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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1585f
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1585f" ***

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

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, 1585

CHAPTER VI., Part 2.

     Sir John Norris sent to Holland--Parsimony of Elizabeth--Energy of
     Davison--Protracted Negotiations--Friendly Sentiments of Count
     Maurice--Letters from him and Louisa de Coligny--Davison vexed by
     the Queen's Caprice--Dissatisfaction of Leicester--His vehement
     Complaints--The Queen's Avarice--Perplexity of Davison--Manifesto
     of Elizabeth--Sir Philip Sidney--His Arrival at Flushing.

The envoys were then dismissed, and soon afterwards a portion of the
deputation took their departure from the Netherlands with the proposed
treaty.  It was however, as we know, quite too late for Saguntum.  Two
days after the signing of the treaty, the remaining envoys were at the
palace of Nonesuch, in conference with the Earl of Leicester, when a
gentleman rushed suddenly into the apartment, exclaiming with great
manifestations of anger:

"Antwerp has fallen!  A treaty has been signed with the Prince of Parma.
Aldegonde is the author of it all.  He is the culprit, who has betrayed
us;" with many more expressions of vehement denunciation.

The Queen was disappointed, but stood firm.  She had been slow in taking
her resolution, but she was unflinching when her mind was made up.
Instead of retreating from her, position, now that it became doubly
dangerous, she advanced several steps nearer towards her allies.  For
it was obvious, if more precious time should be lost, that Holland and
Zeeland would share the fate of Antwerp.  Already the belief, that, with
the loss of that city, all had been lost, was spreading both in the
Provinces and in England, and Elizabeth felt that the time had indeed
come to confront the danger.

Meantime the intrigues of the enemy in the independent Provinces were
rife.  Blunt Roger Williams wrote in very plain language to Walsingham,
a very few days after the capitulation of Antwerp:

"If her Majesty means to have Holland and Zeeland," said he, "she must
resolve presently.  Aldegonde hath promised the enemy to bring them to
compound.  Here arrived already his ministers which knew all his dealings
about Antwerp from first to last.  Count Maurice is governed altogether
by Villiers, and Villiers was never worse for the English than at this
hour.  To be short, the people say in general, they will accept a peace,
unless her Majesty do sovereign them presently.  All the men of war will
be at her Highness' devotion, if they be in credit in time.  What you do,
it must be done presently, for I do assure your honour there is large
offers presented unto them by the enemies.  If her Majesty deals not
roundly and resolutely with them now, it will be too late two months

Her Majesty meant to deal roundly and resolutely.  Her troops had already
gone in considerable numbers.  She wrote encouraging letters with her own
hand to the States, imploring them not to falter now, even though the
great city had fallen.  She had long since promised never to desert them,
and she was, if possible, more determined than ever to redeem her pledge.
She especially recommended to their consideration General Norris,
commander of the forces that had been despatched to the relief of

A most accomplished officer, sprung of a house renowned for its romantic
valour, Sir John was the second of the six sons of Lord Norris of Rycot,
all soldiers of high reputation, "chickens of Mars," as an old writer
expressed himself.  "Such a bunch of brethren for eminent achievement,"
said he, "was never seen.  So great their states and stomachs that they
often jostled with others."  Elizabeth called their mother, "her own
crow;"  and the darkness of her hair and visage was thought not
unbecoming to her martial issue, by whom it had been inherited.  Daughter
of Lord Williams of Tame, who had been keeper of the Tower in the time of
Elizabeth's imprisonment, she had been affectionate and serviceable to
the Princess in the hour of her distress, and had been rewarded with her
favour in the days of her grandeur.  We shall often meet this crow-black
Norris, and his younger brother Sir Edward--the most daring soldiers of
their time, posters of sea and land--wherever the buffeting was closest,
or adventure the wildest on ship-board or shore, for they were men who
combined much of the knight-errantry of a vanishing age with the more
practical and expansive spirit of adventure that characterized the new

Nor was he a stranger in the Netherlands.  "The gentleman to whom we have
committed the government of the forces going to the relief of Antwerp,"
said Elizabeth, "has already given you such proofs of his affection by
the good services he has rendered you, that without recommendation on our
part, he should stand already recommended.  Nevertheless, in respect for
his quality, the house from which he is descended, and the valour which
he has manifested in your own country, we desire to tell you that we hold
him dear, and that he deserves also to be dear to you."

When the fall of Antwerp was certain, the Queen sent Davison, who had
been for a brief period in England, back again to his post.  "We have
learned," she said in the letter which she sent by that envoy; "with very
great regret of the surrender of Antwerp.  Fearing lest some apprehension
should take possession of the people's mind in consequence, and that some
dangerous change might ensue, we send you our faithful and well-beloved
Davison to represent to you how much we have your affairs at heart, and
to say that we are determined to forget nothing that may be necessary to
your preservation.  Assure yourselves that we shall never fail to
accomplish all that he may promise you in our behalf."

Yet, notwithstanding the gravity of the situation, the thorough
discussion that had taken place of the whole matter, and the enormous
loss which had resulted from the money-saving insanity upon both sides,
even then the busy devil of petty economy was not quite exorcised.
Several precious weeks were wasted in renewed chafferings.  The Queen was
willing that the permanent force should now be raised to five thousand
foot and one thousand horse--the additional sixteen, hundred men being
taken from the Antwerp relieving-force--but she insisted that the
garrisons for the cautionary towns should be squeezed out of this general
contingent.  The States, on the contrary, were determined to screw these
garrisons out of her grip, as an additional subsidy.  Each party
complained with reason of the other's closeness.  No doubt the states
were shrewd bargainers, but it would have been difficult for the sharpest
Hollander that ever sent a cargo of herrings to Cadiz, to force open
Elizabeth's beautiful hand when she chose to shut it close.  Walsingham
and Leicester were alternately driven to despair by the covetousness of
the one party or the other.

It was still uncertain what "personage of quality" was to go to the
Netherlands in the Queen's name, to help govern the country.  Leicester
had professed his readiness to risk his life, estates, and reputation,
in the cause, and the States particularly desired his appointment.
"The name of your Excellency is so very agreeable to this people," said
they in a letter to the Earl, "as to give promise of a brief and happy
end to this grievous and almost immortal war."  The Queen was, or
affected to be, still undecided as to the appointment.  While waiting
week after week for the ratifications of the treaty from Holland, affairs
were looking gloomy at home, and her Majesty was growing very uncertain
in her temper.

"I see not her Majesty disposed to use the service of the Earl of
Leicester," wrote Walsingham.  "I suppose the lot of government will
light on Lord Gray.  I would to God the ability of his purse were
answerable to his sufficiency otherwise."  This was certainly a most
essential deficiency on the part of Lord Gray, and it will soon be seen
that the personage of quality to be selected as chief in the arduous and
honourable enterprise now on foot, would be obliged to rely quite as much
on that same ability of purse as upon the sufficiency of his brain or
arm.  The Queen did not mean to send her favourite forth to purchase
anything but honour in the Netherlands; and it was not the Provinces only
that were likely to struggle against her parsimony.  Yet that parsimony
sprang from a nobler motive than the mere love of pelf.  Dangers
encompassed her on every side, and while husbanding her own exchequer,
she was saving her subjects' resources.  "Here we are but book-worms,"
said Walsingham, "yet from sundry quarters we hear of great practices
against this poor crown.  The revolt in Scotland is greatly feared, and
that out of hand."

Scotland, France, Spain, these were dangerous enemies and neighbours to a
maiden Queen, who had a rebellious Ireland to deal with on one side the
channel, and Alexander of Parma on the other.

Davison experienced great inconvenience and annoyance before the definite
arrangements could be made.  There is no doubt that the Spanish party had
made great progress since the fall of Antwerp.  Roger Williams was right
in advising the Queen to deal" roundly and resolutely" with the States,
and to "sovereign them presently."

They had need of being sovereigned, for it must be confessed that the
self-government which prevailed at that moment was very like no
government.  The death of Orange, the treachery of Henry III., the
triumphs of Parma, disastrous facts, treading rapidly upon each other,
had produced a not very unnatural effect.  The peace-at-any-price party
was struggling hard for the ascendancy, and the Spanish partizans were
doing their best to hold up to suspicion the sharp practice of the
English Queen.  She was even accused of underhand dealing with Spain,
to the disadvantage of the Provinces; so much had slander, anarchy, and
despair, been able to effect.  The States were reluctant to sign those
articles with Elizabeth which were absolutely necessary to their

"In how doubtful and uncertain terms I found things at my coming hither,"
wrote Davison to Burghley, "how thwarted and delayed since for a
resolution, and with what conditions, and for what reasons I have been
finally drawn to conclude with them as I have done, your Lordship may
perceive by that I have written to Mr. Secretary.  The chief difficulty
has rested upon the point of entertaining the garrisons within the towns
of assurance, over and besides the five thousand footmen and one thousand

This, as Davison proceeded to observe, was considered a 'sine qua non'
by the States, so that, under the perilous circumstances in which both
countries were placed, he had felt it his duty to go forward as far as
possible to meet their demands.  Davison always did his work veraciously,
thoroughly, and resolutely; and it was seldom that his advice, in all
matters pertaining to Netherland matters, did not prove the very best
that could be offered.  No man knew better than he the interests and the
temper of both countries.

The imperious Elizabeth was not fond of being thwarted, least of all by
any thing savouring of the democratic principle, and already there was
much friction between the Tudor spirit of absolutism and the rough
"mechanical" nature with which it was to ally itself in the Netherlands.
The economical Elizabeth was not pleased at being overreached in a
bargain; and, at a moment when she thought herself doing a magnanimous
act, she was vexed at the cavilling with which her generosity was
received.  "'Tis a manner of proceeding," said Walsingham, "not to be
allowed of, and may very well be termed mechanical, considering that her
Majesty seeketh no interest in that country--as Monsieur and the French
King did--but only their good and benefit, without regard had of the
expenses of her treasure and the hazard of her subjects' lives; besides
throwing herself into a present war for their sakes with the greatest
prince and potentate in Europe.  But seeing the government of those
countries resteth in the hands of merchants and advocates--the one
regarding profit, the other standing upon vantage of quirks--there
is no better fruit to be looked to from them."

Yet it was, after all, no quirk in those merchants and advocates to urge
that the Queen was not going to war with the great potentate for their
sakes alone.  To Elizabeth's honour, she did thoroughly comprehend that
the war of the Netherlands was the war of England, of Protestantism, and
of European liberty, and that she could no longer, without courting her
own destruction, defer taking a part in active military operations.  It
was no quirk, then, but solid reasoning, for the States to regard the
subject in the same light.  Holland and England were embarked in one
boat, and were to sink or swim together.  It was waste of time to wrangle
so fiercely over pounds and shillings, but the fault was not to be
exclusively imputed to the one side or the other.  There were bitter
recriminations, particularly on the part of Elizabeth, for it was not
safe to touch too closely either the pride or the pocket of that frugal
and despotic heroine.  "The two thousand pounds promised by the States to
Norris upon the muster of the two thousand volunteers," said Walsingham,
"were not paid.  Her Majesty is not a little offended therewith, seeing
how little care they have to yield her satisfaction, which she imputeth
to proceed rather from contempt, than from necessity.  If it should fall
out, however, to be such as by them is pretended, then doth she conceive
her bargain to be very ill made, to join her fortune with so weak and
broken an estate."  Already there were indications that the innocent
might be made to suffer for the short-comings of the real culprits; nor
would it be, the first time, or by any means the last, for Davison to
appear in the character of a scape-goat.

"Surely, sir," continued Mr. Secretary, "it is a thing greatly to be
feared that the contributions they will yield will fall not more true in
paper than in payment; which if it should so happen, it would turn some
to blame, whereof you among others are to bear your part."

And thus the months of September and of October wore away, and the
ratifications of the treaty had not arrived from the Netherlands.
Elizabeth became furious, and those of the Netherland deputation who had
remained in England were at their wits' end to appease her choler.  No
news arrived for many weeks.  Those were not the days of steam and
magnetic telegraphs--inventions by which the nature of man and the aspect
of history seem altered--and the Queen had nothing for it but to fret,
and the envoys to concert with her ministers expedients to mitigate her
spleen.  Towards the end of the month, the commissioners chartered a
vessel which they despatched for news to Holland.  On his way across the
sea the captain was hailed on the 28th October by a boat, in which one
Hans Wyghans was leisurely proceeding to England with Netherland
despatches dated on the 5th of the same month.  This was the freshest
intelligence that had yet been received.

So soon as the envoys were put in possession of the documents, they
obtained an audience of the Queen.  This was the last day of October.
Elizabeth read her letters, and listened to the apologies made by the
deputies for the delay with anything but a benignant countenance.
Then, with much vehemence of language, and manifestations of ill-temper,
she expressed her displeasure at the dilatoriness of the States.  Having
sent so many troops, and so many gentlemen of quality, she had considered
the whole affair concluded.

"I have been unhandsomely treated," she said, "and not as comports with a
prince of my quality.  My inclination for your support--because you show
yourselves unworthy of so great benefits--will be entirely destroyed,
unless you deal with me and mine more worthily for the future than you
have done in the past.  Through my great and especial affection for
your welfare, I had ordered the Earl of Leicester to proceed to the
Netherlands, and conduct your affairs; a man of such quality as all the
world knows, and one whom I love, as if he were my own brother.  He was
getting himself ready in all diligence, putting himself in many perils
through the practices of the enemy, and if I should have reason to
believe that he would not be respected there according to his due,
I should be indeed offended.  He and many others are not going thither
to advance their own affairs, to make themselves rich, or because they
have not means enough to live magnificently at home.  They proceed to the
Netherlands from pure affection for your cause.  This is the case, too,
with many other of my subjects, all dear to me, and of much worth.  For I
have sent a fine heap of folk thither--in all, with those his Excellency
is taking with him, not under ten thousand soldiers of the English
nation.  This is no small succour, and no little unbaring of this realm
of mine, threatened as it is with war from many quarters.  Yet I am
seeking no sovereignty, nor anything else prejudicial to the freedom of
your country.  I wish only, in your utmost need, to help you out of this
lamentable war, to maintain for you liberty of conscience, and to see
that law and justice are preserved."

All this, and more, with great eagerness of expression and gesture, was
urged by the Queen, much to the discomfiture of the envoys.  In vain they
attempted to modify and to explain.  Their faltering excuses were swept
rapidly away upon the current of royal wrath; until at last Elizabeth
stormed herself into exhaustion and comparative tranquillity.  She then
dismissed them with an assurance that her goodwill towards the States was
not diminished, as would be found to be the case, did they not continue
to prove themselves unworthy of her favour that a permanent force of five
thousand foot and one thousand horse should serve in the Provinces at the
Queen's expense; and that the cities of Flushing and Brill should be
placed in her Majesty's hands until the entire reimbursement of the debt
thus incurred by the States.  Elizabeth also--at last overcoming her
reluctance--agreed that the force necessary to garrison these towns
should form an additional contingent, instead of being deducted from the
general auxiliary force.

Count Maurice of Nassau had been confirmed by the States of Holland and
Zeeland as permanent stadholder of those provinces.  This measure excited
some suspicion on the part of Leicester, who, as it was now understood,
was the "personage of quality" to be sent to the Netherlands as
representative of the Queen's authority.  "Touching the election of Count
Maurice," said the Earl, "I hope it will be no impairing of the authority
heretofore allotted to me, for if it will be, I shall tarry but awhile."

Nothing, however, could be more frank or chivalrously devoted than the
language of Maurice to the Queen.  "Madam, if I have ever had occasion,"
he wrote, "to thank God for his benefits, I confess that it was when,
receiving in all humility the letters with which it pleased your Majesty
to honour me, I learned that the great disaster of my lord and father's
death had not diminished the debonaire affection and favour which it has
always pleased your Majesty to manifest to my father's house.  It has
been likewise grateful to me to learn that your Majesty, surrounded by so
many great and important affairs, had been pleased to approve the command
which the States-General have conferred upon me.  I am indeed grieved
that my actions cannot correspond with the ardent desire which I feel to
serve your Majesty and these Provinces, for which I hope that my extreme
youth will be accepted as an excuse.  And although I find myself feeble
enough for the charge thus imposed upon me, yet God will assist my
efforts to supply by diligence and sincere intention the defect of the
other qualities requisite for my thorough discharge of my duty to the
contentment of your Majesty.  To fulfil these obligations, which are
growing greater day by day, I trust to prove by my actions that I will
never spare either my labour or life."

When it was found that the important town of Flushing was required as
part of the guaranty to the Queen, Maurice, as hereditary seignor and
proprietor of the place--during the captivity of his elder brother in
Spain--signified his concurrence in the transfer, together with the most
friendly feelings towards the Earl of Leicester, and to Sir Philip
Sidney, appointed English governor of the town.  He wrote to Davison,
whom he called "one of the best and most certain friends that the house
of Nassau possessed in England," begging that he would recommend the
interests of the family to the Queen, "whose favour could do more than
anything else in the world towards maintaining what remained of the
dignity of their house."  After solemn deliberation with his step-mother,
Louisa de Coligny, and the other members of his family, he made a formal
announcement of adhesion on the part of the House of Nassau to the
arrangements concluded with the English government, and asked the
benediction of God upon the treaty.  While renouncing, for the moment,
any compensation for his consent to the pledging of Flushing his
"patrimonial property, and a place of such great importance"--he expressed
a confidence that the long services of his father, as well as those which
he himself hoped to render, would meet in time with "condign
recognition."  He requested the Earl of Leicester to consider the
friendship which had existed between himself and the late Prince of
Orange, as an hereditary affection to be continued to the children, and
he entreated the Earl to do him the honour in future to hold him as a
son, and to extend to him counsel and authority; declaring, on his part,
that he should ever deem it an honour to be allowed to call him father.
And in order still more strongly to confirm his friendship, he begged Sir
Philip Sidney to consider him as his brother, and as his companion in
arms, promising upon his own part the most faithful friendship.  In the
name of Louisa de Coligny, and of his whole family, he also particularly
recommended to the Queen the interests of the eldest brother of the
house, Philip William, "who had been so long and so iniquitously detained
captive in Spain," and begged that, in case prisoners of war of high rank
should fall into the hands of the English commanders, they might be
employed as a means of effecting the liberation of that much-injured
Prince.  He likewise desired the friendly offices of the Queen to protect
the principality of Orange against the possible designs of the French
monarch, and intimated that occasions might arise in which the
confiscated estates of the family in Burgundy might be recovered through
the influence of the Swiss cantons, particularly those of the Grisons and
of Berne.

And, in conclusion, in case the Queen should please--as both Count
Maurice and the Princess of Orange desired with all their hearts--to
assume the sovereignty of these Provinces, she was especially entreated
graciously to observe those suggestions regarding the interests of the
House of Nassau, which had been made in the articles of the treaty.

Thus the path had been smoothed, mainly through the indefatigable energy
of Davison.  Yet that envoy was not able to give satisfaction to his
imperious and somewhat whimsical mistress, whose zeal seemed to cool in
proportion to the readiness with which the obstacles to her wishes were
removed.  Davison was, with reason, discontented.  He had done more than
any other man either in England or the Provinces, to bring about a hearty
cooperation in the common cause, and to allay mutual heart-burnings and
suspicions.  He had also, owing to the negligence of the English
treasurer for the Netherlands, and the niggardliness of Elizabeth, been
placed in a position, of great financial embarrassment.  His situation
was very irksome.

"I mused at the sentence you sent me," he wrote, "for I know no cause her
Majesty hath to shrink at her charges hitherto.  The treasure she hath
yet disbursed here is not above five or six thousand pounds, besides that
which I have been obliged to take up for the saving of her honour, and
necessity of her service, in danger otherwise of some notable disgrace.
I will not, for shame, say how I have been left here to myself."

The delay in the formal appointment of Leicester, and, more particularly,
of the governors for the cautionary towns, was the cause of great
confusion and anarchy in the transitional condition of the country.
"The burden I am driven to sustain," said Davison, "doth utterly weary
me.  If Sir Philip Sidney were here, and if my Lord of Leicester follow
not all the sooner, I would use her Majesty's liberty to return home.
If her Majesty think me worthy the reputation of a poor, honest, and
loyal servant, I have that contents me.  For the rest, I wish

         'Vivere sine invidia, mollesque inglorius annos
          Egigere, amicitias et mihi jungere pares.'"

