Page images
PDF
EPUB

tented eye: of the constancy of her favours, which maketh service as a journey by land, whereas the service of other princes is like an embarking by sea. For her royal wisdom and policy of government, he that shall note and observe the prudent temper she useth in admitting access; of the one side maintaining the majesty of her degree, and on the other side not prejudicing herself by looking to her estate through too few windows: her exquisite judgment in choosing and finding good servants, a point beyond the former: her profound discretion in assigning and appropriating every of them to their aptest employment: her penetrating sight in discovering every man's ends and drifts: her wonderful art in keeping servants in satisfaction, and yet in appetite: her inventing wit in contriving plots and overturns: her exact caution in censuring the propositions of others for her service: her foreseeing events: her usage of occasions: he that shall consider of these, and other things that may not well be touched, as he shall never cease to wonder at such a queen, so he shall wonder the less, that in so dangerous times, when wits are so cunning, humours extravagant, passions so violent, the corruptions so great, the dissimulations so deep, factions so many; she hath notwithstanding done such great things, and reigned in felicity.

. - To speak of her fortune, that which

A fortuna. T ,. , , , , „ .

1 did reserve for a garland of her

honour; and that is, that she liveth a virgin, and hath no children : so it is that which maketh all her other virtues and acts more sacred, more august, more divine. Let them leave children that leave no other memory in their times: " Brutorum seternitas, soboles." Revolve in histories the memories of happy men, and you shall not find any of rare felicity but either he died childless, or his line spent soon after his death; or else was unfortunate in his children. Should a man have them to be slain by his vassals, as the posthumus of Alexander the Great was? or to call them his imposthumes, as Augustus Cisar called his? Peruse the catalogue: Cornelius Sylla, Julius Ceesar, Flavins Vespasianus, Severus, Constantinus the Great, and many more. "Generare et liberi, humana: creare et operari, divina." And therefore, this objection removed, let us proceed to take a view of her felicity.

A felicitate ^ mate of fortune she never took: only some adversity she passed at the first, to give her a quicker sense of the prosperity that should follow, and to make her more reposed in the Divine Providence. Well, she cometh to the crown : it was no small fortune to find at her entrance some such servants and counsellors us she then found. The French king, who at this time, by reason of the peace concluded with Spain, and of the interest he had in Scotland, might have proved a dangerous neighbour: by how strange an accident was he taken away! The king of Spain, who, if he would have inclined to reduce the Low Countries by lenity, considering the goodly revenues which he drew from those countries, the great commodity to annoy her state from thence, might have made mighty and perilous matches against her repose;

putteth on a resolution not only to use the means of those countries, but to spend and consume all hia other means, the treasure of his Indies, and the forces of his ill-compacted dominions there and upon them. The Carles that rebelled in the North, before the duke of Norfolk's plot, which, indeed, was the strength and seal of that commotion, was fully ripe, brake forth, and prevented their time. The king Sebastian of Portugal, whom the king of Spain would fain have persuaded that it was a devouter enterprise to purge Christendom, than to enlarge it, though I know some think that he did artificially nourish him in that voyage, is cut a-pieces with his army in Africa: then hath the king of Spain work cut out to make all things in readiness during the old cardinal's time for the conquest of Portugal; whereby his desire of invading of England was slackened and put off some years, and by that means was put in execution at a time for some 'respects much more to his disadvantage. And the same invasion, like and as if it had been attempted before, it had the time much more proper and favourable; so likewise had it in true discourse a better season afterwards : for, if it had been dissolved till time that the League had been better confirmed in France ; which no doubt would have been, if the duke of Guise, who was the only man of worth on that side, had lived; and the French king durst never have laid hand upon him, had he not been animated by the English victory against the Spaniards precedent. And then, if some maritime town had been gotten into the hands of the League, it had been a great surety and strength to the enterprise. The popes, to consider of them whose course and policy it had been, knowing her Majesty's natural clemency, to have temporized and dispensed with the papists coming to church, that through the mask of their hypocrisy they might have been brought into places of government in the state and in the country : these, contrariwise, by the instigation of some fugitive scholars that advised him, not that was best for the see of Rome, but what agreed best with their eager humours and desperate states; discover and declare themselves so far by sending most seminaries, and taking of reconcilements, as there is now severity of laws introduced for the repressing of that sort, and men of that religion are become the suspect. What should I speak of so many conspiracies miraculously detected? the records show the treasons: but it is yet hidden in many of them how they came to light. What should I speak of the opportune death of her enemies, and the wicked instruments towards her estate? Don Juan died not amiss: Darleigh, duke of Lenox, who was used as an instrument to divorce Scotland from the amity of England, died in no ill season: a man withdrawn indeed at that time to France; but not without great help. I may not mention the death of some that occur to mind: but still methinks, they live that should live, and they die that should die. I would not have the king of Spain die yet; he is seges gloria?: but when he groweth dangerous, or any other besides him, I am persuaded they will die. What should I speak of the fortunes of her armies, which, notwithstanding the inward peace of this nation, were nevermore renowned? What should I recount Leith and Newhaven for the honourable skirmishes and services? they are no blemish at all to the militia of England.

