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commit to paper nor trust to any person but himself, and that she was then on the point of quitting Dover for London." Though Henry ought to have had a pretty accurate idea of Elizabeth's habitual diplomacy, his curiosity was so greatly excited by these mysterious hints, that he sent for his faithful minister, Rosny,' and said to him, "I have just now received letters from my good sister of England, whom you admire so greatly. They are fuller of civilities than ever. See if you will have more success than I have had in discovering her meaning." The sage premier of France confessed that he was not less puzzled than his sovereign, by the mysterious language of the female majesty of England, and both agreed, that it must be something of very great consequence, which prompted such a communication; it was therefore arranged that Rosny should embark the following morning for Dover, and make an incognito trip to London, for the purpose of penetrating this important state secret. The moment he landed at Dover, he was met and recognised by a whole bevy of the state officers and members of queen Elizabeth's cabinet, who were evidently on the look out for his master. Sidney, who had seen him at Calais only a few days before, welcomed him with an embrace, and asked him "if he were not come to see the queen?"
The artful diplomatist told him " he was not, and begged him not to mention his arrival to her majesty, as he had brought no credentials, having merely come over to make a private visit to London, without any idea of seeing her." The English gentlemen smiled, and told him "that he would not be suffered to pass so, for the guard-ship had doubtless given a signal of his arrival, and he might shortly expect to see a messenger from the queen, who had, only three days ago, spoken publicly of him in very obliging terms." Rosny, though nothing was further from his meaning, begged them to keep the secret, pretending "that he was only going to take a slight refreshment, and then proceed on his journey;" and, saying this, left them abruptly." After this fine piece of acting," he says, "I had but just entered my apartment, and spoken a few words to my people, when I felt somebody embrace me from behind, who told me 'that he arrested me as a prisoner to the queen.' This was the captain of her guards, whose embrace I returned, and 1 Afterwards the celebrated Duc de Sully.
replied, smiling, that I should esteem such imprisonment an honour.' His orders were to conduct me directly to the queen. I therefore followed him.”
"It is well, monsieur de Rosny,' said this princess to me, as soon as I appeared; and do you break my fences thus, and pass on, without coming to see me? I am greatly surprised at it, for I thought you bore me more affection than any of my servants, and I am persuaded that I have given you no cause to change these sentiments."" After this agreeable beginning, she entered into a long, political conversation, drawing him on one side, that she might speak with the greater freedom, but instead of having anything to tell, she made it her business to endeavour to draw from the French minister all she could of his sovereign's plans, with regard to the house of Austria. Ireland was then threatened with an invasion from Spain, which rendered her desirous of causing a diversion, by an attack on that portion of the dominions of Philip III., that was under the jurisdiction of the archduke. Rosny explained to her, that the finances of Henry would not allow him to launch into aggressive warfare. She rejoined, "that there was a vital necessity for keeping the power of the house of Austria within due bounds, in which they ought both to unite, but that the Low Countries ought to form an independent republic.
"Neither the whole, nor any part of those states, need be coveted," she said, "by either herself, the king of France, or the king of Scotland, who would," she added, "become, one day, king of Great Britain." This speech is the more remarkable, as it contains, not only very sound sense, but a quiet, dignified, and positive recognition of James VI. of Scotland by Elizabeth, as her rightful successor, and it is strange that this should have escaped the attention of all our historians; Sully himself records it without comment. Her allusion to the increased importance of her realm, when blended with the sister country, is worthy of a patriotic sovereign. Elizabeth, at that moment, rose superior to all paltry jealousies, for she proudly felt the lasting benefit which her celibacy had conferred on her subjects, in making the king of Scotland her heir. The fact is deeply interesting, that it was from the lips of this last and mightiest of England's monarchs, that the style and title by 1 Sully's Memoirs, vol. ii. p.373.
which her royal kinsman and his descendants should reign over the united kingdoms of the Britannic empire, was first pronounced. It surely ought not to have been forgotten that it was queen Elizabeth, herself, who gave to that prospective empire the name of Great Britain.
The importance which Elizabeth_placed on the maintenance of the balance of power in Europe, and the clear and comprehensive view she took of almost every point of continental politics, astonished Rosny. The mighty projects she expressed her wish of assisting to realize, filled him with wonder. She desired to see Germany restored to its ancient liberty, in respect to the election of its emperors, and the nomination of a king of the Romans; to render the united provinces an independent republic, and annexing to them some of the Germanic states; to do the same by Switzerland. To divide all Christendom into a certain number of powers, as equal as might be; and, last, to reduce all the various religions therein into three, which should appear the most numerous and considerable.'