There was something almost prophetic in the tone which this faithful
public servant--to whom, on more than one occasion, such hard measure was
to be dealt--habitually adopted in his private letters and conversation.
He did his work, but he had not his reward; and he was already weary of
place without power, and industry without recognition.

"For mine own particular," he said, "I will say with the poet,

         'Crede mihi, bene qui latuit bene vixit,
          Et intra fortunam debet quisque manere suam.'"

For, notwithstanding the avidity with which Elizabeth had sought the
cautionary towns, and the fierceness with which she had censured the
tardiness of the States, she seemed now half inclined to drop the prize
which she had so much coveted, and to imitate the very languor which she
had so lately rebuked.  "She hath what she desired," said Davison, "and
might yet have more, if this content her not.  Howsoever you value the
places at home, they are esteemed here, by such as know them best, no
little increase to her Majesty's honour, surety, and greatness, if she be
as careful to keep them as happy in getting them.  Of this, our cold
beginning doth already make me jealous."

Sagacious and resolute Princess as she was, she showed something of
feminine caprice upon this grave occasion.  Not Davison alone, but
her most confidential ministers and favourites at home, were perplexed
and provoked by her misplaced political coquetries.  But while the
alternation of her hot and cold fits drove her most devoted courtiers out
of patience, there was one symptom that remained invariable throughout
all her paroxysms, the rigidity with which her hand was locked.
Walsingham, stealthy enough when an advantage was to be gained by
subtlety, was manful and determined in his dealings with his friends; and
he had more than once been offended with Elizabeth's want of frankness in
these transactions.

"I find you grieved, and not without cause," he wrote to Davison, "in
respect to the over thwart proceedings as well there as here.  The
disorders in those countries would be easily redressed if we could take
a thoroughly resolute course here--a matter that men may rather pray for
than hope for.  It is very doubtful whether the action now in hand will
be accompanied by very hard success, unless they of the country there may
be drawn to bear the greatest part of the burden of the wars."

And now the great favourite of all had received the appointment which he
coveted.  The Earl of Leicester was to be Commander-in-Chief of her
Majesty's forces in the Netherlands, and representative of her authority
in those countries, whatever that office might prove to be.  The nature
of his post was anomalous from the beginning.  It was environed with
difficulties, not the least irritating of which proceeded from the
captious spirit of the Queen.  The Earl was to proceed in great pomp to
Holland, but the pomp was to be prepared mainly at his own expense.
Besides the auxiliary forces that had been shipped during the latter
period of the year, Leicester was raising a force of lancers, from four
to eight hundred in number; but to pay for that levy he was forced to
mortgage his own property, while the Queen not only refused to advance
ready money, but declined endorsing his bills.

It must be confessed that the Earl's courtship of Elizabeth was anything
at that moment but a gentle dalliance.  In those thorny regions of
finance were no beds of asphodel or amaranthine bowers.  There was no
talk but of troopers, saltpetre, and sulphur, of books of assurance, and
bills of exchange; and the aspect of Elizabeth, when the budget was under
discussion, must effectually have neutralized for the time any very
tender sentiment.  The sharpness with which she clipped Leicester's
authority, when authority was indispensable to his dignity, and the heavy
demands upon his resources that were the result of her avarice, were
obstacles more than enough to the calm fruition of his triumphs.  He had
succeeded, in appearance at least, in the great object of his ambition,
this appointment to the Netherlands; but the appointment was no sinecure,
and least of all a promising pecuniary speculation.  Elizabeth had told
the envoys, with reason, that she was not sending forth that man--whom
she loved as a brother--in order that he might make himself rich.  On
the contrary, the Earl seemed likely to make himself comparatively poor
before he got to the Provinces, while his political power, at the moment,
did not seem of more hopeful growth.

Leicester had been determined and consistent in this great enterprize
from the beginning.  He felt intensely the importance of the crisis.  He
saw that the time had come for swift and uncompromising action, and the
impatience with which he bore the fetters imposed upon him may be easily

"The cause is such," he wrote to Walsingham, "that I had as lief be dead
as be in the case I shall be in if this restraint hold for taking the
oath there, or if some more authority be not granted than I see her
Majesty would I should have.  I trust you all will hold hard for this, or
else banish me England withal.  I have sent you the books to be signed by
her Majesty.  I beseech you return them with all haste, for I get no
money till they be under seal."

But her Majesty would not put them under her seal, much to the
favourite's discomfiture.

"Your letter yieldeth but cold answer," he wrote, two days afterwards.
"Above all things yet that her Majesty doth stick at, I marvel most at
her refusal to sign my book of assurance; for there passeth nothing in
the earth against her profit by that act, nor any good to me but to
satisfy the creditors, who were more scrupulous than needs.  I did
complain to her of those who did refuse to lend me money, and she was
greatly offended with them.  But if her Majesty were to stay this, if I
were half seas over, I must of necessity come back again, for I may not
go without money.  I beseech, if the matter be refused by her, bestow a
post on me to Harwich.  I lie this night at Sir John Peters', and but for
this doubt I had been to-morrow at Harwich.  I pray God make you all that
be counsellors plain and direct to the furtherance of all good service
for her Majesty and the realm; and if it be the will of God to plague us
that go, and you that tarry, for our sins, yet let us not be negligent to
seek to please the Lord."

The Earl was not negligent at any rate in seeking to please the Queen,
but she was singularly hard to please.  She had never been so uncertain
in her humours as at this important crisis.  She knew, and had publicly
stated as much, that she was "embarking in a war with the greatest
potentate in Europe;" yet now that the voyage had fairly commenced, and
the waves were rolling around her, she seemed anxious to put back to the
shore.  For there was even a whisper of peace-negotiations, than which
nothing could have been more ill-timed.  "I perceive by your message,"
said Leicester to Walsingham, "that your peace with Spain will go fast
on, but this is not the way."  Unquestionably it was not the way, and the
whisper was, for the moment at least, suppressed.  Meanwhile Leicester
had reached Harwich, but the post "bestowed on him," contained, as usual,
but cold comfort.  He was resolved, however, to go manfully forward, and
do the work before him, until the enterprise should prove wholly
impracticable.  It is by the light afforded by the secret never-published
correspondence of the period with which we are now occupied, that the
true characteristics of Elizabeth, the Earl of Leicester, and other
prominent personages, must be scanned, and the study is most important,
for it was by those characteristics, in combination with other human
elements embodied in distant parts of Christendom, that the destiny of
the world was determined.  In that age, more than in our own perhaps, the
influence of the individual was widely and intensely felt.  Historical
chymistry is only rendered possible by a detection of the subtle
emanations, which it was supposed would for ever elude analysis, but
which survive in those secret, frequently ciphered intercommunications.
Philip II., William of Orange, Queen Elizabeth, Alexander Farnese, Robert
Dudley, never dreamed--when disclosing their inmost thoughts to their
trusted friends at momentous epochs--that the day would come on earth
when those secrets would be no longer hid from the patient enquirer after
truth.  Well for those whose reputations before the judgment-seat of
history appear even comparatively pure, after impartial comparison of
their motives with their deeds.

