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XLIII.

1598.

1

CHA P.or to his allies: That no private interests of his

own, not even those of his people, nothing but the
most invincible necessity, could ever induce him to
think of a separate peace with Philip, or make him
embrace measures not entirely conformable to the
wishes of all his confederates: That his kingdom,
torn with the convulsions and civil wars of near half
a century, required some interval of repose, ere it
could reach a condition in which it might sustain
itself, much more support its allies: That after the
minds of his subjects were composed to tranquillity,
and accustomed to obedience, after his finances were
brought into order, and after agriculture and the
arts were restored, France, instead of being a bur-
den, as at present, to her confederates, would be
able to lend them effectual succour, and amply to
repay them all the assistance which she had received
during her calamities: And that, if the ambition of
Spain would not at present grant them such terms
as they should think reasonable, he hoped that in a
little time he should attain such a situation as would
enable him to mediate more effectually, and with
more decisive authority, in their behalf.

The ambassadors were sensible that these reasons
were not feigned: and they therefore remonstrated
with the less vehemence against the measures which
they saw Henry was determined to pursue. The
States knew that that monarch was interested never
to permit their final ruin; and, having received pri-
vate assurances that he would still, notwithstanding
the peace, give them assistance both of men and
money, they were well pleased to remain on terms
of amity with him. His greatest concern was to
give satisfaction to Elizabeth for this breach of
treaty. He had a cordial esteem for that princess,
a sympathy of manners, and a gratitude for the ex-
traordinary favours which he had received from her
during his greatest difficulties: And he used every

expedient

XLIII.

1598.

С НА Р. expedient to apologize and atone for that measure which necessity extorted from him. But as Spain refused to treat with the Dutch as a free state, and Elizabeth would not negotiate without her ally, Henry found himself obliged to conclude at Vervins a separate peace, by which he recovered Peace of possession of all places seized by Spain during the Vervins. course of the civil wars, and procured to himself leisure to pursue the domestic settlement of his kingdom. His capacity for the arts of peace was not inferior to his military talents; and, in a little time, by his frugality, order, and wise government, he raised France from the desolation and misery in which she was involved to a more flourishing condition than she had ever before enjoyed.

The queen knew that she could also, whenever she pleased, finish the war on equitable terms; and that Philip, having no claims upon her, would be glad to free himself from an enemy who had foiled him in every contest, and who still had it so inuch in her power to make him feel the weight of her arms. Some of her wisest counsellors, particularly the treasurer, advised her to embrace pacific measures ; and set before her the advantages of tranquillity, security, and frugality, as more considerable than any success which could attend the

greatest victories. But this high-spirited princess, though at first averse to war, seemed now to have attained such an ascendant over the enemy, that she was unwilling to stop the course of her prosperous fortune She considered that her situation and her past victories had given her entire security against any dangerous invasion ; and the war must thenceforth be conducted by sudden enterprises and naval expeditions, in which she possessed an undoubted superiority: That the weak condition of Philip in the Indies opened to her the view of the most durable advantages; and the yearly return of his

treasure

XLIII.

The earl

CHA P. treasure by sea afforded a continual prospect of im

portant, though more temporary successes: That, 1598. after his peace with France, if she also should con

sent to an accommodation, he would be able to turn his whole force against the revolted provinces of the Netherlands, which, though they had surprisingly increased their power by commerce and good government, were stillunable, if not supported by their confederates, to maintain war against so potent a monarch: And that, as her defence of that commonwealth was the original ground of the quarrel, it was unsafe as well as dishonourable to abandon its cause, till she had placed it in a state of greater security.

