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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1586b
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1586b" ***

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

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 45, 1586


     Leicester's Letters to his Friends--Paltry Conduct of the Earl to
     Davison--He excuses himself at Davison's Expense--His Letter to
     Burghley--Effect of the Queen's Letters to the States--Suspicion and
     Discontent in Holland--States excuse their Conduct to the Queen--
     Leicester discredited in Holland--Evil Consequences to Holland and
     England--Magic: Effect of a Letter from Leicester--The Queen
     appeased--Her Letters to the States and the Earl--She permits the
     granted Authority----Unhappy Results of the Queen's Course--Her
     variable Moods--She attempts to deceive Walsingham--Her Injustice to
     Heneage--His Perplexity and Distress--Humiliating Position of
     Leicester--His melancholy Letters to the Queen--He receives a little
     Consolation--And writes more cheerfully--The Queen is more
     benignant--The States less contented than the Earl--His Quarrels
     with them begin.

While these storms were blowing and "overblowing" in England, Leicester
remained greatly embarrassed and anxious in Holland.  He had sown the
wind more extensively than he had dreamed of when accepting the
government, and he was now awaiting, with much trepidation, the usual
harvest: And we have seen that it was rapidly ripening.  Meantime, the
good which he had really effected in the Provinces by the course he had
taken was likely to be neutralized by the sinister rumours as to his
impending disgrace, while the enemy was proportionally encouraged.
"I understand credibly," he said, "that the Prince of Parma feels himself
in great jollity that her Majesty doth rather mislike than allow of our
doings here, which; if it be true, let her be sure her own sweet self
shall first smart."

Moreover; the English troops were, as we have seen, mere shoeless,
shivering, starving vagabonds.  The Earl had generously advanced very
large sums of money from his own pocket to relieve their necessity.  The
States, on the other hand, had voluntarily increased the monthly
contribution of 200,000 florins, to which their contract with Elizabeth
obliged them, and were more disposed than ever they had been since the
death of Orange to proceed vigorously and harmoniously against the common
enemy of Christendom.  Under such circumstances it may well be imagined
that there was cause on Leicester's part for deep mortification at the
tragical turn which the Queen's temper seemed to be taking.

"I know not," he said, "how her Majesty doth mean to dispose of me.
It hath grieved me more than I can express that for faithful and good
service she should so deeply conceive against me.  God knows with what
mind I have served her Highness, and perhaps some others might have
failed.  Yet she is neither tied one jot by covenant or promise by me in
any way, nor at one groat the more charges, but myself two or three
thousand pounds sterling more than now is like to be well spent.  I will
desire no partial speech in my favour.  If my doings be ill for her
Majesty and the realm, let me feel the smart of it.  The cause is now
well forward; let not her majesty suffer it to quail.  If you will have
it proceed to good effect, send away Sir William Pelham with all the
haste you can.  I mean not to complain, but with so weighty a cause as
this is, few men have been so weakly assisted.  Her Majesty hath far
better choice for my place, and with any that may succeed me let Sir
William Pelham be first that may come.  I speak from my soul for her
Majesty's service.  I am for myself upon an hour's warning to obey her
good pleasure."

Thus far the Earl had maintained his dignity.  He had yielded to the
solicitations of the States, and had thereby exceeded his commission, and
gratified his ambition, but he had in no wise forfeited his self-respect.
But--so soon as the first unquestionable intelligence of the passion to
which the Queen had given way at his misdoings reached him--he began to
whimper, The straightforward tone which Davison had adopted in his
interviews with Elizabeth, and the firmness with which he had defended
the cause of his absent friend, at a moment when he had plunged himself
into disgrace, was worthy of applause.  He deserved at least a word of
honest thanks.

Ignoble however was the demeanor of the Earl towards the man--for whom
he had but recently been unable to invent eulogies sufficiently warm--
so soon as he conceived the possibility of sacrificing his friend as the
scape-goat for his own fault.  An honest schoolboy would have scorned to
leave thus in the lurch a comrade who had been fighting his battles so

"How earnest I was," he wrote to the lords of the council, 9th March,
1586, "not only to acquaint her Majesty, but immediately upon the first
motion made by the States, to send Mr. Davison over to her with letters,
I doubt not but he will truly affirm for me; yea, and how far against my
will it was, notwithstanding any reasons delivered me, that he and others
persisted in, to have me accept first of this place .  .  .  .  .  The
extremity of the case, and my being persuaded that Mr. Davison might have
better satisfied her Majesty, than I perceive he can, caused, me-neither
arrogantly nor contemptuously, but even merely and faithfully--to do her
Majesty the best service."

He acknowledged, certainly, that Davison had been influenced by honest
motives, although his importunities had been the real cause of the Earl's
neglect of his own obligations.  But he protested that he had himself,
only erred through an excessive pliancy to the will of others.  "My
yielding was my own fault," he admitted, "whatsoever his persuasions;
but far from a contemptuous heart, or else God pluck out both heart and
bowels with utter shame."

So soon as Sir Thomas Heneage had presented himself, and revealed the
full extent of the Queen's wrath, the Earl's disposition to cast the
whole crime on the shoulders of Davison became quite undisguised.

"I thank you for your letters," wrote Leicester to Walsingham, "though
you can send me no comfort.  Her Majesty doth deal hardly to believe so
ill of me.  It is true I faulted, but she doth not consider what
commodities she hath withal, and herself no way engaged for it, as Mr.
Davison might have better declared it, if it had pleased him.  And I
must thank him only for my blame, and so he will confess to you, for,
I protest before God, no necessity here could have made me leave her
Majesty unacquainted with the cause before I would have accepted of it,
but only his so earnest pressing me with his faithfid assured promise to
discharge me, however her Majesty should take it.  For you all see there
she had no other cause to be offended but this, and, by the Lord, he was
the only cause; albeit it is no sufficient allegation, being as I am .  .
.  .  .  He had, I think, saved all to have told her, as he promised me.
But now it is laid upon me, God send the cause to take no harm, my grief
must be the less.

"How far Mr. Heneage's commission shall deface me I know not.  He is wary
to observe his commission, and I consent withal.  I know the time will be
her Majesty will be sorry for it.  In the meantime I am too, too weary of
the high dignity.  I would that any that could serve her Majesty were
placed in it, and I to sit down with all my losses."

In more manful strain he then alluded to the sufferings of his army.
"Whatsoever become of me," he said, "give me leave to speak for the poor
soldiers.  If they be not better maintained, being in this strange
country, there will be neither good service done, nor be without great
dishonour to her Majesty .  .  .  .  .  Well, you see the wants, and it
is one cause that will glad me to be rid of this heavy high calling, and
wish me at my poor cottage again, if any I shall find.  But let her
Majesty pay them well, and appoint such a man as Sir William Pelham to
govern them, and she never wan more honour than these men here will do,
I am persuaded."

That the Earl was warmly urged by all most conversant with Netherland
politics to assume the government was a fact admitted by all.  That he
manifested rather eagerness than reluctance on the subject, and that his
only hesitation arose from the proposed restraints upon the power, not
from scruples about accepting the power, are facts upon record.  There
is nothing save his own assertion to show any backwardness on his part
to snatch the coveted prize; and that assertion was flatly denied by
Davison, and was indeed refuted by every circumstance in the case.  It
is certain that he had concealed from Davison the previous prohibitions
of the Queen.  He could anticipate much better than could Davison,
therefore, the probable indignation of the Queen.  It is strange then
that he should have shut his eyes to it so wilfully, and stranger still
that he should have relied on the envoy's eloquence instead of his own to
mitigate that emotion.  Had he placed his defence simply upon its true
basis, the necessity of the case, and the impossibility of carrying out
the Queen's intentions in any other way, it would be difficult to censure
him; but that he should seek to screen himself by laying the whole blame
on a subordinate, was enough to make any honest man who heard him hang
his head.  "I meant not to do it, but Davison told me to do it, please
your Majesty, and if there was naughtiness in it, he said he would make
it all right with your Majesty."  Such, reduced to its simplest
expression, was the defence of the magnificent Earl of Leicester.

And as he had gone cringing and whining to his royal mistress, so it was
natural that he should be brutal and blustering to his friend.

"By your means," said he, "I have fallen into her Majesty's deep
displeasure .  .  .  .  .  If you had delivered to her the truth of my
dealing, her Highness never could have conceived, as I perceive she doth
.  .  .  .  .  Nor doth her Majesty know how hardly I was drawn to accept
this place before I had acquainted her--as to which you promised you
would not only give her full satisfaction, but would, procure me great
thanks. . . . . You did chiefly persuade me to take this charge upon me
. . . . You can remember how many treaties you and others had with the
States, before I agreed; for all yours and their persuasion to take it
. . . . . You gave me assurance to satisfy her Majesty, but I see not
that you have done anything . . . . I did not hide from you the doubt
I had of her Majesty's ill taking it . . . . . You chiefly brought me
into it . . . . and it could no way have been heavy to you, though you
had told the uttermost of your own doing, as you faithfully promised you
would . . . . . I did very unwillingly come into the matter, doubting
that to fall out which is come to pass . . . . and it doth so fall out
by your negligent carelessness, whereof I many hundred times told you
that you would both mar the goodness of the matter, and breed me her
Majesty's displeasure . . . . . Thus fare you well, and except your
embassages have better success, I shall have no cause to commend them."

