproachful to her. After my master, I would do most to serve
your Queen, and I hope she will take my word for her satisfaction on that
point. And for avoiding of bloodshed and the burning of houses and such
other calamities as do follow the wars, I have been a petitioner to my
sovereign that all things might be ended quietly by a peace. That is a
thing, however," added the Duke; "which you have more cause to desire
than we; for if the King my master, should lose a battle, he would be
able to recover it well enough, without harm to himself, being far enough
off in Spain, while, if the battle be lost on your side, you may lose
kingdom and all."

"By God's sufferance," rejoined the Doctor, "her Majesty is not without
means to defend her crown, that hath descended to her from so long a
succession of ancestors. Moreover your Highness knows very well that one
battle cannot conquer a kingdom in another country."

"Well," said the Duke, "that is in God's hand."

"So it is," said the Doctor.

"But make an end of it," continued Alexander quietly, "and if you have
anything to put into writing; you will do me a pleasure by sending it to

Dr. Valentine Dale was not the man to resist the temptation to make a
protocol, and promised one for the next day.

"I am charged only to give your Highness satisfaction," he said, "as to
her Majesty's sincere intentions, which have already been published to
the world in English, French, and Italian, in the hope that you may also
satisfy the Queen upon this other point. I am but one of her
commissioners, and could not deal without my colleagues. I crave leave to
depart to-morrow morning, and with safe-convoy, as I had in coming."

After the envoy had taken leave, the Duke summoned Andrea de Loo, and
related to him the conversation which had taken place. He then, in the
presence of that personage, again declared--upon his honour and with very
constant affirmations, that he had never seen nor heard of the book--the
'Admonition' by Cardinal Allen--and that he knew nothing of any bull, and
had no regard to it.'

The plausible Andrew accompanied the Doctor to his lodgings, protesting
all the way of his own and his master's sincerity, and of their
unequivocal intentions to conclude a peace. The next day the Doctor, by
agreement, brought a most able protocol of demands in the name of all the
commissioners of her Majesty; which able protocol the Duke did not at
that moment read, which he assuredly never read subsequently, and which
no human soul ever read afterwards. Let the dust lie upon it, and upon
all the vast heaps of protocols raised mountains high during the spring
and summer of 1588.

"Dr. Dale has been with me two or three, times," said Parma, in giving
his account of these interviews to Philip. "I don't know why he came, but
I think he wished to make it appear, by coming to Bruges, that the
rupture, when it occurs, was caused by us, not by the English. He has
been complaining of Cardinal Allen's book, and I told him that I didn't
understand a word of English, and knew nothing whatever of the matter."

It has been already seen that the Duke had declared, on his word of
honour, that he had never heard of the famous pamphlet. Yet at that very
moment letters were lying in his cabinet, received more than a fortnight
before from Philip, in which that monarch thanked Alexander for having
had the Cardinal's book translated at Antwerp! Certainly few English
diplomatists could be a match for a Highness so liberal of his word of

But even Dr. Dale had at last convinced himself--even although the Duke
knew nothing of bull or pamphlet--that mischief was brewing against
England. The sagacious man, having seen large bodies of Spaniards and
Walloons making such demonstrations of eagerness to be led against his
country, and "professing it as openly as if they were going to a fair or
market," while even Alexander himself could "no more hide it than did
Henry VIII. when he went to Boulogne," could not help suspecting
something amiss.

His colleague, however, Comptroller Croft, was more judicious, for he
valued himself on taking a sound, temperate, and conciliatory view of
affairs. He was not the man to offend a magnanimous neighbour--who meant
nothing unfriendly by regarding his manoeuvres with superfluous
suspicion. So this envoy wrote to Lord Burghley on the 2nd August
(N.S.)--let the reader mark the date--that, "although a great doubt had
been conceived as to the King's sincerity, . . . . yet that discretion
and experience induced him--the envoy--to think, that besides the
reverent opinion to be had of princes' oaths, and the general incommodity
which will come by the contrary, God had so balanced princes' powers in
that age, as they rather desire to assure themselves at home, than with
danger to invade their neighbours."

Perhaps the mariners of England--at that very instant exchanging
broadsides off the coast of Devon and Dorset with the Spanish Armada, and
doing their best to protect their native land from the most horrible
calamity which had ever impended over it--had arrived at a less reverent
opinion of princes' oaths; and it was well for England in that supreme
hour that there were such men as Howard and Drake, and Winter and
Frobisher, and a whole people with hearts of oak to defend her, while
bungling diplomatists and credulous dotards were doing their best to
imperil her existence.


     Bungling diplomatists and credulous dotards
     Fitter to obey than to command
     Full of precedents and declamatory commonplaces
     I am a king that will be ever known not to fear any but God
     Infamy of diplomacy, when diplomacy is unaccompanied by honesty
     Mendacity may always obtain over innocence and credulity
     Never did statesmen know better how not to do
     Pray here for satiety, (said Cecil) than ever think of variety
     Simple truth was highest skill
     Strength does a falsehood acquire in determined and skilful hand
     That crowned criminal, Philip the Second


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 56, 1588


   Dangerous Discord in North Holland--Leicester's Resignation arrives
   --Enmity of Willoughby and Maurice--Willoughby's dark Picture of
   Affairs--Hatred between States and Leicestrians--Maurice's Answer to
   the Queen's Charges--End of Sonoy's Rebellion--Philip foments the
   Civil War in France--League's Threats and Plots against Henry--Mucio
   arrives in Paris--He is received with Enthusiasm--The King flies,
   and Spain triumphs in Paris--States expostulate with the Queen--
   English Statesmen still deceived--Deputies from Netherland Churches
   --Hold Conference with the Queen--And present long Memorials--More
   Conversations with the Queen--National Spirit of England and
   Holland--Dissatisfaction with Queen's Course--Bitter Complaints of
   Lord Howard--Want of Preparation in Army and Navy--Sanguine
   Statements of Leicester--Activity of Parma--The painful Suspense

But it is necessary-in order to obtain a complete picture of that famous
year 1588, and to understand the cause from which such great events were
springing--to cast a glance at the internal politics of the States most
involved in Philip's meshes.

Certainly, if there had ever been a time when the new commonwealth of the
Netherlands should be both united in itself and on thoroughly friendly
terms with England, it was exactly that epoch of which we are treating.
There could be no reasonable doubt that the designs of Spain against
England were hostile, and against Holland revengeful. It was at least
possible that Philip meant to undertake the conquest of England, and to
undertake it as a stepping-stone to the conquest of Holland. Both the
kingdom and the republic should have been alert, armed, full of suspicion
towards the common foe, full of confidence in each other. What decisive
blows might have been struck against Parma in the Netherlands, when his
troops were starving, sickly, and mutinous, if the Hollanders and
Englishmen had been united under one chieftain, and thoroughly convinced
of the impossibility of peace! Could the English and Dutch statesmen of
that day have read all the secrets of their great enemy's heart, as it is
our privilege at this hour to do, they would have known that in sudden
and deadly strokes lay their best chance of salvation. But, without that
advantage, there were men whose sagacity told them that it was the hour
for deeds and not for dreams. For to Leicester and Walsingham, as well as
to Paul Buys and Barneveld, peace with Spain seemed an idle vision. It
was unfortunate that they were overruled by Queen Elizabeth and Burghley,
who still clung to that delusion; it was still more disastrous that the
intrigues of Leicester had done so much to paralyze the republic; it was
almost fatal that his departure, without laying down his authority, had
given the signal for civil war.

During the winter, spring, and summer of 1588, while the Duke--in the
face of mighty obstacles--was slowly proceeding with his preparations in
Flanders, to co-operate with the armaments from Spain, it would have been
possible by a combined movement to destroy his whole plan, to liberate
all the Netherlands, and to avert, by one great effort, the ruin
impending over England. Instead of such vigorous action, it was thought
wiser to send commissioners, to make protocols, to ask for armistices, to
give profusely to the enemy that which he was most in need of--time.
Meanwhile the Hollanders and English could quarrel comfortably among
themselves, and the little republic, for want of a legal head, could come
as near as possible to its dissolution.

Young Maurice--deep thinker for his years and peremptory in action--was
not the man to see his great father's life-work annihilated before his
eyes, so long as he had an arm and brain of his own. He accepted his
position at the head of the government of Holland and Zeeland, and as
chief of the war-party. The council of state, mainly composed of
Leicester's creatures, whose commissions would soon expire by their own
limitation, could offer but a feeble resistance to such determined
individuals as Maurice, Buys, and Barneveld. The party made rapid
progress. On the other hand, the English Leicestrians did their best to
foment discord in the Provinces. Sonoy was sustained in his rebellion in
North Holland, not only by the Earl's partizans, but by Elizabeth
herself. Her rebukes to Maurice, when Maurice was pursuing the only
course which seemed to him consistent with honour and sound policy, were
sharper than a sword. Well might Duplessis Mornay observe, that the
commonwealth had been rather strangled than embraced by the English
Queen. Sonoy, in the name of Leicester, took arms against Maurice and the
States; Maurice marched against him; and Lord Willoughby,
commander-in-chief of the English forces, was anxious to march against
Maurice. It was a spectacle to make angels weep, that of Englishmen and
Hollanders preparing to cut each other's throats, at the moment when
Philip and Parma were bending all their energies to crush England and
Holland at once.

Indeed, the interregnum between the departure of Leicester and his
abdication was diligently employed by his more reckless partizans to
defeat and destroy the authority of the States. By prolonging the
interval, it was hoped that no government would be possible except the
arbitrary rule of the Earl, or of a successor with similar views: for a
republic--a free commonwealth--was thought an absurdity. To entrust
supreme power to advocates; merchants, and mechanics, seemed as hopeless
as it was vulgar. Willoughby; much devoted to Leicester and much
detesting Barneveld, had small scruple in fanning the flames of discord.

There was open mutiny against the States by the garrison of
Gertruydenberg, and Willoughby's brother-in-law, Captain Wingfield,
commanded in Gertruydenberg. There were rebellious demonstrations in
Naarden, and Willoughby went to Naarden. The garrison was troublesome,
but most of the magistrates were firm. So Willoughby supped with the
burgomasters, and found that Paul Buys had been setting the people
against Queen Elizabeth, Leicester, and the whole English nation, making
them all odious. Colonel Dorp said openly that it was a shame for the
country to refuse their own natural-born Count for strangers. He swore
that he would sing his song whose bread he had eaten. A "fat militia
captain" of the place, one Soyssons, on the other hand, privately
informed Willoughby that Maurice and Barneveld were treating underhand
with Spain. Willoughby was inclined to believe the calumny, but feared
that his corpulent friend would lose his head for reporting it. Meantime
the English commander did his best to strengthen the English party in
their rebellion against the States.

"But how if they make war upon us?" asked the Leicestrians.

"It is very likely," replied Willoughby, "that if they use violence you
will have her Majesty's assistance, and then you who continue constant to
the end will be rewarded accordingly. Moreover, who would not rather be a
horse-keeper to her Majesty, than a captain to Barneveld or Buys?"

When at last the resignation of Leicester--presented to the States by
Killegrew on the 31st March--seemed to promise comparative repose to the
republic, the vexation of the Leicestrians was intense. Their efforts to
effect a dissolution of the government had been rendered unsuccessful,
when success seemed within their grasp. "Albeit what is once executed
cannot be prevented," said Captain Champernoun; "yet 'tis thought certain
that if the resignation of Lord Leicester's commission had been deferred
yet some little time; the whole country and towns would have so revolted
and mutinied against the government and authority of the States, as that
they should have had no more credit given them by the people than pleased
her Majesty. Most part of the people could see--in consequence of the
troubles, discontent, mutiny of garrisons, and the like, that it was most
necessary for the good success of their affairs that the power of the
States should be abolished, and the whole government of his Excellency
erected. As these matters were busily working into the likelihood of some
good effect, came the resignation of his Excellency's commission and
authority, which so dashed the proceedings of it, as that all people and
commanders well affected unto her Majesty and my Lord of Leicester are
utterly discouraged. The States, with their adherents, before they had
any Lord's resignations were much perplexed what course to take, but now
begin to hoist their heads." The excellent Leicestrian entertained hopes,
however; that mutiny and intrigue might still carry the day. He had seen
the fat militiaman of Naarden and other captains, and, hoped much
mischief from their schemes. "The chief mutineers of Gertruydenberg," he
said, "maybe wrought to send unto 'the States, that if they do not
procure them some English governor, they will compound with the enemy,
whereon the States shall be driven to request her Majesty to accept the
place, themselves entertaining the garrison. I know certain captains
discontented with the States for arrears of pay, who will contrive to get
into Naarden with their companies, with the States consent, who, once
entered, will keep the place for their satisfaction, pay their soldiers
out of the contributions of the country; and yet secretly hold the place
at her Majesty's command."

This is not an agreeable picture; yet it is but one out of many examples
of the intrigues by which Leicester and his party were doing their best
to destroy the commonwealth of the Netherlands at a moment when its
existence was most important to that of England.

To foment mutiny in order to subvert the authority of Maurice, was not a
friendly or honourable course of action either towards Holland or
England; and it was to play into the hands of Philip as adroitly as his
own stipendiaries could have done.

With mischief-makers like Champernoun in every city, and with such
diplomatists at Ostend as Croft and Ropers and Valentine Dale, was it
wonderful that the King and the Duke of Parma found time to mature their
plans for the destruction of both countries?

Lord Willoughby, too, was extremely dissatisfied with his own position.
He received no commission from the Queen for several months. When it at
last reached him, it seemed inadequate, and he became more sullen than
ever. He declared that he would rather serve the Queen as a private
soldier, at his own expense--"lean as his purse was"--than accept the
limited authority conferred on him. He preferred to show his devotion "in
a beggarly state, than in a formal show." He considered it beneath her
Majesty's dignity that he should act in the field under the States, but
his instructions forbade his acceptance of any office from that body but
that of general in their service. He was very discontented, and more
anxious than ever to be rid of his functions. Without being extremely
ambitious, he was impatient of control. He desired not "a larger-shaped
coat," but one that fitted him better. "I wish to shape my garment
homely, after my cloth," he said, "that the better of my parish may not
be misled by my sumptuousness. I would live quietly, without great noise,
my poor roof low and near the ground, not subject to be overblown with
unlooked-for storms, while the sun seems most shining."

Being the deadly enemy of the States and their leaders, it was a matter
of course that he should be bitter against Maurice. That young Prince,
bold, enterprising, and determined, as he was, did not ostensibly meddle
with political affairs more than became his years; but he accepted the
counsels of the able statesmen in whom his father had trusted. Riding,
hunting, and hawking, seemed to be his chief delight at the Hague, in the
intervals of military occupations. He rarely made his appearance in the
state-council during the winter, and referred public matters to the
States-General, to the States of Holland, to Barneveld, Buys, and
Hohenlo. Superficial observers like George Gilpin regarded him as a
cipher; others, like Robert Cecil, thought him an unmannerly schoolboy;
but Willoughby, although considering him insolent and conceited, could
not deny his ability. The peace partisans among the burghers--a very
small faction--were furious against him, for they knew that Maurice of
Nassau represented war. They accused of deep designs against the
liberties of their country the youth who was ever ready to risk his life
in their defence. A burgomaster from Friesland, who had come across the
Zuyder Zee to intrigue against the States' party, was full of spleen at
being obliged to dance attendance for a long time at the Hague. He
complained that Count Maurice, green of years, and seconded by greener
counsellors, was meditating the dissolution of the state-council, the
appointment of a new board from his own creatures, the overthrow of all
other authority, and the assumption of the sovereignty of Holland and
Zeeland, with absolute power. "And when this is done;" said the rueful
burgomaster, "he and his turbulent fellows may make what terms they like
with Spain, to the disadvantage of the Queen and of us poor wretches."

But there was nothing farther from the thoughts of the turbulent fellows
than any negotiations with Spain. Maurice was ambitious enough, perhaps,
but his ambition ran in no such direction. Willoughby knew better; and
thought that by humouring the petulant young man it might be possible to
manage him.

"Maurice is young," he said, "hot-headed; coveting honour. If we do but
look at him through our fingers, without much words, but with providence
enough, baiting his hook a little to his appetite, there is no doubt but
he might be caught and kept in a fish-pool; while in his imagination he
may judge it a sea. If not, 'tis likely he will make us fish in troubled

Maurice was hardly the fish for a mill-pond even at that epoch, and it
might one day be seen whether or not he could float in the great ocean of
events. Meanwhile, he swam his course without superfluous gambols or

The commander of her Majesty's forces was not satisfied with the States,
nor their generals, nor their politicians. "Affairs are going 'a malo in
pejus,'" he said. "They embrace their liberty as apes their young. To
this end are Counts Hollock and Maurice set upon the stage to entertain
the popular sort. Her Majesty and my Lord of Leicester are not forgotten.
The Counts are in Holland, especially Hollock, for the other is but the
cipher. And yet I can assure you Maurice hath wit and spirit too much for
his time."

As the troubles of the interregnum increased Willoughby was more
dissatisfied than ever with the miserable condition of the Provinces, but
chose to ascribe it to the machinations of the States' party, rather than
to the ambiguous conduct of Leicester. "These evils," he said, "are
especially, derived from the childish ambition of the young Count
Maurice, from the covetous and furious counsels of the proud Hollanders,
now chief of the States-General, and, if with pardon it may be said, from
our slackness and coldness to entertain our friends. The provident and
wiser sort--weighing what a slender ground the appetite of a young man
is, unfurnished with the sinews of war to manage so great a cause--for a
good space after my Lord of Leicester's departure, gave him far looking
on, to see him play has part on the stage."

Willoughby's spleen caused him to mix his metaphors more recklessly than
strict taste would warrant, but his violent expressions painted the
relative situation of parties more vividly than could be done by a calm
disquisition. Maurice thus playing his part upon the stage--as the
general proceeded to observe--"was a skittish horse, becoming by little
and little assured of what he had feared, and perceiving the harmlessness
thereof; while his companions, finding no safety of neutrality in so
great practices, and no overturning nor barricado to stop his rash wilded
chariot, followed without fear; and when some of the first had passed the
bog; the rest, as the fashion is, never started after. The variable
democracy; embracing novelty, began to applaud their prosperity; the base
and lewdest sorts of men, to whom there is nothing more agreeable than
change of estates, is a better monture to degrees than their merit, took
present hold thereof. Hereby Paul Buys, Barneveld, and divers others, who
were before mantled with a tolerable affection, though seasoned with a
poisoned intention, caught the occasion, and made themselves the
Beelzebubs of all these mischiefs, and, for want of better angels, spared
not to let fly our golden-winged ones in the name of guilders, to prepare
the hearts and hands that hold money more dearer than honesty, of which
sort, the country troubles and the Spanish practices having suckled up
many, they found enough to serve their purpose. As the breach is safely
saltable where no defence is made, so they, finding no head, but those
scattered arms that were disavowed, drew the sword with Peter, and gave
pardon with the Pope, as you shall plainly perceive by the proceedings at
Horn. Thus their force; fair words, or corruption, prevailing everywhere,
it grew to this conclusion--that the worst were encouraged with their
good success, and the best sort assured of no fortune or favour."

Out of all this hubbub of stage-actors, skittish horses, rash wilded
chariots, bogs, Beelzebubs, and golden-winged angels, one truth was
distinctly audible; that Beelzebub, in the shape of Barneveld, had been
getting the upper hand in the Netherlands, and that the Lecestrians were
at a disadvantage. In truth those partisans were becoming extremely
impatient. Finding themselves deserted by their great protector, they
naturally turned their eyes towards Spain, and were now threatening to
sell themselves to Philip. The Earl, at his departure, had given them
privately much encouragement. But month after month had passed by while
they were waiting in vain for comfort. At last the "best"--that is to
say, the unhappy Leicestrians--came to Willoughby, asking his advice in
their "declining and desperate cause."

"Well nigh a month longer," said that general, "I nourished them with
compliments, and assured them that my Lord of Leicester would take care
of them." The diet was not fattening. So they began to grumble more
loudly than ever, and complained with great bitterness of the miserable
condition in which they had been left by the Earl, and expressed their
fears lest the Queen likewise meant to abandon them. They protested that
their poverty, their powerful foes, and their slow friends, would compel
them either to make their peace with the States' party, or "compound with
the enemy."

It would have seemed that real patriots, under such circumstances, would
hardly hesitate in their choice, and would sooner accept the dominion of
"Beelzebub," or even Paul Buys, than that of Philip II. But the
Leicestrians of Utrecht and Friesland--patriots as they were--hated
Holland worse than they hated the Inquisition. Willoughby encouraged them
in that hatred. He assured him of her Majesty's affection for them,
complained of the factious proceedings of the States, and alluded to the
unfavourable state of the weather, as a reason why--near four months
long--they had not received the comfort out of England which they had a
right to expect. He assured them that neither the Queen nor Leicester
would conclude this honourable action, wherein much had been hazarded,
"so rawly and tragically" as they seemed to fear, and warned them, that
"if they did join with Holland, it would neither ease nor help them, but
draw them into a more dishonourable loss of their liberties; and that,
after having wound them in, the Hollanders would make their own peace
with the enemy."

It seemed somewhat unfair-while the Queen's government was straining
every nerve to obtain a peace from Philip, and while the Hollanders were
obstinately deaf to any propositions for treating--that Willoughby should
accuse them of secret intentions to negotiate. But it must be confessed
that faction has rarely worn a more mischievous aspect than was presented
by the politics of Holland and England in the winter and spring of 1588.

Young Maurice was placed in a very painful position. He liked not to be
"strangled in the great Queen's embrace;" but he felt most keenly the
necessity of her friendship, and the importance to both countries of a
close alliance. It was impossible for him, however, to tolerate the
rebellion of Sonoy, although Sonoy was encouraged by Elizabeth, or to fly
in the face of Barneveld, although Barneveld was detested by Leicester.
So with much firmness and courtesy, notwithstanding the extravagant
pictures painted by Willoughby, he suppressed mutiny in Holland, while
avowing the most chivalrous attachment to the sovereign of England.

Her Majesty expressed her surprise and her discontent, that,
notwithstanding his expressions of devotion to herself, he should thus
deal with Sonoy, whose only crime was an equal devotion. "If you do not
behave with more moderation in future," she said, "you may believe that
we are not a princess of so little courage as not to know how to lend a
helping hand to those who are unjustly oppressed. We should be sorry if
we had cause to be disgusted with your actions, and if we were compelled
to make you a stranger to the ancient good affection which we bore to
your late father, and have continued towards yourself."

But Maurice maintained a dignified attitude, worthy of his great father's
name. He was not the man to crouch like Leicester, when he could no
longer refresh himself in the "shadow of the Queen's golden beams,"
important as he knew her friendship to be to himself and his country. So
he defended himself in a manly letter to the privy council against the
censures of Elizabeth. He avowed his displeasure, that, within his own
jurisdiction, Sonoy should give a special oath of obedience to Leicester;
a thing never done before in the country, and entirely illegal. It would
not even be tolerated in England, he said, if a private gentleman should
receive a military appointment in Warwickshire or Norfolk without the
knowledge of the lord-lieutenant of the shire. He had treated the
contumacious Sonoy with mildness during a long period, but without
effect. He had abstained from violence towards him, out of reverence to
the Queen, under whose sacred name he sheltered himself. Sonoy had not
desisted, but had established himself in organized rebellion at
Medenblik, declaring that he would drown the whole country, and levy
black-mail upon its whole property, if he were not paid one hundred
thousand crowns. He had declared that he would crush Holland like a glass
beneath his feet. Having nothing but religion in his mouth, and
protecting himself with the Queen's name, he had been exciting all the
cities of North Holland to rebellion, and bringing the poor people to
destruction. He had been offered money enough to satisfy the most
avaricious soldier in the world, but he stood out for six years' full pay
for his soldiers, a demand with which it was impossible to comply. It was
necessary to prevent him from inundating the land and destroying the
estates of the country gentlemen and the peasants. "This gentlemen," said
Maurice, "is the plain truth; nor do I believe that you will sustain
against me a man who was under such vast obligations to my late father,
and who requites his debt by daring to speak of myself as a rascal; or
that you will countenance his rebellion against a country to which he
brought only, his cloak and sword, and, whence he has filched one hundred
thousand crowns. You will not, I am sure, permit a simple captain, by his
insubordination to cause such mischief, and to set on fire this and other

"If, by your advice," continued the Count; "the Queen should appoint
fitting' personages to office here--men who know what honour is; born of
illustrious and noble-race, or who by their great virtue have been
elevated to the honours of the kingdom--to them I will render an account
of my actions. And it shall appear that I have more ability and more
desire to do my duty, to her Majesty than those who render her
lip-service only, and only make use of her sacred name to fill their
purses, while I and, mine have been ever ready to employ our lives, and
what remains of our fortunes, in the cause of God, her Majesty, and our

Certainly no man had a better right: to speak with consciousness of the
worth of race than the son of William the Silent, the nephew of Lewis,
Adolphus, and Henry of Nassau, who had all laid down their lives for the
liberty of their country. But Elizabeth continued to threaten the
States-General, through the mouth of Willoughby, with the loss of her
protection, if they should continue thus to requite her favours with
ingratitude and insubordination: and Maurice once more respectfully but
firmly replied that Sonoy's rebellion could not and would not be
tolerated; appealing boldly to her sense of justice, which was the
noblest attribute of kings.

At last the Queen informed Willoughby, that--as the cause of Sonoy's
course seemed to be his oath of obedience to Leicester, whose resignation
of office had not yet been received in the Netherlands--she had now
ordered Councillor Killigrew to communicate the fact of that resignation.
She also wrote to Sonoy, requiring him to obey the States and Count
Maurice, and to accept a fresh commission from them, or at least to
surrender Medenblik, and to fulfil all their orders with zeal and

This act of abdication by Leicester, which had been received on the 22nd
of January by the English envoy, Herbert, at the moment of his departure
from the Netherlands, had been carried back by him to England, on the
ground that its communication to the States at that moment would cause
him inconveniently to postpone his journey. It never officially reached
the States-General until the 31st of March, so that this most dangerous
crisis was protracted nearly five months long--certainly without
necessity or excuse--and whether through design, malice, wantonness, or
incomprehensible carelessness, it is difficult to say.

So soon as the news reached Sonoy, that contumacious chieftain found his
position untenable, and he allowed the States' troops to take possession
of Medenblik, and with it the important territory of North Holland.

Maurice now saw himself undisputed governor. Sonoy was in the course of
the summer deprived of all office, and betook himself to England. Here he
was kindly received by the Queen, who bestowed upon him a ruined tower,
and a swamp among the fens of Lincolnshire. He brought over some of his
countrymen, well-skilled in such operations, set himself to draining and
dyking, and hoped to find himself at home and comfortable in his ruined
tower. But unfortunately, as neither he nor his wife, notwithstanding
their English proclivities, could speak a word of the language; they
found their social enjoyments very limited. Moreover, as his work-people
were equally without the power of making their wants understood, the
dyking operations made but little progress. So the unlucky colonel soon
abandoned his swamp, and retired to East Friesland, where he lived a
morose and melancholy life on a pension of one thousand florins, granted
him by the States of Holland, until the year 1597, when he lost his mind,
fell into the fire, and thus perished.

And thus; in the Netherlands, through hollow negotiations between enemies
and ill-timed bickerings among friends, the path of Philip and Parma had
been made comparatively smooth during the spring and early summer of
1588. What was the aspect of affairs in Germany and France?

The adroit capture of Bonn by Martin Schenk had given much trouble. Parma
was obliged to detach a strong force; under Prince Chimay, to attempt the
recovery of that important place, which--so long as it remained in the
power of the States--rendered the whole electorate insecure and a source
of danger to the Spanish party. Farnese endeavoured in vain to win back
the famous partizan by most liberal offers, for he felt bitterly the
mistake he had made in alienating so formidable a freebooter. But the
truculent Martin remained obdurate and irascible. Philip, much offended
that the news of his decease had proved false, ordered rather than
requested the Emperor Rudolph to have a care that nothing was done in
Germany to interfere with the great design upon England. The King gave
warning that he would suffer no disturbance from that quarter, but
certainly the lethargic condition of Germany rendered such threats
superfluous. There were riders enough, and musketeers enough, to be sold
to the highest bidder. German food for powder was offered largely in the
market to any foreign consumer, for the trade in their subjects', lives
was ever a prolific source of revenue to the petty sovereigns--numerous
as the days of the year--who owned Germany and the Germans.

The mercenaries who had so recently been, making their inglorious
campaign in France had been excluded from that country at the close of
1587, and furious were the denunciations of the pulpits and the populace
of Paris that the foreign brigands who had been devastating the soil of
France, and attempting to oppose the decrees of the Holy Father of Rome,
should; have made their escape so easily. Rabid Lincestre and other
priests and monks foamed with rage, as they execrated and anathematized
the devil-worshipper Henry of Valois, in all the churches of that
monarch's capital. The Spanish ducats were flying about, more profusely
than ever, among the butchers and porters, and fishwomen, of the great
city; and Madam League paraded herself in the day-light with still
increasing insolence. There was scarcely a pretence at recognition of any
authority, save that of Philip and Sixtus. France had become a
wilderness--an uncultivated, barbarous province of Spain. Mucio--Guise
had been secretly to Rome, had held interviews with the Pope and
cardinals, and had come back with a sword presented by his Holiness, its
hilt adorned with jewels, and its blade engraved with tongues of fire.
And with this flaming sword the avenging messenger of the holy father was
to smite the wicked, and to drive them into outer darkness.

And there had been fresh conferences among the chiefs of the sacred
League within the Lorraine territory, and it was resolved to require of
the Valois an immediate extermination of heresy and heretics throughout
the kingdom, the publication of the Council of Trent, and the formal
establishment of the Holy Inquisition in every province of France. Thus,
while doing his Spanish master's bidding, the great Lieutenant of the
league might, if he was adroit enough, to outwit Philip, ultimately carve
out a throne for himself.

