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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1588a
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands, 1588a" ***

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

By John Lothrop Motley

History of the United Netherlands, 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 England.

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 commander.

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 day.

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

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 Holland?

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 peace."

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

"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

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 be 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 hangman?

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

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