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which Henry could seldom tame down his imperious temper. Fénélon details, with a satisfaction which almost borders upon simplicity, her gross flattery of the Duke of Anjou, whose exploits against the Huguenots she compared to the achievements of Alexander the Great, (ii. 41;) and, at another time, informs the King that Elizabeth had spoken to him concern. ing his Majesty's age, height, comeliness, and address, and very emphatically respecting his good qualities, and those of his brother; all which,' the ambassador continues, • I cor
dially confirmed ;' adding, it would be tedious to relate in a • letter all our conversation, but I cannot forbear remarking with what delight she seemed to continue it,' (ii. 73-4.)
The secret of this delight is explained in another memoir, and contained matters too important to be committed to an ordinary despatch. It is equally valuable as an illustration of the sincerity of Elizabeth's purposes of marriage, and the skill with which she could manage a negotiation.
• Two months ago, certain Lords of the Council in this country intimated to me that the Queen of England, finding herself urged by her subjects to settle the differences with the Low Countries, and put an end to their state of uncertainty as to a war with France and Spain, also to bring the affairs of the Queen of Scotland to an issue ; to declare her successor; to re-establish their commerce ; and, finally, to repress the insurrection in Ireland, lest she should find it spread more widely if not quickly attended to; the said Queen, in order to extricate herself from these great difficulties, had thought of putting forward some proposal for her marriage with the King of France,] or otherwise with the King of Spain, whereof it was likely I might shortly hear talk; but I was cautioned not to believe any thing about it, for bier object was merely to amuse the world and gain time.
• And, on the 28th of last month (June 1569), in an audience that I had with the said Queen, after the close of the business, she asked me whether the news that was abroad of the marriage of the King with the Emperor's second daughter, and that of the eldest with the King of Spain, were true: to which I replied, that I knew nothing
about it, and that I had not heard a single word upon the subject from France. But that, before I left home, I knew there had been talk of the eldest daughter for the King; and that, if he had fixed his affection upon her, he would but ill brook any change, adding, that I imagined that where he then was, they talked of a matter very different to marriage. Which I was the more induced to say, knowing how jealous she is when she hears of any close alliance between their most Christian and Catholic majesties.
She replied, that she had been told that the treaty was so far advanced that it was as good as concluded, adding, that the King and Monsieur were now so well grown, and so strong, and in such excellent health and aptness, that there was no danger in their marrying, and that in exercises of arms, and sitting a horse, the King already resembled the late King, his father, who had been the most active prince of his time, and Monsieur had changed the amusements of the court for other more brave and arduous enterprises, in which he was marvellously well spoken of.
• I said every tủing in my power in confirmation of her pleasant discourse, and in praise both of the one and the other; and she replied by remarking, that the Princess of Portugal had, at one time, been spoken of as a match, at first for the King and afterwards for Monsieur, and that, in comparison with her, she herself could not yet be thought too old.
• I told her, that, in truth, every body was amazed that she did so great wrong to the noble qualities with which God had endowed her beauty, knowledge, virtue, and grandeur of estate-as not to leave a fair posterity to succeed to them. That no one could think it wrong of her to turn her thoughts that way, since God had put the choice into her own power, for there was not a prince who would not consider himself fortunate to be selected ; and also, that I verily believed it was necessary for her to make the first advance herself, since, for the future, no one would be so bold as offer himself; but that I could truly say, that for a good and proper choice, I did not see that there could be any person fitter or more desirable, in all Christendom, for princesses to marry, than the three princes of France, sons of King Henry—the eldest of whom was a most worthy King, true successor to his father; the second so right royal that he needed nothing but a crown; and the third would no doubt follow the example of bis elder brothers.
She replied, that the King would not have her; and that he would be ashamed to exhibit, on an entry into Paris, a Queen for his wife who looked so old as she did; and that she was no longer of an age to quit her country, as the Queen of Scots did, when she was taken to France in her youth.