Yet Philip felt occasional pangs of uneasiness lest there should, after
all, be peace in France, and lest his schemes against Holland and England
might be interfered with from that quarter. Even Farnese, nearer the
scene, could, not feel completely secure that a sudden reconciliation
among contending factions might not give rise to a dangerous inroad
across the Flemish border. So Guise was plied more vigourously than ever
by the Duke with advice and encouragement, and assisted with such Walloon
carabineers as could be spared, while large subsidies and larger promises
came from Philip, whose prudent policy was never to pay excessive sums,
until the work contracted for was done. "Mucio must do the job long since
agreed upon," said Philip to Farnese, "and you and Mendoza must see that
he prevents the King of France from troubling me in my enterprize against
England." If the unlucky Henry III. had retained one spark of
intelligence, he would have seen that his only chance of rescue lay in
the arm of the Bearnese, and in an honest alliance with England. Yet so
strong was his love for the monks, who were daily raving against him,
that he was willing to commit any baseness, in order to win back their
affection. He was ready to exterminate heresy and to establish the
inquisition, but he was incapable of taking energetic measures of any
kind, even when throne and life were in imminent peril. Moreover, he
clung to Epernon and the 'politiques,' in whose swords he alone found
protection, and he knew that Epernon and the 'politiques' were the
objects of horror to Paris and to the League. At the same time he looked
imploringly towards England and towards the great Huguenot chieftain,
Elizabeth's knight-errant. He had a secret interview with Sir Edward
Stafford, in the garden of the Bernardino convent, and importuned that
envoy to implore the Queen to break off her negotiations with Philip, and
even dared to offer the English ambassador a large reward, if such a
result could be obtained. Stafford was also earnestly, requested to
beseech the Queen's influence with Henry of Navarre, that he should
convert himself to Catholicism, and thus destroy the League.

On the other hand, the magniloquent Mendoza, who was fond of describing
himself as "so violent and terrible to the French that they wished to be
rid of him," had--as usual--been frightening the poor King, who, after a
futile attempt at dignity, had shrunk before the blusterings of the
ambassador. "This King," said Don Bernardino, "thought that he could
impose, upon me and silence me, by talking loud, but as I didn't talk
softly to him, he has undeceived himself . . . . I have had another
interview with him, and found him softer than silk, and he made me many
caresses, and after I went out, he said that I was a very skilful

It was the purpose of the League to obtain possession of the King's
person, and, if necessary, to dispose of the 'politiques' by a general
massacre, such as sixteen years before had been so successful in the case
of Coligny and the Huguenots. So the populace--more rabid than ever--were
impatient that their adored Balafre should come to Paris and begin the
holy work.

He came as far as Gonesse to do the job he had promised to Philip, but
having heard that Henry had reinforced himself with four thousand Swiss
from the garrison of Lagny, he fell back to Soissons. The King sent him a
most abject message, imploring him not to expose his sovereign to so much
danger, by setting his foot at that moment in the capital. The Balafre
hesitated, but the populace raved and roared for its darling. The
Queen-Mother urged her unhappy son to yield his consent, and the
Montpensier--fatal sister of Guise, with the famous scissors ever at her
girdle--insisted that her brother had as good a right as any man to come
to the city. Meantime the great chief of the 'politiques,' the hated and
insolent Epernon, had been appointed governor of Normandy, and Henry had
accompanied his beloved minion a part of the way towards Rouen. A plot
contrived by the Montpensier to waylay the monarch on his return, and to
take him into the safe-keeping of the League, miscarried, for the King
reentered the city before the scheme was ripe. On the other hand,
Nicholas Poulain, bought for twenty thousand crowns by the 'politiques,'
gave the King and his advisers-full information of all these intrigues,
and, standing in Henry's cabinet, offered, at peril of his life, if he
might be confronted with the conspirators--the leaders of the League
within the city--to prove the truth of the charges which he had made.

For the whole city was now thoroughly organized. The number of its
districts had been reduced from sixteen to five, the better to bring it
under the control of the League; and, while it could not be denied that
Mucio, had, been doing his master's work very thoroughly, yet it was
still in the power of the King--through the treachery of Poulain--to
strike a blow for life and freedom, before he was quite, taken in the
trap. But he stood helpless, paralyzed, gazing in dreamy stupor--like one
fascinated at the destruction awaiting him.

At last, one memorable May morning, a traveller alighted outside the gate
of Saint Martin, and proceeded on foot through the streets of Paris. He
was wrapped in a large cloak, which he held carefully over his face. When
he had got as far as the street of Saint Denis, a young gentleman among
the passers by, a good Leaguer, accosted the stranger, and with coarse
pleasantry, plucked the cloak from his face, and the hat from his head.
Looking at the handsome, swarthy features, marked with a deep scar, and
the dark, dangerous eyes which were then revealed, the practical jester
at once recognized in the simple traveller the terrible Balafre, and
kissed the hem of his garments with submissive rapture. Shouts of "Vive
Guise" rent the air from all the bystanders, as the Duke, no longer
affecting concealment, proceeded with a slow and stately step toward the
residence of Catharine de' Medici.' That queen of compromises and of
magic had been holding many a conference with the leaders of both
parties; had been increasing her son's stupefaction by her enigmatical
counsels; had been anxiously consulting her talisman of goat's and human
blood, mixed with metals melted under the influence of the star of her
nativity, and had been daily visiting the wizard Ruggieri, in whose magic
circle--peopled with a thousand fantastic heads--she had held high
converse with the world of spirits, and derived much sound advice as to
the true course of action to be pursued between her son and Philip, and
between the politicians and the League. But, in spite of these various
sources of instruction, Catharine--was somewhat perplexed, now that
decisive action seemed necessary--a dethronement and a new massacre
impending, and judicious compromise difficult. So after a hurried
conversation with Mucio, who insisted on an interview with the King, she
set forth for the Louvre, the Duke lounging calmly by the aide of her,
sedan chair, on foot, receiving the homage of the populace, as men,
women, and children together, they swarmed around him as he walked,
kissing his garments, and rending the air with their shouts. For that
wolfish mob of Paris, which had once lapped the blood of ten thousand
Huguenots in a single night, and was again rabid with thirst, was most
docile and fawning to the great Balafre. It grovelled before him, it hung
upon his look, it licked his hand, and, at the lifting of his finger, or
the glance of his eye, would have sprung at the throat of King or
Queen-Mother, minister, or minion, and devoured them all before his eyes.
It was longing for the sign, for, much as Paris adored and was besotted
with Guise and the League, even more, if possible, did it hate those
godless politicians, who had grown fat on extortions from the poor, and
who had converted their substance into the daily bread of luxury.

Nevertheless the city was full of armed men, Swiss and German
mercenaries, and burgher guards, sworn to fidelity to the throne. The
place might have been swept clean, at that moment, of rebels who were not
yet armed or fortified in their positions. The Lord had delivered Guise
into Henry's hands. "Oh, the madman!"--cried Sixtus V., when he heard
that the Duke had gone to Paris, "thus to put himself into the clutches
of the King whom he had so deeply offended!" And, "Oh, the wretched
coward, the imbecile?" he added, when he heard how the King had dealt
with his great enemy.

For the monarch was in his cabinet that May morning, irresolutely
awaiting the announced visit of the Duke. By his aide stood Alphonse
Corse, attached as a mastiff to his master, and fearing not Guise nor
Leaguer, man nor devil.

"Sire, is the Duke of Guise your friend or enemy?" said Alphonse. The
King answered by an expressive shrug.

"Say the word, Sire," continued Alphonse, "and I pledge myself to bring
his head this instant, and lay it at your feet."

And he would have done it. Even at the side of Catharine's sedan chair,
and in the very teeth of the worshipping mob, the Corsican would have had
the Balafre's life, even though he laid down his own.

But Henry--irresolute and fascinated--said it was not yet time for such a

Soon afterward; the Duke was announced. The chief of the League and the
last of the Valois met, face to face; but not for the last time. The
interview--was coldly respectful on the part of Mucio, anxious and
embarrassed on that of the King. When the visit, which was merely one of
ceremony, was over, the Duke departed as he came, receiving the renewed
homage of the populace as he walked to his hotel.

That night precautions were taken. All the guards were doubled around the
palace and through the streets. The Hotel de Ville and the Place de la
Greve were made secure, and the whole city was filled with troops. But
the Place Maubert was left unguarded, and a rabble rout--all night
long--was collecting in that distant spot. Four companies of
burgher-guards went over to the League at three o'clock in the morning.
The rest stood firm in the cemetery of the Innocents, awaiting the orders
of the King. At day-break on the 11th the town was still quiet. There was
an awful pause of expectation. The shops remained closed all the morning,
the royal troops were drawn up in battle-array, upon the Greve and around
the Hotel de Ville, but they stood motionless as statues, until the
populace began taunting them with cowardice, and then laughing them to
scorn. For their sovereign lord and master still sat paralyzed in his

The mob had been surging through all the streets and lanes, until, as by
a single impulse, chains were stretched across the streets, and
barricades thrown up in all the principal thoroughfares. About noon the
Duke of Guise, who had been sitting quietly in his hotel, with a very few
armed followers, came out into the street of the Hotel Montmorency, and
walked calmly up and down, arm-in-aim with the Archbishop of Lyons,
between a double hedge-row of spectators and admirers, three or four
ranks thick. He was dressed in a white slashed doublet and hose, and wore
a very large hat. Shouts of triumph resounded from a thousand brazen
throats, as he moved calmly about, receiving, at every instant, expresses
from the great gathering in the Place Maubert.

"Enough, too much, my good friends," he said, taking off the great
hat--("I don't know whether he was laughing in it," observed one who was
looking on that day)--"Enough of 'Long live Guise!' Cry 'Long live the

There was no response, as might be expected, and the people shouted more
hoarsely than ever for Madam League and the Balafre. The Duke's face was
full of gaiety; there was not a shadow of anxiety upon it in that
perilous and eventful moment. He saw that the day was his own.

For now, the people, ripe, ready; mustered, armed, barricaded; awaited
but a signal to assault the King's mercenaries, before rushing to the
palace: On every house-top missiles were provided to hurl upon their
heads. There seemed no escape for Henry or his Germans from impending
doom, when Guise, thoroughly triumphant, vouchsafed them their lives.

"You must give me these soldiers as a present, my friends," said he to
the populace.

And so the armed Swiss, French, and German troopers and infantry,
submitted to be led out of Paris, following with docility the
aide-de-camp of Guise, Captain St. Paul, who walked quietly before them,
with his sword in its scabbard, and directing their movements with a
cane. Sixty of them were slain by the mob, who could not, even at the
command of their beloved chieftain, quite forego their expected banquet.
But this was all the blood shed on the memorable day of Barricades, when
another Bartholomew massacre had been, expected.

Meantime; while Guise was making his promenade through the city,
exchanging embraces with the rabble; and listening to the coarse
congratulations and obscene jests of the porters and fishwomen, the poor
King sat crying all day long in the Louvre. The Queen-Mother was with
him, reproaching him bitterly with his irresolution and want of
confidences in her, and scolding him for his tears. But the unlucky Henry
only wept the more as he cowered in a corner.

"These are idle tears," said Catherine. "This is no time for crying. And
for myself, though women weep so easily; I feel my heart too deeply wrung
for tears. If they came to my eyes they would be tears of blood."

Next day the last Valois walked-out, of the Louvre; as if for a promenade
in, the Tuileries, and proceeded straightway to the stalls, where his
horse stood saddled. Du Halde, his equerry, buckled his master's spurs on
upside down. "No; matter;" said Henry; "I am not riding to see my
mistress. I have a longer journey before me."

And so, followed by a rabble rout of courtiers, without boots or cloaks;
and mounted on, sorry hacks--the King-of France rode forth from his
capital post-haste, and turning as he left the gates, hurled back
impotent imprecations upon Paris and its mob. Thenceforth, for a long
interval, there: was no king in that country. Mucio had done his work,
and earned his wages, and Philip II. reigned in Paris. The commands of
the League were now complied with. Heretics were doomed to extermination.
The edict of 19th July, 1588, was published with the most exclusive and
stringent provisions that the most bitter Romanist could imagine, and, as
a fair beginning; two young girls, daughters of Jacques Forcade, once
'procureur au parlement,' were burned in Paris, for the crime, of
Protestantism. The Duke of Guise was named Generalissimo of the Kingdom
(26th August, 1588). Henry gave in his submission to the Council of
Trent, the edicts, the Inquisition, and the rest of the League's infernal
machinery, and was formally reconciled to Guise, with how much sincerity
time was soon to show.

   [The King bound himself by oath to extirpate heresy, to remove all
   persons suspected of that crime from office, and never to lay down
   arms so long as a single, heretic remained. By secret articles,'two
   armies against the Huguenots were agreed upon, one under the Duke of
   Mayenne, the other under some general to be appointed by the grog.
   The Council of Trent was forthwith to be proclaimed, and by a
   refinement of malice the League stipulated that all officers
   appointed in Paris by the Duke of Guise on the day after the
   barricades should resign their powers, and be immediately
   re-appointed by the King himself (DeThou, x.1. 86, pp. 324-325.)]

Meantime Philip, for whom and at whose expense all this work had been
done by he hands of the faithful Mucio, was constantly assuring his royal
brother of France, through envoy Longlee, at Madrid, of his most
affectionate friendship, and utterly repudiating all knowledge of these
troublesome and dangerous plots. Yet they had been especially
organized--as we have seen--by himself and the Balafre, in order that
France might be kept a prey to civil war, and thus rendered incapable of
offering any obstruction to his great enterprise against England. Any
complicity of Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador in Paris, or, of the Duke
of Parma, who were important agents in all these proceedings, with the
Duke of Guise, was strenuously--and circumstantially--denied; and the
Balafre, on the day of the barricades, sent Brissac to Elizabeth's envoy,
Sir Edward Stafford, to assure him as to his personal safety; and as to
the deep affection with which England and its Queen were regarded by
himself and all his friends. Stafford had also been advised to accept a
guard for his house of embassy. His reply was noble.

"I represent the majesty of England," he said, "and can take no safeguard
from a subject of the sovereign to whom I am accredited."

To the threat of being invaded, and to the advice to close his gates, he
answered, "Do you see these two doors? now, then, if I am attacked, I am
determined to defend myself to the last drop of my blood, to serve as an
example to the universe of the law of nations, violated in my person. Do
not imagine that I shall follow your advice. The gates of an ambassador
shall be open to all the world."

Brissac returned with this answer to Guise, who saw that it was hopeless
to attempt making a display in the eyes of Queen Elizabeth, but gave
private orders that the ambassador should not be molested.

Such were the consequences of the day of the barricades--and thus the
path of Philip was cleared of all obstructions on, the part of France.
His Mucio was now, generalissimo. Henry was virtually deposed. Henry of
Navarre, poor and good-humoured as ever, was scarcely so formidable at
that moment as he might one day become. When the news of the day of
barricades was brought at night to that cheerful monarch, he started from
his couch. "Ha," he exclaimed with a laugh, "but they havn't yet caught
the Bearnese!"

And it might be long before the League would catch the Bearnese; but,
meantime, he could render slight assistance to Queen Elizabeth.

In England there had been much fruitless negotiation between the
government of that country and the commissioners from the States-General.
There was perpetual altercation on the subject of Utrecht, Leyden, Sonoy,
and the other causes of contention; the Queen--as usual--being imperious
and choleric, and the envoys, in her opinion, very insolent. But the
principal topic of discussion was the peace-negotiations, which the
States-General, both at home and through their delegation in England, had
been doing their best to prevent; steadily refusing her Majesty's demand
that commissioners, on their part, should be appointed to participate in
the conferences at Ostend. Elizabeth promised that there should be as
strict regard paid to the interests of Holland as to those of England, in
case of a pacification, and that she would never forget her duty to them,
to herself, and to the world, as the protectress of the reformed
religion. The deputies, on the other hand, warned her that peace with
Spain was impossible; that the intention of the Spanish court was to
deceive her, while preparing her destruction and theirs; that it was
hopeless to attempt the concession of any freedom of conscience from
Philip II.; and that any stipulations which might be made upon that, or
any other subject, by the Spanish commissioners, would be tossed to the
wind. In reply to the Queen's loud complaints that the States had been
trifling with her, and undutiful to her, and that they had kept her
waiting seven months long for an answer to her summons to participate in
the negotiations, they replied, that up to the 15th October of the
previous year, although there had been flying rumours of an intention on
the part of her Majesty's government to open those communications with
the enemy, it had, "nevertheless been earnestly and expressly, and with
high words and oaths, denied that there was any truth in those rumours."
Since that time the States had not once only, but many times, in private
letters, in public documents, and in conversations with Lord Leicester
and other eminent personages, deprecated any communications whatever with
Spain, asserting uniformly their conviction that such proceedings would
bring ruin on their country, and imploring her Majesty not to give ear to
any propositions whatever.

And not only were the envoys, regularly appointed by the States-General,
most active in England, in their attempts to prevent the negotiations,
but delegates from the Netherland churches were also sent to the Queen,
to reason with her on the subject, and to utter solemn warnings that the
cause of the reformed religion would be lost for ever, in case of a
treaty on her part with Spain. When these clerical envoys reached England
the Queen was already beginning to wake from her delusion; although her
commissioners were still--as we have seen--hard at work, pouring sand
through their sieves at Ostend, and although the steady protestations, of
the Duke of Parma, and the industrious circulation of falsehoods by
Spanish emissaries, had even caused her wisest statesmen, for a time, to
participate in that delusion.

For it is not so great an impeachment on the sagacity of the great Queen
of England, as it would now appear to those who judge by the light of
subsequent facts, that she still doubted whether the armaments,
notoriously preparing in Spain and Flanders, were intended against
herself; and that even if such were the case--she still believed in the
possibility of averting the danger by negotiation.

So late as the beginning of May, even the far-seeing and anxious
Walsingham could say, that in England "they were doing nothing but
honouring St. George, of whom the Spanish Armada seemed to be afraid. We
hear," he added, "that they will not be ready to set forward before the
midst of May, but I trust that it will be May come twelve months. The
King of Spain is too old and too sickly to fall to conquer kingdoms. If
he be well counselled, his best course will be to settle his own kingdoms
in his own hands."

And even much later, in the middle of July--when the mask was hardly,
maintained--even then there was no certainty as to the movements of the
Armada; and Walsingham believed, just ten days before the famous fleet
was to appear off Plymouth, that it had dispersed and returned to Spain,
never to re-appear. As to Parma's intentions, they were thought to lie
rather in the direction: of Ostend than of England; and Elizabeth; on the
20th July, was more anxious for that city than for her own kingdom. "Mr.
Ned, I am persuaded," she wrote to Morris, "that if a Spanish fleet
break, the Prince of Parma's enterprise for England will fall to the
ground, and then are you to look to Ostend. Haste your works."

All through the spring and early summer, Stafford, in Paris, was kept in
a state of much perplexity as to the designs of Spain--so contradictory
were the stories circulated--and so bewildering the actions of men known
to be hostile to England. In, the last days of April he intimated it as a
common opinion in Paris, that these naval preparations of Philip were an
elaborate farce; "that the great elephant would bring forth but a
mouse--that the great processions, prayers, and pardons, at Rome, for the
prosperous success of the Armada against England; would be of no effect;
that the King of Spain was laughing in his sleeve at the Pope, that he
could make such a fool of him; and that such an enterprise was a thing
the King never durst think of in deed, but only in show to feed the

Thus, although furnished with minute details as to these, armaments, and
as to the exact designs of Spain against his country, by the ostentatious
statements of the Spanish ambassador in Paris himself, the English,
envoy was still inclined to believe that these statements were a figment,
expressly intended to deceive. Yet he was aware that Lord Westmoreland,
Lord Paget, Sir Charles Paget, Morgan, and other English refugees, were
constantly meeting with Mendoza, that they were told to get themselves in
readiness, and to go down--as well appointed as might be--to the Duke of
Parma; that they had been "sending for their tailor to make them apparel,
and to put themselves in equipage;" that, in particular, Westmoreland had
been assured of being restored by Philip to his native country in better
condition than before. The Catholic and Spanish party in Paris were
however much dissatisfied with the news from Scotland, and were getting
more and more afraid that King James would object to the Spaniards
getting a foot-hold in his country, and that "the Scots would soon be
playing them a Scottish trick."

Stafford was plunged still more inextricably into doubt by the accounts
from Longlee in Madrid. The diplomatist, who had been completely
convinced by Philip as to his innocence of any participation in the
criminal enterprise of Guise against Henry III., was now almost staggered
by the unscrupulous mendacity of that monarch with regard to any supposed
designs against England. Although the Armada was to be ready by the 15th
May, Longlee was of opinion--notwithstanding many bold announcements of
an attack upon Elizabeth--that the real object of the expedition was
America. There had recently been discovered, it was said, "a new country,
more rich in gold and silver than any yet found, but so full of stout
people that they could not master them." To reduce these stout people
beyond the Atlantic, therefore, and to get possession of new gold mines,
was the real object at which Philip was driving, and Longlee and Stafford
were both very doubtful whether it were worth the Queen's while to
exhaust her finances in order to protect herself against an imaginary
invasion. Even so late as the middle of July, six to one was offered on
the Paris exchange that the Spanish fleet would never be seen in the
English seas, and those that offered the bets were known to be
well-wishers to the Spanish party.

Thus sharp diplomatists and statesmen like Longlee, Stafford, and
Walsingham, were beginning to lose their fear of the great bugbear by
which England had so long been haunted. It was, therefore no deep stain
on the Queen's sagacity that she, too, was willing to place credence in
the plighted honour of Alexander Farnese, the great prince who prided
himself on his sincerity, and who, next to the King his master, adored
the virgin Queen of England.

The deputies of the Netherland churches had come, with the permission of
Count Maurice and of the States General; but they represented more
strongly than any other envoys could do, the English and the monarchical
party. They were instructed especially to implore the Queen to accept the
sovereignty of their country; to assure her that the restoration of
Philip--who had been a wolf instead of a shepherd to his flock--was an
impossibility, that he had been solemnly and for ever deposed, that under
her sceptre only could the Provinces ever recover their ancient
prosperity; that ancient and modern history alike made it manifest that a
free republic could never maintain itself, but that it must, of
necessity, run its course through sedition, bloodshed, and anarchy, until
liberty was at last crushed by an absolute despotism; that equality of
condition, the basis of democratic institutions, could never be made
firm; and that a fortunate exception, like that of Switzerland, whose
historical and political circumstances were peculiar, could never serve
as a model to the Netherlands, accustomed as those Provinces had ever
been to a monarchical form of government; and that the antagonism of
aristocratic and democratic elements in the States had already produced
discord, and was threatening destruction to the whole country. To avert
such dangers the splendour of royal authority was necessary, according to
the venerable commands of Holy Writ; and therefore the Netherland
churches acknowledged themselves the foster-children of England, and
begged that in political matters also the inhabitants of the Provinces
might be accepted as the subjects of her Majesty. They also implored the
Queen to break off these accursed negotiations with Spain, and to provide
that henceforth in the Netherlands the reformed religion might be freely
exercised, to the exclusion of any other.

Thus it was very evident that these clerical envoys, although they were
sent by permission of the States, did not come as the representatives of
the dominant party. For that 'Beelzebub,' Barneveld, had different
notions from theirs as to the possibility of a republic, and as to the
propriety of tolerating other forms of worship than his own. But it was
for such pernicious doctrines, on religious matters in particular, that
he was called Beelzebub, Pope John, a papist in disguise, and an atheist;
and denounced, as leading young Maurice and the whole country to

On the basis of these instructions, the deputies drew up a memorial of
pitiless length, filled with astounding parallels between their own
position and that of the Hebrews, Assyrians, and other distinguished
nations of antiquity. They brought it to Walsingham on the 12th July,
1588, and the much enduring man heard it read from beginning to end. He
expressed his approbation of its sentiments, but said it was too long. It
must be put on one sheet of paper, he said, if her Majesty was expected
to read it.

"Moreover," said the Secretary of State, "although your arguments are
full of piety, and your examples from Holy Writ very apt, I must tell you
the plain truth. Great princes are not always so zealous in religious
matters as they might be. Political transactions move them more deeply,
and they depend too much on worldly things. However there is no longer
much danger, for our envoys will return from Flanders in a few days."

"But," asked a deputy, "if the Spanish fleet does not succeed in its
enterprise, will the peace-negotiations be renewed?"

"By no means," said Walsingham; "the Queen can never do that,
consistently with her honour. They have scattered infamous libels against
her--so scandalous, that you would be astounded should you read them.
Arguments drawn from honour are more valid with princes than any other."

He alluded to the point in their memorial touching the free exercise of
the reformed religion in the Provinces.

"'Tis well and piously said," he observed; "but princes and great lords
are not always very earnest in such matters. I think that her Majesty's
envoys will not press for the free exercise of the religion so very much;
not more than for two or three years. By that time--should our
negotiations succeed--the foreign troops will have evacuated the
Netherlands on condition that the States-General shall settle the
religious question."

"But," said Daniel de Dieu, one of the deputies, "the majority of the
States is Popish."

"Be it so," replied Sir Francis; "nevertheless they will sooner permit
the exercise of the reformed religion than take up arms and begin the war

He then alluded to the proposition of the deputies to exclude all
religious worship but that of the reformed church--all false religion--as
they expressed themselves.

"Her Majesty," said he, "is well disposed to permit some exercise of
their religion to the Papists. So far as regards my own feelings, if we
were now in the beginning, of the reformation, and the papacy were still
entire, I should willingly concede such exercise; but now that the Papacy
has been overthrown, I think it would not be safe to give such
permission. When we were disputing, at the time of the pacification of
Ghent, whether the Popish religion should be partially permitted, the
Prince of Orange was of the affirmative opinion; but I, who was then at
Antwerp, entertained the contrary conviction."

"But," said one of the deputies--pleased to find that Walsingham was more
of their way of thinking on religious toleration than the great Prince of
Orange had been, or than Maurice and Barneveld then were--"but her
Majesty will, we hope, follow the advice of her good and faithful

"To tell you the truth," answered Sir Francis, "great princes are not
always inspired with a sincere and upright zeal;"--it was the third time
he had made this observation"--although, so far as regards the
maintenance of the religion in the Netherlands, that is a matter of
necessity. Of that there is no fear, since otherwise all the pious would
depart, and none would remain but Papists, and, what is more, enemies of
England. Therefore the Queen is aware that the religion must be

He then advised the deputies to hand in the memorial to her Majesty,
without any long speeches, for which there was then no time or
opportunity; and it was subsequently arranged that they should be
presented to the Queen as she would be mounting her horse at St. James's
to ride to Richmond.

Accordingly on the 15th July, as her Majesty came forth at the gate, with
a throng of nobles and ladies--some about to accompany her and some
bidding her adieu--the deputies fell on their knees before her.
Notwithstanding the advice of Walsingham, Daniel de Dieu was bent upon an

"Oh illustrious Queen!" he began, "the churches of the United

He had got no further, when the Queen, interrupting, exclaimed, "Oh! I
beg you--at another time--I cannot now listen to a speech. Let me see the

Daniel de Dieu then humbly presented that document, which her Majesty
graciously received, and then, getting on horseback, rode off to

The memorial was in the nature of an exhortation to sustain the religion,
and to keep clear of all negotiations with idolaters and unbelievers; and
the memorialists supported themselves by copious references to
Deuteronomy, Proverbs, Isaiah, Timothy, and Psalms, relying mainly on the
case of Jehosaphat, who came to disgrace and disaster through his treaty
with the idolatrous King Ahab. With regard to any composition with Spain,
they observed, in homely language, that a burnt cat fears the fire; and
they assured the Queen that, by following their advice, she would gain a
glorious and immortal name, like those of David, Ezekiel, Josiah, and
others, whose fragrant memory, even as precious incense from the
apothecary's, endureth to the end of the world.

It was not surprising that Elizabeth, getting on horseback on the 15th
July, 1588, with her head full of Tilbury Fort and Medina Sidonia, should
have as little relish for the affairs of Ahab and Jehosophat, as for
those melting speeches of Diomede and of Turnus, to which Dr. Valentine
Dale on his part was at that moment invoking her attention.

On the 20th July, the deputies were informed by Leicester that her
Majesty would grant them an interview, July 20, and that they must come
into his quarter of the palace and await her arrival.

Between six and seven in the evening she came into the throne-room, and
the deputies again fell on their knees before her.

She then seated herself--the deputies remaining on their knees on her
right side and the Earl of Leicester standing at her left--and proceeded
to make many remarks touching her earnestness in the pending negotiations
to provide for their religious freedom. It seemed that she must have
received a hint from Walsingham on the subject.

"I shall provide," she said, "for the maintenance of the reformed

De Dieu--"The enemy will never concede it."

The Queen.--"I think differently."

De Dieu.--"There is no place within his dominions where he has permitted
the exercise of the pure religion. He has never done so."

The Queen.--"He conceded it in the pacification of Ghent."

De Dieu.--"But he did not keep his agreement. Don John had concluded with
the States, but said he was not held to his promise, in case he should
repent; and the King wrote afterwards to our States, and said that he was
no longer bound to his pledge."

The Queen.--"That is quite another thing."

De Dieu.--"He has very often broken his faith."

The Queen.--"He shall no longer be allowed to do so. If he does not keep
his word, that is my affair, not yours. It is my business to find the
remedy. Men would say, see in what a desolation the Queen of England has
brought this poor people. As to the freedom of worship, I should have
proposed three or four years' interval--leaving it afterwards to the
decision of the States."

De Dieu.--"But the majority of the States is Popish."

The Queen.--"I mean the States-General, not the States of any particular

De Dieu.--"The greater part of the States-General is Popish."

The Queen.--"I mean the three estates--the clergy, the nobles, and the
cities." The Queen--as the deputies observed--here fell into an error.
She thought that prelates of the reformed Church, as in England, had
seats in the States-General. Daniel de Dieu explained that they had no
such position.

The Queen.--"Then how were you sent hither?"

De Dieu.--"We came with the consent of Count Maurice of Nassau."

The Queen.--"And of the States?"

De Dieu.--"We came with their knowledge."

The Queen.--"Are you sent only from Holland and Zeeland? Is there no
envoy from Utrecht and the other Provinces?"

Helmichius.--"We two," pointing to his colleague Sossingius, "are from

The Queen.--"What? Is this young man also a minister?" She meant
Helmichius, who had a very little beard, and looked young.

Sossingius.--"He is not so young as he looks."

The Queen.--"Youths are sometimes as able as old men."

De Dieu.--"I have heard our brother preach in France more than fourteen
years ago."

The Queen.--"He must have begun young. How old were you when you first
became a preacher?"

Helmichius.--"Twenty-three or twenty-four years of age."

The Queen.--"It was with us, at first, considered a scandal that a man so
young as that should be admitted to the pulpit. Our antagonists
reproached us with it in a book called 'Scandale de l'Angleterre,' saying
that we had none but school-boys for ministers. I understand that you
pray for me as warmly as if I were your sovereign princess. I think I
have done as much for the religion as if I were your Queen."

Helmichius.--"We are far from thinking otherwise. We acknowledge
willingly your Majesty's benefits to our churches."

The Queen.--"It would else be ingratitude on your part."

Helmichius.--"But the King of Spain will never keep any promise about the

The Queen.--"He will never come so far: he does nothing but make a noise
on all sides. Item, I don't think he has much confidence in himself."

De Dieu.--"Your Majesty has many enemies. The Lord hath hitherto
supported you, and we pray that he may continue to uphold your Majesty."

The Queen.--"I have indeed many enemies; but I make no great account of
them. Is there anything else you seek?"

De Dieu.--"There is a special point: it concerns our, or rather your
Majesty's, city of Flushing. We hope that Russelius--(so he called Sir
William Russell)--may be continued in its government, although he wishes
his discharge."

"Aha!" said the Queen, laughing and rising from her seat, "I shall not
answer you; I shall call some one else to answer you."

She then summoned Russell's sister, Lady Warwick.

"If you could speak French," said the Queen to that gentlewoman, "I
should bid you reply to these gentlemen, who beg that your brother may
remain in Flushing, so very agreeable has he made himself to them."

The Queen was pleased to hear this good opinion of Sir William, and this
request that he might continue to be governor of Flushing, because he had
uniformly supported the Leicester party, and was at that moment in high
quarrel with Count Maurice and the leading members of the States.

As the deputies took their leave, they requested an answer to their
memorial, which was graciously promised.

Three days afterwards, Walsingham gave them a written answer to their
memorial--conceived in the same sense as had been the expressions of her
Majesty and her counsellors. Support to the Netherlands and stipulations
for the free exercise of their religion were promised; but it was
impossible for these deputies of the churches to obtain a guarantee from
England that the Popish religion should be excluded from the Provinces,
in case of a successful issue to the Queen's negotiation with Spain.

And thus during all those eventful days-the last weeks of July and the
first weeks of August--the clerical deputation remained in England,
indulging in voluminous protocols and lengthened conversations with the
Queen and the principal members of her government. It is astonishing, in
that breathless interval of history, that so much time could be found for
quill-driving and oratory.

Nevertheless, both in Holland and England, there had been other work than
protocolling. One throb of patriotism moved the breast of both nations. A
longing to grapple, once for all, with the great enemy of civil and
religious liberty inspired both. In Holland, the States-General and all
the men to whom the people looked for guidance, had been long deprecating
the peace-negotiations. Extraordinary supplies--more than had ever been
granted before--were voted for the expenses of the campaign; and Maurice
of Nassau, fitly embodying the warlike tendencies of his country and
race, had been most importunate with Queen Elizabeth that she would
accept his services and his advice. Armed vessels of every size, from the
gun-boat to the galleon of 1200 tons--then the most imposing ship in
those waters--swarmed in all the estuaries and rivers, and along the
Dutch and Flemish coast, bidding defiance to Parma and his armaments; and
offers of a large contingent from the fleets of Jooat de Moor and
Justinua de Nassau, to serve under Seymour and Howard, were freely made
to the States-General.

It was decided early in July, by the board of admiralty, presided over by
Prince Maurice, that the largest square-rigged vessels of Holland and
Zeeland should cruise between England and the Flemish coast, outside the
banks; that a squadron of lesser ships should be stationed within the
banks; and that a fleet of sloops and fly-boats should hover close in
shore, about Flushing and Rammekens. All the war-vessels of the little
republic were thus fully employed. But, besides this arrangement, Maurice
was empowered to lay an embargo--under what penalty he chose and during
his pleasure--on all square-rigged vessels over 300 tons, in order that
there might be an additional supply in case of need. Ninety ships of war
under Warmond, admiral, and Van der Does, vice-admiral of Holland; and
Justinus de Nassau, admiral, and Joost de Moor, vice-admiral of Zeeland;
together with fifty merchant-vessels of the best and strongest, equipped
and armed for active service, composed a formidable fleet.

The States-General, a month before, had sent twenty-five or thirty good
ships, under Admiral Rosendael, to join Lord Henry Seymour, then cruising
between Dover and Calais. A tempest, drove them back, and their absence
from Lord Henry's fleet being misinterpreted by the English, the States
were censured for ingratitude and want of good faith. But the injustice
of the accusation was soon made manifest, for these vessels, reinforcing
the great Dutch fleet outside the banks, did better service than they
could have done; in the straits. A squadron of strong well-armed vessels,
having on board, in addition to their regular equipment, a picked force
of twelve hundred musketeers, long accustomed to this peculiar kind of
naval warfare, with crews of, grim Zeelanders, who had faced Alva, and
Valdez in their day, now kept close watch over Farnese, determined that
he should never thrust his face out of any haven or nook on the coast so
long as they should be in existence to prevent him.

And in England the protracted diplomacy at Ostend, ill-timed though it
was, had not paralyzed the arm or chilled the heart of the nation. When
the great Queen, arousing herself from the delusion in which the
falsehoods of Farnese and of Philip had lulled her, should once more.
represent--as no man or woman better than Elizabeth Tudor could
represent--the defiance of England to foreign insolence; the resolve of a
whole people to die rather than yield; there was a thrill of joy through
the national heart. When the enforced restraint was at last taken off,
there was one bound towards the enemy. Few more magnificent spectacles
have been seen in history than the enthusiasm which pervaded the country
as the great danger, so long deferred, was felt at last to be closely
approaching. The little nation of four millions, the merry England of the
sixteenth century, went forward to the death-grapple with its gigantic
antagonist as cheerfully as to a long-expected holiday. Spain was a vast
empire, overshadowing the world; England, in comparison, but a province;
yet nothing could surpass the steadiness with which the conflict was

For, during all the months of suspense; the soldiers and sailors, and
many statesman of England, had deprecated, even as the Hollanders had
been doing, the dangerous delays of Ostend. Elizabeth was not embodying
the national instinct, when she talked of peace; and shrank penuriously
from the expenses of war. There was much disappointment, even
indignation, at the slothfulness with which the preparations for defence
went on, during the period when there was yet time to make them. It was
feared with justice that England, utterly unfortified as were its cities,
and defended only by its little navy without, and by untaught enthusiasm
within, might; after all, prove an easier conquest than Holland and
Zeeland, every town, in whose territory bristled with fortifications. If
the English ships--well-trained and swift sailors as they were--were
unprovided with spare and cordage, beef and biscuit, powder and shot, and
the militia-men, however enthusiastic, were neither drilled nor armed,
was it so very certain, after all, that successful resistance would be
made to the great Armada, and to the veteran pikemen and musketeers of
Farnese, seasoned on a hundred, battlefields, and equipped as for a
tournament? There was generous confidence and chivalrous loyalty on the
part of Elizabeth's naval and military commanders; but there had been
deep regret and disappointment at her course.

Hawkins was anxious, all through the winter and spring, to cruise with a
small squadron off the coast of Spain. With a dozen vessels he undertook
to "distress anything that went through the seas." The cost of such a
squadron, with eighteen hundred men, to be relieved every four months, he
estimated at two thousand seven hundred pounds sterling the month, or a
shilling a day for each man; and it would be a very unlucky month, he
said, in which they did not make captures to three times that amount; for
they would see nothing that would not be presently their own. "We might
have peace, but not with God," said the pious old slave-trader; "but
rather than serve Baal, let us die a thousand deaths. Let us have open
war with these Jesuits, and every man will contribute, fight, devise, or
do, for the liberty of our country."

And it was open war with the Jesuits for which those stouthearted sailors
longed. All were afraid of secret mischief. The diplomatists--who were
known to be flitting about France, Flanders, Scotland, and England--were
birds of ill omen. King James was beset by a thousand bribes and
expostulations to avenge his mother's death; and although that mother had
murdered his father, and done her best to disinherit himself, yet it was
feared that Spanish ducats might induce him to be true to his mother's
revenge, and false to the reformed religion. Nothing of good was hoped
for from France. "For my part," said Lord Admiral Howard, "I have made of
the French King, the Scottish King, and the King of Spain, a trinity that
I mean never to trust to be saved by, and I would that others were of my

The noble sailor, on whom so much responsibility rested, yet who was so
trammelled and thwarted by the timid and parsimonious policy of Elizabeth
and of Burghley, chafed and shook his chains like a captive. "Since
England was England," he exclaimed, "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." And it
certainly was not difficult to understand the allusion to the pondering
Lord-Treasurer. "'Opus est aliquo Daedalo,' to direct us out of the
maze," said that much puzzled statesman; but he hardly seemed to be
making himself wings with which to lift England and himself out of the
labyrinth. The ships were good ships, but there was intolerable delay in
getting a sufficient number of them as ready for action as was the spirit
of their commanders.

"Our ships do show like gallants here," said Winter; "it would do a man's
heart good to behold them. Would to God the Prince of Parma were on the
seas with all his forces, and we in sight of them. You should hear that
we would make his enterprise very unpleasant to him."

And Howard, too, was delighted not only with his own little flag-ship the
Ark-Royal--"the odd ship of the world for all conditions,"--but with all
of his fleet that could be mustered. Although wonders were reported, by
every arrival from the south, of the coming Armada, the Lord-Admiral was
not appalled. He was perhaps rather imprudent in the defiance he flung to
the enemy. "Let me have the four great ships and twenty hoys, with but
twenty men a-piece, and each with but two iron pieces, and her Majesty
shall have a good account of the Spanish forces; and I will make the King
wish his galleys home again. Few as we are, if his forces be not
hundreds, we will make good sport with them."

But those four great ships of her Majesty, so much longed for by Howard,
were not forthcoming. He complained that the Queen was "keeping them to
protect Chatham Church withal, when they should be serving their turn
abroad." The Spanish fleet was already reported as numbering from 210
sail, with 36,000 men,' to 400 or 500 ships, and 80,000 soldiers and
mariners; and yet Drake was not ready with his squadron. "The fault is
not in him," said Howard, "but I pray God her Majesty do not repent her
slack dealing. We must all lie together, for we shall be stirred very
shortly with heave ho! I fear ere long her Majesty will be sorry she hath
believed some so much as she hath done."

Howard had got to sea, and was cruising all the stormy month of March in
the Channel with his little unprepared squadron; expecting at any
moment--such was the profound darkness which, enveloped the world at that
day--that the sails of the Armada might appear in the offing. He made a
visit to the Dutch coast, and was delighted with the enthusiasm with
which he was received. Five thousand people a day came on board his
ships, full of congratulation and delight; and he informed the Queen that
she was not more assured of the Isle of Sheppey than of Walcheren.

Nevertheless time wore on, and both the army and navy of England were
quite unprepared, and the Queen was more reluctant than ever to incur the
expense necessary to the defence of her kingdom. At least one of those
galleys, which, as Howard bitterly complained, seemed destined to defend
Chatham Church, was importunately demanded; but it was already Easter-Day
(17th April), and she was demanded in vain. "Lord! when should she
serve," said the Admiral, "if not at such a time as this? Either she is
fit now to serve, or fit for the fire. I hope never in my time to see so
great a cause for her to be used. I dare say her Majesty will look that
men should fight for her, and I know they will at this time. The King of
Spain doth not keep any ship at home, either of his own or any other,
that he can get for money. Well, well, I must pray heartily for peace,"
said Howard with increasing spleen, "for I see the support of an
honourable, war will never appear. Sparing and war have no affinity

In truth Elizabeth's most faithful subjects were appalled at the ruin
which she seemed by her mistaken policy to be rendering inevitable. "I am
sorry," said the Admiral, "that her Majesty is so careless of this most
dangerous time. I fear me much, and with grief I think it, that she
relieth on a hope that will deceive her, and greatly endanger her, and
then it will not be her money nor her jewels that will help; for as they
will do good in time, so they will help nothing for the redeeming of

The preparations on shore were even more dilatory than those on the sea.
We have seen that the Duke of Parma, once landed, expected to march
directly upon London; and it was notorious that there were no fortresses
to oppose a march of the first general in Europe and his veterans upon
that unprotected and wealthy metropolis. An army had been enrolled--a
force of 86,016 foot, and 13,831 cavalry; but it was an army on paper
merely. Even of the 86,000, only 48,000 were set down as trained; and it
is certain that the training had been of the most meagre and
unsatisfactory description. Leicester was to be commander-in-chief; but
we have already seen that nobleman measuring himself, not much to his
advantage, with Alexander Farnese, in the Isle of Bommel, on the sands of
Blankenburg, and at the gates of Sluys. His army was to consist of 27,000
infantry, and 2000 horse; yet at midsummer it had not reached half that
number. Lord Chamberlain Hunsdon was to protect the Queen's person with
another army of 36,000; but this force, was purely an imaginary one; and
the lord-lieutenant of each county was to do his best with the militia.
But men were perpetually escaping out of the general service, in order to
make themselves retainers for private noblemen, and be kept at their
expense. "You shall hardly believe," said Leicester, "how many new
liveries be gotten within these six weeks, and no man fears the penalty.
It would be better that every nobleman did as Lord Dacres, than to take
away from the principal service such as are set down to serve."

Of enthusiasm and courage, then, there was enough, while of drill and
discipline, of powder and shot, there was a deficiency. No braver or more
competent soldier could be found than Sir Edward Stanley--the man whom we
have seen in his yellow jerkin, helping himself into Fort Zutphen with
the Spanish soldier's pike--and yet Sir Edward Stanley gave but a sorry
account of the choicest soldiers of Chester and Lancashire, whom he had
been sent to inspect. "I find them not," he said, "according to your
expectation, nor mine own liking. They were appointed two years past to
have been trained six days by the year or more, at the discretion of the
muster-master, but, as yet, they have not been trained one day, so that
they have benefited nothing, nor yet know their leaders. There is now
promise of amendment, which, I doubt, will be very slow, in respect to my
Lord Derby's absence."

My Lord Derby was at that moment, and for many months afterwards,
assisting Valentine Dale in his classical prolusions on the sands of
Bourbourg. He had better have been mustering the trainbands of
Lancashire. There was a general indisposition in the rural districts to
expend money and time in military business, until the necessity should
become imperative. Professional soldiers complained bitterly of the
canker of a long peace. "For our long quietness, which it hath pleased
God to send us," said Stanley, "they think their money very ill bestowed
which they expend on armour or weapon, for that they be in hope they
shall never have occasion to use it, so they may pass muster, as they
have done heretofore. I want greatly powder, for there is little or none
at all."

The day was fast approaching when all the power in England would be too
little for the demand. But matters had not very much mended even at
midsummer. It is true that Leicester, who was apt to be
sanguine-particularly in matters under his immediate control--spoke of
the handful of recruits assembled at his camp in Essex, as "soldiers of a
year's experience, rather than a month's camping;" but in this opinion he
differed from many competent authorities, and was somewhat in
contradiction to himself. Nevertheless he was glad that the Queen had
determined to visit him, and encourage his soldiers.

"I have received in secret," he said, "those news that please me, that
your Majesty doth intend to behold the poor and bare company that lie
here in the field, most willingly to serve you, yea, most ready to die
for you. You shall, dear Lady, behold as goodly, loyal, and as able men
as any prince Christian can show you, and yet but a handful of your own,
in comparison of the rest you have. What comfort not only these shall
receive who shall be the happiest to behold yourself I cannot express;
but assuredly it will give no small comfort to the rest, that shall be
overshined with the beams of so gracious and princely a party, for what
your royal Majesty shall do to these will be accepted as done to all.
Good sweet Queen, alter not your purpose, if God give you health. It will
be your pain for the time, but your pleasure to behold such people. And
surely the place must content you, being as fair a soil and as goodly a
prospect as may be seen or found, as this extreme weather hath made
trial, which doth us little annoyance, it is so firm and dry a ground.
Your usher also liketh your lodging--a proper, secret, cleanly house.
Your camp is a little mile off, and your person will be as sure as at St.
James's, for my life."

But notwithstanding this cheerful view of the position expressed by the
commander-in-chief, the month of July had passed, and the early days of
August had already arrived; and yet the camp was not formed, nor anything
more than that mere handful of troops mustered about Tilbury, to defend
the road from Dover to London. The army at Tilbury never, exceeded
sixteen or seventeen thousand men.

The whole royal navy-numbering about thirty-four vessels in all--of
different sizes, ranging from 1100 and 1000 tons to 30, had at last been
got ready for sea. Its aggregate tonnage was 11,820; not half so
much as at the present moment--in the case of one marvellous
merchant-steamer--floats upon a single keel.

These vessels carried. 837 guns and 6279 men. But the navy was reinforced
by the patriotism and liberality of English merchants and private
gentlemen. The city of London having been requested to furnish 15 ships
of war and 5000 men, asked two days for deliberation, and then gave 30
ships and 10,000 men of which number 2710 were seamen. Other cities,
particularly Plymouth, came forward with proportionate liberality, and
private individuals, nobles, merchants, and men of humblest rank, were
enthusiastic in volunteering into the naval service, to risk property and
life in defence of the country. By midsummer there had been a total force
of 197 vessels manned, and partially equipped, with an aggregate of
29,744 tons, and 15,785 seamen. Of this fleet a very large number were
mere coasters of less than 100 tons each; scarcely ten ships were above
500, and but one above 1000 tons--the Triumph, Captain Frobisher, of 1100
tons, 42 guns, and 500 sailors.

Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High-Admiral of England, distinguished for
his martial character, public spirit, and admirable temper, rather than
for experience or skill as a seaman, took command of the whole fleet, in
his "little odd ship for all conditions," the Ark-Royal, of 800 tons, 425
sailors, and 55 guns.

Next in rank was Vice-Admiral Drake, in the Revenge, of 500 tons, 250 men
and 40 guns. Lord Henry Seymour, in the Rainbow, of precisely the same
size and strength, commanded the inner squadron, which cruised in the
neighbourhood of the French and Flemish coast.

The Hollanders and Zeelanders had undertaken to blockade the Duke of
Parma still more closely, and pledged themselves that he should never
venture to show himself upon the open sea at all. The mouth of the
Scheldt, and the dangerous shallows off the coast of Newport and Dunkirk,
swarmed with their determined and well-seasoned craft, from the flybooter
or filibuster of the rivers, to the larger armed vessels, built to
confront every danger, and to deal with any adversary.

Farnese, on his part, within that well-guarded territory, had, for months
long, scarcely slackened in his preparations, day or night. Whole forests
had been felled in the land of Waas to furnish him with transports and
gun-boats, and with such rapidity, that--according to his enthusiastic
historiographer--each tree seemed by magic to metamorphose itself into a
vessel at the word of command. Shipbuilders, pilots, and seamen, were
brought from the Baltic, from Hamburgh, from Genoa. The whole surface of
the obedient Netherlands, whence wholesome industry had long been
banished, was now the scene of a prodigious baleful activity. Portable
bridges for fording the rivers of England, stockades for entrenchments,
rafts and oars, were provided in vast numbers, and Alexander dug canals
and widened natural streams to facilitate his operations. These wretched
Provinces, crippled, impoverished, languishing for peace, were forced to
contribute out of their poverty, and to find strength even in their
exhaustion, to furnish the machinery for destroying their own countrymen,
and for hurling to perdition their most healthful neighbour.

And this approaching destruction of England--now generally believed
in--was like the sound of a trumpet throughout Catholic Europe. Scions of
royal houses, grandees of azure blood, the bastard of Philip II., the
bastard of Savoy, the bastard of Medici, the Margrave of Burghaut, the
Archduke Charles, nephew of the Emperor, the Princes of Ascoli and of
Melfi, the Prince of Morocco, and others of illustrious name, with many a
noble English traitor, like Paget, and Westmoreland, and Stanley, all
hurried to the camp of Farnese, as to some famous tournament, in which it
was a disgrace to chivalry if their names were not enrolled. The roads
were trampled with levies of fresh troops from Spain, Naples, Corsica,
the States of the Church, the Milanese, Germany, Burgundy.

Blas Capizucca was sent in person to conduct reinforcements from the
north of Italy. The famous Terzio of Naples, under Carlos Pinelo, arrived
3500 strong--the most splendid regiment ever known in the history of war.
Every man had an engraved corslet and musket-barrel, and there were many
who wore gilded armour, while their waving plumes and festive caparisons
made them look like holiday-makers, rather than real campaigners, in the
eyes of the inhabitants of the various cities through which their road
led them to Flanders. By the end of April the Duke of Parma saw himself
at the head of 60,000 men, at a monthly expense of 454,315 crowns or
dollars. Yet so rapid was the progress of disease--incident to northern
climates--among those southern soldiers, that we shall find the number
woefully diminished before they were likely to set foot upon the English

Thus great preparations, simultaneously with pompous negotiations, had
been going forward month after month, in England, Holland, Flanders.
Nevertheless, winter, spring, two-thirds of summer, had passed away, and
on the 29th July, 1588, there remained the same sickening uncertainty,
which was the atmosphere in which the nations had existed for a

Howard had cruised for a few weeks between England and Spain, without any
results, and, on his return, had found it necessary to implore her
Majesty, as late as July, to "trust no more to Judas' kisses, but to her
sword, not her enemy's word."


     A burnt cat fears the fire
     A free commonwealth--was thought an absurdity
     Baiting his hook a little to his appetite
     Canker of a long peace
     Englishmen and Hollanders preparing to cut each other's throats
     Faction has rarely worn a more mischievous aspect
     Hard at work, pouring sand through their sieves
     She relieth on a hope that will deceive her
     Sparing and war have no affinity together
     The worst were encouraged with their good success
     Trust her sword, not her enemy's word


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 57, 1588


   Philip Second in his Cabinet--His System of Work and Deception--His
   vast but vague Schemes of Conquest--The Armada sails--Description of
   the Fleet--The Junction with Parma unprovided for--The Gale off
   Finisterre--Exploits of David Gwynn--First Engagements in the
   English Channel--Considerable Losses of the Spaniards--General
   Engagement near Portland--Superior Seamanship of the English

It is now time to look in upon the elderly letter-writer in the Escorial,
and see how he was playing his part in the drama.

His counsellors were very few. His chief advisers were rather like
private secretaries than cabinet ministers; for Philip had been
withdrawing more and more into seclusion and mystery as the webwork of
his schemes multiplied and widened. He liked to do his work, assisted by
a very few confidential servants. The Prince of Eboli, the famous Ruy
Gomez, was dead. So was Cardinal Granvelle. So were Erasso and Delgado.
His midnight council--junta de noche--for thus, from its original hour of
assembling, and the all of secrecy in which it was enwrapped, it was
habitually called--was a triumvirate. Don Juan de Idiaquez was chief
secretary of state and of war; the Count de Chinchon was minister for the
household, for Italian affairs, and for the kingdom of Aragon; Don
Cristoval de Moura, the monarch's chief favourite, was at the head of the
finance department, and administered the affairs of Portugal and Castile!

The president of the council of Italy, after Granvelle's death, was
Quiroga, cardinal of Toledo, and inquisitor-general. Enormously long
letters, in the King's: name, were prepared chiefly by the two
secretaries, Idiaquez and Moura. In their hands was the vast
correspondence with Mendoza and Parma, and Olivarez at Rome, and with
Mucio; in which all the stratagems for the subjugation of Protestant
Europe were slowly and artistically contrived. Of the great conspiracy
against human liberty, of which the Pope and Philip were the double head,
this midnight triumvirate was the chief executive committee.

These innumerable despatches, signed by Philip, were not the emanations
of his own mind. The King had a fixed purpose to subdue Protestantism and
to conquer the world; but the plans for carrying the purpose into effect
were developed by subtler and more comprehensive minds than his own. It
was enough for him to ponder wearily over schemes which he was supposed
to dictate, and to give himself the appearance of supervising what he
scarcely comprehended. And his work of supervision was often confined to
pettiest details. The handwriting of Spain and Italy at that day was
beautiful, and in our modern eyes seems neither antiquated nor
ungraceful. But Philip's scrawl was like that of 'a' clown just admitted
to a writing-school, and the whole margin of a fairly penned despatch
perhaps fifty pages long; laid before him for comment and signature by
Idiaquez or Moura, would be sometimes covered with a few awkward
sentences, which it was almost impossible to read, and which, when
deciphered, were apt to reveal suggestions of astounding triviality.

Thus a most important despatch--in which the King, with his own hand, was
supposed to be conveying secret intelligence to Mendoza concerning the
Armada, together with minute directions for the regulation of Guise's
conduct at the memorable epoch of the barricades--contained but a single
comment from the monarch's own pen. "The Armada has been in Lisbon about
a month--quassi un mes"--wrote the secretary. "There is but one s in
quasi," said Philip.

Again, a despatch of Mendoza to the King contained the intelligence that
Queen Elizabeth was, at the date of the letter, residing at St. James's.
Philip, who had no objection to display his knowledge of English
affairs--as became the man who had already been almost sovereign of
England, and meant to be entirely so--supplied a piece of information in
an apostille to this despatch. "St. James is a house of recreation," he
said, "which was once a monastery. There is a park between it, and the
palace which is called Huytal; but why it is called Huytal, I am sure I
don't know." His researches in the English language had not enabled him
to recognize the adjective and substantive out of which the abstruse
compound White-Hall (Huyt-al), was formed.

On another occasion, a letter from England containing important
intelligence concerning the number of soldiers enrolled in that country
to resist the Spanish invasion, the quantity of gunpowder and various
munitions collected, with other details of like nature, furnished besides
a bit of information of less vital interest. "In the windows of the
Queen's presence-chamber they have discovered a great quantity of lice,
all clustered together," said the writer.

Such a minute piece of statistics could not escape the microscopic eye of
Philip. So, disregarding the soldiers and the gunpowder, he commented
only on this last-mentioned clause of the letter; and he did it
cautiously too, as a King surnamed the Prudent should:--

"But perhaps they were fleas," wrote Philip.

Such examples--and many more might be given--sufficiently indicate the
nature of the man on whom such enormous responsibilities rested, and who
had been, by the adulation of his fellow-creatures, elevated into a god.
And we may cast a glance upon him as he sits in his cabinet-buried among
those piles of despatches--and receiving methodically, at stated hours,
Idiaquez, or Moura, or Chincon, to settle the affairs of so many millions
of the human race; and we may watch exactly the progress of that scheme,
concerning which so many contradictory rumours were circulating in
Europe. In the month of April a Walsingham could doubt, even in August an
ingenuous comptroller could disbelieve, the reality of the great project,
and the Pope himself, even while pledging himself to assistance, had been
systematically deceived. He had supposed the whole scheme rendered futile
by the exploit of Drake at Cadiz, and had declared that "the Queen of
England's distaff was worth more than Philip's sword, that the King was a
poor creature, that he would never be able to come to a resolution, and
that even if he should do so, it would be too late;" and he had
subsequently been doing his best, through his nuncio in France, to
persuade the Queen to embrace the Catholic religion, and thus save
herself from the impending danger. Henry III. had even been urged by the
Pope to send a special ambassador to her for this purpose--as if the
persuasions of the wretched Valois were likely to be effective with
Elizabeth Tudor--and Burghley had, by means of spies in Rome, who
pretended to be Catholics, given out intimations that the Queen was
seriously contemplating such a step. Thus the Pope, notwithstanding
Cardinal Allan, the famous million, and the bull, was thought by Mendoza
to be growing lukewarm in the Spanish cause, and to be urging upon the
"Englishwoman" the propriety of converting herself, even at the late hour
of May, 1588.

But Philip, for years, had been maturing his scheme, while reposing
entire confidence--beyond his own cabinet doors--upon none but Alexander
Farnese; and the Duke--alone of all men--was perfectly certain that the
invasion would, this year, be attempted.

The captain-general of the expedition was the Marquis of Santa Cruz, a
man of considerable naval experience, and of constant good fortune, who,
in thirty years, had never sustained a defeat. He had however shown no
desire to risk one when Drake had offered him the memorable challenge in
the year 1587, and perhaps his reputation of the invincible captain had
been obtained by the same adroitness on previous occasions. He was no
friend to Alexander Farnese, and was much disgusted when informed of the
share allotted to the Duke in the great undertaking. A course of reproach
and perpetual reprimand was the treatment to which he was, in
consequence, subjected, which was not more conducive to the advancement
of the expedition than it was to the health of the captain-general. Early
in January the Cardinal Archduke was sent to Lisbon to lecture him, with
instructions to turn a deaf ear to all his remonstrances, to deal with
him peremptorily, to forbid his writing letters on the subject to his
Majesty, and to order him to accept his post or to decline it without
conditions, in which latter contingency he was to be informed that his
successor was already decided upon.

