History of the United Netherlands, 1587d

John Lothrop Motley
History of the United
Netherlands, 1587d

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Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1587
Author: John Lothrop Motley
Release Date: January, 2004 [EBook #4854] [Yes, we are more than
one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on April 5,

Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII


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William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609
By John Lothrop Motley

Edition, Vol. 54
History of the United Netherlands, 1587

Secret Treaty between Queen and Parma--Excitement and Alarm in the
States--Religious Persecution in England--Queen's Sincerity toward
Spain--Language and Letters of Parma--Negotiations of De Loo--
English Commissioners appointed--Parma's affectionate Letter to the
Queen--Philip at his Writing-Table--His Plots with Parma against
England--Parma's secret Letters to the King--Philip's Letters to Parma
Wonderful Duplicity of Philip--His sanguine Views as to England--He
is reluctant to hear of the Obstacles--and imagines Parma in
England--But Alexander's Difficulties are great--He denounces Philip's

wild Schemes--Walsingham aware of the Spanish Plot--which the
States well understand--Leicester's great Unpopularity--The Queen
warned against Treating--Leicester's Schemes against
Barneveld--Leicestrian Conspiracy at Leyden--The Plot to seize the
City discovered--Three Ringleaders sentenced to Death-- Civil War in
France--Victory gained by Navarre, and one by Guise-- Queen recalls
Leicester--Who retires on ill Terms with the States-- Queen warned as
to Spanish Designs--Result's of Leicester's Administration.
The course of Elizabeth towards the Provinces, in the matter of the
peace, was certainly not ingenuous, but it was not absolutely deceitful.
She concealed and denied the negotiations, when the Netherland
statesmen were perfectly aware of their existence, if not of their tenour;
but she was not prepared, as they suspected, to sacrifice their liberties
and their religion, as the price of her own reconciliation with Spain.
Her attitude towards the States was imperious, over-bearing, and
abusive. She had allowed the Earl of Leicester to return, she said,
because of her love for the poor and oppressed people, but in many of
her official and in all her private communications, she denounced the
men who governed that people as ungrateful wretches and impudent
These were the corrosives and vinegar which she thought suitable for
the case; and the Earl was never weary in depicting the same statesmen
as seditious, pestilent, self-seeking, mischief-making traitors. These
secret, informal negotiations, had been carried on during most of the
year 1587. It was the "comptroller's peace;", as Walsingham
contemptuously designated the attempted treaty; for it will be
recollected that Sir James Croft, a personage of very mediocre abilities,
had always been more busy than any other English politician in these
transactions. He acted; however, on the inspiration of Burghley, who
drew his own from the fountainhead.
But it was in vain for the Queen to affect concealment. The States knew
everything which was passing, before Leicester knew. His own secret
instructions reached the Netherlands before he did. His secretary,
Junius, was thrown into prison, and his master's letter taken from him,
before there had been any time to act upon its treacherous suggestions.
When the Earl wrote letters with, his own hand to his sovereign, of so
secret a nature that he did not even retain a single copy for himself, for

fear of discovery, he found, to his infinite disgust, that the States were
at once provided with an authentic transcript of every line that he had
written. It was therefore useless, almost puerile, to deny facts which
were quite as much within the knowledge
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