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INTRODUCTION.

The Spanish State Papers published in the former volume of the present Calendar exhibited with great clearness the gradual change of the relations between England and Spain which took place during the first nine years of the reign of Elizabeth. The English policy of promoting dissention and division in neighbouring countries, whilst openly joining neither of the rival powers, had succeeded, perhaps better than even Cecil, its great advocate, had expected. The hands of the Queen and her government had become firmer as the powerlessness of their potential enemies became more apparent, and although the Queen's calculating fickleness and ambiguity of expression continued to confuse her rivals, she had, in the tenth year of her reign, when the papers in the present volume commence, finally thrown in her lot with the Protestant party, and had practically become the leader of the reformed faith throughout Europe. It is true that Catholics abounded all over the north of England, and that a strong party in her own Court was attached, more or less strongly, to the old religion. But the Queen was personally popular, and sought to increase her popularity with a persistence which would not be denied, and had also, by a policy of alternate severity and leniency, convinced the English Catholics that their future treatment depended mainly upon their gaining her goodwill. They had, moreover, persuaded themselves now that Philip, slow and little-hearted as he was, would not, even if he could, come and re-establish their religion again in England at the point of Spanish pikes, as they had hoped at the beginning of the reign. Nor had the behaviour of * these same pikes under Alba in the Netherlands tended to increase their popularity, even amongst Catholics, in England. By the beginning of the year 1568, therefore, the Queen was able to assume an attitude towards Spain

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which she would not have dared to take up ten years before. Philip's hesitancy and avoidance of risk were understood now to be a characteristic weakness of the man himself, and were seen not necessarily to bide any terrible danger behind them, as was formerly feared. His wars with the Turks, the rising of the Moriscos in the south of Spain, and the troubles in the Netherlands, kept his hands full of care and his treasury empty of doubloons. Nothing, therefore, was to be feared from Philip alone, whilst the king of France and the Emperor were, so far from being able to help him in a crusade against the reformed faith, themselves almost at the mercy respectively of the Huguenots and the German Protestant Princes. It is true that the Catholic League, which years before had been established to extirpate Protestantism the world over, still existed on paper, but the only signatory who was able, or even desirous, of carrying out its objects was the Pope; because he alone had joined it for religious rather than political reasons. Cardinal Lorraine and the other Guises were, as usual, plotting to bring the Catholic powers together again for their own ends, and, as Norris writes from Paris (15th December 1567, Foreign Calendar), were urging the Queen-Mother to utterly crush and ruin Conde, Coligny, and the Huguenots, either by force or treachery, in order that France, Spain, and the Pope might together invade England and place Mary Stuart on the throne of a uniicd Catholic nation. It was but a dream now, and all saw that it was so but the besotted priests who urged it. Mary herself was a disgraced prisoner at Lochleven. Catharine de Medici feared and hated the dominion of the Guises little less than she did that of the Huguenots, whilst Philip of Spain, even if he had been able to do so, was not the man to risk everything by going to war with the great Protestant power, whilst his own Netherlands were ready to burst into flame at any moment, for the purpose of placing Mary Stuart on the throne of England and Scotland with a French uncle at her elbow; and so give to France again the predominant power in Europe. Beligiou apart, it was better for Philip's policy that England should remain Protestant than that this should happen; always provided that he could keep Elizabeth friendly, and either frighten or cajole her into a position of neutrality towards his own rebellious Protestant subjects in the Netherlands. He no longer attempted to dictate to her, but only sought to gain her good will; and both parties were fully cognisant of their changed position towards each other. Overbearing Feria had hectored and threatened the Queen, and treated her ministers as if they were still subjects of his sovereign; Quadra had gripped firmly under his velvet glove, until, deserted by his master and despairing of combating Cecil's bold craftiness with Philip's sole weapons of feebleness and procrastination, he died defeated and broken hearted. Guzman de Silva's task was more difficult than that of either of his predecessors, but he was well chosen to perform it. His manner and appearance were amiable and ingratiating, as a glance at his portrait in Hampton Court Palace will prove, and he became a prime favourite with the Queen, whom he flattered to the top of her bent. His Castilian pride sometimes revolted against the work he had to do, and his letters to the King contain many complaints that his flattery and suavity and "the show of simplicity and frankness," which he says he habitually adopted, and by which he had gained great influence over the Queen whilst he was with her, were counteracted by the "heretics" who surrounded her, and who were for ever whispering in her ear distrust of him and his master. His geniality seems sometimes even to have disarmed Cecil himself, notwithstanding the alarmist and exaggerated reports of Philip's sinister intentions constantly being sent by Norris in Paris and the English spies in Spain and Flanders; most of which reports are proved to be unfounded by the letters in the present volume. A good example of Guzman's adroit bonhommie in dealing with Cecil will be seen on page 38. Cecil was in a furious rage about the unceremonious expulsion of the English ambassador from Madrid on the pretext of his religious indiscretion, to which further reference will be made,