This was not the most eligible way perhaps for bringing the
captain-general into a cheerful mood; particularly as he was expected to
be ready in January to sail to the Flemish coast. Nevertheless the
Marquis expressed a hope to accomplish his sovereign's wishes; and great
had been the bustle in all the dockyards of Naples, Sicily, and Spain;
particularly in the provinces of Guipuzcoa, Biscay, and Andalusia, and in
the four great cities of the coast. War-ships of all dimensions, tenders,
transports, soldiers, sailors, sutlers, munitions of war, provisions,
were all rapidly concentrating in Lisbon as the great place of
rendezvous; and Philip confidently believed, and as confidently informed
the Duke of Parma, that he, might be expecting the Armada at any time
after the end of January.

Perhaps in the history of mankind there has never been a vast project of
conquest conceived and matured in so protracted and yet so desultory a
manner, as was this famous Spanish invasion. There was something almost
puerile in the whims rather than schemes of Philip for carrying out his
purpose. It was probable that some resistance would be offered, at least
by the navy of England, to the subjugation of that country, and the King
had enjoyed an opportunity, the preceding summer, of seeing the way in
which English sailors did their work. He had also appeared to understand
the necessity of covering the passage of Farnese from the Flemish ports
into the Thames, by means of the great Spanish fleet from Lisbon.
Nevertheless he never seemed to be aware that Farnese could not invade
England quite by himself, and was perpetually expecting to hear that he
had done so.

"Holland and Zeeland," wrote Alexander to Philip, "have been arming with
their accustomed promptness; England has made great preparations. I have
done my best to make the impossible possible; but your letter told me to
wait for Santa Cruz, and to expect him very shortly. If, on the contrary,
you had told me to make the passage without him, I would have made the
attempt, although we had every one of us perished. Four ships of war
could sink every one of my boats. Nevertheless I beg to be informed of
your Majesty's final order. If I am seriously expected to make the
passage without Santa Cruz, I am ready to do it, although I should go all
alone in a cock-boat."

But Santa Cruz at least was not destined to assist in the conquest of
England; for, worn out with fatigue and vexation, goaded by the
reproaches and insults of Philip, Santa Cruz was dead. He was replaced in
the chief command of the fleet by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, a grandee
of vast wealth, but with little capacity and less experience. To the iron
marquis it was said that a golden duke had succeeded; but the duke of
gold did not find it easier to accomplish impossibilities than his
predecessor had done. Day after day, throughout the months of winter and
spring, the King had been writing that the fleet was just on the point of
sailing, and as frequently he had been renewing to Alexander Farnese the
intimation that perhaps, after all, he might find an opportunity of
crossing to England, without waiting for its arrival. And Alexander, with
the same regularity, had been informing his master that the troops in the
Netherlands had been daily dwindling from sickness and other causes, till
at last, instead of the 30,000 effective infantry, with which it had been
originally intended to make the enterprise, he had not more than 17,000
in the month of April. The 6000 Spaniards, whom he was to receive from
the fleet of Medina Sidonia, would therefore be the very mainspring of
his army. After leaving no more soldiers in the Netherlands than were
absolutely necessary for the defence of the obedient Provinces against
the rebels, he could only take with him to England 23,000 men, even after
the reinforcements from Medina. "When we talked of taking England by
surprise," said Alexander, "we never thought of less than 30,000. Now
that she is alert and ready for us, and that it is certain we must fight
by sea and by land, 50,000 would be few." He almost ridiculed the King's
suggestion that a feint might be made by way of besieging some few places
in Holland or Zeeland. The whole matter in hand, he said, had become as
public as possible, and the only efficient blind was the
peace-negotiation; for many believed, as the English deputies were now
treating at Ostend, that peace would follow.

At last, on the 28th, 29th, and 30th May, 1588, the fleet, which had been
waiting at Lisbon more than a month for favourable weather, set sail from
that port, after having been duly blessed by the Cardinal Archduke
Albert, viceroy of Portugal.

There were rather more than one hundred and thirty ships in all, divided
into ten squadrons. There was the squadron of Portugal, consisting of ten
galleons, and commanded by the captain-general, Medina Sidonia. In the
squadron of Castile were fourteen ships of various sizes, under General
Diego Flores de Valdez. This officer was one of the most experienced
naval officers in the Spanish service, and was subsequently ordered, in
consequence, to sail with the generalissimo in his flag-ship. In the
squadron of Andalusia were ten galleons and other vessels, under General
Pedro de Valdez. In the squadron of Biscay were ten galleons and lesser
ships, under General Juan Martinet de Recalde, upper admiral of the
fleet. In the squadron of Guipuzcoa were ten galleons, under General
Miguel de Oquendo. In the squadron of Italy were ten ships, under General
Martin de Bertendona. In the squadron of Urcas, or store-ships, were
twenty-three sail, under General Juan Gomez de Medina. The squadron of
tenders, caravels, and other vessels, numbered twenty-two sail, under
General Antonio Hurtado de Mendoza. The squadron of four galeasses was
commanded by Don Hugo de Moncada. The squadron of four galeras, or
galleys, was in charge of Captain Diego de Medrado.

Next in command to Medina Sidonia was Don Alonzo de Leyva,
captain-general of the light horse of Milan. Don Francisco de Bobadilla
was marshal-general of the camp. Don Diego de Pimentel was marshal of the
camp to the famous Terzio or legion of Sicily.

The total tonnage of the fleet was 59,120: the number of guns was 3165.
Of Spanish troops there were 19,295 on board: there were 8252 sailors and
2088 galley-slaves. Besides these, there was a force of noble volunteers,
belonging to the most illustrious houses of Spain, with their attendants
amounting to nearly 2000 in all. There was also Don Martin Alaccon,
administrator and vicar-general of the Holy Inquisition, at the head of
some 290 monks of the mendicant orders, priests and familiars. The grand
total of those embarked was about 30,000. The daily expense of the fleet
was estimated by Don Diego de Pimentel at 12,000 ducats a-day, and the
daily cost of the combined naval and military force under Farnese and
Medina Sidonia was stated at 30,000 ducats.

The size of the ships ranged from 1200 tons to 300. The galleons, of
which there were about sixty, were huge round-stemmed clumsy vessels,
with bulwarks three or four feet thick, and built up at stem and stern,
like castles. The galeasses of which there were four--were a third larger
than the ordinary galley, and were rowed each by three hundred
galley-slaves. They consisted of an enormous towering fortress at the
stern; a castellated structure almost equally massive in front, with
seats for the rowers amidships. At stem and stern and between each of the
slaves' benches were heavy cannon. These galeasses were floating
edifices, very wonderful to contemplate. They were gorgeously decorated.
There were splendid state-apartments, cabins, chapels, and pulpits in
each, and they were amply provided with awnings, cushions, streamers,
standards, gilded saints, and bands of music. To take part in an
ostentatious pageant, nothing could be better devised. To fulfil the
great objects of a war-vessel--to sail and to fight--they were the worst
machines ever launched upon the ocean. The four galleys were similar to
the galeasses in every respect except that of size, in which they were by
one-third inferior.

All the ships of the fleet--galeasses, galleys, galleons, and hulks--were
so encumbered with top-hamper, so overweighted in proportion to their
draught of water, that they could bear but little canvas, even with
smooth seas and light and favourable winds. In violent tempests,
therefore, they seemed likely to suffer. To the eyes of the 16th century
these vessels seemed enormous. A ship of 1300 tons was then a monster
rarely seen, and a fleet, numbering from 130 to 150 sail, with an
aggregate tonnage of 60,000, seemed sufficient to conquer the world, and
to justify the arrogant title, by which it had baptized itself, of the

Such was the machinery which Philip had at last set afloat, for the
purpose of dethroning Elizabeth and establishing the inquisition in
England. One hundred and forty ships, eleven thousand Spanish veterans,
as many more recruits, partly Spanish, partly Portuguese, 2000 grandees,
as many galley-slaves, and three hundred barefooted friars and

The plan was simple. Medina Sidonia was to proceed straight from Lisbon
to Calais roads: there he was to wait: for the Duke of Parma, who was to
come forth from Newport, Sluys, and Dunkerk, bringing with him his 17,000
veterans, and to assume the chief command of the whole expedition. They
were then to cross the channel to Dover, land the army of Parma,
reinforced with 6000 Spaniards from the fleet, and with these 23,000 men
Alexander was to march at once upon London. Medina Sidonia was to seize
and fortify the Isle of Wight, guard the entrance of the harbours against
any interference from the Dutch and English fleets, and--so soon as the
conquest of England had been effected--he was to proceed to Ireland. It
had been the wish of Sir William Stanley that Ireland should be
subjugated first, as a basis of operations against England; but this had
been overruled. The intrigues of Mendoza and Farnese, too, with the
Catholic nobles of Scotland, had proved, after all, unsuccessful. King
James had yielded to superior offers of money and advancement held out to
him by Elizabeth, and was now, in Alexander's words, a confirmed heretic.

There was no course left, therefore, but to conquer England at once. A
strange omission had however been made in the plan from first to last.
The commander of the whole expedition was the Duke of Parma: on his head
was the whole responsibility. Not a gun was to be fired--if it could be
avoided--until he had come forth with his veterans to make his junction
with the Invincible Armada off Calais. Yet there was no arrangement
whatever to enable him to come forth--not the slightest provision to
effect that junction. It would almost seem that the letter-writer of the
Escorial had been quite ignorant of the existence of the Dutch fleets off
Dunkerk, Newport, and Flushing, although he had certainly received
information enough of this formidable obstacle to his plan.

"Most joyful I shall be," said Farnese--writing on one of the days when
he had seemed most convinced by Valentine Dale's arguments, and driven to
despair by his postulates--"to see myself with these soldiers on English
ground, where, with God's help, I hope to accomplish your Majesty's
demands." He was much troubled however to find doubts entertained at the
last moment as to his 6000 Spaniards; and certainly it hardly needed an
argument to prove that the invasion of England with but 17,000 soldiers
was a somewhat hazardous scheme. Yet the pilot Moresini had brought him
letters from Medina Sidonia, in which the Duke expressed hesitation about
parting with these 6000 veterans; unless the English fleet should have
been previously destroyed, and had also again expressed his hope that
Parma would be punctual to the rendezvous. Alexander immediately combated
these views in letters to Medina and to the King. He avowed that he would
not depart one tittle from the plan originally laid down. The 6000 men,
and more if possible, were to be furnished him, and the Spanish Armada
was to protect his own flotilla, and to keep the channel clear of
enemies. No other scheme was possible, he said, for it was clear that his
collection of small flat-bottomed river-boats and hoys could not even
make the passage, except in smooth weather. They could not contend with a
storm, much less with the enemy's ships, which would destroy them utterly
in case of a meeting, without his being able to avail himself of his
soldiers--who would be so closely packed as to be hardly moveable--or of
any human help. The preposterous notion that he should come out with his
flotilla to make a junction with Medina off Calais, was over and over
again denounced by Alexander with vehemence and bitterness, and most
boding expressions were used by him as to the probable result, were such
a delusion persisted in.

Every possible precaution therefore but one had been taken. The King of
France--almost at the same instant in which Guise had been receiving his
latest instructions from the Escorial for dethroning and destroying that
monarch--had been assured by Philip of his inalienable affection; had
been informed of the object of this great naval expedition--which was not
by any means, as Mendoza had stated to Henry, an enterprise against
France or England, but only a determined attempt to clear the sea, once
for all, of these English pirates who had done so much damage for years
past on the high seas--and had been requested, in case any Spanish ship
should be driven by stress of weather into French ports, to afford them
that comfort and protection to which the vessels of so close and friendly
an ally were entitled.

Thus there was bread, beef, and powder enough--there were monks and
priests enough--standards, galley-slaves, and inquisitors enough; but
there were no light vessels in the Armada, and no heavy vessels in
Parma's fleet. Medina could not go to Farnese, nor could Farnese come to
Medina. The junction was likely to be difficult, and yet it had never
once entered the heads of Philip or his counsellors to provide for that
difficulty. The King never seemed to imagine that Farnese, with 40,000 or
50,000 soldiers in the Netherlands, a fleet of 300 transports, and power
to dispose of very large funds for one great purpose, could be kept in
prison by a fleet of Dutch skippers and corsairs.

With as much sluggishness as might have been expected from their clumsy
architecture, the ships of the Armada consumed nearly three weeks in
sailing from Lisbon to the neighbourhood of Cape Finisterre. Here they
were overtaken by a tempest, and were scattered hither and thither,
almost at the mercy of the winds and waves; for those unwieldy hulks were
ill adapted to a tempest in the Bay of Biscay. There were those in the
Armada, however, to whom the storm was a blessing. David Gwynn, a Welsh
mariner, had sat in the Spanish hulks a wretched galley-slave--as
prisoner of war for more than eleven years, hoping, year after year, for
a chance of escape from bondage. He sat now among the rowers of the great
galley, the Trasana, one of the humblest instruments by which the
subjugation of his native land to Spain and Rome was to be effected.

Very naturally, among the ships which suffered most in the gale were the
four huge unwieldy galleys--a squadron of four under Don Diego de
Medrado--with their enormous turrets at stem and stern, and their low and
open waists. The chapels, pulpits, and gilded Madonnas proved of little
avail in a hurricane. The Diana, largest of the four, went down with all
hands; the Princess was labouring severely in the trough of the sea, and
the Trasana was likewise in imminent danger. So the master of this galley
asked the Welsh slave, who had far more experience and seamanship than he
possessed himself, if it were possible to save the vessel. Gwynn saw an
opportunity for which he had been waiting eleven years. He was ready to
improve it. He pointed out to the captain the hopelessness of attempting
to overtake the Armada. They should go down, he said, as the Diana had
already done, and as the Princess was like at any moment to do, unless
they took in every rag of sail, and did their best with their oars to
gain the nearest port. But in order that the rowers might exert
themselves to the utmost, it was necessary that the soldiers, who were a
useless incumbrance on deck, should go below. Thus only could the ship be
properly handled. The captain, anxious to save his ship and his life,
consented. Most of the soldiers were sent beneath the hatches: a few were
ordered to sit on the benches among the slaves. Now there had been a
secret understanding for many days among these unfortunate men, nor were
they wholly without weapons. They had been accustomed to make toothpicks
and other trifling articles for sale out of broken sword-blades and other
refuse bits of steel. There was not a man among them who had not thus
provided himself with a secret stiletto.

At first Gwynn occupied himself with arrangements for weathering the
gale. So soon however as the ship had been made comparatively easy, he
looked around him, suddenly threw down his cap, and raised his hand to
the rigging. It was a preconcerted signal. The next instant he stabbed
the captain to the heart, while each one of the galley-slaves killed the
soldier nearest him; then, rushing below, they surprised and overpowered
the rest of the troops, and put them all to death.

Coming again upon deck, David Gwynn descried the fourth galley of the
squadron, called the Royal, commanded by Commodore Medrado in person,
bearing down upon them, before the wind. It was obvious that the Vasana
was already an object of suspicion.

"Comrades," said Gwynn, "God has given us liberty, and by our courage we
must prove ourselves worthy of the boon."

As he spoke there came a broadside from the galley Royal which killed
nine of his crew. David, nothing daunted; laid his ship close alongside
of the Royal, with such a shock that the timbers quivered again. Then at
the head of his liberated slaves, now thoroughly armed, he dashed on
board the galley, and, after a furious conflict, in which he was assisted
by the slaves of the Royal, succeeded in mastering the vessel, and
putting all the Spanish soldiers to death. This done, the combined
rowers, welcoming Gwynn as their deliverer from an abject slavery which
seemed their lot for life, willingly accepted his orders. The gale had
meantime abated, and the two galleys, well conducted by the experienced
and intrepid Welshman, made their way to the coast of France, and landed
at Bayonne on the 31st, dividing among them the property found on board
the two galleys. Thence, by land, the fugitives, four hundred and
sixty-six in number--Frenchmen, Spaniards, Englishmen, Turks, and Moors,
made their way to Rochelle. Gwynn had an interview with Henry of Navarre,
and received from that chivalrous king a handsome present. Afterwards he
found his way to England, and was well commended by the Queen. The rest
of the liberated slaves dispersed in various directions.

This was the first adventure of the invincible Armada. Of the squadron of
galleys, one was already sunk in the sea, and two of the others had been
conquered by their own slaves. The fourth rode out the gale with
difficulty, and joined the rest of the fleet, which ultimately
re-assembled at Coruna; the ships having, in distress, put in at first at
Vivera, Ribadeo, Gijon, and other northern ports of Spain. At the
Groyne--as the English of that day were accustomed to call Coruna--they
remained a month, repairing damages and recruiting; and on the 22nd of
July 3 (N.S.) the Armada set sail: Six days later, the Spaniards took
soundings, thirty leagues from the Scilly Islands, and on--Friday, the
29th of July, off the Lizard, they had the first glimpse of the land of
promise presented them by Sixtus V., of which they had at last come to
take possession.

   [The dates in the narrative will be always given according to the
   New Style, then already adopted by Spain, Holland, and France,
   although not by England. The dates thus given are, of course, ten
   days later than they appear in contemporary English records.]

On the same day and night the blaze and smoke of ten thousand
beacon-fires from the Land's End to Margate, and from the Isle of Wight
to Cumberland, gave warning to every Englishman that the enemy was at
last upon them. Almost at that very instant intelligence had been brought
from the court to the Lord-Admiral at Plymouth, that the Armada,
dispersed and shattered by the gales of June, was not likely to make its
appearance that year; and orders had consequently been given to disarm
the four largest ships, and send them into dock. Even Walsingham, as
already stated, had participated in this strange delusion.

Before Howard had time to act upon this ill-timed suggestion--even had he
been disposed to do so--he received authentic intelligence that the great
fleet was off the Lizard. Neither he nor Francis Drake were the men to
lose time in such an emergency, and before that Friday, night was spent,
sixty of the best English ships had been warped out of Plymouth harbour.

On Saturday, 30th July, the wind was very light at southwest, with a mist
and drizzling rain, but by three in the afternoon the two fleets could
descry and count each other through the haze.

By nine o'clock, 31st July, about two miles from Looe, on the Cornish
coast, the fleets had their first meeting. There were 136 sail of the
Spaniards, of which ninety were large ships, and sixty-seven of the
English. It was a solemn moment. The long-expected Armada presented a
pompous, almost a theatrical appearance. The ships seemed arranged for a
pageant, in honour of a victory already won. Disposed in form of a
crescent, the horns of which were seven miles asunder, those gilded,
towered, floating castles, with their gaudy standards and their martial
music, moved slowly along the channel, with an air of indolent pomp.
Their captain-general, the golden Duke, stood in his private shot-proof
fortress, on the--deck of his great galleon the Saint Martin, surrounded
by generals of infantry, and colonels of cavalry, who knew as little as
he did himself of naval matters. The English vessels, on the other
hand--with a few exceptions, light, swift, and easily handled--could sail
round and round those unwieldy galleons, hulks, and galleys rowed by
fettered slave-gangs. The superior seamanship of free Englishmen,
commanded by such experienced captains as Drake, Frobisher, and
Hawkins--from infancy at home on blue water--was manifest in the very,
first encounter. They obtained the weather-gage at once, and cannonaded
the enemy at intervals with considerable effect, easily escaping at will
out of range of the sluggish Armada, which was incapable of bearing sail
in pursuit, although provided with an armament which could sink all its
enemies at close quarters. "We had some small fight with them that Sunday
afternoon," said Hawkins.

Medina Sidonia hoisted the royal standard at the fore, and the whole
fleet did its utmost, which was little, to offer general battle. It was
in vain. The English, following at the heels of the enemy, refused all
such invitations, and attacked only the rear-guard of the Armada, where
Recalde commanded. That admiral, steadily maintaining his post, faced his
nimble antagonists, who continued to teaze, to maltreat, and to elude
him, while the rest of the fleet proceeded slowly up the Channel closely,
followed by the enemy. And thus the running fight continued along the
coast, in full view of Plymouth, whence boats with reinforcements and
volunteers were perpetually arriving to the English ships, until the
battle had drifted quite out of reach of the town.

Already in this first "small fight" the Spaniards had learned a lesson,
and might even entertain a doubt of their invincibility. But before the
sun set there were more serious disasters. Much powder and shot had been
expended by the Spaniards to very little purpose, and so a master-gunner
on board Admiral Oquendo's flag-ship was reprimanded for careless
ball-practice. The gunner, who was a Fleming, enraged with his captain,
laid a train to the powder-magazine, fired it, and threw himself into the
sea. Two decks blew up. The into the clouds, carrying with it the
paymaster-general of the fleet, a large portion of treasure, and nearly
two hundred men.' The ship was a wreck, but it was possible to save the
rest of the crew. So Medina Sidonia sent light vessels to remove them,
and wore with his flag-ship, to defend Oquendo, who had already been
fastened upon by his English pursuers. But the Spaniards, not being so
light in hand as their enemies, involved themselves in much embarrassment
by this manoeuvre; and there was much falling foul of each other,
entanglement of rigging, and carrying away of yards. Oquendo's men,
however, were ultimately saved, and taken to other ships.

Meantime Don Pedro de Valdez, commander of the Andalusian squadron,
having got his galleon into collision with two or three Spanish ships
successively, had at last carried away his fore-mast close to the deck,
and the wreck had fallen against his main-mast. He lay crippled and
helpless, the Armada was slowly deserting him, night was coming on, the
sea was running high, and the English, ever hovering near, were ready to
grapple with him. In vain did Don Pedro fire signals of distress. The
captain-general, even as though the unlucky galleon had not been
connected with the Catholic fleet--calmly fired a gun to collect his
scattered ships, and abandoned Valdez to his fate. "He left me
comfortless in sight of the whole fleet," said poor Pedro, "and greater
inhumanity and unthankfulness I think was never heard of among men."

Yet the Spaniard comported himself most gallantly. Frobisher, in the
largest ship of the English fleet, the Triumph, of 1100 tons, and Hawkins
in the Victory, of 800, cannonaded him at a distance, but, night coming
on, he was able to resist; and it was not till the following morning that
he surrendered to the Revenge.

Drake then received the gallant prisoner on board his flagship--much to
the disgust and indignation of Frobisher and Hawkins, thus disappointed
of their prize and ransom-money--treated him with much courtesy, and gave
his word of honour that he and his men should be treated fairly like good
prisoners of war. This pledge was redeemed, for it was not the English,
as it was the Spanish custom, to convert captives into slaves, but only
to hold them for ransom. Valdez responded to Drake's politeness by
kissing his hand, embracing him, and overpowering him with magnificent
compliments. He was then sent on board the Lord-Admiral, who received him
with similar urbanity, and expressed his regret that so distinguished a
personage should have been so coolly deserted by the Duke of Medina. Don
Pedro then returned to the Revenge, where, as the guest of Drake, he was
a witness to all subsequent events up to the 10th of August, on which day
he was sent to London with some other officers, Sir Francis claiming his
ransom as his lawful due.

Here certainly was no very triumphant beginning for the Invincible
Armada. On the very first day of their being in presence of the English
fleet--then but sixty-seven in number, and vastly their inferior in size
and weight of metal--they had lost the flag ships of the Guipuzcoan and
of the Andalusian squadrons, with a general-admiral, 450 officers and,
men, and some 100,000 ducats of treasure. They had been out-manoeuvred,
out-sailed, and thoroughly maltreated by their antagonists, and they had
been unable to inflict a single blow in return. Thus the "small fight"
had been a cheerful one for the opponents of the Inquisition, and the
English were proportionably encouraged.

On Monday, 1st of August, Medina Sidonia placed the rear-guard-consisting
of the galeasses, the galleons St. Matthew, St. Luke, St. James, and the
Florence and other ships, forty-three in all--under command of Don
Antonio de Leyva. He was instructed to entertain the enemy--so constantly
hanging on the rear--to accept every chance of battle, and to come to
close quarters whenever it should be possible. The Spaniards felt
confident of sinking every ship in the English navy, if they could but
once come to grappling; but it was growing more obvious every hour that
the giving or withholding battle was entirely in the hands of their foes.
Meantime--while the rear was thus protected by Leyva's division--the
vanguard and main body of the Armada, led by the captain-general, would
steadily pursue its way, according to the royal instructions, until it
arrived at its appointed meeting-place with the Duke of Parma. Moreover,
the Duke of Medina--dissatisfied with the want of discipline and of good
seamanship hitherto displayed in his fleet--now took occasion to send a
serjeant-major, with written sailing directions, on board each ship in
the Armada, with express orders to hang every captain, without appeal or
consultation, who should leave the position assigned him; and the hangmen
were sent with the sergeant-majors to ensure immediate attention to these
arrangements. Juan Gil was at the name time sent off in a sloop to the
Duke of Parma, to carry the news of the movements of the Armada, to
request information as to the exact spot and moment of the junction, and
to beg for pilots acquainted with the French and Flemish coasts. "In case
of the slightest gale in the world," said Medina, "I don't know how or
where to shelter such large ships as ours."

Disposed in this manner; the Spaniards sailed leisurely along the English
coast with light westerly breezes, watched closely by the Queen's fleet,
which hovered at a moderate distance to windward, without offering, that
day, any obstruction to their course.

By five o'clock on Tuesday morning, 2nd of August, the Armada lay between
Portland Bill and St. Albans' Head, when the wind shifted to the
north-east, and gave the Spaniards the weather-gage. The English did
their beat to get to windward, but the Duke, standing close into the land
with the whole Armada, maintained his advantage. The English then went
about, making a tack seaward, and were soon afterwards assaulted by the
Spaniards. A long and spirited action ensued. Howard in his little
Ark-Royal--"the odd ship of the world for all conditions"--was engaged at
different times with Bertendona, of the Italian squadron, with Alonzo de
Leyva in the Batta, and with other large vessels. He was hard pressed for
a time, but was gallantly supported by the Nonpareil, Captain Tanner; and
after a long and confused combat, in which the St. Mark, the St. Luke,
the St. Matthew, the St. Philip, the St. John, the St. James, the St.
John Baptist, the St. Martin, and many other great galleons, with saintly
and apostolic names, fought pellmell with the Lion, the Bear, the Bull,
the Tiger, the Dreadnought, the Revenge, the Victory, the Triumph, and
other of the more profanely-baptized English ships, the Spaniards were
again baffled in all their attempts to close with, and to board, their
ever-attacking, ever-flying adversaries. The cannonading was incessant.
"We had a sharp and a long fight," said Hawkins. Boat-loads of men and
munitions were perpetually arriving to the English, and many, high-born
volunteers--like Cumberland, Oxford, Northumberland, Raleigh, Brooke,
Dudley, Willoughby, Noel, William Hatton, Thomas Cecil, and others--could
no longer restrain their impatience, as the roar of battle sounded along
the coasts of Dorset, but flocked merrily on board the ships of
Drake,--Hawkins, Howard, and Frobisher, or came in small vessels which
they had chartered for themselves, in order to have their share in the
delights of the long-expected struggle.

The action, irregular, desultory, but lively, continued nearly all day,
and until the English had fired away most of their powder and shot. The
Spaniards, too, notwithstanding their years of preparation, were already
sort of light metal, and Medina Sidonia had been daily sending to Parma
for a Supply of four, six, and ten pound balls. So much lead and
gunpowder had never before been wasted in a single day; for there was no
great damage inflicted on either side. The artillery-practice was
certainly not much to the credit of either nation.

"If her Majesty's ships had been manned with a full supply of good
gunners," said honest William Thomas, an old artilleryman, "it would have
been the woefullest time ever the Spaniard took in hand, and the most
noble victory ever heard of would have been her Majesty's. But our sins
were the cause that so much powder and shot were spent, so long time in
fight, and in comparison so little harm done. It were greatly to be
wished that her Majesty were no longer deceived in this way."

Yet the English, at any rate, had succeeded in displaying their
seamanship, if not their gunnery, to advantage. In vain the unwieldly
hulks and galleons had attempted to grapple with their light-winged foes,
who pelted them, braved them, damaged their sails and gearing; and then
danced lightly off into the distance; until at last, as night fell, the
wind came out from the west again, and the English regained and kept the

The Queen's fleet, now divided into four squadrons, under Howard, Drake,
Hawkins, and Frobisher, amounted to near one hundred sail, exclusive of
Lord Henry Seymour's division, which was cruising in the Straits of
Dover. But few of all this number were ships of war however, and the
merchant vessels; although zealous and active enough, were not thought
very effective. "If you had seen the simple service done by the merchants
and coast ships," said Winter, "you would have said we had been little
holpen by them, otherwise than that they did make a show."

All night the Spaniards, holding their course towards Calais, after the
long but indecisive conflict had terminated, were closely pursued by
their wary antagonists. On Wednesday, 3rd of August, there was some
slight cannonading, with but slender results; and on Thursday, the 4th,
both fleets were off Dunnose, on the Isle of Wight. The great hulk
Santana and a galleon of Portugal having been somewhat damaged the
previous day, were lagging behind the rest of the Armada, and were
vigorously attacked by the Triumph, and a few other vessels. Don Antonio
de Leyva, with some of the galeasses and large galleons, came to the
rescue, and Frobisher, although in much peril, maintained an unequal
conflict, within close range, with great spirit.

Seeing his danger, the Lord Admiral in the Ark-Royal, accompanied by the
Golden Lion; the White Bear, the Elizabeth, the Victory, and the
Leicester, bore boldly down into the very midst of the Spanish fleet, and
laid himself within three or four hundred yards of Medina's flag ship,
the St. Martin, while his comrades were at equally close quarters with
Vice-Admiral Recalde and the galleons of Oquendo, Mexia, and Almanza. It
was the hottest conflict which had yet taken place. Here at last was
thorough English work. The two, great fleets, which were there to
subjugate and to defend the realm of Elizabeth, were nearly yard-arm and
yard-arm together--all England on the lee. Broadside after broadside of
great guns, volley after volley of arquebusry from maintop and rigging,
were warmly exchanged, and much damage was inflicted on the Spaniards,
whose gigantic ships, were so easy a mark to aim at, while from their
turreted heights they themselves fired for the most part harmlessly over
the heads of their adversaries. The leaders of the Armada, however, were
encouraged, for they expected at last to come to even closer quarters,
and there were some among the English who were mad enough to wish to

But so soon as Frobisher, who was the hero of the day, had extricated
himself from his difficulty, the Lord-Admiral--having no intention of
risking the existence of his fleet, and with it perhaps of the English
crown, upon the hazard of a single battle, and having been himself
somewhat damaged in the fight--gave the signal for retreat, and caused
the Ark-Royal to be towed out of action. Thus the Spaniards were
frustrated of their hopes, and the English; having inflicted much.
punishment at comparatively small loss to themselves, again stood off to
windward; and the Armada continued its indolent course along the cliffs
of Freshwater and Blackgang.

