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Title: Philip II. of Spain
Author: Hume, Martin A. S. (Martin Andrew Sharp)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           Foreign Statesmen

                          PHILIP II. OF SPAIN

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                          PHILIP II. OF SPAIN

                           MARTIN A. S. HUME

                               EDITOR OF
                        (PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE)

   _Philippus ipse Hispaniæ desiderio magnopere aestuabat, nec aliud
                      quam Hispaniam loquebatur._


                      MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
                      ST. MARTIN’S STREET, LONDON


                         _First Edition 1897_
                     _Reprinted 1899, 1906, 1911_



 Philip’s failure, and the reasons for it--His birth and infancy--His
 appearance and character--His education by Siliceo and Zuñiga--The
 emperor meets his son--The consolidation of authority in
 Spain--Suggestions for marriage with Jeanne d’Albret--Philip made
 Regent of Spain--The emperor’s instructions to his son--His system
 of government--Character of his councillors--Philip’s marriage with
 Maria of Portugal--Birth of Don Carlos and death of the princess--Doña
 Isabel de Osorio--Philip in his domestic relations--Project for
 securing to Philip the imperial crown--The suzerainty of Spain over
 Italy--Philip’s voyage through Germany.....Page 1


 The union of the Low Countries to Spain--The Italian suzerainty--The
 effects thereof--Etiquette of the House of Burgundy adopted in
 Spain--Ruy Gomez--Philip’s voyage--His unpopularity with Germans and
 Flemings--Fresh proposals for his marriage--The family compact for
 the imperial succession--Defection of Maurice of Saxony--War with
 France--Treaty of Passau--Defeat of the emperor at Metz.....20


 Proposal to marry Philip to Queen Mary of England--The need for
 alliance with England--The negotiations of Renard--Opposition
 of France--Unpopularity of the match in England--Philip’s voyage
 to England--His affability--His first interview with Mary--The
 marriage--Philip made King of Naples--Failure of the objects of the
 marriage--Philip’s policy in England--Pole’s mission--Philip and the
 persecution of Catholics in England--Philip’s disappointment and


 Philip in favour of a moderate policy in England--His attitude towards
 religion generally--He requests armed aid from England against the
 French--The emperor’s embarrassments in Italy--Alba made Philip’s
 viceroy in Italy--Factions in Philip’s court--Ruy Gomez and Alba--The
 emperor’s abdication--Philip’s changed position--His attitude towards
 the papacy--The Spanish Church--Pope Paul IV. and the Spaniards in
 Italy--Excommunication of Philip--Invasion of Rome by Alba--Philip’s
 second visit to England.....43


 French intrigue against Mary--England at war with France--Battle
 of St. Quintin--Philip’s tardiness--The English contingent--The
 loss of Calais--Feria goes to England--His negotiations--Condition
 of England--The English fleet used by Philip--Philip and
 Elizabeth--Negotiations for peace--Death of Mary--Plans for
 Elizabeth’s marriage--Peace of Cateau Cambresis--Philip’s policy in


 Philip’s plan for a French alliance--His marriage with Elizabeth
 de Valois--Philip’s embarrassments in the Netherlands--De
 Granvelle--Philip’s departure from Flanders--Condition of
 affairs in Spain--The Spanish Church--Death of Paul IV.--The
 Inquisition--Bartolomé de Carranza--Philip’s arrival and routine in
 Spain--The auto de fé at Valladolid.....64


 Arrival of Elizabeth de Valois in Spain--Her influence over
 Philip--Position of affairs in France--War with England--Philip’s
 attitude towards France--Death of Francis II.--Spanish disaster at Los
 Gelves--Position of Spain in the Mediterranean Page 79


 Don Carlos--His relations with Elizabeth de Valois--French intrigues
 for his marriage--His illness--The Cortes of Aragon--Jeanne d’Albret
 and Henry of Navarre--The Council of Trent and the Inquisition--Philip
 and the pope--Renewed struggles with the Turks--Siege of Malta.....88


 Troubles in the Netherlands--Granvelle’s unpopularity--William
 of Orange and Egmont--Their resignation and protest--Margaret of
 Parma--Assembly of the Chapter of the Golden Fleece--Riots at
 Valenciennes--Discontent of the Flemish nobles--They retire from
 government--Granvelle’s dismissal--The maladministration of the
 States--Egmont’s mission to Spain--Philip’s policy in the States--The
 Beggars--Orange’s action--Philip determines to exterminate heresy in
 the States--Philip’s projected voyage thither.....99


 Renewed contest between Philip and the papacy--Condition of Don
 Carlos--His arrest and imprisonment--Philip’s explanations--Carlos’
 last illness and death--Death of Elizabeth de Valois--The interviews
 of Bayonne and the Catholic League--Catharine de Medici--Philip face
 to face with Protestantism--Philip and the Moriscos--Rising of the
 Moriscos--Deza at Granada--Don Juan of Austria--Expulsion of the
 Moriscos from Andalucia.....115


 Philip and England--Elizabeth seizes his treasure--Spanish plots
 against her--Philip and the northern rebellion--The excommunication
 of Elizabeth--Ridolfi’s plot--Philip’s hesitancy--Prohibition of
 English trade with Spain--Its futility--Alba’s retirement from
 Flanders--Philip’s responsibility for Alba’s proceedings--The tenth
 penny--Philip’s disapproval--Orange’s approaches to the French.....136


 Philip’s fourth marriage--The killing of Montigny--Anne of
 Austria--Philip’s domestic life--His industry--The Escorial--His
 patronage of art--His character--Renewed war with the Turks--Don Juan
 commands the Spanish force--The victory of Lepanto--Don Juan’s great
 projects--Antonio Perez.....153


 The Spanish troops in Flanders--Don Juan sent to Flanders--His
 projects for invading England--Mutiny of the Spanish troops
 in Flanders--The Spanish fury--Evacuation of Flanders by the
 Spanish troops--Perez’s plot against Don Juan--The murder of
 Escobedo--Don Juan seizes Namur--Renewal of the war--The battle
 of Gemblours--Desperation of Don Juan--His death--Alexander


 Philip’s ineffectual action against Elizabeth--The Desmond
 rebellion--Philip’s conquest of Portugal--Recall of Alba and Granvelle
 to Philip’s councils--Don Antonio, Prior of O Crato--Death of Anne
 of Austria--Philip in Portugal--Flight of Antonio--His reception in
 England and France--The Duke of Alençon--Philip and Mary Stuart--James
 Stuart--Fresh proposals of the Scottish Catholics to Philip--Philip
 and Granvelle’s views with regard to England--Lennox and the Jesuits
 mismanage the plot--Philip’s claim to the English crown--Expulsion
 of Mendoza from England--The English exiles urge Philip to invade
 England--Sixtus V.--Intrigues in Rome--The Babington plot.....182


 The Infanta to be Queen of England--Approaches of the Scottish
 Catholic lords to Philip--Execution of Mary Stuart--Intrigues for
 the English succession--Drake’s expedition to Cadiz--The peace
 negotiations with Farnese--Preparations for the Armada--Sailing of
 the Armada from Lisbon--Its return to Vigo--Medina Sidonia advises
 its abandonment--Its strength--Engagements with the English--Panic at
 Calais--Final defeat--Causes of the disaster--Philip’s reception of
 the news.....202


 Don Antonio in England--Catharine’s support of him--Strozzi’s
 defeat at St. Michaels--Philip’s patronage of assassination--Philip
 and the League--Renewal of the war of religion in France--The
 murder of Guise--Imprisonment of Antonio Perez and the Princess
 of Eboli--Perez’s treachery--His escape to Aragon--The _fueros_
 of Aragon--Philip proceeds against Perez--Perez arrested by the
 Inquisition of Aragon--Rising in Zaragoza--Perez’s escape--Suppression
 of the Aragonese.....223


 Philip and Mayenne--The English attack upon Lisbon--Assassination
 of Henry III.--Philip’s plans in France--The war of the League--The
 battle of Ivry--Philip’s attitude towards Mayenne--Farnese enters
 France--Relief of Paris--Retirement of Farnese--Philip changes
 his plans in France--Farnese’s second campaign--Henry IV. goes to
 mass--Enters Paris as king--Exit of the Spaniards.....237


 Blighting influence of Philip’s system on his officers--Effects of
 Philip’s routine on the administration--Social condition of Spain and
 the colonies--Dr. Lopez and Antonio Perez--Philip II. and Tyrone’s
 rebellion--The English sacking of Cadiz--Philip’s resignation--His
 last illness and death--Results of his life--Causes of the decadence
 of the Spanish power.....249




     Philip’s failure, and the reasons for it--His birth and
     infancy--His appearance and character--His education by Siliceo and
     Zuñiga--The emperor meets his son--The consolidation of authority
     in Spain--Suggestions for marriage with Jeanne d’Albret--Philip
     made Regent of Spain--The emperor’s instructions to his son--His
     system of government--Character of his councillors--Philip’s
     marriage with Maria of Portugal--Birth of Don Carlos and death of
     the princess--Doña Isabel de Osorio--Philip in his domestic
     relations--Project for securing to Philip the imperial crown--The
     suzerainty of Spain over Italy--Philip’s voyage through Germany.

For three hundred years a bitter controversy has raged around the
actions of Philip II. of Spain. Until our own times no attempt even had
been made to write his life-history from an impartial point of view. He
had been alternately deified and execrated, until through the mists of
time and prejudice he loomed rather as the permanent embodiment of a
system than as an individual man swayed by changing circumstances and
controlled by human frailties.

The more recent histories of his reign--the works of English, American,
German, and French scholars--have treated their subject with fuller
knowledge and broader sympathies, but they have necessarily been to a
large extent histories of the great events which convulsed Europe for
fifty years at the most critical period of modern times. The space to be
occupied by the present work will not admit of this treatment of the
subject. The purpose is therefore to consider Philip mainly as a
statesman, in relation to the important problems with which he had to
deal, rather than to write a connected account of the occurrences of a
long reign. It will be necessary for us to try to penetrate the objects
he aimed at and the influences, personal and exterior, which ruled him,
and to seek the reasons for his failure. For he did fail utterly. In
spite of very considerable powers of mind, of a long lifetime of
incessant toil, of deep-laid plans, and vast ambitions, his record is
one continued series of defeats and disappointments; and in exchange for
the greatest heritage that Christendom had ever seen, with the
apparently assured prospect of universal domination which opened before
him at his birth, he closed his dying eyes upon dominions distracted and
ruined beyond all recovery, a bankrupt State, a dwindled prestige, and a
defeated cause. He had devoted his life to the task of establishing the
universal supremacy of Catholicism in the political interests of Spain,
and he was hopelessly beaten.

The reasons for his defeat will be seen in the course of the present
work to have been partly personal and partly circumstantial. The causes
of both these sets of reasons were laid at periods long anterior to
Philip’s birth.

The first of the great misfortunes of Spain was an event which at the
time looked full of bright promise, namely, the marriage of Juana,
daughter of Ferdinand and Isabel, to Philip of Austria, son of the
Emperor Maximilian. This marriage eventually burdened the King of Spain
with the German dominions of the House of Austria, the imperial crown,
with its suzerainty over Italy, the duchy of Milan, and, above all, the
rich inheritance of the House of Burgundy, the Franche Comté, Holland,
and the Netherlands. Even before this the crown of Aragon had been
weakened rather than strengthened by the possession of Sicily and
Naples, which latter brought it into inimical contact with France, and
also necessitated the assertion and defence of its rights as a
Mediterranean Power in constant rivalry with Turks and Algerians. This
had been bad, but the vast and scattered territories of Charles V.
cursed Spain with a foreign policy in every corner of Europe. In his
Austrian dominions the emperor was the outpost of Christianity against
the Turk, the bulwark which restrained the Moslem flood from swamping
eastern Europe. His galleys were those which were to keep the
Mediterranean a Christian sea. Flanders and the Franche Comté gave him a
long flat frontier conterminous with France, whose jealous eyes had been
fixed covetously for centuries on the fine harbours and flourishing
towns of the Low Countries.

Most of these interests were of very secondary importance to Spain
itself. The country had only quite recently been unified; the vast new
dominions which had fallen under its sway in America might well have
monopolised its activity for centuries to come. The geographical
position of the Iberian peninsula itself practically isolated it from
the other countries of Europe, and rendered it unnecessary for it to
take any part in the discords that prevailed over the rest of the
continent; whilst the recent religious struggles with the Moors in Spain
had consolidated Catholic Christianity in the country, and prevented the
reformed doctrines from obtaining any footing there. Spain indeed, alone
and aloof, with a fertile soil, fine harbours, and a well-disposed
population, seemed destined to enjoy a career of activity, prosperity,
and peace. But the possession of Flanders brought it into constant
rivalry with France, and necessitated a close alliance with England,
whilst the imperial connection dragged it into ceaseless wars with the
Turks, and, above all, with the rising power of Protestantism, which
ultimately proved its ruin. Philip, who succeeded to this thorny
inheritance, was, on the other hand, bounded and isolated by mental
limitations as irremovable as the Pyrenees which shut in his native
land. As King of Spain alone, having only local problems to deal with,
modest, cautious, painstaking, and just, he might have been a happy and
successful--even a great--monarch, but as leader of the conservative
forces of Christendom he was in a position for which his gifts unfitted

He was the offspring of the marriage of first cousins, both his parents
being grandchildren of cunning, avaricious Ferdinand, and of Isabel the
Catholic, whose undoubted genius was accompanied by high-strung
religious exaltation, which would now be considered neurotic. Her
daughter, Juana the Mad, Philip’s grandmother, passed a long lifetime in
melancholy torpor. In Charles V. the tainted blood was mingled with the
gross appetites and heavy frames of the burly Hapsburgs. The strength
and power of resistance inherited from them enabled him, until middle
age only, to second his vast mental power with his indomitable bodily
energy. But no sooner was the elasticity of early manhood gone than he
too sank into despairing lethargy and religious mysticism. Philip’s
mother, the Empress Isabel, came from the same stock, and was the
offspring of several generations of consanguineous marriages. The curse
which afflicted Philip’s progenitors, and was transmitted with augmented
horror to his descendants, could not be expected to pass over Philip
himself; and the explanation of his attitude towards the political
events of his time must often be sought in the hereditary gloom which
fell upon him, and in the unshakable belief that he was in some sort a
junior partner with Providence, specially destined to link his mundane
fortunes with the higher interests of religion. His slow laboriousness,
his indomitable patience, his marble serenity, all seem to have been
imitated, perhaps unconsciously, from the relentless, resistless action
of divine forces.

On the other hand, his inherited characteristics were accentuated by his
education and training. From the time of his birth his father was
continually at war with infidels and heretics, and the earliest ideas
that can have been instilled into his infant mind were that he and his
were fighting the Almighty’s battles and destroying His enemies. In his
first years he was surrounded by the closest and narrowest devotees, for
ever beseeching the divine blessing on the arms of the absent emperor;
and when the time came for Philip to receive political instruction from
his father, at an age when most boys are frank and confiding, he was
ceaselessly told that his great destiny imposed upon him, above all, the
supreme duty of self-control, and of listening to all counsellors whilst
trusting none. No wonder, then, that Philip, lacking his father’s bodily
vigour, grew up secret, crafty, and over-cautious. No wonder that his
fervid faith in the divinity of his destiny and the sacredness of his
duty kept him uncomplaining amidst calamities that would have crushed
men of greater gifts and broader views. No wonder that this sad, slow,
distrustful man, with his rigid methods and his mind for microscopic
detail, firm in his belief that the Almighty was working through him for
His great ends, should have been hopelessly beaten in the fight with
nimble adversaries burdened with no fixed convictions or conscientious
scruples, who shifted their policy as the circumstances of the moment
dictated. Philip thought that he was fittingly performing a divine task
by nature’s own methods. He forgot that nature can afford to await
results indefinitely, whilst men cannot.

Philip was born at the house of Don Bernardino de Pimentel, near the
church of St. Paul in Valladolid, on May 21, 1527. His mother was
profoundly impressed with the great destiny awaiting her offspring, and
thought that any manifestation of pain or weakness during her labour
might detract from the dignity of the occasion. One of her Portuguese
ladies, fearing that this effort of self-control on the part of the
empress would add to her sufferings, begged her to give natural vent to
her feelings. “Silence!” said the empress, “die I may, but wail I will
not,” and then she ordered that her face should be hidden from the
light, that no involuntary sign of pain should be seen.

In this spirit of self-control and overpowering majesty the weak, sickly
baby was reared by his devout mother. Two other boy infants who were
born to her died of epilepsy in early childhood, and Philip, her
first-born, remained her only son.

In the midst of the rejoicings that heralded his birth news came to
Valladolid that the emperor’s Spanish and German troops had assaulted
and sacked Rome, and that Pope Clement VII. was surrounded by infuriated
soldiery, a prisoner in his own castle of St. Angelo. In the long
rivalry which Charles had sustained with the French king, Francis I.,
who had competed with him for the imperial crown, one of the main
factors was the dread of the entire domination of Italy by Spain, by
virtue of the suzerainty of the empire over the country. The excitable
and unstable pontiff, Clement VII., thought that his own interests were
threatened, and made common cause with Francis. The emperor’s troops
were commanded by Charles de Montpensier, Duke of Bourbon, who had
quarrelled with his own sovereign, and was in arms against him, and he
unquestionably exceeded the emperor’s wishes in the capture and sacking
of the eternal city, the intention having been to have held the pontiff
in check by terror rather than to degrade him in the eyes of the world.
Charles made what amends he could for the blunder committed by Bourbon,
and at once suspended the rejoicings for the birth of his heir. But the
gossips in Valladolid gravely shook their heads, and prophesied that the
great emperor’s first-born was destined to be a bane to the papacy in
years to come. It will be seen in the course of the present book that
during the whole of his life Philip regarded the papacy and the persons
of the pontiffs without any superstitious awe, and mainly as instruments
in his hands to achieve the great work entrusted to him by Providence.

In April 1528, when Philip was eleven months old, he received the oath
of allegiance as heir to the crown from the Cortes of Castile, and from
that time until the return of his father to Spain in 1533 the royal
infant remained under the care of his mother and one of her Portuguese
ladies, Doña Leonor de Mascarenhas, to whom Philip in after-life was
devotedly attached. He was even then a preternaturally grave and silent
child, with a fair pink-and-white skin, fine yellow hair, and full blue
lymphatic eyes, rather too close together. It is no uncommon thing for
princes to be represented as prodigies, but Philip seems, in truth, to
have been really an extraordinary infant, and exhibited great aptitude
for certain studies, especially mathematics. Charles on his arrival in
Spain decided to give to his heir a separate household and masters who
should prepare him for the duties of his future position. A list was
made of the principal priestly professors of the Spanish universities,
which was gradually reduced by elimination to three names. These were
submitted to the empress for her choice, and she selected Dr. Juan
Martinez Pedernales (which name = flints, he ingeniously Latinised into
Siliceo), a professor of Salamanca, who was appointed tutor to the
prince, with a salary of 100,000 maravedis a year. The emperor probably
knew little of the character of his son’s tutor. He had intended in the
previous year to appoint to the post a really eminent scholar, the
famous Viglius, but did not do so. Whatever may have been Siliceo’s
virtues, and according to priestly historians they were many, the
emperor had subsequently a very poor opinion of the way in which he had
performed his duty.

In a private letter from Charles to his son ten years afterwards, to
which other reference will be made, the emperor says that “Siliceo has
certainly not been the most fitting teacher for you. He has been too
desirous of pleasing you. I hope to God that it was not for his own
ends”; and again, “He is your chief chaplain, and you confess to him. It
would be bad if he was as anxious to please you in matters of your
conscience as he has been in your studies.” But Philip evidently liked
his tutor, for later he made him Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of
Spain. The prince must have been an apt pupil in the studies which most
attracted him. He was never a linguist of any proficiency, but could
read and write Latin well at quite an early age, and certainly
understood French and Italian. But he was a Spaniard of Spaniards, and
nothing shows the strict limitations of his capacity more than the
clumsiness with which he expressed himself even in his own language,
although he frequently criticised and altered the words and expressions
employed by his secretaries.

The governor appointed to teach Philip the social duties and exercises
fitting to his rank was an honest Spanish gentleman who possessed the
full confidence of the emperor--Don Juan de Zuñiga, Comendador Mayor of
Castile. From him he learnt fencing, riding, and warlike exercises, and
especially dancing, of which during his youth he was very fond. Don Juan
was somewhat uncompromising of speech, and apparently made no attempt
to flatter or spoil his pupil, for the emperor in 1543, when Philip was
sixteen, warns him that he is to prize Don Juan the more for this
quality, and is to follow his advice in all personal and social matters.

At the age of twelve Philip lost his mother, and two years afterwards,
in 1541, his political instruction may be said to have commenced. The
emperor, although still in the prime of life, was already tired of the
world. His great expedition to Algiers, from which he had hoped so much,
had brought him nothing but disaster and disappointment, and he arrived
in Spain in deep depression. A letter supposed to have been written to
him at the time by Philip, full of religious and moral consolation for
his trouble, is quoted by Cabrera de Cordoba and subsequent historians;
but on the face of it there are few signs of its being the composition
of a boy of fourteen, and it is not sufficiently authenticated to be
reproduced here. The emperor in any case was delighted with his son. He
found him studious, grave, and prudent beyond his years, and during the
period that the father and son were together the great statesman devoted
a portion of every day to initiate his successor in the intricate task
before him. In 1542 Philip was to receive his first lesson in practical
warfare, and accompanied the Duke of Alba to defend Perpignan against
the French, but he saw no fighting, and on his way back to Castile he
received the oath of allegiance of the Aragonese Cortes at Monzon,
Philip himself swearing in October at Saragossa to maintain inviolate
the tenaciously-held privileges of self-government cherished by the
kingdom of Aragon. How he kept his oath will be seen in a subsequent
chapter. The tendency of Charles’s policy was in favour of
centralisation in the government of Spain, and he several times in
writing to his son shows his dislike of the autonomy possessed by the
stubborn Aragonese. He had completely crushed popular privileges in his
kingdom of Castile, and would have liked to do the same in Aragon. This
will probably explain Philip’s eagerness in subsequently seizing upon an
excuse to curtail the rights of the northern kingdom. Before this period
Charles had conceived another project in favour of the consolidation of
Spain. Ferdinand the Catholic, with the papal authority, had seized the
Spanish kingdom of Navarre, and added it to his own dominions.
Thenceforward the titular sovereigns of Navarre were only tributary
princes of France, but they did not lightly put up with their
deprivation, and were a constant source of irritation and danger to
Spain on the Pyrenean frontier. The design of the emperor was nothing
less than to put an end to the feud, by marrying Philip to the heiress
of Navarre, Jeanne d’Albret. It is idle to speculate upon the
far-reaching results which might have ensued from such a match, but in
all probability it would have changed the whole course of modern
history. At the time this design was in view (1539) “to extinguish the
quarrel of Navarre and tranquillise both our conscience and that of our
son,” Philip and Jeanne were twelve years old, and the marriage would
doubtless have taken place but for the vigilance of Francis I. To have
brought the King of Spain over the Pyrenees as Prince of Béarn, and the
semi-independent sovereign of a large part of the south of France, would
have ruined the French monarchy, so poor little Jeanne was married by
force to a man she detested, and Philip had to look elsewhere for a

On the occasion of Charles’s own marriage, the dowry from the wealthy
royal family of Portugal had provided him at a critical juncture with
money to carry on the war with France; and now again, with his exchequer
chronically empty, and the demands upon it for warlike purposes more
pressing than ever, the emperor sought to tap the rich stream of the
Portuguese Indies by wedding his son to Princess Maria, daughter of John
III. and of Charles’s sister Catharine, another consanguineous marriage
of which we shall see the result later. Before the affair could be
concluded the emperor was obliged to leave Spain (May 1543). In July of
the previous year Francis I. had fulminated against his old enemy his
famous proclamation of war, and to Charles’s troubles with the
Protestants of Germany was now added the renewed struggle with France,
in which he was to have the assistance of the English king. The
emperor’s intercourse with his son during his stay in Spain had
convinced him of Philip’s precocity in statesmanship, and so he
determined to leave in his hands the regency of Spain in his absence.

This was one of the most important junctures of Philip’s life. He was
barely sixteen years old, and was thus early to be entrusted with
Charles’s secret system of government, an instruction which left deep
marks upon Philip’s own method for the rest of his life. The two letters
written by Charles to his son before his departure from Spain are of the
utmost importance as providing a key for Philip’s subsequent political
action. Although Philip was entrusted with the ultimate decision of all
subjects, he was to be guided by some of the most experienced and wisest
of Charles’s councillors. First there was the Cardinal-Archbishop of
Toledo, Tavara, and next the Secretary of State, Francisco de los Cobos,
who had been at the emperor’s right hand for so long. The young regent
is secretly told by his father that the reason why these two were
appointed as his principal councillors was because they were
respectively heads of factions, and their rivalry would prevent the
prince from falling under the influence of either political party. With
merciless scalpel the great emperor lays bare, for the benefit of the
lad of sixteen, the faults and failings of the statesmen who are to aid
him in the government. He is warned not to trust any of them separately.
Their hypocrisy, their greed, their frailties of character, and conduct
are pointed out by the worldly-wise ruler to the neophyte; and the moral
of it all is that he should listen to the opinions of every one, and
especially of rivals, and then decide for himself.

The greatest of the emperor’s Spanish subjects was the Duke of Alba, yet
this is how he is sketched for the benefit of Philip. “The Duke of Alba
would have liked to be associated with them (_i.e._ Cardinal Tavara and
Cobos), and I do not think that he would have followed either party, but
that which best suited his interests. But as it concerns the interior
government of the kingdom, in which it is not advisable that grandees
should be employed, I would not appoint him, whereat he is much
aggrieved. Since he has been near me I have noticed that he aims at
great things and is very ambitious, although at first he was so
sanctimonious, humble, and modest. Look, my son, how he will act with
you, who are younger than I. You must avoid placing him or other
grandees very intimately in the interior government, because he and
others will exert every means to gain your goodwill, which will
afterwards cost you dear. I believe that he will not hesitate to
endeavour to tempt you even by means of women, and I beg you most
especially to avoid this. In foreign affairs and war make use of him,
and respect him, as he is in this the best man we now have in the
kingdom.” And so, one by one, the bishops and ministers who were to be
Philip’s advisers are dissected for his benefit. The prince was ready
enough to learn lessons of distrust, and it afterwards became one of the
main principles of his system that only creatures of his own making
should be his instruments for the political government of Spain.

Quite as extraordinary as the political instructions were the minute
rules of conduct given by the emperor to his son for the regulation of
his married life and the continuance of his studies. He is not to
consider that he is a man with nothing to learn because he married
early, and is left in so great a position, but is to study harder than
ever. “If this, my son, be necessary for others, consider how much more
necessary is it for you, seeing how many lands you will have to govern,
so distant and far apart.... If you wish to enjoy them you must
necessarily understand and be understood in them; and nothing is so
important for this as the study of languages.” The coming marital
relations of the young prince were in somewhat curious terms, left
entirely to the guidance of Don Juan de Zuñiga, and the lessons enforced
all through the proud and anxious father’s instructions, were piety,
patience, modesty, and distrust. These were Philip’s guiding principles
for the rest of his long life. The prince fully answered the
expectations of his father. During the next few years, full of stress
and storm for the wearying emperor, a close correspondence was kept up
between them, and the plans and principles of the father were gradually
assimilated by the son.

In November 1543 the Portuguese princess crossed the frontier to marry
Philip. She was of the same height and age as her bridegroom, a plump
bright little creature; but he was already grave and reserved, short and
dapper, but erect and well made, of graceful and pleasant mien. But for
all his gravity he was still a boy, and could not resist the temptation
of going out in disguise to meet her, and mixing in her train. His
coming was probably an open secret, for the princess on the day of his
arrival took care to look especially charming in her dress of crimson
velvet, and with white feathers in her jaunty satin hat. The meeting
took place in a beautiful country house of the Duke of Alba near
Salamanca, and on November 15 the wedding procession entered the city
itself. All that pomp and popular enthusiasm could do was done to make
the marriage feast a merry one. Bulls and cane tourneys, dancing and
buffooning, fine garments and fair faces, seemed to presage a happy
future for the wedded pair. The bride was Philip’s own choice, for his
father had at one time suggested to him Margaret, the daughter of his
old enemy Francis, but the prince begged to be allowed to marry one of
his own kin and tongue, rather than the daughter of a foe, and the
emperor let him have his way.

Little is known of the short married life of the young couple. It only
lasted seventeen months, and then, after the birth of the unfortunate
Don Carlos, the poor little princess herself died, it was said at the
time from imprudently eating a lemon soon after her delivery. The birth
of the heir had been hailed with rejoicing by the Spanish people, and
the news of the death of the mother caused redoubled sorrow. Philip was
already extremely popular with his people. His gravity was truly
Spanish; his preference for the Spanish tongue, and his reluctance to
marry the French princess, as well as his piety and moderation, had even
now gained for him the affection of Spaniards, which for the rest of his
life he never lost. His early bereavement was therefore looked upon as a
national affliction. For three weeks after the death of his wife the
young widower shut himself up in a monastery and gave way to his grief,
until his public duties forced him into the world again. The Prince of
Orange in his _Apology_, published in 1581, said that even before Philip
had married Maria he had conferred the title of wife upon Doña Isabel de
Osorio, the sister of the Marquis of Astorga. This has been frequently
repeated, and much ungenerous comment founded upon it, strengthened, it
is true, to some extent by the fact that subsequently for some years
marital relations certainly existed between them. It is, however, in the
highest degree improbable that Orange’s assertion was true. In the first
place no Spanish churchman would have dared to marry the prince-regent
before he was out of his boyhood without the knowledge of the emperor,
and the matter is now almost placed beyond doubt by the
already-mentioned document, which proves that Philip had pledged his
word of honour to his father that he had hitherto kept free of all such
entanglements, and would do so in future. Whatever may have been
Philip’s faults, he was a good and dutiful son, with a high sense of
honour, and it is incredible that he would thus early have been guilty
of deceit upon such a subject as this.

Founded upon the statements of so bitter an enemy of Philip’s as Orange,
and upon the remarks of the Venetian ambassadors that he was incontinent
“_nelli piacere delle donne_”; that, above all things, he delighted,
“_nelle donne; delle quali mirabilmente si diletta_”; and that “_molto
ama le donne con le quali spesso si trattiene_”--it has been usual to
represent Philip as quite a libertine in this respect, and the lies and
innuendoes of Antonio Perez have strengthened this view. That Philip was
perfectly blameless in his domestic relations it would be folly to
assert, but he was an angel in comparison with most of the contemporary
monarchs, including his father; and probably few husbands of four
successive wives have been more beloved by them than he was, in spite of
his cold reserved demeanour. Behind the icy mask indeed there must have
been much that was gentle and loving, for those who were nearest to him
loved him best; his wives, children, old friends, and servants were
devotedly attached to him, even when they disagreed with his actions;
and in the rare intervals of his almost incessant toil at the desk no
society delighted him so much as that of his children. Charles had on
April 24, 1547, won the battle of Mühlberg, and had for the time utterly
crushed the leaders of the Reformation in Germany. The Diet of Augsburg
was summoned, and the Declaration of Faith, which it was hoped would
reconcile all difficulties, was drawn up. This perhaps was the highest
point reached in Charles’s power. Now, if ever, was the time for
carrying into effect his dream for assuring to his son the succession to
almost universal domination. It had been the intention of Ferdinand the
Catholic that Charles, his elder grandson, should succeed to the
paternal dominions, the empire and Flanders, whilst Ferdinand the
younger should inherit Spain and Naples. Charles, however, arranged
otherwise, and made his brother King of the Romans, with the implied
succession to the imperial crown on his elder brother’s death. But as
Philip’s aptitude for government became more and more apparent to his
father, the ambition of the latter to augment the heritage of his son
increased. Ferdinand and his son Maximilian clung naturally to the
arrangement by which the imperial crown should be secured to them and
their descendants, but the emperor determined that as little power and
territory as possible should go with it. Upon Philip accordingly the
vacant dukedom of Milan was conferred in 1546 by special agreement with
Ferdinand, who doubtless thought that it would not be bad for him to
have his powerful nephew as prince of a fief of the empire, and so, to a
certain extent, subordinate to him. But this was no part of Charles’s
plan. Sicily had long been attached to the crown of Aragon, Naples had
been added thereto by Ferdinand the Catholic, and now Milan was to be
held by the King of Spain. Parma and Piacenza also had just been
captured from the papal Farneses by the emperor’s troops (1547), and now
Charles conceived an arrangement by which the suzerainty of the empire
over Italy should be transferred to Spain, the states of Flanders and
Holland secured to the possessor of the Spanish crown, and the emperor
consequently left only with his Austrian dominions, poor and isolated,
with the great religious question rending them in twain. The transfer of
the Italian suzerainty was to be announced later, but Charles secured
the consent of his brother to the rest of his projects by promising to
guarantee the succession of the imperial crown after the death of
Ferdinand to his son, the Archduke Maximilian, who was to marry
Charles’s eldest daughter, Maria.

As soon as this had been agreed to, the emperor sent the Duke of Alba to
Spain with an able statement of the whole case for Philip’s information,
setting forth the new combination and its advantages, and urging the
prince to make a progress through the territories which were destined to
be his. The voyage was to be a long, and, to a man of Philip’s habits
and tastes, not an attractive one. Notwithstanding the emperor’s
exhortations years before, he spoke no German or Flemish, and indeed
very little of any language but Spanish. He was already of sedentary
habits, and feasts and the bustle of state receptions were distasteful
to him. But he was a dutiful son, and during all the summer of 1548 the
splendid preparations for his voyage kept Castile busy, whilst
Maximilian, the heir to the empire, was on his way to Spain to marry the
Infanta Maria and assume the regency during Philip’s absence.


     The union of the Low Countries to Spain--The Italian
     suzerainty--The effects thereof--Etiquette of the House of Burgundy
     adopted in Spain--Ruy Gomez--Philip’s voyage--His unpopularity with
     Germans and Flemings--Fresh proposals for his marriage--The family
     compact for the imperial succession--Defection of Maurice of
     Saxony--War with France--Treaty of Passau--Defeat of the emperor at

Alba left Germany for Spain at the end of January 1548, travelling by
way of Genoa, and taking with him the exposition of the emperor’s new
policy, which was to result in so much trouble and suffering to future
generations. The lordships of Flanders and Holland had never up to this
period been regarded by Charles as attached necessarily to the crown of
Spain. Indeed at various times the cession of Flanders to France had
been amicably discussed, and only shortly before Charles had considered
the advisability of handing the Low Countries over to his daughter Maria
as a dowry on her marriage with Maximilian. But the step of making them
the inalienable possessions of the ruler of Spain would burden the
latter country with an entirely fresh set of interests, and render
necessary the adoption of a change in its foreign policy. Flanders once
attached to the crown of Spain could never fall into the hands of
France, and the latter Power would find itself almost surrounded by
Spanish territory, with its expansion to the northward cut off. In the
event of the Spanish suzerainty over Italy being established also,
French influence in Italy would be at an end, and the papal power
dwarfed. This therefore meant that France and the pope would make common
cause in a secular struggle against Spain. The dishonesty of Ferdinand
the Catholic about Naples had begun the feud, the rivalry of Francis I.
for the imperial crown had continued it, and now if Flanders and
Holland, instead of belonging to harmless Dukes of Burgundy, were to be
held permanently by France’s great rival, the whole balance of power in
Europe would be changed, and France must fight for life.

The Dukes of Burgundy and Counts of Holland, as possessors of the
Flemish seaboard, had for generations found it necessary to maintain a
close alliance with England, whose interests were equally bound up in
preventing France from occupying the coast opposite its own eastern
shores, the principal outlet for its commerce. By Charles’s new resolve
this obligation to hold fast by England was transferred permanently to
Spain, which country had not hitherto had any need for intimate
political relations with England, except such as arose out of mutual
commercial interests. Spain itself--and no longer the emperor as Duke of
Burgundy--was thus drawn into the vortex of Central European politics,
and herefrom came its ruin.

That the emperor’s plans were not entirely to the taste of his son is
certain, but whether in consequence of a dread of the new
responsibilities to be forced upon Spain, or from motives of ambition,
is not quite clear. On the face of the correspondence between Alba and
De Granvelle on the subject, it would appear that the latter was the
case. The objection probably arose from the ambitious Alba, fresh from
his German triumphs, who would point out to the young prince that the
arrangement would permanently cut him off from the succession to the
imperial crown, and that the interval of uncertainty which would elapse
before his suggested suzerainty over Italy was established, would give
time for intrigues to be carried on which might render it impracticable
when the time came. At his instance, therefore, the question of his
suzerainty over Italy was left open, and with it what was doubtless
Alba’s objective point, the arrangement by which the succession to the
empire was secured to Maximilian.

In pursuance of his plan of keeping the Spanish nobles busy in affairs
other than the interior politics of their country, Charles in August
1548, before Philip’s departure on his travels, gave orders which had a
considerable influence in the future history of Spain. The kings of the
petty realms into which the Peninsula had been divided, constantly at
war for centuries with the Moors, had been obliged to depend for their
very existence upon their feudal semi-independent nobles. The kings at
best were but first amongst their peers, and were constantly reminded of
the fact. The “fueros” of each petty dominion were stubbornly upheld
against the rulers, and in the north of Spain, at all events, it had
been for some centuries past a continuous policy of the kings to curb
the power for harm of the nobles and limit the autonomous privileges of
the people. The policy of the emperor, as we have seen, was to
centralise the government of Spain, and to give to its rulers an
overwhelming influence in the councils of Europe. This could only be
effected by making the king the supreme master over the lives and
property of all his subjects, drawing from Spain the growing stream of
riches from the Indies, and attaching the powerful Spanish nobles
personally to their prince.

The court life of Spain, except for a short time when Charles’s father,
Philip the Handsome, had visited it, had been bluff and simple. The new
order of the emperor introduced for the first time the pompous and
splendid etiquette of the House of Burgundy, which has since been
adopted in most monarchies. By virtue of this the proud Spanish nobility
became personally attached to the household of the prince in nominally
inferior capacities, chamberlains, equerries, ushers, and the like; and
the young hidalgoes of the greatest Houses, all bedizened and bedecked
in finery, no longer hunted the wild boar in their mountain homes, but
dangled in the presence of the monarch and added lustre to his daily

The change was certainly not in consonance with Philip’s natural
inclinations. His personal tastes were of the simplest; he was always
sober and moderate in eating and drinking, looking with positive disgust
on the excess of Flemings and Germans in this respect. He hated pomp and
blare, and his attire on ordinary occasions was as modest and simple as
it was handsome. But he was a slave to duty, and when the exigencies of
his high station demanded magnificence, he could be as splendid as any
man on earth. So henceforward in public the quiet, modest man moved in
a perfect constellation of glittering satellites. One great consolation
the change gave him. In the emperor’s exhortation to him in 1543 he was
told that in future his young friends must only approach him as his
servants, and “that his principal companions must be elderly men and
others of reasonable age possessed of virtue, wise discourse, and good
example.” But Philip was yet (1548) only twenty-one, and was devotedly
attached to some of the friends of his boyhood, such as Ruy Gomez de
Silva and Gomez Suarez de Figueroa, Count de Feria, and to these and the
like he gave offices which kept them constantly near him. Philip for the
whole of his life was on his guard to prevent favourites from obtaining
influence over him, and few monarchs have been less dominated by
individual courtiers than he. But the man who gained most ascendency
over him was Ruy Gomez, who, as will be shown later, led a party or
school of thought whose policy was for many years followed by the king,
and largely coloured subsequent events. On October 1, 1548, Philip left
Valladolid on his voyage, leaving as regents his sister Maria and her
bridegroom Maximilian. By slow stages, and followed by a great train of
courtiers, he rode through Aragon and Catalonia, worshipping at the
shrines of Saragossa and Monserrate on his way, and receiving the homage
of Barcelona and Gerona. In the bay of Rosas, in the extreme north-east
point of Spain, Andrea Doria awaited him with a splendid fleet of
fifty-eight galleys and a great host of sailing ships.

Doria, the greatest sailor of his day, who had grown grey in the service
of the emperor, knelt on the shore at the sight of the prince, overcome
with emotion, and said in the words of Simeon: “Now, Lord, let Thy
servant depart in peace, for his eyes have seen Thy salvation.” It is no
exaggeration to say that this intense devotion to the Spanish prince
reflected generally the feeling with which he was regarded in Spain, at
least. The prince landed at Savona in the territory of Genoa, where
princes and cardinals innumerable awaited him. In the city of Genoa he
stayed at the Doria palace, and there Octavio Farnese came to him from
his uncle, Pope Paul III., with a significant message. The Farneses had
but small reason to greet Philip with enthusiasm just then, for the
plans afoot for the aggrandisement of Spain were a grave menace to the
interests of the papacy, and Octavio himself was being kept out of his
principality by the emperor’s troops. But the pope’s champion against
the emperor, Francis I, had recently died, and the pontiff was obliged
to salute the rising sun of Spain, in the hope that he would prove a
better friend to Rome than his father was. So Farnese was fain to bear
to Philip from the pope a sanctified sword and a hat of state, “hoping
that some day he might behold in him the true champion of the Holy
Church.” Milan and Mantua vied with Genoa in the splendour of their
rejoicings for Philip’s arrival, and so through the Tyrol, Germany, and
Luxembourg he slowly made his way to meet his father at Brussels. On
April 1, 1549, he made his state entry into the city, but so great was
the ceremonial, that it was almost night before he arrived at the
palace. Charles was still ailing, but gained, it seemed, new life when
he saw the heir of his greatness. Thenceforward for a time the
festivals, tourneys, and rejoicings went on unceasingly, to a greater
extent, say eye-witnesses, than had ever been known before. Philip had
no taste for such frivolities, but he did his best. He was a graceful,
if not a bold, rider, and the custom of his time demanded that he should
break lances with the rest. His courtly chroniclers relate how well he
acquitted himself in these exercises, and the enthusiasm aroused by his
gallant mien; but less partial judges do not scruple to say that at one
of the tourneys during his stay in Germany on his way home “no one did
so badly as the prince,” who was never able “to break a lance.” His
inclinations were in a totally different direction. The drunken orgies
and rough horseplay of the Germans and Flemings disgusted him, and he
took but little pains to conceal his surprise at what appeared to him
such undignified proceedings. He was unable, moreover, to speak German,
and his voyage certainly did not help forward the project of securing to
him the succession to the imperial crown.

For the next two years the emperor kept his son by his side,
indoctrinating him with his principles and policy. For two hours nearly
every day the Spanish prince learnt the profound lessons of government
from the lips of his great father, government founded on the principle
of making all other men merely instruments for carrying out the ends of

Philip had now been a widower for four years, and doubtless during this
period contracted his connection with Doña Isabel de Osorio, by whom he
had several children; and he had one at least by a Flemish lady in
Brussels. His only legitimate son was the lame, epileptic Don Carlos,
and the emperor had no other sons; so during the intimate conferences
which followed Philip’s arrival in Brussels, Charles pressed upon his
heir the necessity of taking another wife, and once more brought forward
Jeanne d’Albret, titular Queen of Navarre, who had claimed a divorce
from the Duke of Cleves, whom she had been constrained to marry. But
whether because cautious Philip saw that to extend his dominions into
the south of France would be a source of weakness rather than strength
to him, or whether he was influenced by the greed for dowry, and the
persuasions of his widowed aunt Leonora, who was with his father in
Brussels, he certainly leant to the side of her daughter, another
Princess Maria of Portugal, aunt of his former wife, and negotiations
were opened in this direction, although Ferdinand, King of the Romans,
the brother of the emperor, tried his hardest to promote his own
daughter to the place of Philip’s consort. Philip had contrived to
persuade his probably not unwilling father to endeavour to promote his
claims to the succession of the imperial crown in the place of
Ferdinand, and the Austrian archives contain full details of the almost
interminable family discussions with this end. At last, in March 1551, a
compact was made with which Philip was forced to be satisfied. It was to
the effect that Ferdinand should succeed Charles as emperor, but that on
the death of Ferdinand the imperial crown should pass to Philip instead
of to Maximilian, who was to govern the empire in his name, holding a
similar position towards Philip to that occupied by Ferdinand towards
Charles. The emperor’s suzerainty over Italy was to be exercised
vicariously by Philip during the life of Ferdinand. This last provision
was a bitter pill for Ferdinand to swallow, but it was, in Charles’s
view, the most important of them all. Spain, with a supremacy over the
Italian states, would be the mistress of the Mediterranean, with
infinite possibilities of extension to the east and in Africa, whilst
France would be checkmated on this side, as she had been on the north.
Philip, who had accompanied his father to Augsburg for the Diet, only
stayed until this arrangement was settled and he had received the fiefs
of the empire, and then (in May 1551) started on his way home to Spain.