In the Low Countries; the Lammas day, the retreat of Ghent, the day of Zutphen, and the prosperous progress of this summer: the bravado in Portugal, and the honourable exploits in the aid of the French king, besides the memorable voyages in the Indies; and lastly the good entertainment of the invincible navy, which was chased till the chasers were weary, after infinite loss, without taking a cock-boat, without firing a sheep-cot, sailed on the mercies of the wind, and the discretion of their adventures, making a perambulation or pilgrimage about the northern seas, and ignobling many shores and points of land by shipwreck: and so returned

home with scorn and dishonour much greater, than the terror and expectation of their setting forth.

These virtues and perfections, with so great felicity, have made her the honour of her times, the admiration of the world, the suit and aspiring of greatest kings and princes, who yet durst never have aspired unto her, but as their minds were raised by love.

But why do I forget that words do extenuate and embase matters of so great weight? Time is her best commender, which never brought forth such a prince, whose imperial virtues contend with the excellency of her person: both virtues contend with her fortune: and both virtue and fortune contend with her fame.

"Orbis amor, famae carmen, cceliqne pupilla:
Tu decus omne tuis, tu decus ipsa tibi!"

CERTAIN OBSERVATIONS UPON A LIBEL

PUBLISHED THIS PRESENT YEAR, 1592,

ENTITLED,

A DECLARATION OF THE TRUE CAUSES OF THE GREAT TROUBLES, PRESUPPOSED TO BE INTENDED AGAINST THE REALM OF ENGLAND.

It were'just and honourable for princes being in wars together, that howsoever they prosecute their quarrels and debates by arms and acts of hostility; yea, though the wars be such, as they pretend the utter ruin and overthrow of the forces and states one of another, yet they so limit their passions as they preserve two things sacred and inviolable j that is, the life and good name each of other. For the wars are no massacres and confusions; but they are the highest trials of right; when princes and states, that acknowledge no superior upon earth, shall put themselves upon the justice of God for the deciding of their controversies by such success, as it shall please him to give on either side. And as in the process of particular pleas between private men, all things ought to be ordered by the rules of civil laws; so in the proceedings of the war, nothing ought to be done against the law of nations, or the law of honour; which laws have ever pronounced these two sorts of men, the one, conspirators against the persons of princes; the other, libellers against their good fame; to be such enemies of common society as are not to be cherished, no not by enemies. For in the examples of times which were less corrupted, we find that when in the greatest heats and extremities of wars, there have been made ofTers of murderous and traitorous attempts against the person of a prince to the enemy, they have been not only ejected, but also revealed; and in like manner, when dishonourable mention hath been made of a piince before an enemy prince, by some that have

thought therein to please his humour, he hath showed himself, contrariwise, utterly distasted therewith, and been ready to contest for the honour of an enemy.

