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no condition to withstand the superior forces of the Spanish general, and the siege was raised.

While Philip of Spain was lending his assistance to the Catholic party in France, Elizabeth of England was supporting-if not with equal energy, at least with some pretension-the claims of the Protestants. When the Spaniards invaded France the queen advanced a loan and sent over three thousand men to act with Navarre against the hated foe of England and Holland. The Earl of Essex was anxious to have the com

mand of this force, but Elizabeth bestowed it on Sir John Norris. This disappointment to the earl was afterwards compensated, as fresh troops

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were soon ordered to France and the command bestowed upon him. In August he landed at Dieppe, and finding Henry engaged at a distance pitched his camp at Arques, near the scene of Henry's triumph, doing nothing but knighting his officers to keep them contented. His whole force consisted only of three hundred horse, three hundred gentlemen volunteers, and three thousand infantry. On the king's arrival the siege of Rouen was begun, where the English suffered terrible hardships; and in the spring of 1592, the siege having been raised on the approach of the Prince of Parma, Essex left his troops with Roger Williams, having lost his brother, Walter Devereux, in the campaign.

Throughout the spring and summer of the ensuing year (1593) the

fortunes of Henry of Navarre were very gloomy. He had strong foes in the French Catholics, men who hated the Protestant Bernese with a good Catholic hatred, and still stronger foes in the tried veterans of Spain. The help rendered by England was not so great as Henry had been led to expect. Such as it was, it occasioned serious squabbles among the royal councillors, Burleigh and other statesmen of the parsimonious school not clearly seeing the advantage to be gained by fresh advances and fresh troops, especially as both were employed not only against the Spaniards but against the Catholics of France. Against the use of the means placed at his disposal an express stipulation had been made with Henry. The queen and her ministers were prepared, "for a consideration," to baffle and, if possible, overthrow the Spaniards; but they were not prepared to make war on the French. Still it was beyond their power to control Navarre. He employed men and money as he would-if the men were withdrawn, the Spaniards would probably triumph, and England once again be threatened with invasion. The dreaded Parma had not entirely resigned his contemplated "London Fury," and the conquest of the Protestant party in France would bring him so much nearer to the realization of his plan.

Never was Queen Elizabeth more sorely puzzled how to deal with that merry and brave Bernese. She was in the worst of tempers and, says our historian, "for this cause not only dealt sharp words but heavy blows about her on her attendants." Still there was the comforting assurance that Henry was of the true faith, and that, like herself, he was excommunicated by the Holy See-accursed of Rome.

Gradually rumours reached the ears of Elizabeth that Henry of Navarre was wavering in his religion-nay, that he was positively treating with the Catholics, and would probably abjure his own creed. The whole country was a prey to anarchy: the Catholic factions could agree upon nothing; the cardinal whom they had dubbed king was dead; Philip of Spain was demanding the crown for his daughter Isabella, whose mother was a French princess; the Duke of Mayenne wanted to grasp it for himself, and the people were becoming conscious that the objects of their leaders were selfish. One terribly dangerous foe to Henry of Navarre and Elizabeth of England had, indeed, been removed; but this only rendered it the more imperative—in the opinion of Elizabeth—that Henry should prosecute the war. The great Duke Parma was dead, and who should stand in his place? Henry, however, saw very plainly that

so long as he professed Protestant opinions he would never become King of France. When Elizabeth heard that he was preparing his abjuration she sent off a strong remonstrance-it was the composition of Burleighbut before it arrived the deed was done.

The ceremony of abjuration took place at St. Denis, in the month of July, 1593; the king placing his hands between those of the Archbishop of Bourges, promised to live and die in the bosom of the Romish church, and to defend it against all men. The Te Deum was sung, but loud above the strains of the choristers rose the shouts of the jubilant people—Vive le Roi! There were many old veterans of the Huguenot army with bent brows that day; but the majority saw that the king-never a very stoutlaced monarch—was acting more from policy than conviction, and were unwilling to forsake him, even though he were a renegade. They had followed his white plume too long to desert him.

On hearing the news Elizabeth burst into one of her violent passions, heaping on her old ally her cherished flowers of abusive rhetoric. She allowed several weeks to elapse before she wrote to him, even then it was in no measured terms that she referred to what he had done. “Ah, what grief!" said she, “ah, what regret! ah, what pangs have seized my heart at the news which has been communicated to me! My God! is it possible that any worldly considerations could render you regardless of the divine displeasure? Can we reasonably expect any good result can follow such an iniquity? How could you imagine that He whose hand has supported and upheld your cause so long, would fail you at your need? It is a perilous thing to do ill that good may come of it. Nevertheless, I yet hope that your better feelings may return, and in the meantime I promise to give you the first place in my prayers-Esau's hands may not defile the blessing of Jacob," and so on to the same purpose. Very proper reflections these-and much to be commended, but they would have fallen better from the lips of a princess who had never allowed state policy to interfere with her own religious sentiments. Poor Queen Elizabeth is said to have been so troubled in mind about the spiritual declensions of Henry, that she could find no peace, but in entering on a course of systematic divinity and translating Boethius' "Consolations of Philosophy."

