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and he was defirous to cultivate, by every expedient, the CHA P. favourable fentiments, which Elizabeth feemed to enter- XLII. tain towards him. But this princess, though she had gone farther in her amorous dalliance A than could be juftified 1581. or accounted for by any principles of policy, was not yet determined to carry matters to a final conclufion; and the confined Walfingham, in his inftructions, to negociating conditions of a mutual alliance between France and England B. Henry with reluctance fubmitted to hold conferences on that fubject; but no fooner had Walfingham begun to fettle the conditions of alliance, than he was informed, that the queen, foreseeing hoftility with Spain to be the refult of this confederacy, had declared, that she would prefer the marriage with the war, before the war without the marriage. The French court, pleased with this change of refolution, broke off the conferences concerning the league, and opened a negociation for the marriage D. But matters had not long proceeded in this train, before the queen again declared for the league in preference to the marriage, and ordered Walsingham to renew the conferences for that purpose. Before he had leisure to bring this point to maturity, he was interrupted by a new change of refolution ; and not only the court of France, but Walfingham himfelf, Burleigh, and all the wifeft minifters of Elizabeth, were in amaze, doubtful where this contest between inclination and reason, love and ambition, would at laft terminate.
IN the courfe of this affair, Elizabeth felt another variety of intentions, from a new contest between her reason and her ruling paflions. The duke of Anjou expected from her fome money, by which he might be enabled to open the campaign in Flanders; and the queen herself, though her frugality made her long reluctant, was fenfible that this fupply was neceffary; and she was at last induced, after much hesitation, to comply with his request. She fent him a prefent of an hundred thousand crowns; by which, joined to his own demefnes and the affiftance of his brother and the queen dowager, he levied an army, and took the field against the prince of Parma. He was fuccefsful in raifing the fiege of Cambray; and being
A Digges, p. 387, 396, 408, 426.
B Ibid. p. 352.
E Digges, p. 408.
CHAP. chofen by the States govornor of the Netherlands, he put XLII. his army into winter quarters, and came over to England, in order to profecute his fuit to the queen. The recep-1581. tion, which he met with, made him expect entire fuccefs, and gave him hopes, that Elizabeth had furmounted all fcruples, and was finally determined to make choice of 17th No-him for her hufband. In the midst of the pomp, which vember. attended the anniverfary of her coronation, fhe was feen, after long and intimate difcourfe with him, to take a ring from her own finger, and to put it upon his; and all the fpectators concluded, that, in this ceremony, he had given him a promife of marriage, and was even defirous of fignifying her intention to all the world. St. Aldegonde, ambaflador from the states, dispatched immediately a letter to his masters, informing them of this great event; and the inhabitants of Antwerp, who, as well as the other Flemings, regarded the queen as a kind of tutelar divinity, tellified their joy by bonefires and the difcharge of their great ordnance G. A puritan of Lincoln'sInn had written a paffionate book, which he intitled, "The Gulph in which England will be fwallowed by the "French marriage." He was apprehended and profecuted by order of the queen, and was condemned to lose his right hand as a libeller. Such was the conftancy and loyalty of the man, that, immediately after the fentence was executed, he took off his hat with his other hand, and waving it over his head, cried " God fave the queen."
BUT notwithstanding this attachment, which Elizabeth fo openly discovered to the duke of Anjou, the combat of her fentiments was not entirely over; and her ambition, as well as prudence, roufing itself by intervals, ftill filled her breaft with doubt and hesitation. Almost all the courtiers, whom the trusted and favoured, Leicester, Hatton, and Walfingham, difcovered an extreme averfion to the marriage; and the ladies of her bed-chamber made no fcruple of oppofing her refolution with the moft zealous remonstrances H. Among other enemies to the match, fir Philip, fon of fir Henry Sidney, lord deputy of Ireland, and nephew to Leicester, a young man the moft accomplished of that age, declared himself: And he ufed the freedom to write her a letter, in which he diffuaded her from her prefent refolution, with an unusual elegance
H Camden, p. 486:
G Camden, p. 486. Thuan. lib, 74.
