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cabinets as a cat plays with a mouse, and with much of the same feline delight in the mere embarrassment of her victims. When

she was weary of mystifying foreign statesmen she turned to find fresh sport in mystifying her own ministers. Had Elizabeth written the story of her reign she would have prided herself, not on the triumph. of England or the ruin of Spain, but on the skill with which she had hoodwinked and outwitted every statesman in Europe, during fifty years. Nor was her trickery without political value. Ignoble, inexpressibly wearisome as the Queen's diplomacy seems to us now, tracing it as we do through a thousand despatches, it succeeded in its main end. It gained time, and every year that was gained doubled Elizabeth's strength. Nothing is more revolting in the Queen, but nothing is more characteristic, than her shameless mendacity. It was an age of political lying, but in the profusion and recklessness of her lies Elizabeth stood without a peer in Christendom. A falsehood was to her simply an intellectual means of meeting a difficulty; and the ease with which she asserted or denied whatever suited her purpose was only equaled by the cynical indifference with which she met the exposure of her lies as soon as their purpose was answered. The same purely intellectual view of things showed itself in the dexterous use she made of her very faults. Her levity carried her gaily over moments of detection and embarrassment where better women would have died of shame. She screened her tentative and hesitating statesmanship under the natural timidity and vacillation of her sex. turned her very luxury and sports to good account. There were moments of grave danger in her reign when the country remained indifferent to its perils, as it saw the Queen give her days to hawking and hunting, and her nights to dancing and plays. Her vanity and affectation, her womanly fickleness and caprice, all had their part in the diplomatic comedies she played with the successive candidates for her hand. If political necessities made her life a lonely one, she had at any rate the satisfaction of averting war and conspiracies by love sonnets and romantic interviews, or of gaining a year of tranquillity by the dexterous spinning out of a flirtation.


As we track Elizabeth through her tortuous mazes of lying and intrigue, the sense

of her greatness is almost lost in a sense of contempt. But wrapped as they were in a cloud of mystery, the aims of her policy were throughout temperate and simple, and they were pursued with a singular tenacity. The sudden acts of energy which from time to time broke her habitual hesitation proved that it was no hesitation of weakness. Elizabeth could wait and finesse; but when the hour was come she could strike, and strike hard. Her natural temper indeed tended to a rash self-confidence rather than to self-distrust. She had, as strong natures always have, an unbounded confidence in her luck. "Her Majesty counts much on Fortune," Walsingham wrote bitterly; "I wish she would trust more in Almighty God." The diplomatists who censured at one moment her irresolution, her delay, her changes of front, censure at the next her "obstinacy," her iron will, her defiance of what seemed to them inevitable ruin. "This woman," Philip's envoy wrote after a wasted remonstrance, "this woman is possessed by a hundred thousand devils." To her own subjects, indeed, who knew nothing of her maneuvers and retreats, of her "bye-ways" and "crooked ways," she seemed the embodiment of dauntless resolution. Brave as they were, the men who swept the Spanish Main or glided between the icebergs of Baffin's Bay never doubted that the palm of bravery lay with their Queen. Her steadiness and courage in the pursuit of her aims was equaled by the wisdom with which she chose the men to accomplish them. She had a quick eye for merit of any sort, and a wonderful power of enlisting its whole energy in her service. The sagacity which chose Cecil and Walsingham was just as unerring in its choice of the meanest of her agents. Her success indeed in securing from the beginning of her reign to its end, with the single exception of Leicester, precisely the right men for the work she set them to do sprang in great measure from the noblest characteristic of her intellect. If in loftiness of aim her temper fell below many of the tempers of her time, in the breadth of its range, in the universality of its sympathy it stood far above them all. Elizabeth could talk poetry with Spenser and philosophy with Bruno; she could discuss Euphuism with Lyly, and enjoy the chivalry of Essex; she could turn from talk of the last fashions to pore with Cecil over despatches and treasury books;