The battle of Mühlberg, three years before, together with the ambition
of Maurice of Saxony, had laid Lutheranism prostrate at the feet of
Charles, but the plan to perpetuate Spanish domination over the empire
once more aroused the spirit of the sovereigns to resistance, and the
powerful Maurice of Saxony, the emperor’s own creature, joined his
fellow-countrymen against him. Sent by Charles to besiege the Protestant
stronghold of Magdeburg, he suddenly changed sides. The opportunity thus
offered was too good to be neglected by France, where Henry II. was now
firmly seated on the throne; and in October 1551 a compact was signed at
Friedwald in Hesse, by which Maurice, the King of France, and the
Protestant princes joined against the emperor. Henry II. had just made
peace with England, and had recovered Boulogne, so that he was in a
better position to face his enemy than ever before. Octavio Farnese,
with the connivance of France, raised a tumult in Italy to recover his
principalities of Parma and Piacenza; and thus Charles found himself
suddenly confronted by war on all sides, just when the prospects of his
House had looked brightest. There is no space in this work to follow the
fortunes of the remarkable campaign in which Maurice swept through
Germany, capturing the imperial cities, surprising the emperor himself
in Innspruck, and forcing Cæsar to fly for his life through the
darkness. Suffice it to say that Charles was humbled as he had never
been before, and was obliged to sign the peace of Passau at the
dictation of Maurice (July 31, 1552) on terms which practically gave to
the Lutheran princes all they demanded. This put an end for once and for
all to the dream of making Philip Emperor as well as King of Spain. Nor
had Henry II. been idle. On his way to join the German Protestants he
had captured the strong places of Alsace and Lorraine, and Charles’s
army before Metz was utterly defeated by Guise (January 1553). In Italy,
too, the emperor was unfortunate, for the French had obtained a footing
in Siena, and had overrun Piedmont. And thus the idea of a permanent
supremacy of Spain over the Italian states also fell to the ground.


     Proposal to marry Philip to Queen Mary of England--The need for
     alliance with England--The negotiations of Renard--Opposition of
     France--Unpopularity of the match in England--Philip’s voyage to
     England--His affability--His first interview with Mary--The
     marriage--Philip made King of Naples--Failure of the objects of the
     marriage--Philip’s policy in England--Pole’s mission--Philip and
     the persecution of Catholics in England--Philip’s disappointment
     and departure.

In the meanwhile Philip was doing well in Spain. He had raised both men
and money in plenty to reinforce the emperor, and Alba himself was sent
to command them. He pushed on vigorously the negotiations for his
marriage with his Portuguese cousin, whose dowry would once more provide
the sinews of war. But King John III. was less liberal with a dowry for
his sister than he had been for his daughter, and the project hung fire
month after month on this ground alone, notwithstanding the efforts of
Ruy Gomez, who was sent by Philip to Portugal in June 1553 to persuade
the king to loosen his purse strings and send his sister to Spain with a
rich dowry.

Then, almost suddenly, the whole aspect of affairs changed. It had been
known for some time that the young King of England, Edward VI., was in
failing health, and would probably die without issue, but the uncertain
element in the situation had been the extent of the Duke of
Northumberland’s power and the strength of Protestantism in the country.
Hardly pressed as he was, Charles’s principal preoccupation with regard
to England was to keep on good terms with it, although doubtless many a
time his busy brain must have conjured up circumstances which would
admit of fresh combinations being formed in which England should share.
The events in Germany, the terms of the peace of Passau, and the
unpopularity of Philip out of Spain, had convinced him that his dreams
of ambition for his son in that direction were impossible of
realisation. He must have seen also that the possessor of Flanders and
Holland without the strength of the empire behind him, and with a
covetous France on one flank and Protestant princes on the other, would
be in an untenable position, unless he could depend upon England’s
co-operation through thick and thin. This was the first manifestation of
the evil results which logically followed his ill-starred action in
attaching the dominions of the House of Burgundy permanently to the
crown of Spain.

Edward VI. died on July 7, 1553, and the popular acclamation of Mary and
the complete collapse of Northumberland’s house of cards, caused a new
departure in the emperor’s political plans. The hollow crown of the
empire might go, with its turbulent Lutheran princes and its poor
patrimony, but if only rich England could be joined in a lasting bond to
Spain, then France would indeed be humbled, Flanders and Italy would be
safe, the road to unlimited expansion by the Mediterranean would be
open, and Spain could give laws to all Latin Christendom, and to
heathendom beyond.

No time was lost in commencing the preliminaries. The first thing
evidently for the emperor to do was to consolidate Mary’s position on
the throne by counselling prudence and moderation in religious affairs.
The imperial ambassador was instructed immediately (July 29, 1553) to
urge upon the new queen not to be in a hurry openly to avow herself a
Catholic until she had sounded public opinion and conciliated the nobles
who had helped her to the throne.

Mary entered London on August 3, and in the place of honour near her
rode Simon Renard, the emperor’s ambassador. Only four days afterwards,
on the 7th, he first hinted to the queen that the Prince of Spain would
be a fitting husband for her. She affected to laugh at the idea, but,
Renard thought, not unfavourably. The English people had almost
unanimously fixed upon young Courtney as the queen’s future consort, and
Mary was as yet uncertain how far she could venture to thwart them. “Do
not overpress her,” wrote Granvelle, “to divert her from any other
match, because if she have the whim she will carry it forward if she be
like other women.” But Renard knew the human heart as well as any man,
and his report to the emperor was satisfactory as far as it went. The
next step was to consult Philip himself, the person principally
interested. He was a dutiful son, it is true, but Charles must have
known of his domestic arrangements with Doña Isabel Osorio, and could
not be certain that a man of twenty-six would be absolutely docile. So
Renard was instructed to say no more until a reply came from Spain. But
tongues began to wag in London, and by September 6, Noailles, the French
ambassador, knew what was in the wind. Henceforth it was a duel to the
death between him and Renard. The emperor was still at war with France,
burning to avenge the disaster of Metz; and if this marriage were
effected it would be revenge indeed. From the French embassy accordingly
flowed money in plenty to subsidise disaffection, hints that those who
held Church property would be forced to disgorge it, and panic-striking
rumours of what would happen if Spain got the upper hand in England. The
hatred and prejudice aroused against Philip by Noailles for purely
political reasons in 1553 have left an abundant crop of prejudice, even
to our own times. Philip was a politician and a patriot before all
things. However distasteful to him the marriage may have been, his own
personal pleasure was never his aim, and he saw the increment of
strength which the union with England would bring to his father’s cause
and his own; so, like a dutiful son, he wrote, “I have no other will
than that of your Majesty, and whatever you desire, that I will do.” On
receipt of this news Renard opened the attack, and pressed Philip’s
suit. Mary was coy and doubtful at first, mainly, it would seem, on
personal grounds, but Renard’s persuasions prevailed even over the
powerful Gardiner, and the Queen of England formally accepted the hand
of the Spanish prince when Egmont came with his splendid embassy to
offer it in January 1554. London was in a perfect whirlwind of panic,
thanks mainly to Noailles, and the gallant Egmont himself and his
followers were attacked in the streets by London prentices. Carews,
Wyatts, and Greys struggled, rebelled, and fell, but the queen knew her
own mind now, and in her sight the Spanish marriage meant the
resurrection of her country and the salvation of her people. Philip and
his father doubtless thought so too, in a general way; but that was not
their first object. What they wanted was to humble France for good and
for all, and make Spain henceforward the dictatress of Europe. It was a
disappointment to Philip when, at Valladolid in the early spring, he
learnt the conditions by which he was to be bound for life. They were
very hard, for Mary’s council were determined that the marriage should
not mean the political subjugation of England by Spain, and all Renard’s
cunning and the emperor’s bribes failed to move them.

Philip was a gallant suitor withal, and determined to do the thing
handsomely if it were to be done at all. First he sent a special envoy,
the Marquis de las Navas, to England, sumptuously attended, with “a
great table diamond mounted as a rose in a superb gold setting, valued
at 50,000 ducats; a necklace of eighteen brilliants, worth 32,000
ducats; a great diamond with a fine pearl pendant from it, worth 25,000
ducats; and other jewels, pearls, diamonds, emeralds, and rubies of
inestimable value for the queen and her ladies.” Never before had so
much magnificence been witnessed in Spain as in the preparations for
Philip’s voyage to England. He left Valladolid on May 14, with nearly
1000 horsemen and half the nobility of Spain, all glittering and
flashing with splendour. Puling little Carlos, with his big head and
frail limbs, was by his side for a day on the way to Corunna, and when
Philip left him he was to see him no more as a child. Passionate
devotion and loyalty followed Philip on his progress through
North-western Spain. He was a true national monarch, and his people knew
it. Charles had always been a Fleming before all things, and his
wide-spreading dominions had kept him mostly away from Spain; but the
Spaniards knew well that, no matter what other nations fell under his
sway, Philip would remain a true Spaniard to the end, and rule them all
from the country he loved. It has been said that Philip was naturally
grave and unexpansive, and in his previous voyage in Germany and
Flanders his demeanour had made him extremely unpopular. Charles,
indeed, had to remonstrate with him, when it was already too late, for
his want of geniality. The emperor was determined that his son should
not again fall into a similar error for want of timely warning, and sent
him--as also did Renard--urgent exhortations to bear himself affably,
and to conciliate the stubborn English by respecting all their
prejudices and adopting their customs. It was against his very nature,
but he had schooled himself to self-control and sacrifice, and his most
intimate friends were astonished at the change in his manner from the
day he set foot on English soil at Southampton on July 20, 1554. He was
no longer the grave and moody prince they had known, but smiling,
courteous, and frank. Gifts and favours were lavished on all sides, and
although he came heavily handicapped by the prejudice against him, and
London especially bitterly hated the Spaniards, and did not hesitate to
show it, Philip himself became personally not unpopular during his stay
in England. He brought with him in his fine fleet of 100 sail 6000 or
8000 soldiers to reinforce the emperor in his war with the French, and
not a man of them was allowed to land in England; they and many of
Philip’s courtiers proceeding to Flanders as soon as might be. The
nobles and gentlemen who accompanied the prince were warned that they
must in all respects make way for the English and take a secondary
place. This was gall and wormwood to them, and their scorn and hatred
grew as they became convinced of the fruitlessness of their sacrifice
and that of their master.

The queen’s first interview with her husband was at night on July 23 in
the bishop’s palace at Winchester. He was dressed in a suit of white kid
covered with gold embroidery, and wore a French grey satin surcoat, “and
very gallant he looked.” He was surrounded by ten of the highest nobles
in Spain, and from the first moment the queen saw him she seems to have
fallen in love with him. She had fervently invoked divine guidance in
her choice, and had managed to work herself into a condition of
religious exaltation, which rendered her peculiarly open to hysterical
influences--for she too was a granddaughter of Isabel the Catholic. All
that pomp and expenditure could do to render the marriage ceremony at
Winchester for ever memorable was done. Philip himself and his friends
had no illusions about the matter. They all confess with depressing
unanimity that the bride was a faded little woman with red hair, and no
eyebrows, and that the Spanish objects in the marriage were purely
political. But Mary looked upon it in quite a different light. She was
taking part in a holy sacrament which was to bring salvation to
thousands of souls, and make her for ever memorable as the saviour of
her country and her race. Philip acted like a gentleman, under very
difficult circumstances. He treated his wife with gentle courtesy,
returning her somewhat embarrassingly frequent endearments with apparent
alacrity, and never by word or deed hinting that her charms were on the
wane. On the day of the marriage Charles had equalised his son’s rank
with that of Mary by making him King of Naples, but still English
suspicion and jealousy resented the idea of his coronation, or even his
aspiring to equal place with the queen. “He had only come,” said the
Londoners, “to beget an heir to the crown, and then he might go--the
sooner the better.” So by the time when the king and queen entered the
city in state on August 27 it was clear that, come what might, Philip
would never be allowed to govern England. “The real rulers of this
country,” wrote one of Philip’s courtiers, “are not the monarchs, but
the council,” and the councillors, though ready enough to accept Spanish
gold, were Englishmen above all things, and would never submit to
Spanish government. The hard terms of the marriage contract had been
accepted by Charles and Philip in the belief that they could be
nullified after the marriage by the influence of the husband over the
wife. It was now seen that however great this influence might be, the
queen herself was almost powerless in the hands of the council and the
nobles who had raised her to the throne.

Philip whilst in England showed his usual diplomacy. He carefully
abstained from publicly interfering in the government, but he had not
failed to draw to his side some of the principal members of the council,
and his influence certainly made itself felt, if it was unseen. His
efforts were at first entirely directed to the conversion of England to
the faith by preaching and persuasion, the subsequent object, of course,
being the complete return of the country to the papal fold, which would
be but a stepping-stone to the political domination by Spain. But
Charles and Philip were statesmen first, and religious zealots
afterwards. On this occasion, as on several subsequent ones in Philip’s
career, the zeal of the churchmen outran the discretion of the
politicians, and the king-consort’s influence, such as it was, had to be
exercised mainly in the direction of moderation and temporisation.

Immediately after Mary’s accession the pope had appointed Cardinal Pole
to negotiate for the submission of England to the Holy See, and the
cardinal was eager to set his hand to the work at once. He was an
Englishman of royal blood, a firm Catholic, who had no other end in view
than to bring back his country to what he considered the true faith.
Mary at first was just as eager as Pole, but Charles saw from afar that,
if affairs were to be directed into the course he wished, they must be
managed gently. The new pope, Julius III., was a docile and vicious
pontiff, and was soon brought round to the emperor’s views. He was
induced to alter Pole’s appointment to that of legate, with instructions
first to go to Brussels and endeavour to mediate in the pope’s name
between the emperor and the King of France, and then await a favourable
opportunity for proceeding to England.

The great difficulty in the English question was the restitution of the
property taken from the Church during the previous reigns. It was
evident to the emperor that, if an uncompromising stand were taken up on
that point, the whole edifice would collapse. Pole was all for complete
and unconditional restitution, and his powers, indeed, gave him little
or no discretion to compromise or abandon the claim of the Church. The
first point therefore agreed upon by Charles and Philip was to delay
Pole’s voyage to England until the pope had been induced to confer large
discretionary powers on Pole, and the latter had been made to promise
that he would do nothing except in accord with Philip. When this had
been effected, and Renard, at Philip’s instance, had seen Pole and
obtained a promise that he would not insist upon restitution of the
property that had passed into private hands, he was allowed to proceed
to England. Forty years afterwards, one of Philip’s English adherents,
Father Persons, told him that all the ill-fortune that had attended his
efforts in England was due to the impious omission at this juncture of
insisting upon some sort of restitution of the ecclesiastical property
in private hands.

In November 1554 England returned to the bosom of the Church, and Pole
to this extent was satisfied; but he was no politician, and could never
be brought round to the purely Spanish view of English politics, which
may be said indeed of most of Mary’s advisers.

On the very day of Pole’s arrival it was officially announced that the
queen was with child, and the new legate and the rest of the churchmen
fell into what would now be looked upon as blasphemous comparisons, the
people at large being suddenly caught up by the wave of rejoicing at the
promise of an heir to the throne. The opportunity was discreetly taken
by Philip to cause his instruments to propose in Parliament the sending
by England of armed aid to the emperor against France, and the
nomination of himself as Regent of England in the event of the
looked-for heir outliving his mother. But again the over-zeal of the
churchmen spoilt his game. Bonner and Gardiner began to think that
persecution of Protestants was necessary and holy. Reaction in the
country was the natural result, and Philip and Mary were obliged to
dissolve Parliament in a hurry, without the political plans being

Philip’s Spanish chaplains had been extremely unpopular. Such insults
indeed had been offered to them, that they dared not appear in the
streets in priestly garb. But they were really mild and conciliating,
and when the fierce zeal of the English bishops led them to burn the
Protestants, Philip’s principal confessor openly denounced them from the
pulpit, doubtless at his master’s instance--certainly with his approval.
The cruel persecution of the Protestants, indeed, was dead against the
realisation of Spanish aims. Philip and Renard clearly saw that it would
bring about reaction and hatred, and used their influence to stay it.
Charles himself was appealed to by Renard. “If,” he said, “this
precipitancy be not moderated, affairs will assume a dangerous
appearance.” For nearly six months Philip’s efforts stayed the storm of
persecution, and his active intercession saved many condemned to the

But Charles was impatient for his presence in Flanders. The deadly
torpor had already seized upon the great emperor. The man who had been
indefatigable in his youth and prime had now sunk into indifference to
the world. For weeks together no word could be got from him, and of
action he was almost incapable. He had begged Philip to come to him
before his honeymoon was over, and had continued to do so ever since.
The king had waited and waited on, in the ever-deluded hope that Mary’s
promise of issue would be fulfilled, but at last even she had become
incredulous, and her husband could delay his departure no longer. By
August 1555 the rogations and intercessions to the Almighty for the safe
birth of a prince were discontinued, and the splendid plot was seen to
be a failure.

Consider what this meant for Philip and for the Spanish power. An
Anglo-Spanish dynasty ruling England, Spain, and Flanders, supreme over
Italy and the Mediterranean, with the riches of the Indies in its hands,
would have dominated the world. The German Protestant princes, without
effective seaboard, must remain a negligeable quantity outside of their
own country. France, shut in on every side by land and sea, could have
progressed no more, and Spain would have become paramount more
completely than if Charles’s first dream of the universal spread of the
power of the Roman-Austrian empire had been realised.

But it was not to be, and Philip made the best of it without exhibiting
disappointment. In vain Renard wrote to the emperor that as soon as
Philip’s back was turned the fires of persecution would recommence in
England; Charles would wait no longer, and peremptorily ordered his son
to come to Flanders. On August 26 Mary accompanied her husband to
Greenwich, where he took leave of her three days later. The queen was in
deep affliction, but she bore up before the spectators of the scene.
With one close embrace she bade the king farewell, but so long as the
boat in which he went to Gravesend remained in sight from the windows of
the palace, the unhappy queen, her eyes overflowing with tears, watched
the receding form of her husband, who on his part continued to wave his
hand as a signal of adieu, a quiet, courteous gentleman to the last,
though his heart must have been heavy with disappointment, and his
crafty brain full of plans for remedying it.


     Philip in favour of a moderate policy in England--His attitude
     towards religion generally--He requests armed aid from England
     against the French--The emperor’s embarrassments in Italy--Alba
     made Philip’s viceroy in Italy--Factions in Philip’s court--Ruy
     Gomez and Alba--The emperor’s abdication--Philip’s changed
     position--His attitude towards the papacy--The Spanish Church--Pope
     Paul IV. and the Spaniards in Italy--Excommunication of
     Philip--Invasion of Rome by Alba--Philip’s second visit to England.

Before Philip left England he drew up for the guidance of the queen and
council full instructions for the administration of affairs. Minutes
were sent to him of the proceedings of the meetings of the council, upon
which, as was his custom during the rest of his life, he made exhaustive
notes and comments.

The month after his departure he was informed by the council that the
bull had been promulgated surrendering the claim to Church property
alienated to private persons, and against this information the king
emphatically notes that it is “well done,” but in the same document an
indication is given that the zeal of the Catholic council in England is
outrunning discretion, and Philip’s hand is brought down heavily in
favour of cautious moderation. The proposal was that the first-fruits
and tenths, and ecclesiastical revenues which had been suspended or
alienated, should be brought back to their original uses. Here the king
has no approving word to say. He recommends that the question should be
considered by a committee of eight councillors, who should report to him
for decision. He then goes on to urge caution, and to direct that the
Government should not propose any measure to Parliament until it had
been submitted to him. He evidently dreaded the rash zeal of the
Catholic party in England, and did his best to hold it in check; but
before he had been gone from England six months Renard’s prophecy came
true, and the flames of persecution burst out, to be extinguished no
more until the death of the queen. Philip was certainly not responsible
for this; his influence was exerted in the contrary direction.

Religious persecution was with him simply a matter of political
expediency, and in the existing state of affairs it was the most
injudicious thing in the world for the Catholic party in England to run
to extremes. Philip was a cold-blooded statesman, and was never really
blinded by religious zeal. That he was a deeply religious man, according
to his narrow view, with an all-consuming belief in the identity of
interests between himself and the Almighty, is certain; but his motive
was never the exaltation of the Church itself, or even of Catholicism,
except as the most convenient instrument for establishing the political
predominance of Spain over the rest of the world.

What Philip wanted of the English councillors was not the hellish
bonfires of Smithfield, but ships and men with which to fight the
French. Here the fervid churchmen were not so ready. The English navy,
the council told Philip, was unfit for sea; but the best of the ships,
with the pick of the sailors and soldiers on board, should as soon as
possible be sent to guard the Channel. This was not enough for the king,
who wrote (September 1555) a vigorous marginal note on the minute,
saying that “England’s chief defence depends upon its navy being always
in good order to serve for the defence of the kingdom against all
invasion. It is right that the ships should not only be fit for sea, but
instantly available.” He wishes the fleet to be put in order, and sent,
not to Dover but to Portsmouth, as the emperor is going to Spain in
November, and wishes twelve or fourteen ships to accompany him beyond
Ushant. This was, of course, the thin end of the wedge. What Philip
really wanted, as will be seen, was to employ the English fleet against

On the much-desired arrival of Philip in Brussels he found the great
emperor a prey to the last extreme of mental and bodily senile
depression. Things had been going from bad to worse with Charles almost
uninterruptedly since the defection of Maurice of Saxony in 1552.
“Fortune is a strumpet,” he cried at his disaster before Metz, “and
reserves her favours for the young.” And so to the young Philip he had
determined to shift the burden he himself could bear no longer.

The emperor’s principal embarrassments had occurred in Italy. It will be
recollected that Naples and Sicily belonged to the crown of Spain by
conquest, and that the dukedom of Milan, a vacant fief of the empire,
had been conferred upon Philip. Charles’s warlike and turbulent
representatives in these states had plunged him into endless troubles,
first by their encroachment on the principalities of Parma and Piacenza,
belonging to the papal Farneses, and, secondly, by the seizure of the
republic of Siena. The discontent caused by these encroachments was
taken advantage of by the French king to side with the Italians against
their suzerain, the emperor. The French already held Piedmont, one of
the fiefs of the empire, and now expelled the imperialists from Siena.
The Pope and the Duke of Florence, who had hitherto been neutral, then
sided with the French; the populations of Milan and Naples cried aloud
against the oppression they suffered from the Spanish governors, and the
Spanish imperial domination of Italy seemed tottering to its fall. The
Spanish governors were hastily changed, and an arrangement patched up
with the Medicis. Thenceforward the war was carried on against the
French in Italy with varying success, the Turks frequently making
diversions on the coast in the interest of France. The imperial and
Spanish officials in the various states of Italy were quarrelling with
each other in face of the common enemy, and all was in confusion when
Philip made his marriage journey to England. It was then decided by the
emperor to transfer to his son the crowns of Naples and Sicily, and the
dukedom of Milan, with which he had been nominally invested in 1546, and
the act of abdication of these dominions was read in Winchester
Cathedral before the marriage ceremony. This was doubtless intended as a
first step towards the old project of transferring to Spain the
suzerainty of the empire over Italy, as Philip bad also received a
transference of the rights of the emperor over Siena as soon as the
republic had been recaptured from the French. It will thus be seen how
anomalous was Philip’s position in Italy. He was independent King of
Naples, a tributary prince of the empire in Milan, and a substitute for
the emperor in his suzerainty over Siena. The imperial troops in Milan
had hitherto been a coercive power over the other imperial fiefs, but
they could no longer be so regarded, as they were the forces of a
Spanish prince, who in Milan was himself a tributary prince of the
empire, with no rights over the rest. Philip soon found that it was
practically impossible to govern from England his Italian states in this
complicated condition of affairs, and in November 1554 appointed Alba
with very full powers to exercise all his sovereignties in Italy, with
supreme command of the army. The emperor did not like the idea. We have
seen the opinion he held of Alba and how he dreaded making so great a
noble too powerful, and it was only with great difficulty that he
consented. Alba had been Philip’s principal mentor in England, chafing
at being kept away from the wars, and condemned to humiliating
subordination in a country he hated; but it may safely be assumed that
this was not the only reason why Philip decided to remove him from his

Already the two political parties which were in after years alternately
to influence Philip were being developed. Ruy Gomez de Silva, his bosom
friend, upon whom he had bestowed the hand of the greatest heiress of
Spain, and whom soon afterwards he was to load with titles, was an
hidalgo of Portuguese birth, ten years older than his master. According
to all contemporary accounts never was royal favour better deserved. No
person has an ill word for Ruy Gomez. Gentle, conciliatory, modest, and
diplomatic, he was the very antithesis of the haughty and intolerant
Alba, and found himself constantly at issue with him on every political
point under discussion. His views and methods were more in consonance
with those of Philip than were the harsh and violent counsels of the
warlike Alba. He was, moreover, nearer the king’s age, and possessed his
real regard. It is not surprising, therefore, that when an opportunity
came for the removal of Alba from the king’s side, Ruy Gomez and his
friends urged it; and in December 1554 the favourite himself went from
England to Brussels to persuade the reluctant emperor to consent to the
appointment. Alba’s administration of Italy opened an entirely new page
in the relations between Spain, Italy, and the papacy, to which
reference will be made in its proper place.

On October 25, 1555, the renunciation by the emperor of the sovereignty
of the Netherlands took place in the great hall of the palace of
Brussels. The scene, one of the most dramatic in history, has often been
described, and need not here be repeated. All the circumstances added
impressiveness and solemnity to the ceremony. The prematurely aged
emperor, standing on a dais, leaning on the shoulder of the youthful
William the Silent, in a broken voice took leave of the Flemish
subjects, whom he loved best. He had always been a Fleming at heart, and
the leave-taking was an affecting one on both sides. Philip, on the
other hand, was to all intents a foreigner, and though Charles fervently
prayed his son to treat his people well, the Flemings present knew that
his heart and sympathies were in Spain, and that Philip might be a ruler
over them, but never a friend and father, as the emperor had been.
Philip’s own impassibility for once gave way at the affecting scene, and
for some time he could not summon sufficient composure to speak; and
when he did, alas! it was only to confess that, as he could not address
his new subjects in their own tongue, he must depute the task to
another. We may be sure that the Bishop of Arras--the coming De
Granvelle--was elegant, fluent, and appropriate in his speech; but the
charm that loosely held together the states under the House of Burgundy
was broken, and the sturdy burghers felt that henceforward they were to
be regarded as a colony of Spain. On January 16, 1556, the crowns of
Spain were also transferred to Philip, and Charles remained now only
emperor nominally, until the German electors were prepared for the
abdication in favour of Ferdinand. Before he left for Spain and turned
his back upon the world for ever, he arranged (February 1556) a truce
for five years, by the treaty of Vaucelles, with his old antagonist the
King of France.

Philip now stands on the stage alone, the greatest monarch in the world,
although disappointed of the apostolic crown. We have seen how his
statecraft had been formed, and how from his childhood he had absorbed
the worldly experience of his father. We can see how he had schooled
himself to self-repression, concentration of effort to political ends,
and profound distrust in all men. To his melancholy mysticism and belief
in his divine inspiration, the result of his descent, had been
superadded the teachings of his mentors, and the result was the man who
was to lead to defeat one of the two great forces into which the world
was divided. The judgment on a great historical figure must be
pronounced, not in view of what he achieved, so much as what he aimed
at, and in the case of Philip the objects were great. These objects were
not, however, conceived by him, but were imposed upon him by the
accident of birth. He accepted the inheritance as a sacred duty and
strenuously did his best, but his inherited personal qualities were not
equal to his inherited task, and he failed.

The irony of events decreed that the very first task to which Philip was
to put his hand was to fight with the Holy See. Charles and his
predecessors had wrested from one pontiff after another the rights of
presentation to all bishoprics, prelacies, and other preferments of the
Church in Spain, so that the Spanish clergy depended now upon their
sovereign more than upon the pope, and the king practically used the
vast revenues of the Church as an instrument of his policy. The royal
council, moreover, had the power of supervision over the ecclesiastical
courts in Spain, nominally to protect Spanish priests from injustice,
but really to make the civil power supreme, and give to the State a
predominance over the Church. The Inquisition itself was quite as much a
political as an ecclesiastical institution, and was jealously regarded
by Philip and his predecessors as under their immediate control, and not
that of the pope. Similar, and even greater power, was exercised by the
king over the Spanish Church in Naples and Sicily, to the exclusion of
papal influence. These facts, together with the encroachments of the
Spaniards in Italy, had been suffered with a bad grace by previous
pontiffs, but Cardinal Caraffa, Paul IV., was a Neapolitan, and a deadly
enemy of the Spanish power, and immediately after his accession began to
intrigue with the King of France to join with him for the purpose of
expelling the Spaniards from Naples, and curbing their power in Italy
generally. The arrogant and intemperate pontiff launched against the
emperor and his son invective more bitter even than he did against
heretics. “The Spaniards,” he was wont to say, were “the vile and abject
spawn of Jews, the dregs of the world,” and “now the time had come when
they should be castigated for their sins, be expelled from their states,
and Italy should be free.” The aid of the Grand Turk was also invoked,
and Henry II., tempted by the bait of conquering Naples by such a
coalition, signed the treaty with the pope in December 1555.

The emperor’s one desire, however, was to leave his son at peace, and he
offered such terms that in February 1556 Henry II. withdrew from the
papal alliance and signed the truce of Vaucelles. The defection of the
French was only a temporary check to the fiery pontiff. Before four
months had passed he had persuaded the King of France once more to enter
into an offensive alliance with him, and the Sultan Solyman, to fight
against the Catholic king. Wherever the pope’s voice or arm could reach,
persecution and insult were heaped upon Spaniards. When once he had
prevailed upon the King of France to break the truce of Vaucelles he
thought he had his enemy at his mercy. All bounds of decency and decorum
were abandoned, and a violent bull of excommunication was issued against
the emperor and King Philip. The latter is addressed as “the son of
iniquity, Philip of Austria, offspring of the so-called Emperor Charles,
who passes himself off as King of Spain, following in the footsteps of
his father, rivalling, and even endeavouring to surpass him in
infamy.”[1] Alba invaded the papal states, and nearly captured Rome
itself, carrying fire and sword through Italy; but he was well matched
by Guise, who commanded the Franco-Papal army. Then suddenly Henry II.
found that the army from Flanders was marching on Paris, and Guise was
recalled to France. By the intervention of the Doge of Venice a peace
was patched up between the pope and Philip, Alba sulkily entering Rome,
not as a conqueror but as a pretended penitent. The pope was conciliated
with ceremonies and futile concessions, and France and Philip were again
left face to face.

During the new coalition against him Philip had again urged the English
council to join him in the war against France, but could get no
satisfactory reply. The poor queen was wearing her heart away with
sorrow and disappointment, and the English Catholics in power, from Pole
downwards, were determined not to serve purely Spanish aims or allow
themselves to be diverted from the holy task of extirpating heresy, so
the king, sorely against his will, was obliged, himself, to go to
England and exert his personal influence.


     French intrigue against Mary--England at war with France--Battle of
     St. Quintin--Philip’s tardiness--The English contingent--The loss
     of Calais--Feria goes to England--His negotiations--Condition of
     England--The English fleet used by Philip--Philip and
     Elizabeth--Negotiations for peace--Death of Mary--Plans for
     Elizabeth’s marriage--Peace of Cateau Cambresis--Philip’s policy in

Philip arrived in England on March 20, 1557, and at once tried to
influence his wife to the ends he had in view. She on her part had not
forgiven the intrigues of the French and De Noailles against her, and
was willing to be revenged; but the council and, above all, the nation,
had always dreaded this probable result of a Spanish match. They had no
special quarrel with the King of France, and had no wish to be drawn
into a war with him to benefit Philip’s Italian supremacy.

In the meanwhile Henry II. tried to counteract Philip’s efforts in
England. The abortive risings at the beginning of Mary’s reign had cast
a great number of refugee Englishmen on to the coast of France--Carews,
Staffords, Tremaynes, and the like,--and these men had always been held
by the French king as a card in his hand to play against Mary in need,
for the purpose of raising a diversion in her own country. He once more
adopted the same policy, making much of the exiles, ostentatiously
helping them, and hinting at hostile designs against Calais, and even
England itself. Henry meant it for a feint, but hare-brained Stafford,
with vague hopes of a crown, started from Dieppe with two ships on
Easter Sunday 1557. He seized Scarborough Castle, but was seized himself
directly afterwards, and he and his friends incontinently lost their
heads. But it was enough that they had been cherished by the French
king, and had started from a French port. With such an argument as this,
Mary was able to persuade her council, and Philip had his way. On June 7
war against France was declared, and on July 3 the king bade his wife
what was destined to be an eternal farewell, and left for Brussels.
Eight thousand English troops were at once made ready to join Philip’s
army in Flanders, under his young cousin Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of
Savoy, which amounted in all to 50,000 men. Constable Montmorenci
commanded the French force, which was much inferior both in numbers and
quality (24,000 men). Savoy began the campaign by feigned attacks upon
several frontier fortresses, his object being suddenly to turn aside and
attack St. Quintin, a town of wealth and importance whose defences were
known to be ruinous. Savoy’s rapid and unexpected movements completely
puzzled the French, and Coligny, with a small force of about 1200 men,
was ordered to watch him. Coligny made an attempt to surprise Douai, but
was unsuccessful, and then seems to have learnt that Savoy’s real
objective was St. Quintin. He hurried back over the frontier, just in
time to cast himself into the town before it was invested, and then saw
that he was in a trap. The place could not hold out for a week in its
present condition, and he hastily begged Montmorenci to send him relief.
Montmorenci’s idea of relief was to force a thousand men through Savoy’s
lines into the town. In this he failed utterly. The way lay through a
bog, in which the troops sank or were killed by Savoy’s men, and only a
few stragglers reached the town. On the next day (August 10),
Montmorenci brought up his main body, and tried to cast reinforcements
into the town by boats across the Somme. This was found to be
impracticable, and Montmorenci was urged by his men to retire. He had
the river and a morass between himself and Savoy’s army, and thought he
was safe, but by fords and causeways unknown to him, 6000 fine
Burgundian cavalry and a body of the invincible Spanish infantry crossed
to his side. Then when it was too late he gave the order to retire. The
retreat soon became a rout. Six thousand French troops were killed, as
many more captured, all the artillery taken, Montmorenci a prisoner, and
there was no force between Savoy’s victorious army of 50,000 men and the
gates of Paris.

Here was Philip’s chance--a chance never to occur again. During the
short campaign he had remained at Valenciennes and Brussels, and on the
day of St. Quintin he was in the city of Cambrai. His vocation was not
war, and he knew it. Bells were rung, Te Deums were sung, and the day
after the battle Philip visited his victorious army; but his professed
regret at his absence from the fray was not so deep as that of his
father when he heard the news. The Duke of Savoy begged to be allowed
to follow up his victory by a march upon the capital, but over-caution
was always Philip’s fault, and he would take no undue risk. He doubtless
recollected his own remarks about his father’s invasion of France and
the disaster of Metz. “The emperor,” he said, “had marched into France
eating peacocks, and had marched out eating turnips.” When Charles at
Yuste heard of the victory, he at once asked whether Philip had yet
arrived before Paris. But the war was not ended yet, and brave Coligny
in the town of St. Quintin held out against terrible odds until August
27, when it was taken by assault. The sacking and pillage of the devoted
town and the heartrending cruelty wreaked upon the defenceless people,
mainly by the German mercenaries, will ever remain one of the most
horrible episodes of history. Philip had given orders that women and
children should be spared, but his instructions were set at naught, and
when, on the third day after the capture, he entered the city, he saw
such sights as left upon him impressions of horror which he never

Philip’s army, of various nationalities, was then divided amongst the
French towns he had captured. The rascally German mercenaries quarrelled
and left him in large numbers, many to join the French. The English were
sulky--the Spaniards complained of their conduct before St. Quintin.
Wages were in arrears, their hearts were not in the fight, and they
demanded leave to go home. Philip could not risk unpopularity in England
by refusal, and let them go.

The French, on the other hand, by the end of the year had a fine army in
north-eastern France, which Guise had hastily brought back from Italy.
The English fortress of Calais had been neglected, and was in a poor
condition for defence. Guise suddenly appeared before it, to the
surprise of the defenders. The outworks were stormed and captured on
January 2 and 3, 1558, and on the 8th the citadel itself was captured.
Lord Wentworth was in command, but the resources at his disposal were
utterly inadequate, and it was impossible with them to hold the place.
As a natural result, the other English fortress of Guisnes, under Lord
Grey, fell a few days afterwards, and the last foothold of the English
in France was gone. Before this disaster had happened Philip had begged
the English council to send him a fresh reinforcement of English troops,
with the ostensible object of ensuring the safety of Calais; but there
were no troops and little money available in England. The war was
extremely unpopular; all the country insisted that they had been dragged
into it to please Philip, and the queen, desirous as she was of pleasing
her husband, was weak and weary, utterly unable to dominate her council,
with whom religious matters in England were the first consideration, and
the predominance of Spain in Europe a matter of no concern. When Guise’s
designs upon Calais were evident, Philip sent his favourite. Count de
Feria, post-haste to England to insist upon the need of sending troops,
at least to defend the fortress. Before he started on his journey news
came of the fall of Calais, but as Guisnes still held out, he proceeded
on his way. Before he embarked from Dunkirk he heard of the surrender of
Guisnes, and delayed his arrival in England, in order not to be the
bearer of the evil tidings. He saw the council in Cardinal Pole’s
chamber on January 28, and presented his master’s demands. Heath was the
spokesman. He was apologetic and sorrowful, but the state of England was
such, he said, that instead of sending men away, they needed troops to
be sent for defence. The south coast and the Isle of Wight were at the
mercy of the French, the Scottish frontier was unprotected and
threatened, and much to the same effect. But if King Philip would send
them 3000 German mercenaries, for which they would pay, they would place
them in Newcastle, and they could then arm 100 ships in the Channel, and
embark 16,000 men, some of whom might be used for Philip’s purposes. The
country was in complete disorder, and Feria says that if 100 men were to
land on the south coast, the country would probably join them against
its friends, by which he doubtless meant the Catholic Government.

Before this interview the king had written to Feria that Calais and
Guisnes having fallen, it would be better to abandon the idea of sending
English troops to France, but that the whole efforts of the council
should be directed towards the defence of the country itself. From
Feria’s own observation when he first landed at Dover it was indeed
clear, both to him and his master, that in no case would any effective
aid in men reach him from England.

With much ado Parliament was induced to vote the supplies necessary for
the defence of the country. Feria’s scorn at such cumbrous methods knew
no bounds, and his picture of the complete disorganisation of the
government is most vivid. It was evident now to all that the queen had
not very long to live, and that her renewed dreams of progeny were to be
as baseless as before. What was to come after her was the question, and
each man was thinking of his own future. Philip was in dire want of
money, and begged his wife not to depend upon Parliament alone for
supplies. In vain Gresham tried to borrow large sums at Antwerp on the
queen’s credit; only £10,000 could be got. Devices of all sorts were
suggested, but to no purpose. But still the sums voted by Parliament,
and what else could be collected or borrowed, were sent to Flanders to
pay for the German levies, and spent in fitting out and manning the
English fleet. The distracted English councillors were deluded into an
idea that an attempt would be made to recover Calais; they were
frightened with the false rumour that there was a large French fleet at
Dieppe, that the Hanse towns and Denmark would attack them--anything to
get them to provide a strong English fleet, not ostensibly for Philip’s
purposes. But Philip took care that when the fleet was ready Clinton
should use it as he desired, and the much-talked-of 3000 Germans never
came to England, but when they were ready were utilised for Philip’s
service. “I am writing nothing of this to the queen,” he informs Feria,
“as I would rather that you should prudently work with the councillors
to induce them to ask us to relieve them of these troops.”

When Feria had frightened the queen and council out of all that was
possible, he left in July to join his master in Brussels, taking care to
pay his visit to “Madam Elizabeth” at Hatfield, with all sorts of
affectionate and significant messages from her loving brother-in-law.
The plan had been, from the time of Mary’s own marriage, to fix Spanish
influence in England, no matter what happened, by marrying Elizabeth to
the Duke of Savoy. But Mary would not restore her sister in blood--she
could not indeed without bastardising herself--and without this the
marriage would have been useless, from Philip’s point of view. But he
temporised still, determined to keep Elizabeth in hand if possible, and
lost no opportunity of showing his amiability to her.

When Feria left in July there remained in England a member of Philip’s
Flemish council, named Dassonleville. On November 7 he wrote to the king
informing him that Parliament had been called together to discuss the
question of the succession, and pointing out the desirability of Philip
himself being present to influence it in the way he desired, it being
understood that the queen’s death was approaching.

But Philip had his hands full, and could not go, even on so important an
errand as this. The success of Guise at Calais had emboldened the
French, and at one time a march upon Brussels had appeared inevitable.
Providentially, however, for Philip, the English naval squadron of
twelve ships, already mentioned, was able at a critical moment to turn
the tide of victory in an engagement near Gravelines (July 13, 1558).
Marshal Termes was completely routed, and Guise thenceforward had to
stand on the defensive. Philip’s treasury was quite empty, he was deeply
in debt, his soldiers unpaid, and he hated war. The French king was in
similar straits, and had, moreover, begun to look with apprehension on
the increasing strength of the reform party in France. So a talk of
arrangement began to prevail, and on October 15 the first meeting of
commissioners for peace was held, De Granvelle, with Alba and the Prince
of Orange, representing Philip, and Cardinal Lorraine, with Constable
Montmorenci and Marshal St. André, the French king; whilst English
interests were safeguarded by the Earl of Arundel, Dr. Thirlby, and Dr.
Wotton. Under these circumstances, Philip was obliged to send to England
in his place his friend, the Count de Feria. He arrived on November 9,
and found the queen almost unconscious, so he lost no time in trying to
propitiate the coming queen. He summoned the council, and approved in
Philip’s name of Elizabeth’s succession, and then took horse to salute
the new sovereign. On the 17th, Mary Tudor died, and Philip had a new
set of problems to face. England had slipped through his hands, but
might still be regained if the new queen could be married to his
nominee. Elizabeth showed in her very first interview with Feria that
she would not allow herself to be patronised. She stopped him at once
when he began to hint that she owed her new crown to his master’s
support. “She would,” she said, “owe it only to her people.” The Duke of
Savoy was the first idea of a husband for her in the Spanish interest,
but he was warlike, and the French were still in possession of his
territories, so the English dreaded that he might drag them into another
war, and would not hear of him. Feria hinted to the queen that Philip
himself might marry her, but she was diplomatically irresponsive.
Philip’s conditions, indeed, as conveyed to his ambassador, were such
that Elizabeth could not have accepted them. But it never came so near
as the discussion of conditions. This is not the place to relate at
length the endless intrigues by which it was sought to draw Elizabeth
into a marriage which should render her amenable, or at least innocuous,
to Spain, but it will suffice to say that she was fully a match for the
wily diplomatists who sought to entrap her, and never for a moment,
through all her tergiversation, intended to allow Spanish interests to
dominate English policy. The peace between Spain and France was easily
settled at Cateau Cambresis, Henry being even more anxious for it than
Philip, and he gave way upon nearly every point; but with regard to
England the case was different, and for a long while the English envoys
stood out persistently for the restoration of Calais. So long as there
appeared any prospect of his being allowed to influence English
government, Philip refused to make a separate peace, but at length he
gave Elizabeth clearly to understand that if peace could not be made
without the loss of Calais, then Calais must go. England was in a state
of confused transition, the queen’s position was uncertain, the treasury
was empty, and the war unpopular, so at last the bitter pill, slightly
disguised, had to be swallowed, and the peace of Cateau Cambresis was
signed on April 2, 1559.

The position was a critical one for Philip and his policy. This was the
parting of the ways, and the course now adopted was to decide the fate
of the Spanish domination. Feria, and after him the Bishop of Aquila,
wrote incessantly during the first months of Elizabeth’s reign that
Spain must dominate England, by force of arms, if need be. Most of the
country was Catholic, many of the principal councillors were in Spanish
pay or had Spanish sympathies, the queen was as yet an uncertain
quantity, and there were several pretenders whose claim to the crown
seemed better than hers. Philip was assured again and again that this
was his chance. If England broke away from him, his own Low Countries
were in danger. Let him, said his councillors, subsidise the Catholic
party, if necessary backed up by force, patronise one of the rival
claimants--Catharine Grey for choice--and remove the troublesome young
queen before her position became consolidated. But Philip was slow. The
merits and objections of every course had to be weighed and discussed
infinitely. By his side was already the young Bishop of Arras, De
Granvelle, fresh from his diplomatic triumph at Cateau Cambresis, whose
methods were modelled upon those of his master, and from whom no
decision could be expected without protracted delay. There was also Ruy
Gomez, always on the side of peace and moderation. In vain haughty Feria
sneered at the timid councils of churchmen, and chafed at his master’s
inaction. Philip would not be hurried. His one wish was to get back to
his dear Spain, and stay there; and from this design, favoured as it was
by Ruy Gomez, Feria and the politicians of the Alba party were powerless
to move him. So England slipped further and further from hands too tardy
to grasp it whilst there was yet time, and those who held as an article
of political faith that the owner of the Netherlands must be in close
alliance with England or perish, looked on in unconcealed dismay.


     Philip’s plan for a French alliance--His marriage with Elizabeth de
     Valois--Philip’s embarrassments in the Netherlands--De
     Granvelle--Philip’s departure from Flanders--Condition of affairs
     in Spain--The Spanish Church--Death of Paul IV.--The
     Inquisition--Bartolomé de Carranza--Philip’s arrival and routine in
     Spain--The auto de fé at Valladolid.

