In spring 1601 a secret revolution took place in Anglo-Scottish affairs. The attempts made by James in 1599–1600 to levy Scottish taxes for a possible invasion force and his objections to the peace feelers from Spain made it clear to Sir Robert Cecil, Elizabeth’s most trusted minister, that he was growing dangerously restive. Then, in February 1601, the earl of Essex led a band of discontented young noblemen and their followers in a short-lived but alarming rising in London. Essex was in disgrace after abandoning the English army sent against the Irish rebels led by Tyrone (see p. 52) and his chaotic revolt was a rash attempt to evict his enemies from court in order to regain his influence with the queen. Instead, he was hustled to the block after a brief trial two weeks later.
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