she could pass from tracking traitors with Walsingham to settle points of doctrine with Parker, or to calculate with Frobisher the chances of a north-west passage to the Indies. The versatility and many-sidedness of her mind enabled her to understand every phase of the intellectual movement of her day, and to fix by a sort of instinct on its higher representatives. But the greatness of the Queen rests above all on her power over her people. We have had grander and nobler rulers, but none so popular as Elizabeth. The passion of love, of loyalty, of admiration which finds its most perfect expression in the "Faery Queen," throbbed as intensely through the veins of her meanest subjects. To England, during her reign of half a century, she was a virgin and a Protestant Queen; and her immorality, her absolute want of religious enthusiasm, failed utterly to blur the brightness of the national ideal. Her worst acts broke fruitlessly against the general devotion. A Puritan, whose hand she cut off in a freak of tyrannous resentment, waved his hat with the hand that was left, and shouted "God save Queen Elizabeth!" Of her faults, indeed, England beyond the circle of her court knew little or nothing. The shiftings of her diplomacy were never seen outside the royal closet. The nation at large could only judge her foreign policy by its main outlines, by its temperance and good sense, and above all by its success. But every Englishman was able to judge Elizabeth in her rule at home, in her love of peace, her instinct of order, the firmness and moderation of her government, the judicious spirit of conciliation and compromise among warring factions which gave the country an unexampled tranquillity at a time when almost every other country in Europe was torn with civil war. Every sign of the growing prosperity, the sight of London as it became the mart of the world, of stately mansions as they rose on every manor, told, and justly told, in Elizabeth's favor. In one act of her civil administration she showed the boldness and originality of a great ruler; for the opening of her reign saw her face the social difficulty which had so long impeded English progress, by the issue of a commission of inquiry which ended in the solution of the problem by the system of poor-laws. She lent a ready patronage to the new commerce; she considered its extension and

protection as a part of public policy, and her statue in the center of the London Exchange was a tribute on the part of the merchant class to the interest with which she watched and shared personally in its enterprises. Her thrift won a general gratitude. The memories of the Terror and of the Martyrs threw into bright relief the aversion from bloodshed which was conspicuous in her earlier reign, and never wholly wanting through its fiercer close. Above all there was a general confidence in her instinctive knowledge of the national temper. Her finger was always on the public pulse. She knew exactly when she could resist the feeling of her people, and when she must give way before the new sentiment of freedom which her policy unconsciously fostered. But when she retreated, her defeat had all the grace of victory; and the frankness and unreserve of her surrender won back at once the love that her resistance had lost. Her attitude at home in fact was that of a woman whose pride in the well-being of her subjects, and whose longing for their favor, was the one warm touch in the coldness of her natural temper. If Elizabeth could be said to love anything, she loved England. "Nothing," she said to her first Parliament in words of unwonted fire, "nothing, no worldly thing under the sun, is so dear to me as the love and goodwill of my subjects." And the love and good-will which were so dear to her she fully won.



[From A Short History of the English People]

But if a fierce religious struggle was at hand, men felt that behind this lay a yet fiercer political struggle. Philip's hosts were looming over sea, and the horrors of foreign invasion seemed about to be added to the horrors of civil war. Spain was at this moment the mightiest of European powers. The discoveries of Columbus had given it the New World of the West; the conquests of Cortes and Pizarro poured into its treasury the plunder of Mexico and Peru; its galleons brought the rich produce of the Indies, their gold, their jewels, their ingots of silver, to the harbor of Cadiz. To the New World its King added the fair

est and wealthiest portions of the Old; he was master of Naples and Milan, the richest and the most fertile districts of Italy; of the busy provinces of the Low Countries, of Flanders, the great manufacturing district of the time, and of Antwerp, which had become the central mart for the commerce of the world. His native kingdom, poor as it was, supplied him with the steadiest and the most daring soldiers that the world has seen since the fall of the Roman Empire. The renown of the Spanish infantry had been growing from the day when it flung off the onset of the French chivalry on the field of Ravenna; and the Spanish generals stood without rivals in their military skill, as they stood without rivals in their ruthless cruelty. The whole, too, of this enormous power was massed in the hands of a single man. Served as he was by able statesmen and subtle diplomatists, Philip of Spain was his own sole minister; laboring day after day, like a clerk, through the long years of his reign, amidst the papers which crowded his closet; but resolute to let nothing pass without his supervision, and to suffer nothing to be done save by his express command. It was his boast that everywhere in the vast compass of his dominions he was "an absolute King." It was to realize this idea of unshackled power that he crushed the liberties of Aragon, as his father had crushed the liberties of Castille, and sent Alva to tread under foot the constitutional freedom of the Low Countries. His bigotry went hand in hand with his thirst for rule. Italy and Spain lay hushed beneath the terror of the Inquisition, while Flanders was being purged of heresy by the stake and the sword. The shadow of this gigantic power fell like a deadly blight over Europe. The new Protestantism, like the new spirit of political liberty, saw its real foe in Philip. It was Spain, rather than the Guises, against which Coligni and the Huguenots struggled in vain; it was Spain with which William of Orange was wrestling for religious and civil freedom; it was Spain which was soon to plunge Germany into the chaos of the Thirty Years' War, and to which the Catholic world had for twenty years been looking, and looking in vain, for a victory over heresy in England. Vast in fact as Philip's resources were, they were drained by the yet vaster schemes of ambition into which his religion and his greed

