Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

CHAP.
XL.

[blocks in formation]

State of Europe.Civil wars of France.Havre de Grace put in poffeffion of the English.—A parliament. -Havre loft. Affairs of Scotland. The queen of Scots marries the earl of Darnley. -Confederacy against the proteftants-Murder of Rizzio. A parliament.Murder of Darnley. -Queen of Scots marries Bothwel.-Infurrection in Scotland.Imprifonment of Mary.Mary flies into England. Conferences at York and Hampton-court.

A that

[ocr errors]

FTER the commencement of the religious wars in

1562

during the course of near forty years, a scene of horror and devastation, the great rival powers in Europe were State of Spain and England; and it was not long before an aniEurope, mofity, first political, then perfonal, broke out between the fovereigns of these countries.

PHILIP the second of Spain, though he reached not any enlarged views of policy, was endowed with great industry and fagacity, a remarkable caution in his enterprizes, an unusual forefight in all his measures; and as he was ever cool and feemingly unmoved by paffion, and possessed neither talents nor inclination for war, both his fubjects and his neighbours had reason to expect juftice, happiness and tranquility, from his adminiftration. But prejudices had on him as pernicious effects as ever paffion had on any other monarch; and the spirit of bigotry and tyranny, by which he was actuated, with the fraudulent maxims which governed his counfels, excited the moft violent agitation among his own people, engaged him in acts of the most enormous cruelty, and threw all Europe into combustion.

AFTER Philip had concluded peace at Cateau-Cambrefis, and had remained fome time in the Netherlands, in order to fettle the affairs of that country, he embarked for Spain; and as the gravity of that nation, with their respectful obedience to their prince, had appeared more agreeable to his humour, than the homely familiar manners, and the pertinacious liberty of the Flemings, it was expected, that he would for the future refide altogether at Madrid, and would govern all his extensive. dominions

by

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

XL.

1562.

by Spanish minifters and Spanish counfels. Having met CHA P.
with a violent tempeft on his voyage, he no fooner arrived
in harbour, than he fell on his knees; and after giving
thanks for his deliverance, he vowed, that his life, which
was thus providentially faved, fhould thenceforth be en-
tirely devoted to the extirpation of herefy. His fubfequent
conduct correfponded to these profeffions. Finding that
the new doctrines had penetrated into Spain, he let loose
the rage of perfecution against all who profeffed them,
or were fufpected of adhering to them; and by his vio-
lence he gave new. edge, even to the usual cruelty of
priefts and inquifitors. He threw into prifon Conftantine
Ponce, who had been confeffor to his father, the emperor
Charles; who had attended him during his retreat; and
in whofe arms that great monarch had terminated his life:
And after this ecclefiaftic died in confinement, he still or-
dered him to be tried and condemned for herefy, and his
ftatue to be committed to the flames. He even delibera-
ted, whether he should not exercife like feverity against
the memory of his father, who was fufpected, during
his latter years, to have indulged a propenfity towards
the Lutheran principles: In his unrelenting zeal for or-
thodoxy, he fpared neither age, fex, nor condition: He
was prefent, with an inflexible countenance, at the most
barbarous executions: He iffued rigorous orders for the
profecution of heretics, in Spain, Italy, the Indies, and
the Low Countries: And having founded his determined
tyranny on maxims of civil policy, as well as on principles
of religion, he made it apparent to all his fubjects, that
there was no method, except the moft entire compliance,
or most obftinate refiftance, to escape or elude the seve-
rity of his vengeance.

DURING that extreme animofity, which prevailed
between the adherents of the oppofite religions, the ci-
vil magiftrate, who found it difficult, if not impoffible,
for the fame laws to govern fuch enraged adverfaries,
was naturally led, by fpecious rules of prudence, in
embracing one party, to declare war against the other,
and to exterminate, by fire and fword, those bigots, who,
from abhorrence of his religion, had proceeded to an
oppofition of his power, and to a hatred of his perfon.
If
any prince poffeffed fuch enlarged views as to forefee,

that

G Thuanus, lib, xxiii. cap. 14.

1562.

CHA P. that a mutual toleration would in time abate the fury of XL. religious prejudices, he yet met with difficulties in reducing this principle to practice; and might deem the malady too violent to await a remedy, which, though certain, must neceffarily be flow in its operation. But Philip, though a profound hypocrite, and extremely governed by felf-intereft, feems alfo to have been himself actuated by an imperious bigotry; and as he employed great reflection in all his conduct, he could easily palliate the gratification of his natural temper under the colour of wisdom, and find in this fyftem no lefs advantage to his foreign than his domestic politics. By placing himself at the head of the catholic party, he converted the zealots of the antient faith into partizans of Spanish greatness; and by employing the powerful allurement of religion, he feduced every where the subjects from that allegiance, which they owed their native fovereign.

