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good God has averted for the good of Christianity and the maintenance of his churches. For these reasons, madam, the States have taken a firm resolution to have recourse to your majesty, seeing that it is an ordinary thing for all oppressed nations to apply in their calamity to neighbouring princes, and especially to such an one endowed with piety, justice, magnanimity, and other kingly virtues. For this reason, we have been deputed to offer to your majesty the sovereignty over these provinces, under certain good and equitable conditions, having reference chiefly to the
maintenance of the reformed religion and of our ancient liberties and customs. And although, in the course of these long and continued wars, the enemy has obtained possession of many cities and strong places within our country, nevertheless the provinces of Holland, Zeland, Utrecht, and Friesland, are, thank God, still entire. And in those lands are many large and stately cities, beautiful and deep rivers, admirable sea ports, from which your majesty and your successors can derive much good fruit and commodity, of which it is scarcely necessary to make a long recital. This point, however, beyond the rest, merits a special consideration, namely, that the conjunction of the provinces of Holland, Zeland, Utrecht, and Friesland, together with the cities of Sluys and Ostend, with the kingdoms of your majesty, carries with it the absolute empire of the great ocean, and consequently an assurance of perpetual felicity to your subjects. We, therefore, humbly entreat you to agree to our conditions, to accept the sovereignty of these provinces, and, consequently, to receive the people of the same as your very humble and obedient subjects under the perpetual safeguard of your crown;—a people certainly as faithful and loving towards their princes and sovereign lords, to speak without boasting, as any in all christendom.”
The oratorical deputy went on still further to enlarge upon the advantages of the union. Her Majesty courteously listened, and then made
“Gentlemen,-Had I a thousand tongues I should not be able to express my obligations to you for the grand and handsome offer which you have just made. I firmly believe that this proceeds from the true zeal, devotion, and affection, which you have always borne me, and I am certain that you have ever preferred me to all the princes and potentates in the world. Even when you solicited the late Duke of Anjou, who was so dear to me, and to whose soul I hope God has been merciful, I know that
you would sooner have offered your country to me, had I desired that you should do so. Certainly, I esteem it a great thing that you wish to be governed by me, and I feel so much obliged to you in consequence, that I will never abandon you, but on the contrary, assist you till the last day of my life. I know very well that your princes have treated you ill, and that the Spaniards are endeavouring to ruin you entirely; but I will come to your aid, and I will consider what I can do consistently with my honour in regard to the articles which you have brought me. They shall be examined by the members of my council, and I promise that I will not keep you three or four months, for I know very well that your affairs require haste, and that they will become ruinous if you are not assisted. It is not my custom to procrastinate, and upon these occasions I shall not dally, as others have done, but let you have my answer very soon.”
Various conferences followed the state reception, but Queen Elizabeth stewlily refused to accept the sovereignty of the States. She was willing 101 assist to the best of her ability, but not to accept their offer. It was
then to be decided what help the queen would render, and what security the provinces were expected to give for re-imbursing the queen for her generosity. It was a question on both sides of getting the most and giving the least; hard chaffering and cheese paring on both sides, all the while that the Prince of Parma was zealously carrying on his works outside Antwerp, and Philip sending him everything but money to encourage him in the work. The queen’s counsellors were shrewd men of business : for the men and money about to be advanced they demanded solid pledges in the shape of a town in each province. Various interviews with the queen convinced the deputies that the counsellors had faithfully represented their royal mistress. “Her tongue is marvellously well hung," they all agreed, and when that tongue was employed in her own interest, or in the interest of her people, it rang out—"loud, round, and sound."
In the midst of all the wrangling and jangling came the news that Parma had triumphed, that Antwerp had fallen. This intelligence hastened the closing of the treaty. It was agreed that a permanent force of five thousand foot and one thousand horse should serve in the Provinces at the queen’s expense, and that the cities of Flushing and Brill should be placed in her Majesty's hands until the entire reimbursment of the debt thus incurred by the States. Elizabeth also agreed that the force necessary to garrison these towns should form an additional contingent instead of being deducted from the general auxiliary force.
Prince Maurice, the son of William the Silent, addressed a letter to the queen on the conclusion of the treaty, in which he expressed himself in the most chiyalrous and devoted language. The important town of Flushing, which was required as a part of the guarantee to the queen, was held by Maurice as hereditary seignior and proprietor, but he handsomely resigned all claim and signified the most friendly feelings towards the gentlemen entrusted with the command of the English troops.
These commanders comprised two of the most distinguished men in the country; the Earl of Leicester—he who had feasted the queen so royally at Kenilworth—and the chivalric and accomplished Sir Philip Sidney. Prince Maurice requested the Earl of Leicester to consider the friendship which had existed between himself and the late Prince of Orange as an hereditary affection, and entreated the earl to do him that honour in future to hold him as a son, and extend to him counsel and authority; declaring on his part that he should ever deem it an honour to be allowed
to call him father. In order still more strongly to confirm his friendship, he begged Sir Philip Sidney to consider him as his brother, and as his companion in arms, promising upon his own part the most faithful friendship.
With regard to the Earl of Leicester it is only necessary to observe that in collecting the body of troops to accompany him to the Netherlands, the expense chiefly fell on his own purse. But Leicester was rich and ambitious; he was not averse to paying for a position so dignified and important as that of the queen’s representative; besides, he had no mean opinion of his own soldiership, and had in the Netherlands an excellent opportunity for testing that soldiership against the bravest and wisest general in christendom.
But Sir Philip Sidney presents a far different character for contemplation. There is, it has been said, hardly a character in history upon which the imagination can dwell with more unalloyed delight. Not, even in romantic fiction was there ever created a more attractive incarnation of martial valour, poetic genius, and purity of heart. “I cannot, ' says Camden, "pass him over in silence, that glorious star, that lively pattern of virtue, and the lovely joy of all the learned sort. It was God's will that he should be born into the world, even to show unto our age a sample of ancient virtue.” It does not fall within our province to trace the incidents of the brief but brilliant life of this illustrious man up to his arrival in the Netherlands. All who knew him, and among these were Charles IX. of France, Henry of Navarre, Don John of Austria, and William the Silent, entertained for him the highest personal regard. But the queen had been always apt to look upon him with suspicion, although it was truly said, for he was the idol of the courtiers, that the English court was “maimed without his company.” He had entered on his thirty-second year when he received his appointment to join the English force in the Netherlands, and to accept the responsible office of Governor of Flushing.
When Leicester departed for the Netherlands he was accompanied by a fleet of fifty ships, and on his arrival a great procession of civic functionaries was ready to receive him. His progress was a continual ovation. At Middleburg there was an entertainment, every dish of which has been duly chronicled. “Pigs served on their feet, pheasants in their feathers, and baked swans with their necks thrust through gigantic pie crust." When he came to the Hague a fleet of barges was sent to escort him and pageants were got up in his honour-pageants which, to our notions, look exceedingly like flat profanity. For example, Peter, James, and John met him upon the shore, where the Saviour appeared walking upon the waves, and ordered his disciples to cast their nets, and present the fish to
his excellency! Mars and Bellona were ready to bombast Latin odeg in his praise; and what with tiltings, jousts, banquets, pageants, harangues, illuminations, fireworks, and waterworks, no king or emperor had ever been received with greater triumph.
It is a striking but pleasant change to turn away from these empty