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undertaken, if the fleet were thus rendered secure on that side. This was the opinion which the prince of Parma supported in his letters. He represented the danger of venturing such a fleet in the British seas without providing a harbour into which it might retreat; and Flushing, he said, was the only one in the Low Countries capacious enough for so great a force. Now, that he had taken Sluys, Flushing might more easily be captured; and he strongly advised that the capture of this place should be effected before the armada ventured into those
It was a conquest which, with God's help, he undertook to make. But, in thus advising, the prince had a farther object; he was not willing that Spain should divert its attention from the Low Countries, which he had no doubt of subjugating, if only a part of the force designed for England were employed for that purpose. Those countries once subdued, England would be open to invasion ; and of this, which he saw clearly himself, he hoped to convince the king, if he could first persuade him to let the siege of Flushing be undertaken.*
But Philip would hear of no delay. The troubles in France, and the treaty with the Turks, allowed him at this time to direct his whole attention towards England: it was
even less costly to punish that country by an invasion, than to defend the coasts of his own empire against her piratical enterprises; and he felt himself bound to exact vengeance for the death of the queen of Scots, in which cause all sovereign princes were concerned. Objecting, therefore, to any attempt upon Ireland, which would be opening a new theatre of war, or to any delay which would allow the enemy time to prepare for defence, he directed the prince to take what measures he thought best for exciting the Scotch to arms; but meantime to make ready with all speed for co-operating with the expedition, which would set sail as soon as he should be in readiness.f Upon another point, also, there had been a difference of opinion among Philip's advisers : some of whom thought * Strada, 528–531.
+ Ibid. 582.
that war should be proclaimed against England, both to remove suspicion from other powers, and to alarm Elizabeth, who might then be induced to levy foreign troops for her defence; which if she did, it was to be expected that those troops, according to the usual insolence of mercenaries, would so demean themselves, as to excite discontent among the English people, and consequent confusion.* The formality of declaring war was, however, disregarded as a mere form on both sides; and on the part of the Spaniards it was deemed more politić to disturb the English with apprehensions of some great but indefinite danger, and at the same time divert them from making any effectual preparation for defence, by carrying on negotiations in the Low Countries, without the slightest intention of assenting to any terms of reconciliation that could be proposed.
The prince of Parma, therefore, while he prepared for the invasion with his characteristic diligence, which left nothing undone, opened a negotiation with England, to which Elizabeth, notwithstanding the urgent remonstrances of the States, gave ear, yet with a just suspicion that the proposal was insincerely made. Leicester, who had unwisely been entrusted with the command of the English auxiliaries, had conducted himself neither to the satisfaction of the States nor of his own govern. ment: the English and Dutch had not been found to agree when they came to act together, under circumstances that brought their national qualities into close and unamiable contrast +: the Dutch, too, were divided among themselves ; so that there seemed little hope that England could afford them any such assistance as might enable them to obtain the objects for which they had taken up arms, and still less of any such happy termination, if they were left to themselves. With regard to England, it was the opinion of her greatest * Camden, 404.
+ Plurimum autem differunt harum nationum ingenia et mores; nam Angli, ut addicte serviunt, ita evecti ad dignitates priorem humilitatem insulentiá rependunt; Belgarum est parere et imperare cum modo, nec gens ulla fidelius amat eminentes, aut iisdem, si contemtus adsit, implacabilius irascitur.” - Grotius, 95.
NEGOTIATIONS AT OSTEND.
statesman, Cecil, that a peace was not only desirable, but most necessary; but it must be such a peace as should be clear and assured, leaving no such occasion of quarrel as had hitherto existed; the queen's subjects must be free from the Inquisition; and the people of the Low Countries not impeached for any thing which had past; but allowed to enjoy their liberties and franchises, and to have the use of their religion, now openly professed in their churches, for which they had so long stood to their defence. *
The Dutch were well convinced that all negotiation was useless, and therefore refused to take any part: the English commissioners, however, met those of the king of Spain at Ostend : they first proposed a suspension of arms,
thereby to stay the coming of the Spanish fleet;" and to this the Spanish commissioners seemed to incline, craftily thereby seeking to persuade them that it was not intended against England. They asked for the renewal of old treaties and intercourse ; the repayment of such sums as the queen had advanced to the States, not requiring this from the king, but that he should authorise the States to collect money
purpose : farther, they required that foreign governors and foreign troops should, for the queen's safety, be withdrawn from the Low Countries ; that the people might enjoy their ancient liberties and privileges, and be governed by their countrymen, not by strangers ;, and that there might be a toleration for two years at least, during which time the matter of religion should be ordered and established by the States.
