Elizabeth I of England

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Queen Elizabeth
In the dress in which she went to St Pauls, to return thanks for the defeat of the Spanish Armada. 
Engraved by Bond, from the extremely rare print by Crispin de Passe, after a drawing by Isaac Oliver.

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S DELICACY OF SCENT.

Sir Roger Williams, who was a Welshman, and had been a tailor, though afterwards a good soldier, preferred a request to Queen Elizabeth: she refused him; but he, another time, moved it again. He had on a pair of new boots, and the Queen could not bear the smell of leather. Stopping him short, she put her hand to her nose, and cried, “Fah, Williams, prithee be gone; for thy boots stink.” “Tut, tut,” answered he; “it is my suit that stinks.”

1542 TO 1547.

Rout of Solway and death of James V. of Scotland.—Birth of queen Mary.—Henry projects to marry her to his son.—Offers the hand of Elizabeth to the earl of Arran.—Earl of Lenox marries lady M. Douglas.—Marriage of the king to Catherine Parr.—Her person and acquirements.—Influence of her conduct on Elizabeth.—Henry joins the emperor against Francis I.—His campaign in France.—Princess Mary replaced in order of succession, and Elizabeth also.—Proposals for a marriage between Elizabeth and Philip of Spain.—The duke of Norfolk and earl of Hertford heads of the catholic and protestant parties. Circumstances which give a preponderance to the latter.—Disgrace of the duke.—Trial of the earl of Surry.—His death and character.—Sentence against the duke of Norfolk.—Death of Henry.

I n  the month of December 1542, shortly after the rout of Solway, in which the English made prisoners the flower of the Scottish nobility, the same messenger brought to Henry VIII. the tidings that the grief and shame of this defeat had broken the heart of king James V., and that his queen had brought into the world a daughter, who had received the name of Mary, and was now queen of Scotland. Without stopping to deplore the melancholy fate of a nephew whom he had himself brought to destruction, Henry instantly formed the project of uniting the whole island under one crown, by the marriage of this infant sovereign with the prince his son. All the Scottish prisoners of rank then in London were immediately offered the liberty of returning to their own country on the condition, to which they acceded with apparent alacrity, of promoting this union with all their interest; and so confident was the English monarch in the success of his measures, that previously to their departure, several of them were carried to the palace of Enfield, where young Edward then resided, that they might tender homage to the future husband of their queen.

The regency of Scotland at this critical juncture was claimed by the earl of Arran, who was generally regarded as next heir to the crown, though his legitimacy had been disputed; and to this nobleman,—but whether for himself or his son seems doubtful,—Henry, as a further means of securing the important object which he had at heart, offered the hand of his daughter Elizabeth. So early were the concerns and interests blended, of two princesses whose celebrated rivalry was destined to endure until the life of one of them had become its sacrifice! So remarkably, too, in this first transaction was contrasted the high preeminence from which the Scottish princess was destined to hurl herself by her own misconduct, with the abasement and comparative insignificance out of which her genius and her good fortune were to be employed in elevating the future sovereign of England.

Born in the purple of her hereditary kingdom, the monarchs of France and England made it an object of eager contention which of them should succeed in encircling with a second diadem the baby brows of Mary; while the hand of Elizabeth was tossed as a trivial boon to a Scottish earl of equivocal birth, despicable abilities, and feeble character. So little too was even this person flattered by the honor, or aware of the advantages, of such a connection, that he soon after renounced it by quitting the English for the French party. Elizabeth in consequence remained unbetrothed, and her father soon afterwards secured to himself a more strenuous ally in the earl of Lenox, also of the blood-royal of Scotland, by bestowing upon this nobleman the hand, not of his daughter, but of his niece the lady Margaret Douglas.

Undeterred by his late severe disappointment Henry was bent on entering once more into the marriage state, and his choice now fell on Catherine Parr, sprung from a knightly family possessed of large estates in Westmoreland, and widow of lord Latimer, a member of the great house of Nevil.

A portrait of this lady still in existence, exhibits, with fine and regular features, a character of intelligence and arch simplicity extremely captivating. She was indeed a woman of uncommon talent and address; and her mental accomplishments, besides the honor which they reflect on herself, inspire us with respect for the enlightened liberality of an age in which such acquirements could be placed within the ambition and attainment of a private gentlewoman, born in a remote county, remarkable even in much later times for a primitive simplicity of manners and domestic habits. Catherine was both learned herself, and, after her elevation a zealous patroness of learning and of protestantism, to which she was become a convert. Nicholas Udal master of Eton was employed by her to translate Erasmus's paraphrase of the four gospels; and there is extant a Latin letter of hers to the princess Mary, whose conversion from popery she seems to have had much at heart, in which she entreats her to permit this work to appear under her auspices. She also printed some prayers and meditations, and there was found among her papers, after her death, a piece entitled "The lamentations of a sinner bewailing her blind life," in which she deplores the years that she had passed in popish observances, and which was afterwards published by secretary Cecil.

It is a striking proof of the address of this queen, that she conciliated the affection of all the three children of the king, letters from each of whom have been preserved addressed to her after the death of their father.

Elizabeth in particular maintained with her a very intimate and frequent intercourse; which ended however in a manner reflecting little credit on either party, as will be more fully explained in its proper place.

The adroitness with which Catherine extricated herself from the snare in which her own religious zeal, the moroseness of the king, and the enmity of Gardiner had conspired to entangle her, has often been celebrated. May it not be conjectured, that such an example, given by one of whom she entertained a high opinion, might exert no inconsiderable influence on the opening mind of Elizabeth, whose conduct in the many similar dilemmas to which it was her lot to be reduced, partook so much of the same character of politic and cautious equivocation?

Henry discovered by experiment that it would prove a much more difficult matter than he had apprehended to accomplish, either by force or persuasion, the marriage of young Edward with the queen of Scots; and learning that it was principally to the intrigues of Francis I., against whom he had other causes also of complaint, that he was likely to owe the disappointment of this favourite scheme, he determined on revenge. With this design he turned his eyes on the emperor; and finding Charles perfectly well disposed to forget all ancient animosities in sympathy with his newly-conceived indignation against the French king, he entered with him into a strict alliance. War was soon declared against France by the new confederates; and after a campaign in which little was effected, it was agreed that Charles and Henry, uniting their efforts, should assail that kingdom with a force which it was judged incapable of resisting, and without stopping at inferior objects, march straight to Paris. Accordingly, in July 1544, preceded by a fine army, and attended by the flower of his nobility splendidly equipped, Henry took his departure for Calais in a ship the sails of which were made of cloth of gold.

He arrived in safety, and enjoyed the satisfaction of dazzling with his magnificence the count de Buren whom the emperor sent with a body of horse to meet him; quarrelled soon after with that potentate, who found it his interest to make a separate peace; took the towns of Montreuil and Boulogne, neither of them of any value to him, and returned.

So foolish and expensive a sally of passion, however characteristic of the disposition of this monarch, would not merit commemoration in this place, but for the important influence which it unexpectedly exerted on the fortune and expectations of Elizabeth through the following train of circumstances.

The emperor, whose long enmity with Henry had taken its rise from what he justly regarded as the injuries of Catherine of Arragon his aunt, in whose person the whole royal family of Spain had been insulted, had required of him as a preliminary to their treaty a formal acknowledgement of the legitimacy of his daughter Mary. This Henry could not, with any regard to consistency, grant; but desirous to accede as far as he conveniently could to the wishes of his new ally, he consented to stipulate, that without any explanation on this point, his eldest daughter should by act of parliament be reinstated in the order of succession. At the same time, glad to relent in behalf of his favorite child, and unwilling perhaps to give the catholic party the triumph of asserting that he had virtually declared his first marriage more lawful than his second, he caused a similar privilege to be extended to Elizabeth, who was thus happily restored to her original station and prospects, before she had attained sufficient maturity of age to suffer by the cruel and mortifying degradation to which she had been for several years subjected.

Henceforth, though the act which declared null the marriage of the king with Anne Boleyn remained for ever unrepealed, her daughter appears to have been universally recognised on the footing of a princess of England; and so completely were the old disputes concerning the divorce of Catherine consigned to oblivion, that in 1546, when France, Spain and England had concluded a treaty of peace, proposals passed between the courts of London and Madrid for the marriage of Elizabeth with Philip prince of Spain; that very Philip afterwards her brother-in-law and in adversity her friend and protector, then a second time her suitor, and afterwards again to the end of his days the most formidable and implacable of her enemies. On which side, or on what assigned objections, this treaty of marriage was relinquished, we do not learn; but as the demonstrations of friendship between Charles and Henry after their French campaign were full of insincerity, it may perhaps be doubted whether either party was ever bent in earnest on the completion of this extraordinary union.

The popish and protestant factions which now divided the English court, had for several years acknowledged as their respective leaders the duke of Norfolk and the earl of Hertford. To the latter of these, the painful impression left on Henry's mind by the excesses of Catherine Howard, the religious sentiments embraced by the present queen, the king's increasing jealousy of the ancient nobility of the country, and above all the visible decline of his health, which brought into immediate prospect the accession of young Edward under the tutelage of his uncle, had now conspired to give a decided preponderancy. The aged duke, sagacious, politic, and deeply versed in all the secrets and the arts of courts, saw in a coalition with the Seymours the only expedient for averting the ruin of his house; and he proposed to bestow his daughter the duchess of Richmond in marriage on sir Thomas Seymour, while he exerted all his authority with his son to prevail upon him to address one of the daughters of the earl of Hertford. But Surry's scorn of the new nobility of the house of Seymour, and his animosity against the person of its chief, was not to be overcome by any plea of expedience or threatening of danger. He could not forget that it was at the instance of the earl of Hertford that he, with some other nobles and gentlemen, had suffered the disgrace of imprisonment for eating flesh in Lent; that when a trifling defeat which he had sustained near Boulogne had caused him to be removed from the government of that town, it was the earl of Hertford who ultimately profited by his misfortune, in succeeding to the command of the army. Other grounds of offence the haughty Surry had also conceived against him; and choosing rather to fall, than cling for support to an enemy at once despised and hated, he braved the utmost displeasure of his father, by an absolute refusal to lend himself to such a scheme of alliance. Of this circumstance his enemies availed themselves to instil into the mind of the king a suspicion that the earl of Surry aspired to the hand of the princess Mary; they also commented with industrious malice on his bearing the arms of Edward the Confessor, to which he was clearly entitled in right of his mother, a daughter of the duke of Buckingham, but which his more cautious father had ceased to quarter after the attainder of that unfortunate nobleman.

The sick mind of Henry received with eagerness all these suggestions, and the ruin of the earl was determined [9]. An indictment of high treason was preferred against him: his proposal of disproving the charge, according to a mode then legal, by fighting his principal accuser in his shirt, was overruled; his spirited, strong and eloquent defence was disregarded—a jury devoted to the crown brought in a verdict of guilty; and in January 1547, at the early age of seven-and-twenty, he underwent the fatal sentence of the law.

No one during the whole sanguinary tyranny of Henry VIII. fell more guiltless, or more generally deplored by all whom personal animosity or the spirit of party had not hardened against sentiments of compassion, or blinded to the perception of merit. But much of Surry has survived the cruelty of his fate. His beautiful songs and sonnets, which served as a model to the most popular poets of the age of Elizabeth, still excite the admiration of every student attached to the early literature of our country. Amongst other frivolous charges brought against him on his trial, it was mentioned that he kept an Italian jester, thought to be a spy, and that he loved to converse with foreigners and conform his behaviour to them. For his personal safety, therefore, it was perhaps unfortunate that a portion of his youth had been passed in a visit to Italy, then the focus of literature and fount of inspiration; but for his surviving fame, and for the progress of English poetry, the circumstance was eminently propitious; since it is from the return of this noble traveller that we are to date not only the introduction into our language of the Petrarchan sonnet, and with it of a tenderness and refinement of sentiment unknown to the barbarism of our preceding versifiers; but what is much more, that of heroic blank verse; a noble measure, of which the earliest example exists in Surry's spirited and faithful version of one book of the Æneid.

The exalted rank, the splendid talents, the lofty spirit of this lamented nobleman seemed to destine him to a station second to none among the public characters of his time; and if, instead of being cut off by the hand of violence in the morning of life, he had been permitted to attain a length of days at all approaching to the fourscore years of his father, it is probable that the votary of letters would have been lost to us in the statesman or the soldier. Queen Mary, who sought by her favor and confidence to revive the almost extinguished energies of his father, and called forth into premature distinction the aspiring boyhood of his son, would have intrusted to his vigorous years the highest offices and most weighty affairs of state. Perhaps even the suspicions of her father might have been verified by the event, and her own royal hand might itself have become the reward of his virtues and attachment.

Elizabeth, whose maternal ancestry closely connected her with the house of Howard, might have sought and found, in her kinsman the earl of Surry, a counsellor and friend deserving of all her confidence and esteem; and it is possible that he, with safety and effect, might have placed himself as a mediator between the queen and that formidable catholic party of which his misguided son, fatally for himself, aspired to be regarded as the leader, and was in fact only the instrument. But the career of ambition, ere he had well entered it, was closed upon him for ever; and it is as an accomplished knight, a polished lover, and above all as a poet, that the name of Surry now lives in the annals of his country.