In the meanwhile Henry applied himself—under the advice and by the assistance of his sagacious minister Sully-to the removal of all cause of discontent among his Huguenot subjects. At Nantes he received deputa

tions from the Protestants, and consulted them as to their wants and the guarantee which they required. Acting on their advice, tempered by his own prudence and the advice of his counsellor, Henry drew up and issued the famous Edict of Nantes. By this the Protestants were to enjoy freedom of worship in all the towns where their creed then prevailed. They were allowed to have meetings of their representatives as well as to raise sums for their clergy, paying at the same time the tithes due to the established Church. In suits of law their judges were to be half Catholic and half Protestant; and several terms of surety were left to them for a certain time. The Parliament offered considerable opposition to the passing of this edict, and the king was obliged to use menaces as well as persuasions to overcome their obstinacy.

Queen Elizabeth having completed five books of translation of Boethius, and derived, it is to be hoped, as much consolation from philosophy as philosophy can give, found it convenient to renew her friendly relations with Henry of France. With him she concluded a treaty, offensive and defensive, against Philip of Spain-for the withered white-haired man was still formidable, and the dread occasioned by the Armada had not yet faded from the public mind. In consequence of the alliance thus formed the Spaniards poured into France from the Netherlands. In France they proposed to themselves an easier victory than they had ever competed for in Holland, the Dutchmen being of the English turn of mind-years afterwards so strongly condemned by the great Napoleon-namely, not knowing when they were beaten. Velasco, the constable of Castille, penetrated into Champagne and directed his attention against Franche Comté. Fuentes marched into Picardy, defeated Henry's army, took Dourleno and Cambury, and threw the King of France into great alarm. At once he sent to Elizabeth, but Elizabeth herself was far too much alarmed to further the aid he sought. These terrible Spaniards, though their great duke was dead, were still bent on the conquest of England. Nothing could be easier--so the whole affair presented itself to the mind of Philip land an army-defeat the English forces, march on London, sack the city, erase the armourial bearings of the queen, substitute those of Spain-everything might be done-if-but there is so much assumed in that postulate. Still the dread of invasion so far influenced the councils of the English queen that so far from assisting Henry with men and money she withdrew her troops from Brittany.


"In March, 1596, the Archduke Albert, who had been appointed

Spanish governor of the Netherlands, suddenly marched on Calais, pretending that his object was to raise the siege of La Fere. By this ruse he was already under the walls of Calais with fifteen thousand men. The outstanding forts were soon won, and as Elizabeth was one Sunday at church at Greenwich the distant report of the Archduke's cannonade on the walls of Calais were plainly heard. Elizabeth sprung up in the midst of the service and vowed that she would rescue that ancient town. She sent off, post haste, to order the Lord Mayor of London to immediately impress a thousand men and send them to Calais; but this fit of enthusiasm was soon over and the next morning she countermanded the order. When Henry's ambassador urged her for assistance she coolly proffered it on condition that she should garrison Calais with an English army. When the proposal was made to Henry he was so incensed that he actually turned his back on her ambassador, Sir Robert Sidney, saying he would rather receive a box on the ear from a man than a fillip from a woman."

A few days sufficed to settle the fate of Calais. The town was carried by storm on the 14th April, and the Spaniards took possession of a place eminently adapted for the purposes of invasion, should Philip determine on another attempt of that kind. No doubt was entertained of the intentions of Spain. The dockyards were ringing out with the sound of active preparations. The veterans who had served under Farnese were confident of success, only regretting that the great duke could not lead them to victory; perhaps they were thinking of leaving a vacant space in their hosts, just as the Greeks were wont to leave room for the ghost of Ajax-at all events they felt that his spirit inspired them, and all the humiliations received from England were now to be amply repaid.

Lord Howard of Effingham, who had so bravely and successfully commanded the English fleet at the critical period when the invincible Armada was off our shores, urged on the government the necessity of immediate preparations, not only for defence but for attack, pointing out that a blow struck against Spain before she had completed her preparations would be worth a score of blows afterwards; his council was that the menacing fleet should be attacked and destroyed before it left the ports of Spain.

A fleet of one hundred and thirty sail was fitted out, and an army of fourteen thousand men put on board. The fleet was confided to the care of Lord Howard, the army to Essex. The fiery enthusiasm of Essex,

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