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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1595-96
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands, 1595-96" ***

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

By John Lothrop Motley



History of the United Netherlands, 1595-1596



CHAPTER XXXII.

     Archduke Cardinal Albert appointed governor of the Netherlands--
     Return of Philip William from captivity--His adherence to the King
     of Spain--Notice of the Marquis of Varambon, Count Varax, and other
     new officers--Henry's communications with Queen Elizabeth--Madame de
     Monceaux--Conversation of Henry with the English ambassador--
     Marseilles secured by the Duke of Guise--The fort of Rysbank taken
     by De Roane Calais in the hands of the Spanish--Assistance from
     England solicited by Henry--Unhandsome conditions proposed by
     Elizabeth--Annexation of Calais to the obedient provinces--Pirates
     of Dunkirk--Uneasiness of the Netherlanders with regard to the
     designs of Elizabeth--Her protestations of sincerity--Expedition of
     Dutch and English forces to Spain--Attack on the Spanish war-ships--
     Victory of the allies--Flag of the Republic planted on the fortress
     of Cadiz--Capitulation of the city--Letter of Elizabeth to the Dutch
     Admirals--State of affairs in France--Proposition of the Duke of
     Montpensier for the division of the kingdom--Successes of the
     Cardinal Archduke in Normandy--He proceeds to Flanders--Siege and
     capture of Hulat--Projected alliance against Spain--Interview of De
     Sancy with Lord Burghley--Diplomatic conference at Greenwich--
     Formation of a league against Spain--Duplicity of the treaty--
     Affairs in Germany--Battle between the Emperor and the Grand Turk--
     Endeavours of Philip to counteract the influence of the league--His
     interference in the affairs of Germany--Secret intrigue of Henry
     with Spain--Philip's second attempt at the conquest of England.

Another governor-general arrived in the early days of the year 1596, to
take charge of the obedient provinces.  It had been rumoured for many
months that Philip's choice was at last fixed upon the Archduke Cardinal
Albert, Archbishop of Toledo, youngest of the three surviving brothers,
of the Emperor Rudolph, as the candidate for many honours.  He was to
espouse the Infanta, he was to govern the Netherlands, and, as it was
supposed, there were wider and wilder schemes for the aggrandizement of
this fortunate ecclesiastic brooding in the mind of Philip than yet had
seen the light.

Meantime the cardinal's first care was to unfrock himself.  He had also
been obliged to lay down the most lucrative episcopate in Christendom,
that of Toledo, the revenues of which amounted to the enormous sum of
three hundred thousand dollars a year.  Of this annual income, however,
he prudently reserved to himself fifty thousand dollars, by contract with
his destined successor.

The cardinal reached the Netherlands before the end of January.  He
brought with him three thousand Spanish infantry, and some companies of
cavalry, while his personal baggage was transported on three hundred and
fifty mules.  Of course there was a triumphal procession when, on the
11th February, the new satrap entered the obedient Netherlands, and there
was the usual amount of bell-ringing, cannon-firing, trumpet-blowing,
with torch-light processions, blazing tar-barrels, and bedizened
platforms, where Allegory, in an advanced state of lunacy, performed its
wonderful antics.  It was scarcely possible for human creatures to bestow
more adulation, or to abase themselves more thoroughly, than the honest
citizens of Brussels had so recently done in honour of the gentle, gouty
Ernest, but they did their best.  That mythological conqueror and demigod
had sunk into an unhonoured grave, despite the loud hosannaha sung to him
on his arrival in Belgica, and the same nobles, pedants, and burghers
were now ready and happy to grovel at the feet of Albert.  But as it
proved as impossible to surpass the glories of the holiday which had been
culled out for his brother, so it would be superfluous now to recall the
pageant which thus again delighted the capital.

But there was one personage who graced this joyous entrance whose
presence excited perhaps more interest than did that of the archduke
himself.  The procession was headed by three grandees riding abreast.
There was the Duke of Aumale, pensionary of Philip, and one of the last
of the Leaguers, who had just been condemned to death and executed in
effigy at Paris, as a traitor to his king and country; there was the
Prince of Chimay, now since the recent death of his father at Venice
become Duke of Arschot; and between the two rode a gentleman forty-two
years of age, whose grave; melancholy features--although wearing a
painful expression of habitual restraint and distrust suggested, more
than did those of the rest of his family, the physiognomy of William
the Silent to all who remembered that illustrious rebel.

It was the eldest son of the great founder of the Dutch republic.  Philip
William, Prince of Orange, had at last, after twenty-eight years of
captivity in Spain, returned to the Netherlands, whence he had been
kidnapped while a school boy at Louvain, by order of the Duke of Alva.
Rarely has there been a more dreary fate, a more broken existence than
his.  His almost life-long confinement, not close nor cruel, but strict
and inexorable, together with the devilish arts of the Jesuits, had
produced nearly as blighting an effect upon his moral nature as a closer
dungeon might have done on his physical constitution.  Although under
perpetual arrest in Madrid, he had been allowed to ride and to hunt, to
go to mass, and to enjoy many of the pleasures of youth.  But he had been
always a prisoner, and his soul--a hopeless captive--could no longer be
liberated now that the tyrant, in order to further his own secret
purposes; had at last released his body from gaol.  Although the eldest-
born of his father, and the inheritor of the great estates of Orange and
of Buren, he was no longer a Nassau except in name.  The change wrought
by the pressure of the Spanish atmosphere was complete.  All that was
left of his youthful self was a passionate reverence for his father's
memory, strangely combined with a total indifference to all that his
father held dear, all for which his father had laboured his whole
lifetime, and for which his heart's blood had been shed.  On being at
last set free from bondage he had been taken to the Escorial, and
permitted to kiss the hand of the king--that hand still reeking with his
father's murder.  He had been well received by the Infante and the
Infanta, and by the empress-mother, daughter of Charles V., while the
artistic treasures of the palace and cloister were benignantly pointed
out to him.  It was also signified to him that he was to receive the
order of the Golden Fleece, and to enter into possession of his paternal
and maternal estates.  And Philip William had accepted these conditions
as if a born loyal subject of his Most Catholic Majesty.

Could better proof be wanting that in that age religion was the only
fatherland, and that a true papist could sustain no injury at the hands
of his Most Catholic Majesty.  If to be kidnapped in boyhood, to be
imprisoned during a whole generation of mankind, to be deprived of vast
estates, and to be made orphan by the foulest of assassinations, could
not engender resentment against, the royal, perpetrator of these crimes
in the bosom of his victim, was it strange that Philip should deem
himself, something far, more than man, and should placidly accept the
worship rendered to him by inferior beings, as to the holy impersonation
of Almighty Wrath?

Yet there is no doubt that the prince had a sincere respect for his
father, and had bitterly sorrowed at his death.  When a Spanish officer,
playing chess with him, in prison, had ventured to speak lightly of that
father, Philip William had seized him bodily, thrown him from the window,
and thus killed him on the spot.  And when on his arrival in Brussels it
was suggested to him by President Riehardat that it was the king's
intention to reinstate him in the possession of his estates, but that a
rent-charge of eighteen thousand florins a year was still to be paid from
them; to the heirs of Balthazar Gerard, his father's assassin, he flamed
into a violent rage, drew his poniard, and would have stabbed the
president; had not the bystanders forcibly inteferred.  In consequence of
this refusal--called magnanimous by contemporary writers--to accept his
property under such conditions, the estates were detained from him for a
considerable time longer.  During the period of his captivity he had been
allowed an income of fifteen thousand livres; but after his restoration
his household, gentlemen, and servants alone cost him eighty thousand
livres annually.  It was supposed that the name of Orange-Nassau might
now be of service to the king's designs in the Netherlands.  Philip
William had come by way of Rome, where he had been allowed to kiss the
pope's feet and had received many demonstrations of favour, and it was
fondly thought that he would now prove an instrument with which king and
pontiff might pipe back the rebellious republic to its ancient
allegiance.  But the Dutchmen and Frisians were deaf.  They had tasted
liberty too long, they had dealt too many hard blows on the head of regal
and sacerdotal despotism, to be deceived by coarse artifices.  Especially
the king thought that something might be done with Count Hohenlo.  That
turbulent personage having recently married the full sister of Philip
William, and being already at variance with Count Maurice, both for
military and political causes, and on account of family and pecuniary
disputes, might, it was thought, be purchased by the king, and perhaps
a few towns and castles in the united Netherlands might be thrown into
the bargain.  In that huckstering age, when the loftiest and most valiant
nobles of Europe were the most shameless sellers of themselves, the most
cynical mendicants for alms and the most infinite absorbers of bribes in
exchange for their temporary fealty; when Mayenne, Mercoeur, Guise,
Pillars, Egmont, and innumerable other possessors of ancient and
illustrious names alternately and even simultaneously drew pensions from
both sides in the great European conflict, it was not wonderful that
Philip should think that the boisterous Hohenlo might be bought as well
as another.  The prudent king, however, gave his usual order that nothing
was to be paid beforehand, but that the service was to be rendered first;
and the price received afterwards.

The cardinal applied himself to the task on his first arrival, but was
soon obliged to report that he could make but little progress in the
negotiation.

The king thought, too, that Heraugiere, who had commanded the memorable
expedition against Breda, and who was now governor of that stronghold,
might be purchased, and he accordingly instructed the cardinal to make
use of the Prince of Orange in the negotiations to be made for that
purpose.  The cardinal, in effect, received an offer from Heraugiere in
the course of a few months not only to surrender Breda, without previous
recompense, but likewise to place Gertruydenberg, the governor of which
city was his relative, in the king's possession.  But the cardinal was
afraid of a trick, for Heraugiere was known to be as artful as he was
brave, and there can be little doubt that the Netherlander was only
disposed to lay an ambush for the governor-general.

And thus the son of William the Silent made his reappearance in the
streets of Brussels, after twenty-eight years of imprisonment, riding in
the procession of the new viceroy.  The cardinal-archduke came next, with
Fuentes riding at his left hand.  That vigorous soldier and politician
soon afterwards left the Netherlands to assume the government of Milan.

There was a correspondence between the Prince of Orange and the States-
General, in which the republican authorities after expressing themselves
towards him with great propriety, and affectionate respect, gave him
plainly but delicately to understand that his presence at that time in
the United Provinces would neither be desirable, nor, without their
passports, possible.  They were quite aware of the uses to which the king
was hoping to turn their reverence for the memory and the family of the
great martyr, and were determined to foil such idle projects on the
threshold.

The Archduke Albert, born on 3rd of November, 1560, was now in his
thirty-sixth year.  A small, thin, pale-faced man, with fair hair, and
beard, commonplace features, and the hereditary underhanging Burgundian
jaw prominently developed, he was not without a certain nobility of
presence.  His manners were distant to haughtiness and grave to
solemnity.  He spoke very little and very slowly.  He had resided long in
Spain, where he had been a favourite with his uncle--as much as any man
could be a favourite with Philip--and he had carefully formed himself on
that royal model.  He looked upon the King of Spain as the greatest,
wisest, and best of created beings, as the most illustrious specimen of
kingcraft ever yet vouchsafed to the world.  He did his best to look
sombre and Spanish, to turn his visage into a mask; to conceal his
thoughts and emotions, not only by the expression of his features but by
direct misstatements of his tongue, and in all things to present to the
obedient Flemings as elaborate a reproduction of his great prototype as
copy can ever recall inimitable original.  Old men in the Netherlands;
who remembered in how short a time Philip had succeeded, by the baleful
effect of his personal presence, in lighting up a hatred which not the
previous twenty years of his father's burnings, hangings, and butcherings
in those provinces had been able to excite, and which forty subsequent
years of bloodshed had not begun to allay, might well shake their heads
when they saw this new representative of Spanish authority.  It would
have been wiser--so many astute politicians thought--for Albert to take
the Emperor Charles for his model, who had always the power of making his
tyranny acceptable to the Flemings, through the adroitness with which he
seemed to be entirely a Fleming himself.

But Albert, although a German, valued himself on appearing like a
Spaniard.  He was industrious, regular in his habits, moderate in eating
and drinking, fond of giving audiences on business.  He spoke German,
Spanish, and Latin, and understood French and Italian.  He had at times
been a student, and, especially, had some knowledge of mathematics.  He
was disposed to do his duty--so far as a man can do his duty, who
imagines himself so entirely lifted above his fellow creatures as to owe
no obligation except to exact their obedience and to personify to them
the will of the Almighty.  To Philip and the Pope he was ever faithful.
He was not without pretensions to military talents, but his gravity,
slowness, and silence made him fitter to shine in the cabinet than in the
field.  Henry IV., who loved his jests whether at his own expense or that
of friend or foe, was wont to observe that there were three things which
nobody would ever believe, and which yet were very true; that Queen
Elizabeth deserved her title of the, throned vestal, that he was himself
a good Catholic, and that Cardinal Albert was a good general.  It is
probable that the assertions were all equally accurate.

The new governor did not find a very able group of generals or statesmen
assembled about him to assist in the difficult task which he had
undertaken.  There were plenty of fine gentlemen, with ancient names and
lofty pretensions, but the working men in field or council had mostly
disappeared.  Mondragon, La Motte, Charles Mansfeld, Frank Verdugo were
all dead.  Fuentes was just taking his departure for Italy.  Old Peter
Ernest was a cipher; and his son's place was filled by the Marquis of
Varambon; as principal commander in active military operations.  This was
a Burgundian of considerable military ability, but with an inordinate
opinion of himself and of his family.  "Accept the fact that his lineage
is the highest possible, and that he has better connections than those of
anybody else in the whole world, and he will be perfectly contented,"
said a sharp, splenetic Spaniard in the cardinal's confidence.  "'Tis a
faithful and loyal cavalier, but full of impertinences."  The brother of
Varambon, Count Varax, had succeeded la Motte as general of artillery,
and of his doings there was a, tale ere long to be told.  On the whole,
the best soldier in the archduke's service for the moment was the
Frenchman Savigny de Rosne, an ancient Leaguer, and a passionate hater of
the Bearnese, of heretics, and of France as then constituted.  He had
once made a contract with Henry by which he bound himself to his service;
but after occasioning a good deal of injury by his deceitful attitude,
he had accepted a large amount of Spanish dollars, and had then thrown
off the mask and proclaimed himself the deadliest foe of his lawful
sovereign.  "He was foremost," said Carlos Coloma, "among those who were
successfully angled for by the Commander Moreo with golden hooks."
Although prodigiously fat, this renegade was an active and experienced
campaigner; while his personal knowledge of his own country made his
assistance of much value to those who were attempting its destruction.

The other great nobles, who were pressing themselves about the new
viceroy with enthusiastic words of welcome, were as like to give him
embarrassment as support.  All wanted office, emoluments, distinctions,
nor could, much dependence be placed on the ability or the character of
any of them.  The new duke of Arschot had in times past, as prince of
Chimay, fought against the king, and had even imagined himself a
Calvinist, while his wife was still a determined heretic.  It is true
that she was separated from her husband.  He was a man of more quickness
and acuteness than his father had been, but if possible more mischievous
both to friend and foe; being subtle, restless, intriguing, fickle;
ambitious, and deceitful.  The Prince of Orange was considered a man of
very ordinary intelligence, not more than half witted, according to Queen
Elizabeth, and it was probable that the peculiar circumstances of his
life would extinguish any influence that he might otherwise have attained
with either party.  He was likely to affect a neutral position and, in
times of civil war, to be neutral is to be nothing.

Arenberg, unlike the great general on the Catholic side who had made
the name illustrious in the opening scenes of the mighty contest, was
disposed to quiet obscurity so far as was compatible with his rank.
Having inherited neither fortune nor talent with his ancient name, he
was chiefly occupied with providing for the wants of his numerous family.
A good papist, well-inclined and docile, he was strongly recommended for
the post of admiral, not because he had naval acquirements, but because
he had a great many children.  The Marquis of Havre, uncle to the Duke of
Arschot, had played in his time many prominent parts in the long
Netherland tragedy.  Although older than he was when Requesens and Don
John of Austria had been governors, he was not much wiser, being to the
full as vociferous, as false, as insolent, as self-seeking, and as
mischievous as in his youth.  Alternately making appeals to popular
passions in his capacity of high-born demagogue, or seeking crumbs of
bounty as the supple slave of his sovereign, he was not more likely to
acquire the confidence of the cardinal than he had done that of his
predecessors.

The most important and opulent grandee of all the provinces was the Count
de Ligne, who had become by marriage or inheritance Prince of Espinay,
Seneschal of Hainault, and Viscount of Ghent.  But it was only his
enormous estates that gave him consideration, for he was not thought
capable of either good or bad intentions.  He had, however, in times
past, succeeded in the chief object of his ambition, which was to keep
out of trouble, and to preserve his estates from confiscation.  His wife,
who governed him, and had thus far guided him safely, hoped to do so to
the end.  The cardinal was informed that the Golden Fleece would be all-
sufficient to keep him upon the right track.

Of the Egmonts, one had died on the famous field of Ivry, another was an
outlaw, and had been accused of participation in plots of assassination
against William of Orange; the third was now about the archduke's court,
and was supposed, to be as dull a man--as Ligne, but likely to be
serviceable so long as he could keep his elder brother out of his
inheritance.  Thus devoted to Church and King were the sons of the man
whose head Philip had taken off on a senseless charge of treason.  The
two Counts Van den Berg--Frederic and Herman--sons of the sister of
William the Silent, were, on the whole, as brave, efficient, and
trustworthy servants of the king and cardinal as were to be found in the
obedient, provinces.

The new governor had come well provided with funds, being supplied for
the first three-quarters of the year with a monthly: allowance of
1,100,000 florins.  For reasons soon to appear, it was not probable that
the States-General would be able very, soon to make a vigorous campaign,
and it was thought best for the cardinal to turn his immediate attention
to France.

The negotiations for, effecting an alliance offensive and defensive,
between the three powers most interested in opposing the projects of
Spain for universal empire, were not yet begun, and will be reserved for
a subsequent chapter.  Meantime there had been much informal discussion
and diplomatic trifling between France and England for the purpose of
bringing about a sincere co-operation of the two crowns against the Fifth
Monarchy--as it was much the fashion to denominate Philip's proposed
dominion.

Henry had suggested at different times to Sir Robert Sidney, during his
frequent presence in France as special envoy for the queen, the necessity
of such a step, but had not always found a hearty sympathy.  But as the
king began to cool in his hatred to Spain, after his declaration of war
against that power, it seemed desirable to Elizabeth to fan his
resentment afresh, and to revert to those propositions which had been so
coolly received when made.  Sir Harry Umton, ambassador from her Majesty,
was accordingly provided with especial letters on the subject from the
queen's own hand, and presented them early in the year at Coucy (Feb.
13, 1596).  No man in the world knew better the tone to adopt in his
communications with Elizabeth than did the chivalrous king.  No man knew
better than he how impossible it was to invent terms of adulation too
gross for her to accept as spontaneous and natural effusions, of the
heart.  He received the letters from the hands of Sir Henry, read them
with rapture, heaved a deep sigh, and exclaimed.  "Ah!  Mr. Ambassador,
what shall I say to you?  This letter of the queen, my sister, is full of
sweetness and affection.  I see that she loves me, while that I love her
is not to be doubted.  Yet your commission shows me the contrary, and
this proceeds from her, ministers.  How else can these obliquities stand
with her professions of love?  I am forced, as a king, to take a course
which, as Henry, her loving brother, I could never adopt."

They then walked out into the park, and the king fell into frivolous
discourse, on purpose to keep the envoy from the important subject which
had been discussed in the cabinet.  Sir Henry brought him back to
business, and insisted that there was no disagreement between her Majesty
and her counsellors, all being anxious to do what she wished.  The envoy,
who shared in the prevailing suspicions that Henry was about to make a
truce with Spain, vehemently protested against such a step, complaining
that his ministers, whose minds were distempered with jealousy,
were inducing him to sacrifice her friendship to a false and hollow
reconciliation with Spain.  Henry protested that his preference would be
for England's amity, but regretted that the English delays were so great,
and that such dangers were ever impending over his head, as to make it
impossible for him, as a king, to follow the inclinations of his heart.

They then met Madame de Monceaux, the beautiful Gabrielle, who was
invited to join in the walk, the king saying that she was no meddler in
politics, but of a tractable spirit.

This remark, in Sir Henry's opinion, was just, for, said he to Burghley,
she is thought incapable of affairs, and, very simple.

The duchess unmasked very graciously as the ambassador was presented;
but, said the splenetic diplomatist, "I took no pleasure in it, nor held
it any grace at all."  "She was attired in a plain satin gown," he
continued, "with a velvet hood to keep her from the weather, which became
her very ill.  In my opinion, she is altered very much for the worse, and
was very grossly painted."  The three walked together discoursing of
trifles, much to the annoyance of Umton.  At last, a shower forced the
lady into the house, and the king soon afterwards took the ambassador to
his cabinet.  "He asked me how I liked his mistress," wrote Sir Henry to
Burghley, "and I answered sparingly in her praise, and told him that if
without offence I might speak it, I had the picture of a far more
excellent mistress, and yet did her picture come far from the perfection
of her beauty."

"As you love me," cried the king, "show it me, if you have it about you!"

"I made some difficulty," continued Sir Henry, "yet upon his importunity
I offered it to his view very secretly, still holding it in my hand.  He
beheld it with passion and admiration, saying that I was in the right."
"I give in," said the king, "Je me rends."

Then, protesting that he had never seen such beauty all his life, he
kissed it reverently twice or thrice, Sir Henry still holding the
miniature firmly in his hand.

The king then insisted upon seizing the picture, and there was a charming
struggle between the two, ending in his Majesty's triumph.  He then told
Sir Henry that he might take his leave of the portrait, for he would
never give it up again for any treasure, and that to possess the favour
of the original he would forsake all the world.  He fell into many more
such passionate and incoherent expressions of rhapsody, as of one
suddenly smitten and spell-bound with hapless love, bitterly reproaching
the ambassador for never having brought him any answers to the many
affectionate letters which he had written to the queen, whose silence had
made him so wretched.  Sir Henry, perhaps somewhat confounded at being
beaten at his own fantastic game, answered as well as he could, "but I
found," said he, "that the dumb picture did draw on more speech and
affection from him than all my best arguments and eloquence.  This was
the effect of our conference, and, if infiniteness of vows and outward
professions be a strong argument of inward affection, there is good
likelihood of the king's continuance of amity with her Majesty; only I
fear lest his necessities may inconsiderately draw him into some
hazardous treaty with Spain, which I hope confidently it is yet in the
power of her Majesty to prevent."

The king, while performing these apish tricks about the picture of a lady
with beady black eyes, a hooked nose, black teeth, and a red wig, who was
now in the sixty-fourth year of her age, knew very well that the whole
scene would be at once repeated to the fair object of his passion by her
faithful envoy; but what must have been the opinion entertained of
Elizabeth by contemporary sovereigns and statesmen when such fantastic
folly could be rehearsed and related every day in the year!

And the king knew, after all, and was destined very soon to acquire proof
of it which there was no gainsaying, that the beautiful Elizabeth had
exactly as much affection for him as he had for her, and was as capable
of sacrificing his interests for her own, or of taking advantage of his
direct necessities as cynically and as remorselessly, as the King of
Spain, or the Duke of Mayenne, or the Pope had ever done.

Henry had made considerable progress in re-establishing his authority
over a large portion of the howling wilderness to which forty years of
civil war had reduced his hereditary kingdom.  There was still great
danger, however, at its two opposite extremities.  Calais, key to the
Norman gate of France, was feebly held; while Marseilles, seated in such
dangerous proximity to Spain on the one side, and to the Republic of
Genoa, that alert vassal of Spain, on the other, was still in the
possession of the League.  A concerted action was undertaken by means of
John Andrew Doria, with a Spanish fleet from Genoa on the outside and a
well-organised conspiracy from within, to carry the city bodily over to
Philip.  Had it succeeded, this great Mediterranean seaport would have
become as much a Spanish 'possession as Barcelona or Naples, and infinite
might have been the damage to Henry's future prospects in consequence.
But there was a man in Marseilles; Petrus Libertas by name, whose
ancestors had gained this wholesome family appellation by a successful
effort once made by them to rescue the little town of Calvi, in Corsica,
from the tyranny of Genoa.  Peter Liberty needed no prompting to
vindicate, on a fitting occasion, his right to his patronymic.  In
conjunction with men in Marseilles who hated oppression, whether of
kings, priests, or renegade republics, as much as he did, and with a
secret and well-arranged understanding with the Duke of Guise, who was
burning with ambition to render a signal benefit to the cause which he
had just espoused, this bold tribune of the people succeeded in stirring
the population to mutiny at exactly the right moment, and in opening the
gates of Marseilles to the Duke of Guise and his forces before it was
possible for the Leaguers to admit the fleet of Doria into its harbour.
Thus was the capital of Mediterranean France lost and won.  Guise gained
great favour in Henry's eyes; and with reason; for the son of the great
Balafre, who was himself the League, had now given the League the stroke
of mercy.  Peter Liberty became consul of Marseilles, and received a
patent of nobility.  It was difficult, however, for any diploma to confer
anything more noble upon him than the name which he hade inherited, and
to which he had so well established his right.

But while Henry's cause had thus been so well served in the south,
there was danger impending in the north.  The king had been besieging,
since autumn, the town of La Fere, an important military and strategic
position, which had been Farnese's basis of operations during his
memorable campaigns in France, and which had ever since remained in
the hands of the League.

The cardinal had taken the field with an army of fifteen thousand foot
and three thousand horse, assembled at Valenciennes, and after hesitating
some time whether, or not he should attempt to relieve La Fere, he
decided instead on a diversion.  In the second week of April; De Rosne
was detached at the head of four thousand men, and suddenly appeared
before Calais.  The city had been long governed by De Gordan, but this
wary and experienced commander had unfortunately been for two years dead.
Still more unfortunately, it had been in his power to bequeath, not
only his fortune, which was very large, but the government of Calais,
considered the most valuable command in France, to his nephew,
De Vidosan.  He had, however, not bequeathed to him his administrative
and military genius.

The fortress called the Risban, or Rysbank, which entirely governed the
harbour, and the possession of which made Calais nearly impregnable, as
inexhaustible supplies could thus be poured into it by sea, had fallen
into comparative decay.  De Gordan had been occupied in strengthening
the work, but since his death the nephew had entirely neglected the task.
On the land side, the bridge of Nivelet was the key to the place.  The
faubourg was held by two Dutch companies, under Captains Le Gros and
Dominique, who undertook to prevent the entrance of the archduke's
forces.  Vidosan, however; ordered these faithful auxiliaries into the
citadel.

De Rosne, acting with great promptness; seized both the bridge of Nivelet
and the fort of Rysbank by a sudden and well-concerted movement.  This
having been accomplished, the city was in his power, and, after
sustaining a brief cannonade, it surrendered.  Vidosan, with his
garrison, however, retired into the citadel, and it was agreed between,
himself and De Rosne that unless succour should be received from the
French king before the expiration of six days; the citadel should also
be-evacuated.

Meantime Henry, who was at Boulogne, much disgusted at this unexpected
disaster, had sent couriers to the Netherlands, demanding assistance of
the States-General and of the stadholder.  Maurice had speedily responded
to the appeal.  Proceeding himself to Zeeland, he had shipped fifteen
companies of picked troops from Middelburg, together with a flotilla
laden with munitions and provisions enough to withstand a siege of
several weeks.  When the arrangements were completed, he went himself on
board of a ship of war to take command of the expedition in person.  On
the 17th of April he arrived with his succours off the harbour of Calais,
and found to his infinite disappointment that the Rysbank fort was in the
hands of the enemy.  As not a vessel could pass the bar without almost
touching that fortress, the entrance to Calais was now impossible.  Had
the incompetent Vidosan heeded the advice of his brave Dutch officers;
the place might still have been saved, for it had surrendered in a panic
on the very day when the fleet of Maurice arrived off the port.

