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of queen Elizabeth, there has seldom been a reli
gious persecution, which a similar argument would
THE severe proceedings of the English government, which have been mentioned, did not, however, check the unwise and criminal activity of the favourers of the Spanish pretension.
A confidential letter, written in cypher, from father Persons, to father Holt, dated the 15th March 1597, fell into the hands of the ministers of queen Elizabeth, and added to their jealousies of the designs of the Spanish party. Persons mentions generally its contents in his Manifestation. He informs the readers of it, that "he wished Holt to "consider it, as a note for him and such other "confident friends as he should think good to com"municate the same withal. He then states, that the principal causes of his journey (to Rome) "were to settle with his holiness, and the father general, all such points as should seem necessary
"for the upholding of the seminaries: he informs
See Strype's Ann. vol. iii. b. i. app. xlvii; vol. iii. b. ii. ch. 12.
+ Page 48.
"father Holt, that about the whole matter of succession, he meant to proceed very softly and
coldly; letting his holiness only to know how "matters did stand; and that the English catholics "did only desire, (after her majesty), some sincere catholic prince, without respect of English, "Scottish, Spanish, or other nation, in respect of
religion; that he was not an enemy to the king "of Scotland, nor agent to king Philip, as some "had informed; showing, in the first, what good "offices he had done for the king of Scotland for "many years, while there was hope that he would "be a catholic; and in the second, showing by the "nuncio of Madrid, cardinal Cajetan, (who had "written effectually in that behalf), that he, father "Persons, had always persuaded the king and his "council, that it would not stand well for his majesty to pretend England for himself, and that "he had obtained of the king full promise thereof, "about which point the nuncio had seen the paper, "and been privy to the speeches, which he from "time to time had had to that effect."-" These," says father Persons, are "the words of this secret "letter;" and finally he concludes his account of it by saying, "that the best of all would be, if, to "avoid contention, opposition, and garboils, after "her majesty, such a person might be thought of 66 as would be fit, and stand well both for his holi"ness and majesty catholic, the English and Scot"tish catholics, the kings of France, Denmark, and "all the rest, but who that person or persons be, "he meaneth his holiness to think upon. Thus
"he writeth as you see," continues father Persons, "in great confidence and secrecy to his dearest "friend, and was to treat to the same effect, with "the pope, by the commission, as here is insi"nuated, of the king of Spain himself; and his "holiness can be witness whether he did so or no, "and whether he changed his course unto this
day" His celebrated work on the Succession, which we have already noticed †, shows, that the infanta was the personage on whom he wished the crowns of England and Ireland to devolve :but James was to be permitted to retain his Scottish
This intrigue did not escape the penetrating eye of cardinal D'Ossat, ambassador from Henry the fourth to the Roman court: much interesting infor mation respecting it is contained in his Letters t
The importance of these letters is increased by the high character of the writer. He was one of those extraordinary personages, who have united every voice in their praise. He is mentioned in terms of equal favour by Thuanus and Pallavicini, by Wicquefort in England, and the jesuit Galucci at Rome. From a situation so low, that his family was never known, he raised himself, by his talents,
* i. e. 1602, when the Manifestation, from which this extract is copied, was published.
+ Ante, ch. xxxvi. s. 1.
The cardinal's Letters were published at Paris, in 1698, in two volumes 4to. with notes by Amelot de la Houssaye: those, from which the substance of this chapter is taken, are in vol. i. p. 222, 399; vol. ii. p. 303, 390, 507, 509, 615, 616, 617, 618, 619.
and the undeviating wisdom and rectitude of his conduct, to be vice-ambassador of Henry the fourth of France to the see of Rome,—the centre, at that time, of the most important negotiations. He possessed the entire confidence of his sovereign; and the pope, as an expression of his esteem for him, honoured him with the purple. "His penetration," says L'Avocat," was prodigious. He formed his "resolutions with such discernment, that in all the "various concerns and negotiations in which he "was engaged, a single false step has not been "discovered."--It is difficult to avoid a digression, when it leads to the contemplation of a character at once so respectable and so pleasing.
In a very long, and a singularly interesting letter, of the 26th of November 1601, cardinal D'Ossat gives a full account of the curious project, that produced the two papal briefs which we are now called upon to mention. The cardinal analyses the work written upon the succession to the crown of England, under the name of Doleman, which has been mentioned in a preceding page. He says it was written at the instigation of Spain, and circulated by the Spaniards over the Low Countries, and wherever else they thought it might find readers. Doleman, he says, reduces the legitimate pretenders to the crown of England,-1st, to the king of Spain, as representing the royal house of Portugal, in whom the lineal heirs of the house of Lancaster were found:-2dly, to the house of Scotland, represented by James the sixth; and 3dly, to lady Arabella Stuart :-both the last were de
scended from Margaret, the eldest daughter of Henry the seventh. Each has a place in the genealogy, contained in the first volume of this work. Passing over James, on account of his religion, and because he was born in Scotland, and therefore an alien, the pretenders were reduced to the king of Spain, and lady Arabella. To the Spanish line, the pope supposed the English would never submit. The lady Arabella consequently remained, and her, the duke of Parma ought to have married. Unfortunately, he happened to have a wife; but, cardinal Farnese, his brother, had none; he therefore was to be secularized; and to him the lady Arabella was to give her hand. The king of Spain, probably with a very bad grace, but still, with decency, would submit to their union; and, after some difficulty, both foreigners and subjects would bend the knee, aud acknowledge Farnese and Arabella as sovereigns of the two thrones of England and Scotland. Even the king of France was to find his account in it; as a Bourbon could be alarmed at nothing so much as accession of strength to the house of Guise, to which James the first belonged, through his mother, the unfortunate queen.
It must amuse the reader to see how very easily the imperial crowns of England and Ireland are thus disposed of by the pope and the jesuit: even in Rome it excited a smile; "If any man," said Pasquin to Marforio, "will buy the kingdom of "England, let him repair, to a merchant, with a "black square cap in the city, and he shall have " a very good penny-worth of it."