English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century: Lectures Delivered at Oxford, Easter Terms, 1893-4

By James Anthony Froude | Go to book overview

LECTURE VI
THE GREAT EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES

QUEEN ELIZABETH and her brother-in-law of Spain were reluctant champions of opposing principles. In themselves they had no wish to quarrel, but each was driven forward by fate and circumstance --Philip by the genius of the Catholic religion, Elizabeth by the enthusiasts for freedom and by the advice of statesmen who saw no safety for her except in daring. Both wished for peace, and refused to see that peace was impossible; but both were compelled to yield to their subjects' eagerness. Philip had to threaten England with invasion; Elizabeth had to show Philip that England had a long arm, which Spanish wisdom would do well to fear. It was a singular position. Philip had outraged orthodoxy and dared the anger of Rome by maintaining an ambassador at Elizabeth's Court after her excommunication. He had laboured for a reconciliation with a sincerity which his secret letters make it impossible to doubt. He Had condescended even to sue for it, in spite of Drake and the voyage of the Pelican; yet he had helped the Pope to set Ireland in a flame. He had encouraged Elizabeth's Catholic subjects in conspiracy after

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