Of the five children who survived to feel the want of his paternal guidance, one daughter, married to the earl of Westmorland, was honorably distinguished by talents, erudition, and the patronage of letters; but of the two sons, the elder was that unfortunate duke of Norfolk who paid on the scaffold the forfeit of an inconsiderate and guilty enterprise; and the younger, created earl of Northampton by James I., lived to disgrace his birth and fine talents by every kind of baseness, and died just in time to escape punishment as an accomplice in Overbury's murder.

The duke of Norfolk had been declared guilty of high treason on grounds equally frivolous with his son; but the opportune death of Henry VIII. on the day that his cruel and unmerited sentence was to have been carried into execution, saved his life, when his humble submissions and pathetic supplications for mercy had failed to touch the callous heart of the expiring despot. The jealousies however, religious and political, of the council of regency, on which the administration devolved, prompted them to refuse liberty to the illustrious prisoner after their weakness or their clemency had granted him his life. During the whole reign of Edward VI. the duke was detained under close custody in the Tower; his estates were confiscated, his blood attainted, and for this period the great name of Howard disappears from the page of English history.


[9]One extraordinary, and indeed unaccountable, circumstance in the life of the earl of Surry may here be noticed:—that while his father urged him to connect himself in marriage with one lady, while the king was jealous of his designs upon a second, and while he himself, as may be collected from his poem "To a lady who refused to dance with him," made proposals of marriage to a third, he had a wife living. To this lady, who was a sister of the earl of Oxford, he was united at the age of fifteen, she had borne him five children; and it is pretty plain that they were never divorced, for we find her, several years after his death, still bearing the title of countess of Surry, and the guardian of his orphans. Had the example of Henry instructed his courtiers to find pretexts for the dissolution of the matrimonial tie whenever interest or inclination might prompt, and did our courts of law lend themselves to this abuse? A preacher of Edward the sixth's time brings such an accusation against the morals of the age, but I find no particular examples of it in the histories of noble families.

On the Domestic Architecture of The Reign of Elizabeth

D uring  the period of English history included in our present survey, the nobility continued for the most part to inhabit their ancient castles; edifices which, originally adapted by strength of situation and construction merely to defence, were now in many instances, by the alteration of the original buildings and by the accession of additional ones, become splendid palaces. Among these it may be sufficient to mention Kennelworth, renowned for gorgeous festivities, where the earl of Leicester was reported to have expended 60,000 pounds in buildings.

Some curious notices of the habitations of the time are preserved in Leland's Itinerary, written about 1535, as in the following description of Wresehill-castle near Howden in Yorkshire:—'Most part of the base court is of timber. The castle is moted about on three parts; the fourth part is dry, where the entry is into the castle. Five towers, one at each corner; the gateway is the fifth, having five lodgings in height; three of the other towers have four lodgings in height; the fourth containeth the buttery, pantry, pastry, lardery, and kitchen. In one of the towers a study called Paradise, where was a closet in the middle of eight squares latticed; about and at the top of every square was a desk lodged to set books on, &c. The garde robe in the castle was exceeding fair, and so were the gardens within the mote and the orchards without; and in the orchards were mounts opere topiario writhen about with degrees like turnings of a cockle-shell, to come to top without pain.'

These castles, though converted into dwellings of some convenience and magnificence, still retained formidable strength, which was proved in the following century, when so many of them sustained sieges for the king or parliament and were finally dilapidated.

Besides the regularly fortified castles, there were many mansion-houses of inferior importance, which, though not capable of resisting a regular siege, were strengthened against a tumultuous or hasty invasion. These houses generally formed a square of building enclosing a court and surrounded by a moat. A drawbridge formed the only access, which was protected by an embattled gatehouse. One side of the square was principally occupied by a great hall; and the offices and lodgings were distributed on the other sides. Oxburgh-hall in Norfolk and Layer Marney in Essex are fine examples of these houses. They were frequently of timber, as Moreton-hall in Cheshire, Speke-hall near Liverpool. Leland describes Morley-house near Manchester as 'builded,—saving the foundation of stone squared that riseth within a great mote a 6 foot above the water,—all of timber, after the common sort of building of the gentlemen for most of Lancashire.' Sometimes a strong tower was added at one corner as a citadel, which might be maintained when the rest of the house was destroyed. This is the case with the curious house of Stoke Say in Shropshire, where the situation near the Welsh border might render such an additional security desirable.

Thus the forms of ancient fortification were continued awhile rather from habit or ostentation than from any more important motives; but in the new buildings erected during the reign of Elizabeth and her successor they were finally laid aside. In some stately houses, though the show of strength was discontinued, the general form remained however the same. The circuit of building was entire, and enclosed one or more courts; a gateway formed the entrance, and the great hall was placed at the opposite side of the first court. Such was Audley End, in its original state one of the largest and most sumptuous houses in the kingdom. In other instances the house assumes the half H shape, with the offices placed in the wings; and the circuit is only completed by terraces and low walls; the gatehouse remains as a detached lodge, or is entirely omitted: examples of this form are numerous; as Holland-house at Kensington, Oxnead and Blickling halls in Norfolk, Beaudesert and Wimbledon-house, built by sir Thomas Cecil in 1588, remarkable for a great ascent of steps and terraces disposed in a manner resembling some Italian villas. In others the offices are detached in separate masses, or concealed, or placed in a basement story; and only the body of the house remains, either as a solid mass or enclosing small courts: this disposition does not differ from the most modern arrangements. Of these houses Longleat in Wiltshire and Wollaton near Nottingham are fine examples [150].

The distribution of domestic buildings is well illustrated in the Survey of Theobald's taken by the Parliament's Commissioners in 1650 [151]. This mansion was built by lord Burleigh about 1560: it afterwards became a favourite residence of James I. who received it from lord Salisbury in exchange for the manor and palace of Hatfield. The Survey contains a very minute and accurate description of Theobald's palace, from which the following account is given partly in the words of the old surveyors.—It consisted of two principal quadrangles besides the dial court, the buttery court and the dove-house court, in which the offices were situated. The fountain court was a square of 86 feet, on the east side of which was a cloister of seven arches. On the ground floor of this quadrangle was a spacious hall; the roof of which was arched with carved timber of curious workmanship. On the same floor were the lord Holland's, the marquis of Hamilton's, and lord Salisbury's apartments, the council chamber and waiting room. On the second floor was the presence chamber, finished with carved oak wainscoting and a ceiling full of gilded pendants. Also the privy chamber, the withdrawing room, the king's bed-chamber, and a gallery 123 feet long, 'wainscoted with oak, and paintings over the same of divers cities, rarely painted and set forth with a fret ceiling, with divers pendants, roses and flower-de-luces; also divers large stags heads, which were an excellent ornament to the same.' On the upper floor were the lord chamberlain's lodgings and several other apartments, with terrace walks on the leads. At each corner stood a high and fair tower, and over the hall in the middle 'a large and fair turret in the fashion of a lantern, curiously wrought with divers pinnacles at each corner, wherein hangeth 12 bells for chiming and a clock with chimes and sundry work.' The middle court was a quadrangle of 110 feet square, on the south side of which were the queen's chapel, presence chamber, and other apartments. The prince's lodgings were on the north side; on the east side was a cloister, over which was the green gallery, 109 feet by 12 feet, 'excellently well painted with the several shires in England and the arms of the noblemen and gentlemen in the same.' Over the gallery was a leaded walk, on which were two lofty arches of brick, 'of no small ornament to the house, and rendering it comely and pleasant to all that passed by.' On the west side of the quadrangle was another cloister, on five arches, over which were the duke's lodgings and over them the queen's gallery. On the south side of the house stood a large open cloister, built upon several large fair pillars, arched over 'with a fair rail and ballustres; well painted with the kings and queens of England and the pedigree of the old lord Burleigh and divers other ancient families; with paintings of many castles and battles.' The gardens at Theobald's were large, and ornamented with labyrinths, canals and fountains. The great garden contained seven acres; besides which there were the pheasant garden, privy garden, and laundry garden. In the former were nine knots artificially and exquisitely made, one of which was set forth in likeness of the king's arms. This description, and Bacon's idea of a palace in his 45th Essay, with their numerous cloisters, galleries and turrets, are well illustrated by the plan of Audley End, in its original state, given in Britton's Architectural Antiquities, vol. ii.

The houses erected during the sixteenth and the early part of the seventeenth century were frequently of magnificent dimensions, picturesque from the varied lines and projections of the plan and elevation, and rich by the multiplicity of parts; but they had lost all beauty of detail. The builders, having abandoned the familiar and long practised Gothic style, were now to serve their apprenticeship in Grecian architecture: 'stately Doricke and neat Ionicke work' were introduced as fashionable novelties, employed first in the porches and frontispieces and gradually extended over the whole fronts of buildings. Among the architects employed at this period some foreign names occur. Holbein was much favoured by Henry VIII., and gave various designs for buildings at the old palaces of Whitehall and St. James. John of Padua had a salary as deviser of his majesty's buildings, and was employed to build the palace of the protector Somerset. Jerome de Trevisi is also mentioned; and it is said that the designs for Longleat and a model of Audley End were obtained from Italy. The last circumstance is altogether extraordinary; this was the very best period of Italian architecture, and it seems highly improbable that semi-barbarous designs should proceed from the country of Palladio and Vignola. Thorpe, Smithson, and other Englishmen, were also eminent builders; and probably these persons might have travelled, and thus have gained the imperfect knowledge of Grecian architecture which appears in their works. They were immediately followed by Inigo Jones, who formed his style particularly on the works of Palladio, and became the founder of classic architecture in this country.

There is a remarkable and beautiful analogy between the progress of Grecian and Gothic architecture, in both of which we find, that while the powers of decoration were extended, the process of construction was improved and simplified. Thus the Doric, the primitive order, is full of difficulties in its arrangement, which render it only applicable to simple plans and to buildings where the internal distribution is of inferior consequence. The Ionic, though more ornamental, is by the suppression of the divisions in the frieze so simplified as to be readily applicable to more complicated arrangements: still the capital presents difficulties from the dissimilarity of the front and sides; which objection is finally obviated by the introduction of that rich and exquisite composition, the Corinthian capital. Thus is obtained an order of the most elegant and ornamented character, but possessing a happy simplicity and regularity of composition which renders it more easy of application than any other. In like manner in the later, which has been called the florid style of Gothic architecture, there are buildings astonishingly rich and elaborate; but we find this excess of ornament supported and rendered practicable by a principle of simplicity in design and construction. In the earlier and middle styles of Gothic there are various difficulties of execution and some faults of composition: such as the slender detached shafts, the richly carved capitals, the flowing and varied tracery of windows, and that profuse variety in detail which frequently causes all the windows, capitals, buttresses and pinnacles of the same buildings to differ from one another. But the later style has more uniformity in corresponding parts; the capitals are very generally composed of plain mouldings, and the divisions of the windows consist chiefly of horizontal and perpendicular lines, with few of the beautiful and difficult combinations of curves which are found in the preceding style. The general principle of decoration is to leave no plain surface, but to divide the whole into a series of pannelling; by which is produced an extraordinary richness of effect, though the parts, when examined separately, are generally of simple forms and such as will admit of an easy and mechanical execution. The introduction of the four-centred arch enlarged the powers of design, enabled architects in many instances to proportion better the vault to the upright, and even to introduce vaults where they would have been inapplicable in the former style, on account of the want of elevation in rooms; as in the divinity school at Oxford. Without concurring in the ignorant wonder which has raised the vaulted ceilings of this style to the rank of mysteries, we may admire the ingenuity which has rendered real simplicity of construction the foundation of beautiful forms and of the most elaborate decoration. The most celebrated examples of this style are so highly finished, so exuberant in ornament, that the term florid has been applied as a characteristic epithet for the style; but there are many instances of very simple and unornamented buildings of the same period agreeing in all the essential principles of construction and design; and a late writer has with more propriety adopted the term perpendicular  for this mode of architecture. This later Gothic, easy of construction and possessing a variety of character applicable to every kind of building, is well adapted for modern imitation.

But the power of mutability was at work, and Gothic architecture was doomed to fall. The first step towards its decline was pursuing to excess the principle of simplification and retrenching the most essential ornaments. The large windows of houses were merely divided by horizontal and upright bars, and, deprived of tracery and feathering, were as void of beauty in the details as in the general proportions; buttresses and battlements were generally omitted. A great deterioration took place in the decorative part; the ornamental pannels and freizes of the Gothic style, consisting of geometrical combinations of circles and straight lines, had always a distinct outline and a sharpness of effect which contrasted agreeably with the foliage so often intermixed; but these were succeeded by strange grotesque combinations, confused, and void of outline and regularity. The source of ornament was now sought in the orders and members of Grecian architecture; but the eyes which had been accustomed to the Gothic flutter of parts, were not prepared to relish the simplicity of line which is essential to the beauty of the Greek style. Columns of a small size, inaccurately and coarsely executed, with arcades and grotesque caryatids, formed the ornaments of porches and frontispieces,—as at Browseholme-house in Yorkshire, Wimbledon, and the Schools-tower at Oxford,—or were spread over the whole front and formed the cloisters and galleries in which those ancient mansions abounded; as at Holland-house, Longleat, Wollaton, Audley End, Longford-castle, &c. The roofs were either faced with notched and curved gables, or screened by parapets of ballustres or latticed work and decorated with obelisks and columnar chimney shafts; while turrets and pavilions broke the line of elevation. The windows were very large, and frequently bowed: thus Bacon remarks, in the Essay before referred to, that 'you shall have sometimes fair houses so full of glass that one cannot tell where to become to be out of the sun or cold.' In wooden houses and particularly town houses, the upper stories generally projected beyond the lower, with windows extremely wide, so as to occupy almost the whole line of front. The timbers were frequently left bare, carved and disposed in forms of pannelling; while the various projections were supported by grotesque figures. Very curious houses of this character are still found in several old towns, as Chester, Shrewsbury, Coventry, and the obscure parts of London; though natural decay, fire and modern improvements, are continually diminishing their number. Among interior decorations, chimney-pieces were very conspicuous: they were miniature frontispieces, consisting, like the porches of the houses, of a mass of columns, arches, niches and caryatids, piled up to the ceiling. Of these there is one at the old Tabley-hall in Cheshire singularly rude and grotesque, though dated so late as 1619, containing a hunting-piece and the figures of Lucrece and Cleopatra. Another in queen Elizabeth's gallery at Windsor Castle is very rich, and comparatively pure and elegant in design. The sepulchral monuments of this age are very numerous, but only differ from those of an earlier date in the substitution of the members of Grecian for those of Gothic architecture, or rather in the confused mixture of both.