Henry had lost no time in sending, also, to his English allies for
succour.  The possession of Calais by the Spaniards might well seem
alarming to Elizabeth, who could not well forget that up to the time of
her sister this important position had been for two centuries an English
stronghold.  The defeat of the Spanish husband of an English queen had
torn from England the last trophies of the Black Prince, and now the
prize had again fallen into the hands of Spain; but of Spain no longer
in alliance, but at war, with England.  Obviously it was most dangerous
to the interests and to the safety of the English realm, that this
threatening position, so near the gates of London, should be in the hands
of the most powerful potentate in the world and the dire enemy of
England.  In response to Henry's appeal, the Earl of Essex was despatched
with a force of six thousand men--raised by express command of the queen
on Sunday when the people were all at church--to Dover, where shipping
was in readiness to transport the troops at once across the Channel.  At
the same time, the politic queen and some of her counsellors thought the
opening a good one to profit by the calamity of their dear ally,
Certainly it was desirable to prevent Calais from falling into the grasp
of Philip.  But it was perhaps equally desirable, now that the place
without the assistance of Elizabeth could no longer be preserved by
Henry, that Elizabeth, and not Henry, should henceforth be its possessor.
To make this proposition as clear to the French king as it seemed to the
English queen, Sir Robert Sidney was despatched in all haste to Boulogne,
even while the guns of De Rosne were pointed at Calais citadel, and while
Maurice's fleet, baffled by the cowardly surrender of the Risban, was on
its retreat from the harbour.

At two o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st of April, Sidney landed at
Boulogne.  Henry, who had been intensely impatient to hear from England,
and who suspected that the delay was boding no good to his cause, went
down to the strand to meet the envoy, with whom then and there he engaged
instantly in the most animated discourse.

As there was little time to be lost, and as Sidney on getting out of the
vessel found himself thus confronted with the soldier-king in person, he
at once made the demand which he had been sent across the Channel to
make.  He requested the king to deliver up the town and citadel of Calais
to the Queen of England as soon as, with her assistance, he should
succeed in recovering the place.  He assigned as her Majesty's reasons
for this peremptory summons that she would on no other terms find it in
her power to furnish the required succour.  Her subjects, she said, would
never consent to it except on these conditions.  It was perhaps not very
common with the queen to exhibit so much deference to the popular will,
but on this occasion the supposed inclinations of the nation furnished
her with an excellent pretext for carrying out her own.  Sidney urged
moreover that her Majesty felt certain of being obliged--in case she did
not take Calais into her own safe-keeping and protection--to come to the
rescue again within four or six months to prevent it once more from being
besieged, conquered, and sacked by the enemy.

The king had feared some such proposition as this, and had intimated as
much to the States' envoy, Calvaert, who had walked with him down to the
strand, and had left him when the conference began.  Henry was not easily
thrown from his equanimity nor wont to exhibit passion on any occasion,
least of all in his discussions with the ambassadors of England, but the
cool and insolent egotism of this communication was too much for him.

He could never have believed, he said in reply, that after the repeated
assurances of her Majesty's affection for him which he had received from
the late Sir Henry Umton in their recent negotiations, her Majesty would
now so discourteously seek to make her profit out of his misery.  He had
come to Boulogne, he continued, on the pledge given by the Earl of Essex
to assist him with seven or eight thousand men in the recovery of Calais.
If this after all should fail him--although his own reputation would be
more injured by the capture of the place thus before his eyes than if it
had happened in his absence--he would rather a hundred times endure the
loss of the place than have it succoured with such injurious and
dishonourable conditions.  After all, he said, the loss of Calais was
substantially of more importance to the queen than to himself.  To him
the chief detriment would be in the breaking up of his easy and regular
communications with his neighbours through this position, and especially
with her Majesty.  But as her affection for him was now proved to be so
slender as to allow her to seek a profit from his misfortune and
dishonour, it would be better for him to dispense with her friendship
altogether and to strengthen his connections with truer and more
honourable friends.  Should the worst come to the worst, he doubted not
that he should be able, being what he was and much more than he was of
old, to make a satisfactory arrangement with, the King of Spain.  He was
ready to save Calais at the peril of his life, to conquer it in person,
and not by the hands of any of his lieutenants; but having done so, he
was not willing--at so great a loss of reputation without and at so much
peril within--to deliver it to her Majesty or to any-one else.  He would
far rather see it fall into the hands of the Spaniards.

Thus warmly and frankly did Henry denounce the unhandsome proposition
made in the name of the queen, while, during his vehement expostulations,
Sidney grew red with shame, and did not venture to look the king for one
moment in the face.  He then sought to mitigate the effect of his demand
by intimating, with much embarrassment of demeanour, that perhaps her
Majesty would be satisfied with the possession of Calais for her own
life-time, and--as this was at once plumply refused--by the suggestion of
a pledge of it for the term of one year.  But the king only grew the more
indignant as the bargaining became more paltry, and he continued to heap
bitter reproaches upon the queen, who, without having any children or
known inheritor of her possessions, should nevertheless, be so desirous
of compassing his eternal disgrace and of exciting the discontent of his
subjects for the sake of an evanescent gain for herself.  At such a
price, he avowed, he had no wish to purchase her Majesty'a friendship.

After this explosion the conference became more amicable.  The English
envoy assured the king that there could be, at all events, no doubt of
the arrival of Essex with eight thousand men on the following Thursday
to assist in the relief of the citadel; notwithstanding the answer which,
he had received to the demand of her Majesty.

He furthermore expressed the strong desire which he felt that the king
might be induced to make a personal visit to the queen at Dover, whither
she would gladly come to receive him, so soon as Calais should have been
saved.  To this the king replied with gallantry, that it was one of the
things in the world that he had most at heart.  The envoy rejoined that
her Majesty would consider such a visit a special honour and favour.  She
had said that she could leave this world more cheerfully, when God should
ordain, after she had enjoyed two hours' conversation with his Majesty.

Sidney on taking his departure repeated the assurance that the troops
under Essex would arrive before Calais by Thursday, and that they were
fast marching to the English coast; forgetting, apparently, that, at the
beginning of the interview, he had stated, according to the queen's
instructions, that the troops had been forbidden to march until a
favourable answer had been returned by the king to her proposal.

Henry then retired to his headquarters for the purpose of drawing up
information for his minister in England, De Saucy, who had not yet been
received by the queen, and who had been kept in complete ignorance of
this mission of Sidney and of its purport.

While the king was thus occupied, the English envoy was left in the
company of Calvaert, who endeavoured, without much success, to obtain
from him the result of the conference which had just taken place.
Sidney was not to be pumped by the Dutch diplomatist, adroit as he
unquestionably was, but, so soon as the queen's ambassador was fairly
afloat again on his homeward track--which was the case within three hours
after his arrival at Boulogne--Calvaert received from the king a minute
account of the whole conversation.

Henry expressed unbounded gratitude to the States-General of the republic
for their prompt and liberal assistance, and he eagerly contrasted the
conduct of Prince Maurice--sailing forth in person so chivalrously to
his rescue--with the sharp bargainings and shortcomings of the queen.
He despatched a special messenger to convey his thanks to the prince,
and he expressed his hope to Calvaert that the States might be willing
that their troops should return to the besieged place under the command
of Maurice, whose, presence alone, as he loudly and publicly protested,
was worth four thousand men.

But it was too late.  The six days were rapidly passing, away.  The
governor of Boulogne, Campagnolo, succeeded, by Henry's command, in
bringing a small reinforcement of two or three hundred men into the
citadel of Calais during the night of the 22nd of April.  This devoted
little band made their way, when the tide was low, along the flats which
stretched between the fort of Rysbank and the sea.  Sometimes wading up
to the neck in water, sometimes swimming for their lives, and during a
greater part of their perilous, march clinging so close to the hostile
fortress as almost to touch its guns, the gallant adventurers succeeded
in getting into the citadel in time to be butchered with the rest of the
garrison on the following day.  For so soon as the handful of men had
gained admittance to the gates--although otherwise the aspect of affairs
was quite unchanged--the rash and weak De Vidosan proclaimed that the
reinforcements stipulated in his conditional capitulation having arrived,
he should now resume hostilities.  Whereupon he opened fire, upon the
town, and a sentry was killed.  De Rosne, furious, at what he considered
a breach of faith, directed a severe cannonade against the not very
formidable walls of the castle.  During the artillery engagement which
ensued the Prince of Orange, who had accompanied De Rosne to the siege,
had a very narrow escape.  A cannon-ball from the town took off the heads
of two Spaniards standing near him, bespattering him with their blood and
brains.  He was urged to retire, but assured those about him that he came
of too good a house to be afraid.  His courage was commendable, but it
seems not to have occurred to him that the place for his father's son was
not by the aide of the general who was doing the work of his father's
murderer.  While his brother Maurice with a fleet of twenty Dutch war-
ships was attempting in vain to rescue Calais from the grasp of the
Spanish king, Philip William of Nassau was looking on, a pleased and
passive spectator of the desperate and unsuccessful efforts at defence.
The assault was then ordered?  The-first storm was repulsed, mainly by
the Dutch companies, who fought in the breach until most of their numbers
were killed or wounded, their captains Dominique and Le Gros having both
fallen.  The next attack was successful, the citadel was carried; and the
whole garrison, with exception of what remained of the Hollanders and
Zeelanders, put to the sword.  De Vidosan himself perished.  Thus Calais
was once more a Spanish city, and was re-annexed to the obedient
provinces of Flanders.  Of five thousand persons, soldiers and citizens,
who had taken refuge in the castle, all were killed or reduced to
captivity.'

The conversion of this important naval position into a Spanish-Flemish
station was almost as disastrous to the republic as it was mortifying to
France and dangerous to England.  The neighbouring Dunkirk had long been
a nest of pirates, whence small, fast-sailing vessels issued, daily and
nightly, to prey indiscriminately upon the commerce of all nations.
These corsairs neither gave nor took quarter, and were in the habit,
after they had plundered their prizes, of setting them adrift, with the
sailors nailed to the deck or chained to the rigging; while the dfficers
were held for ransom.  In case the vessels themselves were wanted, the
crews were indiscriminately tossed overboard; while, on the ether hand,
the buccaneers rarely hesitated to blow up their own ships, when unable
to escape from superior force.  Capture was followed by speedy execution,
and it was but recently that one of these freebooters having been brought
into Rotterdam, the whole crew, forty-four in number, were hanged on the
day of their arrival, while some five and twenty merchant-captains held
for ransom by the pirates thus obtained their liberty.

And now Calais was likely to become a second and more dangerous sea-
robbers' cave than even Dunkirk had been.

Notwithstanding this unlucky beginning of the campaign for the three
allies, it was determined to proceed with a considerable undertaking
which had been arranged between England and the republic.  For the time,
therefore, the importunate demands of the queen for repayments by the
States of her disbursements during the past ten years were suspended.
It had, indeed, never been more difficult than at that moment for the
republic to furnish extraordinary sums of money.  The year 1595 had not
been prosperous.  Although the general advance in commerce, manufactures,
and in every department of national development had been very remark
able, yet there had recently been, for exceptional causes, an apparent
falling off; while, on the other hand, there had been a bad harvest in
the north of Europe.  In Holland, where no grain was grown, and which yet
was the granary of the world, the prices were trebled.  One hundred and
eight bushels (a last) of rye, which ordinarily was worth fifty florins,
now sold for one hundred and fifty florins, and other objects of
consumption were equally enhanced in value.  On the other hand, the
expenses of the war were steadily increasing, and were fixed for this
year at five millions of florins.  The republic, and especially the
States of Holland, never hesitated to tax heroically.  The commonwealth
had no income except that which the several provinces chose to impose
upon themselves in order to fill the quota assigned to them by the
States-General; but this defect in their political organization was not
sensibly felt so long as the enthusiasm for the war continued in full
force.  The people of the Netherlands knew full well that there was no
liberty for them without fighting, no fighting without an army, no army
without wages, and no wages without taxation; and although by the end of
the century the imposts had become so high that, in the language of that
keen observer, Cardinal Bentivoglio; nuncio at Brussels, they could
scarcely be imagined higher, yet, according to the same authority, they
were laid unflinchingly and paid by the people without a murmur.  During
this year and the next the States of Holland, whose proportion often
amounted to fifty per cent. of the whole contribution of the United
Provinces, and who ever set a wholesome example in taxation, raised the
duty on imports and all internal taxes by one-eighth, and laid a fresh
impost on such articles of luxury as velvets and satins, pleas and
processes.  Starch, too, became a source of considerable revenue.
With the fast-rising prosperity of the country luxury had risen likewise,
and, as in all ages and countries of the world of which there is record,
woman's dress signalized itself by extravagant and very often tasteless
conceptions.  In a country where, before the doctrine of popular
sovereignty had been broached in any part of the world by the most
speculative theorists, very vigorous and practical examples of democracy
had been afforded to Europe; in a country where, ages before the science
of political economy had been dreamed of, lessons of free trade on the
largest scale had been taught to mankind by republican traders
instinctively breaking in many directions through the nets by which
monarchs and oligarchs, guilds and corporations, had hampered the
movements of commerce; it was natural that fashion should instinctively
rebel against restraint.  The honest burgher's vrow of Middelburg or
Enkhuyzen claimed the right to make herself as grotesque as Queen
Elizabeth in all her glory.  Sumptuary laws were an unwholesome part of
feudal tyranny, and, as such, were naturally dropping into oblivion on
the free soil of the Netherlands.  It was the complaint therefore of
moralists that unproductive consumption was alarmingly increasing.
Formerly starch had been made of the refuse parts of corn, but now the
manufacturers of that article made use of the bloom of the wheat and
consumed as much of it as would have fed great cities.  In the little
village of Wormer the starch-makers used between three and four thousand
bushels a week.  Thus a substantial gentlewoman in fashionable array
might bear the food of a parish upon her ample bosom.  A single
manufacturer in Amsterdam required four hundred weekly bushels.  Such was
the demand for the stiffening of the vast ruffs, the wonderful head-gear,
the elaborate lace-work, stomachers and streamers, without which no lady
who respected herself could possibly go abroad to make her daily
purchases of eggs and poultry in the market-place.

"May God preserve us," exclaimed a contemporary chronicler, unreasonably
excited on the starch question, "from farther luxury and wantonness, and
abuse of His blessings and good gifts, that the punishment of Jeroboam,
which followed upon Solomon's fortunate reign and the gold-ships of Ophir
may not come upon us."

The States of Holland not confounding--as so often has been the case--
the precepts of moral philosophy with those of political economy, did
not, out of fear for the doom of Jeroboam, forbid the use of starch.
They simply laid a tax of a stiver a pound on the commodity, or about six
per cent, ad valorem; and this was a more wholesome way of serving the
State than by abridging the liberty of the people in the choice of
personal attire.  Meantime the preachers were left to thunder from their
pulpits upon the sinfulness of starched rues and ornamental top-knots,
and to threaten their fair hearers with the wrath to come, with as much
success as usually attends such eloquence.

There had been uneasiness in the provinces in regard to the designs of
the queen, especially since the States had expressed their inability to
comply in full with her demands for repayment.  Spanish emissaries had
been busily circulating calumnious reports that her Majesty was on the
eve of concluding a secret peace with Philip, and that it was her
intention to deliver the cautionary towns to the king.  The Government
attached little credence to such statements, but it was natural that
Envoy Caron should be anxious at their perpetual recurrence both in
England and in the provinces.  So, one day, he had a long conversation
with the Earl of Essex on the subject; for it will be recollected that
Lord Leicester had strenuously attempted at an earlier day to get
complete possession, not only of the pledged cities but of Leyden also,
in order to control the whole country.  Essex was aflame with indignation
at once, and, expressed himself with his customary recklessness.
He swore that if her Majesty were so far forsaken of God and so forgetful
of her own glory, as through evil counsel to think of making any treaty
with Spain without the knowledge of the States-General and in order to
cheat them, he would himself make the matter as public as it was possible
to do, and would place himself in direct opposition to such a measure, so
as to show the whole world that his heart and soul were foreign at least
to any vile counsel of the kind that might have been given to his
Sovereign.  Caron and Essex conversed much in this vein, and although the
envoy, especially requested him not to do so, the earl, who was not
distinguished, for his powers of dissimulation, and who suspected
Burleigh of again tampering, as he had often before tampered, with secret
agents of Philip, went straight to the queen with the story.  Next day,
Essex invited Caron to dine and to go with him after dinner to the queen.
This was done, and, so soon as the States' envoy was admitted to the
royal presence, her Majesty at once opened the subject.  She had heard,
she said, that the reports in question had been spread through the
provinces, and she expressed much indignation in regard to them.  She
swore very vehemently, as usual, and protested that she had better never
have been born than prove so miserable a princess as these tales would
make her.  The histories of England, she said, should never describe her
as guilty of such falsehood.  She could find a more honourable and
fitting means of making peace than by delivering up cities and
strongholds so sincerely and confidingly placed in her hands.  She hoped
to restore them as faithfully as they had loyally been entrusted to her
keeping.  She begged Caron to acquaint the States-General with these
asseverations; declaring that never since she had sent troops to the
Netherlands had she lent her ear to those who had made such underhand
propositions.  She was aware that Cardinal Albert had propositions to
make, and that he was desirous of inducing both the French king and,
herself to consent to a peace with Spain: but she promised, the States'
envoy solemnly before God to apprise him of any such overtures, so soon
as they should be made known to herself.

Much more in this strain, with her usual vehemence and mighty oaths, did
the great queen aver, and the republican envoy, to whom she was on this
occasion very gracious, was fain to believe in her sincerity.  Yet the
remembrance of the amazing negotiations between the queen's ministers and
the agents of Alexander Farnese, by which the invasion of the Armada had
been masked; could not but have left an uneasy feeling in the mind of
every Dutch statesman.  "I trust in God," said Caron, "that He may never
so abandon her as to permit her to do the reverse of what she now
protests with so much passion.  Should it be otherwise--which God forbid
--I should think that He would send such chastisement upon her and her
people that other princes would see their fate therein as in a mirror,
should they make and break such oaths and promises.  I tell you these
things as they occur, because, as I often feel uneasiness myself, I
imagine that my friends on the other side the water may be subject to the
same anxiety.  Nevertheless, beat the bush as I may, I can obtain no
better information than this which I am now sending you."

It had been agreed that for a time the queen should desist from her
demands for repayment--which, according to the Treaty of 1585, was to be
made only after conclusion of peace between Spain and the provinces, but
which Elizabeth was frequently urging on the ground that the States could
now make that peace when they chose--and in return for such remission the
republic promised to furnish twenty-four ships of war and four tenders
for a naval expedition which was now projected against the Spanish coast.
These war-ships were to be of four hundred, three hundred, and two
hundred tons-eight of each dimension--and the estimated expense of their
fitting out for five months was 512,796 florins.

Before the end of April, notwithstanding the disappointment occasioned
in the Netherlands by the loss of Calais, which the States had so
energetically striven to prevent, the fleet under Admiral John of
Duvenwoord, Seigneur of Warmond, and Vice-Admirals Jan Gerbrantz and
Cornelius Leusen, had arrived at Plymouth, ready to sail with their
English allies.  There were three thousand sailors of Holland and Zeeland
on board, the best mariners in the world, and two thousand two hundred
picked veterans from the garrisons of the Netherlands.  These land-troops
were English, but they belonged to the States' army, which was composed
of Dutch, German, Walloon, Scotch, and Irish soldiers, and it was a
liberal concession on the part of the republican Government to allow them
to serve on the present expedition.  By the terms of the treaty the queen
had no more power to send these companies to invade Spain than to
campaign against Tyr Owen in Ireland, while at a moment when the cardinal
archduke had a stronger and better-appointed army in Flanders than had
been seen for many years in the provinces, it was a most hazardous
experiment for the States to send so considerable a portion of their land
and naval forces upon a distant adventure.  It was also a serious blow to
them to be deprived for the whole season of that valiant and experienced
commander, Sir Francis Vere, the most valuable lieutenant, save Lewis
William, that Maurice had at his disposition.  Yet Vere was to take
command of this contingent thus sent to the coast of Spain, at the very
moment when the republican army ought to issue from their winter quarters
and begin active operations in the field.  The consequence of this
diminution of their strength and drain upon their resources was that the
States were unable to put an army in the field during the current year,
or make any attempt at a campaign.

The queen wrote a warm letter of thanks to Admiral Warmond for the
promptness and efficiency with which he had brought his fleet to the
place of rendezvous, and now all was bustle and preparation in the
English ports for the exciting expedition resolved upon.  Never during
Philip's life-time, nor for several years before his birth, had a hostile
foot trod the soil of Spain, except during the brief landing at Corunna
in 1590, and, although the king's beard had been well singed ten years
previously by Sir Francis Drake, and although the coast of Portugal had
still more recently been invaded by Essex and Vere, yet the present
adventure was on a larger scale, and held out brighter prospects of
success than any preceding expedition had done.  In an age when the line
between the land and sea service, between regular campaigners and
volunteers, between public and private warfare, between chivalrous
knights-errant and buccaneers, was not very distinctly drawn, there could
be nothing more exciting to adventurous spirits, more tempting to the
imagination of those who hated the Pope and Philip, who loved fighting,
prize-money, and the queen, than a foray into Spain.

It was time to return the visit of the Armada.  Some of the sea-kings
were gone.  Those magnificent freebooters, Drake and Hawkins, had just
died in the West Indies, and doughty Sir Roger Williams had left the
world in which he had bustled so effectively, bequeathing to posterity a
classic memorial of near a half century of hard fighting, written, one
might almost imagine, in his demi-pique saddle.  But that most genial,
valiant, impracticable, reckless, fascinating hero of romance, the Earl
of Essex--still a youth although a veteran in service--was in the spring-
tide of favour and glory, and was to command the land-forces now
assembled at Plymouth.  That other "corsair"--as the Spaniards called
him--that other charming and heroic shape in England's chequered
chronicle of chivalry and crime--famous in arts and arms, politics,
science, literature, endowed with so many of the gifts by which men
confer lustre on their age and country, whose name was already a part of
England's eternal glory, whose tragic destiny was to be her undying
shame--Raleigh, the soldier, sailor, scholar, statesman, poet, historian,
geographical discoverer, planter of empires yet unborn--was also present,
helping to organize the somewhat chaotic elements of which the chief
Anglo-Dutch enterprise for this year against--the Spanish world-dominion
was compounded.

And, again, it is not superfluous to recal the comparatively slender
materials, both in bulk and numbers, over which the vivid intelligence
and restless energy of the two leading Protestant powers, the Kingdom and
the Republic, disposed.  Their contest against the overshadowing empire,
which was so obstinately striving to become the fifth-monarchy of
history, was waged by land: and naval forces, which in their aggregate
numbers would scarce make a startling list of killed and wounded in a
single modern battle; by ships such that a whole fleet of them might be
swept out of existence with half-a-dozen modern broadsides; by weapons
which would seem to modern eyes like clumsy toys for children.  Such was
the machinery by which the world was to be lost and won, less than three
centuries ago.  Could science; which even in that age had made gigantic
strides out of the preceding darkness, have revealed its later miracles,
and have presented its terrible powers to the despotism which was seeking
to crush all Christendom beneath its feet, the possible result might have
been most tragical to humanity.  While there are few inventions in
morals, the demon Intellect is ever at his work, knowing no fatigue and
scorning contentment in his restless demands upon the infinite Unknown.
Yet moral truth remains unchanged, gradually through the ages extending
its influence, and it is only by conformity to its simple and, eternal
dictates that nations, like individuals, can preserve a healthful
existence.  In the unending warfare between right and wrong, between
liberty and despotism; Evil has the advantage of rapidly assuming many
shapes.  It has been well said that constant vigilance is the price of
liberty.  The tendency of our own times, stimulated by scientific
discoveries and their practical application, is to political
consolidation, to the absorption of lesser communities in greater; just
as disintegration was the leading characteristic of the darker ages.  The
scheme of Charlemagne to organize Europe into a single despotism was a
brilliant failure because the forces which were driving human society
into local and gradual reconstruction around various centres of
crystallization: were irresistible to any countervailing enginry which
the emperor had at his disposal.  The attempt of Philip, eight centuries
later, at universal monarchy, was frivolous, although he could dispose of
material agencies which in the hands of Charlemagne might have made the
dreams of Charlemagne possible.  It was frivolous because the rising
instinct of the age was for religious, political, and commercial freedom
in a far intenser degree than those who lived in that age were themselves
aware.  A considerable republic had been evolved as it were involuntarily
out of the necessities of the time almost without self-consciousness that
it was a republic, and even against the desire of many who were guiding
its destinies.  And it found itself in constant combination with two
monarchs, despotic at heart and of enigmatical or indifferent religious
convictions, who yet reigned over peoples, largely influenced by
enthusiasm for freedom.  Thus liberty was preserved for the world; but,
as the law of human progress would seem to be ever by a spiral movement,
it; seems strange to the superficial observer not prone to generalizing,
that Calvinism, which unquestionably was the hard receptacle in which the
germ of human freedom was preserved in various countries and at different
epochs, should have so often degenerated into tyranny.  Yet
notwithstanding the burning of Servetus at Geneva, and the hanging of
Mary Dyer at Boston, it is certain that France, England, the Netherlands,
and America, owe a large share of such political liberty as they have
enjoyed to Calvinism.  It may be possible for large masses of humanity to
accept for ages the idea of one infallible Church, however tyrannical but
the idea once admitted that there may be many churches; that what is
called the State can be separated from what is called the Church; the
plea of infallibility and of authority soon becomes ridiculous--a mere
fiction of political or fashionable quackery to impose upon the
uneducated or the unreflecting.

And now Essex, Raleigh and Howard, Vere, Warmond and Nassau were about to
invade the shores of the despot who sat in his study plotting to annex
England, Scotland, Ireland, France, the Dutch republic, and the German
empire to the realms of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Milan, and the Eastern
and Western Indies, over which he already reigned.

The fleet consisted of fifty-seven ships of war, of which twenty-four
were Dutch vessels under Admiral Warmond, with three thousand sailors of
Holland and Zeeland.  Besides the sailors, there was a force of six
thousand foot soldiers, including the English veterans from the
Netherlands under Sir Francis Vere.  There were also fifty transports
laden with ammunition and stores.  The expedition was under the joint
command of Lord High Admiral Howard and of the Earl of Essex.  Many noble
and knightly volunteers, both from England and the republic, were on
board, including, besides those already mentioned, Lord Thomas Howard,
son of the Duke of Norfolk, Sir John Wingfield, who had commanded at
Gertruydenburg, when it had been so treacherously surrendered to Farnese;
Count Lewis Gunther of Nassau, who had so recently escaped from the
disastrous fight with Mondragon in the Lippe, and was now continuing his
education according to the plan laid down for him by his elder brother
Lewis William; Nicolas Meetkerk, Peter Regesmortes, Don Christopher of
Portugal, son of Don Antonio, and a host of other adventurers.

On the last day of June the expedition arrived off Cadiz.  Next morning
they found a splendid Spanish fleet in the harbour of that city,
including four of the famous apostolic great galleons, St. Philip, St.
Matthew, St. Thomas, and St. Andrew, with twenty or thirty great war-
ships besides, and fifty-seven well-armed Indiamen, which were to be
convoyed on their outward voyage, with a cargo estimated at twelve
millions of ducats.

The St. Philip was the phenomenon of naval architecture of that day,
larger and stronger than any ship before known.  She was two thousand
tons burthen, carried eighty-two bronze cannon, and had a crew of twelve
hundred men.  The other three apostles carried each fifty guns and four
hundred men.  The armament of the other war-ships varied from fifty-two
to eighteen guns each.  The presence of such a formidable force might
have seemed a motive for discouragement, or at least of caution.  On the
contrary, the adventurers dashed at once upon their prey; thus finding a
larger booty than they had dared to expect.  There was but a brief
engagement.  At the outset a Dutch ship accidentally blew up, and gave
much encouragement to the Spaniards.  Their joy was but short-lived.  Two
of the great galleons were soon captured, the other two, the St. Philip
and the St. Thomas, were run aground and burned.  The rest of the war-
ships were driven within the harbour, but were unable to prevent a
landing of the enemy's forces.  In the eagerness of the allies to seize
the city, they unluckily allowed many of the Indiamen to effect their
escape through the puente del Zuazzo, which had not been supposed a
navigable passage for ships of such burthen.  Nine hundred soldiers under
Essex, and four hundred noble volunteers under Lewis Gunther of Nassau,
now sprang on shore, and drove some eleven hundred Spanish skirmishers
back within the gates of the city, or into a bastion recently raised to
fortify the point when the troops had landed.  Young Nassau stormed the
bulwark sword in hand, carried it at the first assault, and planted his
colours on its battlement.  It was the flag of William the Silent; for
the republican banner was composed of the family colours of the founder
of the new commonwealth.  The blazonry of the proscribed and assassinated
rebel waved at last defiantly over one of the chief cities of Spain.
Essex and Nassau and all the rest then entered the city.  There was
little fighting.  Twenty-five English and Hollanders were killed, and
about as many Spaniards.  Essex knighted about fifty gentlemen,
Englishmen and Hollanders, in the square of Cadiz for their gallantry.
Among the number were Lewis Gunther of Nassau, Admiral Warmond, and Peter
Regesmortes.  Colonel Nicolas Meetkerke was killed in the brief action,
and Sir John Wingfield, who insisted in prancing about on horseback
without his armour, defying the townspeople and neglecting the urgent
appeal of Sir Francis Vere, was also slain.  The Spanish soldiers,
discouraged by the defeat of the ships on which they had relied for
protection of the town, retreated with a great portion of the inhabitants
into the citadel.  Next morning the citadel capitulated without striking
a blow, although there, were six thousand able-bodied, well-armed men
within its walls.  It was one of the most astonishing panics ever
recorded.  The great fleet, making a third of the king's navy, the city
of Cadiz and its fortress, were surrendered to this audacious little
force, which had only arrived off the harbour thirty-six hours before.
The invaders had, however, committed a great mistake.  They had routed,
and, as it were, captured the Spanish galleons, but they had not taken
possession of them, such had been their eagerness to enter the city.  It
was now agreed that the fleet should be ransomed for two million ducats,
but the proud Duke of Medina Sidonia, who had already witnessed the
destruction of one mighty armada, preferred that these splendid ships
too should perish rather than that they should pay tribute to the enemy.
Scorning the capitulation of the commandant of the citadel, he ordered
the fleet to be set on fire.  Thirty-two ships, most of them vessels of
war of the highest class, were burned, with all their equipments.  Twelve
hundred cannon sunk at once to the bottom of the Bay of Cadiz, besides
arms for five or six thousand men.  At least one-third of Philip's
effective navy was thus destroyed.

The victors now sacked the city very thoroughly, but the results
were disappointing.  A large portion of the portable wealth of the
inhabitants, their gold and their jewelry, had been so cunningly
concealed that, although half a dozen persons were tortured till they
should reveal hidden treasures, not more than five hundred thousand
ducats worth of-plunder was obtained.  Another sum of equal amount
having been levied upon the citizens; forty notable personages; among
them eighteen ecclesiastical dignitaries, were carried off as hostages
for its payment.  The city was now set on fire by command of Essex in
four different quarters.  Especially the cathedral and other churches,
the convents and the hospitals, were burned.  It was perhaps not
unnatural: that both Englishmen and Hollanders should be disposed to
wreak a barbarous vengeance on everything representative of the Church
which they abhorred, and from which such endless misery had issued to
the, uttermost corners of their own countries.  But it is at any rate
refreshing to record amid these acts of pillage and destruction, in
which, as must ever be the case, the innocent and the lowly were made
to suffer for the crimes of crowned and mitred culprits, that not many
special acts of cruelty were committed upon individuals:

No man was murdered in cold blood, no woman was outraged.  The beautiful
city was left a desolate and blackened ruin, and a general levy of spoil
was made for the benefit of the victors, but there was no infringement
of the theory and practice of the laws of war as understood in that day
or in later ages.  It is even recorded that Essex ordered one of his
soldiers, who was found stealing a woman's gown, to be hanged on the
spot, but that, wearied by the intercession of an ecclesiastic of Cadiz,
the canon Quesada, he consented at last to pardon the marauder.

It was the earnest desire of Essex to hold Cadiz instead of destroying
it.  With three thousand men, and with temporary supplies from the fleet,
the place could be maintained against all comers; Holland and England
together commanding the seas.  Admiral Warmond and all the Netherlanders
seconded the scheme, and offered at once to put ashore from their vessels
food and munitions enough to serve two thousand men for two months.  If
the English admiral would do as much, the place might be afterwards
supplied without limit and held till doomsday, a perpetual thorn in
Philip's side.  Sir Francis Vere was likewise warmly in favour of the
project, but he stood alone.  All the other Englishmen opposed it as
hazardous, extravagant, and in direct contravention of the minute
instructions of the queen.  With a sigh or a curse for what he considered
the superfluous caution of his royal mistress, and the exaggerated
docility of Lord High Admiral Howard, Essex was fain to content himself
with the sack and the conflagration, and the allied fleet sailed away
from Cadiz.

On their way towards Lisbon they anchored off Faro, and landed a force,
chiefly of Netherlanders, who expeditiously burned and plundered the
place.  When they reached the neighbourhood of Lisbon, they received
information that a great fleet of Indiamen, richly laden, were daily
expected from the Flemish islands, as the Azores were then denominated.
Again Essex was vehemently disposed to steer at once for that station,
in order to grasp so tempting a prize; again he was strenuously supported
by the Dutch admiral and Yere, and again Lord Howard peremptorily
interdicted the plan.  It was contrary to his instructions and to his
ideas of duty, he said, to risk so valuable a portion of her Majesty's
fleet on so doubtful a venture.  His ships were not fitted for a winter's
cruise, he urged.  Thus, although it was the very heart of midsummer,
the fleet was ordered to sail homeward.  The usual result of a divided
command was made manifest, and it proved in the sequel that, had they
sailed for the islands, they would have pounced at exactly the right
moment upon an unprotected fleet of merchantmen, with cargoes valued at
seven millions of ducats.  Essex, not being willing to undertake the
foray to the Azores with the Dutch ships alone, was obliged to digest
his spleen as: best he could.  Meantime the English fleet bore away for
England, leaving Essex in his own ship, together with the two captured
Spanish galleons, to his fate.  That fate might, have been a disastrous
one, for his prizes were not fully manned, his own vessel was far from
powerful, and there were many rovers and cruisers upon the seas.  The
Dutch admiral, with all his ships, however, remained in company, and
safely convoyed him to Plymouth, where they arrived only a day or two
later than Howard and his fleet.  Warmond, who had been disposed to sail
up the Thames in order to pay his respects to the queen, was informed
that his presence would not be desirable but rather an embarrassment.
He, however, received the following letter from the hand of Elizabeth.

MONSIEUR DUYENWOORD,--The report made to me by the generals of our
fleet, just happily arrived from the coast of Spain, of the devoirs of
those who have been partakers in so, famous a victory, ascribes so much
of it to the valour, skill, and readiness exhibited by yourself and our
other friends from the Netherlands under your command, during the whole
course of the expedition, as to fill our mind with special joy and
satisfaction, and, with a desire to impart these feelings to you.  No
other means presenting themselves at this moment than that of a letter
(in some sense darkening the picture of the conceptions of our soul), we
are willing to make use of it while waiting for means more effectual.
Wishing thus to disburthen ourselves we find ourselves confused, not-
knowing where to begin, the greatness of each part exceeding the merit
of the other.  For, the vigour and promptness with which my lords the
States-General stepped into the enterprise, made us acknowledge that the
good favour, which we have always borne the United Provinces and the
proofs thereof which we have given in the benefits conferred by us upon
them, had not been ill-bestowed.  The valour, skill, and discipline
manifested by you in this enterprise show that you and your, whole nation
are worthy the favour and protection of princes against those who wish to
tyrannize over you.  But the honourableness and the valour shown by you,
Sir Admiral, towards our cousin the Earl of Essex on his return, when he
unfortunately was cut off from the fleet, and deep in the night was
deprived of all support, when you kept company with him and gave him
escort into the harbour of Plymouth, demonstrate on the one hand your
foresight in providing thus by your pains and patience against all
disasters, which through an accident falling upon one of the chiefs of
our armada might have darkened the great victory; and on the other hand
the fervour and fire of the affection which you bear us, increasing thus,
through a double bond, the obligations we are owing you, which is so
great in our hearts that we have felt bound to discharge a part of it by
means of this writing, which we beg you to communicate to the whole
company of our friends under your command; saying to them besides, that
they may feel assured that even as we have before given proof of our
goodwill to their fatherland, so henceforth--incited by their devoirs and
merits--we are ready to extend our bounty and affection in all ways which
may become a princess recompensing the virtues and gratitude of a nation
so worthy as yours.
                                        "ELIZABETH R.

"14th August, 1596."

This letter was transmitted by the admiral to the States-General; who,
furnished him with a copy of it, but enrolled the original in their
archives; recording as it did, in the hand of the great English queen,
so striking a testimony to the valour and the good conduct of
Netherlanders.

The results of this expedition were considerable, for the king's navy was
crippled, a great city was destroyed, and some millions of plunder had
been obtained.  But the permanent possession of Cadiz, which, in such
case, Essex hoped to exchange for Calais, and the destruction of the
fleet at the Azores--possible achievements both, and unwisely neglected
--would have been far more profitable, at least to England.  It was also
matter of deep regret that there was much quarrelling between the
Netherlanders and the Englishmen as to their respective share of the
spoils; the Netherlanders complaining loudly that they had been
defrauded.  Moreover the merchants of Middelburg, Amsterdam, and other
commercial cities of Holland and Zeeland were, as it proved, the real
owners of a large portion of the property destroyed or pillaged at Cadiz;
so that a loss estimated as high as three hundred thousand florins fell
upon those unfortunate traders through this triumph of the allies.

The internal consequences of the fall of Calais had threatened at the
first moment to be as disastrous as the international results of that
misfortune had already proved.  The hour for the definite dismemberment
and partition of the French kingdom, not by foreign conquerors but among
its own self-seeking and disloyal grandees, seemed to have struck.  The
indomitable Henry, ever most buoyant when most pressed by misfortune, was
on the way to his camp at La Fere, encouraging the faint-hearted, and
providing as well as he could for the safety of the places most menaced,
when he was met at St. Quentin by a solemn deputation of the principal
nobles, military commanders, and provincial governors of France.  The
Duke of Montpensier was spokesman of the assembly, and, in an harangue
carefully prepared for the occasion, made an elaborate proposition to the
king that the provinces, districts, cities, castles; and other strong-
holds throughout the kingdom should now be formally bestowed upon the
actual governors and commandants thereof in perpetuity, and as hereditary
property, on condition of rendering a certain military service to the
king and his descendants.  It seemed so amazing that this temporary
disaster to the national arms should be used as a pretext for parcelling
out France, and converting a great empire into a number of insignificant
duchies and petty principalities; that this movement should be made, not
by the partisans of Spain, but by the adherents of the king; and that its
leader should be his own near relative, a prince of the blood, and a
possible successor to the crown, that Henry was struck absolutely dumb.
Misinterpreting his silence, the duke proceeded very confidently with his
well-conned harangue; and was eloquently demonstrating that, under such a
system, Henry, as principal feudal chief, would have greater military
forces at his disposal whenever he chose to summon his faithful vassals
to the field than could be the case while the mere shadow of royal power
or dignity was allowed to remain; when the king, finding at last a
tongue, rebuked his cousin; not angrily, but with a grave melancholy
which was more impressive than wrath.

He expressed his pity for the duke that designing intriguers should have
thus taken advantage of his facility of character to cause him to enact
a part so entirely unworthy a Frenchman, a gentleman, and a prince of the
blood.  He had himself, at the outset of his career, been much farther
from the throne than Montpensier was at that moment; but at no period of
his life would he have consented to disgrace himself by attempting the
dismemberment of the realm.  So far from entering for a moment into the
subject-matter of the duke's discourse, he gave him and all his
colleagues distinctly to understand that he would rather die a thousand
deaths than listen to suggestions which would cover his family and the
royal dignity with infamy.

Rarely has political cynicism been displayed in more revolting shape than
in this deliberate demonstration by the leading patricians and generals
of France, to whom patriotism seemed an unimaginable idea.  Thus signally
was their greediness to convert a national disaster into personal profit
rebuked by the king.  Henry was no respecter of the People, which he
regarded as something immeasurably below his feet.  On the contrary, he
was the most sublime self-seeker of them all; but his courage, his
intelligent ambition, his breadth and strength of purpose, never
permitted him to doubt that his own greatness was inseparable from the
greatness of France.  Thus he represented a distinct and wholesome
principle--the national integrity of a great homogeneous people at a
period when that integrity seemed, through domestic treason and foreign
hatred, to be hopelessly lost.  Hence it is not unnatural that he should
hold his place in the national chronicle as Henry the Great.

Meantime, while the military events just recorded had been occurring in
the southern peninsula, the progress of the archduke and his lieutenants
in the north against the king and against the republic had been
gratifying to the ambition of that martial ecclesiastic.  Soon after the
fall of Calais, De Rosne had seized the castles of Guynes and Hames,
while De Mexia laid siege to the important stronghold of Ardres.  The
garrison, commanded by Count Belin, was sufficiently numerous and well
supplied to maintain the place until Henry, whose triumph at La Fere
could hardly be much longer delayed, should come to its relief.  To the
king's infinite dissatisfaction, however, precisely as Don Alvario de
Osorio was surrendering La Fere to him, after a seven months' siege,
Ardres was capitulating to De Mexia.  The reproaches upon Belin for
cowardice, imbecility, and bad faith, were bitter and general.  All his
officers had vehemently protested against the surrender, and Henry at
first talked of cutting off his head.  It was hardly probable, however--
had the surrender been really the result of treachery--that the governor
would have put himself, as he did at once in the king's power; for the
garrison marched out of Ardres with the commandant at their head, banners
displayed, drums beating, matches lighted and bullet in mouth, twelve
hundred fighting men strong, besides invalids.  Belin was possessed of
too much influence, and had the means of rendering too many pieces of
service to the politic king, whose rancour against Spain was perhaps not
really so intense as was commonly supposed, to meet with the condign
punishment which might have been the fate of humbler knaves.