Philip was as fully alive as were his fiery advisers to the necessity of
keeping friendly with England, but he would have no more war if he could
help it. Moreover, an entirely new combination of a sort which exactly
appealed to his character had suggested itself to him. One of the
principal objects of Henry II., in his anxiety to make peace, was to
unite with Philip in order to withstand the growing power of the
reformers, especially in France. Philip was not actively responsive on
this point, as at the time (early in 1559) it had not reached an acute
stage in his Netherlands dominions, and for the moment it did not suit
his English policy to appear as the champion of extreme Catholicism. It
was settled, however, in the preliminary discussions of the peace envoys
at Cateau Cambresis that Philip’s only son, Carlos, who was now fourteen
years of age, should marry Henry’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who was
three months younger than the prince. When it became evident that
Elizabeth of England might hold her own, and even in time oppose him, it
must have appeared to Philip that an entire change of his policy might
isolate her, and that a close union between the old enemies, France and
Spain, would reduce England to impotence for harm. So Philip’s own name
was substituted for that of his son when the treaty was finally drafted,
and the new policy was inaugurated. This policy was, so far as Philip
was concerned, not an aggressive one against England or against
Elizabeth. The next Catholic heir to the English throne was Mary Stuart,
practically a Frenchwoman, and married to the Dauphin Francis, the
future King of France. It was therefore, above all, necessary for Philip
that the way should not be opened for the Queen of Scots to mount the
English throne. Better far for him that Elizabeth, heretic though she
was, should be there than that a French king should reign over England
and Scotland. Then, indeed, would the Netherlands have been in jeopardy.
The new combination seemed to avert danger from every side. The
coalition was too strong for England to trouble alone, whilst any design
to depose Elizabeth in the interest of Mary Stuart and France could now
be counteracted from the inside by Philip. The Duke of Alba, with a
splendid train of Spanish and Flemish nobles, entered Paris on June 22,
1559, and married by proxy for his master the young French princess,
Elizabeth of the Peace, as the Spaniards afterwards called her. She was
but a child as yet, but already her striking beauty and sweetness had
endeared her beyond compare to the French populace. Brantome and other
contemporary writers describe her personal appearance, but her own wise
letters to her mother, her brother, and to her friend and sister, Mary
Stuart, speak more eloquently still of her mental gifts, and explain the
undoubted influence she gained over the spirit of her husband, who,
notwithstanding the disparity of their years, loved her deeply, and
mourned her sincerely when she died. The marriage rejoicings in Paris
were brought to a sudden and untoward conclusion by the accidental
killing of the King of France, Henry II., by a thrust in the eye at a
tourney, at the hands of Montgomeri, captain of the Scots Guard.

Philip was still in Belgium, immersed in anxiety and trouble. Already
the want of sympathy between himself and his Flemish subjects was
bearing its natural fruit. Heresy was raising its head there as
elsewhere. The Netherlands had on more than one occasion felt the heavy
hand of the emperor both in matters of religion and in the autonomous
privileges of the various states which constituted the dominions of the
House of Burgundy. But Charles was one of themselves, and from him they
would suffer much. With Philip, ostentatiously a foreigner, it was a
very different matter, and all attempts from him, however innocent,
towards the centralisation of power, which was the kernel of his system,
were tacitly resented by them. The commercial and geographical position
of the Netherlands, in constant touch with England and Germany--the
highway between them indeed--especially exposed the country to the
influence of the new religious ideas; and in Holland, at least, the
Protestant doctrines had before Philip’s accession obtained firm root.
The person of the new monarch was not popular with the Flemings. His
dislike of noisy enthusiasm, his coldness and reserve, his preference
for Spaniards, had already widened the breach that his first appearance
had occasioned, and his people were almost eager to place a bad
interpretation upon all he did. His first step, if it had been taken by
another sovereign, would have been a popular one, but with him it was
the reverse. The three bishoprics of the Netherlands were unwieldy, and
a considerable portion of the country was under the ecclesiastical
control of German bishops. Philip desired to remedy this by the
re-division of the various dioceses and the creation of fourteen new
bishops and three archbishops, the lands of the monasteries being
appropriated for the support of the new prelates. Philip had endeavoured
to keep his plans secret, but they leaked out, and at Philip’s farewell
visit to the States-General at Ghent, on the eve of his departure for
Spain, the members of the assembly denounced in no uncertain terms the
implied policy of Philip to rule them according to Spanish instead of
Flemish ideas. The severe edicts of the emperor against heresy had been
only partially enforced, and in most of the states had been controlled
by the native civil tribunals; but it was concluded that Philip would
inaugurate a new era of rigour, especially as he was retaining under
arms in the Netherlands some 4000 Spanish infantry. Philip had to listen
to some bold talk from the burghers. With him heresy had always been
synonymous with resistance to authority--in his case, he thought, allied
with divinity; and as he left the assembly of the States he must have
made up his mind that here, in his own dominion, the hydra must be
crushed at any cost. As was his wont, however, he dissembled, promised
that the Spanish troops should be withdrawn, and took leave of the
States with fair words. The country was to be governed in his absence by
the Duchess of Parma, daughter of the emperor by a Flemish lady, and now
married to that Ottavio Farnese whose dukedoms had been taken and
subsequently restored to him by the Spaniards. Her principal adviser was
to be the Bishop of Arras (De Granvelle). He was the third son of
Charles’s favourite minister, Secretary Perrennot, a Franche-Comtois,
and consequently a foreigner in Flanders. Upon him the principal brunt
of his master’s unpopularity fell. His appointment as prime minister, he
being a foreigner, was, said the Flemings, a violation of their rights.
But Philip was immovable. He knew by the signatories of the petition for
the removal of the Spanish troops that many of the principal men in the
Netherlands were disaffected, and his suspicions had been aroused
against those prime favourites of his father, the young Prince of Orange
and Count Egmont. But he was, as usual, careful to dissemble his
distrust, and left Egmont as governor of the counties of Flanders and
Artois, and Orange of those of Holland, Zeeland, etc.

The atmosphere in Philip’s Netherlands dominions was thus full of
gathering storm when he turned his back upon them for the last time to
sail for Spain (August 1559). At the last moment, as he was about to
embark, his indignation at the resistance to his authority seems to have
overridden his reticence. He turned to Orange and told him that he knew
that he was at the bottom of the opposition he had encountered in the
States-General. Orange began by laying the responsibility upon the
States themselves. “No,” said Philip, “not the States, but you! you!
you!” This was Orange’s first warning. In his heart he must have known
now that in future it was to be war to the knife between his sovereign
and himself. In any case he was prudent enough to stay on shore, and
declined to accompany the other Flemish nobles on board the Spanish

If the sky was overcast in the Netherlands, it was almost as lowering in
Spain itself; and this was a matter which lay nearer still to Philip’s
heart. The country had been governed during the king’s absence by his
sister, the widowed Princess Juana of Portugal, as regent. Civil affairs
had shown no decided change. The money that flowed from the Indies had
been mostly seized and squandered upon the foreign wars, and on one
occasion the Seville merchants had ventured to remonstrate. But their
leaders had been loaded with irons and cast into prison, and
henceforward the people patiently bore their burden. Religious matters,
however, were in a less satisfactory condition. It has already been
observed that the policy of Charles and Philip had always been to bring
the Church in Spain under subjection to the monarch, and to weaken the
control of Rome over it. The ecclesiastical benefices were now
practically all at the disposal of the sovereigns, and were distributed
to a large extent with political objects, pensions and payment for
national purposes frequently being charged upon episcopal, and other
revenues, as a condition of presentation of a benefice. The royal
council had assumed the power of reviewing the decisions of
ecclesiastical tribunals, and the same civil power had now claimed the
right of suspending the publication of papal bulls in Spain.

For some years a controversy had been in progress with the papacy as to
the right of the crown to insist upon the execution of a decision of the
Council of Trent with regard to the reformation of the Spanish cathedral
chapters, which had become very corrupt. The pope had considered this an
interference with his prerogative, and had summoned to Rome the Spanish
bishops who championed the right of the monarch over the Church. The
royal council suspended the papal bulls and forbade the bishops to obey
the pope’s summons. Paul IV. was furious, and this was one of the
reasons for his attempts to ruin the Spanish power. When he fulminated
his famous excommunication of Philip already mentioned, the king
retorted by ordering through the Regent Juana that all the pope’s
messengers bearing the bulls into Spain should be captured and punished.
The council next recommended that Philip should insist upon all papal
nuncios to Spain being Spanish prelates, and that they should be paid by
the pope and not by the king. It did not, however, suit Philip to
proceed too violently against the Church, upon which he knew he must
depend largely as an instrument of his policy. When in 1557 he consented
to the undignified peace with Paul IV., who had been so bitter an enemy
to him, proud Alba said that, if he had had his way, he would have made
Caraffa go to Brussels to sue the king for peace instead of Philip’s
general having to humble himself before the churchman.

Matters were still extremely strained between Philip and the pope, Paul
IV., when, almost simultaneously with the king’s departure from
Flanders, the pontiff died (August 15, 1559), and during most of the
rule of his successor, Pius IV. (Angelo de Medici), Philip had a ready
and pliant instrument in the chair of St. Peter.

The gradual slackening of the bonds which bound the Spanish Church to
the papacy, and the laxity of the ecclesiastical control which was a
consequence, had brought about scandalous corruption amongst the higher
and cloistered clergy. The general tone of religion, indeed, at the time
seems to have been one of extreme looseness and cynicism, accompanied by
a slavish adherence to ritual and form. The terms in which the king and
his ambassadors in their correspondence refer to the pontiffs and to the
government of the Church in Rome, are often contemptuous in the last
degree. They are always regarded as simple instruments for forwarding
the interests of “God and your Majesty,” the invariable formula which
well embodies Philip’s own conception of his place in the universe.
Nothing is more curious than the free way in which religious matters
were spoken of and discussed with impunity, so long as the speakers
professed profound and abject submission to the Church, which in this
case really meant the semi-political institution in Spain.

The Inquisition had from the first been jealously guarded from any real
effective interference on the part of the pope, and by the time of
Philip’s return to Spain had already begun to assume its subsequent
character as a great political instrument in the hands of the monarch,
working on ecclesiastical lines. So far as Philip’s personal experience
extended, nearly all resistance to authority had begun with heresy, and,
with his views as to the identity of his interests with those of the
Almighty, it was evidently a duty to crush out ruthlessly any
manifestation of a spirit which tended to his prejudice.

There had gone with Philip to England as one of his confessors a learned
and eloquent friar named Bartolomé de Carranza, of the Order of
Preachers. He had been active in his efforts to bring England into the
Catholic fold, and had especially devoted himself to refuting the
arguments upon which the reformers depended. By his zeal and ability he
had gained the good-will of Philip, who had, after his return to
Brussels, raised him to the archbishopric of Toledo and the primacy of
Spain. He shortly afterwards left for his diocese, with instructions to
visit the emperor at Yuste on his way thither. He found Charles dying,
and administered the last consolations to him, whilst another monk, a
spy of the Inquisition, knelt close by, storing up in his mind for
future use against him the words of hope and comfort he whispered to the
dying man. It was afterwards alleged that he had dared to say that we
might hope for salvation and justification by faith alone. Previous to
this (1558) he had published in Antwerp a work called _Commentaries on
the Christian Catechism_, in the preface of which certain words of a
somewhat imprudent tendency were employed. “He wished,” he said, “to
resuscitate the antiquity of the primitive church because that was the
most sound and pure”; and in the body of the book certain propositions
were cautiously advanced, which, however, nothing but the keenest
sophistry could twist into heresy.

Carranza was at Alcalá de Henares in August 1559, shortly before Philip
left Flanders, when he was summoned by the Regent Juana to Valladolid.
The archbishop had known for some time that the spies of the
Inquisition were around him, and endeavoured diplomatically to delay his
journey until the king should arrive; but Philip had deferred his
departure for a fortnight, because a soothsayer had predicted heavy
storms at sea, and before he could arrive the archbishop, who had then
reached Torrelaguna, was taken from his bed at one o’clock in the
morning and carried to the dungeons of the Inquisition at Valladolid.
His arrest caused the greatest dismay throughout Spain. Contemporaries
made no secret of their belief that he was not imprisoned for religion
at all. His catechism was unanimously approved of by the pope, and by
the Congregation of the Index in Rome. The Council of Trent solemnly and
repeatedly protested against his arrest, and for many years it was a
pitched battle between the Inquisition and the king on the one hand, and
all the Catholic Church on the other. The documents in the case reached
25,000 folios of writing, some of the allegations against the archbishop
being quite ludicrous in their triviality and looseness. In all
probability the first cause of Carranza’s arrest was the jealousy of
Valdes, Archbishop of Seville, the inquisitor-general. He was, like all
the chief inquisitors, a Dominican, and during the many years he had
been at the head of the Holy Office had become intolerably overbearing
and ambitious. Carranza, on the other hand, was a much younger man
(fifty-five), and had, after several years’ absence from Spain, been
suddenly lifted from the position of a simple friar to that of Primate
of Spain, the holder of the richest ecclesiastical benefice in the
world. That Valdes should be jealous was only natural, and in the
absence of any adequate reason for his imprisonment in Carranza’s
writings, it is almost certain that the cause for his first detention
must be sought in this direction. Feria, who, of course, knew him well,
writing from Brussels at the date of his first arrest to Bishop Quadra
in England, says: “Things are going so badly in Spain, and they are
coming to such a pass, that we shall soon not know who are the heretics
and who the Christians. I will not believe evil of the archbishop, or of
his companion, or of the Archbishop of Granada, who has also been
summoned by the Inquisitors. What drives me crazy is to see the lives
led by the criminals (_i.e._ the accused) and those led by their judges,
and to compare their respective intelligence.” The bishop’s (Quadra’s)
reply to this is almost as bold; and a priest sitting at table in Ruy
Gomez’s house is reported to have said without rebuke, speaking of
Carranza, “We shall see by and by whether he is a heretic, but we
already see that he is being persecuted by envy.” When Philip arrived in
Spain the archbishop was in the dark dungeon, where he stayed for two
years, and churchmen everywhere were murmuring at the fate of the
primate. Then the matter assumed a very different complexion. It was now
a question of the vindication of Philip’s favourite tribunal against the
demands of Rome, and for many years Philip held out, making use of every
procrastination and subterfuge of which he was a master, until Pius V.
in 1566 threatened to excommunicate Philip unless Carranza were sent to
Rome. Then after some further delay Philip thought wise to cede the
point, and the archbishop left in April 1567. But his troubles were not
at an end. After a weary delay in Rome, he was fully absolved and
restored by the pope, and the decision sent to Spain for the king’s
ratification. This was deferred until Pius V. died (1572), whereupon the
new pope, Gregory XIII., commenced another interrogatory, which lasted
three years. This ended in the absolution of the archbishop after a
light penance, at the end of which, in a few days, Carranza died.
Through all this the monarch seems to have had no personal feeling
against the primate, but it was necessary at all costs to strengthen the

On the arrival of Philip in Spain in the autumn of 1559, his methods and
character were well matured, and he began the regular routine of
government which continued unbroken almost for the next forty years,
endeavouring to rule his wide-spreading dominions from his desk, and
trying to make puppets of all men for his own political ends. The
government was divided into eleven departments, distributed between four
secretaries of state. Letters and documents, after being deciphered,
were sent to the king by the secretary of the department to which they
belonged, often accompanied by a note explaining them or recommending a
particular course. Every letter, to the most trivial detail, was read by
Philip himself, who scrawled over the margins his acceptance or
otherwise of the recommendations, or ordered them to be submitted to the
inner council of state, Ruy Gomez, Alba, the confessor, and one or two
other persons. The results of the conference were sent to the king in a
memorandum from the secretary, and were once more considered. Every
paper was therefore before the king several times. All letters or
replies sent were submitted to him in draft, and frequently amended by
him. At the same time his secretaries kept up a copious semi-private
correspondence with all the Spanish ambassadors and governors, which was
also perused by the king, and frequently contained matters of the
highest importance in secret diplomacy, which it was unadvisable to send
by the usual official channels. It will be seen that this cumbrous
system, by which every individual point was brought before the king’s
personal consideration, entailed an immensity of work, and made prompt
action impossible, even if the king’s own character was capable of
promptitude. Ruy Gomez, Duke of Pastrana and Prince of Eboli, was
high-chamberlain and state councillor, the inseparable friend of the
king, over whom his influence was great. He had taken care to place
around the king secretaries of state attached to his party, the
principal of whom were Eraso and the two Perezes successively--Gonzalo
and Antonio. The Duke of Alba, unlike the other political advisers of
the king, was a great noble, ambitious, harsh, and turbulent, but
partaking of Philip’s own view of the sacredness of the power of the
crown. We have seen that Philip in his youth had been warned by his
father not to trust Alba, or any other great noble, with power in Spain,
and he never did. But the duke was useful in council, because he always
opposed Ruy Gomez, whose soft and peaceful methods he contemned. This
exactly suited Philip, who invariably wished to hear both sides of every
question, and followed his father’s advice to keep rivals and enemies
near him, in order that he might hear the worst that was to be said of
each, whilst he held the balance.

The king loved to surround himself with mystery, to be unseen by the
crowd except on occasions of great ceremony; and as he got older he
became in public graver and more reserved than ever. He had by this time
probably persuaded himself that he really was a sacred being, specially
selected as the direct representative of the Almighty, to whom Popes and
Churches were merely tools. Certain it is that he considered it
unfitting in him to exhibit any of the usual emotions of humanity. On
his marble mask anger, surprise, or joy left no sign.

Philip landed in Spain on September 8, 1559, in great danger, the ship
and all her rich freight sinking immediately after he left her. He had
previously instructed the Regent Juana that heresy must be pursued
without mercy in Spain, and she and young Carlos had sat through the
horrors of a great auto de fé in Valladolid at the beginning of June,
where some of the principal ladies of her own court were cruelly
sacrificed. But this did not suffice for Philip. If he was to dominate
the world from Spain, that country, at least, must be free from stain or
suspicion. So the first great public ceremony he attended in the country
that welcomed him was another stately auto at Valladolid. On Sunday,
October 18, he sat on a splendid platform in the open space opposite the
church of St. Martin. The judges of the Holy Office surrounded the
throne, and the multitude, frantic with joy to see their beloved Philip
again, and to enjoy a brilliant holiday, had flocked in for many miles
around, attracted by the festival, and the forty days’ indulgence
promised to them by the Church as a reward for their presence. Before
the assembled multitude Philip solemnly swore to maintain the purity of
the faith and to support the Holy Office. As the condemned criminals
passed his platform, one of them, a gentleman of high birth, married to
a descendant of the royal house of Castile, cried out to the king, “How
is it that a gentleman like you can hand over another gentleman such as
I am to these friars?” “If my son were as perverse as you are,” said
Philip, “I myself would carry the faggots to burn him.” Twelve poor
wretches were then handed over to the civil power for execution, with a
canting request for mercy from the Inquisition, for the Holy Office
itself never officially carried out the last sentence, and invariably
begged hypocritically for mercy for the poor wracked bodies it had
doomed to the fire.

It is probable that Philip’s object in thus celebrating his return to
his country was intended to give additional prestige to the institution
which he intended to use as a main instrument in keeping his country
free from the dissensions, such as he saw spreading over the rest of the
world. But it will be a mistake to conclude that his proceeding, or even
the Inquisition itself, was unpopular with Spaniards. On the contrary,
Philip seems in this, as in most other things, to have been a perfect
embodiment of the feeling of his country at this time. The enormous
majority of Spaniards exulted in the idea that their nation, and
especially their monarch, had been selected to make common cause with
the Almighty for the extirpation of His enemies.


     Arrival of Elizabeth de Valois in Spain--Her influence over
     Philip--Position of affairs in France--War with England--Philip’s
     attitude towards France--Death of Francis II.--Spanish disaster at
     Los Gelves--Position of Spain in the Mediterranean.

But it was time now for Philip to think of the reception of his new
child-wife, whom Alba had married as his proxy in Paris five months
before. Endless questions of etiquette had to be settled, political
arrangements had to be made in Paris that should ensure to Philip the
full benefit of the marriage, the bribing of ministers and the like; and
it was far into the winter before the bride started from Paris, which
she was to see no more. She was the flower of a bad flock, the most
dearly beloved of any of her house, and her slow journey through France
was a triumphal march. The splendid court in which her life had been
passed was very dear to her, and she expected but little happiness in
the rich squalor and rigid grimness of her husband’s palace. She was
going, she knew, to be handed over like a chattel to the enemy of her
country, but she kept up a brave heart, and daily wrote cheerful letters
to her mother. So great was the distrust between the two countries that
the most elaborate precautions were taken on both sides to prevent
surprise or treachery, and Elizabeth was kept for three days in the snow
at Roncesvalles whilst Anthony de Bourbon was bickering with the
Spaniards as to which frontier should be crossed first. Philip was not a
very eager bridegroom this time, for he advanced no farther than
Guadalajara to meet his wife (January 30, 1560). The poor child was so
nervous when she first approached him, that she could only stare dumbly
at his grave face, and made no sign of obeisance. Philip looked older
than his thirty-three years, and doubtless read her dismay aright. His
first rough greeting was, “What are you looking at? Are you looking to
see whether my hair is grey?” But his gentleness soon came back, and,
unpromising as was the commencement, their married life was not unhappy.
He proved to be a most affectionate and devoted husband, as she was a
sweet and tactful wife.

He soon had an opportunity of showing his devotion. No sooner had the
marriage ceremony been performed in the cathedral of Toledo than the
queen fell ill of smallpox, and in this crisis her husband’s care and
tenderness to her were unremitting. Regardless of the remonstrances of
those who feared for his own health, he was frequently by her side for
long periods, and all through her tardy and critical convalescence his
attentions and kindness were such as to excite the admiration even of
the queen’s French ladies, who were certainly not prejudiced in Philip’s

Very much depended upon preserving the life, and even the beauty, of the
young queen. After years of neglect Catharine de Medici might now, by
the death of her husband, Henry II., become practically the ruler of
France. She found the country reft in twain by religious faction, and
she knew that the only means by which she could retain her power was by
establishing herself as the balancing influence between the two
factions. For the moment, with the accession of Francis II. and his
wife, Mary, Queen of Scots, to the French throne, the Guises were
paramount, and almost before the inauguration of the new policy of
friendship between France and Spain, Catharine had begun to cast her
eyes towards Vendôme, the Montmorencis and the Protestants to
counterbalance them. The idea of Henry II. in giving his daughter to
Philip was to cement a league of Catholics against the Huguenots; his
widow’s aim was to secure a hold over Philip through his wife which
should enable her to establish and retain her supremacy in France, come
what might. The Guises had soon shown their power on the accession of
their nephew to the throne by assuming in Mary Stuart’s name so
aggressive an attitude towards Elizabeth that the latter was forced to
resent it. An English force of 8000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, and 32 armed
ships was sent to Scotland and attacked Leith, aided by a considerable
Scottish rebel force. Opposed to them the Queen-mother of Scotland, Mary
of Lorraine, had 5000 Frenchmen and a number of Scotsmen. Guise
clamoured for Philip’s help to beat the English in the interests of his
niece. But this was no part of Philip’s bargain. The most untoward thing
that could happen to him was the deposition of Elizabeth and the union
of England and Scotland under a French sovereign, and the next most
inconvenient thing was that Elizabeth should be victorious over his
allies, the French. So he exerted every effort to frighten both sides
into making a peace. Envoys were sent from Flanders and Spain to assure
Elizabeth that if she did not withdraw her troops from Scotland he would
send a great force to help the French, whilst the Guises were
significantly told that they must be cautious, as their enemies in
France were numerous. Philip’s envoys in England might threaten, but
Elizabeth knew well that Spanish troops would never put a Frenchman in
her place, and she made the most of her knowledge. The English troops in
Scotland were victorious, and Elizabeth now could afford to hector about
the terms of peace. She wanted Calais to be restored, a large indemnity,
and much else, but she ended by accepting terms which humiliated the
Guises, and ensured her against future French aggression from Scotland.

Materially the peace of Cateau Cambresis had been all in Philip’s
favour, but he had hoped for advantages in other ways as well. The
original idea had been to present a united front to advancing
Protestantism both in France and Flanders, to which end he had hoped to
make a tool of France. But the death of Henry II. and the appearance of
Catharine de Medici in front of the stage had changed the problem. He
now saw a clever intriguing woman, with no religious convictions at all,
ready to rally to either party, and seeking to make a tool of _him_.
This was a _rôle_ that never suited Philip, and he soon made it clear
that his marriage with a French princess had drawn him no closer to
French interests than he was before. Frenchmen suspected of heresy in
Spain were persecuted with greater barbarity than ever by the
Inquisition. French commercial interests were as ruthlessly disregarded
as those of Protestant England itself, whilst the French expeditions to
Florida and elsewhere aroused Philip to the utmost point of arrogance
against his wife’s country. A bitter feud between the Spanish and French
ambassadors in Rome on the point of precedence appears to have been
directly fomented by Philip. The influence, therefore, of Philip’s young
French wife had to be exerted to its utmost to prevent an open rupture
between her brother and her husband.

Suddenly the whole prospect was again changed by the death of Francis
II. There was no fear now of the French nation becoming dominant in
Scotland and England through Mary Stuart, for Catharine de Medici hated
her daughter-in-law and the Guises, and would not raise a finger to make
them more powerful than they were. But the death of Francis made more
difficult than ever a lasting and sincere alliance between Spain and
France, for Catharine de Medici could not afford to adopt for long an
extreme Catholic policy. Philip at this time was in the very depth of
penury. Every ducat that could be extorted from the Seville merchants or
borrowed from the Fuggers had been obtained. The revenues and
remittances from the Indies had long been anticipated, the Spanish
troops in Flanders were unpaid, and Philip was surrounded by claims that
he could not meet. Under these circumstances he was fain to shut his
eyes for a time to the favour Catharine was showing to the reformers in
France, although he allowed his wife to threaten her with Spanish troops
to help the Catholic party in France if necessary. Catharine knew that
his hands were full, and practically defied him, and Elizabeth of
England did the same. He was powerless to injure them now, for his
system of jealous centralisation and his cumbrous methods were already
producing their disastrous effects.

The first misfortune, one of the greatest of his life, which resulted
from the confusion of his administration, was the complete destruction
of his fleet in the Mediterranean. When in 1558 the pope and Henry II.
had not hesitated to accept the aid of the infidel against Philip, a
hundred Turkish galleys had sailed from Constantinople under Piali
Pacha, an Italian renegade, and, with the aid of the famous Barbary
corsair, Dragut Reis, had scourged the coasts of Sicily and Naples,
overrun Minorca, and even attacked Nice, and then had captured the
fortress of Tripoli, which belonged to the Knights of St. John of Malta.
When peace was made between France and Spain at Cateau Cambresis in the
following year, the Grand Master of St. John urged Philip to employ the
large force he then had free in Italy and elsewhere to recover Tripoli
for the Order. The enterprise, he said, would be easy now, if it were
done swiftly and secretly, for Dragut, who governed the new conquest,
was busy raiding the interior, and the Barbary Moors, groaning under the
yoke of the Turk, would aid the Christians. Philip’s viceroy in Sicily,
the Duke of Medina Celi, anxious for personal distinction, seconded the
petition of the Grand Master, and Philip consented. Medina Celi was
appointed to the command, and orders were given to Andrea Doria,
commanding the Spanish galleys, and to the viceroys of Naples and Milan,
to aid the expedition with all the forces in their power. The Turkish
fleet was, however, still in the neighbourhood, and the viceroys did
not think prudent to send any of their troops away until it had gone.
Delay after delay took place whilst dispatches were slowly being
exchanged and Philip continually being consulted on points of detail.
The men-at-arms in large numbers broke up and went to their homes, and
when at last the troops were got together and reached Genoa, they found
that the Spanish ambassador there had dismissed the ships that had been
freighted, in the belief that the expedition had been abandoned. Then
when fresh ships had been obtained the soldiers refused to go on board
until they received their over-due pay. With much persuasion and many
promises they were at length embarked, and a shipload of them, 1500 in
number, was wrecked at the mouth of the harbour, causing renewed delay.
Then it was found that the aged Andrea Doria could not accompany the
ships, and had delegated the command to his nephew, John Andrea, under
whom some of the Spanish generals would not serve. But withal, by the
beginning of October 1559, 12,000 good troops were mustered in Messina
under Medina Celi. The Grand Master had originally, six months before,
made promptness and secrecy conditions of success, but long ere this all
the Mediterranean was ringing with the news, and Dragut was on the
alert. Whilst Philip was tardily sending cautious dispatches to his
viceroys, the Sultan had crowded men, ammunition, and stores into
Tripoli, and when after two months’ further delay the Spanish force was
ready to sail, it was found that the rascally contractors had provided
rations which were mostly rotten--just as they did to the Invincible
Armada thirty years afterwards. When finally the fleet sailed (November
20, 1559) the men were sick and discontented, 3000 of them having
already died or deserted. Many of the soldiers mutinied the first day.
Head winds and want of food held them for weeks, and it was January 10,
1560, before the fleet was assembled at Malta. There fresh men had to be
shipped to fill the places of those who had died, and sound rations
procured, and finally, on February 10, 1560, the fleet, 100 sail and a
contingent of galleys and men belonging to the Knights, left Malta. The
small island of Gelves, in the Gulf of Khabes, was easily captured, but
the next day there appeared a fleet of 74 great Turkish galleys full of
janissaries, and 12 others under Dragut from Tripoli. Medina Celi lost
his head, Doria lost his courage, and a hideous panic seized the
Spaniards at the onslaught of the Turks. The commanders fled shamefully,
and 65 ships and 5000 men fell to the tender mercies of the infidel. The
Spaniards entrenched on the island of Gelves under the brave Alvaro de
Sande, held out against terrible odds, 8000 men of them almost without
provisions, quite without water, for six weeks, and then all that were
left of them, about 1000, starved and naked, stood shoulder to shoulder
in the breach to be killed by the victors or carried to Constantinople
to a less worthy fate.

The Christian power in the Mediterranean was tottering; the fortresses
held by Spain in North Africa especially seemed doomed to destruction,
and Philip was forced to make a supreme effort, and was able in the next
year, 1561, to send out a fresh fleet of 70 galleys, nearly all hired,
to fight the Turk. The whole fleet was lost in a storm before it left
the coast of Spain, and the Turk once more seemed destined to dominate
the Mediterranean. The defence of the Spanish settlement of Mers el
Kebir in the spring of 1563 will always remain one of the most heroic in
history. There a little garrison of barely 200 men held out against a
Turkish force of 20,000, and although they were almost within sight of
the Spanish coast, so cumbrous was Philip’s administration that it took
two months for relief to reach them.


     Don Carlos--His relations with Elizabeth de Valois--French
     intrigues for his marriage--His illness--The Cortes of
     Aragon--Jeanne d’Albret and Henry of Navarre--The Council of Trent
     and the Inquisition--Philip and the pope--Renewed struggles with
     the Turks--Siege of Malta.

Don Carlos, Philip’s only son and heir, had grown to be a boy of
fourteen. Considering his descent, it is not surprising that he was
deformed both in mind and body, lame and stunted, an epileptic
semi-imbecile. He had been left in charge of his widowed aunt, the
Regent Juana, a gloomy, religious mystic, to whom he was violently
attached, and whose side he could only with difficulty be prevailed upon
to leave. Philip had appointed as his tutor the learned Honorato Juan,
who certainly did his best for the royal pupil. But he could do little
for such a mind as his. As early as October 1558 the tutor wrote to the
king, then in Flanders, that his pupil obstinately refused to study
anything and was beyond control. The king himself, he said, was the only
person who could bring him to order. Philip’s answer was
characteristically cold and inexpressive. Honorato Juan must continue to
look after the prince’s education and separate him from any companions
who might divert him from his studies. But dry as was Philip’s letter to
the tutor, it is clear that the news struck sorrow to his heart, for he
loved his children dearly, and had great hopes for his heir. On a letter
written on March 6, 1559, to Cardinal Pacheco respecting the need for
settling ecclesiastical matters in the Netherlands, the king wrote the
following words in his own hand: “Perhaps the prince my son will not be
so careful of this as I am, and the people here may not try so hard as I
should about it, seeing how desirable it is for the service of God,
which is evidently the only end I aim at.” One of the first acts of
Philip on his arrival in Spain was to take his son under his own care.
When the new queen entered Toledo in state for the marriage ceremony
(February 12, 1560) she was received by her stepson Carlos, yellow with
recent fever, on his left being his young uncle, Don Juan of Austria,
and on the right Alexander Farnese, the son and grandson, respectively,
of the emperor.

When Elizabeth had left France, her mother, Catharine, had secretly
instructed her to use every effort to win Don Carlos for her younger
sister, Margaret de Valois, afterwards the famous first wife of Henry
IV. Elizabeth’s fascination was great, and she very soon obtained
absolute dominion over the sickly boy. The romantic stories of mutual
love between them may be dismissed now as utterly exploded fables.
Elizabeth had been born and bred in an atmosphere of political intrigue,
she had gone to Spain purely for political reasons, and she was
entrusted with the task of trying to win the greatest matrimonial prize
in Europe for her sister, and to strengthen the union between France
and Spain. She naturally carried out her mission to the best of her
ability. Her efforts with regard to the marriage were utterly fruitless,
for Philip was in no mood for a closer alliance with Catharine de
Medici; but she attached her stepson to her to such an extent by her
pity and kindness during his continual attacks of fever, that at length
the French ambassador could write to Catharine, “The more the prince
hates his father, the greater grows his affection for his stepmother,
the queen, for she has all his regard, and her Majesty is so wise that
she discreetly manages to please both her husband and her stepson.”

Catharine de Medici’s instructions to her daughter were that if she
could not bring about a marriage between Carlos and her sister Margaret,
she was to strive to forward his union with his aunt, the former Regent
Juana, who was herself anxious for marriage with her nephew of half her
age--anything rather than allow the heir of Spain to marry Mary Stuart.
This latter would have been the best match for Philip, and he knew it.
England would once more have been brought into his grasp, France
checkmated effectually, and Flanders safe. Mary and her minister,
Lethington, were eager for it. But time went on whilst Philip was
procrastinating--probably in consequence of the condition of Carlos.
Elizabeth, Catharine, and the emperor who wanted the heir for his
granddaughter Anne, all intrigued actively against the match, Mary
drifted into her marriage with Darnley, and Philip once more missed his

On February 22, 1560, Carlos received the oath of allegiance from the
Cortes of Castile in Toledo, and afterwards returned to the University
of Alcalá, where he was supposed to be studying. His life there was
violent and licentious, and in April 1562, in descending a dark stair to
keep an assignation, he fell and suffered a severe fracture of the
skull. The king, on receiving the news, at once set out from Madrid, his
new capital, travelling through the night, full of anxiety for his son.
He found him unconscious and partially paralysed; the doctors, ignorant
beyond conception, treated him in a way that seems to us now to have
made his death almost inevitable. Purges and bleedings, unguents and
charms, ghastly quackery, such as putting a skeleton in bed with the
invalid, were all tried in turn, until the Italian surgeon Vesale
arrived and performed the operation of trepanning. The prince then
recovered: but if he had been a semi-imbecile before, he now became at
intervals a raving homicidal maniac. The prince and those around him
attributed his recovery entirely to the skeleton of the monk that had
been put to bed with him, and he promised to give four times his weight
in gold for religious purposes. He was then seventeen years of age, and
was found to weigh only 5 stone 6 lbs.

It was necessary that the heir should receive the oath of allegiance of
the Cortes of Aragon, Cataluña, and Valencia. The Cortes of Castile,
more submissive than the Aragonese, had, though not without some
murmuring, voted the supplies needed by Philip, and were at once
dismissed. The Aragonese Parliament, proud of its privileges, stubborn
to rudeness whenever it was convoked, had not been called together since
1552, although the king was bound by oath to summon it every three
years. The very existence of representative assemblies was opposed to
Philip’s dream of personal centralisation of power, and he detested the
Aragonese Cortes heartily. The French ambassador at the time wrote to
Catharine that the king, when he took the oath, secretly meant “to cut
their claws and dock the privileges that make them insolent and almost
free.” The court was therefore transferred in the autumn of 1563 to the
obscure Aragonese town of Monzon, the king on his way from Madrid laying
the first stone of his vast granite palace of St. Laurence of the
Escorial. He found the rough Aragonese inclined to be fractious, jealous
as usual at any interference of Castilians in their affairs. But Philip
was pressed for money, and was obliged to dissemble. A crisis nearly
occurred when the Cortes touched the mainspring of his governmental
system. The members adopted a protest against the extending power of the
Inquisition, and its interference with other matters than those of
theology. Philip was cold and evasive; he said he would consider the
matter when he returned to Castile. But the Cortes understood the rule
of “grievance first” as well as the English Commons, and replied that no
money should be voted until a satisfactory reply was given to them.
Philip fell ill with rage, but money he must have; and at last he
promised that a regular inspection and inquiry should be instituted into
the powers of the Aragonese Inquisition. With this the Cortes voted him
1,350,000 ducats. They then took the oath of allegiance to Carlos, and
were promptly dismissed. Philip did not forget his grudge against them,
and it went hard with Aragon and its liberties when they gave him a
chance for revenge.

France had been engaged in the first war of religion, and the Catholic
party had been hardly pressed. The Duke of Guise had recently been
killed (February 24, 1563), the peace of Amboise had been patched up,
and toleration had been established. Anthony de Bourbon, who had married
Jeanne d’Albret, titular Queen of Navarre, had also been killed, and his
widow and ten-year-old son, Henry, had retired to her castle at Pau to
mourn their loss. For many years the rights of the royal house of
Navarre to the kingdom which had been dishonestly filched from them by
Ferdinand the Catholic had been a thorn in the side of Spanish
sovereigns, for the Navarres were still powerful French tributary
princes across the Pyrenees. After Philip’s own projected marriage with
the heiress of the house in his boyhood had fallen through, she had
married Anthony de Bourbon, Duc de Vendôme, a prince of the blood royal
of France, and this had made the claim more dangerous for Philip. But
worst of all, Jeanne was a strong Calvinist, and only three lives stood
between her little son and the crown of France. The Guises and their
Catholic followers saw that if he came to the throne their day was gone,
and cast about for means to avert such a catastrophe. Pau was near the
Spanish frontier. Why not seize the queen and two children and hand them
over to the tender mercies of Philip? If they were out of the way,
Navarre could cause no more anxiety, and the stronghold of Protestantism
in France would be empty. So a certain Captain Dimanche was sent by the
Guises secretly to Monzon to broach the matter to Philip. He was raising
a large force at Barcelona to fight the Turks in the Mediterranean.
What would be easier than to send 10,000 of them secretly to creep along
the Pyrenees, make a dash to Pau, and capture Jeanne d’Albret and her
children? What indeed? This was exactly the enterprise to suit Philip,
and Captain Dimanche saw him more than once at dead of night, and the
whole plot was settled. The Guisan Monlucs and their Catholic friends
were to hold the Protestants in check, whilst Philip’s men kidnapped
their quarry. But Dimanche fell ill. He was a Frenchman, and sought aid
of a countryman who lodged in the same house, an underling in the
household of Philip’s French wife. Dimanche let out his secret to his
countryman, who conveyed it to the queen. She was loyal to her husband’s
country, but she was a Frenchwoman, a dear friend of Jeanne d’Albret,
and a daughter of Catharine de Medici, so the news of the treachery went
flying across the Pyrenees, and Jeanne, and Henry of Navarre were saved.
Philip probably to the end of his life never knew that his wife had
frustrated this dangerous plot against France, but it is all clear to us
now, who have her secret correspondence before us.

But Philip was threatened at this time (the autumn of 1562) with a
greater danger nearer home than France. As the French ambassador wrote,
“The king intends principally to establish obedience to him by means of
the Inquisition.” We have seen how the remonstrances of the Cortes of
Aragon were received; we will now consider how Philip met a more
dangerous attack upon his favourite institution. The Council of Trent,
which had always been a trouble to Philip and his father, met, after
several years’ suspension, early in 1562. Various moderate resolutions
were discussed, but when the French prelates arrived late in the year
with Cardinal Lorraine at their head the blow fell. The French and
German bishops, who had seen the effects of wars of religion, proposed a
radical reform. The priests were to be allowed to marry and the
sacrament to be administered in two kinds. This was bad enough, but,
worst of all, some of the bishops--Philip’s own subjects--tried to shake
off the heavy yoke of the Inquisition. The prosecution of Carranza had
shown to the Spanish bishops that there was no safety for any of them.
Prelates hitherto could only be tried for heresy by the pope, but now
the weak Medici Pope, Pius IV., had been induced to delegate this power
to the inquisitor-general. Most of the Spanish bishops had been in
favour of strengthening the power of the monarch over the Church, but
when it came to handing over their own liberties to the Inquisition it
was another matter. Philip wrote in December 1562 deploring that the
Spanish bishops were not showing fit zeal for the Holy Office, “which
subject must not be touched upon either directly or indirectly.” The
pope was also appealed to, to prevent the Council from interfering in
any way with the Inquisition. When Pius IV., humble servant as he then
was of Philip, mildly remonstrated with him for meddling with the
Council, Vargas, the Spanish ambassador, scolded his Holiness roundly
for his want of consideration for the interests of “God and his
Majesty.” Gradually even Pius IV. began to lose patience. Philip’s grand
promises to him and his needy nephews had been very sparely kept, and it
was clear to the meanest intellect that his pious professions of
attachment for the Church were only with the object of making use of it
for his own interests. At last Philip threatened to withdraw his
ambassador, and the now angry pope defied him, threatening above all to
withdraw from him the right of selling the Crusade bulls of indulgence,
which produced a large revenue. He also began clamouring about
Carranza’s treatment by the Inquisition, and the revenues of the
archbishopric. When Philip asked in 1564 for a renewal of the subsidy he
received from Rome, nothing but evasive answers were given to him. The
breach grew wider and wider. “In Spain,” said the pontiff, “you all want
to be popes and bring the king into everything. If the king wished to be
King of Spain, he” (the pope) “intended to be Pope of Rome. Never,” he
said, “was a pope so ill-treated as he was by the King of Spain and his
ministers.” The death of Guise and the religious settlement in France,
however, caused the withdrawal of many of the French bishops from the
Council of Trent, and Philip, by bribes and threats, once more gained
the upper hand in the assembly. Heretics were excluded, the celibacy of
the clergy decided upon, and the administration of the sacrament in two
kinds prohibited; but a decision was also arrived at which seemed
distantly to affect the omnipotence of the king over the Spanish clergy.
It gave the power to the provincial synods, and as a last resource to
the pope, to examine into the morality of recipients of benefices. A
slight attempt was also made to deprecate the extreme severity of the
Inquisition. These mild resolutions were called by Philip’s ambassador
“works of the devil,” and for over a year the decisions of the Council
of Trent were not published in Spain. When, indeed, they were
promulgated, it was with the saving clause from the king that they
should in no way abrogate or weaken his rights over the clergy, the
benefices, or the tithes. The condition of armed truce between Philip
and Rome continued until the death of Pius IV. in December 1565.

An attempt to introduce an inquisition of the Spanish type into Naples,
with the avowed object of suppressing political disaffection, nearly
lost Philip the realm. The city rose in revolt against it, and after a
struggle Philip was obliged to give way, and consented to abolish the
dreaded tribunal (1565). He was indeed at the time not in a condition to
coerce Naples. The struggle with the Turks in the Mediterranean had
dragged on almost without intermission. Don Garcia de Toledo had in the
autumn of 1564 managed to capture Peñon de los Velez, a nest of pirates
in the kingdom of Fez, which had been Philip’s main object for a year
previously; but this was no check to the power of the Constantinople
Turks, who were fitting out a great expedition for the purpose of
hurling the Knights of St. John from their last stronghold at Malta. Don
Garcia de Toledo, now Viceroy of Sicily, joined with the Grand Master
Parisot in clamouring for Philip’s aid, unless, he said, all the
Mediterranean was to fall under the rule of the infidel. But clamour as
they might, no hurry could be expected from the king. Toledo was a host
in himself. Men were sent from Sicily, others recruited in Corsica;
Naples was put into a condition of defence, and Toledo, “bigger in
spirit than in body,” complained, and rated soundly, almost rudely, the
slow methods of his master in so great a crisis. At last, on May 19,
Piali Pacha and Dragut Reis, with a vast force of 100,000 men, appeared
before Malta. There were about a tenth of that number of Christian
fighting men on the island, but the isolated fort of St. Elmo, with a
garrison of 600 men, had to bear the brunt of the Turkish attack. After
a month’s hard fighting, when at length the Turks stormed the place only
nine Christians were left alive. From this point of vantage the siege of
the main fortress by the Turks was commenced, with the assistance of the
fleet. The Grand Master had continued to reinforce St. Elmo with his
best men until it fell, and now found himself short-handed. Fresh
prayers went forth to distant Philip and persistent Don Garcia de
Toledo. Strong swimmers carried the Master’s beseeching letters beyond
the reach of the Turkish ships. He could only hold out, he said, twenty
days at most. Sixteen thousand cannon-shots had been fired against his
forts in the first month. All Christianity looked on aghast whilst
Philip was spending his time in religious processions, fasts, and
rogations for the delivery of Malta. Don Garcia’s activity made up for
his master’s tardiness, and, thanks to him mainly, Malta was able to
hold out month after month. When at last a relief squadron was got
together somehow in Sicily, consisting of 28 galleys and 10,000 men,
storm and tempest scattered it again and again, and it was not until the
beginning of September 1565 that it approached Malta, landing its men
and provisions. The defenders were at their last gasp, but this relief
raised their hearts. Again Don Garcia returned with more men and stores,
and after one last attempt to storm the stronghold, the Turks gave up
the game and raised the siege. Malta was saved, but Philip complained
that he did not get full credit for it, because the Grand Master was a
Frenchman and the pope himself was jealous.