On the whole, this, though a glorious period for literature, was lost for the fine arts. The incongruous mixture of the conflicting principles of Grecian and Gothic architecture produced buildings more truly barbarous, more disgusting to a cultivated taste, than the rudest Norman work. Together with the architectural orders, our artists had received models and authorities for the grotesque style, which they were but too ready to follow. This extraordinary style of ornament had prevailed in ancient Rome early enough to be reprobated in the work of Vitruvius, and lay unobserved among obscure and subterraneous ruins till the discovery of the Baths of Titus opened a rich magazine of gay and capricious ornament. Raffaelle, struck with these remains of the antique art of painting, adopted the same style of ornament in the galleries of the Vatican, enriching and enlivening it with the stores of allegory and mythology furnished by his poetical fancy. The example of such a man could not want imitators; it influenced the whole architecture of France,—which very early possessed artists of great merit,—and appeared in this country with very inferior effect. It may well be imagined that this style, naturally licentious and only rendered tolerable by grace of composition and brilliancy of execution, would become utterly contemptible when presenting only coarsely executed and unmeaning extravagances. Such was the general character of art. We may however make discriminations, and admit comparative merit. Wimbledon-house, seated on the side of a hill, was remarkable for a magnificent disposition of steps and terraces worthy an Italian villa. Wollaton-hall is admired by Mr. Price for the grandeur of its masses. Charlton-house has a very picturesque arrangement of heights in the elevation; Longleat, on the other hand, has much simplicity of form. In its square projections and three orders of columns, or pilasters, it bears no remote resemblance to the ancient part of the Louvre built about thirty years previously, though without the purity and delicacy of the details of the architecture and sculpture which distinguish the French building.

EDMUND AIKIN.


[150]Views of most of the buildings here mentioned may be found in Britton's Architectural Antiquities, vols. i. ii. and iv.

[151]Lysons's Environs of London, vol. iv.

The Spanish Match

1553-1555

Queen Mary's character.

W hen  Queen Mary ascended the throne, she was a maiden lady not far from thirty-five years of age. She was cold, austere, and forbidding in her appearance and manners, though probably conscientious and honest in her convictions of duty. She was a very firm and decided Catholic, or, rather, she evinced a certain strict adherence to the principles of her religious faith, which we generally call firmness when it is exhibited by those whose opinions agree with our own, though we are very apt to name it bigotry in those who differ from us.

Bigotry and firmness.

For instance, when the body of young Edward, her brother, after his death, was to be deposited in the last home of the English kings in Westminster Abbey, which is a very magnificent cathedral a little way up the river from London, the services were, of course, conducted according to the ritual of the English Church, which was then Protestant. Mary, however, could not conscientiously countenance such services even by being present at them. She accordingly assembled her immediate attendants and personal friends in her own private chapel, and celebrated the interment there, with Catholic priests, by a service conformed to the Catholic ritual. Was it a bigoted, or only a firm and proper, attachment to her own faith, which forbade her joining in the national commemoration? The reader must decide; but, in deciding, he is bound to render the same verdict that he would have given if it had been a case of a Protestant withdrawing thus from Catholic forms.

Suitors for Queen Mary's hand.

At all events, whether bigoted or not, Mary was doubtless sincere; but she was so cold, and stern, and austere in her character, that she was very little likely to be loved. There were a great many persons who wished to become her husband, but their motives were to share her grandeur and power. Among these persons, the most prominent one, and the one apparently most likely to succeed, was a prince of Spain. His name was Philip.

Portrait of Philip of Spain.Portrait of Philip of Spain.
Emperor Charles the Fifth.
Character of his son Philip.

It was his father's plan, and not his own, that he should marry Queen Mary. His father was at this time the most wealthy and powerful monarch in Europe. His name was Charles. He is commonly called in history Charles V. of Spain. He was not only King of Spain, but Emperor of Germany. He resided sometimes at Madrid, and sometimes at Brussels in Flanders. His son Philip had been married to a Portuguese princess, but his wife had died, and thus Philip was a widower. Still, he was only twenty-seven years of age, but he was as stern, severe, and repulsive in his manners as Mary. His personal appearance, too, corresponded with his character. He was a very decided Catholic also, and in his natural spirit, haughty, ambitious, and domineering.

The emperor proposes his son.
Mary pleased with the proposal.

The Emperor Charles, as soon as he heard of young Edward's death and of Mary's accession to the English throne, conceived the plan of proposing to her his son Philip for a husband. He sent over a wise and sagacious statesman from his court to make the proposition, and to urge it by such reasons as would be most likely to influence Mary's mind, and the minds of the great officers of her government. The embassador managed the affair well. In fact, it was probably easy to manage it. Mary would naturally be pleased with the idea of such a young husband, who, besides being young and accomplished, was the son of the greatest potentate in Europe, and likely one day to take his father's place in that lofty elevation. Besides, Mary Queen of Scots, who had rival claims to Queen Mary's throne, had married, or was about to marry, the son of the King of France, and there was a little glory in outshining her, by having for a husband a son of the King of Spain. It might, however, perhaps, be a question which was the greatest match; for, though the court of Paris was the most brilliant, Spain, being at that time possessed of the gold and silver mines of its American colonies, was at least the richest  country in the world.

Plans of the ministers.

Mary's ministers, when they found that Mary herself liked the plan, fell in with it too. Mary had been beginning, very quietly indeed, but very efficiently, her measures for bringing back the English government and nation to the Catholic faith. Her ministers told her now, however, that if she wished to succeed in effecting this match, she must suspend all these plans until the match was consummated. The people of England were generally of the Protestant faith. They had been very uneasy and restless under the progress which the queen had been making in silencing Protestant preachers, and bringing back Catholic rites and ceremonies; and now, if they found that their queen was going to marry so rigid and uncompromising a Catholic as Philip of Spain, they would be doubly alarmed. She must suspend, therefore, for a time, her measures for restoring papacy, unless she was willing to give up her husband. The queen saw that this was the alternative, and she decided on following her ministers' advice. She did all in her power to quiet and calm the public mind, in order to prepare the way for announcing the proposed connection.

The people alarmed.
Opposition to the match.

Rumors, however, began to be spread abroad that such a design was entertained before Mary was fully prepared to promulgate it. These rumors produced great excitement, and awakened strong opposition. The people knew Philip's ambitious and overbearing character, and they believed that if he were to come to England as the husband of the queen, the whole government would pass into his hands, and, as he would naturally be very much under the influence of his father, the connection was likely to result in making England a mere appendage to the already vast dominions of the emperor. The House of Commons appointed a committee of twenty members, and sent them to the queen, with a humble petition that she would not marry a foreigner. The queen was much displeased at receiving such a petition, and she dissolved the Parliament. The members dispersed, carrying with them every where expressions of their dissatisfaction and fear. England, they said, was about to become a province of Spain, and the prospect of such a consummation, wherever the tidings went, filled the people of the country with great alarm.

The emperor furnishes money.

Queen Mary's principal minister of state at this time was a crafty politician, whose name was Gardiner. Gardiner sent word to the emperor that there was great opposition to his son's marriage in England, and that he feared that he should not be able to accomplish it, unless the terms of the contract of marriage were made very favorable to the queen and to England, and unless the emperor could furnish him with a large sum of money to use as a means of bringing influential persons of the realm to favor it. Charles decided to send the money. He borrowed it of some of the rich cities of Germany, making his son Philip give his bond to repay it as soon as he should get possession of his bride, and of the rich and powerful country over which she reigned. The amount thus remitted to England is said by the historians of those days to have been a sum equal to two millions of dollars. The bribery was certainly on a very respectable scale.

The emperor's embassy.

The emperor also sent a very magnificent embassy to London, with a distinguished nobleman at its head, to arrange the terms and contracts of the marriage. This embassy came in great state, and, during their residence in London, were the objects of great attention and parade. The eclat of their reception, and the influence of the bribes, seemed to silence opposition to the scheme. Open opposition ceased to be expressed, though a strong and inveterate determination against the measure was secretly extending itself throughout the realm. This, however, did not prevent the negotiations from going on. The terms were probably all fully understood and agreed upon before the embassy came, so that nothing remained but the formalities of writing and signing the articles.

Stipulations of the treaty of marriage.

Some of the principal stipulations of these articles were, that Philip was to have the title of King of England jointly with Mary's title of queen. Mary was also to share with him, in the same way, his titles in Spain. It was agreed that Mary should have the exclusive power of the appointment of officers of government in England, and that no Spaniards should be eligible at all. Particular provisions were made in respect to the children which might result from the marriage, as to how they should inherit rights of government in the two countries. Philip had one son already, by his former wife. This son was to succeed his father in the kingdom of Spain, but the other dominions of Philip on the Continent were to descend to the offspring of this new marriage, in modes minutely specified to fit all possible cases which might occur. The making of all these specifications, however, turned out to be labor lost, as Mary never had children.

It was also specially agreed that Philip should not bring Spanish or foreign domestics into the realm, to give uneasiness to the English people; that he would never take the queen out of England, nor carry any of the children away, without the consent of the English nobility; and that, if the queen were to die before him, all his rights and claims of every sort, in respect to England, should forever cease. He also agreed that he would never carry away any of the jewels or other property of the crown, nor suffer any other person to do so.

These stipulations, guarding so carefully the rights of Mary and of England, were intended to satisfy the English people, and remove their objections to the match. They produced some effect, but the hostility was too deeply seated to be so easily allayed. It grew, on the contrary, more and more threatening, until at length a conspiracy was formed by a number of influential and powerful men, and a plan of open rebellion organized.

Wyatt's rebellion.
Duke of Suffolk.
Wyatt advances toward London.

The leader in this plan was Sir Thomas Wyatt, and the outbreak which followed is known in history as Wyatt's rebellion. Another of the leaders was the Duke of Suffolk, who, it will be recollected, was the father of Lady Jane Grey. This led people to suppose that the plan of the conspirators was not merely to prevent the consummation of the Spanish match, but to depose Queen Mary entirely, and to raise the Lady Jane to the throne. However this may be, an extensive and formidable conspiracy was formed. There were to have been several risings in different parts of the kingdom. They all failed except the one which Wyatt himself was to head, which was in Kent, in the southeastern part of the country. This succeeded so far, at least, that a considerable force was collected, and began to advance toward London from the southern side.

The queen retreats into the city.

Queen Mary was very much alarmed. She had no armed force in readiness to encounter this danger. She sent messengers across the Thames and down the river to meet Wyatt, who was advancing at the head of four thousand men, to ask what it was that he demanded. He replied that the queen must be delivered up as his prisoner, and also the Tower of London be surrendered to him. This showed that his plan was to depose the queen. Mary rejected these proposals at once, and, having no forces to meet this new enemy, she had to retreat from Westminster into the city of London, and here she took refuge in the city hall, called the Guildhall, and put herself under the protection of the city authorities. Some of her friends urged her to take shelter in the Tower; but she had more confidence, she said, in the faithfulness and loyalty of her subjects than in castle walls.

Wyatt surrenders.

Wyatt continued to advance. He was still upon the south side of the river. There was but one bridge across the Thames, at London, in those days, though there are half a dozen now, and this one was so strongly barricaded and guarded that Wyatt did not dare to attempt to cross it. He went up the river, therefore, to cross at a higher point; and this circuit, and several accidental circumstances which occurred, detained him so long that a considerable force had been got together to receive him when he was ready to enter the city. He pushed boldly on into the narrow streets, which received him like a trap or a snare. The city troops hemmed up his way after he had entered. They barricaded the streets, they shut the gates, and armed men poured in to take possession of all the avenues. Wyatt depended upon finding the people of London on his side. They turned, instead, against him. All hope of success in his enterprise, and all possibility of escape from his own awful danger, disappeared together. A herald came from the queen's officer calling upon him to surrender himself quietly, and save the effusion of blood. He surrendered in an agony of terror and despair.

The Duke of Suffolk sent to the Tower.

The Duke of Suffolk learned these facts in another county, where he was endeavoring to raise a force to aid Wyatt. He immediately fled, and hid himself in the house of one of his domestics. He was betrayed, however, seized, and sent to the Tower. Many other prominent actors in the insurrection were arrested, and the others fled in all directions, wherever they could find concealment or safety.