If these terms were concluded, the queen would agree to any reasonable conditions concerning the cautionary towns, that all the world might know she had taken possession of them not to aggrandise herself, but for her own necessary assurance and defence of
To the more important of these proposals it was replied, that the king could not withdraw his troops till the States had submitted themselves, nor while the French * Strype's Annals, vol.iii. part 2. p. 5.
+ Grimestone, 986.
were in arms: that the queen of England had nothing to do with the privileges of the Low Countries; nor was she to prescribe a law to him how he should govern his subjects; and that he would not hear of the free exercise of religion, but would grant a toleration, such as had been allowed to the towns that had yielded themselves to his obedience. The English commissioners made answer, that neither the queen nor the Netherlanders could be assured of any peace while foreign troops were maintained in that country: that in the privileges of these countries she had a special interest ; first, in regard of neighbourhood ; secondly, as being specially named in several pacifications; and, thirdly, because it was not possible for her subjects to enjoy their privileges there, unless the provinces themselves were allowed them. And for the point of religion, if the king would not hear of any toleration of the exercise thereof, then must the protestants be forced either to forsake the religion in which they had been born and bred, or go into perpetual exile. Not with any reason could the king refuse his subjects what in times past had been by his father, the emperor Charles, accorded to the Germans, and by other princes, and namely by himself, in his perpetual edict. None but dilatory replies were made to this replication, the object of either party being to gain time; for Philip would have consented to no other terms than such as an absolute conquest of the revolted States might have enabled him to impose ; and Elizabeth, though she sincerely wished for peace, knew that it could not possibly be obtained. At this time the pope issued his bull, declaring that the catholic king was about to direct his power against England, and enjoining the queen's subjects, by their obedience to the church, to hold themselves in readiness for assisting the army which, under the prince of Parma, was preparing for their deliverance. Allen also, who had now been made a cardinal, published a book at Antwerp, which, for the audacity of its unhesitating falsehood, its vituperation, and its treason, may vie with any libel that ever
issued from the press. He called Elizabeth heretic, rebel, and usurper; an incestuous bastard, the bane of Christendom, and firebrand of all mischief; one who deserved not deposition alone, but all vengeance both of God and man; and he reproached the English papists for their effeminate dastardy in suffering such a creature to reign almost thirty years, both over their bodies and their souls.f Nor was sophistry wanting in a composition thus highly seasoned with insolence and slander. He argued, that if there were no power by which apostate princes might be deposed, God would not have sufficiently provided for our salvation, and the preservation of his church and holy laws. Our obligation to the church far exceedeth all other that we owe to any human creature. The wife may depart from her husband, if he be an infidel or a heretic; the bondslave, if his master become a heretic may refuse to serve him; yea, ipso facto, he is made free; parents, if they become heretic, lose their natural authority over their children. “ Therefore,” said the cardinal, “ let no man marvel that, in case of heresy, the sovereign loseth the superiority over his people and kingdom. The pope,” he added, “ acting on a special canon of the great council of Lateran, touching the chastisement of princes that will not purge their dominions of heresy and heretics, hath specially entreated the king of Spain to take upon him this sacred and glorious enterprise ; who, by this his holiness's authority and exhortation, moved also not a little by my humble and continual suit, hath consented and commanded sufficient royal forces to be gathered and conducted into our country.” I The publication of this book at Antwerp was an overt * Turner, 671.
+ Strype, iii. p. 2. app no. 54. # Yet this very man had but a few years before protested," that neither the reverend fathers of the society of the holy name of Jesus, whom the people called Jesuits, (an express clause being in the instructions of their mission into England, that they deal not in matters of state, which is to be showed, signed with their late general's hand, of worthy memory,) neither the priests, either of the seminaries, or others, have any commission, di. rection, instruction, or insinuation, from his holiness or any other their superior, either in religion, or of the colleges, to move sedition, or to deal against the state or temporal government; but only by their priesthood and the functions thereof, to do such duties as be requisite for Christian men's