     Troubles in the Netherlands--Granvelle’s unpopularity--William of
     Orange and Egmont--Their resignation and protest--Margaret of
     Parma--Assembly of the Chapter of the Golden Fleece--Riots at
     Valenciennes--Discontent of the Flemish nobles--They retire from
     government--Granvelle’s dismissal--The maladministration of the
     States--Egmont’s mission to Spain--Philip’s policy in the
     States--The Beggars--Orange’s action--Philip determines to
     exterminate heresy in the States--Philip’s projected voyage

We have seen that Philip had left his Flemish subjects (August 1559) in
no very amiable mood. The opulent, independent communities of the Low
Countries held firmly by the liberties they enjoyed. Every ruler had to
swear--as Philip had done--to uphold and preserve them intact; on that
point nobles and burghers were at one, and amongst the rights they
prized most was that no foreigner should be appointed to any
administrative post. The Burgundian rulers, although foreigners, had got
on well enough with them, and so had the emperor. It was more a question
of tastes and manners than of blood; superabundant hospitality, heavy
eating, deep drinking, and rough speaking quickly commended a man to the
Flemings. The Spaniard of that day was, as he still remains, sober and
abstemious to the highest degree, reticent, sensitive, and proud, and
Philip was a Spaniard to the finger-tips.

The natural want of sympathy between sovereign and people arising out of
these circumstances doubtless began the trouble which ended in Spain’s
downfall. No part of Philip’s career shows so clearly as his treatment
of the Netherlands the limited and inelastic character of his policy,
the lack of adaptability of his methods; for how should a man be
yielding or conciliatory who supposed that he was part and parcel of
Divine Providence, the one man on earth selected by the Almighty to
carry out His irresistible decrees? There is no reason to suppose that
when he first decided upon the rearrangement of the Flemish dioceses he
desired to offend his subjects; it was probably only a step in his
persistent policy of bringing the clergy of his dominions under his more
immediate control. But in order to pay his new bishops he designed to
appropriate the large revenues of the conventual houses, and he thus
raised up against him all the cloistered clergy. The pope was bribed to
agree to the change, but the Flemings, already sulky, were willing to
listen to the monks, who denounced the innovations of the foreigner
which were to deprive them of their revenues, and what would have been
under other circumstances a not unwelcome reform became a fruitful
source of trouble. There is no doubt, moreover, that before the king
attended the States-General just prior to his departure he had every
intention of withdrawing the Spanish infantry from Flanders now that
peace had been made with France, and the men were badly wanted in
Naples, where his principal danger at present lay. But when the
States-General so roughly demanded of their sovereign the immediate
withdrawal of the troops, Philip’s heart must have hardened and his
pride revolted that these independent-minded Flemings should question
his omnipotence. Another difficulty was that the troops obstinately
refused to budge until they were paid, and the treasury was empty. The
Flemings, who had been bled freely during the war, professed inability
to find any more resources, and the Antwerp bankers shut their
money-bags until some of their previous advances were paid. When Philip
arrived in Spain, his sister Margaret, Duchess of Parma, governess of
the Netherlands, ceaselessly urged him to withdraw the troops. She
assured him that their further stay would cause trouble, and Granvelle
warned him gravely of the results. With the first half of his French
wife’s dowry of 400,000 ducats Philip was able to pay the troops in the
autumn of 1560, and they left in January 1561; but by that time the evil
seed had been sown, and Philip was pestered in every letter with
reminders of the various rights and privileges which he had sworn to
uphold in the respective states. Most of the unpopularity fell upon
Granvelle, who had to carry out the arrangements for the new bishoprics.
He found his task so difficult that before long he “wished to God that
the erection of these new sees had never been thought of,” although the
change made him Primate of the Netherlands, and gave the king the
advantage of thirteen nominated members in the Assembly of Nobles. This
latter fact, indeed, probably to a great extent was the original aim of
the project, and was certainly one of the principal reasons why the
Flemish nobles opposed it so bitterly.

Granvelle himself, be it recollected, was a foreigner, a
Franche-Comtois, and his luxurious, ostentatious mode of life was an
additional reason for his unpopularity. Margaret, on the other hand,
whose mother had been a Fleming, and whose masculine manners and purely
Flemish tastes commended her to her countrymen, was far from being

The nobles who had first distinguished themselves by resisting the
further stay of the Spanish troops were William, Prince of Orange, and
Count Egmont. The former was not a Fleming in blood or education, his
principality of Orange being in the south of France, and his descent
mainly German Lutheran. By his county of Nassau, however, he was a
Flemish prince, and had been brought up in the court of the emperor, of
whom he had been a great favourite. His historical name of “the
taciturn” gives a very false idea of his character, especially in his
youth. He was like a Southern Frenchman in manners, gay, fascinating,
prodigal, and voluble. His religious opinions, if he had any, were
extremely lax, and he was as ready to seek his advantage on one side as
another. His religion indeed was as purely political as that of Philip,
but as a statesman he must be ranked far higher, for he had all Philip’s
tenacity and foresight, with an opportunism almost as great as that of
Elizabeth herself.

Count Egmont, on the other hand, was a dashing and fortunate soldier,
chief of the Flemish nobility, handsome, vain, proud, and honest, but of
limited intelligence, and exceedingly credulous. The first overt step of
these two nobles was to resign the commands they held over the Spanish
troops, on the ground that, if they continued to hold them, they would
lose all influence in the country. When the Spanish troops had left,
Orange and Egmont continued, as usual, to attend the Flemish council of
state appointed by Philip to advise Margaret. But the king before he
departed had arranged that his own Spanish method of administration
should be followed, namely, that the regent and the secretary of state,
Granvelle, should practically manage everything, referring to the
council only such points as they considered necessary.

As time went on, and Granvelle became more unpopular about the
bishoprics, he referred less and less to the council, and in July 1561
Orange and Egmont wrote to the king resigning their seats and
complaining bitterly. They had, they said, to bear a share of the
unpopularity of the measures adopted, but had no part in controlling the
policy of the Government. To this Philip returned, as was usual with
him, a temporising answer. He would, he said, consider the matter and
reply at length when Count Horn returned from Madrid to Flanders.

Horn’s mission to Flanders was to endeavour to reconcile Granvelle with
the nobles, but this was a well-nigh impossible task. It was said that
the cardinal and his parasites were plundering right and left, whilst
public officers were unpaid and the treasury empty, that he was trying
to substitute the unobnoxious inquisition of the Netherlands by the
terrible tribunal of Spain, which certainly was not true, and that his
arrogance and tyranny had become unbearable. Granvelle indeed was the
scapegoat, and had become hateful both to the nobles and to “that
perverse animal called the people,” to use his own words. So Horn’s
mission was too late, like most of Philip’s attempts at conciliation,
and in the spring of 1562 Orange petitioned the Regent Margaret to
convoke the States-General. The regent herself, though full of praise
for the cardinal in her letters to Philip, had no desire to share his
unpopularity, and consented to summon, not the States-General, but a
Chapter of the Knights of the Golden Fleece, or in effect the high
nobility of Flanders. The pretext for the assembly was that Philip had
sent orders that a force of men should be raised in Flanders to be sent
to the aid of the Catholic party in France, now in the midst of their
first struggle with the Huguenots. The discontented Flemish nobles were
in no humour to aid in this, and before the assembly Orange held a
private meeting of them, to press upon them the undesirability of
allowing Granvelle to have the disposal of troops. This was known to the
regent, and she dismissed the assembly as soon as possible, an
arrangement being settled for sending a money subsidy to the French
Catholics instead of an armed force. But before the nobles separated
they decided to send as a delegate to Philip one of their number,
Florence de Montmorenci, Baron de Montigny, the brother of Count Horn,
to represent to the king the unsatisfactory state of the country with
regard to religion and the public finances. He and his brother were
Catholics, but firm upholders of the autonomy of the States. Before he
left, religious matters were indeed in a disturbed condition. Hainhault,
on the French border, with its great commerce and industry in the cities
of Tournai, and Valenciennes especially, had largely accepted the
Protestant faith from the neighbouring French Calvinists. Philip urged
his sister to severity against them, but the magistrates, themselves
Flemings, hesitated to torture their fellow-citizens, whose political
privileges protected them against such treatment. Margaret threatened
the magistrates, and the people of Valenciennes took the matter in their
own hands, broke open the prison, and released the accused. Margaret
might storm, as she did, Philip might cynically recommend that heads
should be lopped, bodies burnt, and mouths gagged, but the Marquis de
Bergues, the governor of Hainhault, was a Fleming, and would not
countenance any infringement on the rights of his people. Upon him then
fell the blame. Nothing that Granvelle could say to the king was bad
enough for Bergues, and in return Egmont, Orange, and Horn ceaselessly
cast the responsibility upon Granvelle. Letter after letter went to the
king in this sense. Philip, as usual, was cool and unmoved. He is not,
he says, in the habit of punishing his ministers without just cause. But
proud Alba did not take it so coolly. “Every time I see the letters of
these three Flemish lords I fall into such a rage, that, if I did not
make a great effort to control myself, your Majesty would think me
frantic.” Granvelle, on his part, tried to fan the flame. “They want to
reduce this country to a sort of republic, in which the king can do more
than they like,” and when the Marquis de Bergues was asked by the Duke
of Arschot what course he would take if the king would not give way, his
reply, as repeated to Philip, was, “By God! we will make him swallow

Things thus went from bad to worse. Granvelle at length saw that he
must bend before the storm, and offered concessions to the nobles. But
it was too late. Nearly all the nobles, governors, and Knights of Golden
Fleece had now sworn to stand together to overthrow the hated foreign
cardinal, and a formal letter was sent to the king in March 1563, signed
by Orange, Egmont, and Horn, resigning all share in the government. The
reply was again in Philip’s temporising vein. He was coming to Flanders
himself shortly, and would then inquire into their complaints. In the
meanwhile he could not dismiss Granvelle. The nobles sent another, and a
stronger, letter to the king in answer to this (July 29, 1563), and said
that in future they should absent themselves from the council. At the
same time a formal “remonstrance” was addressed to the regent, and
thenceforward she and Granvelle were left to govern alone. Margaret had
no wish to be dragged down by the impending fall of the minister, and
bluntly told Philip, by her trusty secretary, Armenteros, that, if the
cardinal were maintained against the will of nobles and people, a
revolution might result. Granvelle was assured by the king’s secretary
that Philip would rather lose the States than sacrifice his minister.
The king sent a curt peremptory letter to the nobles reproaching them
for deserting the council for a trifle, and assured the cardinal that he
would not deprive himself of his services. But they arranged between
them that the cardinal should beg for leave of absence to visit his
mother in the Franche Comté and, after much pretended reluctance on the
part of Philip, Granvelle was allowed to depart, to the open rejoicing
of the nobles, the people, and even of the regent. An elaborate
appearance of his departure being spontaneous and only temporary was
made, but when two years afterwards his leave of absence had expired and
he wanted to go back, the king advised him to pass a short time in Rome,
and then he knew for certain that disgrace had fallen upon him. He would
go thither--or to the farthest end of the world--he said, if the king
ordered him, but he much feared that his absence from Flanders would not
mend matters.

He had departed from Brussels in the spring of 1564, and the three
nobles at once wrote dutiful letters to Philip, who replied graciously.
They once more took an active part in the government, and in the first
few months after Granvelle left, the relief and rejoicing were great.
But the sore still remained behind. Granvelle, indeed, had only carried
out the policy inaugurated by Philip of governing Flanders as a Spanish
province. The policy was not dead though the instrument was disgraced.
Such a system of government, where popular control is loosened,
invariably leads to corruption; and this case was no exception to the
rule. Granvelle’s parasites--Morillon, Bave, Bordey, and the rest of
them--had made his patronage a crying scandal, the judges were
shamelessly bought and sold, the administration was a sink of iniquity,
the inquisitor Titelmans was ferociously hounding to death inoffensive
citizens, even good Catholics, without legal form of trial, and now
Margaret of Parma herself, and her pet secretary, Armenteros, thought it
was time that they should reap a fat harvest; so, after the first joy of
Granvelle’s retreat had passed, it was decided by the nobles to send
Egmont to Spain to explain to the king how the rights he swore to
maintain were still being violated. Egmont might take with him the
vigorous protest of his peers, but Egmont was one of those men whom
princes like Philip have no cause to fear. He was vain and superficial,
and easily soothed into satisfaction. Philip made much of him, promised
him “mounts and marvels,” chided him a little; and sent him home
rejoicing, full of praises for the generosity and magnanimity of the
king. But Philip’s policy was not varied a hair’s-breadth nevertheless.
On the contrary, there is no room for doubt that he had now made up his
mind to break the spirit of the stubborn Flemings for once and for all,
and to stamp out the rebellious talk about rights and privileges which
he had sworn to maintain. There were no mundane rights and privileges
that should stand against the will of God’s own vice-regent upon earth.
“God and his Majesty” had willed that the Flemings must be governed like
the Spaniards, and that was enough. No sooner had Egmont left Madrid
than the king sent strict orders that nothing was to be changed, and
that heresy was to be pursued without mercy or truce. Thousands of
industrious citizens were flocking over to England, carrying their looms
and their household gods with them, and English Protestants looked more
sourly than ever upon Philip and all his works. Philip remained unmoved.
The fewer heretics there were in Flanders the easier would it be for him
to have his way later. “Kill! kill!” wrote one of Philip’s Spanish
friars to him; “we must kill 2000 people all over the States. Your
Majesty has the weapon which God has placed in your hand. Draw it, bathe
it in the blood of heretics, unless you wish the blood of Christ to cry
to God. Moderation touches not your Majesty. Let them seek moderation
in their heresies to save their lives.”

But Philip was in no hurry; he only told his sister that nothing was to
be changed. “You know,” answered she, “how the Spanish Inquisition is
hated here. I have already told you that to suppress heresy here I am
asked to cast into the flames 60,000 or 70,000 people, and the governors
of the provinces will not allow it. They wish to resign, and I also
shall be obliged to do so.”

Philip’s answer in a few words gives a clearer idea of his character
than a volume could do. For months he did not answer at all, and then
wrote, “Why all these disquietudes? Are not my intentions understood? Is
it believed that I have any intentions than the service of God and the
good of the States?” Persecution might crush Latin peoples if continued
long enough, but it could not crush the stubborn Dutchmen. There arose
now a new element in the strife. Hitherto the motive power had mostly
been the great nobles, Catholics nearly all of them, whose object was to
prevent the extinction of the political liberties of the States; but now
the religious power of resistance was aroused, and the bourgeoisie stood
shoulder to shoulder crying aloud that no papist should burn them or
theirs for the faith. Many such had fled to England, but the towns of
Holland and Zeeland were full of them still. First the landed gentlemen
protested, under the leadership of Orange’s brother, Louis of Nassau,
and Saint Aldegonde, against the proceedings of the Inquisition; and
they bound themselves by solemn oath to follow the recent example of the
Neapolitans and withstand the “gang of strangers,” who were seeking to
impose the Spanish form of the Holy Office upon them. Then Brederode,
the man of highest lineage and most insatiable thirst in Holland, joined
them, and together they went, a couple of hundred of them, to hand their
solemn protest to the regent. Tears fell from Margaret’s eyes as they
filed past her, for she knew now that her brother’s stubborn spirit had
met its match, and in future it must be war to the knife. Then the
Gargantuan banquet at the hostelry of Culemburg unlocked their tongues
still further, and tippling Brederode gave his memorable toast to the
“Beggars.” No one knew what he meant, perhaps he did not himself know at
the end of such an orgy, but the name caught on, and the sturdy
“Beggars” arose thenceforward from their dykes and marshes to be quelled
no more for good, but to hold for all time to come the country which
they themselves had rescued from the sea.

The new turn of affairs did not please the great nobles. They were
Catholics, though patriots, and they saw that the championship of the
national cause was about to fall into the hands of the Protestants; so
Egmont, Horn, Montigny, Arschot, and the rest of them did their best to
stem the tide. All but Orange. He knew Philip better than any of them,
and he foresaw that there would be no surrender or conciliation from
him. Why should there be? Could the lieutenant of the Most High stoop to
palter with sottish Brederode and his crew? If Philip had spies in
Flanders, so had Orange in Madrid, and nothing passed without his
knowledge. He had learned of the king’s plans of vengeance, but he could
not afford yet to cast himself into the scale alone with Brederode and
the little gentry, leaving the great nobles on the side of the Spaniard;
so for the moment he stood aloof saying no word either of praise or
condemnation, but seeking to moderate the storm on both sides. But the
spark had caught the tinder. Protestant fervour blazed up in every town
in Flanders in open defiance of the edicts. The regent was powerless.
She could not punish all Flanders, and violent councillors of the Alba
school whispered distrust to Philip even of her, for she wrote
ceaselessly to her brother urging him to gentler methods. His action was
characteristic: at first he authorised his sister to pardon the
confederates and suppress the Inquisition, and with reassuring words
sought to gain Orange to his side. But only a week after (August 9,
1566) he signed a solemn document before a notary, setting forth that he
was not bound by his promise, and would punish all those who had
directly or indirectly aided the disturbances. He avowed to the pope
that the Inquisition in Flanders should be upheld at all costs, and that
his promise to suppress it was void. “Before allowing any backsliding in
religion, or in the service of God, I will lose all my dominions and a
hundred lives, if I had them, for I will never be a ruler of heretics.”
Thus Philip threw down the gage. Then came the sacking of Catholic
churches by the mob in Antwerp, St. Omer, Malines, and elsewhere, sacred
images profaned, sacrilegious mockeries perpetrated, holy mysteries
blasphemously parodied, and priceless treasures of art wantonly wrecked.
The Protestant mob, in fact, was paramount, and the regent and her
inquisition could only look on in dismay, until the former fell ill and
lost all heart. Philip was very far from doing that. Away in distant
Spain, trying to pull the wires that move humanity from his work-room,
his only policy was extermination of heresy, utter and complete.

Wise Granvelle, even the pope himself, warned him that too much severity
might defeat his own purpose. The king scornfully and coldly rebuked
even the pontiff for his weakness. In the meanwhile Alba was storming in
the council at Philip’s delay in giving the orders for extermination.
But Philip looked upon himself as one who turned the handle of the
wheels of fate, and was in no hurry. He wanted to watch closely which
were the tallest heads to be stricken first. The regent was working
night and day, making such concessions as she dared, whilst putting down
tumult by force of arms. The Catholic nobles too, Egmont especially,
were doing their best with their armed Walloons to suppress with a
strong hand rebellion at Valenciennes and elsewhere, but Orange was in
Antwerp standing apart from both factions, and Saint Aldegonde with a
rabble was in arms outside the city. At length even diplomatic Orange
had to quit the mask. Distrusted by both parties, but idolised by the
peaceful citizens of Antwerp, who only asked to be allowed to live in
quietude, he saw the time had come; and early in 1567 reverted to the
faith of his fathers, and promised to lead the cause of reform. Tumult
immediately ceased; the regent’s severity and conciliation together, and
the blind adhesion of the nobles, except Orange and Brederode, had
suppressed all disorder by the spring, and “all the cities are coming
now to us with halters round their necks.” Orange was in Germany making
preparations for the fray, whilst Flemish Protestants were flying to
England again by the hundred, crying out that Orange and Brederode had
betrayed and abandoned them. Margaret entered Antwerp in state and
rejoicing, and all looked calm and happy, except to those who were led
to the halter and the stake for the service of “God and his Majesty.” It
was but the calm that precedes the storm; and if no one else perceived
this, Philip and Orange certainly did so. The former knew that he must
crush the national feeling, and the nobles that started it, that he must
make Flanders a province of Spain before he could have his own way in
all things, and he decided to go himself with Alba and superintend the
killing, or at least he announced his intention of making the voyage,
which gave him an excuse for raising a considerable fleet and a large
force as an escort. The Queen of England affected to rejoice at her
“good brother’s” coming; but the English fleet was hastily fitted out,
and all England was in a panic of apprehension as to what it might
forebode. In vain the Regent Margaret assured the king that all was
quiet, and that no more punishment was now needed. The king replied that
he wished personally to thank her and others who had brought about the

At last when all was ready in Spain, vast sums of money collected, and
the troops under arms--no longer an escort but an avenging army--Philip
announced that he could not go himself, but would send the Duke of Alba
alone. Then all the world saw what it meant. The regent protested that
the presence of Alba would be fatal, “as he is so detested in this
country that his coming itself will be sufficient to make all the
Spanish nation hated.” If he comes she must retire; and retire she did.
The news of Alba’s coming sped across the Channel by the Protestant
fugitives, and Elizabeth at once retorted by renewed severity against
the Catholics in England. Huguenots in France, Lutherans in Germany,
Protestants in England, all knew now that the time of struggle was
approaching for the faith, and messages of help and mutual support
crossed from one to another. Philip, slaving night and day at his desk,
had quietly planned long before that all the nobles who had dared to
raise their voices in the national cause should be struck at first, and
then that the brand of Spain should be stamped for ever on the rich and
industrious burgesses of the Netherlands.


     Renewed contest between Philip and the papacy--Condition of Don
     Carlos--His arrest and imprisonment--Philip’s explanations--His
     last illness and death--Death of Elizabeth de Valois--The
     interviews of Bayonne and the Catholic League--Catharine de
     Medici--Philip face to face with Protestantism--Philip and the
     Moriscos--Rising of the Moriscos--Deza at Granada--Don Juan of
     Austria--Expulsion of the Moriscos from Andalucia.

Whilst Philip was engaged in his hopeless efforts to extirpate national
feeling and the Protestant faith in his Flemish dominions, he was, on
the other hand, carrying on a bitter contest with the Holy See. His
arrogant claims had tired out even the erstwhile obedient Pius IV., but
on his death in December 1565 a man of Philip’s own stamp mounted the
chair of St. Peter. Michael Ghislieri, Pius V., was consumed with the
one idea that the Church must be absolutely omnipotent through
Christendom in all ecclesiastical affairs; and this was in direct
opposition to the keynote of Philip’s policy, namely, that all power
within his dominions must be concentrated in the sovereign. It did not
take long, therefore, for matters to reach a crisis, the main bone of
contention being the king’s direct control of the clergy, and his claim
to withhold the papal bulls from promulgation in Spain. The new pope
issued a number of fresh orders for Church administration and
discipline, which were promptly set aside by Philip’s council, and the
contest then opened.

First, the pope turned his hand to the Spanish possessions in Italy,
sending peremptory orders to the Neapolitan bishops for them to
promulgate and obey the papal bulls without waiting for the royal
confirmation. This was met by the viceroy, the Duke of Alcalá, by
threatening any bishop who did so with summary imprisonment. Pius tried
by every device imaginable for three years to circumvent the Spanish
position in Naples, but at last in February 1569 had to confess himself
beaten. The patronage was in the hands of Philip, which necessarily made
the bishops his creatures. The pope was equally unsuccessful in Sicily
and in Milan, notwithstanding the efforts of the great cardinal, Charles
Borromeo, and the excommunication of Philip’s governor, the Duke of
Albuquerque. The pope’s action in Spain itself was more effectual. The
various pontiffs had from time to time regranted to the Spanish monarchs
the revenues arising from the sale of the so-called Crusade bulls
granting certain indulgences. Pius V. now refused to do this, on the
ground that the government traffic in these indulgences had become a
scandal. He also continued to worry Philip about Carranza and the
appropriation of the great revenues of his vacant see of Toledo to the
cost of the building of the Escorial. Bitter words and reproaches were
used on both sides. Philip gave way on secondary points, such as the
sending of Carranza to Rome, but he kept fast to his main idea of
retaining control over the clergy and benefices; and the constant
menaces of the Turks in the Mediterranean made it impossible for the
pope to carry to the last extreme the quarrel with the only prince to
whom he could look for protection. Philip, indeed, was assailed by
trouble at all points. His married life, in a domestic sense, was a
happy one, though his constant labour left him but small leisure to
enjoy it. All else was bitterness and disappointment, mostly, it is
true, the result of his rigid unadaptability to circumstances.

His greatest trouble was undoubtedly the state of his son. His frantic
excesses had become more and more scandalous as he grew older. The
marriage with Mary Stuart had fallen through, in consequence of the
superior quickness of Elizabeth of England, and perhaps in consequence
of Carlos’s own condition. The emperor was working incessantly to gain
the prince’s hand for his daughter Anne; and this was the match which
seemed most probable, and indeed was in principle accepted by Philip.
But the delicate state of health of the prince was Philip’s constant
excuse for not carrying the project into effect. The matter was a
delicate one, and the king was naturally desirous of making it as little
public as possible, but as early as 1562 the king had clearly hinted to
the imperial ambassador that the prince’s judgment and understanding
were defective. Dietrichstein, the emperor’s envoy, saw the prince in
1564, and confirmed the impression already given of him. The Venetian
ambassador in 1563 bluntly reported that the prince was a chronic
lunatic. The oft-told story of his forcing a bootmaker to eat a pair of
boots he had made too tight for him, and also of his murderous attack
on Cardinal Espinosa, need not be repeated here, but they are well
authenticated; and although too much weight need not be given to
Brantome’s repulsive account of the prince’s behaviour in the streets of
Madrid, it is quite consistent with what we know positively of his
character. Philip’s hopes and ambitions for his heir had been great, and
he strove long before he abandoned them. In the hope that serious work
might fix the prince’s mind, his father appointed him in 1567 to the
presidency of the Council of State, but in this position his excesses
and aberrations became the more conspicuous. He openly mocked at and
derided his father, whom he cordially hated, and delighted to thwart. He
had extorted a promise from the king that he should accompany him to
Flanders, but when he learnt at length that Alba was going instead, his
fury passed all bounds. When the duke went to take leave of the prince,
the latter cast himself upon him with his dagger, and only with
difficulty could the old warrior escape from his maniacal violence; and
on another occasion in January 1567, when the Cortes of Castile
presented a petition to the king that the prince should remain in Spain
if his father went to Flanders, he made an open scandal, threatening
with death those deputies who voted in favour of such a petition. This
public exhibition of his lunacy opened the eyes of the world as to his
condition, which could no longer be concealed, and in September of 1567
Ruy Gomez told the French ambassador that after the impending delivery
of the queen of what, no doubt, would be a son, the future fate of
Carlos would be decided.

But Carlos himself precipitated events. Philip had decided that his son
should remain in Spain. The prince was determined that he would not.
Philip had gone in December 1567 to pass Christmas in his devotions at
the Escorial as usual, and during his absence, on December 23, Carlos
informed his young uncle, Juan of Austria, of his intention to escape.
Don Juan lost no time. The next day he rode post-haste to the Escorial
and told the king. Philip’s thoughts must have been bitter indeed that
Heaven had afflicted him with such a son. He must have seen that the
great patriotic task to which he had devoted all his life would be
frustrated if handed to such a successor. But he was calm and rigid in
outward guise, and returned to Madrid as intended on January 17, 1568.
The next day he saw the French ambassador, and went with his son to
mass, but still made no sign. Don Juan had before this endeavoured to
dissuade the prince from his intention, and the madman had attempted to
kill even him. It was evident now to the king that he must strike,
however reluctantly. When he consulted his closest councillors on the
subject, for once his feelings broke through his reserve, and his
emotion was terrible. It was a duty he owed to his country and to the
cause for which he lived, to protect them against falling into the hands
of a congenital madman, and he took the course which duty dictated. Late
at night, when the prince was asleep, the king himself, with five
gentlemen and twelve guards, entered the chamber, in spite of the secret
bolts and bars with which it was provided. The prince woke from sleep,
started up, and tried to grasp a weapon; but the weapons were gone. The
unhappy young man then tried to lay violent hands upon himself, but was
restrained. The issues of the room barred, the secret receptacles
opened, the papers taken, himself restrained, the prince recognised his
helplessness, and casting himself on to his bed he sobbed out, “But I am
not mad! I am only desperate.” From that hour he was dead to the world,
which saw him no more.

Couriers flew with the news all over Europe. Explanations must not be
sought in Philip’s cold diplomatic letters giving foreign courts
information of the event, but in other quarters. The Queen of England
learnt the news on February 2, and on the 6th saw the Spanish
ambassador, when she expressed her surprise, said that the king had
acted with all dignity in the matter, but that she had not been informed
of the reason for the arrest. Letters had come from France even thus
early by which Cecil learnt that the prince had been implicated in a
plot against his father’s life. The ambassador was very indignant at
such an idea, which, he said, could only have emanated from heretics,
children of the devil.

But it is clear to see that the ambassador himself is as much in the
dark as every one else, for he prays his master to instruct him what
attitude he is to assume, “as the matter has made great noise here, and
no doubt elsewhere.” To this the king coldly replied that no more was to
be said about it. Ruy Gomez was less reticent. He told the French and
English ambassadors in Spain that the prince’s mind was as defective as
his body, and had been getting steadily worse. The king had dissembled
as long as he could, in the hope of improvement, but the prince’s
violence had now become intolerable, and it had been necessary to place
him under restraint. Dr. Man, the English ambassador, fully agreed that
the step had become inevitable, as did all the ambassadors then resident
in Madrid. “It was not a punishment,” wrote Philip to his aunt and
mother-in-law, the grandmother of Don Carlos, “if it were, there would
be some limit to it; but I never hope to see my son restored to his
right mind again. I have chosen in this matter to make a sacrifice to
God of my own flesh and blood, preferring His service and the universal
good to all other human considerations.”

It was a humiliating position for Philip, who had been so dutiful a son
himself, and had such far-reaching ambitions to hand down to his heir.
It is not surprising that he avoided reference to it as much as
possible. Some sort of trial or examination of the prince took place in
secret before Ruy Gomez, Cardinal Espinosa, and Muñatones, but the
documents have never been found. The rumour that Carlos plotted against
his father’s life was repudiated vigorously by the king and his
ministers, but that he had been disobedient and rebellious is certain,
and probably this was the foundation of the charge of treason brought
against him. The Protestant party, in France and Flanders especially,
were willing enough to wound Philip and discredit the Inquisition by
saying that Carlos was punished for supposed Protestant leanings; and
even in Spain such things were cautiously whispered. There is, however,
not the slightest indication that such was really the case from the
papers of the prince himself and those who surrounded him, unless
perhaps the letter from his friend and almoner, Suarez, to him, in
which he reproaches him for not going to confession, and warns him that
if he persisted in his present course every one would think him mad;
“things so terrible, that in the case of other persons they have caused
the Inquisition to inquire whether they were Christians.” Certainly to
all appearance the prince was as devout a Catholic as his father, and
the idea of attributing to this epileptic imbecile elevated ideas of
political and religious reform is obviously absurd.

If we must hold Philip blameless with respect to his son’s imprisonment,
we must still keep in suspense our judgment with regard to his
responsibility for the prince’s death, because the evidence as to what
passed after his arrest comes mainly from persons in the king’s interest
and pay, and because the accusation that Carlos was murdered was
formulated by Philip’s bitterest enemy, Antonio Perez, a man, moreover,
utterly unworthy of credit, a murderer, a perjurer, and a traitor to his

The long secret trial of the prince dragged on. Neither his aunt Juana
nor his beloved stepmother was allowed to see him, and Philip even
forbade his brother, Don Juan, to wear mourning for the trouble that had
befallen the royal house.

In the meanwhile the prince’s health visibly declined. At best he had
been a continual invalid, burned up with fever and ague, but in
captivity and under examination he became worse. He refused to receive
the consolations of the Church, a freak upon which much superstructure
has been raised. As his madness increased, like many lunatics he took to
swallowing inedible things, jewelry, and other objects of the same sort,
and finally refused to eat anything at all for eleven days. Then in
reply to the king’s remonstrances, he gorged himself, and this brought
him a return of his fever in the worst form. Every sort of mad
proceeding was adopted in turn by the unhappy youth. He would half roast
himself by a fire, and then put ice in his bed. First he would
scornfully refuse the sacraments, and then fulfil scrupulously all the
forms of his Church. At length, probably from weakness, he became
calmer, and there was a momentary hope of his recovery. Llorente (whose
authority is not, however, to be accepted unquestioned) says that the
result of his trial was that he was “found guilty of implication in a
plot to kill the king and to usurp the sovereignty of the Netherlands,
and that the only punishment for this was death.” There are no
trustworthy official documents known which prove this to have been the
case, but nature and the prince’s mad excesses had apparently condemned
him to death, independently of his faults and failings. When he was told
that he was dying he conformed fervently to the rites of his Church, and
sent Suarez to beg his father’s forgiveness. On July 21 the French
ambassador wrote to his master that Don Carlos had eaten nothing but a
few plums and sweetmeats for eight days, and was dying of weakness. “The
king, his father, is much grieved, because, if he die, the world will
talk. I understand that if he live, the castle of Arevalo is to be put
in order, so that he may be lodged in safety and comfort.”

On July 26 the same ambassador writes to Catharine de Medici saying that
the prince had died the previous day. He attributes the death entirely
to his curious eccentricities of diet and hygiene. Llorente, enemy of
Philip though he was, says that Carlos died a natural death. In face of
this testimony it appears that Philip should be given the benefit of the
doubt. In any case, the Abbé de St. Real’s romantic fictions, which have
been drawn upon by so many historians, may be confidently dismissed as
unworthy of any credit whatever, and Perez’s source is too tainted to be
accepted. When the French ambassador notified the death of Don Carlos,
he told Catharine de Medici that her daughter, the queen, was ill. The
death, however, of her stepson was distinctly in her favour, as it made
the elder of her two little daughters, Isabel Clara Eugenia, heiress to
the crown of Spain. The queen saw this, and begged her mother to express
emphatically her sorrow for the death of the prince. But the queen
herself languished, crushed with the trouble that surrounded her, for
Alba was drowning Flanders in blood, and her own beloved France was
riven by religious disorder. In August it was announced that she was
pregnant, and all Spain prayed that an heir might be born. But she was
sacrificed to the unskilfulness of the Spanish doctors, and died on
October 3, 1568, to the great grief of all Spain and France. The French
ambassador relates the death-bed farewell of Philip and his wife,
“Enough to break the heart of so good a husband as the king was to her.”
And when all was over the king retired in the deepest grief to the
monastery of San Geronimo in Madrid, but not before he had signed
letters to the Duke of Alba and others giving the news of his
bereavement. Nothing short of his own death could prevent Philip from
attending to his beloved papers.

Once only during Elizabeth’s short married life had the object for which
she was sacrificed seemed on the point of realisation. The open sympathy
manifested in England for the Flemish Protestants, the ever-increasing
boldness of the English corsairs at sea, and the ferment of the
Huguenots in France had caused Philip in 1565 to approve of a plan for
binding Catharine de Medici to him in a league to utterly destroy and
root out the reformed doctrines in their respective territories. The
ostensible occasion was an interview between the Queen of Spain and her
mother at Bayonne, the Duke of Alba being the negotiator of the treaty.
Elizabeth of England was in a panic at the bare idea, and made one of
her rapid movements in favour of Catholicism, and another to draw
Catharine into a negotiation for the marriage of her young son, Charles
IX., with the Queen of England. It was a mere feint, of course, but it
helped towards its purpose. When Catharine reached Bayonne she found
that Alba’s instructions were to pledge her to destroy and break every
Huguenot noble or functionary in France, and to bind her hand and foot
to the extreme Catholic party. The queen-mother affected to agree, but
when she reached home she found all manner of impossible new conditions
necessary. Her second son must marry an Austrian princess and receive a
dominion. The league must also be joined by the emperor, the pope, and
others. So the league at that time came to nothing, for Catharine could
not afford to throw over the Huguenot nobles, who were her constant
balance against the Catholics and the Guises.

With the death of his French wife it became evident to Philip that he
could depend upon no enduring alliance between the French nation and
himself, and that he must face advancing Protestantism alone. It gave
him no trouble in Spain, thanks mainly to the Inquisition, but in
France, Germany, his own Netherlands, and, above all, in England, it
grew more and more threatening to the basis of his power. Mary of
Scotland, whom he had aided with counsel and money during her short
married life with Darnley, was a prisoner, and the reformers were
predominant in Scotland. Elizabeth of England was firmly established on
the throne, more than holding her own, the English and Dutch corsairs
were scouring the seas after Spanish shipping, and England was burning
with indignation at Alba’s _régime_ of blood in the Netherlands. But
withal Philip had to speak softly and temporise, for he dared not go to
war with Elizabeth whilst Holland was in arms, and the Huguenots strong.
All he could do was by intrigue to endeavour to stir up civil
dissensions both in France and England, and this he did ceaselessly, but
with indifferent success, as will be seen, for both Elizabeth and
Catharine, with their quick vigilance, were far more than a match for
Philip’s slow ponderous methods. Powerless, however, as Philip might be
to stay the progress of heterodoxy abroad, he was determined that it
should gain no foothold in his own country. Early in 1568 he expelled
the English ambassador, Dr. Man, ostensibly in consequence of his too
open profession of the reformed faith, but really to anticipate a demand
which he knew would be made for religious toleration for the ambassador
in return for the similar privilege enjoyed by the Spanish ambassador in
England. Although Protestantism was by the unsparing severity of the
Inquisition stamped out utterly in Spain, Philip’s principle of
absolute uniformity of faith amongst his subjects had to encounter a
serious resistance from another quarter. On the capture of Granada by
the Catholic sovereigns, the most complete religious toleration had been
promised to the Moors. The promise had been broken through the zeal of
Ximenez, and, nominally at least, the whole of the Spaniards of Moorish
descent had during the reign of the emperor been drawn into the Catholic
Church. All the south of Spain was inhabited by a people in course of
gradual amalgamation, and if time had only been given to them, they
would eventually have mingled into a homogeneous race, to the enormous
future advantage of the country. During the emperor’s time an edict had
been issued ordering all people of Moorish blood to discontinue the use
of their distinctive garb and language. It was naturally found
impossible to enforce this within a short period, and the edict was
allowed to fall nearly into abeyance, thanks, in a great measure, to the
liberal contributions of the Moriscos to the cost of the emperor’s wars
against his German Protestants. The Morisco population of the kingdom of
Granada, and Valencia especially, had accordingly, although outwardly
conforming Christians, really clung in secret to the faith and habits of
their fathers, living in industry and usefulness, adding greatly to the
national wealth both by their advanced agricultural science, and the
perfection to which they had brought the production of silk. The
prosperity they attained, and their distinct blood and customs, aroused
the jealousy and hatred of their Christian neighbours, especially during
the periodical struggle with the Turks, when the Moriscos were accused
of sympathy with the national enemy. Philip’s first action against these
useful citizens was prompted--as were most royal edicts in Spain--by a
representation made to him by the Cortes of Castile in 1560, to the
effect that the introduction of African slaves by the Spanish Moriscos
was a disadvantage to the country, and a royal pragmatica was issued
forbidding this. It was a heavy blow, as much of the hard labour of
mountain agriculture and irrigation was done by these slaves, but
measures of a very different character were adopted as soon as possible
after Cardinal Espinosa became inquisitor-general. In 1563 an edict had
been issued prohibiting the Moriscos from wearing or possessing arms,
which caused much discontent and resistance; but at the instance of the
clergy, and more especially of Guerrero, the Archbishop of Granada, and
of Espinosa, a far more serious step was taken early in 1567. The
Moriscos were forbidden to wear their distinctive garb, and were ordered
to dress as Christians, no silk garments being allowed, and the women
going abroad with their faces uncovered. They were to have no locks or
fastenings upon their doors, and within a term of three years were
utterly to discontinue the use of their own language and also adopt
Christian names. Above all, the use of warm baths was prohibited under
brutal penalties. Their customs and traditions, indeed, were to be
trampled upon with apparent wantonness. The Moriscos had always been
quiet, docile people, and the local clergy and authorities had assured
Philip that no difficulty would be experienced in enforcing the edict.
At first the Moriscos adopted the same means of evasion as they had
successfully employed on other occasions, namely, bribery and cajolery.
Espinosa belonged to the war party, and consequently had the Ruy Gomez
party against him, and even the Governor-General of Granada, the Marquis
de Mondejar, and much pressure was exerted upon Philip to induce him to
relax the orders, but, influenced by Espinosa and the churchmen, he
refused. For the first two years the Moriscos sulkily bowed beneath the
yoke, evading and passively resisting as much as possible; but during
this period the Mussulman fervour had been rising, and at length at
Christmas 1568 the storm which had long been brewing burst. A youth,
Aben Humeya, in the Alpujarras had distinguished himself in resisting
the enforcement of the edicts. He was a descendant of the prophet
himself, and was proclaimed by the Moriscos King of Granada. The Moorish
force was organised in the almost inaccessible mountains, whilst envoys
sped from the new king to his co-religionists at Constantinople and on
the other side of the Straits of Gibraltar; but the Turk was busy
organising an expedition against the Venetians, and the Barbary Moors
were split up into independent tribes which could furnish no
considerable combined force, so the Spanish Moriscos were left nearly
unaided, although many isolated companies of Barbary Moors responded to
the call and crossed to Spain. On December 26, 1568, a small body of 180
Moriscos, under Aben Farax, a dyer of Granada, came down from the
mountains through the driving snow and forced their way into the city of
Granada. The Morisco townspeople, terrified at the risk they ran in
joining so small a force, turned a deaf ear to the exhortations of the
chief. Through the sleeping city the little body of Moors rushed on,
desecrating the Christian temples, cursing the Christian gods, and
killing such few Spaniards as resisted them. And then when a call to
arms from the citadel sounded, Aben Farax and his little force withdrew
once more to the mountains. The large Morisco population of Granada had
made no move, or the city would have been taken, and the Governor
Mendoza, Marquis de Mondejar, took counsel with their head men for
resisting further attack, and urged them to stand loyal to the king
against the mountain marauders.

In the meanwhile Aben Farax swept through the Vega, carrying death and
torture with him to the Christians, burning villages, and submitting the
defenceless inhabitants to the most heartrending cruelty. Mad with blood
lust, the Moriscos of the band sought to avenge their race for endless
ignominy by outrage upon the country folk of the Vega. Three thousand
Christians were killed, before the king, Aben Humeya, put an end to the
slaughter, and many hundreds of others were sold into slavery across the
Straits in exchange for arms and men. Like wildfire ran the hope through
all Andalucia that at last the resuscitation of the Moorish power in
Spain had come, and the Moriscos from Valencia to the Sierra Nevada
sprang to arms. The hate and rancour of centuries were concentrated in
one mad week of slaughter. Mendoza, Marquis of Mondejar, with such
forces as he could raise, sallied and met the Moors in the pass of
Alfajarali, where he defeated them with great slaughter, and then
pressed on, killing and plundering, until blood and booty themselves
palled. When Mondejar re-entered the city of Granada he brought with him
800 rescued Christian women, who had been destined for sale to the Jews
of Barbary, and the churchmen made this an excuse for urging the
townspeople to fresh vengeance. In the early spring the Marquis de los
Velez set out with another force, gathered up from the idlers of the
cities of Andalucia, with the avowed object of massacre. They came
across 10,000 Morisco women and children fugitives, who had sought
safety on the edge of the great red cliffs overlooking the
Mediterranean. There was no mercy for them. Many cast themselves over
the edge to escape outrage and a lingering death; others, whilst praying
for mercy and avowing the Christian faith, were slaughtered. In two
hours 6000 poor creatures were killed, 2000 of them little children, and
the rest were distributed amongst the soldiers as slaves. But soon
slaves were so plentiful that the value fell, and soldiers deserted to
seek a better market for them, the Spanish forces became utterly
demoralised, and plunder and anarchy spread all over the fertile and
previously prosperous region. Deza, afterwards one of Philip’s cardinals
in Rome, was the representative in Granada of the civil power and the
Inquisition, and exceeded in violence and brutality even the lawless
men-at-arms. He complained constantly to Philip and Espinosa of the
slackness and want of authority of the Governor Mondejar, and at last
the king decided to send to Andalucia a considerable force under his
brother, Don Juan of Austria, to restore order. The young prince, who
had been born in 1547, was one of the handsomest and most gifted men of
his time. He had shared the studies of his unfortunate nephew, Don
Carlos, and of his cousin, Alexander Farnese, and from the time of the
emperor’s death had been treated as a prince of the blood. He had
already distinguished himself in the naval campaign against the Barbary
corsairs in 1567, and now his royal brother sent him once more against
the infidel. He entered Granada in April 1569. He was to do nothing
without first communicating with the king, and was strictly enjoined not
to expose himself to danger or to take any personal part in the mountain
warfare, which was to be left to the Marquis de los Velez. The reasons
probably why Don Juan had been chosen for the command were his youth,
which would, it might be thought, render him amenable to guidance from
Madrid, and the fact that he had from his childhood been indoctrinated
in the diplomatic principles of Ruy Gomez’s party, to which Secretary
Antonio Perez also belonged. But he was a youth of high courage and
great ability, who could ill brook strict control, and he chafed at
being kept in the city of Granada away from the fighting. Philip again
and again directed him to do as he was told and stay where he was. The
task confided to him was a pitiful one. Orders came from Madrid that
every Morisco in Granada was to be sent to Castile. On the day of St.
John 1569, writes the English spy Hogan, “Don Juan gathered together
13,000 Moriscos of Granada, and took 2000 for the king’s galleys, and
hanged some; a great number were sent to labour in the king’s works and
fortifications, and the rest, with their wives and children, kept as
slaves.” Despair fell upon the poor people, innocent mostly of all
participation in the mountain rising, at being dragged from their
beautiful homes and smiling native land to be sent in slavery to arid
Castile; but Deza and Espinosa were pitiless, and their advice alone was
heard in Madrid. The Marquis of Mondejar, the hereditary governor of
Granada, could not brook such ruinous folly to the city he loved, and
left in disgust.

Things in the meanwhile were going badly for the Spaniards in the
mountains. The king, Aben Humeya, gained a victory at Seron, and the
main body of Spaniards, under the Marquis de los Velez, got out of hand,
provisions and pay were short, and the men deserted in shoals, until at
last Los Velez was left only with the veteran regiment of Naples. Then
Philip and the churchmen saw that they must let Don Juan have his way
and give him active command, whilst the king himself, to be nearer, came
to Cordova.

