Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 47.djvu/147

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

tance to visit England otherwise than as an accepted suitor, referred himself in all things, except his conscience, to the emperor, and Sussex, who was royally entertained, wrote to Elizabeth in glowing terms of his personal appearance. On 27 Oct. Henry Cobham was sent to London for further instructions (cf. ib. vii. 408). On 31 Dec. Cobham returned, bringing Elizabeth's answer, practically breaking off negotiations, and Sussex, having on 4 Jan. delivered his letters, and invested the emperor with the order of the Garter, prepared to ret urn home. He reached England on 14 March 1508. Elizabeth's refusal of an alliance with the house of Habsburg deeply disappointed him. He believed that England was powerless to stand alone in the conflict which he foresaw to be imminent, and was anxious at almost any cost to secure the friendship of the most powerful military nation in Europe.

At home other troubles awaited him. The Earl of Leicester had secured the presidentship of Wales for Sir Henry Sidney. Sussex, after bluntly reminding Elizabeth of her promise to confer the post on him, begged her either to comply with his request, or, if not, to give him leave to quit the kingdom for Italy or elsewhere. Eventually the death of Archbishop Young opened to Sussex an avenue to preferment, and in July he was created, in succession to the archbishop, lord president and lord lieutenant of the north. In October he assisted at the negotiations with Mary Queen of Scots at York, and shortly afterwards, in reference to the same subject, at Hampton Court and Westminster. In September 1569 he deplored the arrest of his friend and relative, the Duke of Norfolk, and begged Cecil to use his influence with the queen in his behalf. When the rumour of an intended insurrection reached him at the beginning of October, he treated it with incredulity, for which he was sharply reprimanded by Elizabeth, and ordered to send for the Earls of Westmorland and Northumberland to repair to court without delay. The queen's action no doubt precipitated matters, and on 15 Nov., when Sussex announced that the two earls refused to obey her commands, a warrant, was issued to him as lieutenant-general of the forces in the north to prosecute them with fire and sword. On the 19th he published the proclamation, and took instant measures for their prosecution. The total force at his disposal amounted to only three thousand men, whereof barely three hundred were horse, whereas the rebels were said to number twelve hundred horse and between five and six thousand foot. His weakness, especially in the matter of horse, compelled him to act on the defensive. His avowed preference for lenient proceedings, coupled with the fact that his half-brother, Sir Egremont Radcliffe [q. v.], had joined the rebels, caused him to be suspected, and Lord Hunsdon and Sir Ralph Sadleir were sent down to inquire into the situation. But Sadleir and Hunsdon easily convinced themselves of his loyalty, and wrote with enthusiasm of his devotion and prudence.

Early in December Sussex was joined by reinforcements under Lord Warwick and Lord Clinton. Together they marched to Northallerton, and between Darlington and Durham they heard that the rebels had fled across the borders into Liddesdale, but had been forced to go into the debateable lands between Riddesdale and England. He deprecated a continuance of active hostilities, unless the queen deemed it necessary owing to 'foreign matters' of which he was ignorant. ' Policy will do more service than force this winter' (Cal. State Papers, Eliz. Dom. Add. p. 162). He cashiered the new levies except such horse as he conceived necessary to guard the borders. To Cecil's remonstrances he replied that he had not promised pardon to any one person of quality, nor protection to any one that was an offender. The queen, however, was not well pleased, and his enemies insinuated that his lenity was due to his sympathy with the rebels.

When he visited the court in January 1570, his reception by Elizabeth was more favourable than her letters had led him to expect. The news that Lord Dacre had recently occupied a castle on the borders, and that the Earl of Westmorland, taking advantage of his absence, had entered England, destroyed forty villages, and plundered the inhabitants, caused him to return post haste to York on the 16th, with instructions to punish the raiders and to enter Scotland to assist the queen's party there. On 10 April Sussex moved with his army to Newcastle, and the Scots having refused either to surrender the fugitives or to make restitution of the spoil captured by them, he prepared to invade Scotland. Accordingly, dividing his forces into two detachments, he with the one crossed the Teviot on the 19th and burnt the castles of Ferniehurst, Hunthill, and Bedrule, while the other did the like to Branxholm, Buccleugh's chief house on the other side. A similar course was pursued along the Bowbent and Caile. On the 20th Sussex lay at Kelso while Hunsdon went to Wark. For the rest, he thought, 'there be very few persons in Teviotdale who have received the rebels