Queen Elizabeth Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3072 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 17  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military


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How much did soldiers earn during Elizabeth's reign? Footmen received sixpence a day, horsemen got nine pence. From this pay, the soldier had to, in most instances, cover his own lodging, clothes, food - and a horseman provided for his own animal. And for the horseman, it cost him four pence a day for board and lodging, two pence for his two horses, and a penny for his boy helper - which left him two pence for himself. Moreover, Irish military service was difficult, as "thousands...fell pray to starvation, disease, and the sword; desertion was...an everyday occurrence." As to the cost of feeding the officers (and some higher-ranking soldiers), beginning in 1568, the Crown arranged for a purveyor to import 25,000 lbs. Of butter and 50,000 lbs. Of cheese annually (Falls, 1970). There were 16 "flesh days" and 12 "fish days" per lunar month - and England wasn't skimpy on meat for its privileged troops, as Falls reports, they got 1-1/2 lbs. per man on "flesh days" (1970). (When at sea, English soldiers were issued a gallon of beer daily, "perhaps to drown the sorrows of seasickness.")

Religious Issues in the Elizabethan Period

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England, at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, still featured Latin masses, but as time went on it was clear that Protestantism was going to prevail, that the Reformation would stick. In fact, the Archbishop of Dublin, Hugh Curwen, Lord Chancellor in 1559, who had been selected by Elizabeth's predecessor and half-sister, Mary, to restore Catholicism to the Crown, went over to Protestantism "clearly and without reservation" under Elizabeth (Falls, 1970). As for herself, the Queen left church matters of doctrine in a "vague state, so that there should be a gentle and scarcely noticeable transition from Catholicism to Protestantism. It was a subtle policy, but was presently divined by Rome, and in both countries," Falls writes, and "the Papacy challenged it."

Term Paper on Queen Elizabeth I - Her Assignment

Meantime, Rome had a religious counter-offensive actively engaged in Ireland, as they sent highly educated friars and Jesuits to Ireland, who were "far superior in learning, ability, and respectability of life to the clergy displaced from their benefices and the monks." What that did was help maintain those Catholics who had clung to the old church, and they formed a kind of bond which united Irish nationalism with religion - a powerful combination - against the Queen and her Lord Deputy in Ireland. For the Spaniards and Irish to be forming a bond - "two hitherto hostile races" - was very unusual and extreme, as Dunlap put it. And as to the well-trained friars, priests and Jesuits coming to Ireland (McGurk, 1997), "[They] were not regarded as Christianizing but rather as part and parcel of fuelling Gaelic resistance. One example McGurk gives of support for this position, is from an ex-friar, Myler McGrath, who, as archbishop of Cashel, converted to Protestantism, wrote a letter on January 19, 1600, claiming that the priests coming to Ireland from Spain "were the very root and spring of whom all traitors do grow." He also proclaimed his amazement that the Crown did not have the priests caught and banished from the land; otherwise, "Ireland will never be quiet." And so, McGurk's book continues, "in the welter of 'Plans', 'Plans', 'Discoveries', and 'Projects' for the reformation of Ireland, 'reformation' is not in the context of religious reformation, but of repression in those last years of the reign." But as to the theme of religious persecution, or repression, which some historians say was brutally imposed upon the Irish, Dunlap asks: "Whence then the religious grievance?" Dunlap continues: "reception and progress of the Reformation in Ireland...was regarded as a purely official transaction, devoid of importance for the spiritual welfare of the nation. Of persecution for religion's sake there was in the beginning absolutely no sign."

That observation is based upon the fact that not many Irish citizens, in the view of British historian Dunlap, "suffered either in person or worldly goods" for his Catholicism, was due to the "indifference of Irishmen generally to matters concerning their spiritual welfare."

Meanwhile Shane O'Neill, during the nine years war, attempted to use the common Catholicism of "rebel Gaelic and loyal Old English" in Pale to engender a mutual hostility; yet there was little evidence that citizens of Pale - who were still Catholics and fighting against O'Neill - did not buy into that psychology.