But Aben Humeya’s power was slipping away. Dissensions had broken out in
his own family. He had exercised his royal authority with as much
harshness and arrogance as if it had been founded on a rock instead of
on the desert sand, and soon a revolution of his people broke out. The
young king, already sunk in lascivious indulgence, was strangled in his
bed, and his cousin, Ben Abó, was proclaimed King of Granada.

The juncture was a favourable one for Don Juan, and he lost no time.
With marvellous activity he collected the Spanish forces again around
the Naples regiment; he brought men from all parts of Spain, and by the
end of January 1570 he was besieging the fortress of Galera with 13,000
soldiers. For a month the siege lasted, and hardly a day passed without
some act of daring heroism on one side or the other. At last by February
16 the place was taken by assault, and the defenders to the number of
3000 killed. Massacre, pillage, and lust again threw the Spanish troops
into a state of demoralisation, and a few days later, in attempting to
recover Seron, an uncontrollable panic seized them, and the seasoned
warriors fled like hares before an insignificant gang of Moors, with a
loss of 600 men. All discipline and order were thrown to the winds;
desertion, anarchy, and murder were all that could be got from Don
Juan’s army, now a mere blood-thirsty rabble.

The Moorish king would fain make terms, and Don Juan was in favour of
entertaining his approaches. Philip was at his wits’ end with two wars
on his hands, both the result of his blind, rigid policy; his treasury,
as usual, was well-nigh exhausted. Elizabeth of England had recently
seized all the ready money he could borrow for the payment of Alba’s
army, and the Turk was busy in the Mediterranean, with the more or less
overt encouragement of Catharine de Medici. But though Don Juan begged
for clemency for the submissive Moors, the fanatics Deza and Espinosa
would have none of it, and Philip’s zeal was aroused again in the name
of religion to strike and spare not for the interests of “God and your

Deza and one of his officials of the Inquisition managed to bribe a Moor
to betray and kill the king, Ben Abó. The body of the dead king was
brought into Granada, and Deza, churchman though he was, struck off the
head and had it nailed to the gate of what was once the Moorish quarter,
with a threat of death to the citizen who should dare to touch it.

There was to be no mercy to the vanquished, said the churchmen, and
Philip obeyed them, in spite of Don Juan’s protests against their
interference with the clemency of a magnanimous victor. Death or
slavery were the only alternatives, and no mercy was shown. From the
fair plains they and theirs had tilled for eight centuries, from the
frowning Alpujarras, which their tireless industry had forced to yield a
grudging harvest; from the white cities, which had kept alive the
culture of the east when the barbarians had trampled down the
civilisation of the west, all those who bore the taint of Moorish blood
were cast. Bound in gangs by heavy gyves, they were driven through the
winter snow into the inhospitable north. Don Juan, soldier though he
was, was pierced with pity at the sight. “They went,” he wrote to Ruy
Gomez, “with the greatest sorrow in the world, for at the time they
left, the rain, snow, and wind were so heavy that the daughter will be
forced to leave the mother, the husband the wife, and the widow her baby
by the wayside. It cannot be denied that it is the saddest sight
imaginable to see the depopulation of a whole kingdom. But, sir, that is
what has been done!”

By the end of November 1570 Andalucia was cleared of the Moriscos, and
at the same time cleared of its industry, its prosperity, and its
enlightenment. The fanatic churchmen had had their foolish way, and
Philip went back to his desk, certain in his narrow soul that he had
served the cause of God and the welfare of his country.


     Philip and England--Elizabeth seizes his treasure--Spanish plots
     against her--Philip and the northern rebellion--The excommunication
     of Elizabeth--Ridolfi’s plot--Philip’s hesitancy--Prohibition of
     English trade with Spain--Its futility--Alba’s retirement from
     Flanders--Philip’s responsibility for Alba’s proceedings--The tenth
     penny--Philip’s disapproval--Orange’s approaches to the French.

The persistent plotting of Cardinal Lorraine and the Monlucs to bring
about a union of Spain, France, and the pope, with the object of
fighting Protestantism and placing Mary Stuart on the throne of a
Catholic united kingdom, had failed. Catharine de Medici hated Mary
Stuart and the Guises, and Philip had no wish, if even he had the power,
to fight England for the purpose of making Mary’s French uncles
paramount. Religion apart, it was better for Philip’s policy that
England should remain Protestant than that this should happen, always
provided that he could keep Elizabeth friendly, and either frighten or
cajole her into a position of neutrality towards his rebellious
Protestant subjects in the Netherlands. He could no longer attempt to
dictate to her, as he had sought to do at the beginning of her reign,
but only strove now to gain her goodwill; and both parties were fully
cognisant of their changed position towards each other.

It was only ten years since Elizabeth’s accession, and even in this
short period Philip’s perverse and inelastic policy had reduced him to a
position of comparative impotence. But with his views, it was hopeless
to expect that he should learn wisdom from events. Reverses and
disappointments usually make men consider whether the course they are
pursuing is a wise one. No such doubt could assail Philip. He was in
union with God to do His work, for the success of which it was necessary
for Philip to have absolute power; and any reverses which occurred were
sent by the Almighty for some good purpose of His own, not to prevent
ultimate success, but to make it the more glorious when it came.

With such ideas as these, Philip was proof against adversity; it was
impossible to defeat or degrade him. The considerations which rule the
conduct of other men had no influence over him; he was above human laws,
and, no doubt, thought that he was above human frailty. Subornation,
treachery, and secret murder, odious and reprehensible in others, were
praiseworthy in him, for was he not working with and for Providence for
divine ends, before which all mundane and moral considerations must give

His haughty dismissal of the English ambassador in the spring of 1568 on
religious grounds had been bitterly resented by Elizabeth,
notwithstanding the palliative influence of Philip’s ambassador, Guzman
de Silva. This, and rumours that Cardinal Lorraine had at last succeeded
in obtaining armed help for Mary Stuart against Murray, caused Elizabeth
to repeat her bold and previously successful action. Fresh
encouragement was sent to Condé and the Huguenots. Protestantism in the
Netherlands, under the iron heel of Alba, was accorded a more hearty
sympathy than ever, and expeditions of Flemish refugees were now allowed
almost openly to fit out in English ports to go over and help their
compatriots. Events fought on Elizabeth’s side, and threw Mary Stuart
into her grasp, from which she never escaped. The captive queen
clamoured for Philip’s help, but Philip had no help to give yet beyond
procrastinating generalities. Elizabeth and her ministers were well
served by spies, and were quite cognisant of Philip’s impotence for harm
at present, so far as open hostility was concerned. All they feared was
that he might seek to attain his end by secret plotting, and this was
eventually the course he adopted. For the time, however,--in the autumn
of 1568--he was sincerely desirous of keeping on good terms with
Elizabeth, and instructed his new ambassador, Gerau de Spes, to use
every effort to that end. Late in November 1568 the violence and
indiscretion of De Spes, who began plotting with the English Catholic
party in favour of Mary Stuart as soon as he arrived, had brought
matters to a much less peaceful complexion between Philip and Elizabeth.
This was from no fault of Philip, and was against the tenor of his
instructions. Cardinal Chatillon was in England, arousing sympathy and
obtaining aid for the Huguenots, the Flemish refugees were spreading
abroad a feeling of indignation against Alba’s atrocities in the
Netherlands, and money was being sent daily across to help their
brethren against the oppressor. Privateers and pirates, who called
themselves such, were swarming in the Channel, and few vessels bearing
the flag of Spain escaped their depredations. To escape them, some
ships carrying money--mostly borrowed by Philip from Genoese bankers--to
pay Alba’s troops had to run for refuge into Southampton, Plymouth, and
Falmouth. On the pretence of protecting the specie from the pirates,
most of it was landed, and retained by Elizabeth for her own purposes.
Promises, professions of honesty, and specious excuses of all sorts were
made; negotiations, open and secret, for its recovery went on for years,
but the treasure was never restored to Philip. It was a great blow to
him and a great help to Elizabeth, who was almost alarmed at her own
temerity in seizing the money. Philip retaliated by seizing English
property in Spanish and Flemish ports, immensely inferior in value to
that seized by England. It was an unwise step, because it gave Elizabeth
some ground for retaining what she had taken, and appropriating more,
which she promptly did. Even then Philip could only plead futilely for
restitution. His ambassador stormed and threatened, urged his master to
assert his power and crush Elizabeth. But Philip, and even fiery Alba,
knew better now, and both of them strained every nerve to avoid being
drawn into open hostility towards England. The keynote of Philip’s
foreign policy--that which he had inherited from his Burgundian
forefathers--was to keep on good terms with England. It was only after
many years that he was for a time absolutely driven by circumstances,
and against his will, to fight England outright, and then only with the
object of coercing her into a friendly attitude towards him. In view of
De Spes’s constant assurance that the time had now come when, by giving
a little aid to the English Catholics, Elizabeth might be deposed and
Mary Stuart made Queen of England, Philip referred the decision of the
matter to Alba (February 1569). But Alba frankly told him that he had
neither men nor money for the purpose, and that Elizabeth must be
conciliated at all costs. Even when De Spes’s plotting and insolence
became too much for Elizabeth to bear and she placed him under arrest,
his master told him he must suffer everything patiently for the king’s
sake. The humbler became Philip the more aggressive became Elizabeth.
She refused to have anything to do with Alba, or to recognise him in any
way, and the proud noble took this to heart more even than the seizure
of the treasure. So when De Spes sent him news of the plot in progress
with Arundel, Norfolk, and Lumley; and Ridolfi the banker went over to
Flanders as their envoy to the duke, he was ready enough to listen, and
try to effect by treason what he was powerless to do by war, if only it
could be done without compromising Philip. The latter was more
distrustful even than Alba, and it was only with much apparent
hesitation that he consented to lend aid to Norfolk’s plot. After
Norfolk’s folly and pusillanimity and Cecil’s vigilance had brought
about the collapse of the first conspiracy, and the northern lords were
in arms and, in their turn, begging for Philip’s aid, a good instance
occurred of the inadequacy of the king’s timid temporising policy to the
circumstances of the times. The crisis was really a dangerous one for
Elizabeth, and a little prompt aid from Philip might have turned the
scale. The Catholic north was all in arms, and Mary Stuart’s party was
still a strong one, and yet these are the only words that Philip could
find in answer to the appeal written to Alba on December 16, 1569:
“English affairs are going in a way that will make it necessary, after
all, to bring the queen to do by force what she refuses to reason. Her
duty is so clear that no doubt God causes her to ignore it, in order
that by these means His holy religion may be restored in that country,
and Catholics and good Christians thus be rescued from the oppression in
which they live. In case her obstinacy and hardness of heart continue,
therefore, you will take into consideration the best direction to be
given to this. We think here that the best course will be to encourage
with money and secret favour the Catholics of the north, and to help
those in Ireland to take up arms against the heretics and deliver the
crown to the Queen of Scotland, to whom it belongs. This course, it is
presumed, would be agreeable to the pope and all Christendom, and would
encounter no opposition from any one. This is only mentioned now in
order that you may know what is passing in our minds here, and that,
with your great prudence and a full consideration of the state of
affairs in general, you may ponder what is best to be done.” What could
be weaker than this in a great crisis?

Events marched too quickly for pondering, and the northern rebellion was
stamped out by the promptness of Elizabeth’s Government whilst Philip
was timidly weighing the chances. This was a fresh triumph for the
Protestant cause throughout Europe, and a new impetus was given to it in
France, Holland, Germany, and Scotland, as well as in England. De Spes
continued to urge upon Philip plans for the overthrow of Elizabeth, but
his charming fell upon deaf ears now. Only once was the king tempted
into any approach to hostility. Stukeley went to Spain with a great
flourish of trumpets, and gave him to understand that Ireland was at his
bidding if a little armed help were provided. At Madrid they thought for
a time that Stukeley was a great man, and entertained him royally; but
Philip and his councillors soon found he was but a windbag, and dropped
him promptly.

A good example is provided of Philip’s subordination of religion to
politics by his attitude when the pope’s bull excommunicating Elizabeth
was fixed by Felton on the Bishop of London’s gate. The English
Catholics had long been suggesting to Philip that such a bull should be
obtained, but he had no desire to drive Elizabeth farther away from the
Catholic Church than necessary. Her religion was a secondary
consideration, if she would be friendly with him, and he was coldly
irresponsive about the desired excommunication. The English Catholics
then addressed the pope direct; and he, having no interests to serve
other than those of his religion, promptly granted the bull. But when
Philip learnt that the pope had excommunicated Elizabeth without
consulting him, he was extremely indignant, and did not mince his words
in reprehending the pontiff’s action.

At the instance of his over-zealous ambassador, Philip was induced to
receive Ridolfi, who had again gone as an envoy from Norfolk and Mary to
the pope, Philip, and Alba (July 1571) to seek aid for Norfolk’s second
plot to destroy Elizabeth, whilst at the same time he (Philip) was
negotiating in Madrid with Fitzwilliams a pretended plot by which John
Hawkins was to place his fleet at the disposal of the Spaniards.
Philip’s reference to the subject of killing Elizabeth is
characteristic. He “sincerely desires the success of the business, not
for his own interest, or for any other worldly object, but purely and
simply for the service of God. He was therefore discussing the matter,
and in the meanwhile urged all people concerned not to be premature.”
Whilst he was discussing with his council the murder of Elizabeth, the
queen and Cecil were acting. They had known everything that had been
going on in Madrid and elsewhere; Philip had been hoodwinked again. His
ambassador was expelled with every ignominy, Norfolk deservedly lost his
head, and Philip’s hesitancy once more convinced the English Catholics
that no broad, bold, or timely action in their favour could be expected
from him.

It had been constantly urged upon Philip that the best way to bring the
English to their knees was to stop their trade with his dominions. He
had always laid it down as a rule that no ships but Spanish should be
allowed to trade in the Spanish territories in America, but the English
adventurers made light of the prohibition, and the settlers were quite
willing to wink at their distant sovereign’s edicts, if they could
profitably exchange their drugs and dyewood for the slaves which the
English brought from the African coast. After Elizabeth’s seizure of
Spanish property the prohibition against English trade was extended to
Spain and the Netherlands. The English clothworkers grumbled, but they
found new outlets for their goods at Embden and Hamburg. On the other
hand, the wine-growers of Spain and the merchants of Flanders were
well-nigh ruined. Spanish ships were harried off the sea, and Philip
was ere long forced to connive at the violation of his own edict in face
of the clamour of the Andalucian shippers, whose produce rotted for want
of sea-carriage and a market. Alba held out as long as he could, but the
persuasions of Orange that the Queen of England should assume the
protectorate of Holland and Zeeland brought even him to his knees at
last. He had always tried to make the restitution of Elizabeth’s
seizures a condition of the reopening of trade, but early in 1573 he was
obliged to give way, to the immense advantage of Elizabeth, who thus
kept the bulk of what she had taken, whilst her subjects again obtained
a free market for their cloth. This agreement alone would prove how
completely Philip’s cumbrous policy of personal centralisation had
failed when applied to a huge disjointed empire such as his. His selfish
dread of responsibility and his constant aim of making catspaws of
others had alienated him at this time from every power except perhaps
for the moment the Venetians and the pope, who both had selfish reasons
for adhering to him, the first as their chief bulwark against the Turk
in the Mediterranean, and the latter because he was champion of the
Church the world over. Alba’s policy of blood and iron had failed too,
in the Netherlands. He had only succeeded in making his own and his
master’s name execrated. From the day he left Spain his enemies there
had been busy. In his absence the party of Ruy Gomez was almost supreme;
the clever favourite had taken care to surround the king with promising
young secretaries, and the failure of Alba to pacify the Netherlands was
made the most of. The duke himself was heartsick of his task, crippled
for want of means, his troops unpaid and mutinous, his fleet destroyed;
and Holland, Zeeland, and a good part of Flanders were still in the
hands of Orange. The constant dropping of detraction at last had its
effect upon Philip, and he was induced to try a new policy. Alba was
allowed to withdraw, with rage at his heart for his failure, which he
ascribed to the lack of support from Madrid, and Luis Requesens was sent
by the influence of the Ruy Gomez party, to endeavour to bring about by
conciliation and mildness the pacification which severity had been
powerless to effect.

This is not the place for any detailed account to be given of the
proceedings of Alba in the Netherlands, which have so often been
recounted, but it may be interesting to consider how far Philip is
personally responsible for them. It may be conceded at once that the
king would have no sentimental scruples whatever in ordering the
sacrifice of any number of lives he considered necessary for the success
of his object, which in his eyes transcended all human interests. There
is no doubt that when Alba was first despatched to Flanders it was for
the express purpose of utterly stamping out the Flemish claims of
autonomy. The first men to be struck at were the great nobles who had
dared to formulate such a claim. The Regent Margaret was dismissed with
every sign of disgrace. Her edict of toleration was revoked as “illegal
and indecent,” and she herself was ordered to obey the Duke of Alba in
all things. She was the king’s sister, however, and she was allowed to
go to Parma, complaining bitterly of the outrages to which the king had
submitted her. But with Orange, Egmont, Horn, Montigny, and Bergues it
was another matter. At some time or another all of these had raised
their voices, however submissively, in favour of the national rights of
self-government. The blow was carefully planned beforehand, and the
treacherous seizure of Egmont and Horn after the dinner party on
September 9, 1567, immediately after Alba’s arrival in Brussels, was
promptly followed by the even more underhand detention and imprisonment
of Bergues, Montigny, and Renard in Spain. Fortunately the greater
wariness of Orange and Mansfelt saved them from falling victims to
Alba’s lying caresses. The charge against the nobles was not religious,
but purely political. It is true that Orange in his absence was accused
of speaking disrespectfully of the Inquisition, but the real crime was
for having requested the convocation of the States-General on the
pretext that “the king could not determine anything in these provinces
except with the approval of the States-General, which means stripping
the king of all authority and power and adorning him merely with the
title.” That Alba’s persecution was not a religious but a political one,
is also proved by the fact that the conventual clergy were struck at the
same time as the Catholic nobles because they had ventured to protest
against Philip’s reorganisation of the ecclesiastical establishment in
Flanders, which was intended to make him supreme over the clergy, as he
was in Spain. The abbots and monks, we are told, were the first that
fled on Alba’s advent. They were followed by rich burgesses, Catholics
almost to a man. They fled not for religion yet, but because the
ruffianly Spanish and Italian soldiers whom Alba had brought with him
were quartered in all the houses--six in each house--and were robbing,
murdering, and ravishing right and left. They were an unpaid mutinous
rabble, who respected no distinction of nationality, faith, or sex, and
their function was utterly to terrorise the Flemings into abject
submission. When the people began to escape in shoals Alba considered it
necessary to prevent this evasion of his terrorism, and began by hanging
500 citizens who were suspected of attempting to emigrate or to send
property abroad. The people, in fact, were absolutely unresisting, and
flocked to church, as Alba himself records, as plentifully as did
“Spaniards at jubilee time.” At the execution of Egmont and Horn, Alba
expressed his surprise to the king that the populace was so
unmoved--much less so, indeed, than the Spanish soldiers who surrounded
the scaffold--and he feared that the king’s clemency might raise their
courage. Alba was determined that this should not happen if he could
help it. Thus far, then, Philip must be held responsible for Alba’s
acts, namely, for the first seizure of the nobles, and their
condemnation by the tribunal of blood, to the number of about twenty,
and for the terrorism over the friars and the citizens. But here
probably Philip’s personal responsibility ends. He was not wantonly and
fiercely cruel as Alba was. No consideration of any sort was allowed to
stand in the way of what he held to be his sacred task, but he did not
kill for the sake of killing. The flight of Orange’s mercenary Germans
at Heliger Lee, and the consequent collapse of his first attempt at
armed resistance, had been looked upon by most Flemings without any
outward sign of sympathy, and the unprovoked, horrible holocaust of
innocent citizens all over Flanders and Brabant which followed, must be
laid at the door of Alba alone, who intended thus to strike such terror
into the townsfolk as should effectually bridle them if Orange tried his
fortune again; so with the nobles dead or in exile, the townspeople
might be crushed without a show of resistance. As long as only their
national or religious liberty was at stake, the Flemings bent their
necks to the yoke, and Orange in his despairing attempt depended mainly
upon German mercenaries and French Calvinists. On July 14, 1570, Alba
the merciless could read from his gold-covered throne in Antwerp the
amnesty of forgiveness and peace to all the subjects of the king: but
when he ventured to lay hands on the wealth of the Netherlands, then the
blood of the burgesses rose, and those who meekly saw themselves
despoiled of their national rights stood up sturdily against the
depletion of their fat money-bags. The seizure of the treasure by
Elizabeth had been the last stroke to complete Alba’s penury. He had
been importuning plaintively for money almost since his arrival; his
troops had not been paid for two years, and were almost out of hand.
Money he must have, and, certainly without Philip’s consent, he took the
fatal step that at last aroused the slumbering people. The various
provincial assemblies were terrorised into voting a tax of one per cent
on all property, five per cent on sales of land, and, above all, ten per
cent on sales of all other property. Utrecht refused to accept the
impossible tax, and the tribunal of blood condemned the whole property
of the citizens to confiscation. A tax of ten per cent upon commodities
every time they changed hands was proved to be absurd. Alba’s most
faithful henchmen, and even his confessor, pointed this out to him, but
to no purpose. Business was suspended, factories closed. Their
proprietors were threatened with heavy fines if trade was not carried on
as usual. It was obviously impossible, but still the duke would not give

Philip’s council were indignant at such a measure, and Alba wrote to
Madrid, “Let the tax be reduced as much as may be necessary, but the
king cannot have an idea of the obstacles I encounter here. Neither the
heads smitten off nor the privileges abolished have aroused so much
resistance as this.”

Nearly all the great bankers upon whom Philip had depended for loans
became insolvent, and appeals against the unwise tax reached Philip by
every post. He knew money must be obtained somehow, and hesitated to
condemn Alba unheard, but he ordered an inquiry to be made, and the
protests grew louder and deeper. Bishops, councillors, loyal servants of
the Spaniards, joined in condemnation. “Everybody turns against me,”
wrote the duke, and for once he was right.

The “beggars of the sea” seized Brille on April 1, 1572; all Holland and
Zeeland rose. Help and money came from England, and Alba saw himself
face to face with an enraged nation instead of downtrodden serfs. First
he crushed the south and then held the French Huguenots out of Brabant.
Mons was captured, Genlis’s Frenchmen massacred, and swift and
relentless as a thunderbolt swept Alba’s vengeance through the southern
provinces of Flanders. Submission the most abject, or slaughter was the
only alternative. But Holland and Zeeland were made of sterner stuff,
and the shambles of Naarden only made Haarlem the more obstinate. Then
followed that fell struggle which lasted until Alba’s confession of
failure. Cruelty could not crush the Dutchmen, for they were fighting
for their faith now as well as their money, and by the end of 1572
Philip had become tired of the useless slaughter. It was difficult for
him to revoke or interfere with his commander-in-chief in the midst of
such a war, but long before Alba’s final retirement from Flanders at the
end of 1573, the king showed his displeasure with his proceedings
unmistakably, and it well-nigh broke the old duke’s heart, hard as it
was. When at last Philip wrote that his successor, Requesens, was on his
way to replace him with an amnesty, these were the king’s words: “I am
quite aware that the rebels are perfidious. I understand all your
arguments in favour of a continuance of the system of severity, and I
agree that they are good; but I see that things have arrived at such an
extreme that we shall be obliged to adopt other measures.” Alba’s fall
had been decided upon long before, and Medina-Celi had actually been
sent to Flanders to replace him, but Philip had always hesitated to
withdraw him while he was actually in arms against the enemy. Thirty
years before his father had told him that Alba was the best soldier in
Spain, and Philip knew that he was so still. But how deeply Philip
disapproved of his wanton cruelty in time of peace will be seen by the
words already quoted above, and by his sudden degradation of the
powerful Cardinal Espinosa when the king discovered that he was being
deceived with regard to Alba’s proceedings (September 1572). The number
of victims and the reasons for the sacrifices were kept back by the
favourite, for Espinosa was for crushing the Dutchmen as he had crushed
the Moriscos. But there were others, like Antonio Perez, by Philip’s
side to open his eyes to Alba’s enormities, and one day in the council
the king turned upon the astounded Espinosa and told him roundly that he
lied. When Philip, usually so impassible, said such a thing it meant
disgrace and death, and Cardinal Espinosa promptly went home and died
the same night.

After that Alba’s disgrace was inevitable, even if it had not been in
principle already decided upon. The evidence, therefore, seems to prove
that Philip did not consider Alba’s cruelty necessary or politic for the
ends he had in view, which, be it repeated, were ultimately political
and not religious.

Requesens’ new policy at first was eminently successful in drawing away
the Walloons and Catholic Flemings from the side of Orange, and by the
late autumn of 1575 the position of the Protestants had become critical.
Money was running short, the mercenaries were unpaid, and Elizabeth
would not be forced by any persuasion from the position which she had
taken up of helping Orange with money and men, but never pledging
herself so deeply that she could not recede and become friendly with
Philip if it suited her. She had, indeed, managed to get the whole of
the cards in her hand, and could secure his friendship at any time
without cost to herself. But this non-committal policy did not suit
Orange in his present straits, and he began to make approaches to the
French Huguenots. Elizabeth was perfectly willing that he should get
their aid, as in the long-run they too had mainly to depend upon her;
but she changed her tone directly when she learnt that the King of
France and his mother where to be parties to the arrangement. Anything
that should mean a French national domination of Flanders she would
never allow. Better, far better, that Philip and the Spaniards should
stay there for ever, than that the French flag should wave over Antwerp.
So an English envoy, Henry Cobham, was sent to Madrid in August 1575,
with all sorts of loving messages, to open Philip’s eyes to Orange’s
intrigues with the French court. Philip received Cobham coldly, and
referred him to Alba for his answer, which was to the effect that the
king was as willing to be friendly as Elizabeth, and would receive a
resident English ambassador, on condition that he made no claim to
exercise the reformed religion. Not a word about Orange and the French.
Whatever the Huguenots might do, he knew full well that he had only to
hold out his hand to the Guises and the Catholic party, and Catharine
and her son would be paralysed for harm against him.


     Philip’s fourth marriage--The killing of Montigny--Anne of
     Austria--Philip’s domestic life--His industry--The Escorial--His
     patronage of art--His character--Renewed war with the Turks--Don
     Juan commands the Spanish force--The victory of Lepanto--Don Juan’s
     great projects--Antonio Perez.

Philip was left a widower for the third time in 1568, at the age of
forty-two, with two children, both girls, by his beloved third wife.
With such an empire as his, and with his views of his mission, it was
most undesirable that he should be succeeded by a female, and especially
one of French extraction, and he had already recognised this by causing
some of his young Austrian nephews to be brought up in Spain under his
influence. The emperor, however, largely dependent as he was upon the
Lutheran princes, could not look quite unmoved at Alba’s barbarities in
the ancient patrimony of his House, and became uncomfortably pressing
upon the matter at the commencement of Alba’s rule. Philip resented his
interference, but thought well to disarm him for the future by marrying
the Archduchess Anne, the emperor’s daughter, whom her father had so
persistently put forward as a bride for the unfortunate Carlos. The
preliminaries were easily arranged. Philip was more than double the
bride’s age, and was her uncle, but that mattered nothing. The pope’s
dispensation was obtained, and in August 1570 the new consort travelled
in state through Flanders to take ship for Spain. The fleet which was to
escort the queen was a powerful one, and threw Elizabeth of England into
a fever of alarm until it had safely passed. On her way through Antwerp
the new queen was appealed to by the sorrowing mother of Horn and
Montigny. Her eldest son had fallen on the scaffold, but her second was
alive, a prisoner in the castle of Segovia. He had been smiled upon by
Philip until Alba’s blow had fallen upon his brother and the rest of the
Flemish nobles, and had then suddenly been imprisoned. He was innocent
of all offence, said his mother, a loyal subject, and a good Catholic,
and she prayed the queen earnestly to plead for her son. Anne arrived at
Santander on October 12, 1570, and slowly progressed through Spain to
Segovia for the wedding. For two years the tribunal of blood in Flanders
had been trying the Flemish nobles for treason _in absentia_. Bergues
had died in semi-arrest, and faithful Renard, the victim of Granvelle’s
hate, had also died mysteriously a week after his imprisonment. But
Montigny--Florence de Montmorenci--still remained in seclusion in the
strong castle of Segovia. Philip was always a stickler for the
fulfilment of legal forms, and awaited the result of the trial in
Flanders with ill-disguised impatience. At last the decision came, the
finding being that which might have been foreseen. Montigny was
condemned for treason in defending the action of the Flemish nobles
before the king’s secretary. The judgment was submitted to the
council--Ruy Gomez, Espinosa, and the rest of the camarilla--who advised
that Montigny should be poisoned slowly. But no, the king would have
none of that. The law prescribed death by strangulation for the crime,
and the law must be carried out. A public execution was out of the
question, and the marriage festivities were to be held at Segovia; so
Montigny was spirited away to the bleak castle of Simancas, and on the
very day (October 1) that Philip arranged the pompous ceremony of the
queen’s reception at Segovia he penned an order to the gaoler of
Simancas to hand over to the alcalde of the chancery of Valladolid the
person of Florence de Montmorenci. Arellano had been an inquisitor at
Seville, and was appointed specially to the chancery of Valladolid for
the purpose in hand. To him the most minute instructions were given for
the execution of Montigny. The priest that was to administer the last
consolations to the dying man was named, and at the same time a doctor
was instructed to visit the prisoner daily, ostentatiously taking with
him from Valladolid the usual medicines for fever. The hour of the night
that the alcalde and the executioner were to leave the city and the
smallest particulars were set forth for their guidance, but before and
above all, no one was to know that Montigny had not died a natural
death. His property had been confiscated for his crime, and so, said
Philip, he has nothing to leave; but still he may make a will, and
dispose of the property, if he will consent to do so, in the form of a
man who knows he is dying of a natural illness. He might write to his
wife, too, in the same way. The king is careful to repeat that he had
been tried and condemned by a legal tribunal, and it was only out of
mercy and consideration for his rank that he was to be saved the
ignominy of a public execution. The poor creature expressed his thanks
for the king’s clemency, avowed his unshaken fidelity to the Catholic
Church, and the shameful deed was done in that same round turret room in
which the bishop Acuña, the leader of the Comuneros, lived for years,
before he met a similar fate fifty years previously. Montigny was
executed on October 16, whilst Anne was on her way to Segovia. The first
favour she asked of her husband was to spare the life of Montigny.
Philip replied that he could not have refused to grant her request, but
unfortunately the prisoner had died of sickness. Couriers, swifter than
the queen, had long ago brought to Philip the tidings of the promise
made to Montigny’s mother. Forewarned, forearmed, he doubtless thought,
and the hapless Montmorenci’s fate was sealed by his mother’s apparently
successful intercession with the queen.

Philip’s fourth wife was a devout, homely, prolific creature, intensely
devoted to her husband and children, of whom she bore many, though most
of them died in early childhood. “She never leaves her rooms, and her
court is like a nunnery,” wrote the French ambassador. All around her
was frigid, gloomy etiquette and funereal devotion. As years and
disappointments gathered on Philip’s head his religious mysticism
deepened. “For God and your Majesty,” was now the current phrase in all
addresses to him. He never gave an order--hardly an opinion--without
protesting that he had no worldly end in all his acts. It was all for
the sake of God, whose instrument he was. For his own part, his life
was a constant round of drudgery and devotion. The smallest details of
government went through his hands, besides the most trivial regulations
with regard to the lives and habits of his subjects. Their dress and
furniture were prescribed with closest minuteness, their styles of
address, number of servants and horses, their amusements, their
funerals, their weddings, their devotions were settled for them by the
gloomy recluse whom they rarely saw. Whilst he was busy with such
puerilities, affairs of great moment were set aside and delayed, his
ambassadors in vain praying for answers to important despatches, his
armies turning mutinous for want of money, and his executive ministers
through his wide domains alternately despairing and indignant at the
tardiness of action which they saw was ruining the cause he championed.

The king’s only relaxations now were the few hours he could spare in the
bosom of his family, to which he was devotedly attached, especially to
his elder daughter, Isabel. But even in his home life his care for
detail was as minute as it was in public affairs. The most unimportant
trifle in the dress, management, studies, or play of his children came
within his purview. The minutiae of the management of his
flower-gardens, the little maladies of his servants, the good-or
ill-temper of his dwarfs and jesters did not escape his vigilance. The
private and financial affairs of his nobles came as much within his
province, almost, as his personal concerns, the furnishing and
decoration of his rooms had to be done under his personal supervision,
and the vast task of building the stupendous pile of the Escorial on an
arid mountain-side, and adorning it with triumphs of art from the
master hands of all Christendom, was performed down to the smallest
particular under his unwearied guidance. With all his prodigious
industry and devotion to duty, it is no wonder that this want of
proportion in the importance of things clogged the wheels of the great
machine of which he was mainspring, and that the nimble wit of Elizabeth
of England and Catharine de Medici foresaw, in ample time to frustrate
them, the deep-laid ponderous plans against them which he discussed _ad
infinitum_ before adopting. His favourite place for work was at the
Escorial, where, said the prior, four times as many despatches were
written as in Madrid. As soon as a portion of the edifice could be
temporarily roofed in, the monks were installed, and thenceforward
Philip passed his happiest moments in the keen, pure air of the
Guadarramas, superintending the erection of the mighty monument which
forms a fitting emblem of his genius--stupendous in its ambition,
gloomy, rigid, and overweighted in its consummation. Here he loved to
wander with his wife and children, overlooking the army of workmen who
for twenty years were busy at their tasks, to watch the deft hands of
the painters and sculptors--Sanchez Coello, the Carducci, Juan de
Juanes, the Mudo, Giacomo Trezzo, and a host of others--whom he
delighted to honour. As a patron of art in all its forms Philip was a
very Mæcenas. He followed his great father in his friendship for Titian,
but he went far beyond the emperor in his protection of other artists.
Illuminators, miniaturists, and portrait painters were liberally paid
and splendidly entertained. The masterpieces of religious art, the
cunning workmanship of the Florentine goldsmiths and lapidaries, the
marvels of penmanship of the medieval monks, the sculptures of the
ancients, were all prized and understood by Philip, as they were by few
men of his time. This sad, self-concentrated man, bowed down by his
overwhelming mission, tied to the stake of his duty, indeed loved all
things beautiful: flowers, and song-birds, sacred music, pictures, and
the prattle of little children, a seeming contradiction to his career,
but profoundly consistent really, for in the fulfilment of his task he
considered himself in some sort divine, and forced to lay aside as an
unworthy garment all personal desires and convenience, to suppress all
human inclinations. He was a naturally good man, cursed with mental
obliquity and a lack of due sense of proportion.

Whilst Alba was pursuing his campaign of blood in the Netherlands,
Philip found it necessary once more to struggle for the supremacy of
Christianity in the Mediterranean. It has been related how, after the
heroic defence of Malta, the Turks and Algerines had been finally driven
off with the death of Dragut in 1565. A new sultan, Selim II., had
arisen in the following year, and he had determined to leave Spanish
interests alone and to concentrate his attacks upon the Venetians,
through whom most of the Eastern trade of the Levant passed. Philip’s
interests and those of Venice had not usually been identical, as Spain
aspired to obtain a share of the oriental commerce, and France and the
Venetians had made common cause, more or less openly, with the Turk
against Spain. When the republic saw its great colony of Cyprus attacked
by the Turks, it consequently appealed in the first place to Pius V.
Piala Pasha, the Italian renegade, was already (1569) besieging Nicosia
with a great fleet, whilst the Moriscos were yet in arms in Andalucia.
The inhabitants of Cyprus were welcoming the infidel, and without prompt
and powerful help Cyprus would be lost to Christianity. The pope, at all
events, acted promptly, and sent his legate to Philip with proposals for
an alliance with the Venetians against the common enemy of their faith.
He arrived in Andalucia at the time when the Moriscos had been finally
subdued, and entered Seville with Philip. Alba for the moment had
crushed out resistance in Flanders, and had not yet aroused the fresh
storm by his financial measures. Philip therefore willingly listened to
the pope’s proposal, backed energetically, as it was, by the young
victor of the Moriscos, Don Juan of Austria, all eager to try his sword
against an enemy worthy of his steel; and after three days of devotion
and intercession before the bones of St. Ferdinand in Seville, Philip
decided to lay aside his unfriendliness with the merchant republic and
join it to beat the infidel (spring of 1570).

By the summer Nicosia had fallen, and before Doria’s galleys from Genoa
and Colonna’s galleys from the pope could be ready for service, private
negotiations were in progress between Venice and the Turks for a
separate peace. Here was always the danger for Philip. His Neapolitan
and Sicilian possessions, as well as the Balearics and the African
settlements, were very open to the Turk, and if the Venetians deserted
him, he would have brought upon his own coasts the scourge of Piali and
his three hundred sail with a fierce army of janissaries. It was not
until the end of 1570, therefore, that Philip was satisfied that the
Venetians would stand firm. Philip’s views undoubtedly extended far
beyond the recapture of Cyprus for the Venetians. This was the first
opportunity that had fallen to him of joining together a really powerful
league to crush the strength of Islam in the Mediterranean. Cardinal de
Granvelle was in Rome, and at last, through his persuasions, Pius V.
regranted to the Spanish king the much-desired privilege of selling the
Crusade bulls, and other financial concessions. Pius had also to give
way on another point which was very near Philip’s heart, for the king
never missed an opportunity of gaining a step forward in his policy of
centralisation of power in himself. Undeterred by the ill success of the
Aragonese in their protest against the abuses in the civil jurisdiction
of the Inquisition, the Catalans had proceeded still further, and had
taken the dangerous step of sending an envoy direct to the pope to beg
him to put an end to the oppression of the Holy Office, by virtue of an
old bull which gave to the pontiff the right to decide in all doubtful
cases, and limited the jurisdiction of the Inquisition to matters of
faith. The pope dared not go too far in offending Philip, but he went as
far as he could, and issued a bull reasserting the right of appeal to
Rome in certain cases. Philip did as he had done before, simply
prohibited the promulgation of the bull in Spain, and clapped the
leaders of the Catalans into the dungeons of the Inquisition. Things had
arrived at this stage when Pius had to beg Philip’s aid for the
Venetians. Then he was obliged to cede to the king’s instances, and
promise not to interfere in any way with the prerogatives of the Spanish
crown. The league against Islam was to be a permanent one, and the
urgent prayers of Don Juan obtained for him the supreme command of the
expedition. He was a fortunate and a dashing young officer, but he was
in no sense the great commander that he has often been represented, and
the work of organisation of his force on this occasion must be credited
mainly to the famous seaman Alvaro de Bazan, Marquis of Santa Cruz;
whilst De Granvelle, who had been appointed Viceroy of Naples, was
indefatigable in his efforts to collect the resources and men necessary
for the struggle. By the summer of 1571, when the Spanish fleet was
gathered at Messina, Cyprus had fallen amidst scenes of hellish carnage
which aroused the Christian force to fury. The fleet of Venice had
suffered much, and notwithstanding the reproaches of the pope for his
tardiness in following up the Turks, who were now harrying the Adriatic,
it was September 1571 before Don Juan and his combined fleets left
Messina. He had 208 galleys, 6 galleasses, and 50 small boats, 29,000
men-at-arms, and 50,000 sailors and rowers. The force was a great one,
but it had a great task before it. Piali and Uluch Ali had joined, and
had a fleet which had never yet been beaten at sea in the Mediterranean.
Time after time the Turks had shown that in a sea-fight they were
superior to any power in the world; but this was a holy war. The pope
had sent to Don Juan in Naples a blessed banner of blue damask covered
with sacred emblems; all the pomp and solemnity that the Church could
confer upon an expedition was extended to this; prayers and rogations
for its success were sounding through every church in Catholic
Christendom, and, above all, the hearts of men, and women too, were
aflame with enthusiasm when they saw the fervent zeal of the splendid
young prince who was to lead the hosts of Christ against the infidel.
Dressed in white velvet and gold, with a crimson scarf across his
breast, his fair curls glinting in the sun, he looked, they said in
Naples, like a prince of romance, and men, high and low, upon his fleet
were ready to go whithersoever he might lead them. Every man on the
fleet fasted, confessed, and received remission of his sins, and all
felt that they were engaged in a struggle for the Cross. The Turks were
still ravaging the Venetian territories, as they had ravaged Corfu, but
the experienced commanders of Don Juan’s force were opposed to attacking
the dreaded enemy in the open. Better repeat the policy of the past, and
lay siege to some fortified place. Doria especially, was for turning
back and awaiting the spring. But Don Juan would have no such timid
tactics, and decided to attack the Turkish fleet, which, his spies told
him, was lying in the bay of Lepanto. He sighted the enemy at daybreak
on October 7--Sunday--advancing with flags flying and cymbals clashing;
and after giving orders for the fray, Don Juan knelt with all his army
before the crucifixes, the whole of the force being solemnly absolved by
the Jesuits and other monks, who swarmed on the ships. Then through the
fleet in a pinnace the young general sailed, crying out words of
exhortation to his men. “Christ is your general!” “The hour for
vengeance has come!” “You are come to fight the battle of the Cross, to
conquer or to die,” and so forth. There is no space here to describe the
battle in detail. The story is a familiar one; how the Turks were swept
from the seas and their power on the Mediterranean gone for ever. There
was no resisting a force worked up to the pitch of fervour which Don
Juan had infused into his. Much of the glory must be given to the cool
and timely support afforded at a critical moment by the Marquis of Santa
Cruz, but Don Juan, exalted in fervour and enthusiasm, personified the
victory; and to him the palms of conquest were awarded. The world rang
with adulation of the young hero. The pope forgot his dignity, Titian
forgot his ninety-five years, the Christian world forgot prudence and
restraint, and talked of conquering anew the empire of Constantine, of
which Don Juan was to be the ruler. There was one man, however, who did
not move a muscle when he heard the stirring news, and that man was
Philip II. He was at vespers when the courier came, but after he read
the despatch he said no word until the sacred service was over, and then
a solemn Te Deum was sung. But when he wrote to Don Juan it was in no
uncertain words. With his views he was of course incapable of personal
jealousy, though not of suspicion, and he wrote: “Your conduct
undoubtedly was the principal cause of victory. To you, after God, I owe
it, and I joyfully recognise this. I am rejoiced that He has deigned to
reserve the boon for a man who is so dear to me, and so closely allied
in blood, thus to terminate this work, glorious to God and men.”

The next year Pius V. died and the league was loosened. Don Juan, full
of vast projects of conquest in Tunis, Constantinople, and elsewhere,
with encouragement of Rome and the churchmen, kept his fleet together
for two years, always clamouring for money for his great projects. But
Philip had his hands full now with Alba’s second struggle in the
Netherlands, and had no wish or means for acquiring a great Eastern
empire which he could not hold, and he was already looking askance at
his brother’s ambitious dreams. The mercantile Venetians too, had
justified Philip’s distrustful forebodings and had made a submissive
peace with the Turk, who kept Cyprus, and Philip could not fight the
Turks alone. But Don Juan was not to be entirely gainsaid. In October
1573 he sailed for Tunis, which he captured, almost without resistance,
and then returned to the splendour of Naples, still full of projects for
a vast North African Christian empire, of which he hoped to obtain the
investiture from the new pope, Gregory XIII. Such ambitious dreams as
these had floated through Don Juan’s mind after he had suppressed the
Morisco rising in Andalucia; and even then prudent Ruy Gomez, whose
pupil he had been, took fright, and warned the prince’s secretary, Juan
de Soto, one of his own creatures, that these plans must be nipped in
the bud. The prince was over headstrong then, but he had got quite out
of leading strings now.

When the king’s orders were sent to him to dismantle Tunis and make it
powerless for future harm, he disobeyed the command. He wanted Tunis as
strong as possible as his own fortress when he should be the Christian
emperor of the East. All this did not please Philip, and he simply cut
off the supply of money. Artful De Granvelle too, the Viceroy of Naples,
saw which way the tide was setting, and took very good care not to
strengthen Don Juan’s new conquest. Within a year Tunis and Goleta were
recovered by the Turk, and the 8000 Spaniards left there by Don Juan
were slaughtered. Neither Philip nor De Granvelle could or would send
any help. Better that the two fortresses should be lost for ever, as
they were, than that the king’s base brother should drag him into
endless responsibilities with his high-flown schemes.

Don Juan, in fact, was evidently getting out of hand. Ruy Gomez had
recently died; Cardinal Espinosa had also gone, and the most influential
person with the king now was his famous secretary, Antonio Perez. He was
the legitimised son of Charles V.’s old secretary of state, and had been
brought up by Ruy Gomez in his household. Young as he was, he was
already famous for his extravagance, luxury, and arrogance, which added
to the hatred of the nobles of the Alba school against him. He was
overpoweringly vain and ambitious, but was facile, clever, and
ingratiating, and, above all, had the king’s confidence, which once
gained was not lightly withdrawn. Philip, in pursuance of his father’s
principle, liked to have about him as ministers men whom he himself had
raised from the mire, and whom he could again cast down.