• I said, that whenever such, or any similar marriage should take place, then would commence the most illustrious lineage that had existed in the world for a thousand years, by the union of the two most noble and ancient crowns in Christendom; and that it seemed somewhat contradictory that she, who formerly complained of the age of the King, should now find fault with her own. But that, whilst she, on her part, had taken such good heed of time, that she retained her beauty unimpaired, the King and Monsieur, on theirs, had so well improved their years, that they had acquired beauty, and strength, and the stature of full-grown men; and that the said Queen ought to feel proud to make her entry into Paris, for there she would be more honoured, and welcomed, and blessed, of that good and great people, and of the whole noblesse of France, than in any other country in the world; and that, if the thought of crossing the sea was disagreeable to her, any one would undertake that the voyage might be made so delightful to her, that she should therein have great pleasure and contentment.
"I do not know,' said she, whether the Queen would be agreeable ; for, perhaps, she would like a daughter-in-law so young that she might do what she pleased with her.'— I know,' I replied, that the Queen is so benignant, and of so kind and generous a disposition, that nothing in
the world would be more agreeable to both of you than to be in each other's
company, and to please one another: witness the honour and respect she has always paid to the Queen of Scots, and still pays her."'-Vol. ii, 115-119.
Leicester, to whose influence over the Queen her disregard of matrimony has been attributed, appears in these pages, as indeed every where else, to little advantage. At the commencement of Fénélon's embassy, he was a cordial supporter of Cecil. Seduced by the cheap honour of a letter from the King of France and the Queen-Mother, he most improperly communicated to the ambassador the opinion of the Queen and the council upon the momentous subject of peace or war with France ;—represented his royal mistress as timid, desirous of shunning annoyance and expense ;-and pledged himself to use his endeavours to keep her in the mind for peace. At another time, he communicated with the ambassador upon business of state in a manner so confidential, as to leave an impression that what he said was the private determination of the Queen; and afterwards, at a dinner at the ambassador's, that experienced intriguer, by a conversation very wide from the
mark, drew from the Earl of Leicester, first, that although the • Queen, his mistress, is grieved to see those of her religion ill o used and murdered in France, yet nevertheless, being a queen, • as she is, and having subjects of many different opinions, she will • not interpose in a quarrel between you and your subjects, and • that he could assure me, as a man of honour, that she will not * declare war against you, if she is not very much provoked;
secondly, that although she has great confidence in the friend• ship of the Catholic King, yet she is so offended with the Duke • of Alva, and thinks him so cruel, and so proud, and the Spaniards
so intolerant, that there is not any thing she would not do to 6 drive both him and them out of the Low Countries,' (i. 294.) A councillor who thought so lightly of his duty as to allow himself to be thus sifted, was a fit mark for intriguers; and we learn, without surprise, how easily he was entrapped into the Ridolfy conspiracy.' Too frivolous, and too much in the Queen's confidence, to be entrusted with the full intentions of the plotters, he joined them heart and hand in their endeavour to unseat Cecil. When they pretended illness, and absented themselves from the council board, Leicester had a slight cold; and when an opportunity offered for communicating their opinions to the Queen, it was Leicester who put himself forward as their mouthpiece. The scene that ensued was characteristic.
It was Ash-Wednesday, and, a little before supper-time, Norfolk, Leicester, Northampton, and Cecil, happened to meet in VOL. LXIX. NO. CXL.
