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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

And Leinster were in arms their chief


The

negociations for peace were wrecked mainly through their inherent difficulties: the Spaniards however had no hesitation in ascribing the ill result to the influence of the Queen's favourite, who had been won over by the King of France.[285] But the war could not after this be waged on the grand scale contemplated, because Henry IV himself now concluded peace, which freed the hands of the Spaniards to act against England, and even awoke once more their ideas of an invasion.

Under the double influence of English oppression and the instigation of both Spain and Rome a revolt broke out in Ireland, in which the English suffered a defeat on the Blackwater, which is designated as the greatest mishap they had ever suffered in that island. Ulster, Connaught, and Leinster were in arms: their chief, Tyrone, who had learnt war in the English service, came forward as The O'Neil, and was already recognised by the Pope as sovereign of Ulster; the Irish reckoned on Spanish assistance, either in Ireland itself, or through an attack on England. Priests and Jesuits fed the Irish with hopes that this time they would free themselves, and destroy the very memory of the English rule.

The Queen decided, in order to keep her hold on the island, to send over an unusually strong armament of horse and foot: and Essex, who had always been the loudest in blaming the errors of previous commanders, could not avoid at last himself undertaking

its direction, though he did not do it with complete alacrity.

Though Burleigh was dead, his son Robert Cecil nevertheless maintained himself in possession of the secretaryship of state and was at the head of his father's old friends, joined as they were by others who were not indeed his friends but were enemies of Essex. It was unwillingly that Essex quitted the court and thus left the field open to them: especially as his personal relation to the Queen was no longer what it had been of old. Aspiring by nature, supported by the good opinion of the people (on which his grand appearance and his bold spirit of enterprise had made much impression), and by the devotion of brave officers who were ready to follow him in any undertaking by land or sea, he presumed to desire to be something for himself. He wished to be no longer absolutely dependent on the nod of his mistress. The story goes that she once, in a violent passion at his disrespectful conduct, gave him a box on the ear, and that he laid his hand on his sword. Even in his letters expressions indicating resistance break through his declarations of submission. His friends indeed advised him to return to absolute obedience: then the Queen would raise the man whom she honoured above all others. He rejected this advice because he held that the Queen was a woman, from whom one gets nothing but by superior authority. It almost appears as though he thought he might obtain such an authority by the Irish war.

But he found this expedition far harder than he had expected. Previously he had always said that the great rebel, Tyrone, must be tracked to Ulster, where were the roots of his power, and conquered there: then the rest of the country would return to obedience of itself. How great was the astonishment when he now nevertheless began with a march into Munster and Leinster, in which he wasted his resources without obtaining any great success! He maintained that the Privy Council of Ireland had urged him on to this: its members denied it. At last the campaign to the North was undertaken: but in this region the Irish were found to have the complete superiority: the Queen's newly-levied troops on the other hand were neither adapted, nor quite willing, to venture on a decisive action: the officers signed a protest against it: and Essex saw himself obliged to enter into negociations with Tyrone.


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