John Stubbs's controversial pamphlet against Elizabeth's proposed marriage with Francis, duke of Anjou, The discoverie of a gaping gulf (1579), has conventionally been seen - with Edmund Spenser's The shepheardes calendar and Philip Sidney's letter to Elizabeth - as part of a propaganda campaign organized by Leicester and Walsingham to force Elizabeth to reject the marriage. Yet the evidence linking Stubbs with Leicester and Walsingham is thin. This article re-examines that evidence in the light of recent research on court factionalism, men-of-business, and concepts of counsel. It argues that A gaping gulf was an independent initiative taken by Stubbs which expressed very different attitudes to 'counsel' from Sidney's letter. It suggests that participants in public debate need to be explored on their own terms, rather than as necessarily catspaws of councillors; that there was an emergent Elizabethan public sphere independent of the court which, in holding different attitudes to counsel than councillors, could bring them into conflict with Elizabeth.
Mears, N. (2001). Counsel, public debate, and queenship : John Stubbs’s 'The discoverie of a gaping gulf', 1579. Historical Journal, 44(3), 629-650. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0018246x01001947