THE Courfe of events, guiding and concurring with choice, had placed Elizabeth in a fituation diametrically oppofite; and had raised her to be the glory, the bulwark, and the support of the numerous, though still perfecuted proteftants, throughout all Europe. More moderate in her temper than Philip, fhe found, with pleasure, that the principles of her fect required not such extreme feverity in her domestic government, as was exercifed by that monarch; and having no object but selfprefervation, the united her interests in all foreign negociations with those who were every where struggling under oppreffion, and guarding themselves against ruin and extermination. The more virtuous fovereign was thus happily thrown into the more favourable caufe; and fortune, in this inftance, concurred with policy and nature.

DURING the life-time of Henry the fecond of France, and of his fucceffor, the force of these principles was fomewhat reftrained, though not altogether overcome, by the motives of a fuperior intereft; and the dread of uniting England with the French monarchy, engaged Philip to maintain a good correfpondence with Elizabeth. Yet even during this period he rejected the garter which fhe fent him; he refused to ratify the antient league between the house of Burgundy and England"; he furnish

ed

Digges's compleat ambaffador, p. 369. Haynes, p. 585. Strype, vol. iv. No. 246.

XL.

1562.

ed fhips to transport French forces into Scotland; he en- CHA P. deavoured to intercept the earl of Arran, who was haf tening to join the malcontents in that country; and the queen's wifeft ministers still regarded his friendship as hollow and precarious. But no fooner did the death of Francis the fecond put an end to Philip's apprehen< fions with regard to Mary's fucceffion, than his animofity against Elizabeth began more openly to appear; and the interefts of Spain and England were found oppofite in every negociation and tranfaction.

THE two great monarchies of the continent, France and Spain, being poffeffed of nearly equal force, were naturally antagonists; and England, from its power and fituation, was intitled to fupport its own dignity, as well as tranquility, by holding the balance between them. Whatever incident, therefore, tended too much to deprefs one of these rival powers, as it left the other without controul, might be deemed contrary to the interests of England: Yet fo much were these great maxims of policy over-ruled, during that age by the difputes of theology, that Philip found an advantage in fupporting the established government and religion of France; and Elizabeth in protecting faction and innovation.

THE queen-regent of France, when reinstated in au- Civil wars thority by the death of her fon, Francis, had formed a of France. plan of administration more fubtle than judicious; and balancing the Catholics with the Hugonots, the duke of Guife with the prince of Condé, fhe endeavoured to render herself neceffary to both, and to establish her own dominion on their conftrained obedience *. But the equal counterpoife of power, which, among foreign nations, is the fource of tranquility, proves always the ground of quarrel between domestic factions; and if the animofity of religion concur with the frequent occafions, which present themselves, of mutual injury, it is impoffible, during any time, to preferve a firm concord in fo delicate a fituation. The conftable, Montmorency, moved by zeal for the antient faith,. joined himself to the duke of Guife: The king of Navarre, from his inconftant temper, and his jealoufy of the fuperior genius of

his

1

Haynes, vol. i. p. 280, 281, 283, 284.

lib. ii.

K Davila,

1562.

CHA P. his brother, embraced the fame party: And Catherine, XL. finding herfelf depreffed by this combination, had recourfe to Condé and the hugonots, who gladly embraced the opportunity of fortifying themfelves by her countenance and protection. An edict had been published, granting a toleration to the proteftants; but the interested violence of the duke of Guife, covered with the pretence of religious zeal, broke through this agreement; and the two parties, after the fallacious tranquility of a moment, renewed their mutual infults and injuries. Condé, Coligni, Andelot, affembled their friends, and flew to arms: Guife and Montmorency got poffeffion of the king's perfon, and constrained the queen-regent to embrace their party: Fourteen armies were levied and put in motion in different parts of France M: Each province, each city, each family, was agitated with intestine rage and animofity. The father was divided again ft the fon; brother against brother; and women themselves, facrificing their humanity as well as their timidity to the religious fury, diftinguished themselves by acts of ferocity and valour N. Wherever the hugonots prevailed, the images were broken, the altars pillaged, the churches demolished, the monafteries confumed with fire: Where fuccefs attended the catholics, they burned the bibles, re-baptized the infants, constrained married persons to pafs a-new through the ceremony: And plunder, defolation, and bloodshed attended equally the triumph of both parties. The parliament of Paris itself, the feat of law and justice, instead of employing its authority to compofe thefe fatal quarrels, published an edict, by which it put the fword into the hands of the enraged multitude, and empowered the catholics every where to maffacre the hugonots; and it was during this period, when men began fomewhat to be enlightened, and in this nation-renowned for polished manners, that the theological rage, which had long been boiling in men's veins, seems to have attained its laft ftage of virulence and ferocity.

PHILIP, jealous of the progrefs which the hugonots made in France, and dreading that the contagion would spread into the Low-Country provinces, had formed a

fecret

L Davila, lib. iii.
Father Paul, lib. vii.

M Father Paul, lib. vii.
Haynes, p. 391.

N Ibid.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »