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CHAP. he sustained was in the Low Countries; where Prince Maurice took advantage of his absence, and recovered some places which the Duke of Parma had formerly conquered from the states ".


The situation of Henry's affairs, though promising, was not so well advanced or established as to make the queen discontinue her succours; and she was still more confirmed in the resolution of supporting him by some advantages gained by the King of Spain. The Duke of Mercœur, governor of Britany, a prince of the house of Lorraine, had declared for the league; and finding himself hard pressed by Henry's forces, he had been obliged, in order to secure himself, to introduce some Spanish troops into the seaport towns of that province. Elizabeth was alarmed at the danger; and foresaw that the Spaniards, besides infesting the English commerce by privateers, might employ these harbours as the seat of their naval preparations, and might more easily from that vicinity, than from Spain or Portugal, project an invasion of England. She concluded therefore a new treaty with Henry, in which she engaged to send over three thousand men, to be employed in the reduction of Britany; and she stipulated that her charges should, in a twelvemonth, or as soon as the enemy was expelled, be refunded her. These forces were commanded by Sir John Norris, and under him by his brother Henry, and by Anthony Shirley. Sir Roger Williams was at the head of a small body which garrisoned Dieppe; and a squadron of ships, under the command of Sir Henry Palmer, lay upon the coast of France, and intercepted all the vessels belonging to the Spaniards or the leaguers.

The operations of war can very little be regulated beforehand by any treaty or agreement; and Henry, who found it necessary to lay aside the projected enterprise against Britany, persuaded the English commanders to join his army, and to take a share in the hostilities which he carried into Picardy. Notwithstanding the disgust which Elizabeth received from this disappointment, he laid before her a plan for expelling the leaguers from Normandy, and persuaded her to send over a new body


a See note [O], at the end of the volume.
b Camden, p. 561.

c Rymer, tom. xiv. p. 116.



of four thousand men to assist him in that enterprise. CHAP. The Earl of Essex was appointed general of these forces; a young nobleman, who, by many exterior accomplishments, and still more, real merit, was daily advancing in favour with Elizabeth, and seemed to occupy that place in her affections, which Leicester, now deceased, had so long enjoyed. Essex, impatient for military fame, was extremely uneasy to lie some time at Dieppe unemployed; and had not the orders which he received from his mistress been so positive, he would gladly have accepted of Henry's invitation, and have marched to join the French army now in Champagne. This plan of operations was also proposed to Elizabeth by the French ambassador, but she rejected it with great displeasure; and she threatened immediately to recall her troops, if Henry should persevere any longer in his present practice of breaking all concert with her, and attending to nothing but his own interests. Urged by these motives, the French king at last led his army into Normandy, and laid siege to Roüen, which he reduced to great difficulties. But the league, unable of themselves to take the field against him, had again recourse to the Duke of Parma, who received orders to march to their relief. He executed this enterprise with his usual abilities and success, and for the present frustrated all the projects of Henry and Elizabeth. This princess, who kept still in view the interests of her own kingdom in all her foreign transactions, was impatient under these disappointments, blamed Henry for his negligence in the execution of treaties, and complained that the English forces were thrust foremost in every hazardous enterprise". It is probable, however, that their own ardent courage, and their desire of distinguishing themselves in so celebrated a theatre of war, were the causes why they so often enjoyed this perilous honour.

Notwithstanding the indifferent success of former enterprises, the queen was sensible how necessary it was to support Henry against the league and the Spaniards; and she formed a new treaty with him, in which they agreed never to make peace with Philip but by common

d Birch's Negotiations, p. 5. Rymer, tom. xiv. p. 123. 140.
e Camden, p. 562.



CHAP. consent; she promised to send him a new supply of four thousand men; and he stipulated to repay her charges in a twelvemonth, to employ these forces, joined to a body of French troops, in an expedition against Britany, and to consign into her hands a seaport town of that province, for a retreat to the English'. Henry knew the impossibility of executing some of these articles, and the imprudence of fulfilling others; but finding them rigidly insisted on by Elizabeth, he accepted of her succours, and trusted that he might easily, on some pretence, be able to excuse his failure in executing his part of the treaty. This campaign was the least successful of all those which he had yet carried on against the league.

Naval enterpises against Spain.