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He inveighed volubly and indignantly on the slight thus put upon his mistress, and denounced Guzman himself for having made mischief in the matter. Guzman met the outburst very characteristically. Relating the scene to the King he says: "I let him talk on, and, when he had done, "I waited a little for him to recover somewhat from his "rage, and then went up to him laughing and embraced "him, saying that I was amused to see him fly into such "a passion over what I had told him, because I knew he "understood differently, and that the affair was of such "a character as to be only as good or as bad as the Queen "liked to make it. She could take it as a good sister and "friend, as I hoped she would, and had shown signs of "doing which was the easiest, most just, and even neces"sary way, since it was only right to take the actions of "a friend in good part, at least until bad intention be "proved, or she could, for other reasons, look at it in a "different light, which might make it more difficult, to "the prejudice of his Queen and of your Majesty. I did "not believe, however, that any sensible man who had "the interests of the Queen at heart would do this, and "it was for this reason, and because of my zeal to preiC serve this friendship, that, as soon as I heard of it, I "wished to let him know so as to be beforehand with "the mischief makers, and because I knew him to be "faithful to the Queen and well disposed towards your "Majesty's affairs. I meant him to make use of my "information privately in favour of the objects I had "stated. He asked me whether I had not told him in "order that he might convey it to the Queen and "Council, to which I replied no, that I had only told '; him as a private friend, and with this he became "calmer." The ambassador then cleverly presents the Spanish view of the case, and "at last he (Cecil) seemed more tranquil." At the date of the opening of the present volume this cloud had not yet arisen, and England was more peaceful and assured than she had been since the Queen's accession. The standing danger from Scotland had disappeared for the first time for many years. Mary was a prisoner, with a dread suspicion hanging over her, and Murray, sustained by English money and English forces, was the bounden servant of Elizabeth. France was aflame with civil war, and the royal house divided against itself by the bitter jealously and distrust of the King for his brother Anjou, prompted by the Queen-Mother; that she might the more effectually hold the balance between the rival parties in the State. Disaffection had been ruthlessly crushed in the Netherlands by Alba, but was still glowing beneath the surface with dull ferocity, as Philip well knew; and his powerlessness for harm, alone, was made clear by the attitude of his ambassador in England, whose one object for the moment was by flattery and cajolery to induce Elizabeth and her councillors to refrain from damaging Spanish interests by countenancing the Flemish Protestants or aiding English voyages to the Spanish Indies. Under these circumstances Elizabeth could afford to drop the hollow negotiations which had been lingering for so long for her marriage with the Archduke Charles. Sussex, perhaps the only prominent person who really believed in the sincerity of the negotiations, was himself at last undeceived and was begging for his recall from Vienna, in deep disappointment and resentment against Leicester and his party, upon whom he laid the blame of the failure of his mission. A decent pretence was assumed on both sides that the project was still pending, the Emperor was given the Garter with great pomp, but the affair was practically at an end in February when Sussex left Vienna, to the relief of Philip who, for years past, had lost faith in the Queen's sincerity in the matter, and whose interests were daily drifting further away from those of his Austrian cousins. But this state of tranquil security did not last many weeks. Immunity from danger made the reforming party in England bold, and already in February (1568) steps were being taken again to worry the Catholics, in reprisal, to some extent, for the atrocities committed by Alba's troops on the Flemish Protestants, who were flocking into England by thousands with their stories of cruelty and oppression, and

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