According to which noble and magnanimous kind of proceeding, it will be found, that in the whole course of her Majesty's proceeding with the king of Spain, since the amity interrupted, there was never any project by her Majesty, or any of her ministers, either moved or assented unto, for the taking away of the life of the said king: neither hath there been any declaration or writing of estate, no nor book allowed, wherein his honour hath been touched or taxed, otherwise than for his ambition; a point which is necessarily interlaced with her Majesty's own justification. So that no man needeth to doubt but that those wars are grounded, upon her Majesty's part, upon just and honourable causes, which have so just and honourable a prosecution; considering it as a much harder "matter when a prince is entered into wars to hold respect then, and not to be transported with passion, than to make moderate and just resolutions in the beginnings.

But now if a man look on the other part, it will appear that, rather, as it is to be thought, by the solicitation of traitorous subjects, which is the only poison and corruption of all honourable war between foreigners, or by the presumption of his agents and ministers, than by the proper inclination of that king, there hath been, if not plotted and practised, yet at the least comforted, conspiracies against her Majesty's sacred person; which nevertheless God's goodness hath used and turned, to show by such miraculous discoveries into how near and precious care and custody it hath pleased him to receive her Majesty's life and preservation. But in the other point it is strange what a number of libellous and defamatory books and writings, and in what variety, with what art and cunning handled, have been allowed to pass through the world in all languages against her Majesty and her government; sometimes pretending the gravity and authority of church stories to move belief; sometimes formed into remonstrances and advertisements of estate to move regard; sometimes presented as it were in tragedies of the persecutions of catholics to move pity ; sometimes contrived into pleasant pasquils and satires to move sport: so as there is no shape whereinto these fellows have not transformed themselves; nor no humour nor affection in the mind of man to which they have not applied themselves; thereby to insinuate their untruths and abuses to the world. And indeed let a man look into them, and he shall find them the only triumphant lies that ever were confuted by circumstances of time and place; confuted by contrariety in themselves, confuted by the witness of infinite persons that live yet and have had particular knowledge of the matters; but yet avouched with such asseveration, as if either they were fallen into that strange disease of the mind, which a ■wise writer describeth in these words, " fingunt simul creduntque;" or as if they had received it as a principal precept and ordinance of their seminaries, "audacter calumniari, semper aliquid ha?ret;" or as if they were of the race which in old time were wont to help themselves with miraculous lies. But when the cause of this is entered into, namely, that there passeth over out of this realm a number of eager and unquiet scholars, whom their own turbulent and humorous nature presseth out to seek their adventures abroad: and that, on the other side, they are nourished rather in listening after news and intelligences, and in whisperings, than in any commendable learning; and after a time, when either their necessitous estate or their ambitious appetites importune them, they fall on devising how to do some acceptable service to that side which maintaineth them; so as ever when their credit waxeth cold with foreign princes, or that their pensions are ill paid, or some preferment is in sight at which they level, straightways out cometh a libel, pretending thereby to keep in life the party, which within the realm is contrary to the state, wherein they are as wise as he that thinketh to kindle a fire by blowing the dead ashes; when, I say, a man Iooketh into the cause and ground of this plentiful yield of libels, he will cease to marvel, considering the concurrence which is, as well in the nature of the seed as in the travail of tilling and dressing; yea, and in the fitness of the season for the bringing up of those infectious weeds.

But to verify the saying of our Saviour, " non est discipulus super magistrum;" as they have sought to deprave her Majesty's government in herself, so have they not forgotten to do the same in her prin

cipal servants and counsellors; thinking, belike, that as the immediate invectives against her Majesty do best satisfy the malice of the foreigner, so the slander and calumniation of her principal counsellors agreed best with the humours of some malecontents within the realm; imagining also, that it was like they should be more scattered here, and freelier dispersed; and also should be less odious to those foreigners which were not merely partial and passionate, who have for the most part in detestation the traitorous libellings of subjects directly against their natural prince.

