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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

From Leslie's expression Negociations


1584 her chief minister, William Cecil, now Lord Burleigh, High Treasurer of the kingdom, drew her attention to this necessity. He represented to her that she had nothing to fear from any one in the world except from Spain--but from Spain everything. King Philip had gained more victories from his cabinet, than his father in all his campaigns: he ruled a nation which was thoroughly of one mind in religion, ambitious, brave, and resolute; he had a most devoted party among the discontented in England. The question for the Queen was, whether she hoped to tame the lion or whether she wished to bind him. She could not build on treaties, for the enemy would not keep them. And, if he was allowed to subdue the Netherlands completely, no one in the world could avoid seeing to what object his power would be directed. He advises the Queen not to let things go so far--for those countries were the counterscarp of England's fortress--but to proceed to open war, to withstand the Spaniards in the Netherlands and attack them in the Indies. 'Better now,' he exclaims, 'while the enemy has only one hand free, than later when he can strike with both.'[249]

In August 1585 Antwerp fell into the hands of the Spaniards; in the capitulation the case is already taken into consideration, that Holland and Zealand also might submit. The Northern Netherlands were threatened from yet another side, as Zutphen and Nimuegen had just been taken by the Spaniards. In this extreme

distress of her natural ally she delayed no longer. The sovereignty they offered her she refused anew, but she engaged to give considerable assistance, in return for which, as a security for her advances, the fortresses Vliessingen and Briel were given up into her possession. To prove how much she was in earnest in this, she entrusted the conduct of the war in the Netherlands to Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who was still accounted her favourite and was one of the chief confidants of her policy. In December 1585 Leicester reached Vliessingen; on the 1st of January 1586, Francis Drake appeared before St. Domingo and occupied it. The war had broken out by land and by sea.


[232] Randolph states that the promise was given before Darnley's death. Strype, Annals iii. i. 234.

[233] That this was thought of from the first is not to be supposed; the Queen had once previously declared herself against it. 'We fynde her removing either into this our realm or into France not without great discommodities to us.' Letter to Throckmorton, in Wright i. 253.

[234] Gonzalez, Apuntamientos 338. From the 'short memoryall' of 1569 in Hayne's State Papers 585 (though much in it is incorrect), we see that men believed in the union of both crowns against England, with 'the ernest desyre to have the Quene of Scotts possess this crown of England.'

[235] 'Sentenza declaratoria contra Elizabetta, che si pretende reina d'Inghilterra.' In Catena, Vita di Pio V, 309. The agreement of the bull (e.g. as to the 'huomini heretici et ignobili,' who had penetrated into the royal privy council) with the manifesto of the last rebellion, is worth observing.

[236] The instructions which Mary and Norfolk gave their Italian agent for the Roman See are preserved in the Vatican archives and printed in Labanoff iii. 221. From Leslie's expression (Negociations, in Anderson iii. 152) that the duke negociated with Ridolfi through a Mr. Backer, 'because he had the Italian tongue,' and that then all the plans were communicated to _him_ ('the whole devises'), we might conclude that Norfolk was in general very much in foreign hands.

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