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hand, strongly suspected of using his influence in accordance with the secret views of Henry III. and his counsellors, to hasten her execution. He must be allowed to have had some experience in commissions of a questionable character, since he had already been employed to justify the massacre of St. Bartholomew, immediately after its occurrence, to the Swiss Diet. Finally, his colleague, L'Aubespine de Châteauneuf, the ordinary ambassador, and a furious Ligueur, seems to have been privy, if not otherwise accessary, to every conspiracy which took place during his residence. It is amusing to compare his account of his first visit to Elizabeth, after the plot of Babington had been rendered public, but before the arrest of the traitors, with that which we derive from other sources. According to his own story, her majesty was much frightened :_himself, all dignity and self-possession. He thus writes to the French king :

Elizabeth ascribes to Mary the whole undertaking : on account of which I made a journey last Sunday with M. d'Esneval to Windsor, where she said to me, “ I know that the Queen of Scotland has set this on foot. This is in truth repaying good with evil, inasmuch as I have several times saved her life. In a few days the King of France will receive intelligence which will little please him." I answered, she ought not to give credence to every calumny forged against the queen, her prisoner; and one who, she well knew, had many enemies in the kingdom! I further begged her to clear up more precisely those of her expressions which regarded your majesty, inasmuch as you, like myself, would consider them very strange. She replied to this: her ambassador in Paris would afford the explanation. As I pressed her harder, and said, “ I knew not what bad accounts could reach your majesty from thence, so long as she were your ally and in good health,”-I received no other answer, than that she believed your majesty would find it very strange that an attempt had been made to deal her such an ill turn.'-Raumer, vol. ii.

p. 126.

The ambassador then proceeds to complain, that in consequence of the suspicions aroused against himself, the avenues to his house were watched by agents of the government.

Singularly enough, the English Queen's own report of this same conference (as is clear by comparison of dates), in the letter of a person to whom she communicated it, has been discovered by Mr. Leigh in the course of his researches. M. de Chateauneuf, in Elizabeth's own account of his demeanour, cuts a very different figure, when admitted into her lion-like presence after the apprehension of his suspected confederates.

• " Her Majesty told me,” says this writer, " that she never saw a man more perplext than the ambassador here; for when he was about to speke every joint in his body did shake, and his countenance changed; and specially when this enterprise was somewhat mentioned

by by her majestie.” He affected, however, to treat the matter lightly, and termed the conspirators" jeunes folastres." 6. Yea," said her majestie, " they be such jeunes folastres as some of them may spend ten or twenty thousand franks of rents." ;

And the writer proceeds to say, that the queen was afraid lest Châteauneuf should excite some commotion or attempt at rescue when the leading plotters were arrested.

Nothing daunted, however, by the suspicious situation in which he stood, Monsieur de Châteauneuf joined his colleague Bellièvre in making formal representations to Elizabeth on behalf of the Queen of Scots, seasoned with all the sententious pedantry which, in those golden days of phrase-making, passed for solid and sagacious argument. He quoted Cicero's observation respecting King Deiotarus, as to the enormity of proceeding capitally against a sovereign prince; he instanced Porsenna's pardon of Mutius Scævola as an example of clemency under similar circumstances; he reminded her of the approaching festival of Christmas, on which account we should at this season keep our eyes and thoughts averted from all things bringing evil, hateful, and bloody.'-(vol. ii. p. 148.)* And yet, at this very time, he was thoughtless as well as treacherous enough to listen with approbation to fresh plans for the destruction of Elizabeth, and to engage in, at least to countenance, the abortive conspiracy of Statford and Moody against her life. And his justification of himself, when charged before Burleigh and Leicester with his participation in this conspiracy, is one of the most curious pieces of diplomatic morality extant. It is preserved in a paper, headed · A declaration of negociations with the French ambassador at the Lord Treasurer's house, by the Lord Treasurer, Earl of Leicester, Mr. Vice-Chamberlain and Mr. Secretary Davison, 12th January, 1586.' He argued, that he was bound as ambassador to disclose the plot only to bis own master

