Изображения страниц



and thankfulness acknowledged, that, before they called, CHA P.
her preventing grace, and all-deferving goodness, watched XLV.
over them for their good; more ready to give than they
could defire, much lefs deferve. He remarked, that the
attribute which was most proper to God, to perform all
he promifeth, appertained alfo to her; and that she was
all truth, all conftancy, and all goodness. And he con-
cluded with thefe expreffions, "Neither do we present



our thanks in words or any outward fign, which can be no fufficient retribution for fo great goodness; but in all duty and thankfulness, proftrate at your feet, we "prefent our most loyal and thankful hearts, even the "laft drop of blood in our hearts, and the last spirit of "breath in our nostrils, to be poured out, to be breathed "up, for your fafety F." The queen heard very patiently this fpeech, in which fhe was flattered in phrases appropriated to the fupreme Being; and the returned an anfwer, full of fuch expreffions of tenderness towards her people, as ought to have appeared fulfome after the late inftances of rigour, which he had employed, and from which nothing but neceffity had made her depart. Thus was this critical affair happily terminated; and Elizabeth, by prudently receding, in time, from part of her prerogative, maintained her dignity, and preferved the affections of her people.

THE Commons granted her a fupply very unprecedented, of four fubfidies and eight fifteenths; and they were fo dutiful as to vote this fupply before they received any fatisfaction in the bufinels of monopolies, which they justly confidered as of the utmoft confequence to the intereft and happiness of the nation. Had they attempted to extort that concession by keeping the fupply in fufpence; fo haughty was the queen's difpofition, that this appearance of constraint and jealoufy had been fufficient to have produced a denial of all their requests, and to have forced her into fome acts of authority ftill more violent and arbitrary.

THE remaining events of this reign are neither numerous nor important. The queen, finding that the Spaniards had involved her in fo much trouble, by fomenting and affifting the Irish rebellion, refolved to give them employment at home; and the fitted out a fquadron of nine fhips, under Sir Richard Levifon, admiral, and Sir William

F D'Ewes, p. 658, 659.

[ocr errors]


CHAP. William Monfon, vice-admiral, whom the fent on an exXLV. pedition to the coaft of Spain. The admiral, with part of the squadron, met the galleons loaded with treasure; but was not strong enough to attack them. The vice-admiral alfo fell in with fome rich fhips; but they escaped for a like reafon: And these two brave officers, that their expedition might not be entirely fruitless, refolved to attack the harbour of Cerimbra in Portugal; where, they received intelligence, a very rich Carrick had taken fhelter. The harbour was guarded by a caftle: There were eleven gallies ftationed in it: And the militia of the country, to the number, as was believed, of twenty thousand men, appeared in arms on the fhore: Yet, notwithstanding thefe obftacles, and others derived from the winds and tides, the English fquadron broke into the harbour, difmounted the guns of the caftle, funk, or burnt, or put to flight, the gallies, and obliged the Carrick to furrender G. They brought her home to England, and the was valued at a million of ducats H. A fenfible lofs to the Spaniards; and a supply still more important to Elizabeth 1.

THE affairs of Ireland, after the defeat of Tyrone, and the expulfion of the Spaniards, haftened to a fettlement. Lord Mountjoy divided his army into fmall parties, and harraffed the rebels on every fide: He built Charlemount, and many other fmall forts, which were impregnable to the Irish, and guarded all the important paffes of the country: The activity of Sir Henry Docwray and Sir Arthur Chichefter permitted no repose or fecurity to the rebels: And many of the chieftains, after fkulking, during fome time, in woods and moraffes, fubmitted to mercy, and received fuch conditions as the deputy was pleased to impose upon them. Tyrone himself made application, by Arthur Mac-Baron, his brother, to be received upon terms; but Mountjoy would not admit him, except he made an abfolute furrender of his life and Tyrone's fortune to the queen's mercy. He appeared before the fubmiffion. deputy at Millefont, in a habit and posture suitable to his



G Monfon, p. 181. н Camden, p. 647. I This year the Spaniards begun the fiege of Ottend, which was bravely defended for five months by Sir Francis Vere. The States then relieved him, by fending a new governor; and on the whole the fiege lafted three years, and is computed to have coft the lives of an hundred thoufand men.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

present fortune; and after acknowledging his offence in CHAP.
the most humble terms, he was committed to cuftody by XLV.
Mountjoy, who intended to bring him over captive into
England, to be difpofed of at the queen's pleasure.


BUT Elizabeth was now incapable of receiving any Queen's fatisfaction from this fortunate event: She had fallen in- fickness, to a profound melancholy; which all the advantages of her high fortune, all the glories of her profperous reign, were unable, in any degree, to alleviate or affuage. Some afcribed this depreffion of mind to her repentance of granting a pardon to Tyrone, whom the had always refolved to bring to condign punishment for his treafons, but who had made fuch intereft with the minifters, as to extort a remiffion from her. Others, with more likelihood, accounted for her dejection, by a difcovery which the had made, of the correspondence maintained in her court with her fucceffor the king of Scots, and by the nelect, to which, on account of her old age and infirmities, she imagined herself to be expofed. But there is another caufe affigned for her melancholy, which has long been rejected by hiftorians as romantic, but which late difcoveries seem to have confirmed : Some incidents happened, which revived her tenderness for Effex, and filled her with the deepest forrow for the confent, which fhe had unwarily given to his execution.

THE earl of Effex, after his return from the fortunate expedition against Cadiz, obferving the encrease of the queen's fond attachment towards him, took occafion to regret, that the neceffity of her fervice required him often to be absent from her person, and exposed him to all thofe ill offices which his enemies, more affiduous in their attendance, could employ against him. She was moved with this tender jealoufy; and making him the present of a ring, defired him to keep that pledge of her affection, and affured him, that, into whatever disgrace he fhould fall, whatever prejudices the might be induced to entertain against him, yet, if he fent her that ring, the would immediately, upon the fight of it, recollect her former tenderness, would afford him a patient hearing, and would lend a favourable ear to his apology. Effex,

* See the proofs of this remarkable fact collected in Birch's Negociations, p. 206. And Memoirs, vol. i. p. 481, 505, 506, &c.


CHAP. Effex, notwithstanding all his misfortunes, referved this XLV. precious gift to the last extremity; but after his trial and condemnation, he refolved to try the experiment, and he 1603. committed the ring to the countefs of Nottingham, whom he defired to deliver it to the queen. The countess was prevailed on by her husband, the mortal enemy of Effex, not to execute the commiffion; and Elizabeth, who still expected that her favourite would make this laft appeal to her tenderness, and who afcribed the neglect of it to his invincible obstinacy, was, after much delay, and many internal combats, pushed by refentment and policy to fign the warrant for his execution. The countess of Nottingham falling into fick nefs, and finding herself approach towards her end, was feized with remorie for her conduct; and having obtained a vifit from the queen, the craved her pardon, and revealed to her the tatal secret. The queen, aftonished with this incident, burst into a furious paffion the hook the dying countels in her bed; and crying to her, That God might pardon her, but he never could, the broke from her, and thenceforth refigned herfelf over to the deepest and most incurable, melancholy. She rejected all confolation: She even refufed food and fuftenance: And throwing herself on the floor, the remained fullen and immoveable, feeding her thoughts on her afflictions, and declaring life and existence an infufferable burthen to her. Few words the uttered; and they were all expreffive of fome inward grief, which the cared not to reveal: But fighs and groans were the chief vent which the gave to her defpondency, and which, though they discovered her forrows, were never able to eafe or affuage them. Ten days and nights the lay upon the carpet, leaning on cushions which her maids brought her; and her phyficians could not perfuade her to allow herself to be put to bed, much less to make trial of any remedies, which they prefcribed to her K. Her anxious mind, at laft, had fo long preyed on her frail body, that her end was vifibly approaching; and the council, being affembled, fent the keeper, admiral, and fecretary, to know her will with regard to her fucceffor. She antu ered with a faint voice, that, as fhe had held a regal fceptre, the defired no other than a royal fucceffor. Cecil requesting

K Strype, vol. iv. No. 276.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


ing her to explain herself more particularly, the fubjoined, C H A P.
that he would have a king to fucceed her; and who XLV.
fhould that be but her nearest kinfman, the king of Scots?
Being then advised by the archbishop of Canterbury to fix
her thoughts upon God, the replied, that the did fo, nor
did her mind in the least wander from him. Her voice And death,
loon after left her; her fenfes failed; the fell into a le Mar. 24.
thargic flumber, which continued fome hours; and the
expired gently, without farther ftruggle, or convulfion,
in the feventieth year of her age, and forty-filth of her


So dark a cloud overcast the evening of that day, which And chahad fhone out with a mighty luftre in the eyes of all Eu- racter. rope! There are few great perfonages in hiftory, who have been more exposed to the calumny of enemies, and the adulation of friends, than queen Elizabeth; and yet there scarcely is any, whofe reputation has been more certainly determined by the unanimous consent of posterity. The unufual length of her adminiftration, and the ftrong features of her character, were able to overcome all prejudices; and obliging her detractors to abate much of their invectives, and her admirers fomewhat of their negyrics, have at laft, in fpite of political factions, and what is more, of religious animofities, produced an uniform judgment with regard to her conduct. Her vigour, her conftancy, her magnanimity, her penetration, vigilance, address, are allowed to merit the highest praises, and appear not to have been surpaffed by any person that ever filled a throne: A conduct lefs rigorous, lefs imperious, more fincere, more indulgent to her people, would have been requifite to form a perfect character. By the force of her mind, the controuled all her more active and ftronger qualities, and prevented them from running into excels: Her heroifm was exempt from temerity, her frugality from avarice, her friendship from partiality, her active temper from turbulency and a vain ambition: She guarded not herself with equal care or equal fuccefs from leffer infirmities; the rivalfhip of beauty, the defire of admiration, the jealoufy of love, and the fallies of


HER fingular talents for government were founded equally on her temper and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, the foon obtained an


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »