CHAPTER XXI. ELIZABETH (vi), 1578-83 - THE PAPAL ATTACK
It was no longer possible for the rebellion to make head; but for the next two years a guerrilla warfare was kept up, in which English and Irish killed each other without compunction whenever anything in the shape of an excuse offered itself. Most of the English honestly believed that the only practicable policy was one of extermination, and the Irish retaliated in kind. There is nothing so ugly as this history in the annals of a people which, outside of Ireland, has shown a unique capacity for tempering conquest with justice. The very men whose blood boiled, honestly enough, over cruelties to the Indians, adopted to the Irish the precise attitude of mind which so horrified them in the Spaniards. Elizabeth herself, Burghley, Walsingham, and Ormonde, were opposed to the extermination policy; but the bloodshed went on, unsystematically instead of systematically. Sanders, wandering a hunted fugitive, died in a bog. It was not till 1583 that Desmond himself was surprised and slain in his bed. In the meantime, there had been no variation in the story. But the exhaustion of ceaseless slaughters and ceaseless famines had practically terminated the struggle. Sir John Perrot, who became Deputy in 1584, could adopt a conciliatory attitude, without fear that his leniency would be immediately abused - though it led to his recall and condemnation for treason [Footnote: This sentence however was not carried out. It is perhaps worth noting that Sir John was reputed to be a natural son of Henry VIII.] three years later.
The diplomatic campaign in Scotland need not detain us long. Morton as Regent governed that country with a strong hand, and at least held down its normal turbulence: but while his forcefulness was recognised, he went his own way, quite regardless of the enemies he made. Despite his religious professions, he treated the preachers with scant courtesy, and was unpopular with all parties. D'Aubigny on his arrival promptly found his way into the young King's good graces, was made Duke of Lennox very shortly, and set himself to conciliate the Puritans by professing to have been converted from Popery by James's dialectical skill. In England, there was no doubt that he was an agent in the papal programme, and Walsingham would have had him removed in the usual lawless fashion, failing other means. But Elizabeth, as always, was confident of the practical impossibility of making Scotland united for any purpose except resistance of an English invasion. She made it evident that armed intervention from her need not be looked for; and in December (1580) Lennox (D'Aubigny) struck at Morton by accusing him of complicity in the murder of Darnley. The agent in this proceeding was another James Stewart, an adventurer, now Captain of the Guard, who was shortly after advanced to the Earldom of Arran. Morton was imprisoned, brought to trial in the following June (1581) and executed. The strong hand being gone, the usual chaos supervened. For the time the Papal party was uppermost, but Elizabeth's calculations were correct. The risk of French intervention was brought nearer, but it was counterbalanced partly by the bait of the Alençon marriage, which the Queen managed to keep dangling, partly by the fact that many of the men who had overthrown Morton were anti-papal, and preferred playing for their own hand to encouraging a French ascendancy. By the "Raid of Ruthven" in 1582 James was removed from the influence of Lennox, who had to leave the country; and in 1583 James Stewart Earl of Arran was carrying out a policy which was to make the King himself, with Arran at his elbow, the force predominating alike over preachers and nobles.
We may now revert to England and Elizabeth in 1580. Throughout the earlier half of the year, it was as usual the Queen's first object to commit herself to nothing, but to persuade Orange that she might yet help him, and Alençon that she might yet marry him. But in July, Philip was master of Portugal, and the Jesuit campaign was beginning in England. In September, Orange's patience was worn out, and the crown of the Netherlands was definitely offered to Alençon; within a few days Drake and the Pelican were home, and Mendoza was demanding restitution; and again a few days later Spanish and Italian adventurers were fortifying themselves at Smerwick.
[The Jesuit Mission]
The Papal Bull of Deposition ten years before had stiffened the attitude of Government towards the English Catholics, but had neither broken down the loyalty of the latter nor led to any serious persecution. On this head, the mission of 1580 was the turning point of the reign. The moving spirit was Allen, of Douay and Rheims; a man of high ability and character who conceived that the recovery of his country for the true Church was the highest of all objects for a patriot, and one to which all other considerations should give way.
[Campian and Parsons]