"For mine own part, Mr. Secretary," wrote Leicester, "I am resolved to do
that which shall be fit for a poor man's honour, and honestly to obey her
Majesty's commandment.  Let the rest fall out to others, it shall not
concern me.  I mean to assemble myself to the camp, where my authority
must wholly lie, and will there do that which in good reason and duty I
shall be bound to do.  I am sorry that her Majesty doth deal in this
sort, and if content to overthrow so willingly her own cause.  If there
can be means to salve this sore, I will.  If not,--I tell you what shall
become of me, as truly as God lives."

Yet it is remarkable, that, in spite of this dark intimation, the Earl,
after all, did not state what was to become of him if the sore was not
salved.  He was, however, explicit enough as to the causes of his grief,
and very vehement in its manifestations.  "Another matter which shall
concern me deeply," he said, "and all the subjects there, is now by you
to be carefully considered, which is--money.  I find that the money is
already gone, and this now given to the treasurer will do no more than
pay to the end of the month.  I beseech you look to it, for by the Lord!
I will bear no more so miserable burdens; for if I have no money to pay
them, let them come home, or what else.  I will not starve them, nor stay
them.  There was never gentleman nor general so sent out as I am; and if
neither Queen nor council care to help it, but leave men desperate, as I
see men shall be, that inconvenience will follow which I trust in the
Lord I shall be free of."

He then used language about himself, singularly resembling the
phraseology employed by Elizabeth concerning him, when she was scolding
the Netherland commissioners for the dilatoriness and parsimony of the

"For mine own part," he said, "I have taken upon me this voyage, not as a
desperate nor forlorn man, but as one as well contented with his place
and calling at home as any subject was ever.  My cause was not, nor is,
any other than the Lord's and the Queen's.  If the Queen fail, yet must I
trust in the Lord, and on Him, I see, I am wholly to depend.  I can say
no more, but pray to God that her Majesty never send General again as I
am sent.  And yet I will do what I can for her and my country."

The Earl had raised a choice body of lancers to accompany him to the
Netherlands, but the expense of the levy had come mainly upon his own
purse.  The Queen had advanced five thousand pounds, which was much less
than the requisite amount, while for the balance required, as well as for
other necessary expenses, she obstinately declined to furnish Leicester
with funds, even refusing him, at last, a temporary loan.  She violently
accused him of cheating her, reclaimed money which he had wrung from her
on good security, and when he had repaid the sum, objected to give him a
discharge.  As for receiving anything by way of salary, that was quite
out of the question.  At that moment he would have been only too happy to
be reimbursed for what he was already out of pocket.  Whether Elizabeth
loved Leicester as a brother, or better than a brother, may be a
historical question, but it is no question at all that she loved money
better than she did Leicester.  Unhappy the man, whether foe or
favourite, who had pecuniary transactions with her Highness.

"I am sorry," said the Earl, "that her Majesty hath so hard a conceit of
me, that I should go about to cozen her, as though I had got a fee simple
from her, and had it not before, or that I had not had her full release
for payment of the money I borrowed.  I pray God, any that did put such
scruple in her, have not deceived her more than I have done.  I thank God
I have a clear conscience for deceiving her, and for money matters.  I
think I may justly say I have been the only cause of more gain to her
coffers than all her chequer-men have been.  But so is the hap of some,
that all they do is nothing, and others that do nothing, do all, and have
all the thanks.  But I would this were all the grief I carry with me; but
God is my comfort, and on Him I cast all, for there is no surety in this
world beside.  What hope of help can I have, finding her Majesty so
strait with myself as she is?  I did trust that--the cause being hers and
this realm's--if I could have gotten no money of her merchants, she would
not have refused to have lent money on so easy prized land as mine, to
have been gainer and no loser by it.  Her Majesty, I see, will make trial
of me how I love her, and what will discourage me from her service.  But
resolved am I that no worldly respect shall draw me back from my faithful
discharge of my duty towards her, though she shall show to hate me, as it
goeth very near; for I find no love or favour at all.  And I pray you to
remember that I have not had one penny of her Majesty towards all these
charges of mine--not one penny-and, by all truth, I have already laid out
above five thousand pounds.  Her Majesty appointed eight thousand pounds
for the levy, which was after the rate of four hundred horse, and, upon
my fidelity, there is shipped, of horse of service, eight hundred, so
that there ought eight thousand more to have been paid me.  No general
that ever went that was not paid to the uttermost of these things before
he went, but had cash for his provision, which her Majesty would not
allow me--not one groat.  Well, let all this go, it is like I shall be
the last shall bear this, and some must suffer for the people.  Good Mr.
Secretary, let her Majesty know this, for I deserve God-a-mercy, at the

Leicester, to do him justice, was thoroughly alive to the importance of
the Crisis.  On political principle, at any rate, he was a firm supporter
of Protestantism, and even of Puritanism; a form of religion which
Elizabeth detested, and in which, with keen instinct, she detected a
mutinous element against the divine right of kings.  The Earl was quite
convinced of the absolute necessity that England should take up the
Netherland matter most vigorously, on pain of being herself destroyed.
All the most sagacious counsellors of Elizabeth were day by day more and
more confirmed in this opinion, and were inclined heartily to support the
new Lieutenant-General.  As for Leicester himself, while fully conscious
of his own merits, and of his firm intent to do his duty, he was also
grateful to those who were willing to befriend him in his arduous

"I have received a letter from my Lord Willoughby," he said, "to my
seeming, as wise a letter as I have read a great while, and not unfit for
her Majesty's sight.  I pray God open her eyes, that they may behold her
present estate indeed, and the wonderful means that God doth offer unto
her.  If she lose these opportunities, who can look for other but
dishonour and destruction?  My Lord Treasurer hath also written me a most
hearty and comfortable letter touching this voyage, not only in showing
the importance of it, both for her Majesty's own safety and the realm's,
but that the whole state of religion doth depend thereon, and therefore
doth faithfully promise his whole and best assistance for the supply of
all wants.  I was not a little glad to receive such a letter from him at
this time."

And from on board the 'Amity,' ready to set sail, he expressed his thanks
to Burghley, at finding him so "earnestly bent for the good supply and
maintenance of us poor men sent in her Majesty's service and our

As for Walsingham, earnestly a defender of the Netherland cause from the
beginning, he was wearied and disgusted with fighting against the Queen's
parsimony and caprice.  "He is utterly discouraged," said Leicester to
Burghley, "to deal any more in these causes.  I pray God your Lordship
grow not so too; for then all will to the ground; on my poor side

And to Sir Francis himself, he wrote, even as his vessel was casting off
her moorings:--"I am sorry, Mr. Secretary," he said, "to find you so
discouraged, and that her Majesty doth deem you so partial.  And yet my
suits to her Majesty have not of late been so many nor great, while the
greatest, I am sure, are for her Majesty's own service.  For my part, I
will discharge my duty as far as my poor ability and capacity shall
serve, and if I shall not have her gracious and princely support and
supply, the lack will be to us, for the present, but the shame and
dishonour will be hers."