These successes having been obtained in Normandy, the cardinal with a
force of nearly fifteen thousand men now took the field in Flanders;
and, after hesitating for a time whether he should attack Breda, Bergen,
Ostend, or Gertruydenburg,--and after making occasional feints in various
directions, came, towards the end of June, before Hulst.  This rather
insignificant place, with a population of but one thousand inhabitants,
was defended by a strong garrison under command of that eminent and
experienced officer Count Everard Solms.  Its defences were made more
complete by a system of sluices, through which the country around could
be laid under water; and Maurice, whose capture of the town in the year
1591 had been one of his earliest military achievements, was disposed to
hold it at all hazards.  He came in person to inspect the fortifications,
and appeared to be so eager on the subject, and so likely to encounter
unnecessary hazards, that the States of Holland passed a resolution
imploring him "that he would not, in his heroic enthusiasm and laudable
personal service, expose a life on which the country so much depended to
manifest dangers."  The place was soon thoroughly invested, and the usual
series of minings and counter-minings, assaults, and sorties followed,
in the course of which that courageous and corpulent renegade, De Rosne,
had his head taken off by a cannon-ball, while his son, a lad of sixteen,
was fighting by his side.  On the 16th August the cardinal formally
demanded the surrender of the place, and received the magnanimous reply
that Hulst would be defended to the death.  This did not, however,
prevent the opening of negotiations the very same day.  All the officers,
save one, united in urging Solms to capitulate; and Solms, for somewhat
mysterious reasons, and, as was stated, in much confusion, gave his
consent.  The single malcontent was the well-named Matthew Held, whose
family name meant Hero, and who had been one of the chief actors in the
far-famed capture of Breda.  He was soon afterwards killed in an
unsuccessful attack made by Maurice upon Venlo.

Hulst capitulated on the 18th August.  The terms were honourable; but the
indignation throughout the country against Count Solms was very great.
The States of Zeeland, of whose regiment he had been commander ever,
since the death of Sir Philip Sidney, dismissed him from their service,
while a torrent of wrath flowed upon him from every part of the country.
Members of the States-General refused to salute him in the streets;
eminent person, ages turned their backs upon him, and for a time there
was no one willing to listen to a word in his defence.  The usual
reaction in such cases followed; Maurice sustained the commander, who had
doubtless committed a grave error, but who had often rendered honourable
service to the republic, and the States-General gave him a command as
important as that of which he had been relieved by the Zeeland States.
It was mainly on account of the tempest thus created within the
Netherlands, that an affair of such slight importance came to occupy so
large a space in contemporary history.  The defenders of Solmstold wild
stories about the losses of the besieging army.  The cardinal, who was
thought prodigal of blood, and who was often quoted as saying "his
soldiers' lives belonged to God and their bodies to the king," had
sacrificed, it, was ridiculously said, according to the statement of the
Spaniards themselves, five thousand soldiers before the walls of Hulst.
It was very logically deduced therefrom that the capture of a few more
towns of a thousand inhabitants each would cost him his whole army.
People told each other, too, that the conqueror had refused a triumph
which the burghers of Brussels wished to prepare for him on his entrance
into the capital, and that he had administered the very proper rebuke
that, if they had more money than they knew what to do with, they should
expend it in aid of the wounded and of the families of the fallen, rather
than in velvets and satins and triumphal arches.  The humanity of the
suggestion hardly tallied with the blood-thirstiness of which he was at
the same time so unjustly accused--although it might well be doubted
whether the commander-in-chief, even if he could witness unflinchingly
the destruction of five thousand soldiers on the battle-field, would dare
to confront a new demonstration of schoolmaster Houwaerts and his
fellowpedants.

The fact was, however, that the list of casualties in the cardinal's camp
during the six weeks' siege amounted to six hundred, while the losses
within the city were at least as many.  There was no attempt to relieve
the place; for the States, as before observed, had been too much cramped
by the strain upon their resources and by the removal of so many veterans
for the expedition against Cadiz to be able to muster any considerable
forces in the field during the whole of this year.

For a vast war in which the four leading powers of the earth were
engaged, the events, to modern eyes, of the campaign of 1596 seem
sufficiently meagre.  Meantime, during all this campaigning by land and
sea in the west, there had been great but profitless bloodshed in the
east.  With difficulty did the holy Roman Empire withstand the terrible,
ever-renewed assaults of the unholy realm of Ottoman--then in the full
flush of its power--but the two empires still counterbalanced each other,
and contended with each'other at the gates of Vienna.

As the fighting became more languid, however, in the western part of
Christendom, the negotiations and intrigues grew only the more active.
It was most desirable for the republic to effect, if possible, a formal
alliance offensive and defensive with France and England against Spain.
The diplomacy of the Netherlands had been very efficient in bringing
about the declaration of war by Henry against Philip, by which the
current year had opened, after Henry and Philip had been doing their best
to destroy each other and each other's subjects during the half-dozen
previous years.  Elizabeth, too, although she had seen her shores invaded
by Philip with the most tremendous armaments that had ever floated on the
seas, and although she had herself just been sending fire and sword into
the heart of Spain, had very recently made the observation that she and
Philip were not formally at war with each other.  It seemed, therefore,
desirable to the States-General that this very practical warfare should
be, as it were, reduced to a theorem.  In this case the position of the
republic to both powers and to Spain itself might perhaps be more
accurately defined.

Calvaert, the States' envoy--to use his own words--haunted Henry like his
perpetual shadow, and was ever doing his best to persuade him of the
necessity of this alliance.  De Saucy, as we have seen, had just arrived
in England, when the cool proposition of the queen to rescue Calais from
Philip on condition of keeping it for herself had been brought to
Boulogne by Sidney.  Notwithstanding the indignation of the king, he had
been induced directly afterwards to send an additional embassy to
Elizabeth, with the Duke of Bouillon at its head; and he had insisted
upon Calvaert's accompanying the mission.  He had, as he frequently
observed, no secrets from the States-General, or from Calvaert, who had
been negotiating upon these affairs for two years past and was so well
acquainted with all their bearings.  The Dutch envoy was reluctant to go,
for he was seriously ill and very poor in purse, but Henry urged the
point so vehemently, that Calvaert found himself on board ship within six
hours of the making of the proposition.  The incident shows of how much
account the republican diplomatist was held by so keen a judge of mankind
as the Bearnese; but it will subsequently appear that the candour of the
king towards the States-General and their representative was by no means
without certain convenient limitations.

De Sancy had arrived just as--without his knowledge--Sidney had been
despatched across the channel with the brief mission already mentioned.
When he was presented to the queen, the next day, she excused herself for
the propositions by which Henry had been so much enraged, by assuring the
envoy that it had been her intention only to keep Calais out of the
enemy's hand, so long as the king's forces were too much occupied at a
distance to provide for its safety.  As diplomatic conferences were about
to begin in which--even more than in that age, at least, was usually the
case--the object of the two conferring powers was to deceive each other,
and at the same time still more decidedly to defraud other states, Sancy
accepted the royal explanation, although Henry's special messenger,
Lomenie, had just brought him from the camp at Boulogne a minute account
of the propositions of Sidney.

The envoy had, immediately afterwards, an interview with Lord Burghley,
and at once perceived that he was no friend to his master.  Cecil
observed that the queen had formerly been much bound to the king for
religion's sake.  As this tie no longer existed, there was nothing now to
unite them save the proximity of the two States to each other and their
ancient alliances, a bond purely of interest which existed only so long
as princes found therein a special advantage.

De Sancy replied that the safety of the two crowns depended upon their
close alliance against a very powerful foe who was equally menacing to
them both.  Cecil rejoined that he considered the Spaniards deserving of
the very highest praise for having been able to plan so important an
enterprise, and to have so well deceived the King of France by the
promptness and the secrecy of their operations as to allow him to
conceive no suspicion as to their designs.

To this not very friendly sarcasm the envoy, indignant that France should
thus be insulted in her misfortunes, exclaimed that he prayed to God that
the affairs of Englishmen might never be reduced to such a point as to
induce the world to judge by the result merely, as to the sagacity of
their counsels.  He added that there were many passages through which to
enter France, and that it was difficult to be present everywhere, in
order to defend them all against the enemy.

A few days afterwards the Duke of Bouillon arrived in London.  He had
seen Lord Essex at Dover as he passed, and had endeavoured without
success to dissuade him from his expedition against the Spanish coast.
The conferences opened on the 7th May, at Greenwich, between Burghley,
Cobham, the Lord Chamberlain, and one or two other commissioners on the
part of the queen, and Bouillon, Sancy, Du Yair, and Ancel, as
plenipotentiaries of Henry.

There was the usual indispensable series of feints at the outset, as if
it were impossible for statesmen to meet around a green table except as
fencers in the field or pugilists in the ring.

"We have nothing to do," said Burghley, "except to listen to such
propositions as may be made on the part of the king, and to repeat them
to her Highness the queen."

"You cannot be ignorant," replied Bouillon, "of the purpose for which we
have been sent hither by his Very Christian Majesty.  You know very well
that it is to conclude a league with England.  'Tis necessary, therefore,
for the English to begin by declaring whether they are disposed to enter
into such an alliance.  This point once settled, the French can make
their propositions, but it would be idle to dispute about the conditions
of a treaty, if there is after all no treaty to be made."

To this Cecil rejoined, that, if the king were reduced to the necessity
of asking succour from the queen, and of begging for her alliance, it was
necessary for them, on the other hand, to see what he was ready to do for
the queen in return, and to learn what advantage she could expect from
the league.

The duke said that the English statesmen were perfectly aware of the
French intention of proposing a league against the common enemy of both
nations, and that it would be unquestionably for the advantage of both
to unite their forces for a vigorous attack upon Spain, in which case it
would be more difficult for the Spanish to resist them than if each were
acting separately.  It was no secret that the Spaniards would rather
attack England than France, because their war against England, being
coloured by a religious motive, would be much less odious, and would even
have a specious pretext.  Moreover the conquest of England would give
them an excellent vantage ground to recover what they had lost in the
Netherlands.  If, on the contrary, the enemy should throw himself with
his whole force upon France, the king, who would perhaps lose many places
at once, and might hardly be able to maintain himself single-handed
against domestic treason and a concentrated effort on the part of Spain,
would probably find it necessary to make a peace with that power.
Nothing could be more desirable for Spain than such a result, for she
would then be free to attack England and Holland, undisturbed by any fear
of France.  This was a piece of advice, the duke said, which the king
offered, in the most friendly spirit, and as a proof of his affection,
to her Majesty's earnest consideration.

Burghley replied that all this seemed to him no reason for making a
league.  "What more can the queen do," he observed, "than she is already
doing?  She has invaded Spain by land and sea, she has sent troops to
Spain, France, and the Netherlands; she has lent the king fifteen hundred
thousand crowns in gold.  In short, the envoys ought rather to be
studying how to repay her Majesty for her former benefits than to be
soliciting fresh assistance."  He added that the king was so much
stronger by the recent gain of Marseilles as to be easily able to bear
the loss of places of far less importance, while Ireland, on the
contrary, was a constant danger to the queen.  The country was already
in a blaze, on account of the recent landing effected there by the
Spaniards, and it was a very ancient proverb among the English, that to
attack England it was necessary to take the road of Ireland.

Bouillon replied that in this war there was much difference between the
position of France and that of England.  The queen, notwithstanding
hostilities, obtained her annual revenue as usual, while the king was cut
off from his resources and obliged to ruin his kingdom in order to wage
war.  Sancy added, that it must be obvious to the English ministers that
the peril of Holland was likewise the peril of England and of France, but
that at the same time they could plainly see that the king, if not
succoured, would be forced to a peace with Spain.  All his counsellors
were urging him to this, and it was the interest of all his neighbours
to prevent such a step.  Moreover, the proposed league could not but be
advantageous to the English; whether by restraining the Spaniards from
entering England, or by facilitating a combined attack upon the common
enemy.  The queen might invade any portion of the Flemish coast at her
pleasure, while the king's fleet could sail with troops from his ports to
prevent any attack upon her realms.

At this Burghley turned to his colleagues and said, in English, "The
French are acting according to the proverb; they wish to sell us the
bear-skin before they have killed the bear."  Sancy, who understood
English, rejoined, "We have no bear-skin to sell, but we are giving you
a very good and salutary piece of advice.  It is for you to profit by it
as you may."

"Where are these ships of war, of which you were speaking?" asked
Burghley.

"They are at Rochelle, at Bordeaux, and at St. Malo," replied de Sancy.

"And these ports are not in the king's possession," said the Lord
Treasurer.

The discussion was growing warm.  The Duke of Bouillon, in order to, put
an end to it, said that what England had most to fear was a descent by
Spain upon her coasts, and that the true way to prevent this was to give
occupation to Philip's army in Flanders.  The soldiers in the fleet then
preparing were raw levies with which he would not venture to assail her
kingdom.  The veterans in Flanders were the men on whom he relied for
that purpose.  Moreover the queen, who had great influence with the
States-General, would procure from them a prohibition of all commerce
between the provinces and Spain; all the Netherlands would be lost to
Philip, his armies would disperse of their own accord; the princes of
Italy, to whom the power of Spain was a perpetual menace, would secretly
supply funds to the allied powers, and the Germans, declared enemies of
Philip, would furnish troops.

Burghley asserted confidently that this could never be obtained from the
Hollanders, who lived by commerce alone.  Upon which Saucy, wearied with
all these difficulties, interrupted the Lord Treasurer by exclaiming,
"If the king is to expect neither an alliance nor any succour on your
part, he will be very much obliged to the queen if she will be good
enough to inform him of the decision taken by her, in order that he may,
upon his side, take the steps most suitable to the present position of
his affairs."

The session then terminated.  Two days afterwards, in another conference,
Burghley offered three thousand men on the part of the queen, on
condition that they should be raised at the king's expense, and that
they should not leave England until they had received a month's pay
in advance.

The Duke of Bouillon said this was far from being what had been expected
of the generosity of her Majesty, that if the king had money he would
find no difficulty in raising troops in Switzerland and Germany, and that
there was a very great difference between hired princes and allies.  The
English ministers having answered that this was all the queen could do,
the duke and Saucy rose in much excitement, saying that they had then no
further business than to ask for an audience of leave, and to return to
France as fast as possible.

Before they bade farewell to the queen, however, the envoys sent a memoir
to her Majesty, in which they set forth that the first proposition as to
a league had been made by Sir Henry Umton, and that now, when the king
had sent commissioners to treat concerning an alliance, already
recommended by the queen's ambassador in France, they had been received
in such a way as to indicate a desire to mock them rather than to treat
with them.  They could not believe, they said, that it was her Majesty's
desire to use such language as had been addressed to them, and they
therefore implored her plainly to declare her intentions, in order that
they might waste no more time unnecessarily, especially as the high
offices with which their sovereign had honoured them did not allow them
to remain for a long time absent from France.