Perez aspired to succeed to Ruy Gomez, and was dismayed to lose so
promising a member of his party as Don Juan. He therefore persuaded the
king to recall Don Juan’s secretary, Soto, who was blamed for
encouraging his young master’s visions; and, to be quite on the safe
side, sent in his place as the prince’s prime adviser another pupil and
page of Ruy Gomez, also a secretary to the king--Juan de Escobedo--with
strict orders that he was to bring Don Juan down from the clouds and
again instil into him the shibboleths of the party of diplomacy,
chicanery, and peace. With such a mentor surely the young prince could
not go wrong, they thought. But Don Juan was stronger than the
secretary. Juan de Escobedo was quickly gained over to his ambitious
views, more completely than Soto had been, and was soon perfectly crazy
to make his master Emperor of the Catholic East.


     The Spanish troops in Flanders--Don Juan sent to Flanders--His
     projects for invading England--Mutiny of the Spanish troops in
     Flanders--The Spanish fury--Evacuation of Flanders by the Spanish
     troops--Perez’s plot against Don Juan--The murder of Escobedo--Don
     Juan seizes Namur--Renewal of the war--The battle of
     Gemblours--Desperation of Don Juan--His death--Alexander Farnese.

Requesens, the Governor of the Netherlands, had died whilst his policy
of conciliation was as yet incomplete. The Catholic Flemings had been to
a great extent reconciled by promises of concessions and through their
jealousy of the Protestant Dutchmen, but the new governor had been
surrounded with insuperable difficulties from the first, legacies from
the Duke of Alba. Most of the seamen were disloyal, and the Flemish
clergy were disaffected, but withal Requesens had not been unsuccessful
amongst the peoples of the Walloon and southern states. No
blandishments, however, could win over the stubborn Dutchmen, now that
they were fighting for the faith and were supported by English and
French Protestants, as well as by the questionable German levies, who
generally turned tail at the critical moment. The Spaniards were beaten
out of their last foothold on Walcheren by the destruction of Julian
Romero’s relieving fleet, and the indomitable determination of the
citizens of Leyden overcame attack after a year of siege; but, worst of
all, the clamour of the Catholic Flemings that they should be relieved
of the presence of the mutinous, murderous, unpaid Spanish soldiery
could not be complied with, although promised, for there was no money to
pay the troops, and they would not budge without it. Philip, in despair,
at one time decided either to drown or burn all the revolting cities of
the Netherlands--burning he thought preferable, as it would seem less
cruel--but Requesens told him that his army was a mutinous mob, who
would not do either without pay. Attempts then were made to come to
terms with Orange, but without success, for, said Requesens, they are
not fighting for their heresy but for their independence. In despair at
last, Requesens died on March 5, 1576. The Spanish troops were more
mutinous than ever now, mere bandits most of them, and Philip was made
to understand clearly by his most faithful adherents in Flanders that
unless these ruffians were withdrawn, Brabant and Hainhault, Artois and
Flanders would follow Holland and Zeeland, and slip out of his grasp.

Philip bent to the inevitable, and ordered Don Juan to go to Flanders as
governor to carry out the policy of pacification at almost any cost. He
was instructed to proceed direct to his new post, and doubtless Philip
congratulated himself upon so good an opportunity of removing without
offence his ambitious brother from the neighbourhood of the
Mediterranean. Escobedo, his mentor, was warned strictly before he left
Spain that there must be no nonsense. Peace _must_ be made with the
Flemings at all sacrifice and the Spanish troops withdrawn from the
country. Don Juan’s ambition, however, was bounded by no frontiers, and
the pope (Gregory XIII.) had sent instructions to his nuncio to urge a
new plan upon Philip, namely, that he should allow Don Juan to invade
England from Flanders, liberate and marry the captive Queen of Scots,
and rule over a Catholic kingdom of Great Britain. Philip, as was his
wont, was vaguely benevolent to a plan which did not originate with
himself, but had no intention of allowing his policy to be dictated or
forced by others. Suddenly, to his dismay, Don Juan himself, in
disobedience to orders, came to Spain instead of going direct to
Flanders, the idea being doubtless to add his influence to that of the
pope and to prevail upon Philip to adopt his new plans. The king gently
evaded his brother’s importunities and his claims to be treated as an
imperial prince, and without losing temper dispatched Don Juan as soon
as possible on his uncongenial mission. But in his secret way he was
offended at the prince’s disobedience and the attempts to force his
hand, and thenceforward kept a sharp eye and a tight rein on Don Juan
and his adviser Escobedo. False Perez in the meanwhile wormed himself
into the confidence of Don Juan, and learnt that, in despite of the
king, he intended to swoop down upon the coast of England with the
Spanish troops which were to be withdrawn from Flanders.

But the loss of time by Don Juan’s disobedience and stay in Madrid was
fatal. Soon after Requesens’ death the Council of State, nominated by
Philip as temporary governors of Flanders, found themselves face to
face with a great crisis. The Spanish and Italian troops rebelled for
want of pay and broke into open mutiny, plundering friends and foes
without distinction. The council consisted mostly of Flemish and Walloon
Catholics, and was profoundly divided in sight of the murderous excesses
of the king’s soldiers. Brussels was held in the interests of the
council by Walloon troops, but they were surrounded by Spanish mutineers
outside. During the panic-stricken attempts of the council to bribe the
mutineers into obedience, a plot was formed by Barlemont, one of the
councillors, to admit the Spaniards into the city; but it was
discovered, and Barlemont deprived of the keys. Massacres were reported
at Alost and other towns; the excesses of the mutineers grew worse and
worse. Flemings of all sorts, Catholic and Protestant, lost patience,
and swore they would stand no more of it, but would fight for their
lives and homes. The council was forced to side with the Flemings,
except the Spanish member Rodas, who assumed alone the character of
Philip’s representative, and henceforward the Spanish army of
cut-throats, with their commanders, Sancho de Avila, Vargas, Mondragon,
and Romero, harried, burnt, and killed right and left.

Philip was in deep distress at the news. Money should be sent; Don Juan
would soon arrive; the offended Flemings should have justice done to
them, and so forth. But the blood-lust of the mutineers could not be
slaked now with fine promises. The council’s troops were defeated again
and again, town after town was ravaged, and at last came the time when
the bands of savage soldiers effected a junction and fell upon the
richest prey of all--the city of Antwerp. On the fatal November 4, 1576,
six thousand mutinous troops, panting for blood and plunder, swooped
down from the citadel on to the town. The citizens had done their best.
Barricades had been raised, the burgesses stood to their arms, and brave
Champigny, the governor,--De Granvelle’s brother, and hitherto a staunch
friend of the Spaniards,--worked heroically. But the Walloons fled,
young Egmont was captured, the citizens, unused to arms, were no match
for the veteran infantry of Sancho de Avila, and Antwerp soon lay a
panting quarry under the claws of the spoiler. Neither age, sex, nor
faith was considered, and when the fury had partly subsided it was found
that 6000 unarmed people, at least, had been slaughtered, 6,000,000
ducats’ worth of property stolen, and as much again burnt. The States
troops were all killed or had fled, and the only armed forces in the
country were the unbridled Spanish mutineers and the troops of Orange.
Flemings of each faith were welded together now against the wreckers of
their homes, and even those nobles who through all the evil past had
stood by Spain were at one with Orange and the Protestants of the north.

Don Juan had posted through France in the guise of a Moorish slave to
prevent delay and discovery, but when he reached Luxembourg he was given
to understand by the States that he could only be received as Philip’s
governor now, on certain terms to be dictated to him. This was gall and
wormwood to the proud young prince. Orange knew all about the fine plans
for the invasion of England, secret though they were thought to be, and
at his instance the States insisted upon the Spanish troops being
withdrawn overland, and not by sea. During the winter of 1576 and early
spring of 1577 Don Juan was kept haggling over the terms upon which he
was to be allowed by the Flemings to assume his governorship. The
States-General were assembled at Ghent, and consulted Orange at every
turn. They said that they had bought their liberty now with their blood,
and were not going to sell it again to a new master. Passionate prayers
from Don Juan and his secretary came to Philip by every post that they
should be allowed to fight it out; imploring requests for money and arms
to beat into “these drunken wineskins of Flemings” a sense of their
duty; often wild, incoherent, half-threatening expressions of disgust
and annoyance at the uncongenial task committed to the victor of
Lepanto. He was a soldier, he said, and could not do it; the more he
gave way the more insolent the Flemings became; a woman or a child could
do the work better than he. Escobedo’s letters to Perez, which of course
were shown to the king, were more desperate still. On February 7, 1577,
he wrote: “Oh, I am ready to hang myself, if I were not hoping to hang
those who injure us so. O Master Perez! how stubborn and hateful these
devils have been in hindering our plan. Hell itself must have spewed
forth this gang to thwart us so.” Don Juan himself was just as violent
in his letters. “O Antonio!” he wrote, “how certain for my sorrow and
misfortune is the frustration of our plans, just as they were so well
thought out and arranged.” Herein, it is clear, was the grievance; and
Philip’s grim face must have darkened as he saw the deceit his brother
sought to practise upon him, and how he was to be dragged by the
ambition of a bastard into a struggle with England, at a time when his
treasury was empty, his own states of Flanders in rebellion, and his
mind bent upon far-reaching combinations, which would all be frustrated
if his hand had thus been forced. Humiliating reconciliation with the
Catholic Flemings was nothing to this; and to his brother’s wild
remonstrance and protest he had but one answer, cold and precise--peace
must be made with any sacrifice, consistent only with his continued
sovereignty. At last by pledging his own honour and credit--for he
insolently told the king that no money could be obtained on
_his_--Escobedo borrowed means sufficient to persuade the troops to
march, and the mutinous rascals who had disgraced the name of soldiers
crossed the frontier to Italy amidst the curses of all Flanders. Then
Don Juan entered Brussels at last with the frantic rejoicing of a people
who had emancipated their country by their firmness. But his own face
was lowering, and rage and disappointment were at his heart. He had been
threatening for months to come back to Spain whether the king liked it
or not, and Perez ceaselessly whispered to Philip that now that the
prince’s ambition had been thwarted in one direction, it would strike
higher in another. We now know that Perez garbled and misrepresented Don
Juan’s words, suppressed portions of his letters, and persuaded Philip
that his brother designed treachery to him in Spain. The reason for this
is obvious. Don Juan and Escobedo had definitely drifted away from the
old party of Ruy Gomez, and his return to Spain would have secured a
preponderance to the Duke of Alba, and probably caused Perez’s
downfall. The principal members of the camarilla now were Perez’s
friends, the Marquis de los Velez and Cardinal Quiroga, both of whom
where in favour of peace; but with Don Juan and Alba present they would
be overruled, especially as Zayas, the other secretary of state, was a
creature of Alba.

When therefore Escobedo rushed over to Spain in July 1577 to arrange
about the payment of the loan he had guaranteed, Perez, after making two
unsuccessful attempts to poison him, had him stabbed one night (March
31, 1578) in the streets of Madrid. Perez asserted that the king had
authorised him to have the deed done six months before, and in this, no
doubt, he told the truth. In any case, great events followed upon this
apparently unimportant crime, as will be related in the proper place.
The Spanish troops had marched out of Flanders in the spring of 1577,
and before many weeks had passed Don Juan again found his position
intolerable. The tone of the Catholic Flemings had quite changed now.
They were loyal and cordial to him, but they let him see that they had
the whip hand, and meant to keep it. His plans had all miscarried; his
brother was cold and irresponsive and kept him without money; he was
isolated, powerless, and heartsick, and determined to end it. Margaret
de Valois, Catharine de Medici’s daughter, had gone to Hainhault on a
pretended visit to the waters of Spa, but really to sound the Catholic
Flemings about their accepting her brother Alençon for their sovereign.
Don Juan feigned the need to receive her, but he had plotted with
Barlemont to get together a force of Walloons upon whom he could depend.
They were hidden in a monastery, and after the prince had hastily
greeted Margaret, he suddenly collected his men, threw himself into the
fortress of Namur, and defied the States. Then began a fresh war, in
which Orange himself for the first time since his rebellion became the
arbiter of the Catholic Flemish States. Here was a fresh blow to Philip.
It was evident that his brother was one of those flighty, vaguely
ambitious, turbulent people, who are the worst possible instruments of
an absolute ruler. For over three months no letter reached Don Juan from
the king, whilst he chafed in Namur. “If,” he wrote to a friend, “God in
His goodness does not protect me, I do not know what I shall do, or what
will become of me. I wish to God I could, without offending my
conscience or my king, dash my brains out against a wall, or cast myself
over a precipice. They neglect me even to the extent of not answering my
letters.” In the meanwhile Orange entered Brussels in triumph, and
Catholics and Protestants made common cause for a time. But not for
long. The extreme Catholic party, under the Duke of Arschot, invited
secretly Philip’s young nephew and brother-in-law, the Archduke Mathias,
to assume the sovereignty of Flanders. The young prince--he was only
twenty, and a fool--escaped from Vienna and arrived at Brussels on
October 26, 1577. This was a blow to Don Juan in Namur, to Orange in
Brussels, and to Philip in Madrid. Philip met the danger at first by
masterly inactivity--in fact the solution might have been made not
altogether distasteful to him; Orange cleverly took the young archduke
under his wing, patronised, adopted, and disarmed him; and Don Juan
busied himself in his fortress settling with his friends outside the
recruiting of a Catholic force, whilst he was still quarrelling with the
States by letter. But by the end of October the Protestants in the
south, encouraged by the turn of affairs and the presence of Orange in
Brussels, turned upon their Catholic fellow-townsmen in Ghent, Bruges,
and elsewhere, and sought to avenge the cruelties perpetrated upon them
in the past by the Catholic Church. The Duke of Arschot and the
representatives of the Catholic States were seized and imprisoned whilst
in session at Ghent, and everywhere the Protestants and Orange seemed to
be sweeping the board. This was too much for Philip. The Archduke
Mathias as tributary sovereign under him of a Catholic Flanders, he
might have accepted, but the Prince of Orange and the Lutherans
paramount from Zeeland to the French frontier he could not stomach. So
the veteran Spanish and Italian infantry who had scourged Flanders
before, were recalled, under Alexander Farnese, the son of Margaret, who
had been the ruler of Flanders when the dissensions began, to the help
of Don Juan and to crush the Protestants. When Alexander and his troops
approached Namur, Orange and Mathias, side by side, were entering
Brussels in state. Elizabeth had insisted upon Orange being made
lieutenant-general with the real power, as a condition of her continued
aid to the States, for she was quite determined upon two points--first,
that no matter what union was effected between the States, the Catholic
party should never be paramount; and secondly, that the French should
not gain a footing there except under her patronage. She had some fear
on this latter point, for Catharine de Medici had long been intriguing
to obtain the sovereignty for her young son Alençon, who was already on
the frontier with a force of Huguenots, whilst the Guises had been
actively helping Don Juan in his recruiting of Catholics. When Parma had
arrived, and Don Juan’s new levies were ready, he marched out of Namur
on the last day of January 1578. The States troops, mostly Netherlanders
and German mercenaries, mustered 20,000 men, and Don Juan’s forces about
the same number. The prince, with Parma, led the centre of the latter
with the pope’s sacred banner floating over their heads. The same spirit
that had led him against the infidel inspired him now, and the banner
testified to it, for it bore the words under a crucifix: “Under this
emblem I vanquished the Turks; under the same will I conquer the
heretics.” And he did so, for on the plain of Gemblours the States
troops under De Goigny, with Egmont, Bossu, Champigny, La Marck, and
Arschot’s brother Havré, were routed completely, without loss on the
Spanish side. The honour of the day belongs to Alexander Farnese, who
with a dashing cavalry charge broke the enemy at a critical moment, the
only men who made any real resistance being the Scottish levies, 600
strong, under Colonel Balfour. These were saved from the carnage by Don
Juan’s intercession, but of the rest 6000 men were killed in fight, and
the prisoners hanged to a man.

Philip had had enough of his turbulent brother. He had promised the
envoys from the Catholic States that he should be withdrawn, and it was
privately understood when Alexander Farnese was appointed to go thither
that he should succeed the prince. But the latter for the present still
continued in command, reducing the towns of South Flanders one after the
other, and again issuing a proclamation in Philip’s name offering peace
to the States, on condition of the recognition of the Spanish
sovereignty and the predominance of the Catholic religion. The latter
condition meant the extermination of the Protestants by fire and sword,
and Orange could never accept it.

By the pacification of Ghent, which Don Juan had in principle confirmed,
religious toleration had been secured, and the States refused to go back
from that position, and again demanded the withdrawal of the
impracticable governor. Philip was, in fact, at his wits’ end what to do
with his brother. Perez had succeeded in persuading the king that Don
Juan’s object was to raise a revolution in Spain and try to grasp the
crown. He could not, therefore, be allowed to come back freely, nor
would the States endure him longer on any terms. He himself felt the
position to be an impossible one, and his letters to his private friends
in Madrid constantly hint at suicide as the only way out of the
difficulty, for he knew now that his faithful secretary Escobedo had
been assassinated in Madrid, and anticipated a similar shameful end for
himself. War to the knife against the States was his only resource, for
he was no diplomatist, but Philip, over his head, left no stone unturned
to try to tempt Orange to abandon his cause. Orange had a restive team
to drive, what with the Catholic majority and nobles, the Protestant
Dutchmen, the extreme Puritans, like Saint Aldegonde; Elizabeth of
England, the French Huguenots, the German mercenaries, and poor Mathias,
now an acknowledged failure. Nothing but the most consummate
statesmanship would serve him, and that he employed. Philip’s
temptations and Don Juan’s storming were equally disregarded. Alençon
and the Frenchmen were invited across the frontier to replace Mathias as
sovereign, and Havré was sent to Elizabeth to assure her that, unless
she helped the States effectually with men and money, they would be
obliged to accept the Frenchmen. This they knew she would never stand.
She disarmed Catharine de Medici with fresh approaches for a marriage
with Alençon, whilst she threatened to help Philip if the French were
allowed to set foot in Flanders except under her auspices. She smiled
upon Philip’s new ambassador Mendoza, and so managed that very shortly
Alençon had to retrace his steps to France, and the States had to look
to her alone for assistance, which she doled out judiciously, and so
kept them firm against the Spaniards. All through the spring and summer
of 1578 Don Juan struggled in toils from which he had not wit enough to
free himself. Heartrending appeals to his brother for guidance, for
money to organise a sufficient force to crush the States for good and
for all, prayers to be allowed to retire, were met with cold
irresponsiveness by Philip, prompted by Perez’s slanders, for Don Juan
must be ruined or Perez himself must fall. At last his chafing spirit
wore out his body. Constant fevers beset him, and in his letters to his
friends he began to predict that his days were drawing to an end,
whatever doctors might say. By the end of September he was delirious,
and on October 1 he died of malignant fever. There were naturally
whispers of poison, even from his confessor, but the details of his
illness given by the physicians in attendance leave no doubt that he
died a natural death, although his death certainly relieved Philip of an
unendurable position, and allowed Farnese, an infinitely superior man,
to take advantage of the strong Catholic national feeling in Belgium to
separate the nobles and peoples of the south from Orange and the
Dutchmen, and so eventually to reserve Catholic Flanders to the Spanish
connection for many years to come.


     Philip’s ineffectual action against Elizabeth--The Desmond
     rebellion--Philip’s conquest of Portugal--Recall of Alba and
     Granvelle to Philip’s councils--Don Antonio, Prior of O
     Crato--Death of Anne of Austria--Philip in Portugal--Flight of
     Antonio--His reception in England and France--The Duke of
     Alençon--Philip and Mary Stuart--James Stuart--Fresh proposals of
     the Scottish Catholics to Philip--Philip and Granvelle’s views with
     regard to England--Lennox and the Jesuits mismanage the
     plot--Philip’s claim to the English crown--Expulsion of Mendoza
     from England--The English exiles urge Philip to invade
     England--Sixtus V.--Intrigues in Rome--The Babington plot.

Philip’s advisers had for many years been urging him to adopt reprisals
against Elizabeth for her treatment of him. We have seen why, on account
both of policy and necessity, he had not done so by a direct attack. His
indirect attempts at retaliation had been quite ineffectual. He had
subsidised Mary Stuart, he had found money for the northern rebellion,
he had listened to proposals for killing the Queen of England at his
cost, he had countenanced Stukeley’s wild plans for the capture of
Ireland, and he had attempted to avenge the English depredations on his
commerce by stopping English trade and persecuting English traders for
heresy. But in every case the result had been disastrous for him.
Elizabeth’s aid to the Protestants in Holland was bolder and more
effectual than ever, English sailors mocked at his attempts to stop
trade by ruining his own ports, and the Englishmen punished by the
Inquisition were avenged by increased severity against the Catholic
party in England and Ireland. But still he was constantly assured that
the only way to disarm Elizabeth against him was to “set fire to her own
doors” by arousing rebellion in Ireland and aggression of the Catholic
party in Scotland.

Dr. Sanders had induced the pope to interest himself in favour of James
Fitzmaurice, the brother of the Earl of Desmond, and had himself
obtained the title of the pope’s nuncio. They landed in Ireland with a
small Spanish and Italian force in June 1579, but Elizabeth, through
Walsingham’s spies, was well informed of the movement, and was quite
prepared to deal with it. Philip was willing that others should weaken
his enemy so long as no responsibility was incurred by him, and
Elizabeth was not further irritated against him. When, however,
Fitzmaurice and Sanders found themselves overmatched, and appeals were
made direct to Philip to aid them by sending an armed force to Ireland,
he demurred. Fitzmaurice was ready to promise anything for aid, and the
nuncio at Madrid did his best to inflame Philip’s religious zeal. But he
could not afford to come to open war with England, and, although he
consented to subscribe 25,000 ducats out of the revenues of the
archbishopric of Toledo if the pope would subscribe a similar amount,
and promised to find arms and ammunition, he provided that the fresh
expedition should sail from Spain under the papal flag and be organised
ostensibly by the nuncio. The commanders, moreover, were to be all
Italians, and the Spanish recruits were to be enlisted privately. The
semi-concealment was quite ineffectual in hoodwinking Elizabeth, and the
ill-starred little expedition was all slaughtered at Smerwick in Dingle
Bay (November 1580), as James Fitzmaurice’s force had been previously.
John of Desmond and the Italian commanders had assured Philip only a
month before the massacre, that they would require 8000 footmen and
large stores of arms before they could effect any useful end. But this
would have meant open war with England, and for this he was not
prepared. Once more he proved that his advisers were wrong, and that he
could only curb Elizabeth with overwhelming force, which he had neither
the means nor the desire to employ at the present juncture. He continued
to urge upon his new ambassador that she must be kept in a good humour
at all costs. It was not an easy task, for she was more defiant than
ever now. She knew Philip had his hands full, and the attempted invasion
of Ireland was made the most of for years by her, as an excuse for all
she did in Flanders and elsewhere to injure him. It was an unfortunate
move for Philip, as it afforded Elizabeth a good grievance against him,
and forced him into the weak position of having to justify his action by
throwing the responsibility upon the pope.

Philip had at this time (1579) special reasons for dreading an open
rupture with England, for he had for some time past been planning a
stroke which would, if successful, enormously increase his power for
harm at sea, in relation to both France and England. In August 1578
Sebastian of Portugal, the only son of Philip’s sister, Juana--as much a
victim of atavism as was his cousin, Don Carlos--perished in his mad
crusade against the Moors, and his successor on the throne was the aged,
childless cardinal, King Henry. He was recognised as being only a
stop-gap, and after him the claimants were numerous, mostly descended,
although in different degrees, from the king, Don Manoel. The Duchess of
Braganza was daughter of his son Duarte, Philip was son of the elder
daughter of Don Manoel, the Duke of Savoy was a son of the younger
daughter, Beatrix, whilst the children of Alexander Farnese were the
offspring of a younger sister of the Duchess of Braganza. The most
popular pretender, however, was Don Antonio, Prior of O Crato, an
illegitimate son of Luis, a younger son of Don Manoel.

The fundamental laws of Lamego, now believed to be apocryphal, but then
accepted as genuine, excluded foreigners from the throne, but Philip
asserted that a Spanish king was not a foreigner in Portugal, and began
his intrigues for the succession immediately after Sebastian’s death.
The Perez party had managed to get the old Duke of Alba disgraced and
sent into arrest on an absurdly inadequate charge of conniving at his
son’s marriage against the king’s wish, and De Granvelle had remained in
honourable exile from Spain for many years. But when the great task of
winning Portugal had to be undertaken, Philip knew that glib, brilliant
Perez, with his biting tongue and ready pen, was not the instrument he
wanted; so the stern soldier and the crafty statesman were recalled to
their master’s councils. It was a black day for Perez, although he
probably did not realise at the time how fatal it was to be. During the
short reign of the cardinal-king, money and intrigue were lavished on
all hands to corrupt and terrorise the Portuguese nobles to Philip’s
side; the aged king himself was finally worried into his grave by
pressure exerted upon him to approve of Philip’s claim, and when he
died, the council of regency left by him were by various means coerced
into accepting the King of Spain as their sovereign. But not so the
Portuguese people or the clergy; they clung, almost all of them, to the
Prior of O Crato, the popular native claimant, ambitious, ready, and
sanguine, for the Portuguese bitterly hated the Spaniards, and the true
native heiress, the Duchess of Braganza, was timid and unready; and
before Philip and Alba could arrive Antonio was acclaimed the national
sovereign. Around him all that was patriotic grouped itself, and for a
short time he ruled as king. Philip was moving on to Portugal with that
“leaden foot” of which he was so proud, and by the autumn of 1580 he had
reached Badajoz, on the frontier. Here he fell ill of the mysterious
disease we call influenza, which was afflicting Europe at the time. His
devoted fourth wife, Anne, who accompanied him, prayed that her life
might be taken for his. Her prayer was heard. She died (October 25) and
Philip lived, but the loss deepened his gloom, and in the two years that
he was away from Madrid his yellow beard turned nearly white, and he
came back an old and broken man. How his icy heart turned to his
children at the time may be seen by the letters he constantly wrote to
his elder girls during his absence, full of love and tenderness.
However weary and sad he might be, no courier was allowed to leave
without playful accounts of his adventures, and kindly little messages
to the three orphan children of his last wife. Soon two out of the three
followed their mother to the grave, and only three-year-old Philip was
left as his father’s heir.

Relentlessly Alba swept down upon Lisbon, as years before he had pounced
upon the Netherlands, and crushed the life out of Portuguese patriotism.
There was no question of creed to stiffen men’s backs here, no William
of Orange to organise and lead them. The yielding Portuguese were made
of different stuff from the stubborn “beggars of the sea,” and Alba rode
roughshod over them with but little resistance. King Antonio was soon a
fugitive, hunted from town to town, holding out for a few weeks in one
fortress, only to be starved into another, proclaimed a bastard and a
rebel, with a great price upon his head; and yet he wandered for eight
months amongst the mountains, safe from betrayal by the peasants whose
native king he was. In the meanwhile Philip was solemnly accepted as
king by the Portuguese Cortes at Thomar (April 3, 1581) with all the
pomp of ancient ceremonial. He was in the deep mourning which he wore
for the rest of his life, and he tells his little girls in a letter at
the time how his heart turned away from the finery which accompanied
him. Then slowly he came to Lisbon to be crowned, whilst the defeated
Antonio fled to France and thence to England, to be a thorn in his side
for the rest of his life.

The accession of power thus accruing to Philip was a great blow both to
England and France. Granvelle’s management of affairs had been so
masterly that all legal forms had been complied with in Portugal; the
regents and the Cortes had acknowledged Philip as king, and Elizabeth
and Catharine had no excuse for open interference, although what could
be done by private intrigue was effected. Catharine, indeed, had set up
a nebulous far-fetched claim of her own to the Portuguese crown, to
obtain some _locus standi_ in the affair, but this did not prevent her
from opening her arms to the other claimant, Don Antonio, when he
arrived in France. He came to England in July 1581, and was made much of
by the queen. In vain did Mendoza, Philip’s ambassador, demand his
surrender as a rebel. Elizabeth said that she had not yet made up her
mind to help him, though he was no rebel, but King of Portugal, but she
had quite decided not to surrender him to be killed. He was too valuable
a card in her hand for her to let him go, and she made the most of him.
Elizabeth’s and Catharine’s first retort to Philip’s assumption of the
Portuguese sovereignty was a pretence of cordial friendship for each
other, and the resumption of active negotiations for Elizabeth’s
marriage with Alençon. Orange was determined to attract once more to his
side the Flemish Catholics, whom Parma’s diplomacy had estranged from
the rebel cause. He considered that the best way to do this was to
invest Alençon--a Catholic prince--with the sovereignty of the States.
Elizabeth would not allow the French as a nation to gain a footing in
Flanders, but her plan was to make Alençon dependent upon her in hopes
of a marriage, to disarm his brother by the same means, and to secure
that any French interference with Flanders must be of Huguenots, under
her control. It suited Catharine to play the game for the purpose of
reducing Philip to extremities in Flanders, and rendering him less able
to resist attack in Portugal, whilst giving him no excuse for an open
quarrel with the French nation. All the aid, therefore, given to Don
Antonio was in the name of Catharine herself, as a claimant to the
Portuguese crown, and both in this matter and in Flemish affairs Henry
III. himself affected to stand aloof in disapproval.

It was an artful plan, but it was not to be expected that the Guises
would stand by inactive whilst they saw their king’s only brother and
heir being drawn further into the toils of the Huguenots and the
Protestant Queen of England, and they soon delivered their counter-blow.
As Catharine’s enmity to Philip became more pronounced, the Guises had
drawn closer to him as the champion of Catholicism, of which cause they
were the representatives in France. In February 1580, accordingly, the
Archbishop of Glasgow, the Scottish ambassador in Paris, told Philip’s
ambassador there that he and Guise had prevailed upon Mary Stuart to
place her interests and influence unreservedly in Philip’s hands, and to
send her son James to Spain, to have him brought up and married there,
as the King of Spain wished. This was very important, because Philip had
always been paralysed in his action with regard to Mary by the
consideration that her accession to the throne of England would make the
Guises--Frenchmen--paramount there. But if Mary and the Guises were
henceforward to be his humble servants, the whole position was changed.
Vargas, the ambassador, so understood it. “Such,” he says, “is the
present condition of England, with signs of revolt everywhere, the
queen in alarm, the Catholic party numerous, Ireland disturbed, and
distrust aroused by your Majesty’s fleet, ... that if so much as a cat
moved, the whole fabric would crumble down in three days, beyond
repair.... If your Majesty had England and Scotland attached to you,
directly or indirectly, you might consider the States of Flanders
conquered, in which case you ... could lay down the law for the whole
world.” Guise’s detachment from French interests made all the
difference, and this marked a change of Philip’s policy towards England,
which, as will be shown, ultimately led him into the quagmire of the
Armada. Mary, unfortunately for herself, was always ready for a plot
against her enemy; and Beaton assured Vargas shortly afterwards that she
would not leave prison except as Queen of England. The Catholics were so
numerous, said Beaton, that if they rose, it would be easy, even without
assistance; but if the King of Spain helped, the result would be prompt
and undoubted. Almost simultaneously with this Morton fell, and the
Catholic party in Scotland gained the upper hand.

James’s cousin, D’Aubigny, Lennox, was now paramount in Scotland, and
with his connivance the country had been flooded by Jesuit missionaries
from seminaries largely depending upon Philip’s bounty. The priests had
gone with the single-hearted desire to re-convert Scotland to the faith,
and innocent of political aims at first; but the Jesuit organisation,
which in its earlier years had met with much opposition from the Spanish
clergy, and especially the Inquisition, had now been assimilated with
Philip’s policy, and doubtless its leaders foresaw the political uses
to which the propaganda might be turned, as certainly did Mary Stuart
and Mendoza, Philip’s ambassador in London, who were prime movers in it.
Philip was willing enough to accept the tempting offer of Mary and
Guise, especially when it reached him soon after in a more direct way by
the despatch of Fernihurst by D’Aubigny to Madrid. The death of Vargas,
the Spanish ambassador in Paris, shelved the matter for a time, but in
April 1581 Mary Stuart reopened negotiations with the new ambassador,
Tassis. She assured him, for Philip’s information, that things were
never more favourably disposed for Scotland to be taken in hand, with a
view to dealing with England subsequently. She begged that a formal
alliance should be signed between Scotland and Spain, and that a Spanish
force should then be sent to Ireland, to be ready for the invasion of
Scotland when summoned. Her son, she said, was determined to return to
the Catholic faith, and she intended that he should be sent to Spain for
that purpose, and for his marriage to Philip’s satisfaction.

Philip, however, wished to be quite sure that James was sincere in his
religious professions before helping him to the English succession. He
knew that the King of Scots, young as he was, had already established
his fame as a master of deceit. He, James, had told the Jesuit fathers
who were labouring in Scotland that “though for certain reasons it was
advisable for him to appear publicly in favour of the French, he in his
heart would rather be Spanish”; but he knew Father Persons and his
companions were sustained by Spanish money, and that his expressions
would eventually reach Philip. But, to his mother’s despair, he would
never pledge himself too firmly. In January 1582 Mary herself was
somewhat doubtful of her son’s religious sincerity. “The poor child,”
she said, “is so surrounded by heretics that she had only been able to
obtain the assurance that he would listen to the priests she sent him.”
For her own part, she was determined that in future she would bind
herself and her son exclusively to Philip, and to none other.

James blew hot and cold, and the Catholic nobles began to recognise that
he was too slippery to be depended upon; so they came to a very
momentous conclusion. They sent Father Holt to London to convey a
message to a person to whom he was to be introduced by a disguised
priest. To Holt’s surprise and alarm, the person was Mendoza, the
Spanish ambassador, for he, like most of the missionaries, had up to
that time no idea that a political object underlay their propaganda. His
message was to the effect that if James remained obstinate, the Catholic
nobles had decided to depose him, and either convey him abroad or hold
him prisoner until Mary arrived in Scotland. They besought the guidance
of Philip in the matter, and begged that 2000 foreign troops might be
sent to them to carry out their design. The message was conveyed to Mary
in a softened form, in order not to arouse her maternal solicitude, and
Mendoza begged Philip to send the troops, “with whom the Scots might
encounter Elizabeth, and the whole of the English north country, where
the Catholics are in a majority, would be disturbed. The opportunity
would be taken by the Catholics in the other parts of the country to
rise when they knew they had on their side a more powerful prince than
the King of Scotland.”

Philip was on the Portuguese frontier at the time, and De Granvelle was
the principal minister in Madrid. He warmly seconded Mendoza’s
recommendations that troops should be sent to the Scots Catholics. “The
affair is so important,” he says, “both for the sake of religion and to
bridle England, that no other can equal it, because by keeping the Queen
of England busy we shall be ensured against her helping Alençon or
daring to obstruct us in any other way.” The Scots nobles were anxious
that the foreign force should not be large enough to threaten their
liberties, and De Granvelle agreed with this. “This is not what his
Majesty wants, nor do I approve of it, but that we should loyally help
the King of Scots and his mother to maintain their rights, and by
promoting armed disturbance, keep the Queen of England and the French
busy at a comparatively small cost to ourselves, and so enable us to
settle our own affairs better.... It is very advantageous that the
matter should be taken in hand by the Duke of Guise, as it will ensure
us against French obstruction. Since we cannot hope to hold the island
for ourselves. Guise will not try to hand it over to the King of France
to the detriment of his own near kinswoman.” Thus far it is evident that
there was no thought in Philip’s councils of invading and absorbing
England in his own dominions.

It will be noted that these new proposals of the Scots Catholics had not
been made through Tassis and Guise in Paris, as the previous approaches
had been, but through Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador in London, who
had been very active in the matter of the religious propaganda, and who
had entirely gained Mary’s confidence. So long as the negotiations were
kept in their hands, all was conducted wisely and prudently, and
doubtless some such arrangement as that suggested would have resulted.
But the folly of Lennox and the political ineptitude of the Jesuit
missionaries frustrated the whole design. In March 1582 the former wrote
a foolish letter to Tassis, which he sent to Paris by Creighton, laying
bare the whole plan and giving his adhesion to it, but making all manner
of inflated demands. Creighton, he said, had promised him 15,000 foreign
troops, of which he was to have the command; and he asked for a vast sum
of money, and a personal guarantee against loss of fortune. Creighton
also sent to Guise and brought him into the business, and Jesuit
emissaries were appointed to go direct to Rome and Madrid to ask for
aid. Mary and Mendoza were furious, particularly the former, that she
should be endangered by her name being used as the head of the
conspiracy. Creighton had no authority whatever to promise 15,000 men,
nor would the Scottish nobles have accepted such a number, and the idea
that Lennox should command them was absurd. Philip took fright at the
large number of persons who were now privy to the affair, and gave
orders that nothing further was to be done. Guise, ambitious and
officious, as usual, also wanted to take a prominent share in the
direction of the enterprise. He began to make large and vague proposals
for a strong mixed force to be sent from Italy under the papal flag,
whilst he and his Frenchmen made a descent upon the coast of Sussex, his
evident object being to prevent a purely Spanish expedition being sent.
Granvelle and Philip very soon saw whither the affair was drifting, and
nipped it in the bud. They had only been induced to listen to it on the
assumption that the Guises where to work exclusively for Spanish
interests. The moment the contrary appeared, the proposal lost its
attractions for them. It is true that at this time Philip had no
intention of conquering England for himself, but Mary and James must owe
their crown to him alone, and be forced to restore the close alliance
between England and the House of Burgundy, or the change would be
useless to him. Too much French or Italian aid or Guisan influence
spoilt the business for his purpose. But there was still another reason.
He had a large number of English Catholic refugees living on pensions
from him in France, Flanders, and Spain; and they and Sir Francis
Englefield, his English secretary, ceaselessly represented to him their
national dislike and distrust of the French, their secular enemies, and
their jealousy of any plan that should make the Frenchified Scots
masters of England. Almost with one accord the English Catholics urged
this view upon Philip and the Spaniards. All England, they said, would
welcome a Catholic restoration if it came from their old friends, the
Spaniards, but the attempt would fail if it were made under the auspices
of their old enemies, the French. Philip’s policy thenceforward
gradually changed. With the Raid of Ruthven and the fall of Lennox he
saw that for the time the Protestants had conquered, and the plans of
the Scottish Catholics were at an end. Guise was to be flattered and
conciliated, but all Philip’s efforts in future were to confine his
attentions to France, and to alienate him from English and Scottish
affairs. He was told how dangerous it would be for him to leave France
with the Huguenots in possession, and Spanish support was lavishly
promised to him for his ambitious plans at home.

Guise was flattered but dissatisfied, and sent emissaries to Scotland
and the pope to endeavour to keep alive the plan of landing foreign
troops in Scotland. James pretended to be strongly favourable, but
Philip purposely threw cold water on the plans whilst appearing to
entertain them, to prevent anything being done without his knowledge. In
May 1583 Guise had a new design. Philip and the pope were to find
100,000 crowns, and Guise would have Elizabeth murdered, whilst he
landed in England and raised the country. Father Allen and the English
exiles frowned upon such “chatter and buckler-play,” as they called it.
They would not have any Scotch control over England, they declared, but
would rather the affair were carried through by Spaniards.

They had a plan of their own. A Spanish force was to be landed in
Yorkshire, accompanied by Westmoreland, Dacre, and other nobles, with
Allen as papal nuncio. Guise heard of this, and wished to co-operate by
landing 5000 men in the south of England at the same time. He sent word
of it to James, who professed to be favourable; he sent Charles Paget in
disguise to England to arrange a place for his landing; he despatched an
envoy to the pope to ask for money and to explain the whole plan. When
Philip learned all this he was naturally angry, and it is clear, from
the notes he has scrawled upon the papers sent to him, that he was
determined that in future Guise should have nothing more to do with his
English and Scottish policy. What opened Philip’s eyes more than
anything else was Guise’s pledge to the English Catholics that his one
object was to restore religion in England and place Mary Stuart on the
throne; “and when this is effected, the foreigners will immediately
retire. If any one attempts to frustrate this intention, Guise promises
that he and his forces will join the English to compel the foreigners to
withdraw.” Well might Philip scatter notes of exclamation around this
passage, for thenceforward he knew that in English affairs Guise was his
rival, and that Allen and the English Catholics were wise in insisting
that England must be taken in hand directly by Spain, and not through
Scotland and the Guises. The Marquis of Santa Cruz, Philip’s great
admiral, had just scattered the fleet that Catharine de Medici had aided
Don Antonio to fit out to hold the Azores; and in the flush of victory
he wrote, in August 1583, begging his master to let him conquer England
in the name of God and Spain. Philip was not quite ready for this yet,
but the idea was germinating, for the English exiles were for ever
pointing out that this was the only course, and that his own descent
from Edward III. Plantagenet gave him a good claim to the crown after
Mary Stuart, her son being excluded by his heresy.

At last, in 1583, Philip instructed his ambassador in Paris to hint
discreetly at his claims to the English crown. If he was to keep in
close alliance with England, which was necessary for him, it is
difficult to see what other course he could have taken. James was out of
the question now as a successor to his mother, and Elizabeth’s action in
allowing her suitor Alençon to cross over from England to Flanders, and
under her auspices receive the investiture of the sovereignty of
Philip’s patrimonial domain, proved finally that reconciliation with her
personally was impossible. Mendoza, Philip’s ambassador in England, had
been implicated in Throgmorton’s plot, and was ignominiously expelled
from the country. Thenceforward for twenty years all direct diplomatic
relations between the two countries ceased, and a state of war
practically existed. Slowly the idea of the invasion of England grew
under the influence of the English exiles, but the Scottish Catholics,
the Guises, and the papacy were unwearied in their attempts to alter the
plan. James himself, seeing how matters were drifting, again feigned a
desire to become a Catholic, and sent fervent protestations to Philip
and the pope, whilst Guise continued to urge his plan for a landing in
Scotland and an invasion of England over the Border under James. The
English exiles declared that, if such a course were taken the English
Catholics themselves would resist the invasion, as they were determined
the Scots should not rule their country. At last Philip had seriously to
warn the pope that, if the English affair was to be effected, it must be
done by Spain in a very powerful way, and with large money aid from the
pope, Guise being told from Rome that he must not leave France, where he
might serve the Catholic cause better than elsewhere. To aid in this
Philip took care to promote religious disturbance in France, which would
paralyse Henry III. and the Huguenots from helping Elizabeth, and Guise
from promoting the interests of his kinsman James.

Sixtus V. was elected pope as the result of a secret intrigue, after the
nominees of Philip and the French had both been set aside. He was
therefore not a humble instrument of the Spanish policy, and was a wise,
frugal, and moderate pontiff, ambitious to signalise his reign by some
great religious service, but not desirous of serving Philip’s political
ends. The College of Cardinals was divided into three parties: those who
were strongly in favour of the French view, which aimed at an
arrangement with Elizabeth and James, and desired to exclude Spanish
influence from England; those who were for Philip through thick and
thin; and the “politicals,” who went with the stronger party.

Olivares, the ambassador, and the Spanish cardinals were bold and
untiring in forwarding Philip’s wishes; but the pope was to be carefully
kept in the dark with regard to his intention to claim the English crown
for himself. The cause of religion was invoked as being his only motive,
inconvenient points were left indefinite, with the certainty that
Caraffa, the secretary of state, would take a pro-Spanish view when the
time came. It was to be hinted to the pope that Philip could not
undertake the invasion to benefit the heretic James, and that the cause
of religion demanded that a sovereign whose orthodoxy was undoubted
should be substituted for him as Mary’s successor; but, if the pope
asked questions as to who was indicated, only vague answers were to be
given to him. At last, partly by cajolery, partly by threats, Olivares
contrived to obtain a written pledge that the pope would give the
investment of the English realm to the person to be nominated by Philip,
and would subscribe 1,000,000 gold crowns to the enterprise, the first
instalment of which was only to be paid after the landing on English
soil. Sixtus was only brought to this after infinite haggling and
misgiving, for Olivares represents him in most insulting and
undiplomatic language to Philip, as a silly, miserly, petulant,
garrulous old man, which probably meant that the pontiff did not meekly
accept the orders of the arrogant minister, at all events without some
slight hesitation. Philip was told that the pope did not dream that the
crown of England would be claimed by him, but that when he learned the
truth he would certainly oppose it. To this the invariable reply was
that he must be shown how necessary it was for a good Catholic to be
chosen to succeed Mary, and, if he mentioned the name of any particular
person, he was to be reminded that he had agreed to abide by Philip’s

In the meanwhile Allen and the English pensioners continued to propagate
the idea of Philip’s own right by birth to succeed Mary owing to the
heresy of James, and this view was forced upon Mary herself by Mendoza
and her confidants in Paris, who were all in Philip’s pay. At length she
was convinced, and in June 1586 she wrote to Mendoza in Paris, giving
the important news that by her will she had disinherited her son in
favour of the King of Spain.

Just previous to this, Ballard had called upon Mendoza in Paris, and
said he had been sent by certain Catholic gentlemen in England to say
that they had arranged to kill Elizabeth, either by poison or steel, and
they begged for Philip’s countenance and reward after the deed was done.
This was the first word of the Babington plot, and after the reception
of Mary’s important letter by Mendoza, Gifford arrived in Paris, and
gave full particulars of the widespread conspiracy for Philip’s
information. By this time too many people were concerned in the affair
to please Philip’s stealthy methods. Mendoza’s zeal had already outrun
his discretion; he had written a letter to the conspirators hotly
approving the design as one “worthy of the ancient valour of
Englishmen,” and promising them ample support from the Netherlands when
the deed was done. He proposed, further, that they should kill Don
Antonio and his adherents, Cecil, Walsingham, Hunsdon, Knollys, and
Beal. Philip was not squeamish, but even he disapproved of the proposal
to murder Cecil, who, he said, was “very old and had done no harm.” His
approval of the rest of the plan is very characteristic of him. “The
affair is so much in God’s service that it certainly deserves to be
supported, and we must hope that our Lord will prosper it, unless our
sins be an impediment thereto.” He for his part will do all that is
asked of him “as soon as the principal execution is effected. Above all,
_that_ should be done swiftly.” But he blamed Mendoza for his incautious
letters, and expressed fears that they might be betrayed. He himself was
so careful of secrecy that he even kept the matter from Farnese. He sent
two letters for him to Mendoza, the first simply instructing him to
prepare the forces, and the other only to be delivered after the queen’s
murder, giving him final instructions as to their destination. This was
in September 1586, and before Mendoza received the letters Walsingham’s
heavy hand had fallen on the conspirators. It was all confessed, the
letters had been intercepted, the great conspiracy was unmasked, and
Mary Stuart’s doom was sealed, whilst Mendoza’s proved complicity still
further embittered Elizabeth against Philip.