• But it was answered, that howsoever he would pretend that he ought not to discover such a matter as an ambassador (which was not agreed), yet in a case concerning the safety or loss of a princess' life, as this did, yea, if it were the life of any Christian, he, as Christian and Châteauneuf, was by God's law bound to withstand such a wicked purpose as the attempt of murder. But he stiffly held the contrary opinion, that he neither as ambassador nor as Châteauneuf ought to discover any such matter ; and for the respect of an ambassador, he repeated an example of late years, of an ambassador from the French King in Spain, to whom a Spaniard had discovered an enterprise against the person of the King of Spain, and that he did not discover it to the King of Spain, but sent word only thereof to the French King. Whereupon there was some question in the French King's

* This memorial is dated Jan. 6, but the old style was still used in England. The 6th of Jan. N.S. was Christmas-day with Elizabeth.

council,

council, and in the end was concluded in council that he did well in not discovering it to the King of Spain.'-Murdin's State Papers,

p. 583.

It may be doubted, indeed, whether this whole affair was not a sham plot concerted by Walsingham and his associates in order to try the temper of Châteauneuf; if so, they succeeded admirably in the feint, which was perfectly in the style of their usual policy.

Thus surrounded by hostile machinations, every day apprised of some new plot against her life, and uncertain from what quarter the blow might fall, is it to be wondered at, if even the masculine mind of Elizabeth gave way to the terrors of her situation, and if, after a long period of vacillation and miserable suspense, she determined on destroying at any cost a life which seemed by its very existence to threaten her own? For the death of Mary, by substituting a Protestant for a Catholic in the line of succession, took away from the partisans of the latter religion all immediate incentives to seek that of Elizabeth. And this is the only rational solution of the English Queen's conduct in the most critical period of her life and reign. It is time to dismiss all the romantic or imaginary causes of her deadly enmity to her prisoner, feminine jealousies, or high reasons of national or religious interest; idle stories alike, whether invented by scandalous court-writers, or grave and pedantic politicians. All or some of these causes may have widened the breach between the royal relatives, and have contributed to steel the heart of the English Queen against her prisoner; but her part was definitively forced upon her by the strongest and yet the meanest of human motivesthe same which, with far less reason, prompted a baser mind to command the murder of D'Enghienmere personal fear—the daily and nightly dread of assassination.

To the reader who examines these volumes with a view to the details of our insular history, perhaps the most interesting part of their contents will be found in the extracts from the despatches of French ambassadors, resident at the court of James I. ; but We are not able to pronounce what portion of them is really printed for the first time by M. von Raumer. The negociations of French diplomacy are so generally collected in long unreadable suites of duodecimo volumes, published for the most part about the beginning of the last century, that it is scarcely probable that much original matter of importance should have remained to be absolutely disinterred. Some of these envoys were men of considerable talent; especially Tilliere, who resided in England from 1619 to 1625, and whose reports, although he was outshone in his mission by the wit and gold of Gondomar, evince no mean sagacity. All these ambassadors, however, give so habitually dark a colouring to their representation of English affairs, and are prone to form and communicate the most odious suspicions on such very slight foun

dation, dation, that their accounts—however interesting with respect to minor features of manner, and the like-cannot be received as perfect pictures even of the scenes which were passing before them.

Into these inviting topics we have not space to enter. We must content ourselves with one more extract of less momentous character, the account of England and the English by a Florentine, Petruccio Ubaldini, who visited us in the year 1551

• The English generally spend their incomes. They eat often, and sit full two, three, four hours at table, not so much for the purpose of continually eating, as for that of agreeable conversation with the ladies, without whose company no banquet takes place.