And so was the unfortunate Davison ground into finest dust between the
upper and lower millstones of royal wrath and loyal subserviency.

Meantime the other special envoy had made his appearance in the
Netherlands; the other go-between between the incensed Queen and the
backsliding favourite.  It has already been made sufficiently obvious,
by the sketch given of his instructions, that his mission was a delicate
one.  In obedience to those instructions, Heneage accordingly made his
appearance before the council, and, in Leicester's presence, delivered to
them the severe and biting reprimand which Elizabeth had chosen to
inflict upon the States and upon the governor.  The envoy performed his
ungracious task as daintily, as he could, and after preliminary
consultation with Leicester; but the proud Earl was deeply mortified."
The fourteenth day of this month of March," said he, "Sir Thomas Heneage
delivered a very sharp letter from her Majesty to the council of estate,
besides his message--myself being, present, for so was her Majesty's
pleasure, as he said, and I do think he did but as he was commanded.  How
great a grief it must be to an honest heart and a true, faithful servant,
before his own face, to a company of very wise and grave counsellors, who
had conceived a marvellous opinion before of my credit with her Majesty,
to be charged now with a manifest and wilful contempt!  Matter enough to
have broken any man's heart, that looked rather for thanks, as God doth
know I did when I first heard of Mr. Heneage's arrival--I must say to
your Lordship, for discharge of my duty, I can be no fit man to serve
here--my disgrace is too great--protesting to you that since that day I
cannot find it in my heart to come into that place, where, by my own
sufferings torn, I was made to be thought so lewd a person."

He then comforted himself--as he had a right to do--with the reflection
that this disgrace inflicted was more than he deserved, and that such
would be the opinion of those by whom he was surrounded.

"Albeit one thing," he said, "did greatly comfort me, that they all best
knew the wrong was great I had, and that her Majesty was very wrongfully
informed of the state of my cause.  I doubt not but they can and will
discharge me, howsoever they shall satisfy her Majesty.  And as I would
rather wish for death than justly to deserve her displeasure; so, good my
Lord, this disgrace not coming for any ill service to her, pray procure
me a speedy resolution, that I may go hide me and pray for her.  My heart
is broken, though thus far I can quiet myself, that I know I have done
her Majesty as faithful and good service in these countries as ever she
had done her since she was Queen of England .  .  .  .  .  Under
correction, my good Lord, I have had Halifax law--to be condemned first
and inquired upon after.  I pray God that no man find this measure that I
have done, and deserved no worse."

He defended himself--as Davison had already defended him--upon the
necessities of the case.

"I, a poor gentleman," he said, "who have wholly depended upon herself
alone--and now, being commanded to a service of the greatest importance
that ever her Majesty employed any servant in, and finding the occasion
so serving me, and the necessity of time such as would not permit such
delays, flatly seeing that if that opportunity were lost, the like again
for her service and the good of the realm was never, to be looked for,
presuming upon the favour of my prince, as many servants have done,
exceeding somewhat thereupon, rather than breaking any part of my
commission, taking upon me a place whereby I found these whole countries
could be held at her best devotion, without binding her Majesty to any
such matter as she had forbidden to the States before finding, I say,
both the time and opportunity to serve, and no lack but to trust to her
gracious acceptation, I now feel that how good, how honourable, how
profitable soever it be, it is turned to a worse part than if I had
broken all her commissions and commandments, to the greatest harm, and
dishonour, and danger, that may be imagined against her person, state,
and dignity."

He protested, not without a show of reason, that he was like to be worse
punished "for well-doing than any man that had committed a most heinous
or traitorous offence," and he maintained that if he had not accepted the
government, as he had done, "the whole State had been gone and wholly
lost."  All this--as we have seen--had already been stoutly urged by
Davison, in the very face of the tempest, but with no result, except to
gain the, enmity of both parties to the quarrel.  The ungrateful
Leicester now expressed confidence that the second go-between would be
more adroit than the first had proved.  "The causes why," said he, "Mr.
Davison could have told--no man better--but Mr. Heneage can now tell, who
hath sought to the uttermost the bottom of all things.  I will stand to
his report, whether glory or vain desire of title caused me to step one
foot forward in the matter.  My place was great enough and high enough
before, with much less trouble than by this, besides the great
indignation of her Majesty .  .  .  .  .  If I had overslipt the good
occasion then in danger, I had been worthy to be hanged, and to be taken
for a most lewd servant to her Majesty, and a dishonest wretch to my

But diligently as Heneage had sought to the bottom of all things, he had
not gained the approbation of Sidney.  Sir Philip thought that the new
man had only ill botched a piece of work that had been most awkwardly
contrived from the beginning.  "Sir Thomas Heneage," said he, "hath with
as much honesty, in my opinion done as much hurt as any man this twelve-
month hath done with naughtiness.  But I hope in God, when her Majesty
finds the truth of things, her graciousness will not utterly, overthrow a
cause so behooveful and costly unto her."

He briefly warned the government that most disastrous effects were likely
to ensue, if the Earl should be publicly disgraced, and the recent action
of the States reversed.  The penny-wise economy, too, of the Queen, was
rapidly proving a most ruinous extravagance.  "I only cry for Flushing;"
said Sidney, "but, unless the monies be sent over, there will some
terrible accident follow, particularly to the cautionary towns, if her
Majesty mean to have them cautions."

The effect produced by the first explosion of the Queen's wrath was
indeed one of universal suspicion and distrust.  The greatest care had
been taken, however, that the affair should be delicately handled, for
Heneage, while, doing as much hurt by honesty as, others by naughtiness,
had modified his course as much as he dared in deference to the opinions
of the Earl himself, and that of his English counsellors.  The great
culprit himself, assisted by his two lawyers, Clerk and Killigrew--had
himself drawn the bill of his own indictment.  The letters of the Queen
to the States, to the council, and to the Earl himself, were, of
necessity, delivered, but the reprimand which Heneage had been instructed
to fulminate was made as harmless as possible.  It was arranged that he
should make a speech before the council; but abstain from a protocol.
The oration was duly pronounced, and it was, of necessity, stinging.
Otherwise the disobedience to the Queen, would have been flagrant.  But
the pain inflicted was to disappear with the first castigation.  The
humiliation was to be public and solemn, but it was not to be placed on
perpetual record.

"We thought best," said Leicester, Heneage, Clerk, and Killigrew--"In
according to her Majesty's secret instructions--to take that course which
might least endanger the weak estate of the Provinces--that is to say, to
utter so much in words as we hoped might satisfy her excellent Majesty's
expectation, and yet leave them nothing in writing to confirm that which
was secretly spread in many places to the hindrance of the good course of
settling these affairs.  Which speech, after Sir Thomas Heneage had
devised, and we both perused and allowed, he, by our consent and advice,
pronounced to the council of state. This we did think needful--especially
because every one of the council that was present at the reading of her
Majesty's first letters, was of the full mind, that if her Majesty should
again show the least mislike of the present government, or should not by
her next letters confirm it, they, were all undone--for that every man
would cast with himself which way to make his peace."

Thus adroitly had the "poor gentleman, who could not find it in his heart
to come again into the place, where--by his own sufferings torn--he was
made to appear so lewd a person"--provided that there should remain no
trace of that lewdness and of his sovereign's displeasure, upon the
record of the States.  It was not long, too, before the Earl was enabled
to surmount his mortification; but the end was not yet.

The universal suspicion, consequent on these proceedings, grew most
painful.  It pointed to one invariable quarter.  It was believed by all
that the Queen was privately treating for peace, and that the transaction
was kept a secret not only from the States but from her own most trusted
counsellors also.  It would be difficult to exaggerate the pernicious
effects of this suspicion.  Whether it was a well-grounded one or not,
will be shown in a subsequent chapter, but there is no doubt that the
vigour of the enterprise was thus sapped at a most critical moment.  The
Provinces had never been more heartily banded together since the fatal
10th of July, 1584, than they were in the early spring of 1586.  They
were rapidly organizing their own army, and, if the Queen had manifested
more sympathy with her own starving troops, the united Englishmen and
Hollanders would have been invincible even by Alexander Farnese.