Beheading of Lady Jane Grey.
Her heroic fortitude.

Lady Jane's life had been spared thus far, although she had been, in fact, guilty of treason against Mary by the former attempt to take the crown. She now, however, two days after the capture of Wyatt, received word that she must prepare to die. She was, of course, surprised and shocked at the suddenness of this announcement; but she soon regained her composure, and passed through the awful scenes preceding her death with a fortitude amounting to heroism, which was very astonishing in one so young. Her husband was to die too. He was beheaded first, and she saw the headless body, as it was brought back from the place of execution, before her turn came. She acknowledged her guilt in having attempted to seize her cousin's crown. As the attempt to seize this crown failed, mankind consider her technically guilty. If it had succeeded, Mary, instead of Jane, would have been the traitor who would have died for attempting criminally to usurp a throne.

Death of Suffolk.

In the mean time Wyatt and Suffolk remained prisoners in the Tower. Suffolk was overwhelmed with remorse and sorrow at having been the means, by his selfish ambition, of the cruel death of so innocent and lovely a child. He did not suffer this anguish long, however, for five days after his son and Lady Jane were executed, his head fell too from the block. Wyatt was reserved a little longer.

Imprisonment of Elizabeth.
Execution of Wyatt.

He was more formally tried, and in his examination he asserted that the Princess Elizabeth was involved in the conspiracy. Officers were immediately sent to arrest Elizabeth. She was taken to a royal palace at Westminster, just above London, called Whitehall, and shut up there in close confinement, and no one was allowed to visit her or speak to her. The particulars of this imprisonment will be described more fully in the next chapter. Fifty or sixty common conspirators, not worthy of being beheaded with an ax, were hanged, and a company of six hundred more were brought, their hands tied, and halters about their necks, a miserable gang, into Mary's presence, before her palace, to be pardoned. Wyatt was then executed. When he came to die, however, he retracted what he had alleged of Elizabeth. He declared that she was entirely innocent of any participation in the scheme of rebellion. Elizabeth's friends believe that he accused her because he supposed that such a charge would be agreeable to Mary, and that he should himself be more leniently treated in consequence of it, but that when at last he found that sacrificing her would not save him, his guilty conscience scourged him into doing her justice in his last hours.

The wedding plan proceeds.
Hostility of the sailors.
Mary's fears and complainings.

All obstacles to the wedding were now apparently removed; for, after the failure of Wyatt's rebellion, nobody dared to make any open opposition to the plans of the queen, though there was still abundance of secret dissatisfaction. Mary was now very impatient to have the marriage carried into effect. A new Parliament was called, and its concurrence in the plan obtained. Mary ordered a squadron of ships to be fitted out and sent to Spain, to convey the bridegroom to England. The admiral who had command of this fleet wrote to her that the sailors were so hostile to Philip that he did not think it was safe for her to intrust him to their hands. Mary then commanded this force to be dismissed, in order to arrange some other way to bring Philip over. She was then full of anxiety and apprehension lest some accident might befall him. His ship might be wrecked, or he might fall into the hands of the French, who were not at all well disposed toward the match. Her thoughts and her conversation were running upon this topic all the time. She was restless by day and sleepless by night, until her health was at last seriously impaired, and her friends began really to fear that she might lose her reason. She was very anxious, too, lest Philip should find her beauty so impaired by her years, and by the state of her health, that she should fail, when he arrived, of becoming the object of his love.

In fact, she complained already that Philip neglected her. He did not write to her, or express in any way the interest and affection which she thought ought to be awakened in his mind by a bride who, as she expressed it, was going to bring a kingdom for a dowry. This sort of cold and haughty demeanor was, however, in keeping with the self-importance and the pride which then often marked the Spanish character, and which, in Philip particularly, always seemed to be extreme.

Philip lands at Southampton.
Philip's proud and haughty demeanor.

At length the time arrived for his embarkation. He sailed across the Bay of Biscay, and up the English Channel until he reached Southampton, a famous port on the southern coast of England. There he landed with great pomp and parade. He assumed a very proud and stately bearing, which made a very unfavorableimpression upon the English people who had been sent by Queen Mary to receive him. He drew his sword when he landed, and walked about with it, for a time, in a very pompous manner, holding the sword unsheathed in his hand, the crowd of by-standers that had collected to witness the spectacle of the landing looking on all the time, and wondering what such an action could be intended to intimate. It was probably intended simply to make them wonder. The authorities of Southampton had arranged it to come in procession to meet Philip, and present him with the keys of the gates, an emblem of an honorable reception into the city. Philip received the keys, but did not deign a word of reply. The distance and reserve which it had been customary to maintain between the English sovereigns and their people was always pretty strongly marked, but Philip's loftiness and grandeur seemed to surpass all bounds.

The marriage ceremony.

Mary went two thirds of the way from London to the coast to meet the bridegroom. Here the marriage ceremony was performed, and the whole party came, with great parade and rejoicings, back to London, and Mary, satisfied and happy, took up her abode with her new lord in Windsor Castle.

Philip abandons Mary.
Her repinings.
Her death.

The poor queen was, however, in the end, sadly disappointed in her husband. He felt no love for her; he was probably, in fact, incapable of love. He remained in England a year, and then, growing weary of his wife and of his adopted country, he went back to Spain again, greatly to Queen Mary's vexation and chagrin. They were both extremely disappointed in not having children. Philip's motive for marrying Mary was ambition wholly, and not love; and when he found that an heir to inherit the two kingdoms was not to be expected, he treated his unhappy wife with great neglect and cruelty and finally went away from her altogether. He came back again, it is true, a year afterward, but it was only to compel Mary to join with him in a war against France. He told her that if she would not do this, he would go away from England and never see her again. Mary yielded; but at length, harassed and worn down with useless regrets and repinings, her mental sufferings are supposed to have shortened her days. She died miserably a few years after her marriage, and thus the Spanish match turned out to be a very unfortunate match indeed.

The Childhood of a Princess

1536-1548

Elizabeth's condition at the death of her mother.

E lizabeth  was about three years old at the death of her mother. She was a princess, but she was left in a very forlorn and desolate condition. She was not, however, entirely abandoned. Her claims to inherit the crown had been set aside, but then she was, as all admitted, the daughter of the king, and she must, of course, be the object of a certain degree of consideration and ceremony. It would be entirely inconsistent with the notions of royal dignity which then prevailed to have her treated like an ordinary child.

Her residence.

She had a residence assigned her at a place called Hunsdon, and was put under the charge of a governess whose name was Lady Bryan. There is an ancient letter from Lady Bryan, still extant, which was written to one of the king's officers about Elizabeth, explaining her destitute condition, and asking for a more suitable supply for her wants. It may entertain the reader to see this relic, which not only illustrates our little heroine's condition, but also shows how great the changes are which our language has undergone within the last three hundred years. The letter, as here given, is abridged a little from the original:

Letter of Lady Bryan, Elizabeth's governess.
Conclusion of letter.

My Lord:

When your Lordship was last here, it pleased you to say that I should not be mistrustful of the King's Grace, nor of your Lordship, which word was of great comfort to me, and emboldeneth me now to speak my poor mind.

Now so it is, my Lord, that my Lady Elizabeth is put from the degree she was afore, and what degree she is at now [A] I know not but by hearsay. Therefore I know not how to order her, nor myself, nor none of hers that I have the rule of—that is, her women and her grooms. But I beseech you to be good, my Lord, to her and to all hers, and to let her have some rayment; for she has neither gown, nor kirtle, nor no manner of linen, nor foresmocks, nor kerchiefs, nor sleeves, nor rails, nor bodystitchets, nor mufflers, nor biggins. All these her Grace's wants I have driven off as long as I can, by my troth, but I can not any longer. Beseeching you, my Lord, that you will see that her Grace may have that is needful for her, and that I may know from you, in writing, how I shall order myself towards her, and whatever is the King's Grace's pleasure and yours, in every thing, that I shall do.

[A] That is, in what light the king and the government wish to have her regarded, and how they wish her to be treated.

My Lord Mr. Shelton would have my Lady Elizabeth to dine and sup at the board of estate. Alas, my Lord, it is not meet for a child of her age to keep such rule yet. I promise you, my Lord, I dare not take upon me to keep  her in health and she keep that rule; for there she shall see divers meats and fruits, and wines, which would be hard for me to restrain her Grace from it. You know, my Lord, there is no place of correction [B] there, and she is yet too young to correct greatly. I know well, and she be there, I shall never bring her up to the King's Grace's honor nor hers, nor to her health, nor my poor honesty. Wherefore, I beseech you, my Lord, that my Lady may have a mess of meat to her own lodging, with a good dish or two that is meet for her Grace to eat of.

[B] That is, opportunity  for correction.

Troubles and trials of infancy.

My Lady hath likewise great pain with her teeth, and they come very slowly forth, and this causeth me to suffer her Grace to have her will more than I would. I trust to God, and her teeth were well graft, to have her Grace after another fashion than she is yet, so as I trust the King's Grace shall have great comfort in her Grace; for she is as toward a child, and as gentle of conditions, as ever I knew any in my life. Jesu preserve her Grace.

Good my Lord, have my Lady's Grace, and us that be her poor servants, in your remembrance.

Birth of Edward.

This letter evinces that strange mixture of state and splendor with discomfort and destitution, which prevailed very extensively in royal households in those early times. A part of the privation which Elizabeth seems, from this letter, to have endured, was doubtless owing to the rough manners of the day; but there is no doubt that she was also, at least for a time, in a neglected and forsaken condition. The new queen, Jane Seymour, who succeeded Elizabeth's mother, had a son a year or two after her marriage. He was named Edward. Thus Henry had three children, Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward, each one the child of a different wife; and the last of them, the son, appears to have monopolized, for a time, the king's affection and care.

The king reconciled to his daughters.

Still, the hostility which the king had felt for these queens in succession was owing, as has been already said, to his desire to remove them out of his way, that he might be at liberty to marry again; and so, after the mothers were, one after another, removed, the hostility itself, so far as the children were concerned, gradually subsided, and the king began to look both upon Mary and Elizabeth with favor again. He even formed plans for marrying Elizabeth to persons of distinction in foreign countries, and he entered into some negotiations for this purpose. He had a decree passed, too, at last, reversing the sentence by which the two princesses were cut off from an inheritance of the crown. Thus they were restored, during their father's life, to their proper rank as royal princesses.

Portrait of Edward VI.Portrait of Edward VI.
Death of King Henry.
His children.

At last the king died in 1547, leaving only these three children, each one the child of a different wife. Mary was a maiden lady, of about thirty-one years of age. She was a stern, austere, hard-hearted woman, whom nobody loved. She was the daughter of King Henry's first wife, Catharine of Aragon, and, like her mother, was a decided Catholic.

Next came Elizabeth, who was about fourteen years of age. She was the daughter of the king's second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn. She had been educated a Protestant. She was not pretty, but was a very lively and sprightly child, altogether different in her cast of character and in her manners from her sister Mary.

Then, lastly, there was Edward, the son of Jane Seymour, the third queen. He was about nine years of age at his father's death. He was a boy of good character, mild and gentle in his disposition, fond of study and reflection, and a general favorite with all who knew him.

King Henry's violence.

It was considered in those days that a king might, in some sense, dispose of his crown by will, just as, at the present time, a man may bequeath his house or his farm. Of course, there were some limits to this power, and the concurrence of Parliament seems to have been required to the complete validity of such a settlement. King Henry the Eighth, however, had little difficulty in carrying any law through Parliament which he desired to have enacted. It is said that, on one occasion, when there was some delay about passing a bill of his, he sent for one of the most influential of the members of the House of Commons to come into his presence. The member came and kneeled before him. "Ho, man!" said the king, "and will they not suffer my bill to pass?" He then came up and put his hand upon the kneeling legislator's head, and added, "Get my bill passed to-morrow, or else by to-morrow this head of yours shall be off." The next day the bill was passed accordingly.

The order of succession.
Elizabeth's troubles.

King Henry, before he died, arranged the order of succession to the throne as follows: Edward was to succeed him; but, as he was a minor, being then only nine years of age, a great council of state, consisting of sixteen persons of the highest rank, was appointed to govern the kingdom in his name until he should be eighteen  years of age, when he was to become king in reality as well as in name. In case he should die without heirs, then Mary, his oldest sister, was to succeed him; and if she died without heirs, then Elizabeth was to succeed her. This arrangement went into full effect. The council governed the kingdom in Edward's name until he was sixteen years of age, when he died. Then Mary followed, and reigned as queen five years longer, and died without children, and during all this time Elizabeth held the rank of a princess, exposed to a thousand difficulties and dangers from the plots, intrigues and conspiracies of those about her, in which, on account of her peculiar position and prospects, she was necessarily involved.

The two Seymours.

One of the worst of these cases occurred soon after her father's death. There were two brothers of Jane Seymour, who were high in King Henry's favor at the time of his decease. The oldest is known in history by his title of the Earl of Hertford at first, and afterward by that of Duke of Somerset. The youngest was called Sir Thomas Seymour. They were both made members of the government which was to administer the affairs of state during young Edward's minority. They were not, however, satisfied with any moderate degree of power. Being brothers of Jane Seymour, who was Edward's mother, they were his uncles, of course, and the oldest one soon succeeded in causing himself to be appointed protector. By this office he was, in fact, king, all except in name.