These reasons were frequently inculcated on her by the earl of Essex, whose passion for glory as well

as his military talents, made him earnestly desire the of Essex. continuance of war, from which he expected to reap

so much advantage and distinction. The rivalship between this nobleman and lord Burleigh made each of them insist the more strenuously on his own counsel ; but as Essex's person was agreeable to the queen, as well as his advice conformable to her inclinations, the favourite seemed daily to acquire an ascendant over the minister. Had he been endowed with caution and self-command equal to his shining qualities, he would have so riveted himself in the queen's confidence, that none of his enemies had ever been able to impeach his credit. But his lofty spirit could ill submit to that implicit deference which her temper required, and which she had ever been accustomed to receive from all her subjects. Being once engaged in a dispute with her about the choice of a governor for Ireland, he was so heated in the argument, that he entirely forgot the rules both of duty and civility; and turned his back upon her in a contemptuous manner.

Her anger, naturally prompt and violent, rose at this provocation;

and

XLIII.

1398.

and she instantly gave him a box on the ear; adding CHAP. a passionate expression suited to his impertinence. Instead of recollecting himself, and making the submissions due to her sex and station, le clapped his hand to his sword, and swore that he would not bear such usage, were it from Henry VIII. himself; and he immediately withdrew from court. Egerton the chancellor, who loved Essex, exhorted him to repair his indiscretion, by proper acknowledgments ; and entreated him not to give that triumph to his enemies, that affliction to his friends, which must ensue from his supporting a contest with his sovereign, and deserting the service of his country: But Essex was deeply stung with the dishonour which he had received ; and seemed to think that an insult, which might be pardoned in a woman, was become a mortal affront when it came from his sovereign.“ If the vilest of all indignities," said he, “is done me, does religion enforce me to

sue for pardon ? Doth God require it ? Is it im

piety not to do it? Why? Cannot princes err ? “ Cannot subjects receive wrong? Is an earthly

power infinite? Pardon me, my lord, I can never “ subscribe to these principles. Let Solomon's “ fool laugh when he is striken ; let those that “ mean to make their profit of princes shew no " sense of princes' injuries : Let them acknowledge

an infinite absoluteness on earth, that do not be“ lieve an absolute infiniteness in heaven” (alluding probably to the character and conduct of sir Walter Raleigh, who lay under the reproach of impiety): “ As for me” continued he, “ I have re5s ceived wrong, I feel it : My cause is good, I “ know it; and whatsoever happens, all the powers “ on earth can never exert more strength and con“ stancy in oppressing, than I can show in suffering every thing that can or shall be imposed upon Your Lordship, in the beginning of

your " letter, makes me a player, and yourself a looker

nie.

on :

CH A P. 66
XLIII.

on: And me a player of my own game, so you

may see more than I : But give me leave to tell 1598. you, that since you do but see, and I do suffer, I

must of necessity feel more than you.”d This spirited letter was shown by Essex to his friends; and they were so imprudent as to disperse copies of it: Yet, notwithstanding this additional provocation, the queen’s partiality was so prevalent, that she reinstated him in his former favour; and her kindness to him appeared rather to have acquired

new force from this short interval of anger and re4th Aug. sentment. The death of Burleigh, his antagonist,

which happened about the same time, seemed to ensure him constant possession of the queen's confidence; and nothing indeed but his own indiscretion could thenceforth have shaken his well-established credit. Lord Burleigh died in an advanced age;

and by a rare fortune was equally regretted by his sovereign and the people. He had risen gradually from small beginnings, by the mere force of merit; and though his authority was never entirely absolute or uncontrolled with the queen, he was still, during the course of near forty years, regarded as her principal minister. None of her other inclinations or affections could ever overcome her confidence in so useful a counsellor; and as he had had the generosity or good sense to pay assiduous court to her during her sister's reign, when it was dangerous to appear her frien

her friend, she thought herself bound in gratitude, when she mounted the throne, to persevere in her attachments to him. He seems not to have possessed any shining talents of address, eloquence or imagination; and was chiefly distinguished by solidity of understanding, probity of manners, and indefatigable application in business ; Virtues which, if they do not always enable a man to attain high stations, do certainly qualify him best

for d See note [ll] at the end of the volume.

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