Moreover, they had sent out nine war-vessels to cruise off the Cape Verd
Islands for the homeward-bound Spanish treasure fleet from America, with
orders, if they missed it, to proceed to the West Indies; so that, said
Leicester, "the King of Spain will have enough to do between these men
and Drake."  All parties had united in conferring a generous amount of
power upon the Earl, who was, in truth, stadholder-general, under grant
from the States--and both Leicester and the Provinces themselves were
eager and earnest for the war.  In war alone lay the salvation of England
and Holland.  Peace was an impossibility.  It seemed to the most
experienced statesmen of both countries even an absurdity.  It may well
be imagined, therefore, that the idea of an underhand negotiation by
Elizabeth would cause a frenzy in the Netherlands.  In Leicester's
opinion, nothing short of a general massacre of the English would be the
probable consequence.  "No doubt," said he, "the very way it is to put us
all to the sword here.  For mine own part it would be happiest for me,
though I wish and trust to lose my life in better sort."

Champagny, however, was giving out mysterious hints that the King of
Spain could have peace with England when he wished for it.  Sir Thomas
Cecil, son of Lord Burghley, on whose countenance the States especially
relied, was returning on sick-leave from his government of the Brill,
and this sudden departure of so eminent a personage, joined with the
public disavowal of the recent transaction between Leicester and the
Provinces, was producing a general and most sickening apprehension as to
the Queen's good faith.  The Earl did not fail to urge these matters most
warmly on the consideration of the English council, setting forth that
the States were stanch for the war, but that they would be beforehand
with her if she attempted by underhand means to compass a peace.  "If
these men once smell any such matter," wrote Leicester to Burghley, "be
you sure they will soon come before you, to the utter overthrow of her
Majesty and state for ever."

The Earl was suspecting the "false boys," by whom he was surrounded,
although it was impossible for him to perceive, as we have been enabled
to do, the wide-spread and intricate meshes by which he was enveloped.
"Your Papists in England," said he, "have sent over word to some in this
company, that all that they ever hoped for is come to pass; that my Lord
of Leicester shall be called away in greatest indignation with her
Majesty, and to confirm this of Champagny, I have myself seen a letter
that her Majesty is in hand with a secret peace.  God forbid! for if it
be so, her Majesty, her realm, and we, are all undone."

The feeling in the Provinces was still sincerely loyal towards England.
"These men," said Leicester, "yet honour and most dearly love her
Majesty, and hardly, I know, will be brought to believe ill of her any
way."  Nevertheless these rumours, to the discredit of her good faith,
were doing infinite harm; while the Earl, although keeping his eyes and
ears wide open, was anxious not to compromise himself any further with
his sovereign, by appearing himself to suspect her of duplicity.  "Good,
my Lord," he besought Burghley, "do not let her Majesty know of this
concerning Champagny as coming from me, for she will think it is done
for my own cause, which, by the Lord God, it is not, but even on the
necessity of the case for her own safety, and the realm, and us all.
Good my Lord, as you will do any good in the matter, let not her Majesty
understand any piece of it to come from me."

The States-General, on the 25th March, N.S., addressed a respectful
letter to the Queen, in reply to her vehement chidings.  They expressed
their deep regret that her Majesty should be so offended with the
election of the Earl of Leicester as absolute governor.

They confessed that she had just cause of displeasure, but hoped that
when she should be informed of the whole matter she would rest better
satisfied with their proceedings.  They stated that the authority was the
same which had been previously bestowed upon governors-general; observing
that by the word "absolute," which had been used in designation of that
authority, nothing more had been intended than to give to the Earl full
power to execute his commission, while the sovereignty of the country was
reserved to the people.  This commission, they said, could not be without
danger revoked.  And therefore they most humbly besought her Majesty to
approve what had been done, and to remember its conformity with her own
advice to them, that a multitude of heads, whereby confusion in the
government is bred, should be avoided.

Leicester, upon the same occasion, addressed a letter to Burghley and
Walsingham, expressing himself as became a crushed and contrite man,
never more to raise his drooping head again, but warmly and manfully
urging upon the attention of the English government--for the honour and
interest of the Queen herself--"the miserable state of the poor
soldiers."  The necessity of immediate remittances in order to keep them
from starving, was most imperious.  For himself, he was smothering his
wretchedness until he should learn her Majesty's final decision, as to
what was to become of him.  "Meantime," said he, "I carry my grief
inward, and will proceed till her Majesty's full pleasure come with as
little discouragement to the cause as I can.  I pray God her Majesty may
do that may be best for herself.  For my own part my, heart is broken,
but not by the enemy."

There is no doubt that the public disgrace thus inflicted upon the
broken-hearted governor, and the severe censure administered to the
States by the Queen were both ill-timed and undeserved.  Whatever his
disingenuousness towards Davison, whatever his disobedience to Elizabeth,
however ambitious his own secret motives may, have been, there is no
doubt at all that thus far he had borne himself well in his great office.

Richard Cavendish--than whom few had better opportunities of judging--
spoke in strong language on the subject.  "It is a thing almost
incredible," said he, "that the care and diligence of any, one man living
could, in so small time; have so much repaired so disjointed and loose an
estate as my Lord found this country, in.  But lest he should swell in
pride of that his good success, your Lordship knoweth that God hath so
tempered the cause with the construction thereof, as may well hold him in
good consideration of human things."  He alluded with bitterness--as did
all men in the Netherlands who were not open or disguised Papists--to the
fatal rumours concerning the peace-negotiation in connection with the
recall of Leicester.  "There be here advertisements of most fearful
instance," he said, "namely, that Champagny doth not spare most liberally
to bruit abroad that he hath in his hands the conditions of peace offered
by her Majesty unto the King his master, and that it is in his power to
conclude at pleasure--which fearful and mischievous plot, if in time it
be not met withal by some notable encounter, it cannot but prove the root
of great ruin."

The "false boys" about Leicester were indefatigable in spreading these
rumours, and in taking advantage--with the assistance of the Papists in
the obedient Provinces and in England--of the disgraced condition in
which the Queen had placed the favourite.  Most galling to the haughty
Earl--most damaging to the cause of England, Holland, and, liberty--were
the tales to his discredit, which circulated on the Bourse at Antwerp,
Middelburg, Amsterdam, and in all the other commercial centres.  The most
influential bankers and merchants, were assured--by a thousand chattering
--but as it were invisible--tongues, that the Queen had for a long time
disliked Leicester; that he was a man of no account among the statesmen
of England; that he was a beggar and a bankrupt; that, if he had waited
two months longer, he would have made his appearance in the Provinces
with one man and one boy for his followers; that the Queen had sent him
thither to be rid of him; that she never intended him to have more
authority than Sir John Norris had; that she could not abide the
bestowing the title of Excellency upon him, and that she had not
disguised her fury at his elevation to the post of governor-general.

All who attempted a refutation of these statements were asked, with a
sneer, whether her Majesty had ever written a line to him, or in
commendation of him, since his arrival.  Minute inquiries were made by
the Dutch merchants of their commercial correspondents, both in their own
country and in England, as to Leicester's real condition and character.
at home.  What was his rank, they asked, what his ability, what: his
influence at court?  Why, if he were really of so high quality as had
been reported, was he thus neglected, and at last disgraced?  Had he any
landed property in England?  Had he really ever held any other office but
that of master of the horse?  "And then," asked one particular busy body,
who made himself very unpleasant on the Amsterdam Exchange, "why has her
Majesty forbidden all noblemen and gentlemen from coming hither, as was
the case at the beginning?  Is it because she is hearkening to a peace?
And if it be so, quoth he, we are well handled; for if her Majesty
hath sent a disgraced man to amuse us, while she is secretly working
a peace for herself, when we--on the contrary--had broken off all our
negotiations, upon confidence of her Majesty's goodness; such conduct
will be remembered to the end of the world, and the Hollanders will
never abide the name of England again."

On such a bed of nettles there was small chance of repose for the
governor.  Some of the rumours were even more stinging.  So
incomprehensible did it seem that the proud sovereign of England should
send over her subjects to starve or beg in the streets of Flushing and
Ostend, that it was darkly intimated that Leicester had embezzled the
funds, which, no doubt, had been remitted for the poor soldiers.  This
was the most cruel blow of all.  The Earl had been put to enormous
charges.  His household at the Hague cost him a thousand pounds a month.
He had been paying and furnishing five hundred and fifty men out of his
own purse.  He had also a choice regiment of cavalry, numbering seven
hundred and fifty horse; three hundred and fifty of which number were
over and above those allowed for by the Queen, and were entirely at his
expense.  He was most liberal in making presents of money to every
gentleman in his employment.  He had deeply mortgaged his estates in
order to provide for these heavy demands upon him, and professed his
willingness "to spend more, if he might have got any more money for his
land that was left;" and in the face of such unquestionable facts--much
to the credit certainly of his generosity--he was accused of swindling
a Queen whom neither Jew nor Gentile had ever yet been sharp enough to
swindle; while he was in reality plunging forward in a course of reckless
extravagance in order to obviate the fatal effects of her penuriousness.