elegance of expreffion, as well as force of reasoning. He CHA P. told her, that the fecurity of her government depended XLII. entirely on the affections of her proteftant fubjects; and she could not, by any measure, more effectually disgust 1581. them than by efpoufing a prince, who was fon of the perfidious Catherine, brother to the cruel and perfidious Charles, and who had himself embrued his hands in the blood of the innocent and defenceless protestants: That the catholics were her mortal enemies, and believed either that he had originally ufurped the crown, or was now lawfully depofed by the pope's bull of excommunication; and nothing had ever so much elevated their hopes as the profpect of her marriage with the duke of Anjou: That her chief fecurity at prefent, against the efforts of so numerous, rich, and united a faction, was, that they poffeffed no head who could conduct their dangerous enterprizes; and the herself was rafhly supplying that defect, by giving an intereft in the kingdom to a prince, whofe education had zealously attached him to that communion: That though he was a stranger to the blood royal of England, the difpofitions of men were now fuch, that they preferred the religious to the civil connections; and were more influenced by fympathy in theological opinions than by the principles of legal and hereditary government: That the duke himself had discovered a very restless and turbulent fpirit; and having often violated his loyalty to his elder brother and his fovereign, there remained no hopes that he would paffively fubmit to a woman, whom he might, in quality of husband, think himself intitled to command: That the French nation, fo populous, fo much abounding in foldiers, fo full of nobility, who were devoted to arms, and, for fome time, accustomed to ferve for plunder, would fupply him with partizans, dangerous to a people, unwarlike and defenceless like the generality of her fubjects: That the plain and honourable path, which he had followed, of cultivating the affections of her people, had hitherto rendered her reign fecure and happy; and however her enemies might feem to multiply upon her, the fame invincible rampart was still able to protect and defend her: That fo long as the throne of France was filled by Henry or his pofterity, it was in vain to hope, that the ties of blood would enfure the amity of of that kingdom, preferably to the maxims of policy or the prejudices of religion; and if ever the crown devolved
CHAP. on the duke of Anjou, the conjunction of France and XLII. England would prove a burthen, rather than a protection, to the latter kingdom: That the example of her fifter 1581. Mary was fufficient to inftru&t her in the danger of fuch connections; and to prove, that the affection and confidence of the English could never be maintained, where they had fuch reason to apprehend, left their interests fhould every moment be facrificed to thofe of a foreign and hoftile nation: That notwithstanding these great inconveniencies, discovered by paft experience, the house of Burgundy, it must be confeffed, was more popular in the nation than the family of France; and, what was of chief moment, Philip was of the fame communion with Mary, and was connected with her by this great band of intereft and affection: And that however the queen might remain childless, even though old age fhould grow upon her, the fingular felicity and glory of her reign would preferve her from contempt; the affections of her fubjects, and those of all the proteftants in Europe, would defend her from attacks; and her own prudence, without other aid or affiftance, would baffle all the efforts of her most malignant enemies I.
THESE reflections kept the queen in great anxiety and irrefolution; and she was observed to pass several nights without any fleep or repofe. At laft her fettled habits of prudence and ambition prevailed over her temporary inclination; and having fent for the duke of Anjou, she had a long conference with him in private, where she was supposed to have made him apologies for breaking her former engagements. He expreffed great difguft on his leaving her; threw away the ring which he had given him; and uttered many curfes on the mutability of women and of islanders K. Soon after, he went over to his government of the Netherlands; loft the confidence of the States by a rash and violent attempt on their liberties; was expelled that country; retired into France, and there died. The queen, by timely reflection, faved herfelf from the numerous mischiefs, which must have attended fo imprudent a marriage: And the distracted state of the French monarchy prevented her from feeling any effects of that refentment, which fhe had reafon to dread, trom the affront fo wantonly put upon that royal family.
1 Letters of the Sydneys, vol. i. p. 287, and feq. Cabbala, P. 363. K Camden, p. 486.
THE anxiety of the queen, from the attempts of the CHA P. English catholics, never ceafed during the whole course of her reign; but the variety of revolutions which happened in all the neighbouring kingdoms, were the fource 1582. fometimes of her hopes, fometimes of her apprehenfions.
THIS year the affairs of Scotland ftrongly engaged her attention. The influence, which the earl of Lenox, and James Stuart, who now affumed the title of earl of Arran, had acquired over the young king, was but a flender foundation of authority, while the generality of the nobles, and all the preachers, were fo much difcontented with their administration. The affembly of the church appointed a folemn faft; of which one of the avowed reafons was the danger in which the king ftood from the company of wicked perfons : And on that day, the pulpits refounded with declamations against Lenox, Arran, and all the king's prefent counsellors. When the minds of the people were fufficiently prepared by thefe lectures, a confpiracy of the nobility was formed, probably with the concurrence of Elizabeth, for feizing the person of James at Ruthven, a feat of the earl of Gowry; and the Aug. 23. defign, being kept fecret, fucceeded without any oppofition. The leaders in this enterprize were, the earl of Gowry himself, the earl of Mar, the lords Lindefey and Boyd, the masters of Glamis and Oliphant, the abbots of Dunfermline, Paisley, and Cambufkenneth. The king wept when he found himself detained a prifoner; but the master of Glamis faid, "No matter for his tears: Better "that boys should weep than bearded men:" An expreffion which James could never afterwards forgive M. But notwithstanding his refentment, he found it necessary to fubmit to the present neceffity. He pretended an entire acquiefcence in the conduct of the affociators; acknowledged the detention of his perfon to be acceptable fervice; and agreed to fummon both an affembly of the church and a convention of estates, in order to ratify that enterprize.
THE affembly, though they had established it as an inviolable rule, that the king, on no account and under no pretence, fhould.ever intermeddle in ecclefiaftical matters, made no fcruple of taking civil affairs under their cognizance, and of deciding on this occafion, that the attempt of
1 Spotswood, p. 319.
M Ibid. p. 320.