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League, for the defence of the catholic religion, drawn up by his uncle the cardinal of Lorraine ; and had it signed and sworn by catholics of all ranks and conditions in Paris and the provinces. The pope and king of Spain protected the leaguers, and nothing remained to the wretched Henry, who was, in fact, dethroned by Guise, but to place himself at the head of the faction, assemble the states at Blois, and revoke the freedom of conscience granted to the huguenots. The consequence was civil war, without, on his part, troops or money to carry it on. But he was a mere instrument in the hands of the Guises and the league. These involved him in the ninth civil war which afflicted France since the death of his eldest brother, Francis II.
Upon the arrival of Casimir as lieutenant of Elizabeth, with his German troops, in the Low Countries, the Walloon provinces objected to him as a protestant, and demanded that the duke of Anjou should be called in. The news alarmed Elizabeth: she immediately sent sir Edward Stafford, as already stated, to the court of France. Henry III. declared to the envoy, and through his ambassador Mauvissière (Castelnau), who had succeeded La Mothe, to Elizabeth, that he knew nothing of the expedition of his brother to the Low Countries, and that he was himself too much engaged at home to meddle with the affairs of his neighbours. This assertion is so frequently repeated in his private despatches to Castelnau*, that it can hardly be questioned. His dislike of Anjou is equally apparent. It seems doubtful whether the invitation to Anjou was suggested in France or the Low Countries; but the probability is, that it was a scheme of Catherine of Medicis, who wished to relieve Henry of a brother whom he regarded with suspicious aversion, and provide a state for the duke of Anjou.† Elizabeth was satisfied, and the negotiation of marriage between her and Anjou was renewed. The first suggestion is said, in Camden's annals, to have come from France; but it is obvious, from the cor+ Davila, lib. vi.
Mém. de Cast. iii. ad finem.
respondence of Castelnau with Henry and the queenmother*, that the renewal originated with Elizabeth, and that it was received with great suspicion of its good faith. Her motive may have been that assigned to her by De Thou, that she overcame her disinclination to marriage in order to have Anjou within her control, and thus prevent his being the means of incorporating the Low Countries with France.+
At the same time, a lengthened but vain effort to restore peace was made at Cologne, under the mediation of England, France, and the empire. The representatives of Elizabeth were Walsingham and Cobham. It is evident from the employment of Walsingham, who had every advantage of capacity and European reputation, and the duration of the conference, that Elizabeth still clung to the hope of peace. Philip would listen to nothing short of the proscription of all religion but the Roman catholic, and the negotiators hardly passed the threshold of dispute.
Meanwhile, before Casimir and his auxiliaries had yet arrived, John of Austria attacked the camp of the confederates at Rymenant in Brabant. The attack, made on the 1st of August, was repulsed, chiefly through the gallantry of sir John Norreys and a regiment of English volunteers, who fortunately came up to the relief of the allies. Norreys had three horses killed under him, and began his career with a lustre which deserted him at its close. Casimir arrived with a larger force than that authorised or stipulated; Anjou was on the frontier of Hainault, with troops raised chiefly with money supplied to him by Elizabeth, who fully approved his design; and yet the position of the states was as precarious as ever. Elizabeth, who could be tolerant to catholics every where except at home, wisely advised the states to permit unmolested, in the protestant towns, the worship of the Roman
* Mém. de Cast. iii. ad finem.
+"Quippe quæ mallet Andinum per matrimonium in sua potestate habere quam Belgas per Andinum in Gallorum potestate teneri."— Thuan. Hist. lib. lxvi.
catholics. With the latter she could have no influence as to the toleration of the protestants in the catholic towns. Both sects, where they respectively predominated, refused toleration; religious discord threatened consequences more fatal than the sword of the Spaniard ; the rich and aristocratic Walloon provinces made overtures of submission to the king of Spain *; in fine, the liberty of the Low Countries was in the last state of peril, when salvation resulted from two causes, the consummate prudence of the prince of Orange, and the sudden death of John of Austria, on the 1st of October, at Bougy, in his camp. His death was ascribed by some to Philip's jealousy of his designs upon England, and a secret project entertained by him of marrying, not Mary queen of Scots, but Elizabeth, - a supposition utterly absurd. The English, as well as Philip, were accused of his death. The latter were assuredly, and the former probably, innocent. Philip would not have had him despatched, at a moment the most advantageous to his enemies. Others ascribed his death to the consequences of his debaucheries. In a dissolute and perfidious age, the deaths of most remarkable men, under circumstances at all doubtful, were ascribed to poison or their profligacies.
