Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

“ not been in the places 'of contágion.” The little army suffered grievously, nevertheless. Lyllé writes about the middle of February (p. 69) :

"I found them decreased, not above 57, and sick 300 and odd; all their apparel worn out, the bareness whereof in this wild, cold, and wasted country being a principal cause of their sickness. Yet are there somé eight or nine bands full of lusty men and very strong, which, relieved with clothes, and the rest with supply, would make in this country a fair little army, fit for any enterprise, for that now they are hardened and well trained."

Here, at St. Valery and the immediate neighbourhood, they remained in enforced inactivity, “unprofitable for Her Majesty and our country," but, nevertheless, by their presence preventing—and they alone preventing—"the country from being ruined to the gates of Rouen," until such time as the untoward event of the fall of Amiens roused the French King to action. They were first employed to second certain regiments of Picardy in an attack upon Arras (p. 125), but this attack failed, their part in it, however, consisting only of a toilsome march. They were then stationed betwixt Amiens and Doullens, “ four leagues " from one and three from the other, expecting the enemy in “ one quarter or other," a situation in which they were reduced to such extremity for want of money that their commander, Sir Thomas Baskerville, was constrained to return to St. Valery (p. 129) “ to lay all his plate and all the other means he hath in pawn to relieve them.” From this time they took part in the siege operations in the vicinity of Amiens until these operations were brought to a successful termination, but ever in great want for lack of pay (p. 232). Early in June they lost their com- Sir Thomas mander, Sir Thomas Baskerville (p. 232), who was struck down ba by sudden sickness and after the lapse of a few days died raying (p. 242). The question of the succession to his command caused scme heartburnings (p. 257). He himself is described to have been one who “ loved not many to shew them extraordinary kindness," and who was capable (p. 286) of making a little profit for himself out of the soldiers' pay "upon pretence to have “ money to relieve them when they were sick," a practice which he had himself previously condemned in Sir John Norreys. After the recovery of Amiens, Sir Arthur Savage, who was appointed to the command after Baskerville's death, was towards the end of the year entertained by the King of France at

cerville

[ocr errors]

Fontainebleau “as never any before him of our nation," and immediately afterwards set out for Ostend accompanied by four of the companies.

The Netherlands.

The number of letters dating from the Netherlands is considerable, while many of them run to great length. The principal correspondents are Sir Francis Vere, George Gilpin, the English agent at the Hague, and Sir Robert Sydney, still Governor of Flushing, “ Governor” much against his own desire, as will presently appear. These despatches are invariably addressed to Essex, and relate largely, of course, to matters connected with the expedition which was about to set out under his command. But in this corner of the extensive field of warlike operations upon which the four nations—England, Holland, France, and Spain—were engaged, a notable success was obtained by Count Maurice of Nassau against the Spaniards. This was the engagement at Herenthals, near Turnhout, in which both Sir Francis Vere and Sir Robert Sydney greatly distinguished themselves, and by means of which Count Maurice added much to his military reputation, “even amongst us,” says Vere, “who believed o exceeding well of him before.” Details of this encounter are given by several who took part in it, and Count Maurice himself announces the victory (p. 28), claiming to have left 2,000 of the enemy dead on the field, including the general, and to have taken 500 prisoners, 38 colours and one standard. The loss on the victors' side was small: "of ours," as Captain Chamberlain writes (p. 30), “but 20 slain and not so many hurt.” It was followed by the surrender of the citadel of Turnhout the next day, its governor being suffered to depart, however, with bag and baggage. This was a blow that was expected “ to touch the Cardinal shrewdly," and his feeling in the matter was shown by the treatment accorded to the corpse of the slain commander, the Count Varax, which Count Maurice sent to him with the respect due to a fallen foe, but which the Cardinal “ buried without ceremony as unworthy of “ any honour in that he had not better looked to his charge" (p. 43). The remainder of the year as regards the Netherlands witnessed no very stirring event. The States General waited to see what the King of France and the Queen of England would do. To the expedition against Spain under Essex the States

General contributed, as has already been related, 20 ships under Admiral Duynenvoord, and a certain number of men from the garrisons in the cautionary towns. The inclination shown by the King of France to come to terms with the King of Spain, a matter upon which he paid the States General the compliment of asking their advice, did not by any means meet with their approval (p. 464). Gilpin in November (p. 482) reported Count Maurice's return to the Hague, “after the wars ended” for the year, “with great honour and contentment," but these papers contain references to few, if any, of the incidents of this summer campaign which “stood them so dear” (p. 482).