Amongst the rest in this kind, there hath been published this present year of 1592, a libel that that giveth place to none of the rest in malice and untruths; though inferior to most of them in penning and style; the author having chosen the vein of a Lucianist, and yet being a counterfeit even in that kind. This libel is entitled, " A declaration of the true causes of the great troubles presupposed to be intended against the realm of England;" and hath a semblance as if it were bent against the doings of her Majesty's ancient and worthy counsellor the lord Burleigh; whose carefulness and pains her Majesty hath used in her counsels and actions of this realm for these thirty-four years space, in all dangerous times, and amidst many and mighty practices; and with such success, as our enemies are put still to their paper-shot of such libels as these; the memory of whom will remain in this land, when all these libels shall be extinct and forgotten ; according to the Scripture, " Memoria justi cum laudibus, at impiorum nomen putrescet." But it is more than evident, by the parts of the same book, that the author's malice was to her Majesty and her government, as may especially appear in this, that he charged not his lordship with any particular actions of his private life, such power had truth, whereas the libels made against other counsellors have principally insisted upon that part: but hath only wrested and detorted such actions of state, as in times of his service have been managed; and depraving them, hath tscribed and imputed to him the effects that have followed; indeed to the good of the realm, and the honour of her Majesty, though sometimes to the provoking of the malice, but abridging of the power and means of desperate and incorrigible subjects.

All which slanders, as his lordship might justly despise, both for their manifest untruths, and for the baseness and obscurity of the author; so nevertheless, according to the moderation which his lordship useth in all things, never claiming the privilege of his authority, when it is question of satisfying the world, he hath been content that they be not passed over altogether in silence; whereupon I have, in particular duty to his lordship, amongst others that do honour and love his lordship, and that have diligently observed his actions, and in zeal of truth, collected, upon the reading of the said libel, certain observations, not in form of a just answer, lest I should fall into the error whereof Solomon speaketh thus, " Answer not a fool in his own kind lest thou also be like him;" but only to discover the malice, and to reprove and convict the untruths thereof.

The points that I have observed upon the reading of this libel, are these following:

I. Of the scope or drift of the libeller.

II. Of the present estate of this realm of England, whether it may be truly avouched to be prosperous or afflicted.

III. Of the proceedings against the pretended catholics, whether they have been violent or moderate, and necessary.

IV. Of the disturbance of the quiet of Christendom, and to what causes it may be justly imputed.

V. Of the cunning of the libeller, in palliation of his malicious invective against her Majesty and the state, with pretence of taxing only the actions of the lord Burleigh.

VI. Certain true general notes upon the actions of the lord Burleigh.

VII. Of divers particular untruths and abuses dispersed through the libel.

VIII. Of the height of impudency that these men are grown unto, in publishing and avouching untruths; with a particular recital of some of them for an essay.

I. Of the scope or drift of the libeller.

It is good advice, in dealing with cautelous and malicious persons, whose speech is ever at distance with their meanings, "non quid dixerint, sed quo spectarint, videndum :" a man is not to regard what they affirm, or what they hold; but what they would convey under their pretended discovery, and what turn they would serve. It soundeth strangely in the ears of an Englishman, that the miseries of the present state of England exceed them of former times whatsoever. One would straightway think with himself, doth this man believe what he saith? Or, not believing it, doth he think it possible to make us believe it? Surety, in my conceit, neither of both; but his end, no doubt, was to round the pope and the king of Spain in the ear, by seeming to tell a tale to the people of England. For such books are ever wont to be translated into divers languages; and, no doubt, the man was not so simple as to think he could persuade the people of England the contrary of what they taste and feel. But he thought he might better abuse the states abroad, if he directed his speech to them who could best convict him, and disprove him if he said untrue; so that as Livy saith in the like case, "/Etolos magis, coram quibus verba facerent, quam ad quos, pensi habere;" that the JEtolians, in their tale, did more respect those who did overhear them, than those to whom they directed their speech: so in this matter this fellow cared not to be counted a liar by all English upon price of deceiving of Spain and Italy; for it must be understood, that it hath been the general practice of this kind of men many years, of the one side, to abuse the foreign estates, by making them believe that all is out of joint and ruinous here in England, and that there is great part ready to join with the invader j and on the other side, to make the evil

subjects of England" believe of great preparations abroad, and in great readiness to be put in act, and so to deceive on both sides: and this I take to be his principal drift. So again, it is an extravagant and incredible conceit, to imagine that all the conclusions and actions of estate which have passed during her Majesty's reign, should be ascribed to one counsellor alone; and to such an one as was never noted for an imperious or over-ruling man; and to say, that though he carried them not by violence, yet he compassed them by device, there is no man of judgment that looketh into the nature of these times, but will easily descry that the wits of these days are too much refined for any man to walk invisible, or to make all the world his instruments; and therefore, no not in this point assuredly, the libeller spake as he thought; but this he foresaw, that the imputation of cunning doth breed suspicion, and the imputation of greatness and sway doth breed envy; and therefore finding where he was most wrong, and by whose policy and experience their plots were most crossed, the mark he shot at was to see whether he could heave at his lordship's authority, by making him suspected to the queen, or generally odious to the realm; knowing well enough for the one point, that there are not only jealousies, but certain revolutions in princes' minds : so that it is a rare virtue in the rarest princes to continue constant to the end in their favours and employments. And knowing for the other point, that envy ever accompanieth greatness, though never so well deserved; and that his lordship hath always marched a round and a real course in service; and as he hath not moved envy by pomp and ostentation, so hath he never extinguished it by any popular or insinuative carriage of himself: and this no doubt was his second drift.

A third drift was, to assay if he could supplant and weaken, by this violent kind of libelling, and turning the whole imputation upon his lordship, his resolution and courage; and to make him proceed more cautelously, and not so throughly and strongly against them; knowing his lordship to be a politic man, and one that hath a great stake to lose.

Lastly, lest, while I discover the cunning and art of this fellow, I should make him wiser than he was, I think a great part of this book was passion; "difficile est tacere, cum doleas." The humours of these men being of themselves eager and fierce, have, by the abort and blasting of their hopes, been blinded and enraged. And surely this book is, of all that sort that have been written, of the meanest workmanship; being fraughted with sundry base scon's, and cold amplifications, and other characters of despite; but void of all judgment or ornament.

II. Of the present estate of this realm of England, whether it may be truly avouched to be prosperous or afflicted.

The benefits of Almighty God upon this land, since the time that in his singular providence he led as it were by the hand, and placed in the kingdom, his servant our queen Elizabeth, are such, as not in boasting, or in confidence of ourselves, but in praise of his holy name, are worthy to be both considered and confessed, yea, and registered in perpetual memory: notwithstanding, I mean not after the manner of a panegyric to extol the present time: it shall suffice only that those men, that through the gall and bitterness of their own heart have lost their taste and judgment, and would deprive God of his glory, and us of our senses, in affirming our condition to be miserable, and full of tokens of the wralh and indignation of God, be reproved.

If then it be true, that " nemo est miser, aut felix, nisi comparatus;" whether we shall, keeping ourselves within the compass of our own island, look into the memories of times past, or at this present time take a view of other states abroad in Europe, we shall find that we need not give place to the happiness either of ancestors or neighbours. For if a man weigh well all the parts of state and religion, laws, administration of justice, policy of government, manners, civility, learning and liberal sciences, industry and manual arts, Hrms and provisions of wars, for sea and land, treasure, traffic, improvement of the soil, population, honour, and reputation, it will appear that, taking one part with another, the state of this nation was never more flourishing.