During these military operations in France, Elizabeth employed her naval power against Philip, and endeavoured to intercept his West-Indian treasures, the source of that greatness which rendered him so formidable to all his neighbours. She sent a squadron of seven ships, under the command of Lord Thomas Howard, for this service; but the King of Spain, informed of her purpose, fitted out a great force of fifty-five sail, and despatched them to escort the Indian fleet. They fell in with the English squadron; and by the courageous obstinacy of Sir Richard Grenville, the vice-admiral, who refused to make his escape by flight, they took one vessel, the first English ship of war that had yet fallen into the hands of the Spaniards". The rest of the squadron returned safely into England, frustrated of their expectations, but pleasing themselves with the idea that their attempt had not been altogether fruitless in hurting the enemy. The Indian fleet had been so long detained in the Havanna from the fear of the English, that they were obliged at last to set sail in an improper season, and most of them perished by shipwreck ere they reached the Spanish harbours". The Earl of Cumberland made a like unsuccessful enterprise against the Spanish trade. He carried out one ship of the queen's, and seven others equipped. at his own expense; but the prizes which he made did not compensate the charges.

f Rymer, vol. xvi. p. 151. 168. 171. 173.
8 See note [P], at the end of the volume.
i Ibid. p. 169.

h Monson, p. 163.



The spirit of these expensive and hazardous adven- CHAP. tures was very prevalent in England. Sir Walter Raleigh, who had enjoyed great favour with the queen, finding his interest to decline, determined to recover her good graces by some important undertaking; and as his reputation was high among his countrymen, he persuaded great numbers to engage with him as volunteers in an attempt on the West Indies. The fleet was detained so long in the channel by contrary winds, that the season was lost: Raleigh was recalled by the queen: Sir Martin Frobisher succeeded to the command, and made a privateering voyage against the Spaniards. He took one rich carrack near the island of Flores, and destroyed another. About the same time, Thomas White, a Londoner, took two Spanish ships, which, besides fourteen hundred chests of quicksilver, contained about two millions of bulls for indulgences; a commodity useless to the English, but which had cost the King of Spain three hundred thousand florins, and would have been sold by him in the Indies for five millions.


A Parlia

This war did great damage to Spain; but it was attended with considerable expense to England; and Elizabeth's ministers computed that, since the commencement of it, she had spent 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 burdensome for her narrow revenues to support. She summoned there- 1593. fore a Parliament, in order to obtain a supply: but she 19th Feb. either thought her authority so established that she ment. needed to make them no concessions in return, or she rated her power and prerogative above money; for there never was any Parliament whom she treated in a more haughty manner, whom she made more sensible of their own weakness, or whose privileges she more openly violated. When the speaker, Sir Edward Coke, made the three usual requests, of freedom from arrests, of access to her person, and of liberty of speech, she 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; 1 Strype, vol. iii.

k Monson, p. 165. Camden, p. 569.



CHAP. not a liberty for every one to speak what he listeth, or what cometh in his brain to utter; their privilege extended no farther than a liberty of Ay or No: that she enjoined the speaker, if he perceived any idle heads so negligent of their own safety as to attempt reforming the church or innovating in the commonwealth, that he should refuse the bills exhibited for that purpose, till they were examined by such as were fitted to consider of these things, and could better judge of them: that she would not impeach the freedom of their persons; but they must beware, lest, under colour of this privilege, they imagined that any neglect of their duty could be covered or protected: and that she would not refuse them access to her person, provided it were upon urgent and weighty causes, and at times convenient, and when she might have leisure from other important affairs of the realm.

Notwithstanding the menacing and contemptuous air of this speech, the intrepid and indefatigable Peter Wentworth, not discouraged by his former ill success, ventured to transgress the imperial orders of Elizabeth. He presented to the lord keeper a petition, in which he desired the Upper House to join with the lower in a supplication to her majesty for entailing the succession of the crown; and he declared that he had a bill ready prepared for that purpose. This method of proceeding was sufficiently respectful and cautious; but the subject was always extremely disagreeable to the queen, and what she had expressly prohibited any one from meddling with. She sent Wentworth immediately to the Tower, committed Sir Thomas Bromley, who had seconded him, to the Fleet prison, together with Stevens and Welsh, two members, to whom Sir Thomas had communicated his intention". About a fortnight after, a motion was made in the House to petition the queen for the release of these members; but it was answered by all the privycounsellors there present, that her majesty had committed them for causes best known to herself, and that to press her on that head would only tend to the prejudice of the gentlemen whom they meant to serve:

m D'Ewes, p. 460. 469. Townsend, p. 37.
n D'Ewes, p. 470. Townsend, p. 54.

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