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reduced. In this situation, she one day called her secretary, Davison, whom she ordered to draw out secretly the warrant for Mary's execution; informing him that she intended to keep it by her, in case any attempt should be made for the delivery of that princess. She signed the warrant, and then commanded it to be carried to the chancellor, to have the seal affixed to it. Next morning, however, she sent two gentlemen successively to desire that Davison would not go to the chancellor until she should see him; but Davison telling her that the warrant had been already sealed, she seemed displeased at his precipitation. Davison, who probably wished himself to see the sentence executed, laid the affair before the council, who unanimously resolved that the warrant should be immediately put in execution, and promised to justify Davison to the queen. Accordingly the fatal instrument was delivered to Beale, who summoned the noblemen to whom it was directed, namely, the Earls of Shrewsbury, Derby, Kent, and Cumberland, and these together set out for Fotheringay castle, accompanied by two executioners, to dispatch their bloody commission.

Mary heard of the arrival of her executioners, who ordered her to prepare for death by eight o'clock the next morning.

Early on the fatal morning she dressed herself in a rich habit of silk and velvet, the only one which she had reserved for this solemn occasion. Thomas Andrews, the under-sheriff of the county, then entering the room, he informed her that the hour was come, and that he must attend her to the place of execution. She replied that she was ready; and bidding her servants farewell, she proceeded, supported by two of her guards, and followed the sheriff with a serene composed aspect, with a long veil of linen on her head, and in her hand a crucifix of ivory.

She then passed into another hall, (the noblemen and the sheriff going before, and Melvil, her master of the household, bearing up her train,) where was a scaffold erected and covered with black. As soon as she was seated, Beale began to read the warrant for her execution. Then Fletcher, Dean of Peterborough, standing without the rails, repeated a long exhortation, which she desired him to forbear, as she was firmly resolved to die in the catholic religion. The room was crowded with spectators, who beheld her with pity and distress; while her beauty, though dimmed by age and affliction, gleamed through her sufferings, and was still remarkable in this fatal moment. The two executioners kneeling, and asking her pardon, she said she forgave them, and all the authors of her

death, as freely as she hoped forgiveness from her Maker, and then once more made a solemn protestation of her innocence. Her eyes were then covered with a linen handkerchief; and she laid herself down without any fear or trepidation. Then reciting a psalm, and repeating a pious ejaculation, her head was severed from her body, at two strokes, by the executioners.

In contemplating the contentions of mankind, we find almost ever both sides culpable: Mary, who was stained with crimes that deserved punishment, was put to death by a princess who had no just pretensions to inflict punishment on her equal.

In the mean time Philip, King of Spain, who had long meditated the destruction of England, and whose extensive power gave him grounds to hope for success, now began to put his projects in execution. The point on which he rested his glory, and the perpetual object of his schemes, was to support the catholic religion, and exterminate the reformation. The revolt of his subjects in the Netherlands, still more inflamed his resentment against the English, as they had encouraged that insurrection and assisted the revolters. He had, therefore, for some time been making preparations to attack England by a powerful invasion; and now every part of his vast empire resounded with the noise of armaments, and every art was used to levy supplies for that great design. The Marquis of Santa Croce, a sea-officer of great reputation and experience, was destined to command the fleet, which consisted of a hundred and thirty vessels, of a greater size than any that had been hitherto scen in Europe. The Duke of Parma was to conduct the land forces, twenty thousand of whom were on board the fleet, and thirty-four thousand more were assembled in the Netherlands, ready to be transported into England; no doubt was entertained of this fleet's success, and it was ostentatiously styled the Invincible Armada.

Nothing could exceed the terror and consternation which all ranks of people felt in England, upon news of this terrible armada being under sail to invade them. A fleet of not above thirty ships of war, and those very small, in comparison, was all that was to oppose it by sea; and as for resisting by land, that was supposed to be impossible, as the Spanish army was composed of men well disciplined, and long inured to danger.

Although the English fleet was much inferior in number and size of shipping to that of the enemy, yet it was much more manageable, the dexterity and courage of the mariners being greatly superior. Lord Howard of Effingham, a man of

great courage and capacity as lord admiral, took upon him the command of the navy. Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher, the most renowned seamen in Europe, served under him; while a small squadron, consisting of forty vessels, English and Flemish, commanded by Lord Seymour, lay off Dunkirk, in order to intercept the Duke of Parma. This was the preparation made by the English; while all the protestant powers of Europe regarded this enterprise as the critical event which was to decide for ever the fate of their religion.

