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posite behaviour, we must suppose not only entire want of feeling, but of understanding and judgment. Further, it is unreasonable when, in most of the narratives and accounts, all the blame is thrown on Elizabeth alone, the increasing danger scarcely touched upon, and hardly any notice taken of the unanimous, urgent, and often repeated importunities of the Parliament for her execution. This conduct appears indeed to be dictated by passion, but it was called forth by those who declared the murder of Elizabeth meritorious. In whatever light we view the matter, Elizabeth is undoubtedly less deserving of censure than Charles IX., Henry III., Catharine de Medicis, Philip II., John III., and others in situations of less difficulty; to say nothing of Henry VIII. and of the execution of the innocent Anna Boleyn and Jane Grey. Notwithstanding all these arguments, and even with the clear recollection of all the faults of Mary, yet no person has been able, during the long interval that has since elapsed, to refuse her sincere sympathy. The offences of her early years appeared to be atoned for, and those of her later life, to be induced and excused by twenty years' suffering. The firmness and resignation of her death appeased even her bitter adversaries, and only a few blamed her for having died with lofty pretensions to martyrdom, and not with the penitence of a criminal. Lastly, however the letter of the law might decide, or the danger press, the heart revolts at the thought of one Queen being delivered by the other to the hand of the executioner. But herein lies the most mysterious and affecting part of this tragical history, that Mary, in spite of all her penance, does not escape the fatal axe; that Elizabeth imperceptibly, and from day to day, becomes less and less able mercifully to terminate the differences with her rival; that while she fancies that she has all in her power, we would say, while she too boldly sports with life and death, the lot escapes from her hand, the blow falls without her knowledge, and she herself cannot, while posterity will not, remove this one dark spot, which hereby dims the lustre of her otherwise so splendid reign.(")

But it was past! She was called upon to summon up all her courage and to meet the dangers, which, after long delay and threatening, at length hung fearfully over England. For many years this kingdom had been at variance with Spain. Philip took every opportunity of supporting the enemies of Elizabeth, and saw in her the main stay of the hated Protestant religion. Elizabeth, on the other hand, dreaded the increase of the Spanish power; assisted the Netherlands in their insurrection against Philip's tyranny, and perceiving that open war was inevitable, allowed Francis Drake to destroy a considerable fleet in the harbour of Cadiz, in April, 1587. Philip had hitherto refrained from declaring war, merely from prudential motives, but had in silence made more active and extensive preparations for it. (*) At a council now held in Madrid, all voted in favour of the attack, and, in fact, many wars have been commenced for more trifling causes; even if we do not take into the account, that Philip thought it his duty to revenge the execution of a Queen; and Elizabeth, to put an end to the cruel persecution of her fellow Protestants in the Netherlands. But the Spanish counsellors were by no means agreed upon the manner in which the war was to be carried on; the proposal to unite with the French, and leave it to them to strike the principal blow, was rejected; they might make too much progress in England and Scotland, and then think little of the interests of Spain. To the objection that the undertaking was too difficult for Spain alone, or that if it succeeded, France would certainly oppose the conquest of England by the Spaniards; it was replied, “Portugal and India are gained, the Netherlands weakened, America daily furnishes more wealth, so that, with such a preponderance of power, it would be cowardice any longer to spare England, which has hitherto offended others with impunity. With its fall, the stronghold of heresy is overthrown; the prospect of the establishment of the only true church is secured, and the subjugation of the Netherlands certain. Elizabeth is unprepared, her kingdom everywhere open, ignorant to what point the Spanish force will be directed, and all will be overpowered by one decisive blow, before France and Germany can afford any assistance. Besides, Scotland will certainly be on our side, and the numerous Catholics in England will do their utmost to promote our cause.” In vain did the Duke of Parma, Admiral Santa Croce, and Count Khevenhüller, the Austrian Ambassador, represent that the Netherlands must first be subdued, or, at least, safe and capacious harbours be obtained, from which the attack might be made, and whither the fleet might repair for shelter, in stormy and bad weather. The more presumptuous persisted in their opinion that if the head were once subdued, all the other members would fall of course; and those who were enemies to the Duke of Parma said, that the foundation of his opinion was a wish to make himself of importance, and to retain the chief command for a long time; nay, the Duke of Savoy considered success as so certain, that he offered to the King of Spain his Italian possessions in exchange for England. A hundred and fifty ships, with 2620 cannon, 8,000 seamen and 20,000 soldiers, besides smaller vessels and their crews, were collected at Lisbon.(*) Provisions, military stores, clothing, in short, every necessary, were provided in abundance, and even a multitude of monks and priests, mostly Portuguese, whom Philip wished to send from the country, were not forgotten, in order immediately to restore the true faith in England. The Duke of Parma, in the Netherlands, was equally active in increasing the forces by sea and land, and hired soldiers and volunteers flocked from all quarters, to combat under so renowned a general, for a cause which was proclaimed to be sacred. Though Philip said little on the subject in public, nobody could entertain any doubt respecting the object of these immense armaments,(*) and both friends and enemies were convinced that this Invincible Armada, as it was called, would find in England an easy prey. Sixtus the fifth, too, had again deposed and anathematized Elizabeth, commissioned Philip to conquer England, and promised him pecuniary aid, and summoned every one to deliver the Queen dead or alive into his hands.(“) At the same time she was accused, in libels and songs, of the most savage cruelty and the most scandalous licentiousness. Elizabeth was fully sensible of the greatness of the danger which threatened her and England. In bold heroic songs she expressed her feelings, and her resolution rather to die sword in hand than to suffer disgrace. She caused an address to be published, to explain to the people that the plan of Philip was to reduce England to the lowest depths of slavery; and Catholics as well as Protestants

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