of power, as well as the wide distribution of his dominions, perpetually drew him. To coerce the weaker States of Italy, to command the Mediterranean, to preserve his influence in Germany, to support Catholicism in France, to crush heresy in Flanders, to despatch one Armada against the Turk and another against Elizabeth, were aims mighty enough to exhaust even the power of the Spanish Monarchy. But it was rather on the character of Philip than on the exhaustion of his treasury that Elizabeth counted for success in the struggle which had so long been going on between them. The King's temper was slow, cautious even to timidity, losing itself continually in delays, in hesitations, in anticipating remote perils, in waiting for distant chances; and on the slowness and hesitation of his temper his rival had been playing ever since she mounted the throne. The diplomatic contest between the two was like the fight which England was soon to see between the ponderous Spanish galleon and the light pinnace of the buccaneers. The agility, the sudden changes of Elizabeth, her lies, her mystifications, though they failed to deceive Philip, puzzled and impeded his mind. But amidst all this cloud of intrigue the actual course of their relations had been clear and simple. In her earlier days France rivaled Spain in its greatness, and Elizabeth simply played the two rivals off against one another. She hindered France from giving effective aid to Mary Stuart by threats of an alliance with Spain; while she induced Philip to wink at her heresy, and to discourage the risings of the English Catholics, by playing on his dread of her alliance with France. But as the tide of religious passion which had so long been held in check broke at last over its banks, the political face of Europe changed. The Low Countries, driven to despair by the greed and persecution of Alva, rose in a revolt which after strange alternations of fortune gave to Europe the Republic of the United Provinces. The opening which their rising afforded was seized by the Huguenot leaders of France as a political engine to break the power which Catharine of Medicis exercised over Charles the Ninth, and to set aside her policy of religious balance by placing France at the head of Protestantism in the West. Charles listened to the counsels of Coligni, who pressed for war upon

Philip and promised the support of the Huguenots in an invasion of the Low Countries. Never had a fairer prospect opened to French ambition. Catharine, however, saw ruin for the monarchy in a France at once Protestant and free. She threw herself on the side of the Guises, and ensured their triumph by lending herself to their massacre of the Protestants on St. Bartholomew's day. But though the long gathering clouds of religious hatred had broken, Elizabeth trusted to her dexterity to keep out of the storm. France plunged madly back into a chaos of civil war, and the Low Countries were left to cope single-handed with Spain. Whatever enthusiasm the heroic struggle of the Prince of Orange excited among her subjects, it failed to move Elizabeth even for an instant from the path of cold self-interest. To her the revolt of the Netherlands was simply "a bridle of Spain, which kept war out of our own gate." At the darkest moment of the contest, when Alva had won back all but Holland and Zealand, and even William of Orange despaired, the Queen bent her energies to prevent him from finding succor in France. That the Provinces could in the end withstand Philip, neither she nor any English statesmen believed. They held that the struggle must close either in utter subjection of the Netherlands, or in their selling themselves for aid to France; and the accession of power which either result must give to one of her two Catholic foes the Queen was eager to avert. Her plan for averting it was by forcing the Provinces to accept the terms offered by Spain-a restoration, that is, of their constitutional privileges on condition of their submission to the Church. Peace on such a footing would not only restore English commerce, which suffered from the war; it would leave the Netherlands still formidable as a weapon against Philip. The freedom of the Provinces would be saved; and the religious question involved in a fresh submission to the yoke of Catholicism was one which Elizabeth was incapable of appreciating. To her the steady refusal of William the Silent to sacrifice his faith was as unintelligible as the steady bigotry of Philip in demanding such a sacrifice. It was of more immediate consequence that Philip's anxiety to avoid provoking an intervention on the part of England which would destroy all hope of his success in Flanders, left her

tranquil at home. Had revolt in England prospered he was ready to reap the fruits of other men's labors; and he made no objection to plots for the seizure or assassination of the Queen. But his state was too vast to risk an attack while she sate firmly on her throne; and the cry of the English Catholies, or the pressure of the Pope, had as yet failed to drive the Spanish King into strife with Elizabeth.