the Queen's presence. Her Majesty led the conversation to public affairs, and expressed her regret that a council had not been held to determine some pressing matters. Leicester, with great humility, and after many strong expressions of obligation and attachment, informed her Majesty that Cecil's course of policy was so unpopular, and, in the judgment of the seceding members of the council, so impolitic, that, unless some changes were effected, he feared for the safety of the state, as well as that of the obnoxious minister. The Queen listened with astonishment, and, when he had concluded, poured upon him a torrent of grosses parolles,' the mildest
, probably, of which was a threat of the Tower. Norfolk, talking at the Queen, commented upon her reply, declaring to Northampton, that Leicester should not go to the Tower alone; and Northampton, with equal indecorum, professed his willingness to follow Norfolk in any thing. The interview terminated in anger, but had most important results. The Queen's firmness, which was Cecil's tower
of strength,' excited a rash anger in Norfolk and his friends, but it shook the constancy of the false and fickle Leicester. He still, indeed, continued to act with the conspirators, and encouraged Norfolk in his design of marrying Mary; but no sooner did the ladies about the court, who,' as Camden says, are very quick
in smelling out love matters,' bring to the ear of Elizabeth some tidings of this design, than Leicester was suddenly taken ill, or,' as the same historian remarks, he feigned to be so;' and, upon the Queen's visiting him, with many tears and groans he revealed the whole matter from the beginning, and threw himself upon her clemency for pardon.*
Nothing but the favour of the imperious Queen could have kept a man so unstable and worthless in the foremost rank of her courtiers; and in what precise degree that favour was lavished upon him, is a subject of considerable dispute. The Roman Catholic historians assert, with evident delight, that Elizabeth yielded every thing to her handsome favourite, and even those who think her conduct guiltless in act, are driven to shelter it under the plea, that women may be touched who will not be
subdued ; and many pass their lives on the brink of weaknesses • into which they never fall.' We will not enter upon this delicate and ungrateful question ; but shall merely direct the attention of our readers to the following singular memoir :
• The chief persons of this kingdom believe it to be quite certain that the Queen will never marry, and that, when she makes any pro
* Camden's Annals, Anno 1569.
† Macintosh's England, iii. 62.
posals with that view, it is merely to amuse the world, and prevent her subjects from urging her to declare her successor.'
Then, after referring to some representations recently made to her by Parliament, and the breaking off of the treaty for a marriage with the Archduke, it proceeds as follows:
• A little while afterwards, the Earl of Arundel, being desirous of understanding what there was between the Queen and the Earl of Leicester, and if he was the occasion of her rejecting all other matches, persuaded the Duke of Norfolk, who is the principal and most powerful person in the kingdom, to tell the Earl of Leicester, that the duty he owed to the Queen, his mistress, and to her crown, as her vassal and councillor, and also his friendship for Leicester, induced him to represent to him that, if matters were in such state between the Queen and him, that he had good hope of marrying her, he should say so openly, and take his measures in a proper manner, and such as was becoming and conformable to the grandeur and importance of such a marriage ; and that, for his own part, he would promise to aid him as far as he could; but, if there was no such intention, he advised him to desist in future from the familiarity and too great intimacy wbich then existed between them, and to content himself with being master of the horse, and, having greater preferment than any body else, without making any attempt, either upon the honour of the crown, or of their mistress ; for he would tell him frankly, that neither peers nor people would submit to it.
• And be accused him, that, having the entrée, as he has, into the Queen's bedchamber when she is a-bed, he had taken upon
him to band her ber chemise in place of her lady in waiting, and bad dared to kiss her without being thereto invited.
• To which the Earl of Leicester replied, that he thanked him, and considered himself beyond measure obliged to him for his communication; and that, in truth, the Queen had given him some tokens of affection, which had encouraged him to think of marrying her, and also to venture upon some chaste familiarities with her; wherefore the Duke, by the offer he had made him of aiding him in his enterprise, had conferred upon him the greatest of all possible obligations; but he begged him to give him time to bring it about ; and, if he saw that he could not effect his object, he promised to withdraw iminediately; and that, whatever came of it, he had the same respect for the Queen's honour and that of the crown, which a faithful vassal and councillor ought to have, and that, under all circumstances, he would guard it as carefully as his life.
• Some days afterwards, the Queen, being urged to disclose her intention, she replied, peremptorily, that she had no design to marry the said Earl of Leicester; wherefore, since that time, they have both comported themselves more modestly, and he has given up the great expences, which, with a view to that result, he had for a long time incurred.' Vol. ii. 119-122.
Of Norfolk, whose name is brought before us in this extract, we have in these volumes many particulars, which, when completed by the despatches for the two succeeding years, will en. able us to judge more truly of the circumstances which led to