It is easy to call to remembrance, out of histories, the kings of England which have in more ancient times enjoyed greatest happiness; besides her Majesty's father and grandfather, that reigned in rare felicity, as is fresh in memory. They have been king Henry I. king Henry II. king Henry III. king Edward I. king Edward III. king Henry V. All which have been princes of royal virtue, great felicity, and famous memory. But it may be truly affirmed, without derogation to any of these worthy princes, that whatsoever we find in libels, there is not to be found in the English chronicles, a king that hath, in all respects laid together, reigned with such felicity as her Majesty hath done. For as for the first three Henries, the first came in too soon after a conquest; the second too soon after an usurpation; and the third too soon after a league, or barons'war, to reign with security and contentation. King Henry I. also had unnatural wars with his brother Robert, wherein much nobility was consumed: he had therewithal tedious wars in Wales; and was not without some other seditions and troubles; as namely, the great contestation of his prelates. King Henry II. his happiness was much deformed by the revolt of his son Henry, after he had associated him, and of his other sons. King Henry III. besides his continual wars in Wales, was after fortyfour yean' reign unquieted with intricate commotions of his barons; as may appear by the mad parliament held at Oxford, and the acts thereupon ensuing. His son Edward I. had a more flourishing time than any of the other; came to his kingdom at ripe years and with great reputation, after his voyage into the Holy Land, and was much loved and obeyed, contrived his wars with great judgment: first having reclaimed Wales to a settled allegiance, and being upon the point of uniting Scotland. But yet I suppose it was more honour for her Majesty to have so important a piece of Scotland in her hand, and the eame with such justice to render up, than it was for

that worthy king to have advanced in such forwardness the conquest of that nation. And for king Edward III. his reign was visited with much sickness and mortality; so as they reckoned in his days three several mortalities; one in the 22nd year, another in the 35th year, and the last in the 43rd year of his reign; and being otherwise victorious and in prosperity, was by that only cross more afflicted, than he was by the other prosperities comforted. Besides, he entered hardly; and again, according to the verse "cedebant ultima primis," his latter times were not so prosperous. And for king Henry V. as his success was wonderful, so he wanted continuance; being extinguished after ten years' reign in the prime of his fortunes.

Now for her Majesty, we will first, continuance, speak of the blessing of continuance, as that which wanted in the happiest of these kings; and is not only a great favour of God unto the prince, but also a singular benefit unto the people; for thHt sentence of the Scripture, " misera natio cum multi sunt principes ejus," is interpreted not only to extend to divisions and distractions in government, but also to frequent changes in succession: considering, that the change of a prince bringeth in many charges, which are harsh and unpleasant to a great part of the subjects. It appeareth then, that of the line of five hundred and fourscore years, and more, containing the number of twenty-two kings, God hath already prolonged her Majesty's reign to exceed sixteen of the said two and twenty; and by the end of this present year, which God prosper, she shall attain to be equal with two more: during which time there have deceased four emperors, as many French kings, twice so many bishops of Rome. Yea, every state in Christendom, except Spain, have received sundry successions. And for the king of Spain, he is waxed so infirm, and thereby so retired, as the report of his death serveth for every year's news: whereas her Majesty, thanks be given to God, being nothing decayed in vigour of health and strength, was never more able to supply and sustain the weight of her affairs, and is, as far as standeth with the dignity of her Majesty's royal state, continually to be seen, to the great comfort and heartease of her people.

Secondly, we will mention the bless- ^ Health ing of health: I mean generally of the people, which was wanting in the reign of another of these kings; which else deserved to have the second place in happiness, which is one of the great favours of God towards any nation. For as there be three scourges of God, war, famine, and pestilence; so are there three benedictions, peace, plenty, and health. Whereas, therefore, this realm hath been visited in times past with sundry kinds of mortalities, as pestilences, sweats, and other contagious diseases, it is so, that in her Majesty's rimes, being of the continuance aforesaid, there was only, towards the beginning of her reign, some sickness, between June and February, in the city, but not dispersed into any other part of the realm, as was noted; which we call yet the great plague; because that though it was nothing so grievous and so sweeping

« PreviousContinue »