The queen dowager's marriage.

The younger brother, who was an agreeable and accomplished man, paid his addresses to the queen dowager, that is, to the widow whom King Henry left, for the last of his wives was living at the time of his death. She consented to marry him, and the marriage took place almost immediately after the king's death—so soon in fact, that it was considered extremely hasty and unbecoming. This queen dowager had two houses left to her, one at Chelsea, and the other at Hanworth, towns some little distance up the river from London. Here she resided with her new husband, sometimes at one of the houses, and sometimes at the other. The king had also directed, in his will, that the Princess Elizabeth should be under her care, so that Elizabeth, immediately after her father's death, lived at one or the other of these two houses under the care of Seymour, who, from having been her uncle, became now, in some sense, her father. He was a sort of uncle, for he was the brother of one of her father's wives. He was a sort of father, for he was the husband of another of them. Yet, really, by blood, there was no relation between them.

The Seymours quarrel.
Somerset's power and influence.

The two brothers, Somerset and Seymour, quarreled. Each was very ambitious, and very jealous of the other. Somerset, in addition to being appointed protector by the council, got a grant of power from the young king called a patent. This commission was executed with great formality, and was sealed with the great seal of state, and it made Somerset, in some measure independent of the other nobles whom King Henry had associated with him in the government. By this patent he was placed in supreme command of all the forces by land and sea. He had a seat on the right hand of the throne, under the great canopy of state, and whenever he went abroad on public occasions, he assumed all the pomp and parade which would have been expected in a real king. Young Edward was wholly under his influence, and did always whatever Somerset recommended him to do. Seymour was very jealous of all this greatness, and was contriving every means in his power to circumvent and supersede his brother.

Jealousies and quarrels.

The wives, too, of these great statesmen quarreled. The Duchess of Somerset thought she was entitled to the precedence, because she was the wife of the protector, who, being a kind of regent, she thought he was entitled to have his wife considered as a sort of queen. The wife of Seymour, on the other hand, contended that she was entitled to the precedence as a real queen, having been herself the actual consort of a reigning monarch. The two ladies disputed perpetually on this point, which, of course, could never be settled. They enlisted, however, on their respective sides various partisans, producing a great deal of jealousy and ill will, and increasing the animosity of their husbands.

Mary Queen of Scots.
Marriage schemes.

All this time the celebrated Mary Queen of Scots was an infant in Janet Sinclair's arms, at the castle of Stirling, in Scotland. King Henry, during his life, had made a treaty with the government of Scotland, by which it was agreed that Mary should be married to his son Edward as soon as the two children should have grown to maturity; but afterward, the government of Scotland having fallen from Protestant into Catholic hands, they determined that this match must be given up. The English authorities were very much incensed. They wished to have the marriage take effect, as it would end in uniting the Scotch and English kingdoms; and the protector, when a time arrived which he thought was favorable for his purpose, raised an army and marched northward to make war upon Scotland, and compel the Scots to fulfill the contract of marriage.

Seymour's promotion.
Jane Grey.
Family quarrels.

While his brother was gone to the northward, Seymour remained at home, and endeavored, by every means within his reach, to strengthen his own influence and increase his power. He contrived to obtain from the council of government the office of lord high admiral, which gave him the command of the fleet, and made him, next to his brother, the most powerful and important personage in the realm. He had, besides, as has already been stated, the custody and care of Elizabeth, who lived in his house; though, as he was a profligate and unprincipled man, this position for the princess, now fast growing up to womanhood, was considered by many persons as of doubtful propriety. Still, she was at present only fourteen years old. There was another young lady likewise in his family, a niece of King Henry, and, of course, a second cousin of Elizabeth. Her name was Jane Grey. It was a very unhappy family. The manners and habits of all the members of it, excepting Jane Grey, seem to have been very rude and irregular. The admiral quarreled with his wife, and was jealous of the very servants who waited upon her. The queen observed something in the manners of her husband toward the young princess which made her angry both with him and her. Elizabeth resented this, and a violent quarrel ensued, which ended in their separation.Elizabeth went away, and resided afterward at a place called Hatfield.

Death of the queen dowager.

Very soon after this, the queen dowager died suddenly. People accused Seymour, her husband, of having poisoned her, in order to make way for the Princess Elizabeth to be his wife. He denied this, but he immediately began to lay his plans for securing the hand of Elizabeth. There was a probability that she might, at some future time, succeed to the crown, and then, if he were her husband, he thought he should be the real sovereign, reigning in her name.

Seymour's schemes.

Elizabeth had in her household two persons, a certain Mrs. Ashley, who was then her governess, and a man named Parry, who was a sort of treasurer. He was called the cofferer. The admiral gained these persons over to his interests, and, through them, attempted to open communications with Elizabeth, and persuade her to enter into his designs. Of course, the whole affair was managed with great secrecy. They were all liable to a charge of treason against the government of Edward by such plots, as his ministers and counselors might maintain that their design was to overthrow Edward's government and make Elizabeth queen. They, therefore, were all banded together to keep their councils secret, and Elizabeth was drawn, in some degree, into the scheme, though precisely how far was never fully known. It was supposed that she began to love Seymour, although he was very much older than herself, and to be willing to become his wife. It is not surprising that, neglected and forsaken as she had been, she should have been inclined to regard with favor an agreeable and influential man, who expressed a strong affection for her, and a warm interest in her welfare.

Seymour's arrest.
His trial and attainder.
Seymour beheaded.

However this may be, Elizabeth was one day struck with consternation at hearing that Seymour was arrested by order of his brother, who had returned from Scotland and had received information of his designs, and that he had been committed to the Tower. He had a hurried and irregular trial, or what, in those days, was called a trial. The council went themselves to the Tower, and had him brought before them and examined. He demanded to have the charges made out in form, and the witnesses confronted with him, but the council were satisfied of his guilt without these formalities. The Parliament immediately afterward passed a bill of attainder against him, by which he was sentenced to death. His brother, the protector, signed the warrant for his execution, and he was beheaded on Tower Hill.

Elizabeth's trials.
Elizabeth's firmness.

The protector sent two messengers in the course of this affair to Elizabeth, to see what they could ascertain from her about it. Sir Robert Tyrwhitt was the name of the principal one of these messengers. When the cofferer learned that they were at the gate, he went in great terror into his chamber, and said that he was undone. At the same time, he pulled off a chain from his neck, and the rings from his fingers, and threw them away from him with gesticulations of despair. The messengers then came to Elizabeth, and told her, falsely as it seems, with a view to frighten her into confessions, that Mrs. Ashley and the cofferer were both secured and sent to the Tower. She seemed very much alarmed; she wept bitterly, and it was a long time before she regained her composure. She wanted to know whether they had confessed any thing. The protector's messengers would not tell her this, but they urged her to confess herself all that had occurred; for, whatever it was, they said that the evil and shame would all be ascribed to the other persons concerned, and not to her, on account of her youth and inexperience. But Elizabeth would confess nothing. The messengers went away, convinced, as they said, that she was guilty; they could see that in her countenance; and that her silence was owing to her firm determination not to betray her lover. They sent word to the protector that they did not believe that any body would succeed in drawing the least information from her, unless it was the protector, or young King Edward himself.

These mysterious circumstances produced a somewhat unfavorable impression in regard to Elizabeth, and there were some instances, it was said, of light and trifling behavior between Elizabeth and Seymour, while she was in his house during the life-time of his wife. They took place in the presence of Seymour's wife, and seem of no consequence, except to show that dukes and princesses got into frolics sometimes in those days as well as other mortals. People censured Mrs. Ashley for not enjoining a greater dignity and propriety of demeanor in her young charge, and the government removed her from her place.

Lady Tyrwhitt.

Lady Tyrwhitt, who was the wife of the messenger referred to above that was sent to examine Elizabeth, was appointed to succeed Mrs. Ashley. Elizabeth was very much displeased at this change. She told Lady Tyrwhitt that Mrs. Ashley was her mistress, and that she had not done any thing to make it necessary for the council to put more mistresses over her. Sir Robert wrote to the protector that she took the affair so heavily that she "wept all night, and lowered all the next day." He said that her attachment to Mrs. Ashley was very strong; and that, if any thing were said against the lord admiral, she could not bear to hear it, but took up his defense in the most prompt and eager manner.

Elizabeth's sufferings.
Her fidelity to her friends.

How far it is true that Elizabeth loved the unfortunate Seymour can now never be known. There is no doubt, however, but that this whole affair was a very severe trial and affliction to her. It came upon her when she was but fourteen or fifteen years of age, and when she was in a position, as well of an age, which renders the heart acutely sensitive both to the effect of kindness and of injuries. Seymour, by his death, was lost to her forever, and Elizabeth lived in great retirement and seclusion during the remainder of her brother's reign. She did not, however, forget Mrs. Ashley and Parry. On her accession to the throne, many years afterward, she gave them offices very valuable, considering their station in life, and was a true friend to them both to the end of their days.

The Conclusion

1600-1603

Question of Essex's guilt.
General opinion of mankind.

T here  can be no doubt that Essex was really guilty of the treason for which he was condemned, but mankind have generally been inclined to consider Elizabeth rather than him as the one really accountable, both for the crime and its consequences. To elate and intoxicate, in the first place, an ardent and ambitious boy, by flattery and favors, and then, in the end, on the occurrence of real or fancied causes of displeasure, to tease and torment so sensitive and impetuous a spirit to absolute madness and phrensy, was to take the responsibility, in a great measure, for all the effects which might follow. At least so it has generally been regarded. By almost all the readers of the story, Essex is pitied and mourned—it is Elizabeth that is condemned. It is a melancholy story; but scenes exactly parallel to this case are continually occurring in private life all around us, where sorrows and sufferings which are, so far as the heart is concerned, precisely the same result from the combined action, or rather, perhaps, the alternating and contending action, of fondness, passion, and obstinacy. The results are always, in their own nature, the same, though not often on so great a scale as to make the wrong which follows treason against a realm, and the consequences a beheading in the Tower.

Elizabeth's distress.
Fall of Essex's party.

There must have been some vague consciousness of this her share in the guilt of the transaction in Elizabeth's mind, even while the trial of Essex was going on. We know that she was harassed by the most tormenting suspense and perplexity while the question of the execution of his sentence was pending. Of course, when the plot was discovered, Essex's party and all his friends fell immediately from all influence and consideration at court. Many of them were arrested and imprisoned, and four were executed, as he had been. The party which had been opposed to him acquired at once the entire ascendency, and they all, judges, counselors, statesmen, and generals, combined their influence to press upon the queen the necessity of his execution. She signed one warrant and delivered it to the officer; but then, as soon as the deed was done, she was so overwhelmed with distress and anguish that she sent to recall it, and had it canceled. Finally she signed another, and the sentence was executed.

Wounds of the heart.

Time will cure, in our earlier years, most of the sufferings, and calm most of the agitations of the soul, however incurable and uncontrollable they may at first appear to the sufferer. But in the later periods of life, when severe shocks strike very heavily upon the soul, there is found far less of buoyancy and recovering power to meet the blow. In such cases the stunned and bewildered spirit moves on, after receiving its wound, staggering, as it were, with faintness and pain, and leaving it for a long time uncertain whether it will ultimately rise and recover, or sink down and die.

Elizabeth's efforts to recover her spirits.
Embassage from France.

Dreadfully wounded as Elizabeth was, in all the inmost feelings and affections of her heart, by the execution of her beloved favorite, she was a woman of far too much spirit and energy to yield without a struggle. She made the greatest efforts possible after his death to banish the subject from her mind, and to recover her wonted spirits. She went on hunting excursions and parties of pleasure. She prosecuted with great energy her war with the Spaniards, and tried to interest herself in the siege and defense of Continental cities. She received an embassage from the court of France with great pomp and parade, and made a grand progress through a part of her dominions, with a long train of attendants, to the house of a nobleman, where she entertained the embassador many days in magnificent state, at her own expense, with plate and furniture brought from her own palaces for the purpose. She even planned an interview between herself and the King of France, and went to Dover to effect it.

A conversation.

But all would not do. Nothing could drive the thoughts of Essex from her mind, or dispel the dejection with which the recollection of her love for him, and of his unhappy fate, oppressed her spirit. A year or two passed away, but time brought no relief. Sometimes she was fretful and peevish, and sometimes hopelessly dejected and sad. She told the French embassador one day that she was weary of her life, and when she attempted to speak of Essex as the cause of her grief, she sighed bitterly and burst into tears.

When she recovered her composure, she told the embassador that she had always been uneasy about Essex while he lived, and, knowing his impetuosity of spirit and his ambition, she had been afraid that he would one day attempt something which would compromise his life, and she had warned and entreated him not to be led into any such designs, for, if he did so, his fate would have to be decided by the stern authority of law, and not by her own indulgent feelings but that all her earnest warnings had been insufficient to save him.

Thoughts of Essex.
Harrington.

It was the same whenever any thing occurred which recalled thoughts of Essex to her mind; it almost always brought tears to her eyes. When Essex was commanding in Ireland, it will be recollected that he had, on one occasion, come to a parley with Tyrone, the rebel leader, across the current of a stream. An officer in his army, named Harrington, had been with him on this occasion, and present, though at a little distance, during the interview. After Essex had left Ireland, another lord-deputy had been appointed; but the rebellion continued to give the government a great deal of trouble. The Spaniards came over to Tyrone's assistance, and Elizabeth's mind was much occupied with plans for subduing him. One day Harrington was at court in the presence of the queen, and she asked him if he had ever seen Tyrone. Harrington replied that he had. The queen then recollected the former interview which Harrington had had with him, and she said, "Oh, now I recollect that you have seen him before!" This thought recalled Essex so forcibly to her mind, and filled her with such painful emotions, that she looked up to Harrington with a countenance full of grief: tears came to her eyes, and she beat her breast with every indication of extreme mental suffering.