Yet these sinister reports were beginning to have a poisonous effect.
Already an alteration of mien was perceptible in the States-General.
"Some buzzing there is amongst them," said Leicester, "whatsoever it be.
They begin to deal very strangely within these few days."  Moreover the
industry of the Poleys, Blunts, and Pagets, had turned these unfavourable
circumstances to such good account that a mutiny had been near breaking
out among the English troops.  "And, before the Lord I speak it," said
the Earl, "I am sure some of these good towns had been gone ere this, but
for my money.  As for the States, I warrant you, they see day at a little
hole.  God doth know what a forward and a joyful country here was within
a month.  God send her Majesty to recover it so again, and to take care
of it, on the condition she send me after Sir Francis Drake to the
Indies, my service here being no more acceptable."

Such was the aspect of affairs in the Provinces after the first explosion
of the Queen's anger had become known.  Meanwhile the court-weather was
very changeable in England, being sometimes serene, sometimes cloudy,--
always treacherous.

Mr. Vavasour, sent by the Earl with despatches to her Majesty and the
council, had met with a sufficiently benignant reception.  She accepted
the letters, which, however, owing to a bad cold with a defluxion in the
eyes, she was unable at once to read; but she talked ambiguously with the
messenger.  Yavasour took pains to show the immediate necessity of
sending supplies, so that the armies in the Netherlands might take the
field at the, earliest possible moment.  "And what," said she, "if a
peace should come in the mean time?"

"If your Majesty desireth a convenient peace," replied Vavasour, "to take
the field is the readiest way to obtain it; for as yet the King of Spain
hath had no reason to fear you.  He is daily expecting that your own
slackness may give your Majesty an overthrow.  Moreover, the Spaniards
are soldiers, and are not to be moved by-shadows."

But the Queen had no ears for these remonstrances, and no disposition to
open her coffers.  A warrant for twenty-four thousand pounds had been
signed by her at the end of the month of March, and was about to be sent,
when Vavasour arrived; but it was not possible for him, although assisted
by the eloquence of Walsingham and Burghley, to obtain an enlargement of
the pittance.  "The storms are overblown," said Walsingham, "but I fear
your Lordship shall receive very scarce measure from hence.  You will not
believe how the sparing humour doth increase upon us."

Nor were the storms so thoroughly overblown but that there were not daily
indications of returning foul weather.  Accordingly--after a conference
with Vavasour--Burghley, and Walsingham had an interview with the Queen,
in which the Lord Treasurer used bold and strong language.  He protested
to her that he was bound, both by his duty to himself and his oath as her
councillor, to declare that the course she was holding to Lord Leicester
was most dangerous to her own honour, interest and safety.  If she
intended to continue in this line of conduct, he begged to resign his
office of Lord Treasurer; wishing; before God and man, to wash his bands
of the shame and peril which he saw could not be avoided.  The Queen,
astonished at the audacity of Burghley's attitude and language, hardly
knew whether to chide him for his presumption or to listen to his
arguments.  She did both.  She taxed him with insolence in daring to
address her so roundly, and then finding he was speaking even in
'amaritudine animae' and out of a clear conscience, she became calm
again, and intimated a disposition to qualify her anger against the
absent Earl.

Next day, to their sorrow, the two councillors found that the Queen had
again changed her mind--"as one that had been by some adverse counsel
seduced."  She expressed the opinion that affairs would do well enough in
the Netherlands, even though Leicester were displaced.  A conference
followed between Walsingham, Hatton, and Burghley, and then the three
went again to her Majesty.  They assured her that if she did not take
immediate steps to satisfy the States and the people of the Provinces,
she would lose those countries and her own honour at the same time; and
that then they would prove a source of danger to her instead of
protection and glory.  At this she was greatly troubled, and agreed to do
anything they might advise consistently with her honour.  It was then
agreed that Leicester should be continued in the government which he had
accepted until the matter should be further considered, and letters to
that effect were at once written.  Then came messenger from Sir Thomas
Heneage, bringing despatchesfrom that envoy, and a second and most secret
one from the Earl himself.  Burghley took the precious letter which the
favourite had addressed to his royal mistress, and had occasion to
observe its magical effect.  Walsingham and the Lord Treasurer had been
right in so earnestly remonstrating with him on his previous silence.

"She read your letter," said Burghley, "and, in very truth, I found her
princely heart touched with favourable interpretation of your actions;
affirming them to be only offensive to her, in that she was not made
privy to them; not now misliking that you had the authority."

Such, at fifty-three, was Elizabeth Tudor.  A gentle whisper of idolatry
from the lips of the man she loved, and she was wax in his hands.  Where
now were the vehement protestations of horror that her public declaration
of principles and motives had been set at nought?  Where now were her
vociferous denunciations of the States, her shrill invectives against
Leicester, her big oaths, and all the 'hysterica passio,' which had sent
poor Lord Burghley to bed with the gout, and inspired the soul of
Walsingham with dismal forebodings?  Her anger had dissolved into a
shower of tenderness, and if her parsimony still remained it was because
that could only vanish when she too should cease to be.

And thus, for a moment, the grave diplomatic difference between the
crown of England and their high mightinesses the United States--upon the
solution of which the fate of Christendom was hanging--seemed to shrink
to the dimensions of a lovers' quarrel.  Was it not strange that the
letter had been so long delayed?

Davison had exhausted argument in defence of the acceptance by the Earl
of the authority conferred by the States and had gained nothing by his
eloquence, save abuse from the Queen, and acrimonious censure from the
Earl.  He had deeply offended both by pleading the cause of the erring
favourite, when the favourite should have spoken for himself.  "Poor Mr.
Davison," said Walsingham, "doth take it very grievously that your
Lordship should conceive so hardly of him as you do.  I find the conceit
of your Lordship's disfavour hath greatly dejected him.  But at such time
as he arrived her Majesty was so incensed, as all the arguments and
orators in the world could not have wrought any satisfaction."

But now a little billet-doux had done what all the orators in the world
could not do.  The arguments remained the same, but the Queen no longer
"misliked that Leicester should have the authority."  It was natural that
the Lord Treasurer should express his satisfaction at this auspicious

"I did commend her princely nature," he said, "in allowing your good
intention, and excusing you of any spot of evil meaning; and I thought
good to hasten her resolution, which you must now take to come from a
favourable good mistress.  You must strive with your nature to throw over
your shoulder that which is past."

Sir Walter Raleigh, too, who had been "falsely and pestilently"
represented to the Earl as an enemy, rather than what he really was,
a most ardent favourer of the Netherland cause, wrote at once to
congratulate him on the change in her Majesty's demeanour.  "The Queen is
in very good terms with you now," he said, "and, thanks be to God, well
pacified, and you are again her 'sweet Robin.'"

Sir Walter wished to be himself the bearer of the comforting despatches
to Leicester, on the ground that he had been represented as an "ill
instrument against him," and in order that he might justify himself
against the charge, with his own lips.  The Queen, however, while
professing to make use of Shirley as the messenger, bade Walsingham
declare to the Earl, upon her honour, that Raleigh had done good offices
for him, and that, in the time of her anger, he had been as earnest in
his defence as the best friend could be.  It would have been--singular,
indeed, had it been otherwise.  "Your Lordship," said Sir Walter, "doth
well understand my affection toward Spain, and how I have consumed the
best part of my fortune, hating the tyrannous prosperity of that state.
It were strange and monstrous that I should now become an enemy to my
country and conscience.  All that I have desired at your Lordship's
hands is that you will evermore deal directly with me in all matters
--of suspect doubleness, and so ever esteem me as you shall find me
deserving good or bad.  In the mean time, let no poetical scribe work
your Lordship by any device to doubt that I am a hollow or cold servant
to the action."

It was now agreed that letters should be drawn, up authorizing Leicester
to continue in the office which he held, until the state-council should
devise some modification in his commission.  As it seemed, however, very
improbable that the board would devise anything of the kind, Burghley
expressed the belief that the country was like to continue in the Earl's
government without any change whatever.  The Lord Treasurer was also of
opinion that the Queen's letters to Leicester would convey as much
comfort as he had received discomfort; although he admitted that there
was a great difference: The former letters he knew had deeply wounded his
heart, while the new ones could not suddenly sink so low as the wound.

The despatch to the States-General was benignant, elaborate, slightly
diffuse.  The Queen's letter to 'sweet Robin' was caressing, but

"It is always thought," said she, "in the opinion of the world, a hard
bargain when both parties are losers, and so doth fall out in the case
between us two.  You, as we hear, are greatly grieved in respect of the
great displeasure you find we have conceived against you.  We are no less
grieved that a subject of ours of that quality that you are, a creature
of our own, and one that hath always received an extraordinary portion of
our favour above all our subjects, even from the beginning of our reign,
should deal so carelessly, not to say contemptuously, as to give the
world just cause to think that we are had in contempt by him that ought
most to respect and reverence us, which, we do assure you, hath wrought
as great grief in us as anyone thing that ever happened unto us.