The control of events was, however, passing from the hands of statesmen and diplomatists; and the long period of suspense which their policy had won was ending in the clash of national and political passions. The rising fanaticism of the Catholic world was breaking down the caution and hesitation of Philip; while England set aside the balanced neutrality of her Queen and pushed boldly forward to a contest which it felt to be inevitable. The public opinion, to which the Queen was so sensitive, took every day a bolder and more decided tone. Her cold indifference to the heroic struggle in Flanders was more than compensated by the enthusiasm it excited among the nation at large. The earlier Flemish refugees found a refuge in the Cinque Ports. The exiled merchants of Antwerp were welcomed by the merchants of London. While Elizabeth dribbled out her secret aid to the Prince of Orange, the London traders sent him half-amillion from their own purses, a sum equal to a year's revenue of the Crown. Volunteers stole across the Channel in increasing numbers to the aid of the Dutch, till the five hundred Englishmen who fought in the beginning of the struggle rose to a brigade of five thousand, whose bravery turned one of the most critical battles of the war. Dutch privateers found shelter in English ports, and English vessels hoisted the flag of the States for a dash to the Spanish traders. Protestant fervor roşe steadily as "the best captains and soldiers" returned from the campaigns in the Low Countries to tell of Alva's atrocities, or as privateers brought back tales of English seamen who had been seized in Spain and the New World, to linger amidst the tortures of the Inquisition, or to die in its fires. In the presence of this steady drift of popular passion the diplomacy of Elizabeth became of little moment. When she sought to put a check on Philip by one of her last matrimonial intrigues, which threatened England with a Catholic sovereign in the Duke of Anjou, a younger

son of the hated Catharine of Medicis, the popular indignation rose suddenly into a cry against "a Popish King" which the Queen dared not defy. If Elizabeth was resolute for peace, England was resolute for war. A new courage had arisen since the beginning of her reign, when Cecil and the Queen stood alone in their belief in England's strength, and when the diplomatists of Europe regarded her obstinate defiance of Philip's counsels as "madness." The whole people had caught the self-confidence and daring of their Queen. The seamen of the southern coast had long been carrying on a halfpiratical war on their own account. Four years after Elizabeth's accession the Channel swarmed with "sea-dogs," as they were called, who sailed under letters of marque from the Prince of Condé and the Huguenot leaders, and took heed neither of the complaints of the French Court nor of Elizabeth's own attempts at repression. Her efforts failed before the connivance of every man along the coast, of the very port-officers of the Crown who made profit out of the spoil, and of the gentry of the west, who were hand and glove with the adventurers. They broke above all against the national eraving for open fight with Spain, and the Protestant craving for open fight with Catholicism. Young Englishmen crossed the sea to serve under Condé or Henry of Navarre. The war in the Netherlands drew hundreds of Protestants to the field. The suspension of the French contest only drove the sea-dogs to the West Indies; for the Papal decree which gave the New World to Spain, and the threats of Philip against any Protestant who should visit its seas, fell idly on the ears of English seamen. It was in vain that their trading vessels were seized, and the sailors flung into the dungeons of the Inquisition, "laden with irons, without sight of sun or moon." The profits of the trade were large enough to counteract its perils; and the bigotry of Philip was met by a bigotry as merciless as his own. The Puritanism of the sea-dogs went hand in hand with their love of adventure. To break through the Catholic monopoly of the New World, to kill Spaniards, to sell negroes, to sack goldships, were in these men's minds a seemly work for the “elect of God." The name of Francis Drake became the terror of the Spanish Indies. In Drake a Protestant fanaticism was united with a splendid daring. He conceived the design of penetrating

into the Pacific, whose waters had never seen an English flag; and backed by a little company of adventurers, he set sail for the southern seas in a vessel hardly as big as a Channel schooner, with a few yet smaller companions who fell away before the storms and perils of the voyage. But Drake with his one ship and eighty men held boldly on; and passing the Straits of Magellan, untraversed as yet by any Englishman, swept the unguarded coast of Chili and Peru, loaded his bark with the gold-dust and silver-ingots of Potosi, and with the pearls, emeralds, and diamonds which formed the cargo of the great galleon that sailed once a year from Lima to Cadiz. With spoils of above half-a-million in value the daring adventurer steered undauntedly for the Moluccas, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and after completing the circuit of the globe dropped anchor again in Plymouth harbor.

1. "This England"

[The speech of John of Gaunt, Shakespeare's Richard II]

Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms

are short;

He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes; With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:

Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this

This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,

Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth,

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