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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Against his attendants Lennox had to leave Scotland


The

reaction of these events, even while they were still in progress, was first felt in Scotland. There the young King James VI after many vicissitudes had, while still under age, taken the reins of government into his own hands: and a son of his great uncle, Esme Stuart (who exchanged the title Aubigny which he brought from France for the more famous name of Lennox, and was a great friend of the Guises and the Jesuits) obtained the chief credit with him. Lennox promoted Catholicism, which was not so difficult, as part of the nobility still adhered to it, at least in secret; he too lived and moved in comprehensive plans for the re-establishment of the Church. Through the Guises he hoped to be placed in a position to invade England with a Catholic army of 15,000 men; if the English Catholics then did their duty, everything they wanted could be attained: for himself he was resolved to liberate Mary or die in the attempt. Mary was also to reascend the Scotch throne: her son was to be co-regent with her, provided that he himself returned to the bosom of the Catholic Church. Mary Stuart with her indestructible energy was involved in these designs also. She commended them warmly to the Pope and the King of Spain: for it was precisely in Scotland that the universal re-establishment could best be begun.[247] She wished only to know on what resources in men and money her friends there might reckon. We must remember the situation and the peril of these schemes and preparations, if we would
understand to some degree the violent measures on which the Protestant lords in Scotland resolved. As in a similar case of an earlier time in Germany, they closed the castle, in which King James was received, against his attendants: Lennox had to leave Scotland. But the young King was shrewd enough, and sufficiently well advised, to rid himself of the lords almost in the same way that they had taken him. He succeeded, chiefly through the help of the French ambassador, a friend of the Guises. Hereupon too he seemed much inclined to favour the undertaking with which Henry Guise occupied himself in 1583, a scheme for a revolution in the affairs of both countries. Guise hoped, with the support of the King of Spain, the Pope, and the Duke of Bavaria, to be able to effect something decisive. James VI let his uncle know his full agreement with the proposed schemes. But, in fact, it did not seem to matter much whether he agreed or not. It was reported to Queen Mary, that the Catholic party in Scotland reckoned on having the most powerful king of Christendom on their side, with or against James' will; that Philip II was building so many vessels that in a short time he would become completely master of the Western ocean, and be able to invade whatever countries he pleased.

It is evident how dangerous for England these Scotch movements were in themselves: Queen Elizabeth thought herself most vulnerable on the side of Scotland: moreover she already saw herself directly threatened. A plan fell into her hands, in which the number of ships and men necessary for an invasion of England, the harbours where they were to land, the places they were to seize, even the men on whose help they could reckon, were enumerated.[248] She convinced herself that the plan came from Mendoza, who held out the prospect of his King's assistance for the purpose, as the attack was to be made simultaneously from the Netherlands and from Spain. This time too Elizabeth dismissed the hostile ambassador; but how could she flatter herself with having thus exorcised the threatening elements? Now that the foe, with whom she had been for fifteen years at war--though not an open war yet one of which both sides were conscious--had become very much stronger, she was forced to take up a decisive position against him, to save herself from being overpowered.


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