On Friday; 5th August, the English, having received men and munitions
from shore, pursued their antagonists at a moderate distance; and the
Lord-Admiral; profiting by the pause--for, it was almost a flat
calm--sent for Martin Frobisher, John Hawkins, Roger Townsend, Lord
Thomas Howard, son of the Duke of Norfolk, and Lord Edmund Sheffield; and
on the deck of the Royal Ark conferred the honour of knighthood on each
for his gallantry in the action of the previous day. Medina Sidonia, on
his part, was again despatching messenger after messenger to the Duke of
Parma, asking for small shot, pilots, and forty fly-boats, with which to
pursue the teasing English clippers. The Catholic Armada, he said, being
so large and heavy, was quite in the power of its adversaries, who could
assault, retreat, fight, or leave off fighting, while he had nothing for
it but to proceed, as expeditiously as might be; to his rendezvous in
Calais roads.


     Inquisitors enough; but there were no light vessels in The Armada


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 58, 1588

   Both Fleets off Calais--A Night of Anxiety--Project of Howard and
   Winter--Impatience of the Spaniards--Fire-Ships sent against the
   Armada--A great Galeasse disabled--Attacked and captured by English
   Boats--General Engagement of both Fleets--Loss of several Spanish
   Ships--Armada flies, followed by the English--English insufficiently
   provided--Are obliged to relinquish the Chase--A great Storm
   disperses the Armada--Great Energy of Parma Made fruitless by
   Philip's Dulness--England readier at Sea than on Shore--The
   Lieutenant--General's Complaints--His Quarrels with Norris and
   Williams--Harsh Statements as to the English Troops--Want of
   Organization in England--Royal Parsimony and Delay--Quarrels of
   English Admirals--England's narrow Escape from great Peril--Various
   Rumours as to the Armada's Fate--Philip for a long Time in Doubt--He
   believes himself victorious--Is tranquil when undeceived.


And in Calais roads the great fleet--sailing slowly all next day in
company with the English, without a shot being fired on either side--at
last dropped anchor on Saturday afternoon, August 6th.

Here then the Invincible Armada had arrived at its appointed
resting-place. Here the great junction--of Medina Sidonia with the Duke
of Parma was to be effected; and now at last the curtain was to rise upon
the last act of the great drama so slowly and elaborately prepared.

That Saturday afternoon, Lord Henry Seymour and his squadron of sixteen
lay between Dungeness and Folkestone; waiting the approach of the two
fleets. He spoke several-coasting vessels coming from the west; but they
could give him no information--strange to say--either of the Spaniards
or, of his own countrymen,--Seymour; having hardly three days' provision
in his fleet, thought that there might be time to take in supplies; and
so bore into the Downs. Hardly had he been there half an hour; when a
pinnace arrived from the Lord-Admiral; with orders for Lord Henry's
squadron to hold itself in readiness. There was no longer time for
victualling, and very soon afterwards the order was given to make sail
and bear for the French coast. The wind was however so light; that the
whole day was spent before Seymour with his ships could cross the
channel. At last, towards seven in the evening; he saw the great Spanish
Armada, drawn up in a half-moon, and riding at anchor--the ships very
near each other--a little to the eastward of Calais, and very near the
shore. The English, under Howard Drake, Frobisher, and Hawkins, were
slowly following, and--so soon as Lord Henry, arriving from the opposite
shore; had made his junction with them--the whole combined fleet dropped
anchor likewise very near Calais, and within one mile and a half of the
Spaniards. That invincible force had at last almost reached its
destination. It was now to receive the cooperation of the great Farnese,
at the head of an army of veterans, disciplined on a hundred
battle-fields, confident from countless victories, and arrayed, as they
had been with ostentatious splendour, to follow the most brilliant
general in Christendom on his triumphal march into the capital of
England. The long-threatened invasion was no longer an idle figment of
politicians, maliciously spread abroad to poison men's minds as to the
intentions of a long-enduring but magnanimous, and on the whole friendly
sovereign. The mask had been at last thrown down, and the mild accents of
Philip's diplomatists and their English dupes, interchanging protocols so
decorously month after month on the sands of Bourbourg, had been drowned
by the peremptory voice of English and Spanish artillery, suddenly
breaking in upon their placid conferences. It had now become
supererogatory to ask for Alexander's word of honour whether he had, ever
heard of Cardinal Allan's pamphlet, or whether his master contemplated
hostilities against Queen Elizabeth.

Never, since England was England, had such a sight been seen as now
revealed itself in those narrow straits between Dover and Calais. Along
that long, low, sandy shore, and quite within the range of the Calais
fortifications, one hundred and thirty Spanish ships--the greater number
of them the largest and most heavily armed in the world lay face to face,
and scarcely out of cannon-shot, with one hundred and fifty English
sloops and frigates, the strongest and swiftest that the island could
furnish, and commanded by men whose exploits had rung through the world.

Farther along the coast, invisible, but known to be performing a post
perilous and vital service, was a squadron of Dutch vessels of all sizes,
lining both the inner and outer edges of the sandbanks off the Flemish
coasts, and swarming in all the estuaries and inlets of that intricate
and dangerous cruising-ground between Dunkerk and Walcheren. Those fleets
of Holland and Zeeland, numbering some one hundred and fifty galleons,
sloops, and fly-boats, under Warmond, Nassau, Van der Does, de Moor, and
Rosendael, lay patiently blockading every possible egress from Newport,
or Gravelines; or Sluys, or Flushing, or Dunkerk, and longing to grapple
with the Duke of Parma, so soon as his fleet of gunboats and hoys, packed
with his Spanish and Italian veterans, should venture to set forth upon
the sea for their long-prepared exploit.

It was a pompous spectacle, that midsummer night, upon those narrow seas.
The moon, which was at the full, was rising calmly upon a scene of
anxious expectation. Would she not be looking, by the morrow's night,
upon a subjugated England, a re-enslaved Holland--upon the downfall of
civil and religious liberty? Those ships of Spain, which lay there with
their banners waving in the moonlight, discharging salvoes of anticipated
triumph and filling the air with strains of insolent music; would they
not, by daybreak, be moving straight to their purpose, bearing the
conquerors of the world to the scene of their cherished hopes?

That English fleet, too, which rode there at anchor, so anxiously on the
watch--would that swarm of, nimble, lightly-handled, but slender
vessels,--which had held their own hitherto in hurried and desultory
skirmishes--be able to cope with their great antagonist now that the
moment had arrived for the death grapple? Would not Howard, Drake,
Frobisher, Seymour, Winter, and Hawkins, be swept out of the straits at
last, yielding an open passage to Medina, Oquendo, Recalde, and Farnese?
Would those Hollanders and Zeelanders, cruising so vigilantly among their
treacherous shallows, dare to maintain their post, now that the terrible
'Holofernese,' with his invincible legions, was resolved to come forth?

So soon as he had cast anchor, Howard despatched a pinnace to the
Vanguard, with a message to Winter to come on board the flag-ship. When
Sir William reached the Ark, it was already nine in the evening. He was
anxiously consulted by the Lord-Admiral as to the course now to be taken.
Hitherto the English had been teasing and perplexing an enemy, on the
retreat, as it were, by the nature of his instructions. Although anxious
to give battle, the Spaniard was forbidden to descend upon the coast
until after his junction with Parma. So the English had played a
comparatively easy game, hanging upon their enemy's skirts, maltreating
him as they doubled about him, cannonading him from a distance, and
slipping out of his reach at their pleasure. But he was now to be met
face to face, and the fate of the two free commonwealths of the world was
upon the issue of the struggle, which could no longer be deferred.

Winter, standing side by aide with the Lord-Admiral on the deck of the
little Ark-Royal, gazed for the first time on those enormous galleons and
galleys with which his companion, was already sufficiently familiar.

"Considering their hugeness," said he, "twill not be possible to remove
them but by a device."

Then remembering, in a lucky moment, something that he had heard four
years before of the fire ships sent by the Antwerpers against Parma's
bridge--the inventor of which, the Italian Gianibelli, was at that very
moment constructing fortifications on the Thames to assist the English
against his old enemy Farnese--Winter suggested that some stratagem of
the same kind should be attempted against the Invincible Armada. There
was no time nor opportunity to prepare such submarine volcanoes as had
been employed on that memorable occasion; but burning ships at least
might be sent among the fleet. Some damage would doubtless be thus
inflicted by the fire, and perhaps a panic, suggested by the memories of
Antwerp and by the knowledge that the famous Mantuan wizard was then a
resident of England, would be still more effective. In Winter's opinion,
the Armada might at least be compelled to slip its cables, and be thrown
into some confusion if the project were fairly carried out.

Howard approved of the device, and determined to hold, next morning, a
council of war for arranging the details of its execution.

While the two sat in the cabin, conversing thus earnestly, there had well
nigh been a serious misfortune. The ship, White Bear, of 1000 tons
burthen, and three others of the English fleet, all tangled together,
came drifting with the tide against the Ark. There were many yards
carried away; much tackle spoiled, and for a time there was great danger;
in the opinion of Winter, that some of the very best ships in the fleet
would be crippled and quite destroyed on the eve of a general engagement.
By alacrity and good handling, however, the ships were separated, and the
ill-consequences of an accident--such as had already proved fatal to
several Spanish vessels--were fortunately averted.

Next day, Sunday, 7th August, the two great fleets were still lying but a
mile and a half apart, calmly gazing at each other, and rising and
falling at their anchors as idly as if some vast summer regatta were the
only purpose of that great assemblage of shipping. Nothing as yet was
heard of Farnese. Thus far, at least, the Hollanders had held him at bay,
and there was still breathing-time before the catastrophe. So Howard hung
out his signal for council early in the morning, and very soon after
Drake and Hawkins, Seymour, Winter, and the rest, were gravely consulting
in his cabin.

It was decided that Winter's suggestion should be acted upon, and Sir
Henry Palmer was immediately despatched in a pinnace to Dover, to bring
off a number of old vessels fit to be fired, together with a supply of
light wood, tar, rosin, sulphur, and other combustibles, most adapted to
the purpose.' But as time wore away, it became obviously impossible for
Palmer to return that night, and it was determined to make the most of
what could be collected in the fleet itself. Otherwise it was to be
feared that the opportunity might be for ever lost. Parma, crushing all
opposition, might suddenly appear at any moment upon the channel; and the
whole Spanish Armada, placing itself between him and his enemies, would
engage the English and Dutch fleets, and cover his passage to Dover. It
would then be too late to think of the burning ships.

On the other hand, upon the decks of the Armada, there was an impatience
that night which increased every hour. The governor of Calais; M. de
Gourdon, had sent his nephew on board the flag-ship of Medina Sidonia,
with courteous salutations, professions of friendship, and bountiful
refreshments. There was no fear--now that Mucio was for the time in the
ascendency--that the schemes of Philip would be interfered with by
France. The governor, had, however, sent serious warning of--the
dangerous position in which the Armada had placed itself. He was quite
right. Calais roads were no safe anchorage for huge vessels like those of
Spain and Portugal; for the tides and cross-currents to which they were
exposed were most treacherous. It was calm enough at the moment, but a
westerly gale might, in a few hours, drive the whole fleet hopelessly
among the sand-banks of the dangerous Flemish coast. Moreover, the Duke,
although tolerably well furnished with charts and pilots for the English
coast, was comparatively unprovided against the dangers which might beset
him off Dunkerk, Newport, and Flushing. He had sent messengers, day after
day, to Farnese, begging for assistance of various kinds, but, above all,
imploring his instant presence on the field of action. It was the time
and, place for Alexander to assume the chief command. The Armada was
ready to make front against the English fleet on the left, while on the
right, the Duke, thus protected, might proceed across the channel and
take possession of England.

And the impatience of the soldiers and sailors on board the fleet was
equal to that of their commanders. There was London almost before their
eyes--a huge mass of treasure, richer and more accessible than those
mines beyond the Atlantic which had so often rewarded Spanish chivalry
with fabulous wealth. And there were men in those galleons who remembered
the sack of Antwerp, eleven years before--men who could tell, from
personal experience, how helpless was a great commercial city, when once
in the clutch of disciplined brigands--men who, in that dread 'fury of
Antwerp,' had enriched themselves in an hour with the accumulations of a
merchant's life-time, and who had slain fathers and mothers, sons and
daughters, brides and bridegrooms, before each others' eyes, until the
number of inhabitants butchered in the blazing streets rose to many
thousands; and the plunder from palaces and warehouses was counted by
millions; before the sun had set on the 'great fury.' Those Spaniards,
and Italians, and Walloons, were now thirsting for more gold, for more
blood; and as the capital of England was even more wealthy and far more
defenceless than the commercial metropolis of the Netherlands had been,
so it was resolved that the London 'fury' should be more thorough and
more productive than the 'fury' of Antwerp, at the memory--of which the
world still shuddered. And these professional soldiers had been taught to
consider the English as a pacific, delicate, effeminate race, dependent
on good living, without experience of war, quickly fatigued and
discouraged, and even more easily to be plundered and butchered than were
the excellent burghers of Antwerp.

And so these southern conquerors looked down from their great galleons
and galeasses upon the English vessels. More than three quarters of them
were merchantmen. There was no comparison whatever between the relative
strength of the fleets. In number they were about equal being each from
one hundred and thirty to one hundred and fifty strong--but the Spaniards
had twice the tonnage of the English, four times the artillery, and
nearly three times the number of men.

Where was Farnese? Most impatiently the Golden Duke paced the deck of the
Saint Martin. Most eagerly were thousands of eyes strained towards the
eastern horizon to catch the first glimpse of Parma's flotilla. But the
day wore on to its close, and still the same inexplicable and mysterious
silence prevailed. There was utter solitude on the waters in the
direction of Gravelines and Dunkerk--not a sail upon the sea in the
quarter where bustle and activity had been most expected. The mystery was
profound, for it had never entered the head of any man in the Armada that
Alexander could not come out when he chose.

And now to impatience succeeded suspicion and indignation; and there were
curses upon sluggishness and upon treachery. For in the horrible
atmosphere of duplicity, in which all Spaniards and Italians of that
epoch lived, every man: suspected his brother, and already Medina Sidonia
suspected Farnese of playing him false. There were whispers of collusion
between the Duke and the English commissioners at Bourbourg. There were
hints that Alexander was playing his own game, that he meant to divide
the sovereignty of the Netherlands with the heretic Elizabeth, to desert
his great trust, and to effect, if possible, the destruction of his
master's Armada, and the downfall of his master's sovereignty in the
north. Men told each other, too, of a vague rumour, concerning which
Alexander might have received information, and in which many believed,
that Medina Sidonia was the bearer of secret orders to throw Farnese into
bondage, so soon as he should appear, to send him a disgraced captive
back to Spain for punishment, and to place the baton of command in the
hand of the Duke of Pastrana, Philip's bastard by the Eboli. Thus, in the
absence of Alexander, all was suspense and suspicion. It seemed possible
that disaster instead of triumph was in store for them through the
treachery of the commander-in-chief. Four and twenty hours and more, they
had been lying in that dangerous roadstead, and although the weather had
been calm and the sea tranquil, there seemed something brooding in the

As the twilight deepened, the moon became totally obscured, dark
cloud-masses spread over the heavens, the sea grew black, distant thunder
rolled, and the sob of an approaching tempest became distinctly audible.
Such indications of a westerly gale, were not encouraging to those
cumbrous vessels, with the treacherous quicksands of Flanders under their

At an hour past midnight, it was so dark that it was difficult for the
most practiced eye to pierce far into the gloom. But a faint drip of oars
now struck the ears of the Spaniards as they watched from the decks. A
few moments afterwards the sea became, suddenly luminous, and six flaming
vessels appeared at a slight distance, bearing steadily down upon them
before the wind and tide.

There were men in the Armada who had been at the siege of Antwerp only
three years before. They remembered with horror the devil-ships of
Gianibelli, those floating volcanoes, which had seemed to rend earth and
ocean, whose explosion had laid so many thousands of soldiers dead at a
blow, and which had shattered the bridge and floating forts of Farnese,
as though they had been toys of glass. They knew, too, that the famous
engineer was at that moment in England.

In a moment one of those horrible panics, which spread with such
contagious rapidity among large bodies of men, seized upon the Spaniards.
There was a yell throughout the fleet--"the fire-ships of Antwerp, the
fire-ships of Antwerp!" and in an instant every cable was cut, and
frantic attempts were made by each galleon and galeasse to escape what
seemed imminent destruction. The confusion was beyond description. Four
or five of the largest ships became entangled with each other. Two others
were set on fire by the flaming--vessels, and were consumed. Medina
Sidonia, who had been warned, even, before his departure from Spain, that
some such artifice would probably be attempted, and who had even, early
that morning, sent out a party of sailors in a pinnace to search for
indications of the scheme, was not surprised or dismayed. He gave
orders--as well as might be that every ship, after the danger should be
passed, was to return to its post, and, await his further orders. But it
was useless, in that moment of unreasonable panic to issue commands. The
despised Mantuan, who had met with so many rebuffs at Philip's court, and
who--owing to official incredulity had been but partially successful in
his magnificent enterprise at Antwerp, had now; by the mere terror of his
name, inflicted more damage on Philip's Armada than had hitherto been
accomplished by Howard and Drake, Hawkins and Frobisher, combined.

So long as night and darkness lasted, the confusion and uproar continued.
When the Monday morning dawned, several of the Spanish vessels lay
disabled, while the rest of the fleet was seen at a distance of two
leagues from Calais, driving towards the Flemish coast. The threatened
gale had not yet begun to blow, but there were fresh squalls from the
W.S.W., which, to such awkward sailers as the Spanish vessels; were
difficult to contend with. On the other hand, the English fleet were all
astir; and ready to pursue the Spaniards, now rapidly drifting into the
North Sea. In the immediate neighbourhood of Calais, the flagship of the
squadron of galeasses, commanded by Don Hugo de Moncada, was discovered
using her foresail and oars, and endeavouring to enter the harbour. She
had been damaged by collision with the St. John of Sicily and other
ships, during the night's panic, and had her rudder quite torn away. She
was the largest and most splendid vessel in the Armada--the show-ship of
the fleet,--"the very glory and stay of the Spanish navy," and during the
previous two days she had been visited and admired by great numbers of
Frenchmen from the shore.

Lord Admiral Howard bore dawn upon her at once, but as she was already in
shallow water, and was rowing steadily towards the town, he saw that the
Ark could not follow with safety. So he sent his long-boat to cut her
out, manned with fifty or sixty volunteers, most of them "as valiant in
courage as gentle in birth"--as a partaker in the adventure declared. The
Margaret and Joan of London, also following in pursuit, ran herself
aground, but the master despatched his pinnace with a body of musketeers,
to aid in the capture of the galeasse.

That huge vessel failed to enter the harbour, and stuck fast upon the
bar. There was much dismay on board, but Don Hugo prepared resolutely to
defend himself. The quays of Calais and the line of the French shore were
lined with thousands of eager spectators, as the two boats-rowing
steadily toward a galeasse, which carried forty brass pieces of
artillery, and was manned with three hundred soldiers and four hundred
and fifty slaves--seemed rushing upon their own destruction. Of these
daring Englishmen, patricians and plebeians together, in two open
pinnaces, there were not more than one hundred in number, all told. They
soon laid themselves close to the Capitana, far below her lofty sides,
and called on Don Hugo to surrender. The answer was, a smile of derision
from the haughty Spaniard, as he looked down upon them from what seemed
an inaccessible height. Then one Wilton, coxswain of the Delight; of
Winter's squadron, clambered up to the enemy's deck and fell dead the
same instant. Then the English volunteers opened a volley upon the
Spaniards; "They seemed safely ensconced in their ships," said bold Dick
Tomson, of the Margaret and Joan, "while we in our open pinnaces, and far
under them, had nothing to shroud and cover us." Moreover the numbers
were, seven hundred and fifty to one hundred. But, the Spaniards, still
quite disconcerted by the events of the preceding night, seemed under a
spell. Otherwise it would have been an easy matter for the great galeasse
to annihilate such puny antagonists in a very short space of time.

The English pelted the Spaniards quite cheerfully, however, with arquebus
shot, whenever they showed themselves above the bulwarks, picked off a
considerable number, and sustained a rather severe loss themselves,
Lieutenant Preston of the Ark-Royal, among others, being dangerously
wounded.  "We had a pretty skirmish for half-an-hour," said Tomson. At
last Don Hugo de Moncada, furious at the inefficiency of his men, and
leading them forward in person, fell back on his deck with a bullet
through both eyes. The panic was instantaneous, for, meantime, several
other English boats--some with eight, ten; or twelve men on board--were
seen pulling--towards the galeasse; while the dismayed soldiers at once
leaped overboard on the land side, and attempted to escape by swimming
and wading to the shore. Some of them succeeded, but the greater number
were drowned. The few who remained--not more, than twenty in all--hoisted
two handkerchiefs upon two rapiers as a signal of truce. The English,
accepting it as a signal of defeat; scrambled with great difficulty up
the lofty sides of the Capitana, and, for an hour and a half, occupied
themselves most agreeably in plundering the ship and in liberating the

It was their intention, with the flood-tide, to get the vessel off, as
she was but slightly damaged, and of very great value. But a serious
obstacle arose to this arrangement. For presently a boat came along-side,
with young M. de Gourdon and another French captain, and hailed the
galeasse. There was nobody on board who could speak French but Richard
Tomson. So Richard returned the hail, and asked their business. They said
they came from the governor.

"And what is the--governor's pleasure?" asked Tomson, when they had come
up the side.

"The governor has stood and beheld your fight, and rejoiced in your
victory," was the reply; "and he says that for your prowess and manhood
you well deserve the pillage of the galeasse. He requires and commands
you, however, not to attempt carrying off either the ship or its
ordnance; for she lies a-ground under the battery of his castle, and
within his jurisdiction, and does of right appertain to him."

This seemed hard upon the hundred volunteers, who, in their two open
boats, had so manfully carried a ship of 1200 tons, 40 guns, and 750 men;
but Richard answered diplomatically.

"We thank M. de Gourdon," said he, "for granting the pillage to mariners
and soldiers who had fought for it, and we acknowledge that without his
good-will we cannot carry away anything we have got, for the ship lies on
ground directly under his batteries and bulwarks. Concerning the ship and
ordnance, we pray that he would send a pinnace to my Lord Admiral Howard,
who is here in person hard by, from whom he will have an honourable and
friendly answer, which we shall all-obey."

With this--the French officers, being apparently content, were about to
depart, and it is not impossible that the soft answer might have obtained
the galeasse and the ordnance, notwithstanding the arrangement which
Philip II. had made with his excellent friend Henry III. for aid and
comfort to Spanish vessels in French ports. Unluckily, however, the
inclination for plunder being rife that morning, some of the Englishmen
hustled their French visitors, plundered them of their rings and jewels,
as if they had been enemies, and then permitted them to depart. They
rowed off to the shore, vowing vengeance, and within a few minutes after
their return the battery of the fort was opened upon the English, and
they were compelled to make their escape as they could with the plunder
already secured, leaving the galeasse in the possession of M. de Gourdon.

This adventure being terminated, and the pinnaces having returned to the
fleet, the Lord-Admiral, who had been lying off and on, now bore away
with all his force in pursuit of the Spaniards. The Invincible Armada,
already sorely crippled, was standing N.N.E. directly before a fresh
topsail-breeze from the S.S.W.  The English came up with them soon after
nine o'clock A.M. off Gravelines, and found them sailing in a half-moon,
the admiral and vice-admiral in the centre, and the flanks protected by
the three remaining galeasses and by the great galleons of Portugal.

Seeing the enemy approaching, Medina Sidonia ordered his whole fleet to
luff to the wind, and prepare for action. The wind shifting a few points,
was now at W.N.W., so that the English had both the weather-gage and the
tide in their favour. A general combat began at about ten, and it was
soon obvious to the Spaniards that their adversaries were intending warm
work. Sir Francis Drake in the Revenge, followed by, Frobisher in the
Triumph, Hawkins in the Victory, and some smaller vessels, made the first
attack upon the Spanish flagships. Lord Henry in the Rainbow, Sir Henry
Palmer in the Antelope, and others, engaged with three of the largest
galleons of the Armada, while Sir William Winter in the Vanguard,
supported by most of his squadron, charged the starboard wing.

The portion of the fleet thus assaulted fell back into the main body.
Four of the ships ran foul of each other, and Winter, driving into their
centre, found himself within musket-shot of many of their most
formidable' ships.

"I tell you, on the credit of a poor gentleman," he said, "that there
were five hundred discharges of demi-cannon, culverin, and demi-culverin,
from the Vanguard; and when I was farthest off in firing my pieces, I was
not out of shot of their harquebus, and most time within speech, one of

The battle lasted six hours long, hot and furious; for now there was no
excuse for retreat on the part of the Spaniards, but, on the contrary, it
was the intention of the Captain-General to return to his station off
Calais, if it were within his power. Nevertheless the English still
partially maintained the tactics which had proved so successful, and
resolutely refused the fierce attempts of the Spaniards to lay themselves
along-side. Keeping within musket-range, the well-disciplined English
mariners poured broadside after broadside against the towering ships of
the Armada, which afforded so easy a mark; while the Spaniards, on their
part, found it impossible, while wasting incredible quantities of powder
and shot, to inflict any severe damage on their enemies. Throughout the
action, not an English ship was destroyed, and not a hundred men were
killed. On the other hand, all the best ships of the Spaniards were
riddled through and through, and with masts and yards shattered, sails
and rigging torn to shreds, and a north-went wind still drifting them
towards the fatal sand-batiks of Holland, they, laboured heavily in a
chopping sea, firing wildly, and receiving tremendous punishment at the
hands of Howard Drake, Seymour, Winter, and their followers. Not even
master-gunner Thomas could complain that day of "blind exercise" on the
part of the English, with "little harm done" to the enemy. There was
scarcely a ship in the Armada that did not suffer severely; for nearly
all were engaged in that memorable action off the sands of Gravelines.
The Captain-General himself, Admiral Recalde, Alonzo de Leyva, Oquendo,
Diego Flores de Valdez, Bertendona, Don Francisco de Toledo, Don Diego de
Pimentel, Telles Enriquez, Alonzo de Luzon, Garibay, with most of the
great galleons and galeasses, were in the thickest of the fight, and one
after the other each of those huge ships was disabled. Three sank before
the fight was over, many others were soon drifting helpless wrecks
towards a hostile shore, and, before five o'clock, in the afternoon, at
least sixteen of their best ships had been sacrificed, and from four to
five thousand soldiers killed.

   ["God hath mightily preserved her Majesty's forces with the least
   losses that ever hath been heard of, being within the compass of so
   great volleys of shot, both small and great. I verily believe there
   is not threescore men lost of her Majesty's forces." Captain J.
   Fenner to Walsingham, 4/14 Aug. 1588. (S. P. Office MS.)]

Nearly all the largest vessels of the Armada, therefore, having, been
disabled or damaged--according to a Spanish eye-witness--and all their
small shot exhausted, Medina Sidonia reluctantly gave orders to retreat.
The Captain-General was a bad sailor; but he was, a chivalrous Spaniard
of ancient Gothic blood, and he felt deep mortification at the plight of
his invincible fleet, together with undisguised: resentment against
Alexander Farnese, through whose treachery and incapacity, he considered.
the great Catholic cause to have been, so foully sacrificed. Crippled,
maltreated, and diminished in number, as were his ships; he would have
still faced, the enemy, but the winds and currents were fast driving him
on, a lee-shore, and the pilots, one and all, assured him that it would
be inevitable destruction to remain. After a slight and very ineffectual
attempt to rescue Don Diego de Pimentel in the St. Matthew--who refused
to leave his disabled ship--and Don Francisco de Toledo; whose great
galleon, the St. Philip, was fast driving, a helpless wreck, towards
Zeeland, the Armada bore away N.N.E. into the open sea, leaving those,
who could not follow, to their fate.

The St. Matthew, in a sinking condition, hailed a Dutch fisherman, who
was offered a gold chain to pilot her into Newport. But the fisherman,
being a patriot; steered her close to the Holland fleet, where she was
immediately assaulted by Admiral Van der Does, to whom, after a two
hours' bloody fight, she struck her flag. Don Diego, marshal of the camp
to the famous legion of Sicily, brother, of the Marquis of Tavera, nephew
of the Viceroy of Sicily, uncle to the Viceroy of Naples, and numbering
as many titles, dignities; and high affinities as could be expected of a
grandee of the first class, was taken, with his officers, to the Hague.
"I was the means," said Captain Borlase, "that the best sort were saved,
and the rest were cast overboard and slain at our entry. He, fought with
us two hours; and hurt divers of our men, but at, last yielded."

John Van der Does, his captor; presented the banner; of the Saint Matthew
to the great church of Leyden, where--such was its prodigious length--it
hung; from floor to ceiling without being entirely unrolled; and there
hung, from generation to generation; a worthy companion to the Spanish
flags which had been left behind when Valdez abandoned the siege of that
heroic city fifteen years before.