This great and good statesman-historian lavishes the most unqualified commendations on Elizabeth: "I cannot," says he, "bestow praises upon the queen of England equal to the merit which I discovered in her in this short time, both as to the qualities of her heart and her understanding." Many courteous messages and letters passed between Henry and Elizabeth, while he remained at Calais and she at Dover. In the beginning of September, Henry sent a grand state embassy to his good sister of England, headed by his troublesome subject, the duc de Biron, who was accompanied by the count d'Auvergne, the natural son of Charles IX. of France, and nearly four hundred noblemen and gentlemen of quality. Biron and his immediate suite were lodged in the ancient palace of Richard III., in, Bishopsgate-street, (Crosby Hall,) while in London; but, as Elizabeth had commenced her progress into Hampshire on the 5th of September, which was the day of his arrival, he was soon after invited to join her there, that he might partake of the sylvan sports in which our royal Dian still indulged.
Elizabeth was, at that time, the guest of the marquis and marchioness of Winchester, at Basing; she was so well pleased with her entertainment, that she tarried there
1 Nichols. VOL. VII.
thirteen days, to the great cost of the hospitable marquis.' At Basing, she was joined by the duc de Biron, who was conducted into her presence, with mock solemnity, by the sheriff of the county, whom she had sent to meet and welcome the distinguished stranger. She herself came forth, royally mounted and accompanied, to the interview, and when she approached the spot where the duke and his train waited to receive her greeting, the high-sheriff, who rode bare-headed before her majesty, being unacquainted with the stately temper of his liege lady, checked his horse and brought the cavalcade to a stand, imagining that her majesty would have then saluted the duke, but she was much displeased, and bade him go on. The duke, on this, reverentially followed her, cap in hand, bowing low towards his horse's mane for about twenty yards. Then Elizabeth suddenly paused, took off her mask, and looking back, very courteously and graciously saluted him, not having considered it meet for her to offer the first attention to the subject of any other sovereign, till he had first shewn her the respect of following her, although he was the representative of a mighty monarch, and her ally. While Elizabeth was at Basing, Biron was lodged at the Vine, a princely mansion belonging to the lord Sandys, which was furnished, for the occasion, with plate and hangings from the Tower, and other costly furniture from Hampton Court, besides a contribution of seven score beds, and other furniture, which was willingly brought as a loan, at her majesty's need, at only two days' warning, by the loyal people of Southampton.
The queen visited Biron at the Vine, in return for his visit to her at Basing, and they hunted and feasted together in princely fashion. At her departure from Basing, Elizabeth made ten knights, the largest number that she had ever made at one time. She said, "that she had done more than any of her ancestors had ever done, or any other prince in Christendom was able to do-namely, in her Hampshire progress this year, entertained a royal ambassador royally in her subjects' houses." On her homeward progress, the queen visited sir Edward Coke, her attorney-general, at Stoke Pogeis, where she was most
2 Nichols' Progresses of queen Elizabeth.
sumptuously feasted, and presented with jewels and other gifts to the value of 10007. or 12007.
This month, the Spaniards effected a landing in Ireland, and took the town of Kinsale, but were defeated, and finally driven out of that realm by the new lord-deputy, Mountjoye.
The hostile preparations of Philip III. of Spain had caused some alarm to Elizabeth's ministers, but were treated by herself with contempt. "I shall never fear," she said, "the threats of a prince who was twelve years in learning his alphabet.”
Elizabeth returned to London early in October; while there, she entertained Biron very splendidly, and among other national spectacles, she shewed him one, that must have appalled even the man who had witnessed the horrors of the day of St. Bartholomew. "Holding Biron by the hand," says Perefixe," she pointed to a number of heads that were planted on the Tower, and told him, 'that it was thus they punished traitors in England.' Not satisfied with calling his attention to this ghastly company, she coolly recounted to him the names of all her subjects whom she had brought to the block, and among these, she mentioned the earl of Essex, whom she had once so passionately loved.* This incident, it must have been, that gave rise to the absurd, but not more revolting tale, " that she shewed Biron the skull of that unfortunate nobleman, which," it was said, "she always kept in her closet.""
The great number of executions, for treason, in the last thirty years of Elizabeth's reign, had indurated her heart, by rendering her mind familiar with the most revolting details of torture and blood, and her eyes to objects from which other women not only turn with shuddering horror, but sicken and swoon if accidentally presented to their view; but Elizabeth could not cross London bridge without recognising the features of gentlemen, whom she had consigned to the axe or the halter. The walls of her royal residence, the Tower, were also converted into a Golgotha, and fearful
'Histoire, Henri le Grand, vol. ii. pp. 84, 85.
In recording this trait of Elizabeth, Perefixe makes no detractory comment; he merely relates it as an historical fact, without appearing by any means impressed with the want of feminine feeling which it indicated. If he had a prejudice, it was in favour of Elizabeth, whom he highly commends, not only as one of the greatest princesses in the world, but the best.
3 Mezerai, and other French writers of an earlier date. Camden confutes the report, by affirming, that the head of Essex was buried with his body.