     The Infanta to be Queen of England--Approaches of the Scottish
     Catholic lords to Philip--Execution of Mary Stuart--Intrigues for
     the English succession--Drake’s expedition to Cadiz--The peace
     negotiations with Farnese--Preparations for the Armada--Sailing of
     the Armada from Lisbon--Its return to Vigo--Medina Sidonia advises
     its abandonment--Its strength--Engagements with the English--Panic
     at Calais--Final defeat--Causes of the disaster--Philip’s reception
     of the news.

The principle of a direct Spanish invasion of England had now been
adopted by Philip as the only means of getting rid of Elizabeth, and
again uniting the country to him in a close alliance. He clearly foresaw
that the absorption of Great Britain into his own dominions would be
resisted to the last by France, the pope, and most of the Italian
princes, as well as by Protestants everywhere, and that the opposition
would be too strong for him to overcome. He therefore decided to
nominate as sovereign his favourite elder daughter, Isabel Clara
Eugenia, whose mother, it will be recollected, was a French princess,
and a daughter of Catharine de Medici. He probably thought by this
nomination to minimise the opposition of France, and that the pope would
be conciliated.

The Scottish Catholics and Guise, however, did not relish the changed
position. They were being thrust further and further into the
background, and they accordingly made a determined attempt once again to
place themselves in the forefront. Guise saw that the influence of the
Scottish-French party in the Vatican and near Philip was powerless to
overcome that of the Jesuits, Allen and the English exiles, supplemented
by Philip’s own interests, and he therefore intrigued for the pressure
to be brought to bear from Scotland itself upon Philip. He arranged for
Huntly, Morton, and Claude Hamilton to send an emissary, Robert Bruce,
under his (Guise’s) auspices to Philip, offering him, if they where
supported, to restore the Catholic religion in Scotland, to compel James
to become a Catholic, and to release Mary, and, above all, “to deliver
into his Majesty’s hands at once, or when his Majesty thinks fit, one or
two good ports in Scotland near the English border to be used against
the Queen of England.” They asked for 6000 foreign troops paid for a
year and 150,000 crowns to equip their own clansmen.

There had been great difference of opinion in Philip’s councils as to
the advisability of invading England through Scotland or direct. It was
conceded that the former would be more convenient, but that for the
reasons already stated it would be unpopular with the English Catholics.
But Santa Cruz and all of Philip’s most experienced advisers had
continued to urge upon him the need of having some ports of refuge in
the Channel or the North Sea; and the offer of the Scottish nobles
seemed to provide this, as well as furnishing a diversion in the north,
which would greatly harass Elizabeth. Bruce arrived in Madrid in
September 1586, and met with kindly but vague encouragement from Philip,
who suggested that Bruce should go to Rome and ask the pope for the
money, which he knew to be impracticable. In fact, the plans of the
Armada were now matured and in full preparation, and although the offer
of the Scottish lords was tempting, Philip was determined that Guise
should have no share in his enterprise. Farnese and Mendoza were
requested to report upon the proposal, with a view of obtaining, if
possible, the advantages offered by the Scots without Guise’s
interference. Mendoza was strongly favourable; Farnese was cool and
doubtful. He resented Philip’s half confidence in him, and perhaps also
the complete ignoring of his children’s claim to the English crown,
which was at least as good as Philip’s. He declined to give an opinion
until he knew what were Philip’s real intentions in the invasion.

Mendoza was strongly in favour of immediately closing with the Scottish
offer. He pointed out that to attack England by sea was to strike her in
her strongest place, whilst a disaster to the Armada, in which all the
national resources had been pledged, would bring irretrievable ruin. But
Philip and Farnese were slow, and wanted all sorts of guarantees and
assurances, which kept Bruce in Flanders and France for months, whilst
his principals, sick of vague half-promises, lost heart, and talked of
going over to the Protestant side, on a pledge that their religion
should be tolerated. Then Bruce was sent back with 10,000 crowns to
freight a number of small boats at Leith and send them to Dunkirk for
Parma’s troops; and the 150,000 crowns demanded by the Scottish lords
were promised when they rose. This was kept from Guise, but he knew all
about it from his spies in Scotland, and was intensely wroth. Catharine
de Medici also learnt of the matter, and thought it a good opportunity
of ridding herself of Guise and checkmating Philip at the same time. She
therefore offered Guise a large subsidy if he would go and help his
kinsman James to the crown. He thought wiser, however, to divulge the
Spanish plot to James himself. Elizabeth also informed James, so that
when Bruce arrived in Scotland the artful young king was forewarned, and
was only vaguely courteous in his reception of the hints that the
Spaniard would help him to avenge his mother. He was indeed now
surrounded by Protestant ministers, and fully understood that he had
more to hope for from Elizabeth than from Philip, a view indeed which
Elizabeth and her party lost no opportunity of impressing upon him.

In the meanwhile the execution of Mary Stuart had somewhat altered
Philip’s position in relation to England. It became now necessary that
the question of his title to the crown should be settled at once, and
the pope was cautiously approached with the suggestion that he should
give the investiture to the Infanta Isabel. Allen was employed to assure
his Holiness of the desire of the English Catholics that she should be
their sovereign, and to ply him with genealogical essays and pedigrees
proving her right. Cardinal Deza too, the savage bigot who had so
fiercely harried the Moriscos in Andalucia, was prompted to inflame the
pope’s zeal by showing him that only under Philip’s auspices could
Catholicism be firmly established in England. In the meanwhile the
Scottish party, led by Chisholm, Bishop of Dunblane, with the English
Pagets and others, were full of plans for converting James. One
persuasive churchman after another was sent to tackle him, but the wily
Stuart was not to be caught, and it came to nothing. Philip expressed
and showed the deepest grief for the death of Mary Stuart, and fulfilled
her dying wishes most scrupulously, at great cost to himself. There is
no reason to doubt the sincerity of his sorrow, especially as her death
added considerably to the immediate difficulties he had to overcome.
Whilst the intrigues continued in Rome--on Philip’s side to obtain
further aid from the pope, to secure the appointment of Allen as
cardinal, and the recognition of the Infanta as Queen of England, and on
the other side to secure the pontiff’s support of the Franco-Scottish
plans for James Stuart’s conversion, or even an arrangement with
Elizabeth--through all the year 1587 the ports and arsenals of Spain and
Portugal were busy with the preparations for the great expedition. Don
Antonio was in England now, clamouring for armed aid against his enemy,
his every action watched by Philip’s spies; and from them news reached
Spain that a considerable force was being fitted out under Drake in
England in Antonio’s interests again to attack the Azores, or to plunder
the treasure ships from the Indies. But suddenly the dreaded Drake with
his fleet appeared off Cadiz on April 18.[2] Elizabeth had only with
great unwillingness allowed him to sail for Spain, and had warned him
not to do too much harm, but to watch what was being done. As usual, as
soon as he was out of sight of England he took his own course, placed
his vice-admiral, Borough, under arrest for reminding him not to exceed
the queen’s orders, and entered Cadiz harbour, to the dismay of the
Spaniards. He plundered, burned, and sunk all the ships in the port, and
destroyed all the stores he could lay hands upon, and then quietly
sailed out again unmolested. He did damage to the extent of a million
ducats, and if he had disobeyed the queen’s orders still further, he
might have stopped the Armada for good, by burning the ships in Lisbon,
for we now know from Santa Cruz’s own confession that there were no men
or guns on board to protect them. But he no doubt thought he had done
enough, for he knew that his mistress was now engaged in peace
negotiations with Farnese on account of Philip.[3] The English
commissioners, the traitor Crofts, controller of the household, amongst
them, after endless bickering and delay, arranged a place of meeting
agreeable to both parties, and every effort to drag matters out was made
by Farnese, in order to give Philip more time for preparations, whilst
the English were to be lulled by false hopes of peace. How far Elizabeth
herself was deceived in these negotiations is uncertain, but the
commissioners, and the experienced Dr. Dale with them, were not very
long before they came to the conclusion that they were insincere. The
most extraordinary element in the case is that Farnese was at first
ignorant of Philip’s real intention, and wrote strongly urging the king
to let him make peace in earnest and abandon his plans for the invasion
of England. From first to last, indeed, Farnese had no heart or belief
in the enterprise. He foresaw all the difficulties which ultimately
befell it and more, and, although he vehemently justified himself for
his share in the catastrophe, his contemporaries were firm in the belief
that he purposely failed to do his best. It is certain, from frequent
complaints in his letters, that he considered himself aggrieved, and
resented the cool half-confidence with which his uncle treated him. “How
can I,” he says, “give sound advice or make fitting arrangements unless
I am informed of the real objects in view?”

In the early spring of 1586 Santa Cruz had furnished a complete estimate
of all that would be required for the Armada--a perfect monument of
knowledge and foresight. There were to be 150 great ships, 320 smaller
vessels of from 50 to 80 tons each, 40 galleys and 6 galleasses, 556 in
all, besides 240 flat boats and pinnaces. There were to be 30,000 seamen
and 63,890 soldiers, with 1600 horses; and the extra expenditure was
calculated at 3,800,000 ducats. But to concentrate so powerful a force
as this in Spain itself was too great a task for Philip’s haste, and he
took the first fatal step by arranging that one-half was to be raised by
Farnese in Flanders, for now Philip, like most slow men when they have
once made up their minds, was in a desperate hurry. For thirty years he
had driven his most faithful servants to despair by his stolid
impassibility to English insult and aggression. He had seen his colonies
sacked, his commerce destroyed by English privateers; he had been robbed
of treasure beyond calculation, and suffered every imaginable insult
from a queen whom he could have crushed a dozen times over in the
earlier years of her reign. Leicester, who had fawned upon him, and had
sworn eternal fealty to him, had commanded an army against him in his
own territory; and the English privy councillors, who for years had
battened on his bribes, had connived at the placing on the brows of a
foreigner one of his own ancestral crowns. He had stood all this without
revolt, in the face of his councillors, but, when at last he had lifted
his ponderous “leaden foot,” he must needs do things in haste. Santa
Cruz, old sailor as he was, could ill brook divided command with Parma,
knowing that he must in the end take second place, and he became
discontented and jealous at the alterations of his plans. He urged--as
did every one else--that some safe ports of refuge must first be secured
in the North Sea; but Philip was in a hurry, and trusted to happy
chance. In September 1587 Santa Cruz received his instructions. He was
to go direct to Margate and protect the passage of Parma’s troops
across, and he was on no account to allow himself to be diverted from
this course until he had joined hands with Parma. In vain the old sailor
represented the danger of adopting this plan until they could be sure of
harbours of refuge in case of need. The king still hoped to beguile the
English with thoughts of peace, and answered with harsh hauteur Santa
Cruz’s assurance that hurry meant failure. The old hero, who would have
stood unmoved before an army, incontinently went home and died of a
broken heart (February 1588). Philip so rarely said a hasty word, that
when he did so, the effect was terrible.

The commanders and nobles on the Armada were jealous and quarrelsome,
already chafing at the delay and appalling mismanagement which resulted
from Philip’s insistence that all details must go through him. The only
man whose rank and power would ensure respect from all of them was the
most splendid noble in Spain, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who was under
orders to take the Andalucian squadron from Cadiz to Lisbon; and him
Philip appointed to the command. He protested plaintively, and truly,
that he was entirely unfit for the task. He had no experience or
knowledge of the sea, he was always sea-sick, and had no mental capacity
which fitted him to a great command. Philip probably knew this as well
as the duke, or even the duchess, who was very emphatic on the subject;
but it suited him, he thought, to have such a man, because he would be
certain to obey the king’s orders strictly, and Philip was anxious, as
usual, to control the whole expedition with unerring precision from his
cell in the Escorial, hundreds of miles away. When the duke arrived in
Lisbon he found everything in utter confusion. Arms, ammunition, stores,
and men were short. Orders given had not been fulfilled, and many weeks
passed before Medina Sidonia could report that all was ready,
notwithstanding the king’s urgent requests that not a day should be
lost. The most trifling matters were considered and decided by the king
himself in Madrid. Nothing could be done without him. The stronger sorts
of wine must be mixed with a certain quantity of water; the men on the
fleet must be confessed and take the communion before sailing, and must
not use bad language; no private berths or bunks must be erected on the
ships, and scores of similar orders were sent from Madrid solemnly
signed by the king, whilst the duke was praying for men, money, and
stores, and the victuallers, with the connivance of the pursers, were
shipping rotten food, fraudulent both in quantity and quality. At length
in April the preparations had sufficiently advanced for Philip to send
his final instructions to the duke. He is reminded that he is going on a
holy errand in God’s service, and divine aid may therefore be counted
upon. He is to go direct to Margate and then join hands with the Duke of
Parma and protect his passage across, and is not to be diverted from
this even if he hears that Drake has come to Spain. If possible, he was
to send to Parma the promised contingent of 6000 soldiers; and, if by
any mishap he could not join hands with him, he was to capture the Isle
of Wight, and then communicate with Parma, who, in union with him, would
settle the next step. With this instruction a very important closed
despatch was sent, to be delivered to Parma only after he had landed in

This despatch is of the greatest possible interest as fixing definitely
what where Philip’s ultimate aims in the invasion, and the irreducible
minimum with which he would have been satisfied. If Parma found that
conquest was not easy, and considered it advisable to make peace, there
were three points upon which he was to base his negotiations. First,
that free exercise of the Catholic religion should be allowed; secondly,
that the fortresses occupied by the English in the Netherlands should
be restored to him; and, thirdly, that the damage done to Spain and
Spanish subjects should be made good. The third condition was to be used
mainly as a lever to obtain the other two; but the first condition,
namely, religious toleration, was to be the main object, and with this,
as a last resource, Philip would have been contented.

On April 25 the sacred standard was delivered to Medina Sidonia with
great pomp in Lisbon. Rogations, prayers, fastings, and propitiatory
masses were performed ceaselessly, not only on board the Armada, but all
over Spain. In the most solemn manner the soldiers and sailors were
inflamed with the idea that they were God’s own chosen warriors, going
under His divine protection to restore the faith to millions of English
people, who were yearning for their coming--to millions held in
subjection by a wicked queen and a few heretics. The weather was
bad--like December, said the duke,--and it was May 30 before the great
fleet could be got out of the Tagus. Head winds and heavy weather kept
them off the coast--some of the ships drifting as far down as Cape St.
Vincent--for a fortnight. By that time the victuals on board were going
bad and running short. Many had to be thrown overboard, and sickness
began to prevail, mainly in consequence of overcrowding and putrid food
and water. By June 14, when the duke was off Finisterre, it became
evident that if the expedition was to continue, fresh provisions would
have to be obtained, and despatch boats were sent to the ports begging
that supplies might be sent to them. Before they could reach the
fleet--June 19--a heavy gale came on, and the duke’s flagship, with
forty other vessels, ran for refuge into Corunna. During the night it
blew a hurricane, and the rest of the ships, scattered as they were and
unable to bear up to windward, were driven far apart and in great peril.
Some of them ran into various Biscay and Galician ports, others were
driven as far north as the Scilly Isles and the English coast, many were
badly damaged, and for days the fate of the majority of them was
uncertain. The duke lost what little heart he had for the expedition,
and seriously advised the king to abandon it. It had been proved now
that the water was putrid and insufficient, the food rotten, except the
rice, and that fraud of the most shameful description had been practised
by the victuallers. The officers, said the duke, did not know their
duty; the whole force was disorganised and too weak to undertake the
task in hand. This was a counsel of despair, and Philip’s only answer
was that not a moment was to be lost in revictualling and refitting the
fleet and proceeding on the voyage. The rough old sea-dogs on the
fleet--Bertondona, Recalde, and Oquendo--were scornful at the timid fine
gentlemen who surrounded them and trembled at the perils of the sea.
They had been breasting the gales of the North Atlantic since they were
boys, and could not understand the doubts and fears which assailed the
crowds of silken-clad landsmen who swarmed on board and got in the way
of the sailormen. The king had appointed a council of officers to advise
the duke. Don Pedro de Valdes was for sailing at once, before even
waiting for the scattered ships to come in. This annoyed the duke, who
was all for delay, and Don Pedro himself ascribed to this feeling his
subsequent abandonment and capture by the English. The king continued to
urge Medina Sidonia to activity, sometimes almost chidingly, and at
last, tired of the obviously wilful delay, he gave peremptory orders
that the Armada was to sail at once. The men were once more confessed
and absolved, and finally on July 22 (N.S.), 1588, the great fleet left
Corunna harbour, not without grave misgivings of the timid duke, which
were openly scoffed at by the sailors. The whole fleet consisted of 131
sail, with 7050 sailors, 17,000 soldiers, and 1300 officers,
gentlemen-adventurers, priests, and servants. The four galleys soon
found themselves unable to live through the Biscay seas and abandoned
the Armada, taking refuge in various French and Spanish ports. The rest
of the fleet first sighted the Lizard at four o’clock in the afternoon
of Friday, July 30 (N.S.). The moment land was discovered the blessed
flag with the crucifix, the Virgin, and the Magdalen was hoisted, and
signals fired that every man on board the fleet should join in prayer.
Then a council was called, and for the first time the admirals were
informed of the king’s orders. They were dismayed to find that they were
to sail up the Channel to the Straits of Dover, leaving Plymouth, and
perhaps the English fleet, behind them untouched. Recalde warned the
duke against ruining the king’s cause by a too slavish obedience to his
orders, and almost violently urged him to attack and take Plymouth
before going further. The duke replied that “the king had ordered him
strictly to join hands with Parma before anything else, and he had no
discretion in the matter; nor was he so vain as to suppose that the
king would allow him to violate his commands on this, his first
expedition.” The commanders, however, sufficiently worked on the duke’s
fears to prevail upon him to write to the king that night, saying that
as he had not received any reply from Parma to all his despatches, he
purposed to remain off the Isle of Wight until he heard whether the
Flemish forces were quite ready, because, as they had no ports of refuge
in the Channel, he could not wait for Parma off the shoally Flemish

The first panic in England had been succeeded by feverish activity; all
that could inflame patriotic zeal was done. The Spaniards, it was said,
were bringing cargoes of scourges and instruments of torture, all adults
were to be put to death, and 7000 wet-nurses were coming in the Armada
to suckle the orphan infants. Such nonsense as this was firmly believed,
and the echoes of it have not even yet entirely died out. Corporations
and individuals vied with each other in providing means for defence; but
withal the land forces, assembled in two _corps d’armée_, one on each
side of the Thames, were but hasty levies, half drilled and armed, and
commanded by the incompetent Leicester. The queen was personally
popular, but if Parma had landed and she had fallen, it is probable that
there would have been no great resistance on the part of the people at
large to the adoption of the Catholic religion. They had changed too
often to care very much about it, if they were allowed to go about their
business without molestation and had a firm, peaceful government. Parma
had from the first insisted that his force was purely for land warfare,
and his boats were merely flat-bottom barges for the transport of his
men. He had been kept terribly short of money, and had borrowed the last
ducat he could get at most usurious interest. His army, moreover, was
small for the work it had to do, and he continued to insist that he must
have the 6000 Spanish soldiers from the Armada which had been promised
him. The English fleets consisted of 197 sail in all, with, at most,
18,000 men on board. Most of these ships--as also was the case with the
Spaniards--were small cargo boats, lightly armed, and quite unfit for
severe fighting. The largest Spanish ship, the _Regazona_, was 1249 tons
burden, and the largest English ship, the _Triumph_, 1100 tons, but,
generally speaking, the Spanish fighting ships were much larger, as they
certainly were of much higher build than the English, the tactics of the
latter always being to fire low into the hulls of their opponents and
avoid grappling and boarding, which they could do, as their lines were
finer and the vessels much more handy.

The Armada sailed up Channel in a curved line seven miles in extent,
with a light west wind, and at dawn on Sunday the English fleet was
sighted off Plymouth to the number of about fifty sail. The latter soon
gained the wind, and began firing into the Spanish rear-squadron. Then
began the memorable series of skirmishes which decided the fate of
Europe for all time to come. The Spanish ships were out-manœuvred
from the first. They found that the English vessels could sail round
them easily, their superior speed and sailing qualities enabling them to
harass their enemies without coming to close quarters. It was purely
artillery fighting, and in this the English were immensely superior. The
Spaniards shouted defiance and taunts that the English were afraid of
them and dared not approach. Drake and Howard knew where their strength
lay; kept the wind and followed the Armada, always harassing the rear
and flanks. Recalde’s flagship of the rear-squadron was for a time
exposed to the united fire of seven English galleons and became almost a
wreck. This first fight on Sunday demoralised the Spaniards. They felt
they were fighting a defensive battle and were running away from the
enemy. The contempt for their commander, and the knowledge of their
helplessness, crept over them like a paralysis. When late in the
afternoon the duke gave orders for the squadrons to be re-formed and
proceed on their way, Recalde’s damaged ship was found to be unable to
keep up with them. Don Pedro de Valdes went to her assistance, and in
doing so fouled one of his own ships, breaking his bowsprit and
foremast. His ship too became unmanageable. She had 500 men on board and
a large amount of treasure. An attempt was made to take her in tow, but
unsuccessfully. Night was coming on, and the duke himself wanted to get
away from the English, who hung upon his rear only a couple of miles
away. He would fight no more that night if he could help it, and he
abandoned two of the finest ships of his fleet without striking a blow.
Then Oquendo’s great ship, _Our Lady of the Rose_, was accidentally
blown up, and soon became a blazing wreck. The duke ordered the men and
treasure to be taken out of her and the ship sunk. But the heart of the
crews had gone, and such was the panic, that the unwounded survivors
scrambled out of the ship as best they might, leaving the vessel and
their scorched and wounded comrades to their fate. And so from day to
day the spirits of the men fell as they realised their powerlessness,
and the Armada crept up the Channel with the English fleet always
hanging on their rear and to windward of them. Every day the duke sent
beseeching letters to Parma to come out and help him. Parma was
indignant. Help him! How could he help him with flat-bottom barges that
would not stand a freshet, much less a gale? Besides, said he, the
arrangement was that you were to help me, not I help you. Justin of
Nassau, with the Dutch fleet, moreover, was watching as a cat watches a
mouse, and Parma could not stir. The officers sent by the duke declared
that Parma was not ready to come out, even if the Armada had fulfilled
its task. He gave them the lie, and with one of them nearly came to
blows. What if he had no water, or guns, or food on his boats? They were
only barges to carry men across, and were not meant either for fighting
or for a voyage of more than a few hours. Besides, how could he come out
with the wind dead in his teeth and Nassau and Seymour watching him? And
so on Sunday, August 7 (N.S.), just one week after the Lizard was
sighted, the great Spanish fleet was huddled, all demoralised and
confused, in Calais roads, at anchor, whilst the duke in vain sent
hourly petitions to Parma to come out and reinforce him. The crews were
ripe for panic now, and when at midnight eight fireships came flaring
down upon them with the wind from the English fleet, the duke seems to
have lost his head. He did not tow the fireships out of reach, in
accordance with his own previous instructions, but gave orders for his
cables to be cut. All the great ships had two anchors each out, and
these were left at the bottom of the sea, whilst the invincible Armada
crowded and hurtled away. The duke’s intention had been to come back in
the morning, pick up his anchors, and resume his position until Parma
could come out. But if Parma was shut up before, when only Lord Henry
Seymour and Justin of Nassau were watching him, much less could he stir
now that the lord admiral and Drake had joined Seymour.

The duke brought up in a dangerous position near Gravelines, and when
the morning of Monday dawned he found his fleet scattered and
demoralised, with a stiff west wind blowing and most of his ships
drifted far to leeward. He had only forty ships with him now--one of his
great galleasses, the _San Lorenzo_, had been wrecked at the mouth of
Calais harbour in the confusion of the night--to fight the united
English fleets. The engagement was terrible, lasting from nine o’clock
in the morning till six o’clock at night, the English tactics continuing
to be the same, keeping up a tremendous artillery fire on particular
ships until they were utterly crippled. The Spaniards fought
desperately, but they could rarely come to close quarters, and their
gunnery was greatly inferior to the English. The result, consequently,
was never in doubt. The duke’s ship was in the hottest of the fight, and
her decks were like shambles, for she had been hit by 107 shot. At the
end of the dreadful day she and her consorts were utterly beaten and
riddled; two of the finest galleons, completely unseaworthy, drifted on
to the Flemish coast and were captured, and at dawn on Tuesday what was
left of the Armada was dragging heavily in a strong westerly gale, with
sandbanks on the lee. All spirit and discipline were lost now. The one
idea was to get away from these “devilish people,” who would only fight
with big guns and would not come to close quarters. The duke himself was
for surrender, but Oquendo swore he would throw overboard the first man
who attempted such a thing. He brought his ship alongside the duke’s and
yelled sailor curses upon the landlubber that wanted to run away. “Go
back to your tunny ponds, you chicken-hearted craven,” he cried again
and again; and so the poor duke, in complete collapse, shut himself in
his cabin and was seen no more till he arrived in Spain. At noon a
providential--the Spaniards called it miraculous--wind came from the
south-west, and they were able to weather the dreaded shoals. Oquendo
and the old sailors were now for turning about and fighting again. But
the duke had had enough fighting for the rest of his life, and would
have no more. Besides, there was no ammunition on most of the ships. So
the fatal order was given to run up the North Sea with the wind to the
north of the Orkneys, make a long leg to the west, far out into the
Atlantic, and thence set a course for home. Off the Scottish border the
English fleet left them to their fate. Assailed by tempests almost
unexampled, rotting with pestilence, the water quite putrid now and the
food worse, they struggled to the north and west. Many fell off to
leeward and were seen no more; many sank riddled like sieves in the wild
Atlantic gales; seventeen could not beat far enough to the west and were
dashed to pieces on the frowning coasts of Ulster and Connaught, where
the men who escaped drowning were slaughtered--several thousands of
them--by the English garrisons and the wild Irish kerns. Only
sixty-five ships ever got back to Spain, and of the 24,000 men who
sailed, full of hope that they were going on a sacred crusade to certain
victory, only 10,000 poor, starved, stricken creatures crept back to

A wail of grief went up through Spain. The little-hearted duke abandoned
his ships and men as soon as he sighted Spanish land, and went to his
home in the south in shameful, selfish luxury, with the curses and
insults of a whole populace ringing in his ears. Some said it was
Parma’s jealousy that caused the disaster, others that it was the duke’s
cowardice. Be it as it may, the old sailors, Oquendo and Recalde, who
had borne themselves like the heroes that they were, died of grief and
shame as soon as they brought their battered hulls to port.

It is difficult to apportion the blame, but one thing is certain, that
the germ of the disaster lay in Philip’s rigid, blighting system, by
which everything, great and small, had to be worked by one weary,
overburdened man from a cell in the Escorial. Spain might curse and
clamour for vengeance, but Philip said not a word. He saw the efforts
and hopes of years scattered like scudding clouds. He saw his impotence
made patent to a scoffing world. He saw his enemies exulting in his
downfall, and his rebel Netherlanders at last free from his grasp. He
saw his treasury empty and his credit ruined, for the pope himself
mocked him, and refused to pay the subsidy he had promised, because the
conditions had not been fulfilled. He saw himself an old and ailing man,
with only a dull child to succeed him; and yet in the face of all this
his marble equanimity never left him. He had, he said, only striven to
do God’s work, and if God in His inscrutable wisdom had ordained that he
should fail, he could only humbly bow his head to the divine decree and
bless Him for all things.

There was no defeat for such a man as this; and he could afford to be
generous and magnanimous, as he was, to the men whose shortcomings were
the immediate cause of the great catastrophe which ruined the power of a
nation, but could not break the faith or spirit of a man who regarded
himself as the fly-wheel of the machine by which the Almighty worked the


     Don Antonio in England--Catharine’s support of him--Strozzi’s
     defeat at St. Michaels--Philip’s patronage of assassination--Philip
     and the League--Renewal of the war of religion in France--The
     murder of Guise--Imprisonment of Antonio Perez and the Princess of
     Eboli--Perez’s treachery--His escape to Aragon--The _fueros_ of
     Aragon--Philip proceeds against Perez--Perez arrested by the
     Inquisition of Aragon--Rising in Zaragoza--Perez’s
     escape--Suppression of the Aragonese.

When Don Antonio fled from Portugal in 1581, Elizabeth and Catharine de
Medici vied with each other in the welcome they extended to him. The
English queen gave him a pension, and he was splendidly lodged at Eton
College, Somerset House, and elsewhere at her expense. Hopes were held
out to him that a fleet should be raised in England for him to hold
those isles of the Azores which continued favourable to him and capture
the rest. He was encouraged to pledge his priceless jewels, the finest
in the world, and whilst his money lasted, privateers and ships were
busily fitted out in his name. But though most of the gems were
ultimately juggled into the hands of Elizabeth and Leicester, the queen
had always stopped short of allowing a hostile fleet openly to leave her
shores to attack Philip in the pretender’s interest.

Antonio at last got tired of this, and with some difficulty fled to
France. There he found Catharine more ready. He promised her the great
empire of Brazil in exchange for aid, and in 1582 a fleet was got
together under her auspices, commanded by her cousin, Philip Strozzi. In
August the small Spanish garrison at St. Michaels was surrounded by 1500
Frenchmen on shore, and Strozzi’s fleet of about 40 ships lay off to
blockade the island. Suddenly Santa Cruz’s squadron appeared, somewhat
stronger than Strozzi’s. Antonio seems to have lost heart and fled in
the night with some of the ships; the English privateers which were
expected to join Strozzi did not put in an appearance; Santa Cruz fell
upon the French fleet and utterly destroyed it, Strozzi being killed;
and every prisoner who fell into the hands of the Spaniards instantly
slaughtered. They had no commission from the King of France, and were
treated as pirates. But Catharine was bent upon troubling her late
son-in-law to the utmost, and Antonio still had jewels to pledge, so in
the following year another fleet was got together in France, under Aymar
de Chaste, to hold Terceira. The French were received with open arms by
the islanders who were firm for Antonio, but Santa Cruz swooped upon
this fleet, as he had done on the previous one, with a similar result,
and Catharine became convinced that the Azores, the key as they were to
Philip’s western empire, were his least vulnerable point whilst his
fleets held the sea. But this attitude of the French queen and her son,
and the open patronage and aid she gave to her younger son, Alençon, in
his attempts with Huguenot help to seize the sovereignty of the
Netherlands, convinced Philip that, unless something was done to
withstand the advance of the Protestant power in France, he would in
time find himself surrounded by opponents on all sides. He did his best
to dispose of some of his personal enemies. He approved of Babington’s
plot to kill Elizabeth, he subsidised many unsuccessful attempts to
murder Don Antonio, and certainly two to assassinate the Prince of
Orange, one nearly successful, before the final foul blow was struck by
Gérard in 1584. It is evident, however, from the manner in which he
usually received such proposals, that he did not deceive himself as to
the inefficacy of murder as a political method. He treated it merely as
a palliative, to be used in conjunction with broader action. From the
time when it became evident that Catharine and her son mainly leant to
the side of the Huguenots and the politicians, and that Henry of
Navarre, the head of the reformers in France and the hereditary enemy of
the House of Aragon, would probably succeed to the crown of France, some
bolder action than assassination was necessary for Philip.

It has been seen how close had grown the connection between him and the
Guises, and how cleverly he had worked upon their hopes and fears to
bring them entirely under his thumb. Alternate flattery, bribes, and
veiled threats at length made Guise the humble servant of Spain. It
suited Philip to feed his ambitious dream of grasping all, or part, of
the French realm, to promise and pay him great subsidies, as he did, to
carry on war in his own country, because, in the first place, it
weakened Catharine and the Huguenots; and, secondly, it left Philip a
free hand in England and Scotland. By the aid of Spanish money and his
own dashing popularity, Guise began by completely gaining to his side
the mob of Paris, and then through all France the Catholic party was
gradually drawn into a great organisation, which enabled Guise to treat
with Philip on something like reciprocal terms. By the spring of 1585
the bases of the Holy League had been established. The idea was an
ambitious one, but doubtless many of its principal adherents had no
inkling of how completely the ultimate object of the whole organisation
was designed for the furthering of Philip’s political ends, under cover
of a purely religious movement. The dismemberment of France under his
auspices would have been a master-stroke of policy, and such a
consummation seemed at one time to be almost a certainty. To begin with,
an attempt was made to seduce Henry of Navarre into the League; but he
was wary and would not be caught, and consequently, in Philip’s view,
must be crushed. If he had consented to be satisfied with Béarn and the
south-west, Guise might well have had the east, the Duke of Savoy
Provence, and Philip’s daughter, Isabel, in right of her mother, would
have inherited Brittany, whilst Philip would have had a slice of Picardy
and French Flanders. When it was found that Henry of Navarre would not
be cajoled into abandoning any portion of his rightful claim to the
whole realm, the League and Philip induced Sixtus V. to fulminate his
famous bull (September 1585) excommunicating him, his cousin Condé, “and
the whole of this bastard and detestable race of Bourbon.” They and
theirs were to be deprived of all their principalities for ever, and the
excommunication extended to all their adherents. Henry’s reply was as
violent as the provocation. “The man who calls himself Pope Sixtus is
himself a liar and a heretic.” It only needed this bull again to set
flame to the smouldering ashes of the religious war. Henry III. had
already been forced into signing the infamous treaty of Nemours,
depriving the Huguenots of all toleration, and he became for a time,
with bitter hatred in his heart, the bond-slave of Guise. The poor
wretch tried in his weak, silly way to get free by forming fresh
connections with Elizabeth, with the German Lutherans, with Henry of
Navarre, but no party took much notice of him now, and the war went on,
the king being a fugitive from his own capital, and Philip afar off
smiling at the success of his schemes for setting his neighbours by the
ears and paralysing the arms of France that might help Elizabeth against
the Armada. For one moment it looked possible, after Philip’s weakness
had been demonstrated at sea, that all Frenchmen might band together,
forget their dissensions, and turn upon the common enemy; but Guise was
tied hard and fast to Philip by this time, and his ambitions were high.
The Paris mob was at his bidding, and the clergy throughout France. The
wretched king, Henry III., saw no other way out of his dilemma than to
have Guise and his brother killed (December 23, 1588). They had been
warned by Philip’s agents and others many times that this was intended,
but Guise scorned to show any fear, and he fell. With the murder of
Guise it seemed for a time as if the Spanish king’s intrigues in France
had turned out as fruitless as his efforts against England.

Nor was he much happier at home. It has already been related how, on
March 31, 1578, Escobedo, the secretary of Don Juan, had been murdered
by men in Antonio Perez’s pay, by virtue of an order given by Philip six
months before. However desirable it may have been to put this firebrand
out of the way in the autumn of 1577, when Don Juan was ostensibly
friendly with the States, the murder served no useful purpose whatever
when it was committed, for by that time Don Juan and Farnese were at war
openly with the States. Philip doubtless ascribed the assassination at
first to over-zeal on the part of Perez, and was inclined to condone it.
But it was part of his system to promote rivalry amongst the people who
served him, and another of his secretaries, Mateo Vasquez, whose duty it
was to convey to the king the gossip of the capital, continued, with
perhaps unnecessary insistence, to inform the king that all Madrid was
connecting the name of Perez and the widowed Princess of Eboli with the
murder. The princess was the greatest lady in Spain, a haughty,
passionate termagant, who had borne to Ruy Gomez a very numerous family,
and who since her husband’s death had given a great deal of trouble to
the king, by her erratic and impracticable conduct in the care of her
children and the management of her great household and estates. The
supposed amours between her and Philip have been disproved, but there is
no doubt that the vain, immoral Perez had become her lover, and that
Escobedo, who had formerly been a page of her husband’s, had discovered
this and resented it. There is but little doubt that the princess had in
consequence urged Perez to have the man killed under cover of the king’s
authorisation of many months before. The princess, when she heard that
Vasquez had mentioned her name to the king in connection with the
murder, flew into a violent rage and demanded his punishment. Thereupon
began a great feud between Perez and the princess on the one hand, and
Vasquez on the other, which doubtless caused Philip much inconvenience
and annoyance. He tried his hardest to reconcile the parties, keeping
Perez still in high favour. The princess and Perez were, however, so
persistent that the king at last lost patience, and in July 1579 had
them both arrested. The princess never entirely regained her liberty,
but Perez’s confinement was merely nominal, and he was assured by the
king that he would not be seriously inconvenienced. He was more
extravagant and arrogant than ever under his semi-arrest, and the
princess and he continued to press that he might be tried for the
murder. They knew that he could plead the king’s order, as indeed he
ultimately did, and that Philip hated an open scandal.

But a great change came when Philip wanted to conquer Portugal, and
restored Alba and his party to favour. For years Perez had been the
bitter enemy of Alba. He had scoffed and mocked at his appearance and
methods; he had been the prime cause of his downfall. Now was the time
for Alba’s revenge. Gradually he surrounded the king with those who took
his view, and the shadows grew deeper and deeper over Perez. For years
the trail was steadily followed, his relations with the princess
unravelled, his own incautious words taken down, until at the end of
1584 all his papers were seized, and Philip learnt how, for his
political ends, Perez had poisoned his ears against Don Juan. It was
seen that the accusations of intended treason in Spain were Perez’s own
interpretation of perfectly innocent passages in Don Juan’s and
Escobedo’s excited letters. Philip learnt also that Perez must have
divulged to the princess the authority given by the king to Perez for
the murder--a state secret. For these offences, and not for murder,
Perez was condemned to ten years’ imprisonment, escaped to sanctuary,
was taken thence, and kept in a dungeon for three years whilst the case
was being completed against him. In 1588 he was put on his trial for
murder, and was ordered to confess all. He feared a trap, and refused.
He was put to the torture, and promised to tell everything. No one could
understand this at the time, but we can see now that, if he had
confessed why the king ordered the murder, and when, he must have
condemned himself, as it would have shown that the “execution,” as it
was euphemistically called, was unnecessary when it was committed and
had been done for private revenge. Before his confession could be taken,
he therefore escaped from prison and fled to Aragon. This, he well knew,
was the course which would distress the king most.

When he had taken his younger daughter, Catharine, to Zaragoza in 1585
to be married to Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy (whom Catharine de
Medici had been trying to attract to her side), Philip had taken the
opportunity of making a stay of some duration in his kingdom of Aragon
and Catalonia, and had summoned the Aragonese Cortes at Monzon to swear
allegiance to his young son Philip as heir to the crown. As we have seen
in previous chapters, the Aragonese were extremely jealous of their
representative institutions, and resented all interference from Castile.
Philip had no love for these rough-spoken vassals of his, and their
constant assertion of their liberties, and had only recently been
obliged to bend to a decision of the Aragonese tribunals with regard to
a large semi-independent fief belonging to an illegitimate member of the
royal house, the Duke of Villahermosa, which fief Philip wished to
re-incorporate with the rest of his Aragonese kingdom. Amongst their
other liberties the Aragonese exacted from their sovereign an oath to
maintain what was called the “Manifestacion,” which was not unlike the
English “Habeas Corpus.” Any person accused of crime who set foot in
Aragon could claim to be lodged in the Aragonese prison, in which case
he was certain of enjoying the full rights of defence, protection from
violence or torture, and the benefit of a most enlightened judicial
procedure. The Aragonese had their own judges and laws, the principal
judge--the grand justiciary--being appointed by the king; but the latter
had no power to remove him, and the office was practically hereditary.
When, therefore, Perez reached Aragon he knew he was safe from arbitrary
action, and took refuge first in a Dominican monastery at Calatayud.
Orders arrived a few hours afterwards that he was to be captured, dead
or alive, at any risk or cost, and taken back to Castile. Perez was the
depositary of Philip’s secrets for years. He had taken a quantity of
important papers with him (some of which are now in the British Museum),
and the king was willing to brave the obstinate Aragonese and their
liberties, rather than allow so dangerous a man to slip through his
fingers. Perez claimed the protection of the “Manifestacion,” and on the
news coming to Calatayud of the king’s orders, a rebellious crowd at
once arose and swore that their privileges should not be infringed; and
even the priests in the monastery where Perez had taken refuge flew to
arms to repel any attack by the king’s messengers. Perez was rescued by
the Aragonese police and people, and safely lodged in the gaol of the
“Manifestacion.” All the king could do then was to prosecute him by
law--firstly, for having pretended to possess the royal authority for
killing Escobedo; secondly, for having tampered with despatches and
betrayed state secrets; and thirdly, for having fled whilst proceedings
against him were pending. But Perez did not want to be tried, for upon
these charges he could hardly be acquitted by any tribunal. He
accordingly begged Philip to let him alone, and threatened, if not, to
publish his secret papers; but Philip was resolved to fight it out to
the death now. To be thwarted and threatened by such a man was too much,
even for his patience. Perez must die. For once, however, the king had
to deal with a man even more crafty than himself, who knew every trick
in his armoury and was fighting for his life. Perez drew up a most
masterly exposition of his case, painting the king in his blackest
colours, and presented it to his judges. The tribunal called upon the
king for a refutation. “If,” replied Philip, “it were possible for me to
give an answer in the same public way that Perez has done, his guilt
would be made manifest. My only object in the prosecution has been the
public good. I cannot answer him further without betraying secrets which
must not be revealed, involving persons whose reputation is of more
importance than the punishment of this man, who is a traitor worse than
ever before has sinned against his sovereign.” And with this Philip
allowed his prosecution before the Aragonese tribunal to lapse. It was a
bitter pill for him to swallow. To answer Perez he must have confessed
that the lying scoundrel had made him believe that his own brother, Don
Juan, was a traitor, and that, under this belief, he had allowed him to
die broken-hearted and forsaken in Flanders.

But he tried another course. The constitution of Aragon provided that
the king’s own servants, even Aragonese, might not claim against him the
protection of their laws, and under this clause Philip claimed to have
Perez delivered to him. The judges decided that Perez did not come under
this provision, and refused to deliver him. Perez was now acquitted, but
was still kept in the prison of the Manifestacion. There his monstrous
vanity had led him to boast of what he would do abroad to avenge
himself. He would bring back Henry of Navarre and the Protestants, and
make him King of Spain. He would make Aragon a republic, and much else
of the same sort. But, above all, he had used expressions which seemed
of doubtful religious orthodoxy. Notes were taken of all his loose
babble, and, as a consequence, the Holy Office in Madrid sent orders to
the Inquisitors at Zaragoza to take him out of the Manifestacion and
lodge him in their own dungeons. The judges of Aragon were now tired of
Perez, who was obviously a scoundrel. They had no wish to quarrel about
him with the king, and, above all, with the Inquisition. They had
vindicated their privileges, and that was enough for them. They were
willing to let the Holy Office have their prisoner. But Perez had no
wish for such a result. His friends aroused the city. The Aragonese
liberties were in peril from the tyrant, they said; and a dangerous
popular rising was the result. On May 21, 1591, the Aragonese
authorities determined to get rid of such a troublesome guest, and
quietly smuggled him into the hands of the Inquisition. With this the
people rose. From the watch towers boomed the alarm bells, furious men
swarmed into the streets, the king’s representative was dragged from his
palace, stripped, stoned, scourged, and nearly killed; the palace of the
Inquisition was besieged; faggots were piled up to burn it and the
Inquisitors inside, as they had burnt others, said the mob. Then the
Inquisitors gave way, and surrendered their prisoner to the populace,
who took him back to the Manifestacion. He tried to escape and failed.
He kept popular ebullition at fever-heat with artful proclamations and
appeals, and unfortunately the hereditary office of grand justiciary
fell at that time to a young man in Perez’s favour, who assumed office
without Philip’s confirmation. To avoid further conflict, after the
authorities had decided that Perez should be restored again to the
Inquisition, the prisoner was secretly hurried out of Zaragoza into the
mountains by his friends, and he escaped, after many wanderings, into
France. He was supremely self-conscious--a monster of misfortune, a
pilgrim of pain, as he called himself,--but he was clever and plausible,
and was received with open arms by Catharine de Bourbon, Henry’s sister,
in her castle of Pau. Henry himself made much of him, and so did
Elizabeth and Essex. Pensions and gifts were showered upon him for
years, for he knew all the weak places in Philip’s armour, and was ready
to sell his knowledge to the highest bidder. Facile, witty, and utterly
unscrupulous, he mingled the most sickening servility with the
haughtiest arrogance. He betrayed and defamed in turn every person who
trusted him, and, whenever he dared, bit the hand upon which he fawned.
For years he tried unsuccessfully to crawl back into the favour of
Philip III., the son of the man whom he had lived by libelling; and long
before his death in Paris, in the midst of poverty (1611), he was
contemptuously forgotten by his benefactors.

Philip was in no hurry for revenge. An army of 15,000 men was sent from
Castile to occupy Zaragoza under Alonso de Vargas, one of the butchers
of Antwerp. The townspeople were disinclined to hopeless resistance, and
only some of the nobles, the friars, and the country people made any
attempt at it. Anarchy was rife all over Aragon, and Philip’s troops
made a clean sweep of such marauding bands of rebels as stood in their
way. The Aragonese of the richer burgher class were indeed by this time
somewhat ashamed of having championed the cause of such a man as Perez,
and Vargas was soon master of Aragon, the young justiciary and the other
leaders of the rebellion having fled. For a time Philip made no attempt
to punish them, and they were gradually lured back home on promises of
forgiveness. Then suddenly fell Philip’s vengeance. At the end of
December 1591 Vargas was ordered without previous warning to seize and
behead the justiciary, in defiance of the Aragonese constitution, and at
the same time the net of the Inquisition was spread far and wide, and
swept into the dungeons all those who had offended. The few refugee
nobles and Perez thereupon prevailed upon Henry IV. to send a body of
Béarnais troops into Aragon, but the Aragonese joined with Philip’s
troops to expel them, and nothing serious came of the attempt. Some of
the higher nobles of Aragon died mysteriously in the dungeons, and
seventy-nine citizens were condemned to be burnt alive in the
market-place of Zaragoza. Philip, however, intervened, and urged
clemency upon the Holy Office, and only six were actually executed at
the great auto de fé, the rest of the seventy-nine suffering other
punishments, perhaps hardly less severe. The spectacle, and the stern
repression that preceded it, were dire lessons for the Aragonese, who
were thus made to understand that their free institutions must not be
exercised against the will of their sovereign. The constitution was not
formally revoked, in accordance with Philip’s promise, but all men now
understood that henceforward, at least whilst Philip lived, it must be a
dead letter, and no more vain dreams of autonomy were allowed to
interfere with the system of personal centralisation upon which his
government rested.


     Philip and Mayenne--The English attack upon Lisbon--Assassination
     of Henry III.--Philip’s plans in France--The war of the League--The
     battle of Ivry--Philip’s attitude towards Mayenne--Farnese enters
     France--Relief of Paris--Retirement of Farnese--Philip changes his
     plans in France--Farnese’s second campaign--Henry IV. goes to
     mass--Enters Paris as king--Exit of the Spaniards.

Henry III. thought by one stroke to rid himself of his enemies by
killing Guise, and terrorising his party. “At last,” he said to his
mother, immediately after the execution, “at last I am King of France.”
“You have plunged your country into ruin,” replied Catharine. “You have
boldly cut out the cloth, but do not know how to sew the garment
together.” She spoke truly, for she knew her son. When the news reached
Paris a great gust of rage passed over the city. It was Christmas Day,
but all rejoicing turned to sorrow, and dirges took the place of Te
Deums. From the pulpits thundered denunciations of the royal murderer,
and by the middle of January (1589) the Sorbonne, under the promptings
of the Spanish party, had declared that the subjects of Henry III. were
released from their allegiance. A council of government was formed, with
Mayenne, Guise’s brother, as president and lieutenant-general of the
realm. All through France the example of Paris was followed, and the
League was soon the great governing power of the country, Henry finding
himself little more than King of Blois. He was therefore obliged to draw
closer to Henry of Navarre; and at first Philip feared that this
coalition would unite all Frenchmen against him, now that the popular
Guise had fallen. But Mayenne had no one else to lean upon, and in the
first letter after his brother’s death told the Spanish king that the
whole of the Catholics of France threw themselves at his feet.
Henceforward the springs that moved the puppets in Catholic France
obtained their impulsion from Madrid. Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador,
although he had kept a few miles from the king’s court at Blois, had
since the murder of Guise become more and more incensed with him, as he
drifted nearer to the Huguenot cause, and now fled from the king’s court
without a word of farewell to Paris, in the pretended fear that Henry
intended to have him poisoned. Henceforward the old soldier, the last
disciple of Alba, as he called himself, was tireless in organising and
stimulating the resistance of the people of Paris against the king and
the Huguenots. He was old and blind, but he went from outpost to outpost
animating the soldiers; he laboured day and night with the nuncio,
Gaetano, in stiffening Mayenne, and until his last ducat was spent and
he had no food or firing for himself, he sheltered and fed the starving
and homeless Leaguers. Through all the weary sieges of Paris, until
broken and blind at last he went to end his days in despair as a monk,
Mendoza continued to urge Philip to action against the Huguenots, to
resist the insults offered to himself, to harry France with fire and
sword in the name of the faith--the counsels, indeed, of the old Alba
school to which he belonged. Philip, as usual, was cool and
irresponsive. He told his minister--when he condescended to write to him
at all, which was very rarely--that he must be patient and prudent, and
must seek to be friendly with all parties. Philip, indeed, was far from
pleased at the drift of affairs in France. It was evident thus early
that Mayenne was a weak reed upon whom to depend, and now that
Protestantism and legitimate royalty in France were united, he (Philip)
did not believe in the permanency of the League. All his life he had
been manœuvring against France becoming officially Protestant, which
would have foreboded the dreaded coalition of France, England, Holland,
and the northern powers against him. His treasury, moreover, was drained
almost to its last ducat by the catastrophe of the Armada, and
terrifying rumours were reaching him from his spies in England of a
great fleet of revenge being fitted out by Drake to invade his own
shores, in conjunction with an attack across the Pyrenees by the forces
of Henry of Navarre. Drake and Norris, however, with their joint-stock
fleet in the interests of Don Antonio, turned out to be less formidable
opponents on this occasion than had been feared. Philip was dangerously
ill, and sick at heart. The Portuguese populace was almost entirely in
favour of the native pretender, and was pledged to rise when he
appeared. There were no adequate forces in Spain to resist an attack,
and if the English expedition had not been entirely mismanaged from the
first, there is but little doubt that Philip’s rule in Portugal might
easily have been ended. Want of money, shortness of provisions, and
utter indiscipline of the men on the English fleet, contributed the
germs of failure to the enterprise, and the waste of ten days in burning
and sacking the lower town at Corunna, where the sickness and laxity
caused by the drunkenness of the men practically disabled the English
force, gave the stout-hearted Archduke Albert in Lisbon time to organise
the defence and dominate the Portuguese by terror. In the meanwhile,
too, Philip’s council in Madrid conquered their first paralysis of
dismay, and took such hasty measures as were possible to repel the
invasion. The fatal insistence also of Norris and Don Antonio to leave
Drake and his fleet at Peniche whilst they marched overland to besiege
Lisbon, placed the crown of disaster on the attempt. For Antonio had
overrated his support. Only priests and a few peasants joined his
standard. Lisbon was completely dominated by the archduke, and no
Portuguese dared to raise a head, for fear of losing it. So when Norris
and his 12,000 Englishmen appeared outside Lisbon (May 21, 1589),
without siege-train or battering guns, they found the gates fast closed
against them, and after a week of fruitless bloodshed they had sadly to
retrace their steps again and join Drake’s fleet at the mouth of the
river. Of 18,000 men that sailed out of Plymouth only about 6000 ever
returned, and Don Antonio’s chance of reigning again in Portugal had
gone for ever.

In August 1589 Mendoza wrote from Paris in jubilant strains. The king
(Henry III.) had been besieging the capital with 40,000 men, and it
could have held out no longer. Mayenne had lost heart, the
much-prayed-for Spanish troops to help them came not. Despair reigned
in the League, when suddenly the last of the Valois, Henry III., in his
turn, fell under the dagger of the fanatic monk Jacques Clement. “It was
the hand of God,” said Mendoza, “that has done this for His greater
glory, and for the advantage of His religion.” Philip, however, never
loved the idea of the killing of kings, and was not so enthusiastic
about this as was his ambassador. He was no hero; and if fanatics began
killing anointed monarchs there was no telling where such an example
would stop.

The event, moreover, added much to his present perplexity. If Guise had
lived, and Henry of Navarre had been amenable to reason, the realm of
France might have been divided between Guise, Navarre, the Infanta, the
Duke of Savoy, and Philip; but the Huguenot king had assumed the
sovereignty of the whole country as soon as Henry III. fell, and had
already shown that he was a soldier and diplomatist of the highest
order, whom no cajolery would induce to surrender any portion of his
birthright. And yet it was a matter of life and death to Philip that
France should not become a heretic power, and he was obliged to tackle
the monster with what strength he had left.

The first impulse of the governing council of the League in Paris on the
news of the death of the king was to elect Philip sovereign of France,
but the idea of the Guises had always been to obtain all or part of the
realm for themselves, and consequently Mayenne procured the proclamation
in Paris of Henry of Navarre’s uncle, Cardinal de Bourbon, as Charles X.
He was understood to be only a stop-gap, for he was old, foolish, and
childless, and the problem of the fate of France was still held in
suspense. But they could never even catch their king, for his nephew
Henry seized him before the Leaguers could reach him, and he never let
him go again. It is certain that by this time Philip had slowly made up
his mind that, as he mainly would have to fight and destroy
Protestantism in France, he alone should enjoy the reward. If the affair
could have been settled cheaply and without fighting, the Lorraines, the
Savoys, the Bourbons, and his own House might have divided the spoil;
but if his arms and money had to win the reward, it must be his, and his
alone. It was the most disastrous resolution he could have taken in his
own interest, for it enabled Henry of Navarre to assume the position of
the patriot withstanding foreign aggression; and gradually drew to him
crowds of Frenchmen, who otherwise would have stood aloof. After the
king’s death Henry IV. abandoned the siege of Paris and rapidly moved to
Normandy, where Elizabeth’s subsidies and the aid from his own Rochelle
might reach him. Then he began that brilliant series of victories over
Mayenne that commenced at Arques. Through a country already rallying to
his national banner, he marched to Paris again. He struck terror into
the Leaguers and Spanish inside, who were intriguing for the crown of
France, which the great Bourbon was winning by his sword; and, after
harrying St. Germains, he again marched on to attack Mayenne’s main army
at Dreux. The Spanish Leaguers from Flanders were commanded by Egmont,
the son of the man whom Alba had killed. His cavalry at first charged
Henry’s infantry and broke it. Then the king himself, with his white
plume for a guide, led his 2000 horsemen like a whirlwind against the
Leaguers. Nothing could stand before them. The German mercenaries
dropped their arms and fled, the Lorrainers and Egmont’s Walloons were
swept away by the irresistible avalanche, and the battle of Ivry was won
(March 14, 1590). Then without a pause Paris found itself again
encircled with the victorious troops of the Béarnais. The sufferings of
the rebel city and the events of the struggle cannot be recounted here.
Philip’s far-off share in them alone concerns us for the moment. It is
said by those who were near Philip at the time, that the news of
Mayenne’s rout at Ivry was not entirely displeasing to him. It had been
evident to the Spaniards for some time that Mayenne would take the first
opportunity of causing himself to be proclaimed king in Paris. Mendoza
and Moreo, the Spanish agents in Paris, were already sounding notes of
alarm about him in their letters to the king, and Philip must have
known, now he had lost Ivry, that, come what might, Mayenne’s chance had
gone. It had become certain that, if Henry IV. was to be beaten at all,
it must be by an experienced warrior like Alexander Farnese with great
national forces, that France indeed must be conquered before Philip
could be called its king. The alternative, however, seemed to be a
Protestant rival nation on his frontier, and an entire alteration of the
balance of Europe, in which he would be left isolated and impotent; and
he must fight to the death to prevent that. Farnese had lost much of his
popularity since the Armada, and he fretted at the fact. He knew that
doubts wore whispered to his uncle, not only of his loyalty, but even of
his orthodoxy; and, although Philip expressed himself as being quite
satisfied with his explanations about the Armada, Farnese feared that
his constant ill-health foreboded death by poison. He was weary, too,
with the petty war of treachery, surprises, and skirmishes which still
continued between him and the Dutchmen under William the Silent’s son,
Maurice. It was like new life to him when at last he got the stirring
news from Philip that he was to conquer France for the Church and for
the House of Spain. But for the Salic law, the Infanta would undoubtedly
have been the heiress to the crown, and Philip made light of the Salic
law, and boldly asserted his daughter’s right. Farnese was, above all
things, a prudent commander, and insisted upon having sufficient
resources for the business he had to do, and his persistence on this
point again raised rumours against him. Philip’s principal agent in
France, Moreo, did not hesitate to say that he was a traitor, who was
plotting for his own ends; and the Spanish nobles about Farnese’s
person, seeing which way the tide was running, joined in the sneers at
his slowness. But he would not move, leaving Flanders unprotected, and
risking his fame and life, by crossing the frontier with an inadequate
force. His insistence at length gained his point, and large remittances
were sent to him from Madrid, with which he could organise a good force
of 13,000 men; and by August 23 he joined Mayenne at Meaux and marched
to attack Henry’s besieging army before Paris. Some provisions were
passed into the famished city, the siege was partly raised, and soon the
tactical skill of Farnese began to tell upon Henry’s army, which was
melting away with discouragement. He once more abandoned the siege, and
the League army entered Paris on September 18, 1590. But then began the
feeling that eventually led even the Parisians to welcome Henry.
Farnese made no pretence to respect Mayenne’s authority, and the
Frenchmen who had looked upon the Spanish forces as their allies found
now to their dismay that they were their masters. Mayenne himself was
inclined to be sulky and rebellious, and it was necessary for Farnese to
teach him and Paris that they were powerless without Spanish troops; so
he and his force once more marched towards the Flemish frontier, and
Paris was again invested. Philip’s fanatic councillors insisted that
Farnese had abandoned the task because of his want of sympathy, and the
king grew colder still towards his nephew, and somewhat changed his
plans. It must now have been evident to him that the French nation would
not willingly accept him or his daughter as sovereign, and he reverted
to his former idea of dismemberment. The Infanta really had a good claim
to the duchy of Brittany, which had never formed part of the French
realm, and was excepted from the action of the Salic law. The Duke of
Mercœur, whose wife was also descended from the House of Brittany,
had been holding the province for the League, and was hard pressed. He
begged for aid from Philip, who sent him a force of 5000 men under Don
Juan del Aguila, whilst the Duke of Savoy, Philip’s son-in-law, had
entered Marseilles with his army, Toulouse was garrisoned by 4000
Spaniards, and all Provence and Dauphiné was falling under the
Savoy-Spanish yoke. The Spaniards in Brittany were not long in showing
their teeth. They seized and fortified Blavet and other ports against
Mercœur himself, and this brought Elizabeth on the scene with 3000
English troops. She could never have the Spaniards in ports opposite her
shores, she said. And so practically all over France little wars were
being waged. The country, utterly desolated and exhausted, yearned for
peace and firm government before all things, and gradually came to the
conclusion that they were more likely to obtain them from their own
countryman, Henry, than from the Spanish king and his hangers-on. At the
same time Philip’s treasury had become more and more depleted and his
credit quite ruined with the bankers. He was, moreover, himself old and
weary with never-ending labour at small details, and decided to strike a
supreme blow once more to end heresy in France before he gave up the
struggle in despair. Farnese therefore, to his annoyance this time (for
he was obliged to leave Maurice of Nassau in undisturbed possession of
Holland), received fresh orders from the king in September 1591 once
more to cross the frontier and end the fight.

He found the leaders of the League all at discord one with the other and
with the Spaniards. Mayenne’s vanity and greed had disgusted every one,
and it soon became apparent to Farnese that no aid towards Spanish aims
could be gained from him. He had, indeed, selfishly done his best only a
few months before to impede the solution which might have drawn a
majority of Frenchmen to the side of the League and the Spaniards,
namely, the marriage of the Infanta with the young Duke of Guise. Henry
IV. was besieging Rouen with an army of 20,000 men, nearly all mercenary
Germans and English, and although his energy somewhat delayed Parma’s
advance, when the latter reached Rouen he found Mayenne disinclined to
accept the assistance of the Spaniards, such was his growing jealousy
of them, owing partly to the diplomacy of Henry. It was not until the
end of April 1592 that Parma entered Rouen in triumph. But the triumph
did not last long. Parma was wounded and seriously ill, and found his
supplies cut off and his force hemmed in by Henry. It was only by
consummate strategy that he withdrew with the loss of nearly half his
men to Flanders, there to die in December of the same year (1592).
Philip could not now shut his eyes to the fact that he had lost.
Frenchmen of all classes hated the idea of Spanish domination, Mayenne
and the Catholics understood that the Béarnais was going to win, for he
had taken the patriotic side, and they began to cast about for means to
secure themselves from ruin. If the king would only go to mass, all
might be well. Henry on his side was also desirous of coming to terms.
The war had desolated France, and the time was ripe for an arrangement.
When, however, in January 1593, the Estates met in the Louvre, a last
attempt was made by the Spanish party to have their way by diplomacy.
Feria, the son of Philip’s old friend by his English wife, entered Paris
as the king’s representative to claim the crown for the Infanta, who
might be married to a French prince, to be chosen by Philip, or if the
Estates refused this, that the crown should be given to the Duke of
Guise, who might marry the Infanta. If Philip had proposed the latter
solution first, it might have been accepted; but whilst Feria was
bickering over the Infanta’s impossible claim, and losing precious weeks
in communicating with his distant master almost daily, Henry, outside
the city, was busy gaining over the Estates, showing himself gay,
confident, conciliating, and, above all, French. Gabrielle d’Estrées,
the _politicians_, the Leaguers, the clergy, and his own interests, all
urged him to conform to the Catholic faith. On July 25, 1593, he took
what he called “the mortal leap,” and attended mass at St. Denis. In
March 1594 the Béarnais entered Paris as king. The next day, through a
pitiless storm, the Spanish garrison, with Feria, marched out of the
gate of St. Denis. “Commend me to your master, gentlemen,” cried Henry,
“but come back hither no more.” The war lingered on until Philip was
nearly dying in 1598. Spanish troops still held parts of Picardy and
French Flanders, and once Amiens fell into their hands, but at the end
of the period even Mayenne commanded the French forces against them; and
pride, and belief in the divine support, alone prevented Philip from
making terms before. Henry at last listened to the promptings of the
pope, and made peace with his enemy alone. He broke faith with Elizabeth
and the Dutch, but he consolidated once more the French nation. Philip’s
ill-starred attempts to dominate France had thus failed, but he had
succeeded in preventing it from becoming a Protestant Power.


     Blighting influence of Philip’s system on his officers--Effects of
     Philip’s routine on the administration--Social condition of Spain
     and the colonies--Dr. Lopez and Antonio Perez--Philip II. and
     Tyrone’s rebellion--The English sacking of Cadiz--Philip’s
     resignation--His last illness and death--Results of his
     life--Causes of the decadence of the Spanish power.

The death of Alexander Farnese had removed from Philip’s service the
last of the great men of his reign. He had been treated by his master in
the same way that all the rest of them had been--with cold
half-confidence and veiled suspicion. There is nothing more
surprising--more pitiable--in the phenomena of Philip’s reign than the
way in which he pressed men of the highest gifts into his service, only
to break their hearts and spirits by his tardiness of action and
inexpansiveness of mind. His system left no room for independent
judgment on the part of his instruments, and any attempt to exercise it
met with the passive, stony resistance, against which one ardent soul
after another dashed itself to death. As Philip grew older, and his
periodical attacks of illness became more frequent, the vast tide of
papers which flowed into the king’s cell became more and more
unmanageable. He had no sense of proportion whatever, and would
frequently waste hours of precious time over ridiculous trifles--the
choice of an unimportant word, the ordering of a religious procession,
or the strictly private affairs of his subjects,--whilst matters of the
highest import to the welfare of his great empire were allowed to drag
on for months without decision.

The centralising system had now been established to his satisfaction,
and from all four quarters of the earth viceroys, governors, ministers,
and spies sent their contribution of papers to Madrid. Everything came
under the eyes of the monarch, toiling early and late, even when his
malady stretched him on a sick-bed. The council that surrounded him in
his last years was composed of very different men from the Granvelles,
the Albas, the Ruy Gomezes, or even the Perezes, who had served him in
his prime. The principal secretary of state was Don Juan de Idiaquez,
one of the indefatigable writers whom Philip loved. No detail was too
small for Idiaquez. With his swift-current clerkly hand he wrote day and
night, deciphering, drafting, annotating. Every day after the king’s
frugal early dinner Idiaquez came with his bundle of papers, and was
closeted with him until nightfall. The communications had been opened,
considered, and reported upon by the council during the previous night,
and the results were now submitted to Philip. The second secretary, Don
Cristobal de Moura, had charge especially of Portuguese and Castilian
affairs. He had to report his budget of council minutes whilst the king
was dressing in the morning, and the Count de Chinchon had audience for
the affairs of Italy, Aragon, and the south of Spain at, and after, the
king’s dinner. Every draft despatch was read and noted by the king;
Mateo Vasquez, the sly enemy who had hunted Perez, being always at his
side to help him. Whilst the king of the greatest realm on earth, and
four men with the minds of superior clerks, were thus immersed in
endless papers, the social condition of Spain went from bad to worse.
The efforts of Philip had been directed towards making his people as
rigid as monks. Pragmatics had been showered upon Spain, prohibiting for
the hundredth time luxury or splendour in dress, furniture, and
appointments, restricting the use of carriages, abolishing courtesy
titles. No person was allowed to be educated out of Spain, and all
attempts at introducing science in any form were sternly suppressed by
the Inquisition. The most slavish and extravagant conformity in
religious observance was enforced, but the loosest and most licentious
conversation was tolerated. The women of Spain had in previous times
been modest, almost austere and oriental in their retirement. They now
became perfectly scandalous in their freedom, and remained a bye-word
for the rest of civilised Europe for a century afterwards. Camillo
Borghese was sent by the pope to Madrid in 1593, and thus speaks of the
state of affairs at that time: “The main street of Madrid ... is
unutterably filthy, and almost impassable on foot. The better class of
ladies are always in carriages or litters, whilst the humbler folk ride
on donkey-back or pick their way through the mire. The ladies are
naturally shameless, presumptuous, and abrupt, and even in the streets
go up and address men unknown to them, looking upon it as a kind of
heresy to be properly introduced. They admit all sorts of men to their
conversation, and are not in the least scandalised at the most improper
proposals being made to them.” Philip’s pragmatics were useless.
Extravagance checked in one direction broke out in others, and in the
midst of the most appalling poverty, luxury and waste ran riot. The
immense loss of life in constant wars, and the vast emigration to
America, had depopulated wide tracts of country, and the laws which
favoured the aggregation of property in the hands of the Church had
turned whole towns into ecclesiastical settlements. The friars had grown
more insolent as their riches increased, and as the king’s slavishness
to their cloth became more abject, and now during his last years their
power was practically supreme in the king’s court.

Whilst Philip’s system had reduced his own country to this state, the
ships of Drake, Ralegh, Hawkins, Cumberland, and the rest of them were
harrying the Indies, the English were trading openly with Spanish
settlements in spite of royal prohibition, and in the insensate thirst
for gold, the Spanish colonists were wiping out whole nations of
inoffensive Indians who were unable or unwilling to satisfy their greed.
The missionary friars sometimes raised their voices against the
wholesale murder of their possible converts, but they cried in vain, for
Philip’s hide-bound system only referred the protests against the
slaughter to the men who perpetrated it. Philip’s American possessions
consequently were enriching his enemies rather than himself, and, as
Ralegh said, were furnishing the means for them to carry on war against
him. In the meanwhile his own coasts, both of Italy and Spain, were
practically undefended. The loss of the Armada had been a blow both to
his credit and to his naval power, from which he could never entirely
recover, and neither men, money, nor ships could easily be obtained.

Perez lived caressed and flattered in Essex House, and knew all that
passed in Spain. Everything which his wickedness and malice could devise
to injure his enemy he urged with ceaseless pertinacity. He persuaded
the queen that her physician, the Jew Dr. Lopez, had plotted with Philip
to murder her. There was just enough foundation to give a plausible
appearance to the assertion, and Lopez was executed (June 7, 1594). That
he was ready to undertake such commissions is doubtless true, but
evidence is now forthcoming which tends to show that in this case Perez
lied, and that Lopez was innocent.[4]

The accusation, however, was believed by Elizabeth and her ministers,
and when Perez proposed to his ambitious patron Essex a plan for
revenging his mistress he was eager to listen. But there was another
reason as well. The English Catholic refugees were still intriguing, and
urging Philip to take action to secure the crown of England for the
Infanta on Elizabeth’s death, whilst the Scots Catholics were
endeavouring to gain it for James, under their auspices if possible. Now
that a direct invasion of England by Philip was acknowledged to be
impossible, it was constantly pressed upon him by the English exiles
that he might disturb and paralyse Elizabeth by sending armed support to
the Irish Catholics. The complete collapse of the Desmond rebellion in
Munster, and the slaughter of the papal Spanish contingent (1580) had
made Philip cautious; so when Irish priests and emissaries came to him
from Tyrone and O’Donnell, he had been, as usual, vaguely sympathetic,
and took means to discover the real strength behind them before he
pledged himself. Spanish officers were sent to spy out the land and
report upon the capabilities of Tyrone. The latter was still keeping up
an appearance of great loyalty to the English, but his correspondence
with Philip was well known in London, as well as the hopes and promises
sent from Spain to the Irish Catholics. It would be a great stroke if
the fleet, which spies stated was fitting out for Ireland, could be
destroyed. As a matter of fact, Philip was so poor that he could do but
little to help Tyrone; and for years afterwards the agonised appeals of
the Irish Catholics were only answered by fair words and tardy,
inadequate, and ineffectual assistance. But for the moment Elizabeth was
led to believe that a powerful invasion of Ireland was imminent.

When it came to finding the money and incurring the responsibility of a
direct invasion of Spain, however, the queen more than once drew back,
and it required all hot-headed Essex’s personal influence to bring her
to the point. At last when the commission was granted, the precedent of
the ill-fated Portuguese expedition of 1589 was followed. The first
object was, as then, stated to be the destruction of the King of Spain’s
fleet, and, secondly, the attack upon the homeward-bound Indian
flotilla. Only as a doubtful resource was a rich town to be attacked. As
in 1589, the command was to be divided--on this occasion between
Lord-Admiral Howard and Essex, with Ralegh as lieutenant. It was
difficult to get men to serve. “As fast as we press men on one day,”
writes Ralegh, “they run away the next.”

The fleets left Plymouth on June 3, 1596. They were divided into four
English squadrons of nearly equal strength, the aggregate consisting of
17 queen’s ships, 76 freighted ships, and some small craft, while the
Dutch squadron had 24 sail. The crews in all amounted to 16,000 men.

It was known that in Cadiz was concentrated the greater part of what was
left of Philip’s naval strength, and the city was the richest in Spain.
Ranged underneath the walls were 8 war galleys, and 17 galleons and
frigates were in the harbour, whilst 40 great ships were loading for
Mexico and elsewhere.

On June 20 (O.S.) the fleets appeared before Cadiz, and, thanks to
Ralegh’s intervention, a combined attack was first made upon the
shipping. Essex cast his plumed hat into the sea in his exultation when
he heard the news. At dawn next morning Ralegh led the van in the
_War-sprite_. The city was taken by surprise and was panic-stricken, but
the Spanish ships in harbour had assumed some attitude of defence. The
effect of Philip’s system had been, as we have seen, to paralyse
initiative in his officers, and when there was no time to communicate
with him they were lost. After a few shots had been fired, Sotomayor,
the admiral, withdrew the ships he could save to the end of the bay at
Puerto Real, out of reach of the English guns. At night, before the
decisive attack, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, the craven of the Armada,
but still Philip’s high admiral, arrived. As usual, he could only look
on helplessly, whilst the English squadrons sailed into the harbour,
sank two great galleons, then landed the soldiers, stormed the old
crumbling walls and seized the city, almost without resistance. The
terror inspired now by the English at sea perfectly dominated the
Spaniards. The fortress of Cadiz was ruinous, the guns were old and
dirty, ammunition was short, and after two days of starvation the
defenders made terms of surrender. Every ship in harbour was burnt or
sunk, either by the English or the Spaniards themselves, and the
terrified sailors had been drowned by hundreds, out of sheer fright at
the “devilish folk.” There were 5000 Spanish women who had taken refuge
in the fortress. They were allowed to leave without the slightest
molestation, and the English commanders even provided boats to convey
the nuns and sick from the hospitals to a place of safety. Then for
fifteen days the city was submitted to a systematic pillage. Nothing was
left, and the richest city in Spain was reduced to a smoking wreck.

“Neither ship, nor fleet, nor Cadiz remains,” wrote Medina Sidonia to
Philip. The fighting, such as it was, had only lasted three hours, and
there had been destroyed, mostly by the Spaniards, 13 Spanish
men-of-war, all the war galleys, and 40 of the best merchantmen in
Spain, with merchandise worth 11,000,000 ducats. The fortresses and
defences were razed to the ground, the first maritime city in the
country was destroyed, and the seal stamped deep on the final decadence
of Spain.

Philip’s system had brought him to this. He could not defend his own
harbours, much less avenge the injuries done to him. Henry IV. had
beaten him in France, the Nassaus had beaten him in Holland, the
English had beaten him on the sea. He was utterly bankrupt, his country
ruined, his dream of the universal predominance of Catholicism, and the
omnipotence of Spain proved to be a chimera. He was old and weary,
suffering incessant bodily agony, and yet with all this he never lost
his faith in his divine mission and the final success of his cause. “Thy
will, God, be done, not mine,” says an eye-witness of his last days,
were the words constantly on his lips.

During the spring of 1598 the king was almost unable to move from gout,
but still continued his work at his papers. At the end of June he was
carried to the Escorial in a litter, and soon afterwards malignant
tumours broke out in various parts of his limbs. The pain of his malady
was so intense that he could not even endure a cloth to touch the parts,
and he lay slowly rotting to death for fifty-three dreadful days,
without a change of garments or the proper cleansing of his sores.

Through all the repulsive and pitiful circumstances that accompanied his
last illness his patience and serenity never left him. His awful
sufferings were borne without a plaint, and his constant words were
those of resignation and assurance of divine forgiveness for his sins.
Night and day, ceaselessly around him, went on the propitiatory offices
of his Church; through the weary hours of pain the eyes of the dying
king were fixed in ecstasy on the holy emblems, and often in his anguish
of devotion he would bite and worry the coarse crucifix which never left
him, the same crucifix that had been grasped by the dying hands of the
emperor. On August 16 the nuncio brought him the papal blessing and
plenary absolution. Philip by this time was incapable of moving, a mere
mass of vermin and repulsive wounds, but his spirit conquered the
frailty of the flesh, and he fervently repeated his immovable faith in
the Church and the cause to which he had devoted his life. On September
1, in the presence of his son and daughter Isabel, the extreme unction
for the dying was administered, and although he had hitherto been so
weak as to be inaudible, he suddenly surprised the priests by himself
reading in a loud voice the last office of the Church. When the
administrant, fearing to tire him, said that it was unnecessary to
repeat the office when the sacrament was administered, the dying man
objected: “Oh yes, say it again and again, for it is very good.”

Then all the attendants were sent from the room, and Philip was left
alone with his son. “I meant to save you this scene,” he said, “but I
wish you to see how the monarchies of the earth end. You see that God
has denuded me of all the glory and majesty of a monarch in order to
hand them to you. In a very few hours I shall be covered only with a
poor shroud and girded with a coarse rope. The king’s crown is already
falling from my brows, and death will place it on yours. Two things I
especially commend to you: one is that you keep always faithful to the
Holy Catholic Church, and the other is that you treat your subjects
justly. This crown will some day fall away from your head, as it now
falls from mine. You are young, as I was once. My days are numbered and
draw to a close; the tale of yours God alone knows, but they too must

This was Philip’s farewell to his royal state, for he concerned himself
no more with mundane affairs. Patient, kindly solicitous for those
around him, in gentle faith and serene resignation, he waited for his
release. On September 11, two days before he died, he took a last
farewell of his son, and of his beloved daughter, the Infanta Isabel,
who for years had been his chief solace and constant companion, even in
his hours of labour. He was leaving her the sovereignty of the
Netherlands, in union with the Archduke Albert, whom she was to marry,
and he urged her to uphold inviolate the Catholic faith in her
dominions. The farewell was an affecting one for the Infanta, but the
father was serene through it all. When it was ended he gave to his
confessor, Father Yepes, his political testament for his son, copied
from the exhortations of St. Louis. He would fain have taken the
sacrament again, but Moura was obliged to tell him that the physicians
feared he was too weak to swallow the host. Towards the next night Moura
warned him that his hour had nearly come, and he smiled gratefully when
he heard it. All through the dragging night in the small gloomy chamber
the prayers and dirges for the dying went on. When for a moment they
ceased, the dying king would urge their continuance. “Fathers,” he said,
“go on. The nearer I draw to the fountain, the greater grows my thirst.”
During the night the watchers thought the great change had come, and
hastily placed in the king’s hand a blessed candle he had kept for many
years to illumine his last moments upon earth. But he was still
collected. “No,” he said, “not yet. The time has not come.”

Between three and four in the morning, as the first pale streaks of
coming dawn glimmered beyond the stony peaks of the Guadarramas, Philip
turned to Fernando de Toledo, who was at his bedside, and whispered,
“Give it to me; it is time now”; and as he took the sacred taper, his
face was all irradiated with smiles. His truckle bed almost overlooked
the high altar of the cathedral, the building of which had been his
pride, and already the shrill voices of the choristers far below were
heard singing the early mass which he had endowed long ago for his own
spiritual welfare. With this sound in his ears and prayers upon his
lips, his last moments ebbed away. When those around him thought that
all was over and had fallen to weeping, he suddenly opened his eyes
again and fixed them immovably on the crucifix. He shut them no more,
and as they glazed into awful stoniness he gave three little gasps, and
Philip the Prudent had passed beyond. He died gripping the poor crucifix
which still rests upon his breast, and he was buried inclosed in the
coffin he had had made from the timbers of the _Cinco Chagas_, one of
the great galleons that had fought the heretics. In the awful jasper
charnel-house at the Escorial, which will ever be the most fitting
monument of his hard and joyless life, his body has rested through three
centuries of detraction and misunderstanding.

Through all the tribulations and calamities that have afflicted his
country, the affectionate regard in which Spaniards bear the memory of
Philip the Prudent has never waned. His father was an infinitely greater
man, but he has no such place in the hearts of his countrymen, for
Philip was a true Spaniard to the core, a faithful concentration of the
qualities, good and evil, of the nation he loved. If Spaniards were
narrow and rigid in their religious views, it was the natural result of
centuries of struggle, foot to foot with the infidel; if they were
regardless of human suffering in the furtherance of their objects, it
was because they lavishly and eagerly gave up their own lives for the
same ends, and oriental fatalism had been grafted upon Gothic
stubbornness in their national character. But they, like their king,
were patient, faithful, dutiful, and religious.

Philip was born to a hopeless battle. Spain, always a poor country of
itself, was saddled by the marriage of Philip’s grandparents with a
European foreign policy which cursed it with continuous wars for a
century. The tradition he had inherited, and his own knowledge, showed
him that his only chance of safety was to maintain a close political
alliance with England. We have seen how, by fair means and by foul, he
strove to this end through a long life, and how from the mere force of
circumstances it was unattainable. Spain’s power was imperilled from the
moment that Philip the Handsome brought the inheritance of Burgundy to
Jane the Mad, and the doom was sealed when Henry Tudor cast his eyes
upon Anne Boleyn; for the first event made a fixed alliance with England
vital, and the second made it impossible. It may be objected that if a
man of nimble mind and easy conscience had been in Philip’s place, and
had fought Elizabeth, Catharine, and Orange with their own weapons of
tergiversation and religious opportunism, the result might have been
different, as it also might have been if he had opened his mind to new
ideas and accepted the reformed faith. But apart from his mental
qualities, and his monastic training, which made such an attitude
impossible for him, his party had been chosen for him before his birth,
and he inherited the championship of obscurantism, as he inherited the
task which obscurantism was powerless to perform. Burdened thus, as he
was, with an inherited work for which neither he, nor his inherited
means, was adequate, it was only natural that he should adopt the
strange views of the semi-divinity of himself and his mission that so
deeply coloured most of the acts of his life. The descendant and the
ancestor of a line of religious mystics, he looked upon himself as only
an exalted instrument of a higher power. Philip of Austria could not be
defeated, because Philip of Austria was not fighting. It was God’s
battle, not his; and he might well be calm in the face of reverses that
would have broken another man’s heart; for he knew, as he often said,
that in the long-run the Almighty would fight for His own hand, and that
defeat for Him was impossible. Where his reasoning was weak was in the
assumption that the cause of the Almighty and the interests of Philip of
Austria were necessarily identical.


                              Edward III. = Philippa of Hainault
      |                     |                      |                        |
 Edward, the         Duke of Clarence         Duke of York   Blanche   = John of = Constance of
Black Prince                |                    |         Plantagenet |  Gaunt  |   Portugal
      |         Philippa, Countess of March      |       +-------------+         +----------+
      |                     |                    |       |          |                       |
 RICHARD II.   Roger Mortimer, Earl of March     |   Henry IV.  Philippa = John, King   Catharine = Henry of
                            |        +-----------+       |               | of Portugal            | Castile
                            |        |                   |               |                        |
                  Anne Mortimer = Richard             Henry V.       Dom Duarte                   |
                                | Plantagenet, Earl      |               |                        |
                                | of Cambridge       HENRY VI.        Fernando           John II. of Castile
                                |                                        |                        |
                     Richard, Duke of York                             Manoel                     |
                                |                                        |               Isabel the Catholic
           +-------------+------+----------+                             |                        |
           |             |                 |                             |                        |
       RICHARD III.   Edward IV.   George Plantagenet, Duke              |                        |
                         |                 |  of Clarence                |                        |
    +-------------+------+                 |                             |                        |
    |             |      |              Margaret = Sir R. Pole           |                  Jane the Mad
EDWARD V.   DUKE OF YORK |                 |                             |                        |
                         |       +---------+------+---------+---------+  +-------------+          |
                         |       |                |         |         |                |          |
                         | Henry, Lord         Geoffrey   Arthur   Reginald          Isabel = Charles V.
                         |  Montacute            Pole      Pole      Pole                         |
                         |       |                |         |                                   PHILIP
                         | Catharine = Hastings,  |     Henry Pole
                         |    Pole   | 19th Earl  |
                         |           | of         |
                         |           | Huntingdon |
                         |           |            |
                         |      20th Earl      Geoffrey Pole
                         |    of Huntingdon
                         |           |
                         |      21st Earl
                         |    of Huntingdon
                Elizabeth of York = Henry VII.
     |                             |                           |
Henry VIII.        James IV.  = Margaret = Earl of Angus   Mary Tudor = C. Brandon, Duke
     |            of Scotland |  Tudor   |  (Douglas)                 |    of Suffolk
     |                        |          |                            |
     +---------+--------+     |          |                            +-------------------+
     |         |        |     |          |                            |                   |
EDWARD VI.   MARY   ELIZABETH |          |                      Frances = Henry Grey,     |
                              |          |                              | Duke of Suffolk |
                          James V.   Margaret = Earl of Lennox          |                 |
                              |      Douglas  |   (Stuart)           +--+------+------+   |
                              |               |                      |         |      |   |
                              |     +---------+--------+          Catharine   Jane   Mary |
                              |     |                  |             |                    |
                           Mary = Henry      Charles Stuart, Earl    |            Eleanor = Clifford,
                                | Stuart,       | of Lennox          |                    | 2nd Earl
                                | Lord Darnley  |              Edward Seymour,            | of Cumberland
                                |               |              Lord Beauchamp             |
                            JAMES VI.           |                    |            Earl of Cumberland
                                         ARABELLA STUART = WILLIAM SEYMOUR


A list of some of the printed authorities upon which the present
monograph has been based, in addition to the unpublished State papers at
Simancas, in the Archives Nationales (Paris), and in the British Museum,

     _Calendar of Spanish State Papers_, Elizabeth, Rolls Series,
     volumes i. to iv., 1892-1897.

     Prescott, _History of the Reign of Philip II._, 3 volumes, London,

     _Estudios sobre Felipe II._ (translation of articles by G.
     Maurenbrecher, M. Philippson, and C. Justi, with prologue and
     appendices by Ricardo Hinojosa), Madrid, 1887, 1 volume.

     Cabrera de Cordoba, _Felipe II. Rey de España_, Madrid, 1619.

     Leti Gregorio, _Vita del Catolico Ré Filippo II._, Cologne, 1679.

     Porreño, _Vida y Hechos del Señor Rey Felipe II., el Prudente_ (new
     edition), Valladolid, 1863.

     Cervero de la Torre, _Testimonio autentico y verdadero de las cosas
     notables que pasaron en la dichosa muerte del Rey Felipe II._ (an
     account of Philip’s death by his Chaplain), Valencia, 1589, 1

     Fernandez Montaña, _Nueva Luz y verdad historica sobre Felipe II._
     (an unrestrained panegyric of Philip from a Catholic priest’s point
     of view), Madrid, 1891, 1 volume.

     Fernandez Montaña, _Mas Luz y verdad historica sobre Felipe II. el
     Prudente_ (supplement to the same), Madrid, 1892, 1 volume.

     _Correspondence de Granvelle_ (edited by C. Piot), Brussels, 1884.

     _Papiers d’État de Granvelle_ (edited by Weiss), Paris, 1843.

     H. Forneron, _Histoire de Philippe II._, Paris, 1880.

     Martin Hume, _The Year after the Armada_ (for accounts of Philip’s
     marriage, the English attack on Portugal, the social condition of
     Spain, etc.), London, 1896, 1 volume.

     _Documentos ineditos para la historia de España_, Madrid, in
     progress. (A large number of these volumes contain valuable papers
     referring to the reign of Philip II.)

     Flores, _Reinas Catolicas_, Madrid, 1770 (an account of the Queens
     of Spain).

     Philippson, _Ein Ministerium unter Philipp II._, Berlin, 1895 (an
     account of Granvelle’s ministry in Spain, 1579-1586).

     Gachard, _Correspondence de Philip II._, Brussels (correspondence
     mainly on Flemish affairs).

     Gachard, _Correspondence de Philippe II. avec ses filles_, Paris,
     1884, 1 volume (familiar letters from the king to his two children
     in 1580-1581).

     M. la Fuente, _Historia General de España_, Madrid, 1885.

     Strada, _Histoire de la Guerre de Flandre_, Brussels, 1712, 3

     Muro, Gaspar, _La Princesa de Eboli_, Madrid, 1877, 1 volume (with
     valuable preface by Señor Canovas de Castillo).

     Perez Antonio, _Relaciones, etc._, Geneva, 1649, 1 volume.

     Mignet, _Antonio Perez et Philippe II._, Paris, 1881.

     Llorente, _Histoire critique de l’Inquisition_, Paris, 1817.

     Fernandez Duro, _Estudios historicos del Reinado de Felipe II._,
     Madrid, 1890 (an account of the disaster of Los Gelves, etc.).

     Fernandez Duro, _La Armada Invencible_, 2 volumes, Madrid, 1885 (a
     Spanish account of the Armada).

     Baumstark, _Philippe II. Roi d’Espagne_ (French translation by G.
     Kurth), Liège, 1877 (German Catholic view of the king).

     Du Prat, _Elizabeth de Valois_, Paris, 1850 (Life of Philip’s third

     Ranke, _Zur Geschichte des Don Carlos_ (in the “Wiener Jahrbüchen
     der Literatur,” vol. xlvi., gives all the early relations about Don
     Carlos), Vienna, 1829.

     Schmidt, _Epochen und Katastrophen: Don Carlos und Philipp II._,
     Berlin, 1864 (against Philip).

     Alberi, _Relazioni degli Ambasciatori Veneti_, 15 volumes, Firenze,

     V. la Fuente, _Historia eclesiastica de España_, Madrid, 1874.
     _Calendars of Venetian State Papers_, Rolls Series, in progress.

     Sepulveda, _De Rebus Gestis Philippi II., Opera_, vol. ii., Madrid,

     Motley, _The Rise of the Dutch Republic_, London, 1859.

     Gachard, _Don Carlos et Philippe II._, Brussels, 1863.

     Campana, _Vita del catolico Don Filippo secondo, con le guerre dei
     suoi tempi_ (Vicenza, 1605).

     Calderon de la Barca, J. M., _Gloriosa defensa de Malta_, Madrid,
     1796 (best account of the siege of Malta).

     Morel Fatio, _L’Espagne au 16me et 17me Siècles_ (accounts of
     Madrid, letters from Don Juan, etc.), Paris, 1878.

     Mendoza, _Guerra de Granada_, Valencia, 1795 (contemporary account
     of the Morisco war).

                                THE END

           _Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.


 [1] The bull is printed in full for the first time in Döllinger’s

 [2] The destination of Drake was kept so secret that the first hint
 that he might attack Cadiz was only made by Stafford, the English
 ambassador in Paris (who was a traitor in Philip’s pay), to Mendoza
 on April 9. He told Mendoza that not a living soul but the queen and
 Cecil really knew what the design was, the lord admiral himself being
 kept in the dark, “as the queen considered him a frank-spoken man.”
 It was only by chance hints that Stafford surmised that Cadiz might
 be the destination. In the letter by which Philip conveyed the news
 of Drake’s ravages in Cadiz to Mendoza he says that he grieves not
 so much for the actual harm done, as for the daring insolence of the

 [3] Immediately after Drake had sailed from Plymouth, André de Loo
 arrived in London with a peaceful proposal from Farnese, and the queen
 was much distressed that her efforts to recall Drake were ineffectual.

 [4] This evidence will be found printed at length in the fourth volume
 of the _Calendar of Spanish State Papers of Elizabeth_ now (August
 1897) in the press.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

arrear=> arrears {pg 56}

the investure from the new pope=> the investure from the new pope {pg

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