The galleon St. Philip, one of the four largest ships in the Armada,
dismasted and foundering; drifted towards Newport, where camp-marshal Don
Francisco de Toledo hoped in, vain for succour. La Motte made a feeble
attempt at rescue, but some vessels from the Holland fleet, being much
more active, seized the unfortunate galleon, and carried her into
Flushing. The captors found forty-eight brass cannon and other things of
value on board, but there were some casks of Ribadavia wine which was
more fatal to her enemies than those pieces of artillery had proved. For
while the rebels were refreshing themselves, after the fatigues of the
capture, with large draughts of that famous vintage, the St. Philip,
which had been bored through and through with English shot, and had been
rapidly filling with water, gave a sudden lurch, and went down in a
moment, carrying with her to the bottom three hundred of those convivial

A large Biscay galleon, too, of Recalde's squadron, much disabled in
action, and now, like many others, unable to follow the Armada, was
summoned by Captain Cross of the Hope, 48 guns, to surrender. Although
foundering, she resisted, and refused to strike her flag. One of her
officers attempted to haul down her colours, and was run through the body
by the captain, who, in his turn, was struck dead by a brother of the
officer thus slain. In the midst of this quarrel the ship went down with
all her crew.

Six hours and more, from ten till nearly five, the fight had lasted--a
most cruel battle, as the Spaniard declared. There were men in the Armada
who had served in the action of Lepanto, and who declared that famous
encounter to have been far surpassed in severity and spirit by this fight
off Gravelines. "Surely every man in our fleet did well," said Winter,
"and the slaughter the enemy received was great." Nor would the Spaniards
have escaped even worse punishment, had not, most unfortunately, the
penurious policy of the Queen's government rendered her ships useless at
last, even in this supreme moment. They never ceased cannonading the
discomfited enemy until the ammunition was exhausted. "When the
cartridges were all spent," said Winter, "and the munitions in some
vessels gone altogether, we ceased fighting, but followed the enemy, who
still kept away." And the enemy--although still numerous, and seeming
strong enough, if properly handled, to destroy the whole English
fleet--fled before them. There remained more than fifty Spanish vessels,
above six hundred tons in size, besides sixty hulks and other vessels of
less account; while in the whole English navy were but thirteen ships of
or above that burthen. "Their force is wonderful great and strong," said
Howard, "but we pluck their feathers by little and little."

For Medina Sidonia had now satisfied himself that he should never succeed
in boarding those hard-fighting and swift-sailing craft, while, meantime,
the horrible panic of Sunday night and the succession of fights
throughout the following day, had completely disorganized his followers.
Crippled, riddled, shorn, but still numerous, and by no means entirely
vanquished, the Armada was flying with a gentle breeze before an enemy
who, to save his existence; could not have fired a broadside.

"Though our powder and shot was well nigh spent," said the Lord-Admiral,
"we put on a brag countenance and gave them chase, as though we had
wanted nothing." And the brag countenance was successful, for that "one
day's service had much appalled the enemy" as Drake observed; and still
the Spaniards fled with a freshening gale all through the Monday night.
"A thing greatly to be regarded," said Fenner, of the Nonpariel, "is that
that the Almighty had stricken them with a wonderful fear. I have hardly,
seen any of their companies succoured of the extremities which befell
them after their fights, but they have been left, at utter ruin, while
they bear as much sail as ever they possibly can."

On Tuesday morning, 9th August, the English ships were off the isle of
Walcheren, at a safe distance from the shore. "The wind is hanging
westerly," said Richard Tomson, of the Margaret and Joan, "and we drive
our enemies apace, much marvelling in what port they will direct
themselves. Those that are left alive are so weak and heartless that they
could be well content to lose all charges and to be at home, both rich
and poor."

"In my conscience," said Sir William Winter, "I think the Duke would
give his dukedom to be in Spain again."

The English ships, one-hundred and four in number, being that morning
half-a-league to windward, the Duke gave orders for the whole Armada to
lay to and, await their approach. But the English had no disposition to
engage, for at, that moment the instantaneous destruction of their
enemies seemed inevitable. Ill-managed, panic-struck, staggering before
their foes, the Spanish fleet was now close upon the fatal sands of
Zeeland. Already there were but six and a-half fathoms of water, rapidly
shoaling under their keels, and the pilots told Medina that all were
irretrievably lost, for the freshening north-welter was driving them
steadily upon the banks. The English, easily escaping the danger, hauled
their wind, and paused to see the ruin of the proud Armada accomplished
before their eyes. Nothing but a change of wind at the instant could save
them from perdition. There was a breathless shudder of suspense, and then
there came the change. Just as the foremost ships were about to ground on
the Ooster Zand, the wind suddenly veered to the south-west, and the
Spanish ships quickly squaring their sails to the new impulse, stood out
once more into the open sea.

All that day the galleons and galeasses, under all the canvas which they
dared to spread, continued their flight before the south-westerly breeze,
and still the Lord-Admiral, maintaining the brag countenance, followed,
at an easy distance, the retreating foe. At 4 p. m., Howard fired a
signal gun, and ran up a flag of council. Winter could not go, for he had
been wounded in action, but Seymour and Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher, and
the rest were present, and it was decided that Lord Henry should return,
accompanied by Winter and the rest of the inner, squadron, to guard the
Thames mouth against any attempt of the Duke of Parma, while the Lord
Admiral and the rest of the navy should continue the pursuit of the

Very wroth was Lord Henry at being deprived of his share in the chase.
"The Lord-Admiral was altogether desirous to have me strengthen him,"
said he, "and having done so to the utmost of my good-will and the
venture of my life, and to the distressing of the Spaniards, which was
thoroughly done on the Monday last, I now find his Lordship jealous and
loath to take part of the honour which is to come. So he has used his
authority to command me to look to our English coast, threatened by the
Duke of Parma. I pray God my Lord Admiral do not find the lack of the
Rainbow and her companions, for I protest before God I vowed I would be
as near or nearer with my little ship to encounter our enemies as any of
the greatest ships in both armies."

There was no insubordination, however, and Seymour's squadron; at
twilight of Tuesday evening, August 9th--according to orders, so that the
enemy might not see their departure--bore away for Margate. But although
Winter and Seymour were much disappointed at their enforced return, there
was less enthusiasm among the sailors of the fleet. Pursuing the
Spaniards without powder or fire, and without beef and bread to eat, was
not thought amusing by the English crews. Howard had not three days'
supply of food in his lockers, and Seymour and his squadron had not food
for one day. Accordingly, when Seymour and Winter took their departure,
"they had much ado," so Winter said; "with the staying of many ships that
would have returned with them, besides their own company." Had the
Spaniards; instead of being panic-struck, but turned on their pursuers,
what might have been the result of a conflict with starving and unarmed

Howard, Drake, and Frobisher, with the rest of the fleet, followed the
Armada through the North Sea from Tuesday night (9th August) till Friday
(the 12th), and still, the strong southwester swept the Spaniards before
them, uncertain whether to seek refuge, food, water, and room to repair
damages, in the realms of the treacherous King of Scots, or on the
iron-bound coasts of Norway. Medina Sidonia had however quite abandoned
his intention of returning to England, and was only anxious for a safe
return: to Spain. So much did he dread that northern passage; unpiloted,
around the grim Hebrides, that he would probably have surrendered, had
the English overtaken him and once more offered battle. He was on the
point of hanging out a white flag as they approached him for the last
time--but yielded to the expostulations of the ecclesiastics on board the
Saint Martin, who thought, no doubt, that they had more to fear from
England than from the sea, should they be carried captive to that
country, and who persuaded him that it would be a sin and a disgrace to
surrender before they had been once more attacked.

On the other hand, the Devonshire skipper, Vice-Admiral Drake, now
thoroughly in his element, could not restrain his hilarity, as he saw the
Invincible Armada of the man whose beard he had so often singed, rolling
through the German Ocean, in full flight from the country which was to
have been made, that week, a Spanish province. Unprovided as were his
ships, he was for risking another battle, and it is quite possible that
the brag countenance might have proved even more successful than Howard

"We have the army of Spain before us," wrote Drake, from the Revenge,
"and hope with the grace of God to wrestle a pull with him. There never
was any thing pleased me better than seeing the enemy flying with a
southerly wind to the northward. God grant you have a good eye to the
Duke of Parma, for with the grace of God, if we live, I doubt not so to
handle the matter with the Duke of Sidonia as he shall wish himself at
St. Mary's Port among his orange trees."

But Howard decided to wrestle no further pull. Having followed the
Spaniards till Friday, 12th of August, as far as the latitude of 56d. 17'
the Lord Admiral called a council. It was then decided, in order to save
English lives and ships, to put into the Firth of Forth for water and
provisions, leaving two "pinnaces to dog, the fleet until it should be
past the Isles of Scotland." But the next day, as the wind shifted to the
north-west, another council decided to take advantage of the change, and
bear away for the North Foreland, in order to obtain a supply of powder,
shot, and provisions.

Up to this period, the weather, though occasionally threatening, had been
moderate. During the week which succeeded the eventful night off. Calais,
neither the 'Armada nor the English ships had been much impeded in their
manoeuvres by storms of heavy seas. But on the following Sunday, 14th of
August, there was a change. The wind shifted again to the south-west,
and, during the whole of that day and the Monday, blew a tremendous gale.
"'Twas a more violent storm," said Howard, "than was ever seen before at
this time of the year." The retreating English fleet was, scattered, many
ships were in peril, "among the ill-favoured sands off Norfolk," but
within four or five days all arrived safely in Margate roads.

Far different was the fate of the Spaniards. Over their Invincible
Armada, last seen by the departing English midway between the coasts of
Scotland and Denmark, the blackness of night seemed suddenly to descend.
A mystery hung for a long time over their fate. Damaged, leaking, without
pilots, without a competent commander, the great fleet entered that
furious storm, and was whirled along the iron crags of Norway and between
the savage rocks of Faroe and the Hebrides. In those regions of tempest
the insulted North wreaked its full vengeance on the insolent Spaniards.
Disaster after disaster marked their perilous track; gale after gale
swept them hither and thither, tossing them on sandbanks or shattering
them against granite cliffs. The coasts of Norway, Scotland, Ireland,
were strewn with the wrecks of that pompous fleet, which claimed the
dominion of the seas with the bones of those invincible legions which
were to have sacked London and made England a Spanish vice-royalty.

Through the remainder of the month of August there, was a succession of
storms. On the 2nd September a fierce southwester drove Admiral Oquendo
in his galleon, together with one of the great galeasses, two large
Venetian ships, the Ratty and the Balauzara, and thirty-six other
vessels, upon the Irish coast, where nearly every soul on board perished,
while the few who escaped to the shore--notwithstanding their religious
affinity with the inhabitants--were either butchered in cold blood, or
sent coupled in halters from village to village, in order to be shipped
to England. A few ships were driven on the English coast; others went
ashore near Rochelle.

Of the four galeasses and four galleys, one of each returned to Spain. Of
the ninety-one great galleons and hulks, fifty-eight were lost and
thirty-three returned. Of the tenders and zabras, seventeen were lost.
and eighteen returned. Of one hundred and, thirty-four vessels, which
sailed from Corona in July, but fifty-three, great and small, made their
escape to Spain, and these were so damaged as to be, utterly worthless.
The invincible Armada had not only been vanquished but annihilated.

Of the 30,000 men who sailed in the fleet; it is probable that not more
than 10,000 ever saw their native land again. Most of the leaders of the
expedition lost their lives. Medina Sidonia reached Santander in October,
and, as Philip for a moment believed, "with the greater part of the
Armada," although the King soon discovered his mistake. Recalde, Diego
Flores de Valdez, Oquendo, Maldonado, Bobadilla, Manriquez, either
perished at sea, or died of exhaustion immediately after their return.
Pedro de Valdez, Vasco de Silva, Alonzo de Sayas, Piemontel, Toledo, with
many other nobles, were prisoners in England and Holland. There was
hardly a distinguished family in Spain not placed in mourning, so that,
to relieve the universal gloom, an edict was published, forbidding the
wearing of mourning at all. On the other hand, a merchant of Lisbon, not
yet reconciled to the Spanish conquest of his country, permitted himself
some tokens of hilarity at the defeat of the Armada, and was immediately
hanged by express command of Philip. Thus--as men said--one could neither
cry nor laugh within the Spanish dominions.

This was the result of the invasion, so many years preparing, and at an
expense almost incalculable. In the year 1588 alone, the cost of Philip's
armaments for the subjugation of England could not have been less than
six millions of ducats, and there was at least as large a sum on board
the Armada itself, although the Pope refused to pay his promised million.
And with all this outlay, and with the sacrifice of so many thousand
lives, nothing had been accomplished, and Spain, in a moment, instead of
seeming terrible to all the world, had become ridiculous.

"Beaten and shuffled together from the Lizard to Calais, from Calais
driven with squibs from their anchors, and chased out of sight of England
about Scotland and Ireland," as the Devonshire skipper expressed himself,
it must be confessed that the Spaniards presented a sorry sight. "Their
invincible and dreadful navy," said Drake, "with all its great and
terrible ostentation, did not in all their sailing about England so much
as sink or take one ship, bark, pinnace, or cock-boat of ours, or even
burn so much as one sheep-tote on this land."

Meanwhile Farnese sat chafing under the unjust reproaches heaped upon
him, as if he, and not his master, had been responsible for the gigantic
blunders of the invasion.

"As for the Prince of Parma," said Drake, "I take him to be as a bear
robbed of her whelps." The Admiral was quite right. Alexander was beside
himself with rage. Day after day, he had been repeating to Medina Sidonia
and to Philip that his flotilla and transports could scarcely live in any
but the smoothest sea, while the supposition that they could serve a
warlike purpose he pronounced absolutely ludicrous. He had always
counselled the seizing of a place like Flushing, as a basis of operations
against England, but had been overruled; and he had at least reckoned
upon the Invincible Armada to clear the way for him, before he should be
expected to take the sea.

With prodigious energy and at great expense he had constructed or
improved internal water-communications from Ghent to Sluy's, Newport, and
Dunkerk. He had, thus transported all his hoys, barges, and munitions for
the invasion, from all points of the obedient Netherlands to the
sea-coast, without coming within reach of the Hollanders and Zeelanders,
who were keeping close watch on the outside. But those Hollanders and
Zeelanders, guarding every outlet to the ocean, occupying every hole and
cranny of the coast, laughed the invaders of England to scorn, braving
them, jeering them, daring them to come forth, while the Walloons and
Spaniards shrank before such amphibious assailants, to whom a combat on
the water was as natural as upon dry land. Alexander, upon one occasion,
transported with rage, selected a band of one thousand musketeers, partly
Spanish, partly Irish, and ordered an assault upon those insolent
boatmen. With his own hand--so it was related--he struck dead more than
one of his own officers who remonstrated against these commands; and then
the attack was made by his thousand musketeers upon the Hollanders, and
every man of the thousand was slain.

He had been reproached for not being ready, for not having embarked his
men; but he had been ready for a month, and his men could be embarked in
a single day. "But it was impossible," he said, "to keep them long packed
up on board vessels, so small that there was no room to turn about in the
people would sicken, would rot, would die." So soon as he had received
information of the arrival of the fleet before Calais--which was on the
8th August--he had proceeded the same night to Newport and embarked
16,000 men, and before dawn he was at Dunkerk, where the troops stationed
in that port were as rapidly placed on board the transports. Sir William
Stanley, with his 700 Irish kernes, were among the first shipped for the
enterprise. Two-days long these regiments lay heaped together, like
sacks of corn, in the boats--as one of their officers described it--and
they lay cheerfully hoping that the Dutch fleet would be swept out of the
sea by the Invincible Armada, and patiently expecting the signal for
setting sail to England. Then came the Prince of Ascoli, who had gone
ashore from the Spanish fleet at Calais, accompanied by serjeant-major
Gallinato and other messengers from Medina Sidonia, bringing the news of
the fire-ships and the dispersion and flight of the Armada.

"God knows," said Alexander, "the distress in which this event has
plunged me, at the very moment when I expected to be sending your Majesty
my congratulations on the success of the great undertaking. But these are
the works of the Lord, who can recompense your Majesty by giving you many
victories, and the fulfilment of your Majesty's desires, when He thinks
the proper time arrived. Meantime let Him be praised for all, and let
your Majesty take great care of your health, which is the most important
thing of all."

Evidently the Lord did not think the proper time yet arrived for
fulfilling his Majesty's desires for the subjugation of England, and
meanwhile the King might find what comfort he could in pious commonplaces
and in attention to his health.

But it is very certain that, of all the high parties concerned, Alexander
Farnese was the least reprehensible for the over-throw of Philips hopes.
No man could have been more judicious--as it has been sufficiently made
evident in the course of this narrative--in arranging all the details of
the great enterprise, in pointing out all the obstacles, in providing for
all emergencies. No man could have been more minutely faithful to his
master, more treacherous to all the world beside. Energetic, inventive,
patient, courageous; and stupendously false, he had covered Flanders with
canals and bridges, had constructed flotillas, and equipped a splendid
army, as thoroughly as he had puzzled Comptroller Croft. And not only had
that diplomatist and his wiser colleagues been hoodwinked, but Elizabeth
and Burghley, and, for a moment, even Walsingham, were in the dark,
while Henry III. had been his passive victim, and the magnificent Balafre
a blind instrument in his hands. Nothing could equal Alexander's
fidelity, but his perfidy. Nothing could surpass his ability to command
but his obedience. And it is very possible that had Philip followed his
nephew's large designs, instead of imposing upon him his own most puerile
schemes; the result far England, Holland, and, all Christendom might have
been very different from the actual one. The blunder against which
Farnese had in vain warned his master, was the stolid ignorance in which
the King and all his counsellors chose to remain of the Holland and
Zeeland fleet. For them Warmond and Nassau, and Van der Does and Joost de
Moor; did not exist, and it was precisely these gallant sailors, with
their intrepid crews, who held the key to the whole situation.

To the Queen's glorious naval-commanders, to the dauntless mariners of
England, with their well-handled vessels; their admirable seamanship,
their tact and their courage, belonged the joys of the contest, the
triumph, and the glorious pursuit; but to the patient Hollanders and
Zeelanders, who, with their hundred vessels held Farneae, the chief of
the great enterprise, at bay, a close prisoner with his whole army in his
own ports, daring him to the issue, and ready--to the last plank of their
fleet and to the last drop of their blood--to confront both him and the
Duke of Medina Sidona, an equal share of honour is due. The safety of the
two free commonwealths of the world in that terrible contest was achieved
by the people and the mariners of the two states combined.

Great was the enthusiasm certainly of the English people as the
volunteers marched through London to the place of rendezvous, and
tremendous were the cheers when the brave Queen rode on horseback along
the lines of Tilbury. Glowing pictures are revealed to us of merry little
England, arising in its strength, and dancing forth to encounter the
Spaniards, as if to a great holiday. "It was a pleasant sight," says that
enthusiastic merchant-tailor John Stowe, "to behold the cheerful
countenances, courageous words, and gestures, of the soldiers, as they
marched to Tilbury, dancing, leaping wherever they came, as joyful at the
news of the foe's approach as if lusty giants were to run a race. And
Bellona-like did the Queen infuse a second spirit of loyalty, love, and
resolution, into every soldier of her army, who, ravished with their
sovereign's sight, prayed heartily that the Spaniards might land quickly,
and when they heard they were fled, began to lament."

But if the Spaniards had not fled, if there had been no English navy in
the Channel, no squibs at Calais, no Dutchmen off Dunkerk, there might
have been a different picture to paint. No man who has, studied the
history of those times, can doubt the universal and enthusiastic
determination of the English nation to repel the invaders. Catholics and
Protestants felt alike on the great subject. Philip did not flatter,
himself with assistance from any English Papists, save exiles and
renegades like Westmoreland, Paget, Throgmorton, Morgan, Stanley, and the
rest. The bulk of the Catholics, who may have constituted half the
population of England, although malcontent, were not rebellious; and
notwithstanding the precautionary measures taken by government against
them, Elizabeth proudly acknowledged their loyalty.

But loyalty, courage, and enthusiasm, might not have sufficed to supply
the want of numbers and discipline. According to the generally accepted
statement of contemporary chroniclers, there were some 75,000 men under
arms: 20,000 along the southern coast, 23,000 under Leicester, and 33,000
under Lord Chamberlain Hunsdon, for the special defence of the Queen's

But it would have been very difficult, in the moment of danger, to bring
anything like these numbers into the field. A drilled and disciplined
army--whether of regulars or of militia-men--had no existence whatever.
If the merchant vessels, which had been joined to the royal fleet, were
thought by old naval commanders to be only good to make a show, the
volunteers on land were likely to be even less effective than the marine
militia, so much more accustomed than they to hard work. Magnificent was
the spirit of the great feudal lords as they rallied round their Queen.
The Earl of Pembroke offered to serve at the head of three hundred horse
and five hundred footmen, armed at his own cost, and all ready to "hazard
the blood of their hearts" in defence of her person. "Accept hereof most
excellent sovereign," said the Earl, "from a person desirous to live no
longer than he may see your Highness enjoy your blessed estate, maugre
the beards of all confederated leaguers."

The Earl of Shrewsbury, too, was ready to serve at the head of his
retainers, to the last drop of his blood. "Though I be old," he said,
"yet shall your quarrel make me young again. Though lame in body, yet
lusty in heart to lend your greatest enemy one blow, and to stand near
your defence, every way wherein your Highness shall employ me."

But there was perhaps too much of this feudal spirit. The
lieutenant-general complained bitterly that there was a most mischievous
tendency among all the militia-men to escape from the Queen's colours, in
order to enrol themselves as retainers to the great lords. This spirit
was not favourable to efficient organization of a national army. Even,
had the commander-in-chief been a man, of genius and experience it would
have been difficult for him, under such circumstances, to resist a
splendid army, once landed, and led by Alexander Farnese, but even
Leicester's most determined flatterers hardly ventured to compare him
in-military ability with that first general of his age. The best soldier
in England was un-questionably Sir John Norris, and Sir John was now
marshal of the camp to Leicester. The ancient quarrel between the two had
been smoothed over, and--as might be expected--the Earl hated Norris more
bitterly than before, and was perpetually vituperating him, as he had
often done in the Netherlands. Roger William, too, was entrusted with the
important duties of master of the horse, under the lieutenant-general,
and Leicester continued to bear the grudge towards that honest Welshman,
which had begun in Holland. These were not promising conditions in a
camp, when an invading army was every day expected; nor was the
completeness or readiness of the forces sufficient to render harmless the
quarrels of the commanders.

The Armada had arrived in Calais roads on Saturday afternoon; the 6th
August. If it had been joined on that day, or the next--as Philip and
Medina Sidonia fully expected--by the Duke of Parma's flotilla, the
invasion would have been made at once. If a Spanish army had ever landed
in England at all, that event would have occurred on the 7th August. The
weather was not unfavourable; the sea was smooth, and the circumstances
under which the catastrophe of the great drama was that night
accomplished, were a profound mystery to every soul in England. For aught
that Leicester, or Burghley, or Queen Elizabeth, knew at the time, the
army of Farnese might, on Monday, have been marching upon London. Now, on
that Monday morning, the army of Lord Hunsdon was not assembled at all,
and Leicester with but four thousand men, under his command, was just
commencing his camp at Tilbury. The "Bellona-like" appearance of the
Queen on her white palfrey,--with truncheon in hand, addressing her
troops, in that magnificent burst of eloquence which has so often been
repeated, was not till eleven days afterwards; not till the great Armada,
shattered and tempest-tossed, had been, a week long, dashing itself
against the cliffs of Norway and the Faroes, on, its forlorn retreat to

Leicester, courageous, self-confident, and sanguine as ever; could not
restrain his indignation at the parsimony with which his own impatient
spirit had to contend. "Be you assured," said he, on the 3rd August, when
the Armada was off the Isle of Wight, "if the Spanish fleet arrive safely
in the narrow seas, the Duke of Parma will join presently with all his
forces, and lose no time in invading this realm. Therefore I beseech you,
my good Lords, let no man, by hope or other abuse; prevent your speedy
providing defence against, this mighty enemy now knocking at our gate."

For even at this supreme moment doubts were entertained at court as to
the intentions of the Spaniards:

Next day he informed Walsingham that his four thousand men had arrived.
"They be as forward men and willing to meet the enemy as I ever saw,"
said he. He could not say as much in, praise of the commissariat: "Some
want the captains showed," he observed, "for these men arrived without
one meal of victuals so that on their-arrival, they had not one barrel of
beer nor loaf of bread--enough after twenty miles' march to have
discouraged them, and brought them to mutiny. I see many causes to
increase my former opinion of the dilatory wants you shall find upon all
sudden hurley burleys. In no former time was ever so great a cause, and
albeit her Majesty hath appointed an army to resist her enemies if they
land, yet how hard a matter it will be to gather men together, I find it
now. If it will be five days to gather these countrymen, judge what it
will be to look in short space for those that dwell forty, fifty, sixty
miles off."

He had immense difficulty in feeding even this slender force. "I made
proclamation," said he, "two days ago, in all market towns, that
victuallers should come to the camp and receive money for their
provisions, but there is not one victualler come in to this hour. I have
sent to all the justices of peace about it from place to place. I speak
it that timely consideration be had of these things, and that they be not
deferred till the worst come. Let her Majesty not defer the time, upon
any supposed hope, to assemble a convenient force of horse and foot about
her. Her Majesty cannot be strong enough too soon, and if her navy had
not been strong and abroad as it is, what care had herself and her whole
realm been in by this time! And what care she will be in if her forces be
not only assembled, but an army presently dressed to withstand the mighty
enemy that is to approach her gates."

"God doth know, I speak it not to bring her to charges. I would she had
less cause to spend than ever she had, and her coffers fuller than ever
they were; but I will prefer her life and safety, and the defence of the
realm, before all sparing of charges in the present danger."

Thus, on the 5th August, no army had been assembled--not even the
body-guard of the Queen--and Leicester, with four thousand men,
unprovided with a barrel of beer or a loaf of bread, was about commencing
his entrenched camp at Tilbury. On the 6th August the Armada was in
Calais roads, expecting Alexander Farnese to lead his troops upon London!

Norris and Williams, on the news of Medina Sidonia's approach, had rushed
to Dover, much to the indignation of Leicester, just as the Earl was
beginning his entrenchments at Tilbury. "I assure you I am angry with Sir
John Norris and Sir Roger Williams," he said. "I am here cook, caterer,
and huntsman. I am left with no one to supply Sir John's place as
marshal, but, for a day or two, am willing to work the harder myself. I
ordered them both to return this day early, which they faithfully
promised. Yet, on arriving this morning, I hear nothing of either, and
have nobody to marshal the camp either for horse or foot. This manner of
dealing doth much mislike me in them both. I am ill-used. 'Tis now four
o'clock, but here's not one of them. If they come not this night, I
assure you I will not receive them into office, nor bear such loose
careless dealing at their hands. If you saw how weakly I am assisted you
would be sorry to think that we here, should be the front against the
enemy that is so mighty, if he should land here. And seeing her Majesty
hath appointed me her lieutenant-general, I look that respect be used
towards me, such as is due to my place."

Thus the ancient grudge--between Leicester and the Earl of Sussex's son
was ever breaking forth, and was not likely to prove beneficial at this
eventful season.

Next day the Welshman arrived, and Sir John promised to come back in the
evening. Sir Roger brought word from the coast that Lord Henry Seymour's
fleet was in want both of men and powder. "Good Lord!" exclaimed
Leicester, "how is this come to pass, that both he and, my Lord-Admiral
are so weakened of men. I hear they be running away. I beseech you,
assemble your forces, and play not away this kingdom by delays. Hasten
our horsemen hither and footmen: . . . . If the Spanish fleet come to the
narrow seas the Prince of Parma will play another part than is looked

As the Armada approached Calais, Leicester was informed that the soldiers
at Dover began to leave the coast. It seemed that they were dissatisfied
with the penuriousness of the government. "Our soldiers do break away at
Dover, or are not pleased. I assure you, without wages, the people will
not tarry, and contributions go hard with them. Surely I find that her
Majesty must needs deal liberally, and be at charges to entertain her
subjects that have chargeably, and liberally used, themselves to serve
her." The lieutenant-general even thought it might be necessary for him
to proceed to Dover in person, in order to remonstrate with these
discontented troops; for it was possible that those ill-paid,
undisciplined, and very meagre forces, would find much difficulty in
opposing Alexander's march, to London, if he should once succeed in
landing. Leicester had a very indifferent opinion too of the train-bands
of the metropolis. "For your Londoners," he said, "I see their service
will be little, except they have their own captains, and having them, I
look for none at all by them, when we shall meet the enemy." This was not
complimentary, certainly, to the training of the famous Artillery Garden,
and furnished a still stronger motive for defending the road over which
the capital was to be approached. But there was much jealousy, both among
citizens and nobles, of any authority entrusted to professional soldiers.
"I know what burghers be, well enough," said the Earl, "as brave and
well-entertained as ever the Londoners were. If they should go forth from
the city they should have good leaders. You know the imperfections of the
time, how few-leaders you have, and the gentlemen of the counties are
very loth to have any captains placed with them. So that the beating out
of our best captains is like to be cause of great danger."

Sir John Smith, a soldier of experience, employed to drill and organize
some of the levies, expressed still more disparaging opinions than those
of Leicester concerning the probable efficiency in the field of these
English armies. The Earl was very angry with the knight, however, and
considered, him incompetent, insolent, and ridiculous. Sir John seemed,
indeed, more disposed to keep himself out of harm's way, than to render
service to the Queen by leading awkward recruits against Alexander
Farnese. He thought it better to nurse himself.

"You would laugh to see how Sir John Smith has dealt since my coming,"
said Leicester. "He came to me, and told me that his disease so grew upon
him as he must needs go to the baths. I told him I would not be against
his health, but he saw what the time was, and what pains he had taken
with his countrymen, and that I had provided a good place for him. Next
day he came again, saying little to my offer then, and seemed desirous,
for his health, to be gone. I told him what place I did appoint, which
was a regiment of a great part of his countrymen. He said his health was
dear to him, and he desired to take leave of me, which I yielded unto.
Yesterday, being our muster-day, he came again to me to dinner; but such
foolish and vain-glorious paradoxes he burst withal, without any cause
offered, as made all that knew anything smile and answer little, but in
sort rather to satisfy men present than to argue with him."