"We are persuaded that you, that have so long known us, cannot think that
ever we could have been drawn to have taken so hard a course therein had
we not been provoked by an extraordinary cause.  But for that your
grieved and wounded mind hath more need of comfort than reproof, who, we
are persuaded, though the act of contempt can no ways be excused, had no
other meaning and intent than to advance our service, we think meet to
forbear to dwell upon a matter wherein we ourselves do find so little
comfort, assuring you that whosoever professeth to love you best taketh
not more comfort of your well doing, or discomfort of your evil doing
than ourself."

After this affectionate preface she proceeded to intimate her desire that
the Earl should take the matter as nearly as possible into his own hands.
It was her wish that he should retain the authority of absolute governor,
but--if it could be so arranged--that he should dispense with the title,
retaining only that of her lieutenant-general.  It was not her intention
however, to create any confusion or trouble in the Provinces, and she was
therefore willing that the government should remain upon precisely the
same footing as that on which it then stood, until circumstances should
permit the change of title which she suggested.  And the whole matter was
referred to the wisdom of Leicester, who was to advise with Heneage and
such others as he liked to consult, although it was expressly stated that
the present arrangement was to be considered a provisional and not a
final one.

Until this soothing intelligence could arrive in the Netherlands the
suspicions concerning the underhand negotiations with Spain grew daily
more rife, and the discredit cast upon the Earl more embarrassing.  The
private letters which passed between the Earl's enemies in Holland and in
England contained matter more damaging to himself and to the cause which
he had at heart than the more public reports of modern days can
disseminate, which, being patent to all, can be more easily contradicted.
Leicester incessantly warned his colleagues of her Majesty's council
against the malignant manufacturers of intelligence.  "I pray you, my
Lords, as you are wise," said he, "beware of them all.  You shall find
them here to be shrewd pick-thinks, and hardly worth the hearkening

He complained bitterly of the disgrace that was heaped upon him, both
publicly and privately, and of the evil consequences which were sure to
follow from the course pursued.  "Never was man so villanously handled by
letters out of England as I have been," said he, "not only advertising
her Majesty's great dislike with me before this my coming over, but that
I was an odious man in England, and so long as I tarried here that no
help was to be looked for, that her Majesty would send no more men or
money, and that I was used here but for a time till a peace were
concluded between her Majesty and the Prince of Parma.  What the
continuance of a man's discredit thus will turn out is to be thought of,
for better I were a thousand times displaced than that her Majesty's
great advantage of so notable Provinces should be hindered."

As to the peace-negotiations--which, however cunningly managed, could not
remain entirely concealed--the Earl declared them to be as idle as they
were disingenuous.  "I will boldly pronounce that all the peace you can
make in the world, leaving these countries," said he to Burghley, "will
never prove other than a fair spring for a few days, to be all over
blasted with a hard storm after."  Two days later her Majesty's
comforting letters arrived, and the Earl began to raise his drooping
head.  Heneage, too, was much relieved, but he was, at the same time, not
a little perplexed.  It was not so easy to undo all the mischief created
by the Queen's petulance.  The "scorpion's sting"--as her Majesty
expressed herself--might be balsamed, but the poison had spread far
beyond the original wound.

"The letters just brought in," wrote Heneage to Burghley, "have well
relieved a most noble and sufficient servant, but I fear they will not
restore the much-repaired wrecks of these far-decayed noble countries
into the same state I found them in.  A loose, disordered, and unknit
state needs no shaking, but propping.  A subtle and fearful kind of
people--should not be made more distrustful, but assured."  He then
expressed annoyance at the fault already found with him, and surely if
ever man had cause to complain of reproof administered him, in quick
succession; for not obeying contradictory directions following upon each
other as quickly, that man was Sir Thomas Heneage.  He had been, as he
thought, over cautious in administering the rebuke to the Earl's
arrogance, which he had been expressly sent over to administer but
scarcely had he accomplished his task, with as much delicacy as he could
devise, when he found himself censured;--not for dilatoriness, but for
haste.  "Fault I perceive," said he to Burghley, "is found in me, not by
your Lordship, but by some other, that I did not stay proceeding if I
found the public cause might take hurt.  It is true I had good warrant
for the manner, the, place, and the persons, but, for the matter none,
for done it must be.  Her Majesty's offence must be declared.  Yet if I
did not all I possibly could to uphold the cause, and to keep the
tottering cause upon the wheels, I deserve no thanks, but reproof."

Certainly, when the blasts of royal rage are remembered, by which the
envoy had been, as it were, blown out of England into Holland, it is
astonishing to find his actions censured for undue precipitancy.  But
it was not the, first, nor was it likely to be the last time, for
comparatively subordinate agents in Elizabeth's government to be,
distressed by, contradictory commands, when the sovereign did not know
or did not chose to make known, her own mind on important occasions.
"Well, my Lord," said plaintive Sir Thomas, "wiser men may serve more
pleasingly and happily, but never shall any serve her Majesty more,
faithfully and heartily.  And so I cannot be persuaded her Majesty
thinketh; for from herself I find nothing but most sweet and--gracious,
favour, though by others' censures I may gather otherwise of her
judgment; which I confess, doth cumber me."

He was destined to be cumbered more than once before these negotiations
should be concluded; but meantime; there was a brief gleam of sunshine.
The English friends of Leicester in the Netherlands were enchanted with
the sudden change in the Queen's humour; and to Lord Burghley, who was
not, in reality, the most stanch of the absent Earl's defenders, they
poured themselves out in profuse and somewhat superfluous gratitude.

Cavendish, in strains exultant, was sure that Burghley's children, grand-
children, and remotest posterity, would rejoice that their great
ancestor, in such a time of need had been "found and felt to be indeed a
'pater patria,' a good-father to a happy land."  And, although unwilling
to "stir up the old Adam" in his Lordship's soul, he yet took the liberty
of comparing the Lord Treasurer, in his old and declining years with Mary
Magdalen; assuring him, that for ever after; when the tale of the
preservation of the Church of God, of her Majesty; and of the Netherland
cause; which were all one, should be told; his name and well-doing would
be held in memory also.

And truly there was much of honest and generous enthusiasm, even if
couched in language somewhat startling to the ears of a colder and more
material age; in the hearts of these noble volunteers.  They were
fighting the cause of England, of the Netherland republic, and of human
liberty; with a valour worthy the best days of English' chivalry, against
manifold obstacles, and they were certainly; not too often cheered by the
beams of royal favour.

It was a pity that a dark cloud was so soon again to sweep over the
scene: For the temper of Elizabeth at this important juncture seemed as
capricious: as the: April weather in which the scenes were enacting.  We
have seen the genial warmth of her letters and messages to Leicester, to
Heneage,--to the States-General; on the first of the month.  Nevertheless
it was hardly three weeks after they had been despatched when Walsingham
and Burghley found, her Majesty one morning a towering passion, because,
the Earl had not already laid down the government.  The Lord Treasurer
ventured to remonstrate, but was bid to bold his tongue.  Ever variable
and mutable as woman, Elizabeth was perplexing and baffling to her
counsellors, at this epoch, beyond all divination.  The "sparing humour"
was increasing fearfully, and she thought it would be easier for her to
slip out of the whole expensive enterprise, provided Leicester were
merely her lieutenant-general, and not stadholder for the Provinces.
Moreover the secret negotiations for peace were producing a deleterious
effect upon her mind.  Upon this subject, the Queen and Burghley,
notwithstanding his resemblance to Mary Magdalen, were better informed
than the Secretary, whom, however, it had been impossible wholly to
deceive.  The man who could read secrets so far removed as the Vatican,
was not to be blinded to intrigues going on before his face.  The Queen,
without revealing more than she could help, had been obliged to admit
that informal transactions were pending, but had authorised the Secretary
to assure the United States that no treaty would be made without their
knowledge and full concurrence.  "She doth think," wrote Walsingham to
Leicester," that you should, if you shall see no cause to the contrary,
acquaint the council of state there that certain overtures of peace are
daily made unto her, but that she meaneth not to proceed therein without
their good liking and privity, being persuaded that there can no peace be
made profitable or sure for her that shall not also stand with their
safety; and she doth acknowledge hers to be so linked with theirs as
nothing can fall out to their prejudice, but she must be partaker of
their harm."

This communication was dated on the 21st April, exactly three weeks after
the Queen's letter to Heneage, in which she had spoken of the "malicious
bruits" concerning the pretended peace-negotiations; and the Secretary
was now confirming, by her order, what she had then stated under her own
hand, that she would "do nothing that might concern them without their
own knowledge and good liking."

And surely nothing could be more reasonable.  Even if the strict letter
of the August treaty between the Queen and the States did not provide
against any separate negotiations by the one party without the knowledge
of the other, there could be no doubt at all that its spirit absolutely
forbade the clandestine conclusion of a peace with Spain by England
alone, or by the Netherlands alone, and that such an arrangement would be
disingenuous, if not positively dishonourable.