The Countess of Nottingham.

Things went on in this way until toward the close of 1602, when an incident occurred which seemed to strike down at once and forever what little strength and spirit the queen had remaining. The Countess of Nottingham, a celebrated lady of the court, was dangerously sick, and had sent for the queen to come and see her, saying that she had a communication to make to her majesty herself, personally, which she was very anxious to make to her before she died. The queen went accordingly to see her.

The ring.
The Countess of Nottingham's confession.

When she arrived at the bedside the countess showed her a ring. Elizabeth immediately recognized it as the ring which she had given to Essex, and which she had promised to consider a special pledge of her protection, and which was to be sent to her by him whenever he found himself in any extremity of danger and distress. The queen eagerly demanded where it came from. The countess replied that Essex had sent the ring to her during his imprisonment in the Tower, and after his condemnation, with an earnest request that she would deliver it to the queen as the token of her promise of protection, and of his own supplication for mercy. The countess added that she had intended to deliver the ring according to Essex's request, but her husband, who was the unhappy prisoner's enemy, forbade her to do it; that ever since the execution of Essex she had been greatly distressed at the consequences of her having withheld the ring; and that now, as she was about to leave the world herself, she felt that she could not die in peace without first seeing the queen, and acknowledging fully what she had done, and imploring her forgiveness.

The queen's indignation.

The queen was thrown into a state of extreme indignation and displeasure by this statement. She reproached the dying countess in the bitterest terms, and shook her as she lay helpless in her bed, saying, "God may forgive you if he pleases, but I  never will!" She then went away in a rage.

Bitter reminiscences.

Her exasperation, however, against the countess was soon succeeded by bursts of inconsolable grief at the recollection of the hopeless and irretrievable loss of the object of her affection whose image the ring called back so forcibly to her mind. Her imagination wandered in wretchedness and despair to the gloomy dungeon in the Tower where Essex had been confined, and painted him pining there, day after day, in dreadful suspense and anxiety, waiting for her to redeem the solemn pledge by which she had bound herself in giving him the ring. All the sorrow which she had felt at his untimely and cruel fate was awakened afresh, and became more poignant than ever. She made them place cushions for her upon the floor, in the most inner and secluded of her apartments, and there she would lie all the day long, her hair disheveled, her dress neglected, her food refused, and her mind a prey to almost uninterrupted anguish and grief.

The queen removes to Richmond.

In January, 1603, she felt that she was drawing toward her end, and she decided to be removed from Westminster to Richmond, because there was there an arrangement of closets communicating with her chamber, in which she could easily and conveniently attend divine service. She felt that she had now done with the world, and all the relief and comfort which she could find at all from the pressure of her distress was in that sense of protection and safety which she experienced when in the presence of God and listening to the exercises of devotion.

Elizabeth in her last Hours.Elizabeth in her last Hours.
Elizabeth grows worse.
The private chapel and the closets.

It was a cold and stormy day in January when she went to Richmond; but, being restless and ill at ease, she would not be deterred by that circumstance from making the journey. She became worse after this removal. She made them put cushions again for her upon the floor, and she would lie upon them all the day, refusing to go to her bed. There was a communication from her chamber to closets connected with a chapel, where she had been accustomed to sit and hear divine service. These closets were of the form of small galleries, where the queen and her immediate attendants could sit. There was one open and public; another—a smaller one—was private, with curtains which could be drawn before it, so as to screen those within from the notice of the congregation. The queen intended, first, to go into the great closet; but, feeling too weak for this, she changed her mind, and ordered the private one to be prepared. At last she decided not to attempt to make even this effort, but ordered thecushions to be put down upon the floor, near the entrance, in her own room, and she lay there while the prayers were read, listening to the voice of the clergyman as it came in to her through the open door.

The wedding ring.

One day she asked them to take off the wedding ring with which she had commemorated her espousal to her kingdom and her people on the day of her coronation. The flesh had swollen around it so that it could not be removed. The attendants procured an instrument and cut it in two, and so relieved the finger from the pressure. The work was done in silence and solemnity, the queen herself, as well as the attendants, regarding it as a symbol that the union, of which the ring had been the pledge, was about to be sundered forever.

The queen's friends abandon her.

She sunk rapidly day by day, and, as it became more and more probable that she would soon cease to live, the nobles and statesmen who had been attendants at her court for so many years withdrew one after another from the palace, and left London secretly, but with eager dispatch, to make their way to Scotland, in order to be the first to hail King James, the moment they should learn that Elizabeth had ceased to breathe.

Her being abandoned thus by these heartless friends did not escape the notice of the dying queen. Though her strength of body was almost gone, the soul was as active and busy as ever within its failing tenement. She watched every thing—noticed every thing, growing more and more jealous and irritable just in proportion as her situation became helpless and forlorn. Every thing seemed to conspire to deepen the despondency and gloom which darkened her dying hours.

The queen's voice fails.
She calls her council together.

Her strength rapidly declined. Her voice grew fainter and fainter, until, on the 23d of March, she could no longer speak. In the afternoon of that day she aroused herself a little, and contrived to make signs to have her council called to her bedside. Those who had not gone to Scotland came. They asked her whom she wished to have succeed her on the throne. She could not answer, but when they named King James of Scotland, she made a sign of assent. After a time the counselors went away.

The chaplains.
The prayers.
The queen's death.

At six o'clock in the evening she made signs for the archbishop and her chaplains to come to her. They were sent for and came. When they came in, they approached her bedside and kneeled. The patient was lying upon her back speechless, but her eye, still moving watchfully and observing every thing, showed that the faculties of the soul were unimpaired. One of the clergymen asked her questions respecting her faith. Of course, she could not answer in words. She made signs, however, with her eyes and her hands, which seemed to prove that she had full possession of all her faculties. The by-standers looked on with breathless attention. The aged bishop, who had asked the questions, then began to pray for her. He continued his prayer a long time, and then pronouncing a benediction upon her, he was about to rise, but she made a sign. The bishop did not understand what she meant, but a lady present said that she wished the bishop to continue his devotions. The bishop, though weary with kneeling, continued his prayer half an hour longer. He then closed again, but she repeated the sign. The bishop, finding thus that his ministrations gave her so much comfort, renewed them with greater fervency than before, and continued his supplications for a long time—so long, that those who had been present at the commencement of the service went away softly, one after another, so that when at last the bishop retired, the queen was left with her nurses and her women alone. These attendants remained at their dying sovereign's bedside for a few hours longer, watching the failing pulse, the quickened breathing, and all the other indications of approaching dissolution. As hour after hour thus passed on, they wished that their weary task was done, and that both their patient and themselves were at rest. This lasted till midnight, and then the intelligence was communicated about the palace that Elizabeth was no more.

King James proclaimed.
Portrait of James the First.

In the mean time all the roads to Scotland were covered, as it were, with eager aspirants for the favor of the distinguished personage, there, who, from the instant Elizabeth ceased to breathe, became King of England. They flocked into Scotland by sea and by land, urging their way as rapidly as possible, each eager to be foremost in paying his homage to the rising sun. The council assembled and proclaimed King James. Elizabeth lay neglected and forgotten. The interest she had inspired was awakened only by her power, and that being gone, nobody mourned for her, or lamented her death. The attention of the kingdom was soon universally absorbed in the plans for receiving and proclaiming the new monarch from the North, and in anticipations of the splendid pageantry which was to signalize his taking his seat upon the English throne.

King James I.King James I.
Burial of the queen.
Westminster Abbey.
It's history.

In due time the body of the deceased queen was deposited with those of its progenitors, in the ancient place of sepulture of the English kings, Westminster Abbey. Westminster Abbey, in the sense in which that term is used in history, is not to be conceived of as a building, nor even as a group of buildings, but rather as a long succession of buildings like a dynasty following each other in a line, the various structures having been renewed and rebuilt constantly, as parts or wholes decayed, from century to century, for twelve or fifteen hundred years. The spot received its consecration at a very early day. It was then an island formed by the waters of a little tributary to the Thames, which has long since entirely disappeared. Written records of its sacredness, and of the sacred structures which have occupied it, go back more than a thousand years, and beyond that time tradition mounts still further, carrying the consecration of the spot almost to the Christian era, by telling us that the Apostle Peter himself, in his missionary wanderings, had a chapel or an oratory there.

The Poet's Corner.

The spot has been, in all ages, the great burial-place of the English kings, whose monuments and effigies adorn its walls and aisles in endless variety. A vast number, too, of the statesmen, generals, and naval heroes of the British empire have been admitted to the honor of having their remains deposited under its marble floor. Even literary genius has a little corner assigned it—the mighty aristocracy whose mortal remains it is the main function of the building to protect having so far condescended toward intellectual greatness as to allow to Milton, Addison, and Shakspeare modest monuments behind a door. The place is called the Poets' Corner; and so famed and celebrated is this vast edifice every where, that the phrase by which even this obscure and insignificant portion of it is known is familiar to every ear and every tongue throughout the English world.

Henry the Seventh's Chapel.
Elizabeth's monument.

The body of Elizabeth was interred in a part of the edifice called Henry the Seventh's Chapel. The word chapel, in the European sense, denotes ordinarily a subordinate edifice connected with the main body of a church, and opening into it. Most frequently, in fact, a chapel is a mere recess or alcove, separated from the area of the church by a small screen or gilded iron railing. In the Catholic churches these chapels are ornamented with sculptures and paintings, with altars and crucifixes, and other such furniture. Sometimes they are built expressly as monumental structures, in which case they are often of considerable size, and are ornamented with great magnificence and splendor. This was the case with Henry the Seventh's Chapel. The whole building is, in fact his tomb. Vast sums were expended in the construction of it, the work of which extended through two reigns. It is now one of the most attractive portions of the great pile which it adorns. Elizabeth's body was deposited here, and here her monument was erected.

Elizabeth's Tomb in Westminster Abbey.Elizabeth's Tomb in Westminster Abbey.
James.
Mary's monument.
Feelings of visitors.

It will be recollected that James, who now succeeded Elizabeth, was the son of Mary Queen of Scots. Soon after his accession to the throne, he removed the remains of his mother from their place of sepulture near the scene of her execution, and interred them in the south aisle of Henry the Seventh's Chapel, while the body of Elizabeth occupied the northern one. He placed, also, over Mary's remains, a tomb very similar in its plan and design to that by which the memory of Elizabeth was honored; and there the rival queens have since reposed in silence and peace under the same paved floor. And though the monuments do not materially differ in their architectural forms, it is found that the visitors who go continually to the spot gaze with a brief though lively interest at the one, while they linger long and mournfully over the other.


Summary of Elizabeth's character.

The character of Elizabeth has not generally awakened among mankind much commendation or sympathy. They who censure or condemn her should, however, reflect how very conspicuous was the stage on which she acted, and how minutely all her faults have been paraded to the world. That she deserved the reproaches which have been so freely cast upon her memory can not be denied. It will moderate, however, any tendency to censoriousness in our mode of uttering them, if we consider to how little advantage we should ourselves appear, if all the words of fretfulness and irritability which we have ever spoken, all our insincerity and double-dealing, our selfishness, our pride, our petty resentments, our caprice, and our countless follies, were exposed as fully to the public gaze as were those of this renowned and glorious, but unhappy queen.

Elizabeth in the Tower

1554-1555

Elizabeth's position.
Legitimacy of Mary and Elizabeth's birth.

T he  imprisonment of Queen Elizabeth in the Tower, which was briefly alluded to in the last chapter, deserves a more full narration than was possible to give to it there. She had retired from court some time before the difficulties about the Spanish match arose. It is true that she took sides with Mary in the contest with Northumberland and the friends of Jane Grey, and she shared her royal sister's triumph in the pomp and parade of the coronation; but, after all, she and Mary could not possibly be very good friends. The marriages of their respective mothers could not both have been valid. Henry the Eighth was so impatient that he could not wait for a divorce from Catharine before he married Anne Boleyn. The only way to make the latter marriage legal, therefore, was to consider the former one null and void from the beginning, and if the former one was not thus null and void, the latter must be so. If Henry had waited for a divorce, then both marriages might have been valid, each for the time of its own continuance, and both the princesses might have been lawful heirs; but as it was, neither of them could maintain her own claims to be considered a lawful daughter, without denying, by implication at least, those of the other. They were therefore, as it were, natural enemies. Though they might be outwardly civil to each other, it was not possible that there could be any true harmony or friendship between them.

Mary and Elizabeth's differences.
Courteney's long imprisonment.
Mary's attentions to Courteney.
Courteney's attentions to Elizabeth.