And with these parting words the Earl committed himself to the December

Davison had been meantime doing his best to prepare the way in the
Netherlands for the reception of the English administration.  What man
could do, without money and without authority, he had done.  The
governors for Flushing and the Brill, Sir Philip Sidney and Sir Thomas
Cecil, eldest son of Lord Burghley, had been appointed, but had not
arrived.  Their coming was anxiously looked for, as during the interval
the condition of the garrisons was deplorable.  The English treasurer--
by some unaccountable and unpardonable negligence, for which it is to be
feared the Queen was herself to blame--was not upon the spot, and Davison
was driven out of his wits to devise expedients to save the soldiers from

"Your Lordship has seen by my former letters," wrote the Ambassador to
Burghley from Flushing, "what shift I have been driven to for the relief
of this garrison here, left 'a l'abandon;' without which mean they had
all fallen into wild and shameful disorder, to her Majesty's great
disgrace and overthrow of her service.  I am compelled, unless I would
see the poor men famish, and her Majesty aishonournd, to try my poor
credit for them."

General Sir John Norris was in the Betuwe, threatening Nvymegen, a town
which he found "not so flexible as he had hoped;" and, as he had but two
thousand men, while Alexander Farnese was thought to be marching upon him
with ten thousand, his position caused great anxiety.  Meantime, his
brother, Sir Edward, a hot-headed and somewhat wilful young man, who
"thought that all was too little for him," was giving the sober Davison a
good deal of trouble.  He had got himself into a quarrel, both with that
envoy and with Roger Williams, by claiming the right to control military
matters in Flushing until the arrival of Sidney.  "If Sir Thomas and Sir
Philip," said Davison, "do not make choice of more discreet, staid, and
expert commanders than those thrust into these places by Mr. Norris, they
will do themselves a great deal of worry, and her Majesty a great deal of

As might naturally be expected, the lamentable condition of the English
soldiers, unpaid and starving--according to the report of the Queen's
envoy himself--exercised anything but a salutary influence upon the minds
of the Netherlanders and perpetually fed the hopes of the Spanish
partizans that a composition with Philip and Parma would yet take place.
On the other hand, the States had been far more liberal in raising funds
than the Queen had shown herself to be, and were somewhat indignant at
being perpetually taunted with parsimony by her agents.  Davison was
offended by the injustice of Norris in this regard.  "The complaints
which the General hath made of the States to her Majesty," said he, "are
without cause, and I think, when your Lordship shall examine it well, you
will find it no little sum they have already disbursed unto him for their
part.  Wherein, nevertheless, if they had been looked into, they were
somewhat the more excusable, considering how ill our people at her
Majesty's entertainment were satisfied hitherto--a thing that doth much
prejudice her reputation, and hurt her service."

At last, however, the die had been cast.  The Queen, although rejecting
the proposed sovereignty of the Netherlands, had espoused their cause,
by solemn treaty of alliance, and thereby had thrown down the gauntlet
to Spain.  She deemed it necessary, therefore, out of respect for the
opinions of mankind, to issue a manifesto of her motives to the world.
The document was published, simultaneously in Dutch, French, English, and

In this solemn state-paper she spoke of the responsibility of princes
to the Almighty, of the ancient friendship between England and the
Netherlands, of the cruelty and tyranny of the Spaniards, of their
violation of the liberties of the Provinces, of their hanging, beheading,
banishing without law and against justice, in the space of a few months,
so many of the highest nobles in the land.  Although in the beginning of
the cruel persecution, the pretext had been the maintenance of the
Catholic religion, yet it was affirmed they had not failed to exercise
their barbarity upon Catholics also, and even upon ecclesiastics.  Of the
principal persons put to death, no one, it was asserted, had been more
devoted to the ancient church than was the brave Count Egmont, who, for
his famous victories in the service of Spain, could never be forgotten in
veracious history any more than could be the cruelty of his execution.

The land had been made desolate, continued the Queen, with fire, sword,
famine, and murder.  These misfortunes had ever been bitterly deplored by
friendly nations, and none could more truly regret such sufferings than
did the English, the oldest allies, and familiar neighbours of the
Provinces, who had been as close to them in the olden time by community
of connexion and language, as man and wife.  She declared that she had
frequently, by amicable embassies, warned her brother of Spain--speaking
to him like a good, dear sister and neighbour--that unless he restrained
the cruelty of his governors and their soldiers, he was sure to force his
Provinces into allegiance to some other power.  She expressed the danger
in which she should be placed if the Spaniards succeeded in establishing
their absolute government in the Netherlands, from which position their
attacks upon England would be incessant.  She spoke of the enterprise
favoured and set on foot by the Pope and by Spain, against the kingdom of
Ireland.  She alluded to the dismissal of the Spanish envoy, Don
Bernardino de Mendoza, who had been treated by her with great regard for
a long time, but who had been afterwards discovered in league with
certain ill-disposed and seditious subjects of hers, and with publicly
condemned traitors.  That envoy had arranged a plot according to which,
as appeared by his secret despatches, an invasion of England by a force
of men, coming partly from Spain, and partly from the Netherlands, might
be successfully managed, and he had even noted down the necessary number
of ships and men, with various other details.  Some of the conspirators
had fled, she observed, and were now consorting with Mendoza, who, after
his expulsion from England, had been appointed ambassador in Paris; while
some had been arrested, and had confessed the plot.  So soon as this
envoy had been discovered to be the chief of a rebellion and projected
invasion, the Queen had requested him, she said, to leave the kingdom
within a reasonable time, as one who was the object of deadly hatred to
the English people.  She had then sent an agent to Spain, in order to
explain the whole transaction.  That agent had not been allowed even to
deliver despatches to the King.

When the French had sought, at a previous period, to establish their
authority in Scotland, even as the Spaniards had attempted to do in the
Netherlands, and through the enormous ambition of the House of Guise, to
undertake the invasion of her kingdom, she had frustrated their plots,
even as she meant to suppress these Spanish conspiracies.  She spoke of
the Prince of Parma as more disposed by nature to mercy and humanity,
than preceding governors had been, but as unable to restrain the blood-
thirstiness of Spaniards, increased by long indulgence.  She avowed, in
assuming the protection of the Netherlands, and in sending her troops to
those countries, but three objects: peace, founded upon the recognition
of religious freedom in the Provinces, restoration of their ancient
political liberties, and security for England.  Never could there be
tranquillity, for her own realm until these neighbouring countries were
tranquil.  These were her ends and aims, despite all that slanderous
tongues might invent.  The world, she observed, was overflowing with
blasphemous libels, calumnies, scandalous pamphlets; for never had the
Devil been so busy in supplying evil tongues with venom against the
professors of the Christian religion.