Nevertheless it would almost seem that Elizabeth had been taking
advantage of the day when she was writing her letter to Heneage on the
1st of April.  Never was painstaking envoy more elaborately trifled with.
On the 26th of the month--and only five days after the communication by
Walsingham just noticed--the Queen was furious that any admission should
have been made to the States of their right to participate with her in

"We find that Sir Thomas Heneage," said she to Leicester, "hath gone
further--in assuring the States that we would make no peace without their
privity and assent--than he had commission; for that our direction was--
if our meaning had been well set down, and not mistaken by our Secretary
--that they should have been only let understand that in any treaty that
might pass between us and Spain, they might be well assured we would have
no less care of their safety than of our own."  Secretary Walsingham was
not likely to mistake her Majesty's directions in this or any other
important affair of state.  Moreover, it so happened that the Queen had,
in her own letter to Heneage, made the same statement which she now
chose to disavow.  She had often a convenient way of making herself
misunderstood, when she thought it desirable to shift responsibility from
her own shoulders upon those of others; but upon this occasion she had
been sufficiently explicit.  Nevertheless,  a scape-goat was necessary,
and unhappy the subordinate who happened to be within her Majesty's reach
when a vicarious sacrifice was to be made.  Sir Francis Walsingham was
not a man to be brow-beaten or hood-winked, but Heneage was doomed to
absorb a fearful amount of royal wrath.

"What phlegmatical reasons soever were made you," wrote the Queen, who
but three weeks before had been so gentle and affectionate to her,
ambassador, "how happeneth it that you will not remember, that when a man
hath faulted and committed by abettors thereto, neither the one nor the
other will willingly make their own retreat.  Jesus! what availeth wit,
when it fails the owner at greatest need?  Do that you are bidden, and
leave your considerations for your own affairs.  For in some things you
had clear commandment, which you did not, and in others none, and did.
We princes be wary enough of our bargains.  Think you I will be bound
by your own speech to make no peace for mine own matters without their
consent?  It is enough that I injure not their country nor themselves
in making peace for them without their consent.  I am assured of your
dutiful thoughts, but I am utterly at squares with this childish

Blasted by this thunderbolt falling upon his head out of serenest sky,
the sad.  Sir. Thomas remained, for a time, in a state of political
annihilation.  'Sweet Robin' meanwhile, though stunned, was unscathed--
thanks to the convenient conductor at his side.  For, in Elizabeth's
court, mediocrity was not always golden, nor was it usually the loftiest
mountains that the lightnings smote.  The Earl was deceived by his royal
mistress, kept in the dark as to important transactions, left to provide
for his famishing' soldiers as he best might; but the, Queen at that
moment, though angry, was not disposed, to trample upon him.  Now that
his heart was known to be broken, and his sole object in life to be
retirement to remote regions--India or elsewhere--there to languish out
the brief remainder of his days in prayers for Elizabeth's happiness,
Elizabeth was not inclined very bitterly to upbraid him.  She had too
recently been employing herself in binding up his broken heart, and
pouring balm into the "scorpion's sting," to be willing so soon to
deprive him of those alleviations.

Her tone--was however no longer benignant, and her directions were
extremely peremptory.  On the 1st of April she had congratulated
Leicester, Heneage, the States, and all the world, that her secret
commands had been staid, and that the ruin which would have followed,
had, those decrees been executed according to her first violent wish, was
fortunately averted.  Heneage was even censured, not by herself, but by
courtiers in her confidence, and with her concurrence, for being over
hasty in going before the state-council, as he had done, with her
messages and commands.  On the 26th of April she expressed astonishment
that Heneage had dared to be so dilatory, and that the title of governor
had not been laid down by Leicester "out of hand."  She marvelled
greatly, and found it very strange that "ministers in matters of moment
should presume to do things of their own head without direction."  She
accordingly gave orders that there should be no more dallying, but that
the Earl should immediately hold a conference with the state-council in
order to arrange a modification in his commission.  It was her pleasure
that he should retain all the authority granted to him by the States, but
as already intimated by her, that he should abandon the title of
"absolute governor," and retain only that of her lieutenant-general.

Was it strange that Heneage, placed in so responsible a situation, and
with the fate of England, of Holland, and perhaps of all Christendom,
hanging in great measure upon this delicate negotiation, should be amazed
at such contradictory orders, and grieved by such inconsistent censures?

"To tell you my griefs and my lacks," said he to Walsingham, "would
little please you or help me.  Therefore I will say nothing, but think
there was never man in so great a service received so little comfort and
so contrarious directions.  But 'Dominus est adjutor in tribulationibus.'
If it be possible, let me receive some certain direction, in following
which I shall not offend her Majesty, what good or hurt soever I do

This certainly seemed a loyal and reasonable request, yet it was not one
likely to be granted.  Sir Thomas, perplexed, puzzled, blindfolded, and
brow-beaten, always endeavoring to obey orders, when he could comprehend
them, and always hectored and lectured whether he obeyed them or not--
ruined in purse by the expenses, of a mission on which he had been sent
without adequate salary--appalled at the disaffection waging more
formidable every hour in Provinces which were recently so loyal to her
Majesty, but which were now pervaded by a suspicion that there was
double-dealing upon her part became quite sick of his life.  He fell
seriously ill, and was disappointed, when, after a time, the physicians
declared him convalescent.  For when when he rose from his sick-bed, it
was only to plunge once more, without a clue, into the labyrinth where he
seemed to be losing his reason.  "It is not long," said he to Walsingham,
"since I looked to have written you no more letters, my extremity was so
great.  .  .  But God's will is best, otherwise I could have liked better
to have cumbered the earth no longer, where I find myself contemned, and
which I find no reason to see will be the better in the wearing .  .  .
It were better for her Majesty's service that the directions which come
were not contrarious one to another, and that those you would have serve
might know what is meant, else they cannot but much deceive you, as well
as displease you."

Public opinion concerning the political morality of the English court
was not gratifying, nor was it rendered more favourable by these recent
transactions.  "I fear," said Heneage, "that the world will judge what
Champagny wrote in one of his letters out of England (which I have lately
seen) to be over true.  His words be these, 'Et de vray, c'est le plus
fascheux et le plus incertain negocier de ceste court, que je pense soit
au monde.'"  And so "basting," as he said, "with a weak body and a
willing mind; to do, he feared, no good work," he set forth from
Middelburgh to rejoin Leicester at Arnheim, in order to obey, as well as
he could, the Queen's latest directions.

But before he could set to work there came more "contrarious" orders.
The last instructions, both to Leicester and himself, were that the Earl
should resign the post of governor absolute "out of hand," and the Queen
had been vehement in denouncing any delay on such an occasion.  He was
now informed, that, after consulting with Leicester and with the
state-council, he was to return to England with the result of such
deliberations.  It could afterwards be decided how the Earl could retain
all the authority of governor absolute, while bearing only the title of
the Queen's lieutenant general.  "For her meaning is not," said
Walsingham, "that his Lord ship should presently give it over, for she
foreseeth in her princely judgment that his giving over the government
upon a sudden, and leaving those countries without a head or director,
cannot but breed a most dangerous alteration there."  The secretary
therefore stated the royal wish at present to be that the "renunciation
of the title" should be delayed till Heneage could visit England, and
subsequently return to Holland with her Majesty's further directions.
Even the astute Walsingham was himself puzzled, however, while conveying
these ambiguous orders; and he confessed that he was doubtful whether he
had rightly comprehended the Queen's intentions.  Burghley, however, was
better at guessing riddles than he was, and so Heneage was advised to
rely chiefly upon Burghley.

But Heneage had now ceased to be interested in any enigmas that might be
propounded by the English court, nor could he find comfort, as Walsingham
had recommended he should do, in railing.  "I wish I could follow your
counsel," he said, "but sure the uttering of my choler doth little ease
my grief or help my case."

He rebuked, however, the inconsistency and the tergiversations of the
government with a good deal of dignity.  "This certainly shall I tell her
Majesty," he said, "if I live to see her, that except a more constant
course be taken with this inconstant people, it is not the blaming of her
ministers will advance her Highness's service, or better the state of
things.  And shall I tell you what they now say here of us--I fear not
without some cause--even as Lipsius wrote of the French, 'De Gallis
quidem enigmata veniunt, non veniunt, volunt, holunt, audent, timent,
omnia, ancipiti metu, suspensa et suspecta.'  God grant better, and ever
keep you and help me."