A circumstance occurred, too, soon after Mary's accession to the throne, which resulted in openly alienating the feelings of the two ladies from each other. There was a certain prisoner in the Tower of London, a gentleman of high rank and great consideration, named Courteney, now about twenty-six years of age, who had been imprisoned in the Tower by King Henry the Eighth when he was only twelve years old, on account of some political offenses of his father! He had thus been a close prisoner for fourteen years at Mary's accession; but Mary released him. It was found, when he returned to society again, that he had employed his solitary hours in cultivating his mind, acquiring knowledge, and availing himself of all the opportunities for improvement which his situation afforded, and that he came forth an intelligent, accomplished, and very agreeable man. The interest which his appearance and manners excited was increased by the sympathy naturally felt for the sufferings that he had endured. In a word, he became a general favorite. The rank of his family was high enough for Mary to think of him for her husband, for this was before the Spanish match was thought of. Mary granted him a title, and large estates, and showed him many other favors, and, as every body supposed, tried very hard to make an impression on his heart. Her efforts were, however, vain. Courteney gave an obvious preference to Elizabeth, who was young then, at least, if not beautiful. This successful rivalry on the part of her sister filled the queen's heart with resentment and envy, and she exhibited her chagrin by so many little marks of neglect and incivility, that Elizabeth's resentment was roused in its turn, and she asked permission to retire from court to her residence in the country. Mary readily gave the permission, and thus it happened that when Wyatt's rebellion first broke out, as described in the last chapter, Elizabeth was living in retirement and seclusion at Ashridge, an estate of hers at some distance west of London. As to Courteney, Mary found some pretext or other for sending him back again to his prison in the Tower.

Mary's plan to get Elizabeth in her power.

Mary was immediately afraid that the malcontents would join with Elizabeth and attempt to put forward her name and her claims to the crown, which, if they were to do, it would make their movement very formidable. She was impressed immediately with the idea that it was of great importance to get Elizabeth back again into her power. The most probable way of succeeding in doing this, she thought, was to write her a kind and friendly letter, inviting her to return. She accordingly wrote such a letter. She said in it that certain evil-disposed persons were plotting some disturbances in the kingdom, and that she thought that Elizabeth was not safe where she was. She urged her, therefore, to return, saying that she should be truly welcome, and should be protected against all danger if she would come.

Elizabeth's wariness.

An invitation from a queen is a command, and Elizabeth would have felt bound to obey this summons, but she was sick when it came. At least she was not well, and she was not much disposed to underrate her sickness for the sake of being able to travel on this occasion. The officers of her household made out a formal certificate to the effect that Elizabeth was not able to undertake such a journey.

Wyatt accuses Elizabeth.

In the mean time Wyatt's rebellion broke out; he marched to London, was entrapped there and taken prisoner, as is related at length in the last chapter. In his confessions he implicated the Princess Elizabeth, and also Courteney, and Mary's government then determined that they must secure Elizabeth's person at all events, sick or well. They sent, therefore, three gentlemen as commissioners, with a troop of horse to attend them, to bring her to London. They carried the queen's litter with them, to bring the princess upon it in case she should be found unable to travel in any other way.

Her seizure.
Elizabeth borne in a litter.

This party arrived at Ashridge at ten o'clock at night. They insisted on being admitted at once into the chamber of Elizabeth, and there they made known their errand. Elizabeth was terrified; she begged not to be moved, as she was really too sick to go. They called in some physicians, who certified that she could be moved without danger to her life. The next morning they put her upon the litter, a sort of covered bed, formed like a palanquin, and borne, like a palanquin, by men. It was twenty-nine miles to London, and it took the party four days to reach the city, they moved so slowly. This circumstance is mentioned sometimes as showing how sick Elizabeth must have been. But the fact is, there was no reason whatever for any haste. Elizabeth was now completely in Mary's power, and it could make no possible difference how long she was upon the road.

She is examined and released.

The litter passed along the roads in great state. It was a princess that they were bearing. As they approached London, a hundred men in handsome uniforms went before, and an equal number followed. A great many people came out from the city to meet the princess, as a token of respect. This displeased Mary, but it could not well be prevented or punished. On their arrival they took Elizabeth to one of the palaces at Westminster, called Whitehall. She was examined by Mary's privy council. Nothing was proved against her, and, as the rebellion seemed now wholly at an end, she was at length released, and thus ended her first durance as a political prisoner.

Elizabeth again arrested.

It happened, however, that other persons implicated in Wyatt's plot, when examined, made charges against Elizabeth in respect to it, and Queen Mary sent another force and arrested her again. She was taken now to a famous royal palace, called Hampton Court, which is situated on the Thames, a few miles above the city. She brought many of the officers of her household and of her personal attendants with her; but one of the queen's ministers, accompanied by two other officers, came soon after, and dismissed all her own attendants, and placed persons in the service of the queen in their place. They also set a guard around the palace, and then left the princess, for the night, a close prisoner, and yet without any visible signs of coercion, for all these guards might be guards of honor.

Her letter to Mary.

The next day some officers came again, and told her that it had been decided to send her to the Tower, and that a barge was ready at the river to convey her. She was very much agitated and alarmed, and begged to be allowed to send a letter to her sister before they took her away. One of the officers insisted that she should have the privilege, and the other that she should not. The former conquered in the contest, and Elizabeth wrote the letter and sent it. It contained an earnest and solemn disavowal of all participation in the plots which she had been charged with encouraging, and begged Mary to believe that she was innocent, and allow her to be released.

Situation of the Tower.
The Traitors' Gate.

The letter did no good. Elizabeth was taken into the barge and conveyed in a very private manner down the river. Hampton Court is above London, several miles, and the Tower is just below the city. There are several entrances to this vast castle, some of them by stairs from the river. Among these is one by which prisoners accused of great political crimes were usually taken in, and which is called the Traitors' Gate. There was another entrance, also, from the river, by which a more honorable admission to the fortress might be attained. The Tower was not solely a prison. It was often a place of retreat for kings and queens from any sudden danger, and was frequently occupied by them as a somewhat permanent residence. There were a great number of structures within the walls, in some of which royal apartments were fitted up with great splendor. Elizabeth had often been in the Tower as a resident or a visitor, and thus far there was nothing in the circumstances of the case to forbid the supposition that they might be taking her there as a guest or resident now. She was anxious and uneasy, it is true, but she was not certain that she was regarded as a prisoner.

Elizabeth conveyed to the Tower.

In the mean time, the barge, with the other boats in attendance, passed down the river in the rain, for it was a stormy day, a circumstance which aided the authorities in their effort to convey their captive to her gloomy prison without attracting the attention of the populace. Besides, it was the day of some great religious festival, when the people were generally in the churches. This day had been chosen on that very account. The barge and the boats came down the river, therefore, without attracting much attention; they approached the landing-place at last, and stopped at the flight of steps leading up from the water to the Traitors' Gate.

She is landed at the Traitors' Gate.

Elizabeth declared that she was no traitor, and that she would not be landed there. The nobleman who had charge of her told her simply, in reply, that she could not have her choice of a place to land. At the same time, he offered her his cloak to protect her from the rain in passing from the barge to the castle gate. Umbrellas had not been invented in those days. Elizabeth threw the cloak away from her in vexation and anger. She found, however, that it was of no use to resist. She could not choose. She stepped from the barge out upon the stairs in the rain, saying, as she did so, "Here lands as true and faithful a subject as ever landed a prisoner at these stairs. Before thee, O God, I speak it, having now no friends but thee alone."

Elizabeth's reception at the Tower.

A large company of the warders and keepers of the castle had been drawn up at the Traitors' Gate to receive her, as was customary on occasions when prisoners of high rank were to enter the Tower. As these men were always dressed in uniform of a peculiar antique character, such a parade of them made quite an imposing appearance. Elizabeth asked what it meant. They told her that that was the customary mode of receiving a prisoner. She said that if it was, she hoped that they would dispense with the ceremony in her case, and asked that, for her sake, the men might be dismissed from such attendance in so inclement a season. The men blessed her for her goodness, and kneeled down and prayed that God would preserve her.

Her unwillingness to enter.
Elizabeth's indignation and grief.

She was extremely unwilling to go into the prison. As they approached the part of the edifice where she was to be confined, through the court-yard of the Tower, she stopped and sat down upon a stone, perhaps a step, or the curb stone of a walk. The lieutenant urged her to go in out of the cold and wet. "Better sitting here than in a worse place," she replied, "for God knoweth whither you are bringing me." However, she rose and went on. She entered the prison, was conducted to her room, and the doors were locked and bolted upon her.

She is closely imprisoned.

Elizabeth was kept closely imprisoned for a month; after that, some little relaxation in the strictness of her seclusion was allowed. Permission was very reluctantly granted to her to walk every day in the royal apartments, which were now unoccupied, so that there was no society to be found there, but it afforded her a sort of pleasure to range through them for recreation and exercise. But this privilege could not be accorded without very strict limitations and conditions. Two officers of the Tower and three women had to attend her; the windows, too, were shut, and she was not permitted to go and look out at them. This was rather melancholy recreation, it must be allowed, but it was better than being shut up all day in a single apartment, bolted and barred.

Elizabeth in the Tower.Elizabeth in the Tower.
Elizabeth in the garden.
The little child and the flowers.

There was a small garden within the castle not far from the prison, and after some time Elizabeth was permitted to walk there. The gates and doors, however, were kept carefully closed, and all the prisoners, whose rooms looked into it from the surrounding buildings, were closely watched by their respective keepers, while Elizabeth was in the garden, to prevent their having any communication with her by looks or signs. There were a great many persons confined at this time, who had been arrested on charges connected with Wyatt's rebellion, and the authorities seem to have been very specially vigilant to prevent the possibility of Elizabeth's having communication with any of them. There was a little child of five years of age who used to come and visit Elizabeth in her room, and bring her flowers. He was the son of one of the subordinate officers of the Tower. It was, however, at last suspected that he was acting as a messenger between Elizabeth and Courteney. Courteney, it will be recollected, had been sent by Mary back to the Tower again, so that he and Elizabeth were now suffering the same hard fate in neighboring cells. When the boy was suspected of bearing communications between these friends and companions in suffering, he was called before an officer and closely examined. His answers were all open and childlike, and gave no confirmation to the idea which had been entertained. The child, however, was forbidden to go to Elizabeth's apartment any more. He was very much grieved at this, and he watched for the next time that Elizabeth was to walk in the garden, and putting his mouth to a hole in the gate, he called out, "Lady, I can not bring you any more flowers."

Elizabeth greatly alarmed.
Her removal from the Tower.

After Elizabeth had been thus confined about three months, she was one day terribly alarmed by the sounds of martial parade within the Tower, produced by the entrance of an officer from Queen Mary, named Sir Thomas Beddingfield, at the head of three hundred men. Elizabeth supposed that they were come to execute sentence of death upon her. She asked immediately if the platform on which Lady Jane Grey was beheaded had been taken away. They told her that it had been removed. She was then somewhat relieved. They afterward told her that Sir Thomas had come to take her away from the Tower, but that it was not known where she was to go. This alarmed her again, and she sent for the constable of the Tower, whose name was Lord Chandos, and questioned him very closely to learn what they were going to do with her. He said that it had been decided to remove her from the Tower, and send her to a place called Woodstock, where she was to remain under Sir Thomas Beddingfield's custody, at a royal palace which was situated there. Woodstock is forty or fifty miles to the westward of London, and not far from the city of Oxford.

Elizabeth's fears.
Mary's designs.

Elizabeth was very much alarmed at this intelligence. Her mind was filled with vague and uncertain fears and forebodings, which were none the less oppressive for being uncertain and vague. She had, however, no immediate cause for apprehension. Mary found that there was no decisive evidence against her, and did not dare to keep her a prisoner in the Tower too long. There was a large and influential part of the kingdom who were Protestants. They were jealous of the progress Mary was making toward bringing the Catholic religion in again. They abhorred the Spanish match. They naturally looked to Elizabeth as their leader and head, and Mary thought that by too great or too long-continued harshness in her treatment of Elizabeth, she would only exasperate them, and perhaps provoke a new outbreak against her authority. She determined, therefore, to remove the princess from the Tower to some less odious place of confinement.

Elizabeth taken to Richmond.
Mary's plan for marrying her.

She was taken first to Queen Mary's court, which was then held at Richmond, just above London; but she was surrounded here by soldiers and guards, and confined almost as strictly as before. She was destined, however, here to another surprise. It was a proposition of marriage. Mary had been arranging a plan for making her the wife of a certain personage styled the Duke of Savoy. His dominions were on the confines of Switzerland and France, and Mary thought that if her rival were once married and removed there, all the troubles which she, Mary, had experienced on her account would be ended forever. She thought, too, that her sister would be glad to accept this offer, which opened such an immediate escape from the embarrassments and sufferings of her situation in England. But Elizabeth was prompt, decided, and firm in the rejection of this plan. England was her home, and to be Queen of England the end and aim of all her wishes and plans. She had rather continue a captive for the present in her native land, than to live in splendor as the consort of a sovereign duke beyond the Rhone.

Elizabeth's journey to Woodstock.

Mary then ordered Sir Thomas Beddingfield to take her to Woodstock. She traveled on horseback, and was several days on the journey. Her passage through the country attracted great attention. The people assembled by the wayside, expressing their kind wishes, and offering her gifts. The bells were rung in the villages through which she passed. She arrived finally at Woodstock, and was shut up in the palace there.

Christmas festivities.