The effect of this memoir upon the queen was, that fresh conferences were
suggested, which took place at intervals between the 11th and the 26th
of May.  They were characterized by the same mutual complaints of
overreachings and of shortcomings by which all the previous discussions
had been distinguished.  On the 17th May the French envoys even insisted
on taking formal farewell of the queen, and were received by her Majesty
for that purpose at a final audience.  After they had left the presence--
the preparations for their homeward journey being already made--the queen
sent Sir Robert Cecil, Henry Brooke, son of Lord Cobham, and La Fontaine,
minister of a French church in England, to say to them how very much
mortified she was that the state of her affairs did not permit her to
give the king as much assistance as he desired, and to express her wish
to speak to them once more before their departure.

The result of the audience given accordingly to the envoys, two days
later, was the communication of her decision to enter into the league
proposed, but without definitely concluding the treaty until it should be
ratified by the king.

On the 26th May articles were finally agreed upon, by which the king and
queen agreed to defend each other's dominions, to unite in attacking the
common enemy, and to invite other princes and states equally interested
with themselves in resisting the ambitious projects of Spain, to join in
the league.  It was arranged that an army should be put in the field as
soon as possible, at the expense of the king and queen, and of such other
powers as should associate themselves in the proposed alliance; that this
army should invade the dominions of the Spanish monarch, that the king
and queen were never, without each other's consent, to make peace or
truce with Philip; that the queen should immediately raise four thousand
infantry to serve six months of every year in Picardy and Normandy, with
the condition that they were never to be sent to a distance of more than
fifty leaguas from Boulogna; that when the troubles of Ireland should be
over the queen should be at liberty to add new troops to the four
thousand men thus promised by her to the league; that the queen was to
furnish to these four thousand men six months' pay in advance before they
should leave England, and that the king should agree to repay the amount
six months afterwards, sending meanwhile four nobles to England as
hostages.  If the dominions of the queen should be attacked it was
stipulated that, at two months' notice, the king should raise four
thousand men at the expense of the queen and send them to her assistance,
and that they were to serve for six months at her charge, but were not to
be sent to a distance of more than fifty leagues from the coasts of
France.

The English were not willing that the States-General should be
comprehended among the powers to be invited to join the league, because
being under the protection of the Queen of England they were supposed to
have no will but hers.  Burghley insisted accordingly that, in speaking
of those who were thus to be asked, no mention was to be made of peoples
nor of states, for fear lest the States-General might be included under
those terms.  The queen was, however, brought at last to yield the point,
and consented, in order to satisfy the French envoys, that to the word
princes should be added the general expression orders or estates.  The
obstacle thus interposed to the formation of the league by the hatred of
the queen and of the privileged classes of England to popular liberty,
and by the secret desire entertained of regaining that sovereignty over
the provinces which had been refused ten years before by Elizabeth, was
at length set aside.  The republic, which might have been stifled at its
birth, was now a formidable fact, and could neither be annexed to the
English dominions nor deprived of its existence as a new member of the
European family.

It being no longer possible to gainsay the presence of the young
commonwealth among the nations, the next best thing--so it was thought--
was to defraud her in the treaty to which she was now invited to accede.
This, as it will presently appear, the King of France and the Queen of
England succeeded in doing very thoroughly, and they accomplished it
notwithstanding the astuteness and the diligence of the States' envoy,
who at Henry's urgent request had accompanied the French mission to
England.  Calvaert had been very active in bringing about the
arrangement, to assist in which he had, as we have seen, risen from a
sick bed and made the journey to England: "The proposition for an
offensive and defensive alliance was agreed to by her Majesty's Council,
but under intolerable and impracticable conditions," said he, "and, as
such, rejected by the duke and Sancy, so that they took leave of her
Majesty.  At last, after some negotiation in which, without boasting, I
may say that I did some service, it was again taken in hand, and at last,
thank God, although with much difficulty, the league has been concluded."

When the task was finished the French envoys departed to obtain their
master's ratification of the treaty.  Elizabeth expressed herself warmly
in regard to her royal brother, inviting him earnestly to pay her a
visit, in which case she said she would gladly meet him half way; for a
sight of him would be her only consolation in the midst of her adversity
and annoyance.  "He may see other princesses of a more lovely
appearance," she added, "but he will never make a visit to a more
faithful friend."

But the treaty thus concluded was for the public.  The real agreement
between France and England was made by a few days later, and reduced the
ostensible arrangement to a sham, a mere decoy to foreign nations,
especially to the Dutch republic, to induce them to imitate England in
joining the league, and to emulate her likewise in affording that
substantial assistance to the league which in reality England was very
far from giving.

"Two contracts were made," said Secretary of State Villeroy; "the one
public, to give credit and reputation to the said league, the other
secret, which destroyed the effects and the promises of the first.  By
the first his Majesty was to be succoured by four thousand infantry,
which number was limited by the second contract to two thousand, who were
to reside and to serve only in the cities of Boulogne and Montreuil,
assisted by an equal number of French, and not otherwise, and on
condition of not being removed from those towns unless his Majesty should
be personally present in Picardy with an army, in which case they might
serve in Picardy, but nowhere else."

An English garrison in a couple of French seaports, over against the
English coast, would hardly have seemed a sufficient inducement to other
princes and states to put large armies in the field to sustain the
Protestant league, had they known that this was the meagre result of the
protocolling and disputations that had been going on all the summer at
Greenwich.

Nevertheless the decoy did its work, The envoys returned to France, and
it was not until three months later that the Duke of Bouillon again made
his appearance in England, bringing the treaty duly ratified by Henry.
The league was then solemnized, on, the 26th August, by the queen with
much pomp and ceremony.  Three peers of the realm waited upon the French
ambassador at his lodgings, and escorted him and his suite in seventeen
royal coaches to the Tower.  Seven splendid barges then conveyed them
along the Thames to Greenwich.  On the pier the ambassador was received
by the Earl of Derby at the head of a great suite of nobles and high
functionaries, and conducted to the palace of Nonesuch.

There was a religious ceremony in the royal chapel, where a special
pavilion had been constructed.  Standing, within this sanctuary, the
queen; with her hand on her breast, swore faithfully to maintain the
league just concluded.  She then gave her hand to the Duke of Bouillon,
who held it in both his own, while psalms were sung and the organ
resounded through the chapel.  Afterwards there was a splendid banquet in
the palace, the duke sitting in solitary grandeur at the royal table,
being placed at a respectful distance from her Majesty, and the dishes
being placed on the board by the highest nobles of the realm, who, upon
their knees, served the queen with wine.  No one save the ambassador sat
at Elizabeth's table, but in the same hall was spread another, at which
the Earl of Essex entertained many distinguished guests, young Count
Lewis Gunther of Nassau among the number.

In the midsummer twilight the brilliantly decorated barges were again
floating on the historic river, the gaily-coloured lanterns lighting the
sweep of the oars, and the sound of lute and viol floating merrily across
the water.  As the ambassador came into the courtyard of his house, he
found a crowd of several thousand people assembled, who shouted welcome
to the representative of Henry, and invoked blessings on the head of
Queen Elizabeth and of her royal brother of France.  Meanwhile all the
bells of London were ringing, artillery was thundering, and bonfires were
blazing, until the night was half spent.

Such was the holiday-making by which the league between the great
Protestant queen and the ex-chief of the Huguenots of France was
celebrated within a year after the pope had received him, a repentant
sinner, into the fold of the Church.  Truly it might be said that
religion was rapidly ceasing to be the line of demarcation among the
nations, as had been the case for the two last generations of mankind.

The Duke of Bouillon soon afterwards departed for the Netherlands, where
the regular envoy to the commonwealth, Paul Chouart Seigneur de Buzanval,
had already been preparing the States-General for their entrance into the
league.  Of course it was duly impressed upon those republicans that they
should think themselves highly honoured by the privilege of associating
themselves with so august an alliance.  The queen wrote an earnest letter
to the States, urging them to join the league.  "Especially should you do
so," she said, "on account of the reputation which you will thereby gain
for your affairs with the people who are under you, seeing you thus
sustained (besides the certainty which you have of our favour) by the
friendship of other confederated princes, and particularly by that of the
most Christian king."

On the 31st October the articles of agreement under which the republic
acceded to the new confederation were signed at the Hague.  Of course
it was not the exact counterpart of the famous Catholic association.
Madam League, after struggling feebly for the past few years, a decrepit
beldame, was at last dead and buried.  But there had been a time when she
was filled with exuberant and terrible life.  She, at least, had known
the object of her creation, and never, so long as life was in her, had
she faltered in her dread purpose.  To extirpate Protestantism, to murder
Protestants, to burn, hang, butcher, bury them alive, to dethrone every
Protestant sovereign in Europe, especially to assassinate the Queen of
England, the Prince of Orange, with all his race, and Henry of Navarre,
and to unite in the accomplishment of these simple purposes all the
powers of Christendom under the universal monarchy of Philip of Spain--
for all this, blood was shed in torrents, and the precious metals of the
"Indies" squandered as fast as the poor savages, who were thus taking
their first lessons in the doctrines of Jesus of Nazareth, could dig it
from the mines.  For this America had been summoned, as it were by
almighty fiat, out of previous darkness, in order that it might furnish
money with which to massacre all the heretics of the earth.  For this
great purpose was the sublime discovery of the Genoese sailor to be
turned to account.  These aims were intelligible, and had in part been
attained.  William of Orange had fallen, and a patent of nobility, with a
handsome fortune, had been bestowed upon his assassin.  Elizabeth's life
had been frequently attempted.  So had those of Henry, of Maurice, of
Olden-Barneveld.  Divine providence might perhaps guide the hand of
future murderers with greater accuracy, for even if Madam League were
dead, her ghost still walked among the Jesuits and summoned them to
complete the crimes left yet unfinished.

But what was the design of the new confederacy?  It was not a Protestant
league.  Henry of Navarre could no longer be the chief of such an
association, although it was to Protestant powers only that he could turn
for assistance.  It was to the commonwealth of the Netherlands, to the
northern potentates and to the Calvinist and Lutheran princes of Germany,
that the king and queen could alone appeal in their designs against
Philip of Spain.

The position of Henry was essentially a false one from the beginning.
He felt it to be so, and the ink was scarce dry with which he signed the
new treaty before he was secretly casting about him to, make peace with
that power with which he was apparently summoning all the nations of the
earth to do battle.  Even the cautious Elizabeth was deceived by the
crafty Bearnese, while both united to hoodwink the other states and
princes.

On the 31st October, accordingly, the States-General agreed to go into
the league with England and France; "in order to resist the enterprises
and ambitious designs of the King of Spain against all the princes and
potentates of Christendom."  As the queen had engaged--according to the
public treaty or decoy--to furnish four thousand infantry to the league,
the States now agreed to raise and pay for another four thousand to be
maintained in the king's service at a cost of four hundred and fifty
thousand florins annually, to be paid by the month.  The king promised,
in case the Netherlands should be invaded by the enemy with the greater
part of his force, that these four thousand soldiers should return to the
Netherlands.  The king further bound himself to carry on a sharp
offensive war in Artois and Hainault.

The States-General would have liked a condition inserted in the treaty
that no peace should be made with Spain by England or France without the
consent of the provinces; but this was peremptorily refused.

Perhaps the republic had no special reason to be grateful for the
grudging and almost contemptuous manner in which it had thus been
virtually admitted into the community of sovereigns; but the men who
directed its affairs were far too enlightened not to see how great a step
was taken when their political position, now conceded to them, had been
secured.  In good faith they intended to carry out the provisions of the
new treaty, and they immediately turned their attention to the vital
matters of making new levies and of imposing new taxes, by means of which
they might render themselves useful to their new allies.

Meantime Ancel was deputed by Henry to visit the various courts of
Germany and the north in order to obtain, if possible, new members for
the league?  But Germany was difficult to rouse.  The dissensions among
Protestants were ever inviting the assaults of the Papists.  Its
multitude of sovereigns were passing their leisure moments in wrangling
among themselves as usual on abstruse points of theology, and devoting
their serious hours to banquetting, deep drinking, and the pleasures of
the chase.  The jeremiads of old John of Nassau grew louder than ever,
but his voice was of one crying in the wilderness.  The wrath to come of
that horrible Thirty Years' War, which he was not to witness seemed to
inspire all his prophetic diatribes.  But there were few to heed them.
Two great dangers seemed ever impending over Christendom, and it is
difficult to decide which fate would have been the more terrible, the
establishment of the universal monarchy of Philip II., or the conquest of
Germany by the Grand Turk.  But when Ancel and other emissaries sought to
obtain succour against the danger from the south-west, he was answered by
the clash of arms and the shrieks of horror which came daily from the
south-east.  In vain was it urged, and urged with truth, that the Alcoran
was less cruel than the Inquisition, that the soil of Europe might be
overrun by Turks and Tartars, and the crescent planted triumphantly in
every village, with less disaster to the human race, and with better hope
that the germs of civilization and the precepts of Christianity might
survive the invasion, than if the system of Philip, of Torquemada, and of
Alva, should become the universal law.  But the Turk was a frank enemy of
Christianity, while Philip murdered Christians in the name of Christ.
The distinction imposed upon the multitudes, with whom words were things.
Moreover, the danger from the young and enterprising Mahomet seemed more
appalling to the imagination than the menace, from which experience had
taken something of its terrors, of the old and decrepit Philip.

The Ottoman empire, in its exact discipline, in its terrible
concentration of purpose, in its contempt for all arts and sciences, and
all human occupation save the trade of war and the pursuit of military
dominion, offered a strong contrast to the distracted condition of
the holy Roman empire, where an intellectual and industrious people,
distracted by half a century of religious controversy and groaning under
one of the most elaborately perverse of all the political systems ever
invented by man, seemed to offer itself an easy prey to any conqueror.
The Turkish power was in the fulness of its aggressive strength, and
seemed far more formidable than it would have done had there been clearer
perceptions of what constitutes the strength and the wealth of nations.
Could the simple truth have been thoroughly, comprehended that a realm
founded upon such principles was the grossest of absurdities, the Eastern
might have seemed less terrible than the Western danger.