He announced to Burghley that he was about to attend a meeting of the
state-council the next day, for the purpose of a conference on these
matters at Arnheim, and that he would then set forth for England to
report proceedings to her Majesty.  He supposed, on the whole, that this
was what was expected of him, but acknowledged it hopeless to fathom.
the royal intentions.  Yet if he went wrong, he was always, sure to make
mischief, and though innocent, to be held accountable for others'
mistakes.  "Every prick I make," said he, "is made a gash; and to follow
the words of my directions from England is not enough, except I likewise
see into your minds.  And surely mine eyesight is not so good.  But I
will pray to God for his help herein.  With all the wit I have, I will
use all the care I can--first, to satisfy her Majesty, as God knoweth I
have ever most desired; then, not to hurt this cause, but that I despair
of."  Leicester, as maybe supposed, had been much discomfited and
perplexed during the course of these contradictory and perverse
directions.  There is no doubt whatever that his position bad been made
discreditable and almost ridiculous, while he was really doing his best,
and spending large sums out of his private fortune to advance the true
interests of the Queen.  He had become a suspected man in the
Netherlands, having been, in the beginning of the year, almost adored
as a Messiah.  He had submitted to the humiliation which had been imposed
upon him, of being himself the medium to convey to the council the severe
expressions of the Queen's displeasure at the joint action of the States-
General and himself.  He had been comforted by the affectionate
expressions with which that explosion of feminine and royal wrath had
been succeeded.  He was now again distressed by the peremptory command to
do what was a disgrace to him, and an irreparable detriment to the cause,
yet he was humble and submissive, and only begged to be allowed, as a
remedy for all his anguish, to return to the sunlight of Elizabeth's
presence.  He felt that her course; if persisted in, would lead to the
destruction of the Netherland commonwealth, and eventually to the
downfall of England; and that the Provinces, believing themselves
deceived by the Queen; were ready to revolt against an authority to
which, but a short time before, they were so devotedly loyal
Nevertheless, he only wished to know what his sovereign's commands
distinctly were, in order to set himself to their fulfilment.  He had
come from the camp before Nymegen in order to attend the conference with
the state-council at Arnheim, and he would then be ready and anxious to,
despatch Heneage to England, to learn her Majesty's final determination.

He protested to the Queen that he had come upon this arduous and perilous
service only, because he, considered her throne in danger, and that this
was the only means of preserving it; that, in accepting the absolute
government, he had been free from all ambitious motives, but deeply
impressed with the idea that only by so doing could he conduct the
enterprise entrusted to him to the desired consummation; and he declared
with great fervour that no advancement to high office could compensate
him for this enforced absence from her.  To be sent back even in disgrace
would still be a boon to him, for he should cease to be an exile from her
sight.  He knew that his enemies had been busy in defaming him, while he
had been no longer there to defend himself, but his conscience acquitted
him of any thought which was not for her happiness and glory.  "Yet
grievous it is to me," said he in, a tone of tender reproach, "that
having left all--yea, all that may be imagined--for you, you have left
me for very little, even to the uttermost of all hard fortune.  For what
have I, unhappy man, to do here either with cause or country but for

He stated boldly that his services had not been ineffective, that the
enemy had never been in worse plight than now, that he had lost at least
five thousand men in divers overthrows, and that, on the other hand,
the people and towns of the Seven Provinces had been safely preserved.
"Since my arrival," he said, "God hath blessed the action which you have
taken in hand, and committed to the charge of me your poor unhappy
servant.  I have good cause to say somewhat for myself, for that I think
I have as few friends to speak for me as any man."

Nevertheless--as he warmly protested--his only wish was to return; for
the country in which he had lost her favour, which was more precious than
life, had become odious to him.

The most lowly office in her presence was more to be coveted than the
possession of unlimited power away from her.  It was by these tender
and soft insinuations, as the Earl knew full well, that he was sure to
obtain what he really coveted--her sanction for retaining the absolute
government in the Provinces.  And most artfully did he strike the key.

"Most dear and gracious Lady," he cried, "my care and service here do
breed me nothing but grief and unhappiness.  I have never had your
Majesty's good favour since I came into this charge--a matter that from
my first beholding your eyes hath been most dear unto me above all
earthly treasures.  Never shall I love that place or like that soil which
shall cause the lack of it.  Most gracious Lady, consider my long, true,
and faithful heart toward you.  Let not this unfortunate place here
bereave me of that which, above all the world, I esteem there, which is
your favodr and your presence.  I see my service is not acceptable, but
rather more and more disliketh you.  Here I can do your Majesty no
service; there I can do you some, at the least rub your horse's heels--
a service which shall be much more welcome to me than this, with all that
these men may give me.  I do, humbly and from my heart, prostrate at your
feet, beg this grace at your sacred hands, that you will be pleased to
let me return to my home-service, with your favour, let the revocation be
used in what sort shall please and like you.  But if ever spark of favour
was in your Majesty toward your old servant, let me obtain this my humble
suit; protesting before the Majesty of all Majesties, that there was no
cause under Heaven but his and yours, even for your own special and
particular cause, I say, could have made me take this absent journey from
you in hand.  If your Majesty shall refuse me this, I shall think all
grace clean gone from me, and I know: my days will not be long."

She must melt at this, thought 'sweet Robin' to himself; and meantime
accompanied by Heneage; he proceeded with the conferences in the state-
council-chamber touching the modification of the title and the
confirmation of his authority.  This, so far as Walsingham could divine,
and Burghley fathom, was the present intention of the Queen.  He averred
that he had ever sought most painfully to conform his conduct to her
instructions as fast as they were received, and that he should continue
so to do.  On the whole it was decided by the conference to let matters
stand as, they were for a little longer, and until: after Heneage should
have time once more to go and come.  "The same manner of proceeding that
was is now," said Leicester, "Your pleasure is declared to the council
here as you have willed it. How it will fall out again in your Majesty's
construction, the Lord knoweth."

Leicester might be forgiven for referring to higher powers, for any
possible interpretation of her Majesty's changing humour; but meantime;
while Sir. Thomas was getting ready, for his expedition to England, the
Earl's heart was somewhat gladdened by more gracious messages from the
Queen.  The alternation of emotions would however prove too much for him,
he feared, and he was reluctant to open his heart to so unwonted a tenant
as joy.

"But that my fear is such, most dear and gracious Lady," he said, "as my
unfortunate destiny will hardly permit; whilst I remain here; any good-
acceptation of so simple a service as, mine, I should, greatly rejoice
and comfort myself with the hope of your Majesty's most prayed-for
favour.  But of late, being by your own sacred hand lifted even up into
Heaven with joy of your favour, I was bye and bye without any new desert
or offence at all, cast down and down: again into the depth of all grief.
God doth know, my dear and dread Sovereign, that after I first received
your resolute pleasure by Sir Thomas Heneage, I made neither stop nor
stay nor any excuse to be rid of this place, and to satisfy your command.
. . . . . So much I mislike this place and fortune of mine; as I desire
nothing in the world so much, as to be delivered, with your favours from
all charge here, fearing still some new cross of your displeasure to fall
upon me, trembling continually with the fear thereof, in such sort as
till I may be fully confirmed in my new regeneration of your wonted
favour I cannot receive that true comfort which doth appertain to so
great a hope.  Yet I will not only acknowledge with all humbleness and
dutiful thanks the exceeding joy these last blessed lines brought to my
long-wearied heart, but will, with all true loyal affection, attend that
further joy from your sweet self which may utterly, extinguish all
consuming fear away."

Poor Heneage--who likewise received a kind word or two after having been
so capriciously and petulantly dealt with was less extravagant in his
expressions of gratitude.  "The Queen hath sent me a paper-plaister which
must please for a time," he said.  "God Almighty bless her Majesty ever,
and best direct her."  He was on the point of starting for England, the
bearer of the States' urgent entreaties that Leicester might retain the,
government, and of despatches; announcing the recent success of the
allies before Grave.  "God prospereth the action in these countries
beyond all expectation," he said, "which all amongst you will not be over
glad of, for somewhat I know."  The intrigues of Grafigni, Champagny, and
Bodman, with Croft, Burghley, and the others were not so profound a
secret as they could wish.

The tone adopted by Leicester has been made manifest in his letters
to the Queen.  He had held the same language of weariness and
dissatisfaction in his communications to his friends.  He would not keep
the office, he avowed, if they should give him "all Holland and Zeeland,
with all their appurtenances," and he was ready to resign at any moment.
He was not "ceremonious for reputation," he said, but he gave warning
that the Netherlanders would grow desperate if they found her Majesty
dealing weakly or carelessly with them.  As for himself he had already
had enough of government.  "I am weary, Mr. Secretary," he plaintively
exclaimed, "indeed I am weary; but neither of pains nor travail.  My ill
hap that I can please her Majesty no better hath quite discouraged me."

He had recently, however--as we have seen--received some comfort, and he
was still further encouraged, upon the eve of Heneage's departure, by
receiving another affectionate epistle from the Queen.  Amends seemed at
last to be offered for her long and angry silence, and the Earl was
deeply grateful.

