The Career of the Earl of Essex from the Islands Voyage in 1597 to His Execution in 1610

The Career of the Earl of Essex from the Islands Voyage in 1597 to His Execution in 1610

The Career of the Earl of Essex from the Islands Voyage in 1597 to His Execution in 1610

The Career of the Earl of Essex from the Islands Voyage in 1597 to His Execution in 1610

Excerpt

Robert Devereux, the romantic, high-spirited, second Earl of Essex, was an important factor in the military and political events of the last decade of Elizabeth's reign. During the winter of 1584-85, when he was but seventeen, he appeared at court, where his striking personality and his noble bearing made him immediately popular with the queen. Although she had frequent disagreements with him, her fondness for him knew no bounds. Therefore she placed him in one important position after another, at first of honor, then of trust, and ultimately of command.

In 1596, when Essex was twenty-eight, Elizabeth appointed him general of the land forces in an expedition to the coast of Spain. During the attack on Cadiz at this time he made a remarkable and dramatic display of personal valor and real generalship, as a result of which he captured great treasures for Elizabeth and dealt the power of Spain a fatal blow.

On his triumphal return to England, he was greeted with adulation by the populace. This popularity with the masses proved his undoing and marked the turning point in his career, for it roused the queen's jealousy and made her refuse to accord him the credit which he deserved. His opponents were not slow to notice her suspicious and somewhat antagonistic attitude toward him and to turn it to their own advantage. All this filled Essex with bitterness; at the same time it increased his passionate desire to establish more firmly his reputation as a military commander.

Elizabeth's hostile attitude was only temporary and . . .

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