And the knight went that day to review Leicester's choice troops--the
four thousand men of Essex--but was not much more deeply impressed with
their proficiency than he had been with that of his own regiment. He
became very censorious.

"After the muster," said the lieutenant-general, "he entered again into
such strange cries for ordering of men, and for the fight with the
weapon, as made me think he was not well. God forbid he should have
charge of men that knoweth so little, as I dare pronounce that he doth."

Yet the critical knight was a professional--campaigner, whose opinions
were entitled to respect; and the more so, it would seem, because they
did not materially vary from those which Leicester himself was in the
habit of expressing. And these interior scenes of discord, tumult,
parsimony, want of organization, and unsatisfactory mustering of troops,
were occurring on the very Saturday and Sunday when the Armada lay in
sight of Dover cliffs, and when the approach of the Spaniards on the
Dover road might at any moment be expected.

Leicester's jealous and overbearing temper itself was also proving a
formidable obstacle to a wholesome system of defence. He was already
displeased with the amount of authority entrusted to Lord Hunsdon,
disposed to think his own rights invaded; and desirous that the Lord
Chamberlain should accept office under himself. He wished saving clauses
as to his own authority inserted in Hunsdon's patent. "Either it must be
so, or I shall have wrong," said he, "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 commanders."

Looking at these pictures of commander-in-chief, officers, and rank and
file--as painted by themselves--we feel an inexpressible satisfaction
that in this great crisis of England's destiny, there were such men as
Howard, Drake, Frobisher, Hawkins, Seymour, Winter, Fenner, and their
gallant brethren, cruising that week in the Channel, and that Nassau and
Warmond; De Moor and Van der Does, were blockading the Flemish coast.

There was but little preparation to resist the enemy once landed. There
were no fortresses, no regular army, no population trained to any weapon.
There were patriotism, loyalty, courage, and enthusiasm, in abundance;
but the commander-in-chief was a queen's favourite, odious to the people,
with very moderate abilities, and eternally quarrelling with officers
more competent than himself; and all the arrangements were so hopelessly
behind-hand, that although great disasters might have been avenged, they
could scarcely have been avoided.

Remembering that the Invincible Armada was lying in Calais roads on the
6th of August, hoping to cross to Dover the next morning, let us ponder
the words addressed on that very day to Queen Elizabeth by the
Lieutenant-General of England.

"My most dear and gracious Lady," said the Earl, "it is most true that
those enemies that approach your kingdom and person are your undeserved
foes, and being so, and hating you for a righteous cause, there is the
less fear to be had of their malice or their forces; for there is a most
just God that beholdeth the innocence of that heart. The cause you are
assailed for is His and His Church's, and He never failed any that
faithfully do put their chief trust in His goodness. He hath, to comfort
you withal, given you great and mighty means to defend yourself, which
means I doubt not but your Majesty will timely and princely use them, and
your good God that ruleth all will assist you and bless you with

He then proceeded to give his opinion on two points concerning which the
Queen had just consulted him--the propriety of assembling her army, and
her desire to place herself at the head of it in person.

On the first point one would have thought discussion superfluous on the
6th of August. "For your army, it is more than time it were gathered and
about you," said Leicester, "or so near you as you may have the use of it
at a few hours' warning. The reason is that your mighty enemies are at
hand, and if God suffers them to pass by your fleet, you are sure they
will attempt their purpose of landing with all expedition. And albeit
your navy be very strong, but, as we have always heard, the other is not
only far greater, but their forces of men much beyond yours. No doubt if
the Prince of Parma come forth, their forces by sea shall not only be
greatly, augmented, but his power to land shall the easier take effect
whensoever he shall attempt it. Therefore it is most requisite that your
Majesty at all events have as great a force every way as you can devise;
for there is no dalliance at such a time, nor with such an enemy. You
shall otherwise hazard your own honour, besides your person and country,
and must offend your gracious God that gave you these forces and power,
though you will not use them when you should."

It seems strange enough that such phrases should be necessary when the
enemy was knocking at the gate; but it is only too, true that the
land-forces were never organized until the hour, of danger had, most
fortunately and unexpectedly, passed by. Suggestions at this late moment
were now given for the defence of the throne, the capital, the kingdom,
and the life of the great Queen, which would not have seemed premature
had they been made six months before, but which, when offered in August,
excite unbounded amazement. Alexander would have had time to, march from
Dover to Duxham before these directions, now leisurely stated with all
the air of novelty, could be carried into effect.

"Now for the placing of your army," says the lieutenant-general on the
memorable Saturday, 6th of August, "no doubt but I think about London
the meetest, and I suppose that others will be of the same mind. And
your Majesty should forthwith give the charge thereof to some special
nobleman about you, and likewise place all your chief officers that every
man may know what he shall do, and gather as many good horse above all
things as you can, and the oldest, best, and assuredest captains to lead;
for therein will consist the greatest hope of good success under God. And
so soon as your army is assembled, let them by and by be exercised, every
man to know his weapon, and that there be all other things prepared in
readiness, for your army, as if they should march upon a day's warning,
especially carriages, and a commissary of victuals, and a master of

Certainly, with Alexander of Parma on his way to London, at the head of
his Italian pikemen, his Spanish musketeers, his famous veteran
legion--"that nursing mother of great soldiers"--it was indeed more than
time that every man should know what he should do, that an army of
Englishmen should be-assembled, and that every man should know his
weapon. "By and by" was easily said, and yet, on the 6th of August it was
by and by that an army, not yet mustered, not yet officered, not yet
provided with a general, a commissary of victuals, or a master of
ordinance, was to be exercised, "every man to know his weapon."

English courage might ultimately triumph over, the mistakes of those who
governed the country, and over those disciplined brigands by whom it was
to be invaded. But meantime every man of those invaders had already
learned on a hundred battle-fields to know his weapon.

It was a magnificent determination on the part of Elizabeth to place
herself at the head of her troops; and the enthusiasm which her attitude
inspired, when she had at last emancipated herself from the delusions of
diplomacy and the seductions of thrift, was some recompense at least for
the perils caused by her procrastination. But Leicester could not approve
of this hazardous though heroic resolution.

The danger passed away. The Invincible Armada was driven out of the
Channel by the courage; the splendid seamanship, and the enthusiasm of
English sailors and volunteers. The Duke of Parma was kept a close
prisoner by the fleets of Holland and Zeeland; and the great storm of the
14th and 15th of August at last completed the overthrow of the Spaniards.

It was, however, supposed for a long time that they would come back, for
the disasters which had befallen them in the north were but tardily known
in England. The sailors, by whom England had been thus defended in her
utmost need, were dying by hundreds, and even thousands, of ship-fever,
in the latter days of August. Men sickened one day, and died the next, so
that it seemed probable that the ten thousand sailors by whom the English
ships of war were manned, would have almost wholly disappeared, at a
moment when their services might be imperatively required. Nor had there
been the least precaution taken for cherishing and saving these brave
defenders of their country. They rotted in their ships, or died in the
streets of the naval ports, because there were no hospitals to receive

"'Tis a most pitiful sight," said the Lord-Admiral, "to see here at
Margate how the men, having no place where they can be received, die in,
the streets. I am driven of force myself to come on land to see them
bestowed in some lodgings; and the best I can get is barns and such
outhouses, and the relief is small that I can provide for them here. It
would grieve any man's heart to see men that have served so valiantly die
so miserably."

The survivors, too, were greatly discontented; for, after having been
eight months at sea, and enduring great privations, they could not get
their wages. "Finding it to come thus scantily," said Howard, "it breeds
a marvellous alteration among them."

But more dangerous than the pestilence or the discontent was the
misunderstanding which existed at the moment between the leading admirals
of the English fleet. Not only was Seymour angry with Howard, but Hawkins
and Frobisher were at daggers drawn with Drake; and Sir Martin--if
contemporary, affidavits can be trusted--did not scruple to heap the most
virulent abuse upon Sir Francis, calling him, in language better fitted
for the forecastle than the quarter-deck, a thief and a coward, for
appropriating the ransom for Don Pedro Valdez in which both Frobisher and
Hawkins claimed at least an equal share with himself.

And anxious enough was the Lord-Admiral with his sailors perishing by
pestilence, with many of his ships so weakly manned that as Lord Henry
Seymour declared there were not mariners enough to weigh the anchors, and
with the great naval heroes, on whose efforts the safety of the realm
depended, wrangling like fisherwomen among themselves, when rumours came,
as they did almost daily, of the return of the Spanish Armada, and of new
demonstrations on the part of Farnese. He was naturally unwilling that
the fruits of English valour on the seas should now be sacrificed by the
false economy of the government. He felt that, after all that had been
endured and accomplished, the Queen and her counsellors were still
capable of leaving England at the mercy of a renewed attempt, "I know not
what you think at the court," said he; "but I think, and so do all here,
that there cannot be too great forces maintained for the next five or six
weeks. God knoweth whether the Spanish fleet will not, after refreshing
themselves in Norway; Denmark, and the Orkneys, return. I think they dare
not go back to Sprain with this, dishonour, to their King and overthrow
of the Pope's credit. Sir, sure bind, sure find. A kingdom is a grand
wager. Security is dangerous; and, if God had not been our best friend;
we should have found it so."

   [Howard to Walsingham, Aug.8/18 1588. (S. P. Office MS.)]

   ["Some haply may say that winter cometh on apace," said Drake, "but
   my poor opinion is that I dare not advise her Majesty to hazard a
   kingdom with the saving of a little charge." (Drake to Walsingham,
   Aug. 8/18 1588.)]

Nothing could be more replete, with sound common sense than this simple
advice, given as it was in utter ignorance of the fate of the Armada;
after it had been lost sight of by the English vessels off the Firth of
Forth, and of the cold refreshment which: it had found in Norway and the
Orkneys. But, Burghley had a store of pithy apophthegms, for which--he
knew he could always find sympathy in the Queen's breast, and with which
he could answer these demands of admirals and generals. "To spend in time
convenient is wisdom;" he observed--"to continue charges without needful
cause bringeth, repentance;"--"to hold on charges without knowledge of
the certainty thereof and of means how to support them, is lack of
wisdom;" and so on.

Yet the Spanish fleet might have returned into the Channel for ought the
Lord-Treasurer on the 22nd August knew--or the Dutch fleet might have
relaxed, in its vigilant watching of Farnese's movements. It might have
then seemed a most plentiful lack of wisdom to allow English sailors to
die of plague in the streets for want of hospitals; and to grow mutinous
for default of pay. To have saved under such circumstances would, perhaps
have brought repentance.

The invasion of England by Spain had been most portentous. That the
danger was at last averted is to be ascribed to the enthusiasm of the
English, nation--both patricians and plebeians--to the heroism of the
little English fleet, to the spirit of the naval commanders and
volunteers, to the stanch, and effective support of the Hollanders; and
to the hand of God shattering the Armada at last; but very little credit
can be conscientiously awarded to the diplomatic or the military efforts
of the Queen's government. Miracles alone, in the opinion of Roger
Williams, had saved England on this occasion from perdition.

Towards the end of August, Admiral de Nassau paid a visit to Dover with
forty ships, "well appointed and furnished." He dined and conferred with
Seymour, Palmer, and other officers--Winter being still laid up with his
wound--and expressed the opinion that Medina Sidonia would hardly return
to the Channel, after the banquet he had received from her Majesty's navy
between Calais and Gravelines. He also gave the information that the
States had sent fifty Dutch vessels in pursuit of the Spaniards, and had
compelled all the herring-fishermen for the time to serve in the ships of
war, although the prosperity of the country depended on that industry. "I
find the man very wise, subtle, and cunning," said Seymour of the Dutch
Admiral, "and therefore do I trust him."

Nassau represented the Duke of Parma as evidently discouraged, as having
already disembarked his troops, and as very little disposed to hazard any
further enterprise against England. "I have left twenty-five
Kromstevens," said he, "to prevent his egress from Sluys, and I am
immediately returning thither myself. The tide will not allow his vessels
at present to leave Dunkerk, and I shall not fail--before the next full
moon--to place myself before that place, to prevent their coming out, or
to have a brush with them if they venture to put to sea."

But after the scenes on which the last full moon had looked down in those
waters, there could be no further pretence on the part of Farnese to
issue from Sluys and Dunkerk, and England and Holland were thenceforth
saved from all naval enterprises on the part of Spain.

Meantime, the same uncertainty which prevailed in England as to the
condition and the intentions of the Armada was still more remarkable
elsewhere. There was a systematic deception practised not only upon other
governments; but upon the King of Spain as well. Philip, as he sat at his
writing-desk, was regarding himself as the monarch of England, long after
his Armada had been hopelessly dispersed.

In Paris, rumours were circulated during the first ten days of August
that England was vanquished, and that the Queen was already on her way to
Rome as a prisoner, where she was to make expiation, barefoot, before his
Holiness. Mendoza, now more magnificent than ever--stalked into Notre
Dame with his drawn sword in his hand, crying out with a loud voice,
"Victory, victory!" and on the 10th of August ordered bonfires to be made
before his house; but afterwards thought better of that scheme. He had
been deceived by a variety of reports sent to him day after day by agents
on the coast; and the King of France--better informed by Stafford, but
not unwilling thus to feed his spite against the insolent
ambassador--affected to believe his fables. He even confirmed them by
intelligence, which he pretended to have himself received from other
sources, of the landing of the Spaniards in England without opposition,
and of the entire subjugation of that country without the striking of a

Hereupon, on the night of August 10th, the envoy--"like a wise man," as
Stafford observed--sent off four couriers, one after another, with the
great news to Spain, that his master's heart might be rejoiced, and
caused a pamphlet on the subject to be printed and distributed over
Paris! "I will not waste a large sheet of paper to express the joy which
we must all feel," he wrote to Idiaquez, "at this good news. God be
praised for all, who gives us small chastisements to make us better, and
then, like a merciful Father, sends us infinite rewards." And in the same
strain he wrote; day after day, to Moura and Idiaquez, and to Philip

Stafford, on his side, was anxious to be informed by his government of
the exact truth, whatever it were, in order that these figments of
Mendoza might be contradicted. "That which cometh from me," he said,
"Will be believed; for I have not been used to tell lies, and in very
truth I have not the face to do it."

And the news of the Calais squibs, of the fight off Gravelines, and the
retreat of the Armada towards the north; could not be very long
concealed. So soon, therefore, as authentic intelligence reached, the
English envoy of those events--which was not however for nearly ten days
after their--occurrence--Stafford in his turn wrote a pamphlet, in answer
to that of Mendoza, and decidedly the more successful one of the two. It
cost him but five crowns, he said, to print 'four hundred copies of it;
but those in whose name it was published got one hundred crowns by its
sale. The English ambassador was unwilling to be known as the
author--although "desirous of touching up the impudence of the
Spaniard"--but the King had no doubt of its origin. Poor Henry, still
smarting under the insults of Mendoza and 'Mucio,--was delighted with
this blow to Philip's presumption; was loud in his praises of Queen
Elizabeth's valour, prudence, and marvellous fortune, and declared that
what she had just done could be compared to the greatest: exploits of the
most illustrious men in history.

"So soon as ever he saw the pamphlet," said Stafford; "he offered to lay
a wager it was my doing; and laughed at it heartily." And there were
malicious pages about the French; court; who also found much amusement in
writing to the ambassador, begging his interest with the Duke of Parma
that they might obtain from that conqueror some odd-refuse town or so in:
England, such as York, Canterbury, London, or the like--till the luckless
Don Bernardino was ashamed to show his face.

A letter, from Farnese, however, of 10th August, apprized Philip before
the end of August of the Calais disasters and caused him great
uneasiness, without driving him to despair. "At the very moment," wrote
the King to Medina Sidonia; "when I was expecting news of the effect
hoped for from my Armada, I have learned the retreat from before Calais,
to which it was compelled by the weather; [!] and I have received a very
great shock which keeps, me in anxiety not to be exaggerated.
Nevertheless I hope in our Lord that he will have provided a remedy; and
that if it was possible for you to return upon the enemy to come back to
the appointed posts and to watch an opportunity for the great stroke; you
will have done as the case required; and so I am expecting with
solicitude, to hear what has happened, and please God it may be that
which is so suitable for his service."

His Spanish children the sacking of London, and the butchering of the
English nation-rewards and befits similar to those which they bad
formerly enjoyed in the Netherlands.

And in the same strain, melancholy yet hopeful, were other letters
despatched on that day to the Duke of Parma. "The satisfaction caused by
your advices on the 8th August of the arrival of the Armada near Calais,
and of your preparations to embark your troops, was changed into a
sentiment which you can imagine, by your letter of the 10th. The anxiety
thus occasioned it would be impossible to exaggerate, although the cause
being such as it is--there is no ground for distrust. Perhaps the Armada,
keeping together, has returned upon the enemy, and given a good account
of itself, with the help of the Lord. So I still promise myself that you
will have performed your part in the enterprise in such wise as that the
service intended to the Lord may have been executed, and repairs made to
the reputation of all; which has been so much compromised."

And the King's drooping spirits were revived by fresh accounts which
reached him in September, by way of France. He now learned that the
Armada had taken captive four Dutch men-of-war and many English ships;
that, after the Spaniards had been followed from Calais roads by the
enemy's fleet, there had been an action, which the English had attempted
in vain to avoid; off Newcastle; that Medina Sidonia had charged upon
them so vigorously, as to sink twenty of their ships, and to capture
twenty-six others, good and sound; that the others, to escape perdition,
had fled, after suffering great damage, and had then gone to pieces, all
hands perishing; that the Armada had taken a port in Scotland, where it
was very comfortably established; that the flag-ship of Lord-admiral
Howard, of Drake; and of that "distinguished mariner Hawkins," had all
been sunk in action, and that no soul had been saved except Drake, who
had escaped in a cock-boat. "This is good news," added the writer; "and
it is most certain."

The King pondered seriously over these conflicting accounts, and remained
very much in the dark. Half, the month of September went by, and he had
heard nothing--official since the news of the Calais catastrophe. It may
be easily understood that Medina Sidonia, while flying round the Orkneys
had not much opportunity for despatching couriers to Spain, and as
Farnese had not written since the 10th August, Philip was quite at a loss
whether to consider himself triumphant or defeated. From the reports by
way of Calais, Dunkerk, and Rouen, he supposed that the Armada, had
inflicted much damage on the enemy. He suggested accordingly, on the 3rd
September, to the Duke of Parma, that he might now make the passage to
England, while the English fleet, if anything was left of it was
repairing its damages. "'Twill be easy enough to conquer the country,"
said Philip, "so soon as you set foot on the soil. Then perhaps our
Armada can come back and station itself in the Thames to support you."

Nothing could be simpler. Nevertheless the King felt a pang of doubt lest
affairs, after all, might not be going on so swimmingly; so he dipped his
pen in the inkstand again, and observed with much pathos, "But if this
hope must be given up, you must take the Isle of Walcheren: something
must be done to console me."

And on the 15th September he was still no wiser. "This business of the
Armada leaves me no repose," he said; "I can think of nothing else. I
don't content myself with what I have written, but write again and again,
although in great want of light. I hear that the Armada has sunk and
captured many English ships, and is refitting in a Scotch pert. If this
is in the territory, of Lord Huntley, I hope he will stir up the
Catholics of that country."

And so, in letter after letter, Philip clung to the delusion that
Alexander could yet, cross to England, and that the Armada might sail up
the Thames. The Duke was directed to make immediate arrangements to that
effect with Medina Sidonia, at the very moment when that tempest-tossed
grandee was painfully-creeping back towards the Bay of Biscay, with what
remained of his invincible fleet.

Sanguine and pertinacious, the King refused to believe in, the downfall
of his long-cherished scheme; and even when the light was at last dawning
upon him, he was like a child, crying for a fresh toy, when the one which
had long amused him had been broken. If the Armada were really very much
damaged, it was easy enough, he thought, for the Duke of Parma to make
him a new one, while the old, one was repairing. "In case the Armada is
too much shattered to come out," said Philip, "and winter compels it to
stay in that port, you must cause another Armada to be constructed at
Emden and the adjacent towns, at my expense, and, with the two together,
you will certainly be able to conquer England."

And he wrote to Medina Sidonia in similar terms. That naval commander was
instructed to enter the Thames at once, if strong enough. If not, he was
to winter in the Scotch port which he was supposed to have captured.
Meantime Farnese would build a new fleet at Emden, and in the spring the
two dukes would proceed to accomplish the great purpose.

But at last the arrival of Medina Sidonia at Santander dispelled these
visions, and now the King appeared in another attitude. A messenger,
coming post-haste from the captain-general, arrived in the early days of
October at the Escorial. Entering the palace he found Idiaquez and Moura
pacing up and down the corridor, before the door of Philip's cabinet, and
was immediately interrogated by those counsellors, most anxious, of
course, to receive authentic intelligence at last as to the fate, of the
Armada. The entire overthrow of the great project was now, for the first
time, fully revealed in Spain; the fabulous victories over the English,
and the annihilation of Howard and all his ships, were dispersed in air.
Broken, ruined, forlorn, the invincible Armada--so far as it still
existed--had reached a Spanish port. Great was the consternation of
Idiaquez and Moura, as they listened to the tale, and very desirous was
each of the two secretaries that the other should, discharge the
unwelcome duty of communicating the fatal intelligence to the King.

At last Moura consented to undertake the task, and entering the cabinet,
he found Philip seated at his desk. Of course he was writing letters.
Being informed of the arrival of a messenger from the north, he laid down
his pen, and inquired the news. The secretary replied that the accounts,
concerning the Armada were by no means so favourable as, could be wished.
The courier was then introduced, and made his dismal report. The King did
not change countenance. "Great thanks," he observed, "do I render to
Almighty God, by whose generous hand I am gifted with such power, that I
could easily, if I chose, place another fleet upon the seas. Nor is it of
very great importance that a running stream should be sometimes
intercepted, so long as the fountain from which it flows remains

So saying he resumed his pen, and serenely proceeded with his letters.
Christopher Moura stared with unaffected amazement at his sovereign, thus
tranquil while a shattered world was falling on his head, and then
retired to confer with his colleague.

"And how did his Majesty receive the blow?" asked Idiaquez.

"His Majesty thinks nothing of the blow," answered Moura, "nor do I,
consequently, make more of this great calamity than does his Majesty."

So the King--as fortune flew away from him, wrapped himself in his
virtue; and his counsellors, imitating their sovereign, arrayed
themselves in the same garment. Thus draped, they were all prepared to
bide the pelting of the storm which was only beating figuratively on
their heads, while it had been dashing the King's mighty galleons on the
rocks, and drowning by thousands the wretched victims of his ambition.
Soon afterwards, when the particulars of the great disaster were
thoroughly known, Philip ordered a letter to be addressed in his name to
all the bishops of Spain, ordering a solemn thanksgiving to the Almighty
for the safety of that portion of the invincible Armada which it had
pleased Him to preserve.

And thus, with the sound of mourning throughout Spain--for there was
scarce a household of which some beloved member had not perished in the
great catastrophe--and with the peals of merry bells over all England and
Holland, and with a solemn 'Te Deum' resounding in every church, the
curtain fell upon the great tragedy of the Armada.


     Forbidding the wearing of mourning at all
     Hardly a distinguished family in Spain not placed in mourning
     Invincible Armada had not only been vanquished but annihilated
     Nothing could equal Alexander's fidelity, but his perfidy
     One could neither cry nor laugh within the Spanish dominions
     Security is dangerous
     Sixteen of their best ships had been sacrificed
     Sure bind, sure find


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 59, 1588-1589


   Alexander besieges Bergen-op-Zoom--Pallavicini's Attempt to seduce
   Parma--Alexander's Fury--He is forced to raise the Siege, of Bergen
   --Gertruydenberg betrayed to Parma--Indignation of the States--
   Exploits, of Schenk--His Attack on Nymegen--He is defeated and
   drowned--English-Dutch Expedition to Spain--Its meagre Results--
   Death of Guise and of the Queen--Mother--Combinations after the
   Murder of Henry III.--Tandem fit Surculus Arbor.

The fever of the past two years was followed by comparative languor. The
deadly crisis was past, the freedom of Europe was saved, Holland and
England breathed again; but tension now gave place to exhaustion. The
events in the remainder of the year 1588, with those of 1589--although
important in themselves--were the immediate results of that history which
has been so minutely detailed in these volumes, and can be indicated in a
very few pages.

The Duke of Parma, melancholy, disappointed, angry stung to the soul by
calumnies as stupid as they were venomous, and already afflicted with a
painful and lingering disease, which his friends attributed to poison
administered by command of the master whom he had so faithfully
served--determined, if possible, to afford the consolation which that
master was so plaintively demanding at his hands.

So Alexander led the splendid army which had been packed in, and unpacked
from, the flat boats of Newport and Dunkerk, against Bergen-op-Zoom, and
besieged that city in form. Once of great commercial importance, although
somewhat fallen away from its original prosperity, Bergen was well
situate on a little stream which connected it with the tide-waters of the
Scheldt, and was the only place in Brabant, except Willemstad, still
remaining to the States. Opposite lay the Isle of Tholen from which it
was easily to be supplied and reinforced. The Vosmeer, a branch of the
Scheldt, separated the island from the main, and there was a path along
the bed of that estuary, which, at dead low-water, was practicable for
wading. Alexander, accordingly, sent a party of eight hundred pikemen,
under Montigny, Marquis of Renty, and Ottavio Mansfeld, supported on the
dyke by three thousand musketeers, across; the dangerous ford, at
ebb-tide, in order to seize this important island. It was an adventure
similar to those, which, in the days of the grand commander, and under
the guidance of Mondragon; had been on two occasions so brilliantly
successful. But the Isle of Tholen was now defended by Count Solms and a
garrison of fierce amphibious Zeelanders--of those determined bands which
had just been holding Farnese and his fleet in prison, and daring him to
the issue--and the invading party, after fortunately accomplishing their
night journey along the bottom of the Vosmeer, were unable to effect a
landing, were driven with considerable loss into the waves again, and
compelled to find their way back as best they could, along their
dangerous path, and with a rapidly rising tide. It was a blind and
desperate venture, and the Vosmeer soon swallowed four hundred of the
Spaniards. The rest, half-drowned or smothered, succeeded in reaching the
shore--the chiefs of the expedition, Renty and Mansfeld, having been with
difficulty rescued by their followers, when nearly sinking in the tide.

The Duke continued the siege, but the place was well defended by an
English and Dutch garrison, to the number of five thousand, and commanded
by Colonel Morgan, that bold and much experienced Welshman, so well known
in the Netherland wars. Willoughby and Maurice of Nassau, and
Olden-Barneveld were, at different times, within the walls; for the Duke
had been unable to invest the place so closely as to prevent all
communications from without; and, while Maurice was present, there were
almost daily sorties from the town, with many a spirited skirmish, to
give pleasure to the martial young Prince. The English, officers, Vere
and Baskerville, and two Netherland colonels, the brothers Bax, most
distinguished themselves on these occasions. The siege was not going on
with the good fortune which had usually attended the Spanish leaguer of
Dutch cities, while, on the 29th September, a personal incident came to
increase Alexander's dissatisfaction and melancholy.

On that day the Duke was sitting in his tent, brooding, as he was apt to
do, over the unjust accusations which had been heaped upon him in regard
to the failure of the Armada, when a stranger was announced. His name, he
said, was Giacomo Morone, and he was the bearer of a letter from Sir
Horace Pallavicini, a Genoese gentleman long established in London; and
known to be on confidential terms with the English government. Alexander
took the letter, and glancing at the bottom of the last page, saw that it
was not signed.

"How dare you bring me a dispatch without a signature?" he exclaimed. The
messenger, who was himself a Genoese, assured the Duke that the letter
was most certainly written by Pallavicini--who had himself placed it,
sealed, in his hands--and that he had supposed it signed, although he had
of course, not seen the inside.

Alexander began to read the note, which was not a very long one, and his
brow instantly darkened. He read a line or two more, when, with an
exclamation of fury, he drew his dagger, and, seizing the astonished
Genoese by the throat, was about to strike him dead. Suddenly mastering
his rage, however, by a strong effort, and remembering that the man might
be a useful witness; he flung Morone from him.

"If I had Pallavicini here," he said, "I would treat, him as I have just
refrained from using you. And if I had any suspicion that you were aware
of the contents of this letter, I would send you this instant to be

The unlucky despatch-bearer protested his innocence of all complicity
with Pallavicini, and his ignorance of the tenor of the communication by
which the Duke's wrath had been so much excited. He was then searched and
cross-examined most carefully by Richardot and other counsellors, and his
innocence being made apparent-he was ultimately discharged.

The letter of Pallavicini was simply an attempt to sound Farnese as to
his sentiments in regard to a secret scheme, which could afterwards be
arranged in form, and according, to which he was to assume the
sovereignty of the Netherlands himself, to the exclusion of his King, to
guarantee to England the possession of the cautionary towns, until her
advances to the States should be refunded, and to receive the support and
perpetual alliance of the Queen in his new and rebellious position.

Here was additional evidence, if any were wanting, of the universal
belief in his disloyalty; and Alexander, faithful, if man ever were to
his master--was cut to the heart, and irritated almost to madness, by
such insolent propositions. There is neither proof nor probability that
the Queen's government was implicated in this intrigue of Pallavicini,
who appears to have been inspired by the ambition of achieving a bit of
Machiavellian policy, quite on his own account. Nothing came of the
proposition, and the Duke; having transmitted to the King a minute
narrative of, the affair, together with indignant protestations of the
fidelity, which all the world seemed determined to dispute, received most
affectionate replies from that monarch, breathing nothing but unbounded
confidence in his nephew's innocence and devotion.

Such assurances from any other man in the world might have disarmed
suspicion, but Alexander knew his master too well to repose upon his
word, and remembered too bitterly the last hours of Don John of Austria
--whose dying pillow he had soothed, and whose death had been hastened,
as he knew, either by actual poison or by the hardly less fatal venom of
slander--to regain tranquillity as to his own position.