Ireland's Allies and England's Enemies

One solid ally of Ireland - Spain - was also clearly the most formidable enemy of England. Indeed, when the Spanish ambassador to England wrote a report to his superiors, in December, 1558, a month before the coronation of the new Queen, Elizabeth I, he said the following: "The kingdom is entirely in the hands of young folks, heretics and traitors" (Hammer, 2003). He alluded to "heretics" because the English had eschewed, for the most part, the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, the Reformation in England had created ongoing ripples of rage in Spain, as this was a time in history when church and state were - for all practical purposes - one in the same. Meantime, Shane O'Neill, the brutal, charismatic, and effective Gaelic power broker / warrior had requested help from Spain five years earlier, knowing full well that Spain had a score to settle with England following the Crown's sacking of a Spanish fleet in the Spanish Netherlands in 1585; England was protecting independent Calvinist merchants in their efforts to rid themselves of Spanish domination, but by the English sending 6,000 troops, Spain considered it war. And indeed, prior to their assault in 1601, the Spaniards had already attempted to land an armada in Ireland twice - and had their ships blown away by vicious winds and storms. The first of these failed attacks occurred in 1588, and over a 13-year period, the Spaniards launched several attacks on English interests, including a fleet of 100 ships in 1596. And it this time it's pertinent to note that the vitriol between Spain and England was further exacerbated by the Pope excommunicating Elizabeth in 1570, and King Philip II of Spain pursuing of the "Counter Reformation" and the "Inquisition." It's also germane to note that the Roman Catholic kingdom of Spain was at that time the most powerful nation in Europe, and a "mortal foe of Protestant England" (Latimer, 2001).

And then, on the 23rd of November, 1601, a Spanish force of some 3,500 men on 130 ships attempted to land on Ireland (at Kinsale), although a storm scattered the ships off the Irish coast; 63 were lost, 2 were sunk by the English, and the others unaccounted for (Falls, 1950). "The fact that a small Spanish army managed to land [on land held by England] was an achievement in itself" (Thuillier, 2001). For 100 days, the Spaniards held Kinsale, but local Irish chiefs did not back him up, and in the end, the Spaniards were taken prisoner, or butchered by the English soldiers; some, though, escaped and were befriended by Scots.

France, too, was on the "enemies list" of England, though during Elizabeth's reign, not nearly as much of a threat as Spain; and indeed, the two nations continued exchanging ambassadors during Elizabeth's reign. Still, though, the history of warfare between England and France was certainly on the mind of Sussex when he wrote to the queen (mentioned earlier in the paper), warning her that allowing the upheaval in Ireland to continue unabated opened the door to a foreign country like France to get a foothold in the neighborhood.


She is a very prudent and accomplished princess, who has been well educated; she plays all sorts of instruments and speaks several languages (even Latin) extremely well. Good-natured and quick spirited, she is a woman who loves justice greatly and does not impose on her subjects. She was good-looking in her youth, but she is also tight-fisted to the point of avarice, easily angered and above all very jealous of her sovereignty" (Adams, 2003). That was the opinion of Elizabeth written by Guillaume de d'Aubespine, the Baron de Chateauneuf, ambassador from Henry III of France to England, between 1585 and 1590. What an historically knowledgeable person reads between the lines in this passage is that Elizabeth was not opposed to a beheading on occasion, or a hanging, when she saw raw evil pointed against England, which threatened her people and her leadership. But moreover, Queen Elizabeth was an "unsurpassed model of a learned, intelligent woman... [who] proved that a queen could rule and rule triumphantly" (Steward, 2003). And, at the end of the day, utilizing her brains and resolve, and her resources, she finished the tasks her king father and the queen before her had not been willing or cunning enough to complete: 1) the claiming (and taming) of Ireland, as another gem in the Crown; 2)… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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