She added that in a pamphlet, ascribed to the Archbishop of Milan, just
published, she had been accused of ingratitude to the King of Spain, and
of plots to take the life of Alexander Farnese.  In answer to the first
charge, she willingly acknowledged her obligations to the King of Spain
during the reign of her sister.  She pronounced it, however, an absolute
falsehood that he had ever saved her life, as if she had ever been
condemned to death.  She likewise denied earnestly the charge regarding
the Prince of Parma.  She protested herself incapable of such a crime,
besides declaring that he had never given her offence.  On the contrary,
he was a man whom she had ever honoured for the rare qualities that she
had noted in him, and for which he had deservedly acquired a high

Such, in brief analysis, was the memorable Declaration of Elizabeth in
favour of the Netherlands--a document which was a hardly disguised
proclamation of war against Philip.  In no age of the world could an
unequivocal agreement to assist rebellious subjects, with men and money,
against their sovereign, be considered otherwise than as a hostile
demonstration.  The King of Spain so regarded the movement, and forthwith
issued a decree, ordering the seizure of all English as well as all
Netherland vessels within his ports, together with the arrest of persons,
and confiscation of property.

Subsequently to the publication of the Queen's memorial, and before the
departure of the Earl of Leicester, Sir Philip Sidney, having received
his appointment, together with the rank of general of cavalry, arrived in
the Isle of Walcheren, as governor of Flushing, at the head of a portion
of the English contingent.

It is impossible not to contemplate with affection so radiant a figure,
shining through the cold mists of that Zeeland winter, and that distant
and disastrous epoch.  There is hardly a character in history upon which
the imagination can dwell with more unalloyed delight.  Not in romantic
fiction was there ever created a more attractive incarnation of martial
valour, poetic genius, and purity of heart.  If the mocking spirit of the
soldier of Lepanto could "smile chivalry away," the name alone of his
English contemporary is potent enough to conjure it back again, so long
as humanity is alive to the nobler impulses.

"I cannot pass him over in silence," says a dusty chronicler, "that
glorious star, that lively pattern of virtue, and the lovely joy of all
the learned sort.  It was God's will that he should be born into the
world, even to show unto our age a sample of ancient virtue."  The
descendant of an ancient Norman race, and allied to many of the proudest
nobles in England, Sidney himself was but a commoner, a private
individual, a soldier of fortune.  He was now in his thirty second year,
and should have been foremost among the states men of Elizabeth, had it
not been, according to Lord Bacon, a maxim of the Cecils, that "able men
should be by design and of purpose suppressed."  Whatever of truth there
may have been in the bitter remark, it is certainly strange that a man so
gifted as Sidney--of whom his father-in-law Walsingham had declared, that
"although he had influence in all countries, and a hand upon all affairs,
his Philip did far overshoot him with his own bow"--should have passed so
much of his life in retirement, or in comparatively insignificant
employments.  The Queen, as he himself observed, was most apt to
interpret everything to his disadvantage.  Among those who knew him well,
there seems never to have been a dissenting voice.  His father, Sir Henry
Sidney, lord-deputy of Ireland, and president of Wales, a states man of
accomplishments and experience, called him "lumen familiae suae," and
said of him, with pardonable pride, "that he had the most virtues which
he had ever found in any man; that he was the very formular that all
well-disposed young gentlemen do form their manners and life by."

The learned Hubert Languet, companion of Melancthon, tried friend of
William the Silent, was his fervent admirer and correspondent.  The great
Prince of Orange held him in high esteem, and sent word to Queen
Elizabeth, that having himself been an actor in the most important
affairs of Europe, and acquainted with her foremost men, he could "pledge
his credit that her Majesty had one of the ripest and greatest
councillors of state in Sir Philip Sidney that lived in Europe."

The incidents of his brief and brilliant life, up to his arrival upon the
fatal soil of the Netherlands, are too well known to need recalling.
Adorned with the best culture that, in a learned age, could be obtained
in the best seminaries of his native country, where, during childhood and
youth, he had been distinguished for a "lovely and familiar gravity
beyond his years," he rapidly acquired the admiration of his comrades and
the esteem of all his teachers.

Travelling for three years, he made the acquaintance and gained the
personal regard of such opposite characters as Charles IX. of France,
Henry of Navarre, Don John of Austria, and William of Orange, and
perfected his accomplishments by residence and study, alternately, in
courts, camps, and learned universities.  He was in Paris during the
memorable days of August, 1572, and narrowly escaped perishing in the
St. Bartholomew Massacre.  On his return, he was, for a brief period,
the idol of the English court, which, it was said, "was maimed without
his company."  At the age of twenty-one he was appointed special envoy to
Vienna, ostensibly for the purpose of congratulating the Emperor Rudolph
upon his accession, but in reality that he might take the opportunity of
sounding the secret purposes of the Protestant princes of Germany, in
regard to the great contest of the age.  In this mission, young as he
was, he acquitted himself, not only to the satisfaction, but to the
admiration of Walsingham, certainly a master himself in that occult
science, the diplomacy of the sixteenth century.  "There hath not been,"
said he, "any gentleman, I am sure, that hath gone through so honourable
a charge with as great commendations as he."

When the memorable marriage-project of Queen Elizabeth with Anjou seemed
about to take effect, he denounced the scheme in a most spirited and
candid letter, addressed to her Majesty; nor is it recorded that the
Queen was offended with his frankness.  Indeed we are informed that
"although he found a sweet stream of sovereign humours in that well-
tempered lady to run against him, yet found he safety in herself against
that selfness which appeared to threaten him in her."  Whatever this
might mean, translated out of euphuism into English, it is certain that
his conduct was regarded with small favour by the court-grandees, by whom
"worth, duty, and justice, were looked upon with no other eyes than

The difficulty of swimming against that sweet stream of sovereign humours
in the well-tempered Elizabeth, was aggravated by his quarrel, at this
period, with the magnificent Oxford.  A dispute at a tennis-court, where
many courtiers and foreigners were looking on, proceeded rapidly from one
extremity to another.  The Earl commanded Sir Philip to leave the place.
Sir Philip responded, that if he were of a mind that he should go, he
himself was of a mind that he should remain; adding that if he had
entreated, where he had no right to command, he might have done more than
"with the scourge of fury."--"This answer," says Fulke Greville, in a
style worthy of Don Adriano de Armado, "did, like a bellows, blowing up
the sparks of excess already kindled, make my lord scornfully call Sir
Philip by the name of puppy.  In which progress of heat, as the tempest
grew more and more vehement within, so did their hearts breathe out their
perturbations in a more loud and shrill accent;" and so on; but the
impending duel was the next day forbidden by express command of her
Majesty.  Sidney, not feeling the full force of the royal homily upon the
necessity of great deference from gentlemen to their superiors in rank,
in order to protect all orders from the insults of plebeians, soon
afterwards retired from the court.  To his sylvan seclusion the world
owes the pastoral and chivalrous romance of the 'Arcadia' and to the
pompous Earl, in consequence, an emotion of gratitude.  Nevertheless,
it was in him to do, rather than to write, and humanity seems defrauded,
when forced to accept the 'Arcadia,' the `Defence of Poesy,' and the
'Astrophel and Stella,' in discharge of its claims upon so great and pure
a soul.