The King was desirous that Pallavicini should be invited over to
Flanders, in order that Alexander, under pretence of listening to his
propositions, might draw from the Genoese all the particulars of his
scheme, and then, at leisure, inflict the punishment which he had
deserved. But insuperable obstacles presented themselves, nor was
Alexander desirous of affording still further pretexts for his

Very soon after this incident--most important as showing the real
situation of various parties, although without any immediate
result--Alexander received a visit in his tent from another stranger.
This time the visitor was an Englishman, one Lieutenant Grimstone, and
the object of his interview with the Duke was not political, but had, a
direct reference to the siege of Bergen. He was accompanied by a
countryman of his own, Redhead by name, a camp-suttler by profession. The
two represented themselves as deserters from the besieged city, and
offered, for a handsome reward, to conduct a force of Spaniards, by a
secret path, into one of the gates. The Duke questioned them narrowly,
and being satisfied with their intelligence and coolness, caused them to
take an oath on the Evangelists, that they were not playing him false. He
then selected a band of one hundred musketeers, partly Spaniards, partly
Walloons--to be followed at a distance by a much, more considerable
force; two thousand in number, under Sancho de Leyva: and the Marquis of
Renti--and appointed the following night for an enterprise against the
city, under the guidance of Grimstone.

It was a wild autumnal night, moonless, pitch-dark, with a storm of wind
and rain. The waters were out--for the dykes had been cut in all
'directions by the defenders of the city--and, with exception of some
elevated points occupied by Parma's forces, the whole country was
overflowed. Before the party set forth on their daring expedition, the
two Englishmen were tightly bound with cords, and led, each by two
soldiers, instructed to put them to instant death if their conduct should
give cause for suspicion. But both Grimstone and Redhead preserved a
cheerful countenance, and inspired a strong confidence in their honest
intention to betray their countrymen. And thus the band of bold
adventurers plunged at once into the darkness, and soon found themselves
contending with the tempest, and wading breast high in the black waters
of the Scheldt.

After a long and perilous struggle, they at length reached the appointed
gate, The external portcullis was raised and the fifteen foremost of the
band rushed into the town. At the next moment, Lord Willoughby, who had
been privy to the whole scheme, cut with his own hand the cords which,
held the portcullis, and entrapped the leaders of the expedition, who
were all, at once put to the sword, while their followers were thundering
at the gate. The lieutenant and suttler who had thus overreached that
great master of dissimulation; Alexander Farnese; were at the same time
unbound by their comrades, and rescued from the fate intended for them.

Notwithstanding the probability--when the portcullis fell--that the whole
party, had been deceived by an artifice of war the adventurers, who had
come so far, refused to abandon the enterprise, and continued an
impatient battery upon the gate. At last it was swung wide open, and a
furious onslaught was made by the garrison upon the Spaniards. There
was--a fierce brief struggle, and then the assailants were utterly
routed. Some were killed under the walls, while the rest were hunted into
the waves. Nearly every one of the expedition (a thousand in number)

It had now become obvious to the Duke that his siege must be raised. The
days were gone when the walls of Dutch towns seemed to melt before the
first scornful glance of the Spanish invader; and when a summons meant a
surrender, and a surrender a massacre. Now, strong in the feeling of
independence, and supported by the courage and endurance of their English
allies, the Hollanders had learned to humble the pride of Spain as it had
never been humbled before. The hero of a hundred battle-fields, the
inventive and brilliant conqueror of Antwerp, seemed in the deplorable
issue of the English invasion to have lost all his genius, all his
fortune. A cloud had fallen upon his fame, and he now saw himself; at the
head of the best army in Europe, compelled to retire, defeated and
humiliated, from the walls of Bergen. Winter was coming on apace; the
country was flooded; the storms in that-bleak region and inclement season
were incessant; and he was obliged to retreat before his army should be

On the night of 12-13 November he set fire to his camp; and took his
departure. By daybreak he was descried in full retreat, and was hotly
pursued by the English and Dutch from the city, who drove the great
Alexander and his legions before them in ignominious flight. Lord
Willoughby, in full view of the retiring enemy, indulged the allied
forces with a chivalrous spectacle. Calling a halt, after it had become
obviously useless, with their small force of cavalry; to follow any
longer, through a flooded country, an enemy who had abandoned his design,
he solemnly conferred the honour of knighthood, in the name of Queen
Elizabeth, on the officers who had most distinguished themselves during
the siege, Francis Vere, Baskerville, Powell, Parker, Knowles, and on the
two Netherland brothers, Paul and Marcellus Bax.

The Duke of Parma then went into winter quarters in Brabant, and, before
the spring, that obedient Province had been eaten as bare as Flanders had
already been by the friendly Spaniards.

An excellent understanding between England and Holland had been the
result of their united and splendid exertions against the Invincible
Armada. Late in the year 1588 Sir John Norris had been sent by the Queen
to offer her congratulations and earnest thanks to the States for their
valuable assistance in preserving her throne, and to solicit their
cooperation in some new designs against the common foe. Unfortunately,
however, the epoch of good feeling was but of brief duration. Bitterness
and dissension seemed the inevitable conditions of the English-Dutch
alliance. It will be, remembered, that, on the departure of Leicester,
several cities had refused to acknowledge the authority of Count Maurice
and the States; and that civil war in the scarcely-born commonwealth had
been the result. Medenblik, Naarden, and the other contumacious cities,
had however been reduced to obedience after the reception of the Earl's
resignation, but the important city of Gertruydenberg had remained in a
chronic state of mutiny. This rebellion had been partially appeased
during the year 1588 by the efforts of Willoughby, who had strengthened,
the garrison by reinforcements of English troops under command of his
brother-in-law, Sir John Wingfield. Early in 1589 however, the whole
garrison became rebellious, disarmed and maltreated the burghers, and
demanded immediate payment of the heavy arrearages still due to the
troops. Willoughby, who--much disgusted with his career in the
Netherlands--was about leaving for England, complaining that the States
had not only left him without remuneration for his services, but had not
repaid his own advances, nor even given him a complimentary dinner, tried
in vain to pacify them. A rumour became very current, moreover, that the
garrison had opened negotiations with Alexander Farnese, and accordingly
Maurice of Nassau--of whose patrimonial property the city of
Gertruydenberg made a considerable proportion, to the amount of eight
thousand pounds sterling a years--after summoning the garrison, in his
own name and that of the States, to surrender, laid siege to the place in
form. It would have been cheaper, no doubt, to pay the demands of the
garrison in full, and allow them to depart. But Maurice considered his
honour at stake. His letters of summons, in which he spoke of the
rebellious commandant and his garrison as self-seeking foreigners and
mercenaries, were taken in very ill part. Wingfield resented the
statement in very insolent language, and offered to prove its falsehood
with his sword against any man and in any place whatever. Willoughby
wrote to his brother-in-law, from Flushing, when about to embark,
disapproving of his conduct and of his language; and to Maurice,
deprecating hostile measures against a city under the protection of Queen
Elizabeth. At any rate, he claimed that Sir John Wingfield and his wife,
the Countess of Kent, with their newly-born child, should be allowed to
depart from the place. But Wingfield expressed great scorn at any
suggestion of retreat, and vowed that he would rather surrender the city
to the Spaniards than tolerate the presumption of Maurice and the States.
The young Prince accordingly, opened his batteries, but before an
entrance could be effected into the town, was obliged to retire at the
approach of Count Mansfield with a much superior force. Gertruydenberg
was now surrendered to the Spaniards in accordance with a secret
negotiation which had been proceeding all the spring, and had been
brought to a conclusion at last. The garrison received twelve months' pay
in full and a gratuity of five months in addition, and the city was then
reduced into obedience to Spain and Rome on the terms which had been
usual during the government of Farnese.

The loss of this city was most severe to the republic, for the enemy had
thus gained an entrance into the very heart of Holland. It was a more
important acquisition to Alexander than even Bergen-op-Zoom would have
been, and it was a bitter reflection that to the treachery of
Netherlanders and of their English allies this great disaster was owing.
All the wrath aroused a year before by the famous treason of York and
Stanley, and which had been successfully extinguished, now flamed forth
afresh. The States published a placard denouncing the men who had thus
betrayed the cause of freedom, and surrendered the city of Gertruydenberg
to the Spaniards, as perjured traitors whom it was made lawful to hang,
whenever or wherever caught, without trial or sentence, and offering
fifty florins a-head for every private soldier and one hundred florins
for any officer of the garrison. A list of these Englishmen and
Netherlanders, so far as known, was appended to the placard, and the
catalogue was headed by the name of Sir John Wingfield.

Thus the consequences of the fatal event were even more deplorable than
the loss of the city itself. The fury of Olden-Barneveld at the treason
was excessive, and the great Advocate governed the policy of the
republic, at this period, almost like a dictator. The States, easily
acknowledging the sway of the imperious orator, became bitter--and
wrathful with the English, side by side with whom they had lately been so
cordially standing.

Willoughby, on his part, now at the English court, was furious with the
States, and persuaded the leading counsellors of the Queen as well as her
Majesty herself, to adopt his view of the transaction. Wingfield, it was
asserted, was quite innocent in the matter; he was entirely ignorant of
the French language, and therefore was unable to read a word of the
letters addressed to him by Maurice and the replies which had been signed
by himself. Whether this strange excuse ought to be accepted or not, it
is quite certain that he was no traitor like York and Stanley, and no
friend to Spain; for he had stipulated for himself the right to return to
England, and had neither received nor desired any reward. He hated
Maurice and he hated the States, but he asserted that he had been held in
durance, that the garrison was mutinous, and that he was no more
responsible for the loss of the city than Sir Francis Vere had been, who
had also been present, and whose name had been subsequently withdrawn, in
honourable fashion from the list of traitors, by authority of the States.
His position--so far as he was personally concerned--seemed defensible,
and the Queen was thoroughly convinced of his innocence. Willoughby
complained that the republic was utterly in the hands of Barneveld, that
no man ventured to lift his voice or his eyes in presence of the terrible
Advocate who ruled every Netherlander with a rod of iron, and that his
violent and threatening language to Wingfield and himself at the
dinner-table in Bergen-op-Zoom on the subject of the mutiny (when one
hundred of the Gertruydenberg garrison were within sound of his voice)
had been the chief cause of the rebellion. Inspired by these
remonstrances, the Queen once more emptied the vials of her wrath upon
the United Netherlands. The criminations and recriminations seemed
endless, and it was most fortunate that Spain had been weakened, that
Alexander, a prey to melancholy and to lingering disease, had gone to the
baths of Spa to recruit his shattered health, and that his attention and
the schemes of Philip for the year 1589 and the following period were to
be directed towards France. Otherwise the commonwealth could hardly have
escaped still more severe disasters than those already experienced in
this unfortunate condition of its affairs, and this almost hopeless
misunderstanding with its most important and vigorous friend.

While these events had been occurring in the heart of the republic,
Martin Schenk, that restless freebooter, had been pursuing a bustling and
most lucrative career on its outskirts. All the episcopate of
Cologne--that debatable land of the two rival paupers, Bavarian Ernest
and Gebhard Truchsess--trembled before him. Mothers scared their children
into quiet with the terrible name of Schenk, and farmers and
land-younkers throughout the electorate and the land of Berg, Cleves, and
Juliers, paid their black-mail, as if it were a constitutional impost, to
escape the levying process of the redoubtable partisan.

But Martin was no longer seconded, as he should have been, by the States,
to whom he had been ever faithful since he forsook the banner of Spain
for their own; and he had even gone to England and complained to the
Queen of the short-comings of those who owed him so much. His ingenious
and daring exploit--the capture of Bonn--has already been narrated, but
the States had neglected the proper precautions to secure that important
city. It had consequently, after a six months' siege, been surrendered to
the Spaniards under Prince Chimay, on the 19th of September; while, in
December following, the city of Wachtendonk, between the Rhine and Meuse,
had fallen into Mansfeld's hands. Rheinberg, the only city of the
episcopate which remained to the deposed Truchsess, was soon afterwards
invested by the troops of Parma, and Schenk in vain summoned the
States-General to take proper measures for its defence. But with the
enemy now eating his way towards the heart of Holland, and with so many
dangers threatening them on every side, it was thought imprudent to go so
far away to seek the enemy. So Gebhard retired in despair into Germany,
and Martin did what he could to protect Rheinberg, and to fill his own
coffers at the expense of the whole country side.

He had built a fort, which then and long afterwards bore his
name-Schenken Schans, or Schenk's Sconce--at that important point where
the Rhine, opening its two arms to enclose the "good meadow" island of
Batavia, becomes on the left the Waal, while on the right it retains its
ancient name; and here, on the outermost edge of the republic, and
looking straight from his fastness into the fruitful fields of Munster,
Westphalia, and the electorate, the industrious Martin devoted himself
with advantage to his favourite pursuits.

On the 7th of August, on the heath of Lippe, he had attacked a body of
Spanish musketeers, more than a thousand strong, who were protecting a
convoy of provisions, treasure, and furniture, sent by Farnese to
Verdugo, royal governor of Friesland. Schenk, without the loss of a
single man, had put the greater part of these Spaniards and Walloons to
the sword, and routed the rest. The leader of the expedition, Colonel
Aristotle Patton, who had once played him so foul a trick in the
surrender of Gelder, had soon taken to flight, when he found his ancient
enemy upon him, and, dashing into the Lippe, had succeeded, by the
strength and speed of his horse, in gaining the opposite bank, and
effecting his escape. Had he waited many minutes longer it is probable
that the treacherous Aristotle would have passed a comfortless half-hour
with his former comrade. Treasure to the amount of seven thousand crowns
in gold, five hundred horses, with jewels, plate, and other articles of
value, were the fruit of this adventure, and Schenk returned with his
followers, highly delighted, to Schenkenschans, and sent the captured
Spanish colours to her Majesty of England as a token.

A few miles below his fortress was Nymegen, and towards that ancient and
wealthy city Schenk had often cast longing eyes. It still held for the
King, although on the very confines of Batavia; but while acknowledging
the supremacy of Philip, it claimed the privileges of the empire. From
earliest times it had held its head very high among imperial towns, had
been one of the three chief residences of the Emperor. Charlemagne, and
still paid the annual tribute of a glove full of pepper to the German

On the evening of the 10th of August, 1589, there was a wedding feast in
one of the splendid mansions of the stately city. The festivities were
prolonged until deep in the midsummer's night, and harp and viol were
still inspiring the feet of the dancers, when on a sudden, in the midst
of the holiday-groups, appeared the grim visage of Martin Schenk, the man
who never smiled. Clad in no wedding-garment, but in armour of proof,
with morion on head, and sword in hand, the great freebooter strode
heavily through the ball-room, followed by a party of those terrible
musketeers who never gave or asked for quarter, while the affrighted
revellers fluttered away before them.

Taking advantage of a dark night, he had just dropped down the river from
his castle, with five-and-twenty barges, had landed with his most trusted
soldiers in the foremost vessels, had battered down the gate of St.
Anthony, and surprised and slain the guard. Without waiting for the rest
of his boats, he had then stolen with his comrades through the silent
streets, and torn away the lattice-work, and other slight defences on the
rear of the house which they had now entered, and through which they
intended to possess themselves of the market-place. Martin had long since
selected this mansion as a proper position for his enterprise, but he had
not been bidden to the wedding, and was somewhat disconcerted when he
found himself on the festive scene which he had so grimly interrupted.
Some of the merry-makers escaped from the house, and proceeded to alarm
the town; while Schenk hastily fortified his position; and took
possession of the square. But the burghers and garrison were soon on
foot, and he was driven back into the house. Three times he recovered the
square by main strength of his own arm, seconded by the handful of men
whom he had brought with him, and three times he was beaten back by
overwhelming numbers into the wedding mansion. The arrival of the greater
part of his followers, with whose assistance he could easily have
mastered the city in the first moments of surprise, was mysteriously
delayed. He could not account for their prolonged, absence, and was
meanwhile supported only by those who had arrived with him in the
foremost barges.

The truth--of which he was ignorant--was, that the remainder of the
flotilla, borne along by the strong and deep current of the Waal, then in
a state of freshet, had shot past the landing-place, and had ever since
been vainly struggling against wind and tide to force their way back to
the necessary point. Meantime Schenk and his followers fought desperately
in the market-place, and desperately in the house which he had seized.
But a whole garrison, and a town full of citizens in arms proved too much
for him, and he was now hotly besieged in the mansion, and at last driven
forth into the streets.

By this time day was dawning, the whole population, soldiers and
burghers, men, women, and children, were thronging about the little band
of marauders, and assailing them with every weapon and every missile to
be found. Schenk fought with his usual ferocity, but at last the
musketeers, in spite of his indignant commands, began rapidly to retreat
towards the quay. In vain Martin stormed and cursed, in vain with his own
hand he struck more than one of his soldiers dead. He was swept along
with the panic-stricken band, and when, shouting and gnashing his teeth
with frenzy, he reached the quay at last, he saw at a glance why his
great enterprise had failed. The few empty barges of his own party were
moored at the steps; the rest were half a mile off, contending hopelessly
against the swollen and rapid Waal. Schenk, desperately wounded, was left
almost alone upon the wharf, for his routed followers had plunged helter
skelter into the boats, several of which, overladen in the panic, sank at
once, leaving the soldiers to drown or struggle with the waves. The game
was lost. Nothing was left the freebooter but retreat. Reluctantly
turning his back on his enemies, now in full cry close behind him, Schenk
sprang into the last remaining boat just pushing from the quay. Already
overladen, it foundered with his additional weight, and Martin Schenk,
encumbered with his heavy armour, sank at once to the bottom of the Waal.

Some of the fugitives succeeded in swimming down the stream, and were
picked up by their comrades in the barges below the town, and so made
their escape. Many were drowned with their captain. A few days
afterwards, the inhabitants of Nymegen fished up the body of the famous
partisan. He was easily recognized by his armour, and by his truculent
face, still wearing the scowl with which he had last rebuked his
followers. His head was taken off at once, and placed on one of the
turrets of the town, and his body, divided in four, was made to adorn
other portions of the battlements; so that the burghers were enabled to
feast their eyes on the remnants of the man at whose name the whole
country had so often trembled.

This was the end of Sir Martin Schenk of Niddegem, knight, colonel, and
brigand; save that ultimately his dissevered limbs were packed in a
chest, and kept in a church tower, until Maurice of Nassau, in course of
time becoming master of Nymegen, honoured the valiant and on the whole
faithful freebooter with a Christian and military burial.

A few months later (October, 1589) another man who had been playing an
important part in the Netherlands' drama lost his life. Count Moeurs and
Niewenaar, stadholder of Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overysael, while
inspecting some newly-invented fireworks, was suddenly killed by their
accidental ignition and explosion. His death left vacant three great
stadholderates, which before long were to be conferred upon a youth whose
power henceforth was rapidly to grow greater.

The misunderstanding between Holland and England continuing,
Olden-Barneveld, Aerssens, and Buys, refusing to see that they had done
wrong in denouncing the Dutch and English traitors who had sold
Gertruydenberg to the enemy, and the Queen and her counsellors persisting
in their anger at so insolent a proceeding, it may easily be supposed
that there was no great heartiness in the joint expedition against Spain,
which had been projected in the autumn of 1588, and was accomplished in
the spring and summer of 1589.

Nor was this well-known enterprise fruitful of any remarkable result. It
had been decided to carry the war into Spain itself, and Don Antonio,
prior of Crato, bastard of Portugal, and pretender to its crown, had
persuaded himself and the English government that his name would be
potent to conjure with in that kingdom, hardly yet content with the
Spanish yoke. Supported by a determined force of English and Dutch
adventurers, he boasted that he should excite a revolution by the magic
of his presence, and cause Philip's throne to tremble, in return for the
audacious enterprise of that monarch against England.

If a foray were to be made into Spain, no general and no admiral could be
found in the world so competent to the adventure as Sir John Norris and
Sir Francis Drake. They were accompanied, too, by Sir Edward Norris, and
another of those 'chickens of Mars,' Henry Norris; by the indomitable and
ubiquitous Welshman, Roger Williams, and by the young Earl of Essex, whom
the Queen in vain commanded to remain at home, and who, somewhat to the
annoyance of the leaders of the expedition, concealed himself from her
Majesty's pursuit, and at last embarked in a vessel which he had
equipped, in order not to be cheated of his share in the hazard and the
booty. "If I speed well," said the spendthrift but valiant youth; "I will
adventure to be rich; if not, I will never live, to see the end of my

But no great riches were to be gathered in the expedition. With some
fourteen thousand men, and one hundred and sixty vessels--of which six
were the Queen's ships of war, including the famous Revenge and the
Dreadnought, and the rest armed merchantmen, English, and forty
Hollanders--and with a contingent of fifteen hundred Dutchmen under
Nicolas van Meetkerke and Van Laen, the adventurers set sail from
Plymouth on the 18th of April, 1589.

They landed at Coruna--at which place they certainly could not expect to
create a Portuguese revolution, which was the first object of the
expedition--destroyed some shipping in the harbour, captured and sacked
the lower town, and were repulsed in the upper; marched with six thousand
men to Burgos, crossed the bridge at push of pike, and routed ten
thousand Spaniards under Andrada and Altamira--Edward Norris receiving a
desperate blow on the head at the passage' of the bridge, and being
rescued from death by his brother John--took sail for the south after
this action, in which they had killed a thousand Spaniards, and had lost
but two men of their own; were joined off Cape Finisterre by Essex;
landed a force at Peniche, the castle of which place surrendered to them,
and acknowledged the authority of Don Antonio; and thence marched with
the main body of the troops, under Sir John Norris, forty-eight miles to
Lisbon, while Drake, with the fleet, was to sail up the Tagus.

Nothing like a revolution had been effected in Portugal. No one seemed to
care for the Pretender, or even to be aware that he had ever existed,
except the governor of Peniche Castle, a few ragged and bare-footed
peasants, who, once upon the road, shouted "Viva Don Antonio," and one
old gentleman by the way side, who brought him a plate of plums. His
hopes of a crown faded rapidly, and when the army reached Lisbon it had
dwindled to not much more than four thousand effective men--the rest
being dead of dysentery, or on the sick-list from imprudence in eating
and drinking--while they found that they had made an unfortunate omission
in their machinery for assailing the capital, having not a single
fieldpiece in the whole army. Moreover, as Drake was prevented by bad
weather and head-winds from sailing up the Tagus, it seemed a difficult
matter to carry the city. A few cannon, and the co-operation of the
fleet, were hardly to be dispensed with on such an occasion. Nevertheless
it would perhaps have proved an easier task than it appeared--for so
great was the panic within the place that a large number of the
inhabitants had fled, the Cardinal Viceroy Archduke Albert had but a very
insufficient guard, and there were many gentlemen of high station who
were anxious to further the entrance of the English, and who were
afterwards hanged or garotted for their hostile sentiments to the Spanish

While the leaders were deliberating what course to take, they were
informed that Count Fuentes and Henriquez de Guzman, with six thousand
men, lay at a distance of two miles from Lisbon, and that they had been
proclaiming by sound of trumpet that the English had been signally
defeated before Lisbon, and that they were in full retreat.

Fired at this bravado, Norris sent a trumpet to Fuentes and Guzman, with
a letter signed and sealed, giving them the lie in plainest terms,
appointing the next day for a meeting of the two forces, and assuring
them that when the next encounter should take place, it should be seen
whether a Spaniard or an Englishman would be first to fly; while Essex,
on his part, sent a note, defying either or both those boastful generals
to single combat. Next day the English army took the field, but the
Spaniards retired before them; and nothing came of this exchange of
cartels, save a threat on the part of Fuentes to hang the trumpeter who
had brought the messages. From the execution of this menace he refrained,
however, on being assured that the deed would be avenged by the death of
the Spanish prisoner of highest rank then in English hands, and thus the
trumpeter escaped.

Soon afterwards the fleet set sail from the Tagus, landed, and burned
Vigo on their way homeward, and returned to Plymouth about the middle of

Of the thirteen thousand came home six thousand, the rest having perished
of dysentery and other disorders. They had braved and insulted Spain,
humbled her generals, defied her power, burned some defenceless villages,
frightened the peasantry, set fire to some shipping, destroyed wine, oil,
and other merchandize, and had divided among the survivors of the
expedition, after landing in England, five shillings a head prize-money;
but they had not effected a revolution in Portugal. Don Antonio had been
offered nothing by his faithful subjects but a dish of plums--so that he
retired into obscurity from that time forward--and all this was scarcely
a magnificent result for the death of six or seven thousand good English
and Dutch soldiers, and the outlay of considerable treasure.

As a free-booting foray--and it was nothing else--it could hardly be
thought successful; although it was a splendid triumph compared with the
result of the long and loudly heralded Invincible Armada.

In France, great events during the remainder of 1588 and the following
year, and which are well known even to the most superficial student of
history, had much changed the aspect of European affairs. It was
fortunate for the two commonwealths of Holland and England, engaged in
the great struggle for civil and religious liberty, and national
independence, that the attention of Philip became more and more
absorbed-as time wore on--with the affairs of France. It seemed necessary
for him firmly to establish his dominion in that country before
attempting once more the conquest of England, or the recovery of the
Netherlands. For France had been brought more nearly to anarchy and utter
decomposition than ever. Henry III., after his fatal forgiveness of the
deadly offence of Guise, felt day by day more keenly that he had
transferred his sceptre--such as it was--to that dangerous intriguer.
Bitterly did the King regret having refused the prompt offer of Alphonse
Corse on the day of the barricades; for now, so long as the new
generalissimo should live, the luckless Henry felt himself a superfluity
in his own realm. The halcyon days were for ever past, when, protected by
the swords of Joyeuse and of Epernon, the monarch of France could pass
his life playing at cup and ball, or snipping images out of pasteboard,
or teaching his parrots-to talk, or his lap-dogs to dance. His royal
occupations were gone, and murder now became a necessary preliminary to
any future tranquillity or enjoyment. Discrowned as he felt himself
already, he knew that life or liberty was only held by him now at the
will of Guise. The assassination of the Duke in December was the
necessary result of the barricades in May; and accordingly that
assassination was arranged with an artistic precision of which the world
had hardly suspected the Valois to be capable, and which Philip himself
might have envied.

The story of the murders of Blois--the destruction of Guise and his
brother the Cardinal, and the subsequent imprisonment of the Archbishop
of Lyons, the Cardinal Bourbon, and the Prince de Joinville, now, through
the death of his father, become the young Duke of Guise--all these events
are too familiar in the realms of history, song, romance, and painting,
to require more than this slight allusion here.

Never had an assassination been more technically successful; yet its
results were not commensurate with the monarch's hopes. The deed which he
had thought premature in May was already too late in December. His mother
denounced his cruelty now, as she had, six months before, execrated his
cowardice. And the old Queen, seeing that her game was played out--that
the cards had all gone against her--that her son was doomed, and her own
influence dissolved in air, felt that there was nothing left for her but
to die. In a week she was dead, and men spoke no more of Catharine de'
Medici, and thought no more of her than if--in the words of a splenetic
contemporary--"she had been a dead she-goat." Paris howled with rage when
it learned the murders of Blois, and the sixteen quarters became more
furious than ever against the Valois. Some wild talk there was of
democracy and republicanism after the manner of Switzerland, and of
dividing France into cantons--and there was an earnest desire on the part
of every grandee, every general, every soldier of fortune, to carve out a
portion of French territory with his sword, and to appropriate it for
himself and his heirs. Disintegration was making rapid progress, and the
epoch of the last Valois seemed mare dark and barbarous than the times of
the degenerate Carlovingians had been. The letter-writer of the Escorial,
who had earnestly warned his faithful Mucio, week after week, that
dangers were impending over him, and that "some trick would be played
upon him," should he venture into the royal presence, now acquiesced in
his assassination, and placidly busied himself with fresh combinations
and newer tools.

Baked, hunted, scorned by all beside, the luckless Henry now threw
himself into the arms of the Bearnese--the man who could and would have
protected him long before, had the King been capable of understanding
their relative positions and his own true interests. Could the Valois
have conceived the thought of religious toleration, his throne even then
might have been safe. But he preferred playing the game of the priests
and bigots, who execrated his name and were bent upon his destruction. At
last, at Plessis les Tours, the Bearnese, in his shabby old chamois
jacket and his well-dinted cuirass took the silken Henry in his arms, and
the two--the hero and the fribble--swearing eternal friendship, proceeded
to besiege Paris. A few weeks later, the dagger of Jacques Clement put an
end for ever to, the line of Valois. Luckless Henry III. slept with his
forefathers, and Henry of Bourbon and Navarre proclaimed himself King of
France. Catharine and her four sons had all past away at last, and it
would be a daring and a dexterous schemer who should now tear the crown,
for which he had so long and so patiently waited, from the iron grasp of
the Bearnese. Philip had a more difficult game than ever to play in
France. It would be hard for him to make valid the claims of the Infanta
and any husband he might select for her to the crown of her grandfather
Henry II. It seemed simple enough for him, while waiting the course of
events, to set up a royal effigy before the world in the shape of an
effete old Cardinal Bourbon, to pour oil upon its head and to baptize it
Charles X.; but meantime the other Bourbon was no effigy, and he called
himself Henry IV.

It was easy enough for Paris, and Madam League, and Philip the Prudent,
to cry wo upon the heretic; but the cheerful leader of the Huguenots was
a philosopher, who in the days of St. Bartholomew had become orthodox to
save his life, and who was already "instructing himself" anew in order to
secure his crown. Philip was used to deal with fanatics, and had often
been opposed by a religious bigotry as fierce as his own; but he might
perhaps be baffled by a good-humoured free-thinker, who was to teach him
a lesson in political theology of which he had never dreamed.

The Leaguers were not long in doubt as to the meaning of "instruction,"
and they were thoroughly persuaded that--so soon as Henry IV. should
reconcile himself with Rome--their game was likely to become desperate.

Nevertheless prudent Philip sat in his el