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CHA P. imprudence of fulfilling others; but finding them rigidly XLIV. infifted on by Elizabeth, he accepted of her fuccours, and trusted that he might eafily, on fome pretence, be 1591. able to excufe his failure in executing his part of the treaty. This campaign was the leaft fuccefsful of all thofe which he had yet carried on against the League.
Naval enDURING thefe military operations in France, Elizaterprizes beth employed her naval power against Philip, and endeaagainst voured to intercept his Weft-Indian treasures, the fource Spain. of that greatness, which rendered him fo formidable to all his neighbours. She fent a fquadron of seven ships, under the command of lord Thomas Howard, for this fervice; but the king of Spain, informed of her purpose, fitted out a great force of fifty-five fail, and dispatched them to escort the Indian fleet. They fell in with the English fquadron; and by the courageous obftinacy of fir Richard Greenville, the vice-admiral, who refufed to make his escape by flight, they took one veffel, the first English fhip of war which had yet fallen into the hands of the Spaniards K. The reft of the fquadron returned fafely into England, frustrated of their expectations, but pleafing themselves with the idea, that their attempt had not been altogether fruitless in hurting the enemy. The Indian fleet had been fo long detained in the Havanna, from the fear of the English, that they were cbliged at laft to fet fail in an improper feafon, and most of them perished by fhipwreck, ere they reached the Spanish harbours L. The earl of Cumberland made a like unlucefsful enterprize against the Spanish trade. He carried out one fhip of the queen's, and feven others, equipped at his own expence; but the prizes, which he made, did not compenfate the charges M.
THE fpirit of thefe expenfive and hazardous adventures was very prevalent in England. Sir Walter Raleigh, who had enjoyed great favour with the queen, finding his intereft to decline, determined to recover her good graces by fome important undertaking; and as his reputation was high among his countrymen, he perfuaded great numbers to engage with him as volunteers, in an attempt on the Weft Indies. The fleet was detained fo
K See note at the end of the volume.
long in the Channel by contrary, winds, that the feafon CHA P.
THIS war did great damage to Spain; but it was attended with confiderable expence to England; and Elizabeth's minifters computed, that, fince the commencement of it, fhe had expended in Flanders and France, and on her naval expeditions, above one million two hundred thousand pounds ; a charge which, notwithstanding her extreme frugality, was too burthensome for her narrow revenues to fupport. She fummoned, therefore, a 1593. parliament, in order to obtain fupply. But the either Feb. 19. thought her authority so established, that the needed to A parlia make them no conceffions in return, or she rated her ment. power and prerogative above money: For there was never any parliament, whom the treated in a more haughty manner, whom the made more fenfible of their own weakness, or whofe privileges the more openly violated. When the fpeaker, fir Edward Coke, made the three ufual requests, of freedom from arrefts, of access to her perfon, and of liberty of speech, the replied to him, by the mouth of Puckering, lord keeper, that liberty of Speech was granted to the commons, but they must know what liberty they were entitled to; not a liberty for every one to speak what he lifteth, or what cometh in his brain to utter; their privilege extended no farther than a liberty of aye or no: That he enjoined the fpeaker, if he perceived any idle heads fo negligent of their own fafety, as to attempt reforming the church, or innovating in the commonwealth, that he fhould refufe the bills exhibited to that purpofe, till they were examined by such as were fitter to confider of these things, and could better judge of them: That he would not impeach the freedom
Monfon, p. 165. Camden, p. 569.
O Strype, vol. iii.
CHAP dom of their perfons; but they muft beware, left, unXLIV. der colour of this privilege, they imagined, that any neglect of their duty could be covered or protected: And 1593. that he would not refuse them accefs to her person, provided it was upon urgent and weighty causes, and at times convenient, and when the might have leifure from other important affairs of the realm P.
NOTWITHSTANDING the menacing and contemptuous air of this fpeech, the intrepid and indefatigable Peter Wentworth, not difcouraged by his former ill fuccefs, ventured to tranfgrefs the imperial orders of Elizabeth. He prefented to the lord keeper a petition, in which he defired the upper house to join with the lower in a fupplication to her majefty, for entailing the fucceffion of the crown; and he declared that he had a bill ready for that purpose. This method of proceeding was fufficiently refpectful and cautious; but the fubject was always extremely difagreeable to the queen, and what she had exprefsly prohibited any one to meddle with: She fent Wentworth immediately to the Tower; committed Sir Thomas Bromley, who had feconded him, to the Fleet prison, together with Stevens, and Welsh, two members, to whom fir Thomas had communicated his intention. About a fortnight after, a motion was made in the house, to petition the queen for the release of thefe members; but it was answered, by all the privy counfellors there prefent, that her majesty had committed them for causes best known to herfelf; and that to prefs her on that head, would only tend to the prejudice of the gentlemen whom they meant to ferve: She would release them whenever the thought proper, and would be better pleased to do it. of her own proper motion, than from their fuggeftion R. The houfe willingly acquiefced in this reasoning.
So arbitrary an act, at the commencement of the sesfion, might well reprefs all farther attempts for freedom: But the religious zeal of the puritans was not fo easily reftrained; and it inspired a courage which no human motive was able to furmount. Morrice, chancellor of the dutchy, and attorney of the court of wards, made a motion for redreffing the abufes in the bishops courts, but, above
P D'Ewes, p. 460, 469. Townsend, p. 37.
above all, in the high commiffion; where fubfcriptions, CHAP.
D'Ewes, p. 474. Townfend, p. 60.
U Heylin's History
CHAP. THE queen having thus exprefsly pointed out, both XLIV. what the house fhould and fhould not do, the commons were as obfequious to the one as to the other of her in1593. jun&tions. They paffed a law against recufants; fuch a law as was fuited to the fevere character of Elizabeth, and to the perfecuting fpirit of that age. It was intitled, An act to retain her majefty's fubjects in their due obedience; and was meant, as the preamble declares, to obviate fuch inconveniencies and perils as might grow from the wicked practices of feditious fectaries and difloyal perfons: For these two fpecies of criminals were always, at that time, confounded together, as equally dangerous to the peace of fociety. It was enacted, that any perfon, above fixteen years of age, who obftinately refuled, during the space of a month, to attend public worship, fhould be committed to prifon; that if, after being condemned for this offence, he perfift three months in his refufal, he must abjure the realm; and that, if he either refufe this condition, or return after banishment, he is to fuffer capitally as a felon, without benefit of clergy X. This law bore equally hard upon the puritans and upon the catholics; and had it not been impofed by the queen's authority, was certainly, in that refpect, much contrary to the private fentiments and inclinations of the majority in the house of commons. Very little oppofition, however, appears there to have been openly made to it Y.
THE expences of the war with Spain having reduced the queen to great neceffity, the grant of fubfidies seen to have been the most important business of this parlia ment; and it was a fingular proof of the high fpirit o Elizabeth, that, while confcious of a prefent dependance on the commons, fhe opened the feffion with the moft haughty treatment of them, and covered her weaknets under fuch a lofty appearance of fuperiority. The commous readily voted two fubfidies and four fifteenths; but this fum not appearing fufficient to the court, an unufual expedient was fallen upon to induce them to make an enlargement in their conceffions. The peers informed the
X 35 Eliz. c. i. Y After enacting this ftatute, the clergy, in order to remove the odium from themselves, often took care that recufants fhould be tried by the civil judges at the affize, rather than by the ecclefiaftical commiffioners. Strype's Ann. vol. iv. p. 264.