Notwithstanding this disagreeable affair, and despite the memorable
letter against Anjou, Sir Philip suddenly flashes upon us again, as one
of the four challengers in a tournament to honour the Duke's presence in
England.  A vision of him in blue gilded armour--with horses caparisoned
in cloth of gold, pearl-embroidered, attended by pages in cloth of
silver, Venetian hose, laced hats, and by gentlemen, yeomen, and
trumpeters, in yellow velvet cassocks, buskins, and feathers--as one of
"the four fostered children of virtuous desire" (to wit, Anjou) storming
"the castle of perfect Beauty" (to wit, Queen Elizabeth, aetatis 47)
rises out of the cloud-dusts of ancient chronicle for a moment, and then
vanishes into air again.

         "Having that day his hand, his horse, his lance,
            Guided so well that they attained the prize
            Both in the judgment of our English eyes,
          But of some sent by that sweet enemy, France,"

as he chivalrously sings, he soon afterwards felt inclined for wider
fields of honourable adventure.  It was impossible that knight-errant so
true should not feel keenest sympathy with an oppressed people struggling
against such odds, as the Netherlanders were doing in their contest with
Spain.  So soon as the treaty with England was arranged, it was his
ambition to take part in the dark and dangerous enterprise, and, being
son-in-law to Walsingham and nephew to Leicester, he had a right to
believe that his talents and character would, on this occasion, be
recognised.  But, like his "very friend," Lord Willoughby, he was "not of
the genus Reptilia, and could neither creep nor crouch," and he failed,
as usual, to win his way to the Queen's favour.  The governorship of
Flushing was denied him, and, stung to the heart by such neglect, he
determined to seek his fortune beyond the seas.

"Sir Philip hath taken a very hard resolution," wrote Walsingham to
Davison, "to accompany Sir Francis Drake in this voyage, moved thereto
for that he saw her Majesty disposed to commit the charge of Flushing
unto some other; which he reputed would fall out greatly to his disgrace,
to see another preferred before him, both for birth and judgment inferior
unto him.  The despair thereof and the disgrace that he doubted he should
receive have carried him into a different course."

The Queen, however, relenting at last, interfered to frustrate his
design.  Having thus balked his ambition in the Indian seas, she felt
pledged to offer him the employment which he had originally solicited,
and she accordingly conferred upon him the governorship of Flushing, with
the rank of general of horse, under the Earl of Leicester.  In the latter
part of November, he cast anchor, in the midst of a violent storm, at
Rammekins, and thence came to the city of his government.  Young, and
looking even younger than his years--"not only of an excellent wit, but
extremely beautiful of face"--with delicately chiselled Anglo-Norman
features, smooth fair cheek, a faint moustache, blue eyes, and a mass of
amber-coloured hair; such was the author of 'Arcadia' and the governor of

And thus an Anglo-Norman representative of ancient race had come back to
the home of his ancestors.  Scholar, poet, knight-errant, finished
gentleman, he aptly typified the result of seven centuries of
civilization upon the wild Danish pirate.  For among those very
quicksands of storm-beaten Walachria that wondrous Normandy first came
into existence whose wings were to sweep over all the high places of
Christendom.  Out of these creeks, lagunes, and almost inaccessible
sandbanks, those bold freebooters sailed forth on their forays against
England, France, and other adjacent countries, and here they brought and
buried the booty of many a wild adventure.  Here, at a later day, Rollo
the Dane had that memorable dream of leprosy, the cure of which was the
conversion of North Gaul into Normandy, of Pagans into Christians, and
the subsequent conquest of every throne in Christendom from Ultima Thule
to Byzantium.  And now the descendant of those early freebooters had come
back to the spot, at a moment when a wider and even more imperial swoop
was to be made by their modern representatives.  For the sea-kings of the
sixteenth century--the Drakes, Hawkinses, Frobishers, Raleighs,
Cavendishes--the De Moors, Heemskerks, Barendts--all sprung of the old
pirate-lineage, whether called Englanders or Hollanders, and instinct
with the same hereditary love of adventure, were about to wrestle with
ancient tyrannies, to explore the most inaccessible regions, and to
establish new commonwealths in worlds undreamed of by their ancestors--
to accomplish, in short, more wondrous feats than had been attempted by
the Knuts, and Rollos, Rurics, Ropers, and Tancreds, of an earlier age.

The place which Sidney was appointed to govern was one of great military
and commercial importance.  Flushing was the key to the navigation of the
North Seas, ever since the disastrous storm of a century before, in which
a great trading city on the outermost verge of the island had been
swallowed bodily by the ocean.  The Emperor had so thoroughly recognized
its value, as to make special mention of the necessity for its
preservation, in his private instructions to Philip, and now the Queen of
England had confided it to one who was competent to appreciate and to
defend the prize.  "How great a jewel this place (Flushing) is to the
crown of England," wrote Sidney to his Uncle Leicester, "and to the
Queen's safety, I need not now write it to your lordship, who knows it
so well.  Yet I must needs say, the better I know it, the more I find
the preciousness of it."

He did not enter into his government, however, with much pomp and
circumstance, but came afoot into Flushing in the midst of winter and
foul weather.  "Driven to land at Rammekins," said he, "because the wind
began to rise in such sort as from thence our mariners durst not enter
the town, I came with as dirty a walk as ever poor governor entered his
charge withal."  But he was cordially welcomed, nor did he arrive by any
means too soon.

"I find the people very glad of our coming," he said, "and promise myself
as much surety in keeping this town, as popular good-will, gotten by
light hopes, and by as slight conceits, may breed; for indeed the
garrison is far too weak to command by authority, which is pity . . . .
I think, truly, that if my coming had been longer delayed, some
alteration would have followed; for the truth is, this people is weary
of war, and if they do not see such a course taken as may be likely to
defend them, they will in a sudden give over the cause. . . . All will
be lost if government be not presently used."

He expressed much anxiety for the arrival of his uncle, with which
sentiments he assured the Earl that the Netherlanders fully sympathized.
"Your Lordship's coming," he said, "is as much longed for as Messias is
of the Jews.  It is indeed most necessary that your Lordship make great
speed to reform both the Dutch and English abuses."


Able men should be by design and of purpose suppressed
He did his work, but he had not his reward
Matter that men may rather pray for than hope for
Not of the genus Reptilia, and could neither creep nor crouch
Others that do nothing, do all, and have all the thanks
Peace-at-any-price party
The busy devil of petty economy
Thought that all was too little for him
Weary of place without power

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1585f" ***

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