Of the Englishinen stationed in the Netherlands, whether Englishmen

in the as governors of the cautionary towns or in other capacities, Netherlands. there were some at least who were not very well satisfied with the circumstances of their situation and employment. Sir Robert Sydney, brother of the more famous Sir Philip, sets Sir Robert forth at great length on several occasions the disabilities aney. under which he conceiveil himself to lie, and dilates ou the neglect from which he thought it was his ill-fortune to suffer. He opens, so to say, the correspondence of the year (p. 12), singing the “same song, that the time and manner “ of this employment brings small encouragement with it.” Whether justly or not, he had small confidence in “some other men ”—referring, without doubt, to Essex’s “ adverse party,” the Cecils-- from whom he looked "for nothing but wringing of “ my proceedings to any hard construction, and disavowing. " of my actions according as either myself or the matter shall “ give cause of advantage.” To Essex, "il councillor and a “ just man,' he therefore turned for protection, and to him lie specially commended “the care of his a'lowance.” After the action at Turnhout, the Queen wroʻe Sydney a letter of thanks, adding a caveat, however, not to venture himself, considering the charge he had of Flushing. "Truly, my lord,” he writes (p. 62) in regard to this, “I will not idly hazard myself nor her men; “ but I must think it a hard fortune if at those times that I “ know there is no danger of this town, I may not go forth, “ when I am sent for, so:newhat to increase my experience and “ reputation. I see my lord Burrow, who is in equal charge “ with me, can be sent for many years many hundreds of miles

“ off to the greatest commandment the Queen can give, and yet “ retain his government here. And if I may not be suffered “ for some few days to go abroad where in three days I shall “ ever be able to be at home again, I must think it is not the “ place but myself who am too near looked unto.” His single despatch to Sir Robert. Cecil is one of great length (p. 65), extending over four pages, in which he defends bimself with warmth against a charge of neglect of duty in not arresting certain ships laden with corn, which by contrary winds had been forced into the river at Flushing. He was anxious to get leave to come home for a time, but being unable to obtain this favour, jumped to the conclusion that there were those who willingly hindered it (p. 108). He pressed hard to be appointed Warden of the Cinque Ports in succession to Lord Cobham (p. 108), the place in England that he desired almost above all others (p. 115); but in vain. With regard to his situation at Flushing he thus unburdens himself to his patron (p. 132):

"Truly, my Lord, I begin to grow very weary, seeing business increase daily upon me and likelihood of more and more troubles, and the longer I go forwards the less cause to hope for any acknowledgment or requital. I cannot be so blind but I must see the great inequality held between me and others, neither is there any man of my profession wbich hath had commandment, but one way or another hath had somewhat addeil unto him. I have served here now a full prenticeship, bosides the time I spent before in Her Majesty's court and wars, and can truly say that yet I know not what it is to have credit or profit bestowed upon me. If the Queen did not for others, I were to blame if I would not abide the lot that all other men did; or if she did not allow of my service, and oftentimes yield me thanks for it, I would be contented to believe that m deserts were nothing. But both these two being, and yet I being in one place, I must think there is some secret canker in my fortune to which no medicine will be fourd.” And on a later occasion he breaks out again (p. 198):

“I do perceive how easy it is to give opposition unto me, and how hard for me to be defended. It maketh me also to remember the disgraceful posting of me away the last year when the time gare some tokens that good might be done for Die, notwithstanding all the fair promises were made unto you of forwardness for your sake to advance me, and already you were with victcry returned from your voyage. Hereto als. I must add the refusal of my leave the last year without any appearance of occasion. I will not say that this crossing of me is only for your sake, since I see you are suffered to prevail in greater matters for some of your friends, and not for me in these slight ones, though it hath pleased you to gre.co me so much as to make show unto the world that you make more than crdi. nary account of me. But I must persuade myself it is out of some particular ill will to my own person; yet I do not know any occasion I hayo given other than that I made open profession that I could not be drawn from the love of you by your adversaries, though their power were sufficiently known to all men, and they gave me good tokens to see that I might have bad part in their greatness. I see that they take a constant course with me, suffering not anything to be dealt in for me whereunto they give not opposition."; .

When made acquainted with Essex's command, he writes (p. 211):—“For myself I would much rather have served you in “ the execution of your actions than in the providing for them, " but since I know it is otherwise resolved, I will not trouble * you with offers of accompanying you.” And he moans—L“ I see - Flushing must be the grave of my youth and I fear of my fortune also.” Leave to come to England he appears at last to have obtained (p. 490), but it was then nearing the end of the year. The papers relating to the affairs on the Scottish Borders, and Scottish

Borders. the “wonderful place,” the North (p. 452), which had fallen into a condition so deplorable as to seem to some almost past mending, are comparatively numerous, and some lengthy, but, nevertheless, they are not sufficient to present, of themselves, a complete narrative of events occurring within the period of the year 1597. They tell in part, however, the history of the endeavours that were being made through the meeting of commissioners appointed on boh sides for the eschange of pledges, and in other ways, to establish a state of peace between the lawless and turbulent men on both sides who were constantly engaged in acts of vengeance and reprisal, and even of mere highway robbery, of the most brutal character. Great efforts were made on the part of the Queen to secure the delivery of the persons of the “ brace of wolves"—the lairds of Buccleuch and Cessforj, leaders both of them infinitely popular and potent on the Middle Marches (p. 452). After delays and subterfuges the surrender of the former was obtained. Not so, however, that of Cessford, though “Thomas Percy, the constable “ of Alnwick and Warkworth castles, may entertain him when " and where and how he list.” Dr. Tobias Matthew, the Bishop of Durham, was for very drastic remedies, both for the stamping out of recusancy in the North and repressing the disorders of the Borders. For the former purpose his suggestions included such regulations as that “their children may be, after five years “ of age, withdrawn from the education of their Popish parents

« AnteriorContinuar »