• They are disinclined to exertion, and sow so little that the produce barely suffices for subsistence; by reason of which they eat little bread, but so much the more meat, which they have of all kinds and perfect quality. Puddings * and cheeses are everywhere forthcoming, for numberless herds pasture day and night in the most fertile districts. There are no wolves, but many deer, wild boars, and other game. They are much addicted to the chace, and very hospitable. The women in respect of beauty, grace, dress, and manners, are nothing inferior to the Siennese or the most esteemed classes of the sex in Italy. The lords have great tribes of servants; a servant receives usually two suits of little value in the year, eight dollars and his board, or, instead of the latter, sixpence a-day. The people in general are tolerably tall of stature; the nobles in great part little, which comes from the prevalent custom of marrying rich damsels under age.'

This last is a curious observation, and probably a well-founded one. The detestable custom of marrying together persons of very tender years arose, as we know, out of a perversion of the feudal doctrine of wardship which subsisted for so long a period in England. The marriage of young ladies of rank was matter of profitable speculation, not for the parties contracting it, but for the guardians, who were paid by the relatives of the person to whom they affianced their ward, expressly for the procurement of the marriage. Ubaldini might have added that young men, as well as women, were thus made to form premature or unequal unions. Lord Herbert of Cherbury was married in this manner long before he was of age ; and his guardian, Sir George More, takes credit to himself in his letters + for the transaction.

• Whereas (he says) I might have married him without disparage. ment, for 30001., I not only did not marry him for money, as I might have done, but with expense of above 1000l. more, procured him a marriage worth not much less than 30,000l., in sure confidence that when by his marriage he should be enabled, he would give me good satisfaction for the value of the marriage.'

* Mehlspeise in the German; but we doubt whether the worthy Florentine un. derstood the natural history of a pudding, and, indeed, should place no great reliance on a German version of an Italian name for an English dish.

+ These letters will shortly be published in a very interesting collection of original documents belonging to the family of More of Loseley, in Surrey.

marriage

This bad usage, in fact, was only put an end to at the period of the civil wars, when the feudal tenures were broken down, and when the general habits of the country were in so many other respects remodelled. And the result is a remarkable instance of physical improvement. While the people of England in general still rather exceed, as heretofore, in size and strength the average attained to by European races, the upper class of gentry are now distinguished, even among their countrymen, for stature and figure. A better breed has been gradually produced by the free intermixture of patrician and other blood, and by the maturer age (in comparison with other countries) at which marriages are, in that class, usually contracted. The old Florentine continues :

• The men are by nature obstinate, so that if any one be obliged to contradict them, it is necessary not to thrust at first, but to show them his reasons by degrees, which they then, by their good abilities, are quick to appreciate. Many not being aware of this feature in the English character, have made a bad affair of it with people so suspicious.

• The inferior classes in the towns, and a part of the peasantry, are averse to foreigners, and think that no state in the world is worth anything after their own; yet they are set right in such absurd no. tions by those who have better understanding and experience. It is, however, on this account not advisable for foreigners to travel about the country, because they are apt to inquire whether their countrymen are well or ill received in the traveller's country. If, however, he have with him a royal pass, he is everywhere well received, and is moreover forwarded with the horses kept for the royal service, or is enabled, in case of need, to require horses from private persons.

. In the above respect the behaviour of the highest classes is altogether different, for there is no lord in the country who is not fond of having about him foreign servants and gentlemen, to whom they give a liberal treatment; and the king himself has many Italians and Spaniards of various occupations in his service.

* The rich cause their sons and daughters to learn Latin, Greek, and Hebrew ; for, since this storm of heresy has invaded the land, they hold it useful to read the scriptures in the vulgar tongue. The poorer, who cannot give their children a scientific education, are unwilling to appear ignorant, or altogether strangers to refinement ; they, therefore, dress themselves on Sundays and holidays well, nay better than is becoming their station and pursuits !'—vol. ii. pp. 70-75.

With this extract, which suggests so many curious topics for remark, we must conclude our notice of these interesting volumes. The value of their contents will be fully appreciated by all who seek for instruction and amusement in the records of modern Europe's most brilliant period—the most fertile in men, disco

veries,

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