"If it hath not been, my most dear and gracious Lady," said he in reply,
"no small comfort to your poor old servant to receive but one line of
your blessed hand-writing in many months, for the relief of a most
grieved, wounded heart, how far more exceeding joy must it be, in the
midst of all sorrow, to receive from the same sacred hand so many
comfortable lines as my good friend Mr. George hath at once brought me.
Pardon me, my sweet Lady, if they cause me to forget myself.  Only this I
do say, with most humble dutiful thanks, that the scope of all my service
hath ever been to content and please you; and if I may do that, then is
all sacrifice, either of life or whatsoever, well offered for you."

The matter of the government absolute having been so fully discussed
during the preceding four months, and the last opinions of the state-
council having been so lucidly expounded in the despatches to be carried
by Heneage to England, the matter might be considered as exhausted.
Leicester contented himself, therefore, with once more calling her
Majesty's attention to the fact that if he had not himself accepted the
office thus conferred upon him by the States, it would have been bestowed
upon some other personage.  It would hardly have comported with her
dignity, if Count Maurice of Nassau, or Count William, or Count Moeurs,
had been appointed governor absolute, for in that case the Earl, as
general of the auxiliary English force, would have been subject to the
authority of the chieftain thus selected.  It was impossible, as the
state-council had very plainly shown, for Leicester to exercise supreme
authority, while merely holding the military office of her Majesty's
lieutenant-general.  The authority of governor or stadholder could only
be derived from the supreme power of the country.  If her Majesty had
chosen to accept the sovereignty, as the States had ever desired, the
requisite authority could then have been derived from her, as from the
original fountain.  As she had resolutely refused that offer however, his
authority was necessarily to be drawn from the States-General, or else
the Queen must content herself with seeing him serve as an English
military officer, only subject to the orders of the supreme power,
wherever that power might reside.  In short, Elizabeth's wish that her
general might be clothed with the privileges of her viceroy, while she
declined herself to be the sovereign, was illogical, and could not be
complied with.

Very soon after inditing these last epistles to the Provinces, the Queen
became more reasonable on the subject; and an elaborate communication was
soon received by the state-council, in which the royal acquiescence was
signified to the latest propositions of the States.  The various topics,
suggested in previous despatches from Leicester and from the council,
were reviewed, and the whole subject was suddenly placed in a somewhat
different light from that in which it seemed to have been previously
regarded by her Majesty.  She alluded to the excuse, offered by the
state-council, which had been drawn from the necessity of the case, and
from their "great liking for her cousin of Leicester," although in
violation of the original contract.  "As you acknowledge, however," she
said, "that therein you were justly to be blamed, and do crave pardon for
the same, we cannot, upon this acknowledgment of your fault, but remove
our former dislike."

Nevertheless it would now seem that her "mistake" had proceeded, not from
the excess, but from the insufficiency of the powers conferred upon the
Earl, and she complained, accordingly, that they had given him shadow
rather than substance.

Simultaneously with this royal communication, came a joint letter to
Leicester, from Burghley, Walsingham; and Hatton, depicting the long and
strenuous conflict which they had maintained in his behalf with the
rapidly varying inclinations of the Queen.  They expressed a warm
sympathy with the difficulties of his position, and spoke in strong terms
of the necessity that the Netherlands and England should work heartily
together.  For otherwise, they said, "the cause will fall, the enemy will
rise, and we must stagger."  Notwithstanding the secret negotiations with
the enemy, which Leicester and Walsingham suspected, and which will be
more fully examined in a subsequent chapter, they held a language on that
subject, which in the Secretary's mouth at least was sincere.
"Whatsoever speeches be blown abroad of parleys of peace," they said,
"all will be but smoke, yea fire will follow."

They excused themselves for their previous and enforced silence by the
fact that they had been unable to communicate any tidings but messages of
distress, but they now congratulated the Earl that her Majesty, as he
would see by her letter to the council, was firmly resolved, not only to
countenance his governorship, but to sustain him in the most thorough
manner.  It would be therefore quite out of the question for them to
listen to his earnest propositions to be recalled.

Moreover, the Lord Treasurer had already apprized Leicester that Heneage
had safely arrived in England, that he, had made his report to the Queen,
and that her Majesty was "very well contented with him and his mission."
It may be easily believed that the Earl would feel a sensation of relief,
if not of triumph, at this termination to the embarrassments under which
he had been labouring ever since, he listened to the oration of the wise
Leoninus upon New Years' Day.  At last the Queen had formally acquiesced
in the action of the States, and in his acceptance of their offer.  He
now saw himself undisputed "governor absolute," having been six months
long a suspected, discredited, almost disgraced man.  It was natural that
he should express himself cheerfully.

"My great comfort received, oh my most gracious Lady," he said, "by your
most favourable lines written by your own sacred hand, I did most humbly
acknowledge by my former letter; albeit I can no way make testimony of
enough of the great joy I took thereby.  And seeing my wounded heart is
by this means almost made whole, I do pray unto God that either I may
never feel the like again from you, or not be suffered to live, rather
than I should fall again into those torments of your displeasure.  Most
gracious Queen, I beseech you, therefore, make perfect that which you
have begun.  Let not the common danger, nor any ill, incident to the
place I serve you in, be accompanied with greater troubles and fears
indeed than all the horrors of death can bring me.  My strong hope doth
now so assure me, as I have almost won the battle against despair, and I
do arm myself with as many of those wonted comfortable conceits as may
confirm my new revived spirits, reposing myself evermore under the shadow
of those blessed beams that must yield the only nourishment to this

But however nourishing the shade of those blessed beams might prove to
Leicester's disease, it was not so easy to bring about a very sunny
condition in the Provinces.  It was easier for Elizabeth to mend the
broken heart of the governor than to repair the damage which had been
caused to the commonwealth by her caprice and her deceit.  The dispute
concerning the government absolute had died away, but the authority of
the Earl had got a "crack in it" which never could be handsomely made
whole.  The States, during the long period of Leicester's discredit--
feeling more and more doubtful as to the secret intentions of Elizabeth
--disappointed in the condition of the auxiliary troops and in the amount
of supplies furnished from England, and, above all, having had time to
regret their delegation of a power which they began to find agreeable to
exercise with their own hands, became indisposed to entrust the Earl with
the administration and full inspection of their resources.  To the
enthusiasm which had greeted the first arrival of Elizabeth's
representative had succeeded a jealous, carping, suspicious sentiment.
The two hundred thousand florins monthly were paid, according to the
original agreement, but the four hundred thousand of extra service-money
subsequently voted were withheld, and withheld expressly on account of
Heneage's original mission to disgrace the governor."

"The late return of Sir Thomas Heneage," said Lord North, "hath put such
busses in their heads, as they march forward with leaden heels and
doubtful hearts."

In truth, through the discredit cast by the Queen upon the Earl in this
important affair, the supreme authority was forced back into the hands
of the States, at the very moment when they had most freely divested
themselves of power.  After the Queen had become more reasonable, it was
too late to induce them to part, a second time, so freely with the
immediate control of their own affairs.  Leicester had become, to a
certain extent, disgraced and disliked by the Estates.  He thought
himself, by the necessity of the case, forced to appeal to the people
against their legal representatives, and thus the foundation of a
nominally democratic party, in opposition to the municipal one, was
already laid.  Nothing could be more unfortunate at that juncture; for we
shall, in future, find the Earl in perpetual opposition to the most
distinguished statesmen in the Provinces; to the very men indeed who had
been most influential in offering the sovereignty to England, and in
placing him in the position which he had so much coveted.  No sooner
therefore had he been confirmed by Elizabeth in that high office than his
arrogance broke forth, and the quarrels between himself and the
representative body became incessant.

"I stand now in somewhat better terms than I did," said he; "I was not in
case till of late to deal roundly with them as I have now done.  I have
established a chamber of finances, against some of their wills, whereby I
doubt not to procure great benefit to increase our ability for payments
hereafter.  The people I find still best devoted to her Majesty, though
of late many lewd practices have been used to withdraw their good wills.
But it will not be; they still pray God that her Majesty may be their
sovereign.  She should then see what a contribution they will all bring
forth.  But to the States they will never return, which will breed some
great mischief, there is such mislike of the States universally.  I would
your Lordship had seen the case I had lived in among them these four
months, especially after her Majesty's mislike was found.  You would then
marvel to see how I have waded, as I have done, through no small
obstacles, without help, counsel, or assistance."

Thus the part which he felt at last called upon to enact was that of an
aristocratic demagogue, in perpetual conflict with the burgher-
representative body.

It is now necessary to lift a corner of the curtain, by which some
international--or rather interpalatial--intrigues were concealed, as much
as possible, even from the piercing eyes of Walsingham.  The Secretary
was, however, quite aware--despite the pains taken to deceive him--of the
nature of the plots and of the somewhat ignoble character of the actors
concerned in them.


A hard bargain when both parties are losers
Condemned first and inquired upon after
Disordered, and unknit state needs no shaking, but propping
Upper and lower millstones of royal wrath and loyal subserviency
Uttering of my choler doth little ease my grief or help my case

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1586b" ***

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