But a great campaign, at no considerable distance from the walls of
Vienna, had occupied the attention of Germany during the autumn.  Mahomet
had taken the field in person with a hundred thousand men, and the
emperor's brother, Maximilian, in conjunction with the Prince of
Transylvania, at the head of a force of equal magnitude, had gone forth
to give him battle.  Between the Theiss and the Danube, at Keveste, not
far from the city of Erlau, on the 26th October, the terrible encounter
on which the fate of Christendom seemed to hang at last took place, and
Europe held its breath in awful suspense until its fate should be
decided.  When the result at last became known, a horrible blending of
the comic and the tragic, such as has rarely been presented in history,
startled the world.  Seventy thousand human beings--Moslems and
Christians--were lying dead or wounded on the banks of a nameless little
stream which flows into the Theisa, and the commanders-in-chief of both
armies were running away as fast as horses could carry them.  Each army
believed itself hopelessly defeated, and abandoning tents, baggage,
artillery, ammunition, the remnants of each, betook themselves to panic-
stricken flight.  Generalissimo Maximilian never looked behind him as he
fled, until he had taken refuge in Kaschan, and had thence made his way,
deeply mortified and despondent, to Vienna.  The Prince of Transylvania
retreated into the depths of his own principality.  Mahomet, with his
principal officers, shut himself up in Buda, after which he returned to
Constantinople and abandoned himself for a time to a voluptuous ease,
inconsistent with the Ottoman projects of conquering the world.  The
Turks, less prone to desperation than the Christians, had been utterly
overthrown in the early part of the action, but when the victors were,
as usual, greedily bent upon plunder before the victory had been fairly
secured, the tide of battle was turned by the famous Italian renegade
Cicala.  The Turks, too, had the good sense to send two days afterwards
and recover their artillery, trains, and other property, which ever since
the battle had been left at the mercy of the first comers.

So ended the Turkish campaign of the year 1596.  Ancel, accordingly,
fared ill in his negotiations with Germany.  On the other hand Mendoza,
Admiral of Arragon, had been industriously but secretly canvassing the
same regions as the representative of the Spanish king. It was important
for Philip, who put more faith in the league of the three powers than
Henry himself did, to lose no time in counteracting its influence.  The
condition of the holy Roman empire had for some time occupied his most
serious thoughts.  It seemed plain that Rudolph would never marry.
Certainly he would never marry the Infanta, although he was very angry
that his brother should aspire to the hand which he himself rejected.
In case of his death without children, Philip thought it possible that
there might be a Protestant revolution in Germany, and that the house of
Habsburg might lose the imperial crown altogether.  It was even said that
the emperor himself was of that opinion, and preferred that the empire
should end with his own life."  Philip considered that neither Matthias
nor Maximilian was fit to succeed their brother, being both of them
lukewarm in the Catholic faith."  In other words, he chose that his
destined son-in-law, the Cardinal Albert, should supersede them, and he
was anxious to have him appointed as soon as possible King of the Romans.

"His Holiness the Pope and the King of Spain," said the Admiral of
Arragon, "think it necessary to apply most stringent measures to the
emperor to compel him to appoint a successor, because, in case of his
death without one, the administration during the vacancy would fall to
the elector palatine,--a most perverse Calvinistic heretic, and as great
an enemy of the house of Austria and of our holy religion as the Turk
himself--as sufficiently appears in those diabolical laws of his
published in the palatinate a few months since.  A vacancy is so
dreadful, that in the north of Germany the world would come to an end;
yet the emperor, being of rather a timid nature than otherwise, is
inclined to quiet, and shrinks from the discussions and conflicts likely
to be caused by an appointment.  Therefore his Holiness and his Catholic
Majesty, not choosing that we should all live in danger of the world's
falling in ruins, have resolved to provide the remedy.  They are to
permit the electors to use the faculty which they possess of suspending
the emperor and depriving him of his power; there being examples of this
in other times against emperors who governed ill."

The Admiral farther alluded to the great effort made two years before to
elect the King of Denmark emperor, reminding Philip that in Hamburg they
had erected triumphal arches, and made other preparations to receive him.
This year, he observed, the Protestants were renewing their schemes.  On
the occasion of the baptism of the child of the elector palatine, the
English envoy being present, and Queen Elizabeth being god-mother, they
had agreed upon nine articles of faith much more hostile to the Catholic
creed than anything ever yet professed.  In case of the death of the
emperor, this elector palatine would of course make much trouble, and
the emperor should therefore be induced, by fair means if possible, on
account of the great inconvenience of forcing him, but not without a hint
of compulsion, to acquiesce in the necessary measures.  Philip was
represented as willing to assist the empire with considerable force
against the Turk--as there could be no doubt that Hungary was in great
danger--but in recompense it was necessary to elect a King of the Romans
in all respects satisfactory to him.  There were three objections to the
election of Albert, whose recent victories and great abilities entitled
him in Philip's opinion to the crown.  Firstly, there was a doubt whether
the kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia were elective or hereditary, and it
was very important that the King of the Romans should succeed to those
two crowns, because the electors and other princes having fiefs within
those kingdoms would be unwilling to swear fealty to two suzerains, and
as Albert was younger than his brothers he could scarcely expect to take
by inheritance.

Secondly, Albert had no property of his own, but the Admiral suggested
that the emperor might be made to abandon to him the income of the Tyrol.

Thirdly, it was undesirable for Albert to leave the Netherlands at that
juncture.  Nevertheless, it was suggested by the easy-going Admiral, with
the same tranquil insolence which marked all his proposed arrangements,
that as Rudolph would retire from the government altogether, Albert, as
King of the Romans and acting emperor, could very well take care of the
Netherlands as part of his whole realm.  Albert being moreover about to
marry the Infanta, the handsome dowry which he would receive with her
from the king would enable him to sustain his dignity.

Thus did Philip who had been so industrious during the many past years
in his endeavours to expel the heretic Queen of England and the Huguenot
Henry from the realms of their ancestors, and to seat himself or his
daughter, or one or another of his nephews, in their places, now busy
himself with schemes to discrown Rudolph of Habsburg, and to place the
ubiquitous Infanta and her future husband on his throne.  Time would show
the result.

Meantime, while the Protestant Ancel and other agents of the new league
against Philip were travelling about from one court of Europe to another
to gain adherents to their cause, the great founder of the confederacy
was already secretly intriguing for a peace with that monarch.  The ink
was scarce dry on the treaty to which he had affixed his signature before
he was closeted with the agents of the Archduke Albert, and receiving
affectionate messages and splendid presents from that military
ecclesiastic.

In November, 1596, La Balvena, formerly a gentleman of the Count de la
Fera, came to Rouen.  He had a very secret interview with Henry IV. at
three o'clock one morning, and soon afterwards at a very late hour in the
night.  The king asked him why the archduke was not willing to make a
general peace, including England and Holland.  Balvena replied that he
had no authority to treat on that subject; it being well known, however,
that the King of Spain would never consent to a peace with the rebels,
except on the ground of the exclusive maintenance of the Catholic
religion.

He is taking the very course to destroy that religion, said Henry.  The
king then avowed himself in favour of peace for the sake of the poor
afflicted people of all countries.  He was not tired of arms, he said,
which were so familiar to him, but his wish was to join in a general
crusade against the Turk.  This would be better for the Catholic religion
than the present occupations of all parties.  He avowed that the Queen of
England was his very good friend, and said he had never yet broken his
faith with her, and never would do so.  She had sent him the Garter, and
he had accepted it, as his brother Henry III. had done before him, and he
would negotiate no peace which did not include her.  The not very distant
future was to show how much these stout professions of sincerity were
worth.  Meantime Henry charged Balvena to keep their interviews a
profound secret, especially from every one in France.  The king expressed
great anxiety lest the Huguenots should hear of it, and the agent
observed that any suspicion of peace negotiations would make great
disturbance among the heretics, as one of the conditions of the king's
absolution by the pope was supposed to be that he should make war upon
his Protestant subjects.  On his return from Rouen the emissary made a
visit to Monlevet, marshal of the camp to Henry IV. and a Calvinist.
There was much conversation about peace, in the course of which Monlevet
observed, "We are much afraid of you in negotiation, for we know that you
Spaniards far surpass us in astuteness."

"Nay," said Balvena, "I will only repeat the words of the Emperor Charles
V.--'The Spaniards seem wise, and are madmen; the French seem madmen, and
are wise.'"

A few weeks later the archduke sent Balvena again to Rouen.  He had
another interview with the king, at which not only Villeroy and other
Catholics were present, but Monlevet also.  This proved a great obstacle
to freedom of conversation.  The result was the same as before.

There were strong professions of a desire on the part of the king for a
peace but it was for a general peace; nothing further.

On the 4th December Balvena was sent for by the king before daylight,
just as he was mounting his horse for the chase.

"Tell his Highness," said Henry, "that I am all frankness, and incapable
of dissimulation, and that I believe him too much a man of honour to wish
to deceive me.  Go tell him that I am most anxious for peace, and that I
deeply regret the defeat that has been sustained against the Turk.  Had I
been there I would have come out dead or victorious.  Let him arrange an
agreement between us, so that presto he may see me there with my brave
nobles, with infantry and with plenty of Switzers.  Tell him that I am
his friend: Begone.  Be diligent."

On the last day but two of the year, the archduke, having heard this
faithful report of Henry's affectionate sentiments, sent him a suit of
splendid armour, such as was then made better in Antwerp than anywhere
else, magnificently burnished of a blue colour, according to an entirely
new fashion.

With such secret courtesies between his most Catholic Majesty's
vicegerent and himself was Henry's league with the two Protestant
powers accompanied.

Exactly at the same epoch Philip was again preparing an invasion of the
queen's dominions.  An armada of a hundred and twenty-eight ships, with a
force of fourteen thousand infantry and three thousand horse, had been
assembled during the autumn of this year at Lisbon, notwithstanding the
almost crushing blow that the English and Hollanders had dealt the king's
navy so recently at Cadiz.  This new expedition was intended for Ireland,
where it was supposed that the Catholics would be easily roused.  It was
also hoped that the King of Scots might be induced to embrace this
opportunity of wreaking vengeance on his mother's destroyer.  "He was on
the watch the last time that my armada went forth against the English,"
said Philip, "and he has now no reason to do the contrary, especially if
he remembers that here is a chance to requite the cruelty which was
practised on his mother."

The fleet sailed on the 5th October under the command of the Count Santa
Gadea.  Its immediate destination was the coast of Ireland, where they
were to find some favourable point for disembarking the troops.  Having
accomplished this, the ships, with the exception of a few light vessels,
were to take their departure and pass the winter in Ferrol.  In case the
fleet should be forced by stress of weather on the English coast, the
port of Milford Haven in Wales was to be seized, "because," said Philip,
"there are a great many Catholics there well affected to our cause, and
who have a special enmity to the English."  In case the English fleet
should come forth to give battle, Philip sent directions that it was to
be conquered at once, and that after the victory Milford Haven was to be
firmly held.

This was easily said.  But it was not fated that this expedition should
be more triumphant than that of the unconquerable armada which had been
so signally conquered eight years before.  Scarcely had the fleet put to
sea when it was overtaken by a tremendous storm, in which forty ships
foundered with five thousand men.  The shattered remnants took refuge in
Ferrol.  There the ships were to refit, and in the spring the attempt was
to be renewed.  Thus it was ever with the King of Spain.  There was a
placid unconsciousness on his part of defeat which sycophants thought
sublime.  And such insensibility might have been sublimity had the
monarch been in person on the deck of a frigate in the howling tempest,
seeing ship after ship go down before his eyes; and exerting himself with
tranquil energy and skill to encourage his followers, and to preserve
what remained afloat from destruction.  Certainly such exhibitions of
human superiority to the elements are in the highest degree inspiring.
His father had shown himself on more than one occasion the master of his
fate.  The King of France, too, bare-headed, in his iron corslet, leading
a forlorn hope, and, by the personal charm of his valour, changing
fugitives into heroes and defeat into victory, had afforded many examples
of sublime unconsciousness of disaster, such as must ever thrill the
souls of mankind.  But it is more difficult to be calm in battle and
shipwreck than at the writing desk; nor is that the highest degree of
fortitude which enables a monarch--himself in safety--to endure without
flinching the destruction of his fellow creatures.

No sooner, however, was the remnant of the tempest-tost fleet safe in
Ferrol than the king requested the cardinal to collect an army at Calais
and forthwith to invade England.  He asked his nephew whether he could
not manage to send his troops across the channel in vessels of light
draught, such as he already had at command, together with some others
which might be furnished him from Spain.  In this way he was directed to
gain a foot-hold in England, and he was to state immediately whether he
could accomplish this with his own resources or should require the
assistance of the fleet at Ferrol.  The king further suggested that the
enemy, encouraged by his success at Cadiz the previous summer, might be
preparing a fresh expedition against Spain, in which case the invasion of
England would be easier to accomplish.

Thus on the last day of 1596, Philip, whose fleet sent forth for the
conquest of Ireland and England had been too crippled to prosecute the
adventure, was proposing to his nephew to conquer England without any
fleet at all.  He had given the same advice to Alexander Farnese so soon
as he heard of the destruction of the invincible armada.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Allow her to seek a profit from his misfortune
Burning of Servetus at Geneva
Constant vigilance is the price of liberty
Evil has the advantage of rapidly assuming many shapes
French seem madmen, and are wise
Hanging of Mary Dyer at Boston
Imposed upon the multitudes, with whom words were things
Impossible it was to invent terms of adulation too gross
In times of civil war, to be neutral is to be nothing
Meet around a green table except as fencers in the field
One-third of Philip's effective navy was thus destroyed
Patriotism seemed an unimaginable idea
Placid unconsciousness on his part of defeat
Plea of infallibility and of authority soon becomes ridiculous
Religion was rapidly ceasing to be the line of demarcation
So often degenerated into tyranny (Calvinism)
Spaniards seem wise, and are madmen
The Alcoran was less cruel than the Inquisition
There are few inventions in morals
To attack England it was necessary to take the road of Ireland
Tranquil insolence
Unproductive consumption was alarmingly increasing
Upon their knees, served the queen with wine
Wish to sell us the bear-skin before they have killed the bear





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