In the mean time, while the Spanish armada was preparing to sail, the Admiral Santa Croce died, as likewise Vice-admiral Paliano; and the command of the expedition was given to the Duke de Medina Sidonia, a person utterly inexperienced. in sea affairs; and this in some measure served to frustrate the design. But some other accidents also contributed to its failure. Upon leaving the port of Lisbon, the armada next day met with a violent tempest, which sunk some of the smallest of their shipping, and obliged the fleet to put back into harbour. After some time spent in refitting, they again put to sea; where they took a fisherman, who gave them intelligence that the English fleet, hearing of the dispersion of the armada in a storm, was retired back into Plymouth-harbour, and most of the mariners discharged. From this false intelligence the Spanish admiral, instead of going directly to the coast of Flanders to take in the troops stationed there, as he had been instructed, resolved to sail to Plymouth, and destroy the shipping laid up in that harbour. But Effingham, the English admiral, was very well prepared to receive them; he was just got out of port when he saw the Spanish armada coming full sail towards him, disposed in the form of a half moon, and stretching seven miles from one extremity to the other. However, the English admiral, seconded by Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher, attacked the armada at a distance, pouring in their broadsides with admirable dexterity. They did not choose to engage the enemy more closely, because they were greatly inferior in the number of ships, guns, and weight of metal; nor could they pretend to board such lofty ships without manifest disadvantage. However, two Spanish galleons were disabled and taken. As the armada advanced up the channel, the English still followed and infested their rear; and their fleet continually increasing from different ports, they soon found themselves in a capacity to attack the Spanish fleet more nearly; and accordingly fell upon them while they were as yet taking shelter in the port of Calais. To increase their

confusion, Howard took eight of his smaller ships, and filling. them with combustible materials, sent them, as if they had been fire-ships, one after the other, into the midst of the enemy. The Spaniards taking them for what they seemed to be, immediately took flight in great disorder; while the English, profiting by their panic, took or destroyed about twelve of the enemy.

This was a fatal blow to Spain: the Duke de Medina Sidonia being thus driven to the coast of Zealand, held a council of war, in which it was resolved that, as their ammunition began to fail, as their ships had received great damage, and the Duke of Parma had refused to venture his army under their protection, they should return to Spain, by sailing round the Orkneys, as the winds were contrary to his passage directly back. Accordingly, they proceeded northward, and were followed by the English fleet as far as Flamborough-head, where they were terribly shattered by a storm. Seventeen of the ships, having five thousand men on board, were afterwards cast away on the Western Isles and the coast of Ireland. Of the whole armada, three-and-fifty ships only returned to Spain, in a miserable condition; and the seamen, as well as soldiers, who remained, only served, by their accounts, to intimidate their countrymen from attempting to renew so dangerous an expedition.


From being invaded, the English, in their turn, attacked the Spaniards. Of those who made the most signal figure in the depredations upon Spain, was the young Earl of Essex, a nobleman of great bravery, generosity, and genius; and fitted not only for the foremost ranks in war by his valour, but to conduct the intrigues of a court by his eloquence and address. all the masques which were then performed, the earl and Elizabeth were generally coupled as partners; and although she was almost sixty, and he not half so old, yet her vanity overlooked the disparity; the world told her that she was young, and she herself was willing to think so. This young earl's interests in the queen's affections, as may naturally be supposed, promoted his interests in the state; and he conducted all things at his discretion. But young and inexperienced as he was, he at length began to fancy that the popularity he possessed, and the flatteries he received, were given to his merits, and not to his favour. In a debate before the queen, between him and Burleigh, about the choice of a governor for Ircland, he was so heated in the argument that he entirely forgot both the rules and duties of civility: he turned his back on the queen

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in a contemptuous manner, which so provoked her resentment that she instantly gave him a box on the ear. Instead of recollecting himself, and making the submissions due to her sex and station, he clapped his hand to his sword, and swore he would not bear such usage even from her father. This offence, though very great, was overlooked by the queen; her partiality was so prevalent, that she reinstated him in her former favour, and her kindness seemed to have acquired new force from that short interruption of anger and resentment. The death also of his rival, Lord Burleigh, which happened shortly after, seemed to confirm his power. At that time the Earl of Tyrone headed the rebellious natives of Ireland; who, not yet thoroughly brought into subjection to the English, took every opportunity to make incursions upon the more civilized inhabitants, and slew all they were able to overpower. subdue these, was an employment that Essex thought worthy of his ambition; nor were his enemies displeased at thus removing him from court, where he obstructed all their private aims of preferment. But it ended in his ruin.


Instead of attacking the enemy in their grand retreat in Ulster, he led his forces into the province of Munster, where he only exhausted his strength, and lost his opportunity against a people that submitted at his approach, but took up arms again when he retired. This issue of an enterprise, from which much was expected, did not fail to provoke the queen most sensibly; and her anger was still more heightened by the peevish and impatient letters which he daily wrote to her and the council. But her resentment against him was still more justly let loose, when she found that, leaving the place of his appointment, and without any permission demanded or obtained, he had returned from Ireland to make his complaints to herself in person.

A. D. 1600.


Though Elizabeth was justly offended, yet he soon won upon her temper to pardon him. He was ordered to continue a prisoner in his own house, till the queen's farther pleasure should be known; and it is probable that the discretion of a few months might have reinstated him in all his former employments; but the impetuosity of his character would not suffer him to wait for a slow redress of what he considered as wrongs; and the queen's refusing his request to continue him in the possession of a lucrative monopoly of sweet wines, which he had long enjoyed, spurred him on to the most violent and guilty measures. Having long built with fond redulity on his great popularity, he began to hope, from the

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