The prince of Parma, nephew of Philip, and son of the princess regent of the Netherlands, assumed the command with no little fear of the jealous temper of Philip.§ He followed up the system of dividing the states with more judgment and success than don John. The duke of Arschot, the unworthy rival of the prince of Orange, was among the deserters of the national cause. He was received by the Spaniards with derision. The degenerate son of count Egmont was guilty of both treason and desertion at Brussels. He attempted to seize the town, was surrounded in the market place by the inhabitants, and dismissed with no
Ibid. lib. iii.
*Grot. Ann. lib. ii.
Burleigh's Letters and Diary, apud Murdın.
other punishment than the reproach of betraying his country to the tyrant who had caused his patriot father's execution on the scaffold, in that very spot, by a melancholy coincidence, on that very day eleven years.*
Casimir had brought with him a larger number of troops than had been stipulated, found himself unable to satisfy their clamorous demands for pay, and had to proceed to England to explain his conduct to Elizabeth. The duke of Anjou, ill-tempered and incapable, disbanded or was deserted by the greater part of his troops; and returned to France in disgust, to renew his everlasting proposals of marriage. The ignorant bigotry of the people, and craven selfishness of the nobles, disheartened and weakened the common cause. The prince of Parma, more politic and conciliating than don John, with equal if not superior military vigour and skill, was preparing to take advantage of a state of things so favourable to him. If the tutelary genius of the prince of Orange did not once more interpose, the public cause was lost. Wisely abandoning all hope of the aristocratic and bigoted Walloon provinces, he concentrated his operations within the poorer provinces of the north; convoked at Utrecht a new assembly of the northern states; and, on the 9th of January, 1579, witnessed and joined in the sealing of that celebrated union of Utrecht which was the basis of the future republic. It comprised, in the first instance, Holland, Zealand, Gueldres, and Friesland. The cities of Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ypres, Ghent, and the maritime tracts of Flanders, were, after some time, induced or compelled to adhere to it. There was one vice in this memorable contract,-the preservation of their local laws and usages to each province and to some towns, in a state of jarring independence. It was a concession to local prejudices. But there was also the redeeming pervading virtue of religious toleration. The prince of Orange was now invested with the title of captaingeneral and admiral of the united provinces ; and the
* Grot. Ann. lib. iii.
name of stadtholder, which he had held from Philip, was conferred on him by the people.
The finances were exhausted, and the war was carried on with languor on both sides. The prince of Parma took Courtray, Breda, and some smaller places; whilst the English volunteers, under sir John Norreys, stormed Mechlin. This capture was disgraced by the wanton slaughter of citizens and monks*, and the plunder not only of private houses, convents, and churches, but of the very sepulchres. Tombstones were carried away, and publicly exposed for sale in England.† Meanwhile Philip gained a kingdom.
Don Sebastian of Portugal, upon his death, or disappearance in his African expedition, was succeeded by his uncle, don Henry, a cardinal, seventy years of age. The cardinal enjoyed his royalty but a year, which was passed chiefly in hearing the disputes of the several pretenders to his inheritance. Among these were Philip II., Catherine of Medicis, the pope, and don Antonio, knight of Malta and prior of Crato. Upon the death of don Henry, in 1579, Philip settled the question, by summoning the duke of Alva from his captivity, and sending him into Portugal at the head of an army. "I wonder," said Alva, "when he received the summons, "the king can want a general in chains to conquer a kingdom." The prior of Crato alone attempted resistance; was utterly defeated at Alcantara, in August, 1580; and sought refuge in England, where a few poor sharers of his exile called him "sire" and 66 majesty," and served him on their knees. Philip II., taking umbrage at this wretched and ridiculous burlesque of royalty, demanded of Elizabeth his expulsion from England; and, upon her refusal, resorted to his favourite
"Multà civium et religiosorum strage." -Camd. Ann. All who would profit by Camden's Annals should beware of the slanderous translation of that invaluable work given in Kennet. The floundering mistranslation of "religiosorum" (monks) into " religious people" has strangely puzzled or misled some English writers.
+ Grot. Ann. lib. iii. Camden states the fact with shame, as an eyewitness.
Strad. de Bell. Belg. dec. i. lib. vii.