free ebooks

A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Even before Ridolfi reached Spain


But

while letters and messages were being exchanged in this way (for Ridolfi held it necessary to be in communication with his friends in England and Scotland), Elizabeth's watchful ministers had already discovered all. Even before Ridolfi reached Spain, Elizabeth gave the French ambassador an intimation of the commission with which the Queen of Scots had entrusted him.[238] The latter had not yet received any kind of answer from Spain when the Earl of Shrewsbury, in whose custody she then was at Sheffield, reproached her with the schemes in which she was implicated, and announced to her a closer restriction of her liberty as a punishment for them: further Elizabeth would not at that time as yet proceed against her. In Spain and Italy they were still expecting the Duke of Norfolk to take up arms, when he was already a prisoner. Elizabeth struggled long against giving him over to the arm of the law, but her friends held an execution absolutely necessary for her personal security. On the scaffold in the Tower Norfolk said he was the first to die on that spot under Queen Elizabeth and trusted he would be the last. All people said Amen.

The scheme of this revolt proceeded more from Italy and Rome than from Spain: King Philip had taken no active part in it, the Duke of Alva had rather set himself against it: but we need only glance at their correspondence to perceive how completely nevertheless they were implicated in the matter. To carry on the war against

Elizabeth not in his own name but in the name, and for the restoration of the rights, of the Queen of Scotland, would have exactly suited the policy of Philip II: he thought such an opportunity would never present itself again; they must avail themselves of it and finish the affair as quickly as possible, that France might not take part in it. If Alva counts up the difficulties which manifestly stood in the way of the scheme, yet he promises to execute the King's wishes with all the means in his power, with person and property: 'God will still send the King other favourable opportunities as a reward for his religious zeal.'[239]

Queen Elizabeth expelled the Spanish ambassador, Gueran de Espes, who had undeniably taken part in Ridolfi's schemes as well as in the last rising, from England; as soon as he reached Brussels, the English and Scotch fugitives gathered round him, and communicated to him many new schemes of invasion, to which his ear was more open than that of the Duke of Alva. An attack was to be tried, now on Scotland, now on Ireland, now on England itself.

We cannot suppose that in England they knew every word that was uttered about these plans, or that everything they did believe there was well grounded. But from year to year men's minds were more and more filled with the idea that Philip II was the great enemy of their religion and of their country. In the sphere of classical literature the translation of Demosthenes in 1570 is noteworthy in this respect. What Demosthenes says against Philip of Macedon, in regard to the Athenians, the translator finds applicable to Philip II; he calls the English to open war in the words of the ancient orator, 'for as it was then, so is it now, and ever will be.'

But for this Elizabeth on her side did not feel inclined or prepared. Many acts of hostility took place at sea in a piratical war, in politics they stood sharply opposed to each other: but they were not inclined on either side for an open contest, front to front.

Above all the English held it necessary now to come to a good understanding with the other of the two great neighbouring powers. It stood them in good stead that a tendency to moderate measures gained sway in France; the English ambassadors took a very vivid interest in the project of a marriage between Henry of Navarre and Margaret of Valois. While the victory of Lepanto filled the hearts of the partisans of Spain with fresh hopes, the jealousy it awakened in the French contributed largely to their withdrawal from Spain and the Pope, and their readiness for an alliance with England. The two powers promised each other mutual support against any attack, on whatever ground it might at any time be undertaken. A later explanation of the treaty expressly confirmed its including the case of religion.[240]


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us