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were not able to climb the wall. Still Stanley grasped his adversary's pike, but suddenly changing his plan, he allowed the Spaniard to lift him from the ground. Then assisting himself with his feet against the wall, he, much to the astonishment of the spectators, scrambled quite over the parapet and dashed, sword in hand, among the defenders of the fort. Had he been endowed with a hundred lives it seemed impossible for him to escape death. But his followers, stimulated by his example, made ladders for themselves of each other's shoulders, clambered at last with great exertion over the broken wall, overpowered the garrison, and made themselves masters of the sconce. Leicester, transported with enthusiasm for this noble deed of daring, knighted Edward Stanley upon the spot, besides presenting him next day with forty pounds in gold and an annuity of one hundred marks sterling for life.”

every English knight and enterprising adventurer, enlisted in the cause of the Netherlands, behaved as bravely as Edward Stanley, even Parma would not long have remained in the Low Countries. Unfortunately there was a large amount of small dealing--double dealingchaffering-places of importance were given over to the Spaniards without a struggle, and the only probable result of the English in the Netherlands seemed to be a mortal quarrel between England and Spain.

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THE English troops in the Netherlands performed some dash

ing exploits, but they rendered very little permanent service to the cause of the United Provinces. The leaders

were disaffected among themselves,-jealous of each other, all more or less jealous of Leicester,—who was regarded also with suspicion by some of the most distinguished men in Holland. The amity which had been professed at the beginning of the alliance was not so complete as it promised to be. Prince Maurice was heartily weary of his prodigal father, Leicester, and the enmity and division were working together admirably in favour of Spain.

In his private chamber, in his palace, was King Philip; his hair silvering, his face ageing, himself as bent as ever he had been on the advancement of his own authority, and the establishment everywhere within his dominions of the religion of Rome. No man more assiduous than he ; no more faithful son of the Church; no man more willing to light up the fires of martyrdom, and send all heretics to the stake. But, although Philip was assiduous, he was not the leading spirit of his age and country. The devices and desires of his heart were freely interpreted, and freely worked out for him. As to himself he indulged in the smallest criticisms on the documents submitted to his approval; annotating in a wretched hand, and finding fault with the orthography of the scribe. He was fond of showing how much he knew about England, and to exhibit his intimate knowledge of its palatial residences, he took occasion on one of the papers laid before him to allude to “Huytal” as one of the royal houses ; why it was so called he said he was unable to state, and so elaborate a compound was likely to puzzle so astute a scholar!

Parma,-Alexander Farnese, -was the true master spirit. No man so skilled in diplomacy, no man so vigorous in action, no man so personally courageous. He was a great man towering above his fellows, his character one of the most gigantic anomalies ever seen : imperious in command, slavish in obedience; scrupulously faithful to his friends, unscrupulously false to his foes; a soul of chivalrous honour, a spirit as deceitful as that of the arch-deceiver; a double-natured man-angel and devil—but withal eminently self-denying ; not working for his own ends or purposes, devoted to the cause of Spain and Rome, spending everything he possessed in their service.

Alexander Farnese was an accomplished courtier, and many a man who had been led to regard him as a villain, was converted into a belief of his uprightness by his smooth tongue and affectation of candour. When this subtle diplomatist saw how divided were the counsels of the Hollanders and the English, he bethought himself of a notable scheme for carrying out his master's designs without more fighting. Philip longed to seize upon England. He had once ruled the land; he had helped to kindle the fires of Smithfield,—he had almost made the country a province of Spain. It was his earnest desire to accomplish what he had begun. To unthrone Elizabeth; to subject Englishmen to the Spanish yoke; to re-unite the English Church to Rome; but to do this required time, toil, talent. How could time, the principal item, be gained ? By no better means, so thought Alexander Farnese, than by leading the English Queen to suppose that Spain sought a reconciliation; that Spain was heartily tired of the struggle in the Netherlands; that the hour had come for the men of

pen to supersede the men of the sword. And the plan was successful.


The overtures were well received. The English statesmen and the queen fell into the snare. They believed Parma, and were charmed by his courtesy, and, moreover, they were anxious for peace.

Now a bull had been issued by the Pope, in which Elizabeth was denounced as illegitimate, and as usurping the crown, which the Pope bestowed on Philip, declaring it an act of virtue for anybody to lay violent hands on the queen. A Holy League was also inaugurated, of which Philip was appointed the head, and Alexander of Parma chief commander. This bull, together with a pamphlet on the subject, had been translated by order of Parma, in order to be freely distributed throughout England. This was very well known to be the case, and her Majesty's Commissioners, who were negociating the peace, were instructed to obtain an explanation from the duke. The Commissioners obtained an interview, and Dr. Dale, a prosy pedant, entered largely into the matter, Parma listening with remarkable courtesy. When the doctor ended, the prince replied :

“I am glad that her Majesty and her Commissioners do take in good part my good will towards them. I am especially touched by the good opinion her Majesty hath of my sincerity, which I should be glad always to maintain. As to the pamphlet to which you refer, I have never read it, nor seen it, nor do I take heed of it. It may well be that her Majesty, whom it concerns, should take notice of it; but for my own part I have nought to do with it, nor can I prevent men from writing and printing at their pleasure. I am at the commandment of my master only."

Prosy Dr. Dale referred to the Papal bull, to which the prince answered:

“I know nothing of the bull of the Pope, nor do I care for any, nor do I undertake anything for him.” He added, “For my part, I have always had such respect for her Majesty, being so noble a queen, as that I would never hearken to anything that might be reproachful to her. After my master, I would do most to serve your queen, and I hope she will take my word for her satisfaction on that point.”

Who could doubt the word of so accomplished and honourable a gentleman ? and yet there lay in the drawers of the cabinet by which Parma sat, letters from King Philip, thanking him for having had this document translated and printed. Dull Dr. Dale wrote home to say that Parma knew nothing of the matter!

While these negociations were pending, and for many months previous, the dockyards of Spain and Portugal had been in a state of unaccustomed

activity. An immense fleet was being prepared for the express purpose of invading England. The shipwrights were busy with adze and hammer, shaping the timber for the vessels that were to transport an army to our coasts; merrily the hammers rang on the glowing iron as the armourer wrought at the anvil. Incessantly teamsters led their labouring teams

. with waggon loads of provisions to the stores. And loudly, the priests

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inveighed against the Protestant Queen who had dared to refuse the paternal blessing of the Pope, and had Aung her woman's glove into the face of Philip.

Philip in the meantime, white headed and black hearted, was writing in the wretched scrawl so miserably dissimilar to the Court hand of that period, instructions to Parma to delay the negociations and deceive the English Commissioners, to do anything and everything to gain time.

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