This was in July, and she remained in Woodstock more than a year, not, however, always very closely confined. At Christmas she was taken to court, and allowed to share in the festivities and rejoicings. On this occasion—it was the first Christmas after the marriage of Mary and Philip—the great hall of the palace was illuminated with a thousand lamps. The princess sat at table next to the king and queen. She was on other occasions, too, taken away for a time, and then returned again to her seclusion at Woodstock. These changes, perhaps, only served to make her feel more than ever the hardships of her lot. They say that one day, as she sat at her window, she heard a milk-maid singing in the fields, in a blithe and merry strain, and said, with a sigh, that she wished she was a milk-maid too.

Elizabeth persists in her innocence.

King Philip, after his marriage, gradually interested himself in her behalf, and exerted his influence to have her released; and Mary's ministers had frequent interviews with her, and endeavored to induce her to make some confession of guilt, and to petition Mary for release as a matter of mercy. They could not, they said, release her while she persisted in her innocence, without admitting that they and Mary had been in the wrong, and had imprisoned her unjustly. But the princess was immovable. She declared that she was perfectly innocent, and that she would never, therefore, say that she was guilty. She would rather remain in prison for the truth, than be at liberty and have it believed that she had been guilty of disloyalty and treason.

The torch-light visit.
Reconciliation between Elizabeth and Mary.
Elizabeth's release.

At length, one evening in May, Elizabeth received a summons to go to the palace and visit Mary in her chamber. She was conducted there by torch-light. She had a long interview with the queen, the conversation being partly in English and partly in Spanish. It was not very satisfactory on either side. Elizabeth persisted in asserting her innocence, but in other respects she spoke in a kind and conciliatory manner to the queen. The interview ended in a sort of reconciliation. Mary put a valuable ring upon Elizabeth's finger in token of the renewal of friendship, and soon afterward the long period of restraint and confinement was ended, and the princess returned to her own estate at Hatfield in Hertfordshire, where she lived some time in seclusion, devoting herself, in a great measure, to the study of Latin and Greek, under the instructions of Roger Ascham.

Elizabeth's Mother

1533-1536

Greenwich.
The hospital.
Its inmates.
Greenwich Observatory.
Manner of taking time.

T ravelers, in ascending the Thames by the steamboat from Rotterdam, on their return from an excursion to the Rhine, have often their attention strongly attracted by what appears to be a splendid palace on the banks of the river at Greenwich. The edifice is not a palace, however, but a hospital, or, rather, a retreat where the worn out, maimed, and crippled veterans of the English navy spend the remnant of their days in comfort and peace, on pensions allowed them by the government in whose service they have spent their strength or lost their limbs. The magnificent buildings of the hospital stand on level land near the river. Behind them there is a beautiful park, which extends over the undulating and rising ground in the rear; and on the summit of one of the eminences there is the famous Greenwich Observatory, on the precision of whose quadrants and micrometers depend those calculations by which the navigation of the world is guided. The most unconcerned and careless spectator is interested in the manner in which the ships which throng the river all the way from Greenwich to London, "take their time" from this observatory before setting sail for distant seas. From the top of a cupola surmounting the edifice, a slender pole ascends, with a black ball upon it, so constructed as to slide up and down for a few feet upon the pole. When the hour of 12 M. approaches, the ball slowly rises to within a few inches of the top, warning the ship-masters in the river to be ready with their chronometers, to observe and note the precise instant of its fall. When a few seconds only remain of the time, the ball ascends the remainder of the distance by a very deliberate motion, and then drops suddenly when the instant arrives. The ships depart on their several destinations, and for months afterward when thousands of miles away they depend for their safety in dark and stormy nights, and among dangerous reefs and rocky shores, on the nice approximation to correctness in the note of time which this descending ball had given them.

Portrait of Henry VIIIPortrait of Henry VIII

Henry the Eighth.
His character.
His six wives.

This is Greenwich, as it exists at the present day. At the time when the events occurred which are to be related in this narrative, it was most known on account of a royal palace which was situated there. This palace was the residence of the then queen consort of England. The king reigning at that time was Henry the Eighth. He was an unprincipled and cruel tyrant, and the chief business of his life seemed to be selecting and marrying new queens, making room for each succeeding one by discarding, divorcing, or beheading her predecessor. There were six of them in all, and, with one exception, the history of each one is a distinct and separate, but dreadful tragedy. As there were so many of them, and they figured as queens each for so short a period, they are commonly designated in history by their personal family names, and even in these names there is a great similarity. There were three Catharines, two Annes, and a Jane. The only one who lived and died in peace, respected and beloved to the end, was the Jane.

Portrait of Anne Boleyn.Portrait of Anne Boleyn.
Anne Boleyn.
Catharine of Aragon.
Henry discards her.
Origin of the English Church.

Queen Elizabeth, the subject of this narrative, was the daughter of the second wife in this strange succession, and her mother was one of the Annes. Her name in full was Anne Boleyn. She was young and very beautiful, and Henry, to prepare the way for making her his wife, divorced his first queen, or rather declared his marriage with her null and void, because she had been, before he married her, the wife of his brother. Her name was Catharine of Aragon. She was, while connected with him, a faithful, true, and affectionate wife. She was a Catholic. The Catholic rules are very strict in respect to the marriage of relatives, and a special dispensation from the pope was necessary to authorize marriage in such a case as that of Henry and Catharine. This dispensation had, however, been obtained, and Catharine had, in reliance upon it, consented to become Henry's wife. When, however, she was no longer young and beautiful, and Henry had become enamored of Anne Boleyn, who was so, he discarded Catharine, and espoused the beautiful girl in her stead. He wished the pope to annul his dispensation, which would, of course, annul the marriage; and because the pontiff refused, and all the efforts of Henry's government were unavailing to move him, he abandoned the Catholic faith, and established an independent Protestant church in England, whose supreme authority would  annul the marriage. Thus, in a great measure, came the Reformation in England. The Catholics reproach us, and, it must be confessed, with some justice, with the ignominiousness of its origin.

Henry marries Anne Boleyn.
Birth of Elizabeth.

The course which things thus took created a great deal of delay in the formal annulling of the marriage with Catharine, which Henry was too impatient and imperious to bear. He would not wait for the decree of divorce, but took Anne Boleyn for his wife before his previous connection was made void. He said he was privately married to her. This he had, as he maintained, a right to do, for he considered his first marriage as void, absolutely and of itself, without any decree. When, at length, the decree was finally passed, he brought Anne Boleyn forward as his queen, and introduced her as such to England and to the world by a genuine marriage and a most magnificent coronation. The people of England pitied poor Catharine, but they joined very cordially, notwithstanding, in welcoming the youthful and beautiful lady who was to take her place. All London gave itself up to festivities and rejoicings on the occasion of these nuptials. Immediately after this the young queen retired to her palace in Greenwich, and in two or three months afterward little Elizabeth was born. Her birth-day was the 7th of September, 1533.

Ceremony of christening.

The mother may have loved the babe, but Henry himself was sadly disappointed that his child was not a son. Notwithstanding her sex, however, she was a personage of great distinction from her very birth, as all the realm looked upon her as heir to the crown. Henry was himself, at this time, very fond of Anne Boleyn, though his feelings afterward were entirely changed. He determined on giving to the infant a very splendid christening. The usage in the Church of England is to make the christening of a child not merely a solemn religious ceremony, but a great festive occasion of congratulations and rejoicing. The unconscious subject of the ceremony is taken to the church. Certain near and distinguished friends, gentlemen and ladies, appear as godfathers and godmothers, as they are termed, to the child. They, in the ceremony, are considered as presenting the infant for consecration to Christ, and as becoming responsible for its future initiation into the Christian faith. They are hence sometimes called sponsors. These sponsors are supposed to take, from the time of the baptism forward, a strong interest in all that pertains to the welfare of their little charge, and they usually manifest this interest by presents on the day of the christening. These things are all conducted with considerable ceremony and parade in ordinary cases, occurring in private life; and when a princess is to be baptized, all, even the most minute details of the ceremony, assume a great importance, and the whole scene becomes one of great pomp and splendor.

Baptism of Elizabeth.
Grand procession.
Train-bearers.

The babe, in this case, was conveyed to the church in a grand procession. The mayor and other civic authorities in London came down to Greenwich in barges, tastefully ornamented, to join in the ceremony. The lords and ladies of King Henry's court were also there, in attendance at the palace. When all were assembled, and every thing was ready, the procession moved from the palace to the church with great pomp. The road, all the way, was carpeted with green rushes, spread upon the ground. Over this road the little infant was borne by one of her godmothers. She was wrapped in a mantle of purple velvet, with a long train appended to it, which was trimmed with ermine, a very costly kind of fur, used in England as a badge of authority. This train was borne by lords and ladies of high rank, who were appointed for the purpose by the king, and who deemed their office a very distinguished honor. Besides these train-bearers, there were four lords, who walked two on each side of the child, and who held over her a magnificent canopy. Other personages of high rank and station followed, bearing various insignia and emblems, such as by the ancient customs of England are employed on these occasions, and all dressed sumptuously in gorgeous robes, and wearing the badges and decorations pertaining to their rank or the offices they held. Vast crowds of spectators lined the way, and gazed upon the scene.

The Christening Gifts.The Christening Gifts.
The church.
The silver font.
The presents.

On arriving at the church, they found the interior splendidly decorated for the occasion. Its walls were lined throughout with tapestry, and in the center was a crimson canopy, under which was placed a large silver font, containing the water with which the child was to be baptized. The ceremony was performed by Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury, which is the office of the highest dignitary of the English Church. After it was performed, the procession returned as it came, only now there was an addition of four persons of high rank, who followed the child with the presents intended for her by the godfathers and godmothers. These presents consisted of cups and bowls, of beautiful workmanship, some of silver gilt, and some of solid gold. They were very costly, though not prized much yet by the unconscious infant for whom they were intended. She went and came, in the midst of this gay and joyous procession, little imagining into what a restless and unsatisfying life all this pageantry and splendor were ushering her.

Name of the infant princess.

They named the child Elizabeth, from her grandmother. There have been many queens of that name, but Queen Elizabeth of England became so much more distinguished than any other, that that name alone has become her usual designation. Her family name was Tudor. As she was never married—for, though her life was one perpetual scene of matrimonial schemes and negotiations, she lived and died a maiden lady—she has been sometimes called the Virgin Queen, and one of the states of this Union, Virginia, receives its name from this designation of Elizabeth. She is also often familiarly called Queen Bess.

Elizabeth made Princess of Wales.
Matrimonial schemes.

Making little Elizabeth presents of gold and silver plate, and arranging splendid pageants for her, were not the only plans for her aggrandizement which were formed during the period of her infantile unconsciousness. The king, her father, first had an act of Parliament passed, solemnly recognizing and confirming her claim as heir to the crown, and the title of Princess of Wales was formally conferred upon her. When these things were done, Henry began to consider how he could best promote his own political schemes by forming an engagement of marriage for her, and, when she was only about two years of age, he offered her to the King of France as the future wife of one of his sons, on certain conditions of political service which he wished him to perform. But the King of France would not accede to the terms, and so this plan was abandoned. Elizabeth was, however, notwithstanding this failure, an object of universal interest and attention, as the daughter of a very powerful monarch, and the heir to his crown. Her life opened with very bright and serene prospects of future greatness; but all these prospects were soon apparently cut off by a very heavy cloud which arose to darken her sky. This cloud was the sudden and dreadful fall and ruin of her mother.

Jane Seymour.

Queen Anne Boleyn was originally a maid of honor to Queen Catharine, and became acquainted with King Henry and gained his affections while she was acting in that capacity. When she became queen herself, she had, of course, her own maids of honor, and among them was one named Jane Seymour. Jane was a beautiful and accomplished lady, and in the end she supplanted her mistress and queen in Henry's affections, just as Anne herself had supplanted Catharine. The king had removed Catharine to make way for Anne, by annulling his marriage with her on account of their relationship: what way could he contrive now to remove Anne, so as to make way for Jane?

The tournament.
The king's suspicions.
Queen Anne arrested.

He began to entertain, or to pretend to entertain, feelings of jealousy and suspicion that Anne was unfaithful to him. One day, at a sort of tournament in the park of the royal palace at Greenwich, when a great crowd of gayly-dressed ladies and gentlemen were assembled to witness the spectacle, the queen dropped her handkerchief. A gentleman whom the king had suspected of being one of her favorites picked it up. He did not immediately restore it to her. There was, besides, something in the air and manner of the gentleman, and in the attendant circumstances of the case, which the king's mind seized upon as evidence of criminal gallantry between the parties. He was, or at least pretended to be, in a great rage. He left the field immediately and went to London. The tournament was broken up in confusion, the queen was seized by the king's orders, conveyed to her palace in Greenwich, and shut up in her chamber, with a lady who had always been her rival and enemy to guard her. She was in great consternation and sorrow, but she declared most solemnly that she was innocent of any crime, and had always been true and faithful to the king.

The Tower of London.The Tower of London.
She is sent to the Tower.

The next day she was taken from her palace at Greenwich up the river, probably in a barge well guarded by armed men, to the Tower of London. The Tower is an ancient and very extensive castle, consisting of a great number of buildings inclosed within a high wall. It is in the lower part of London, on the bank of the Thames, with a flight of stairs leading down to the river from a great postern gate. The unhappy queen was landed at these stairs and conveyed into the castle, and shut up in a gloomy apartment, with walls of stone and windows barricaded with strong bars of iron. There were four or five gentlemen, attendants upon the queen in her palace at Greenwich, whom the king suspected, or pretended to suspect, of being her accomplices in crime, that were arrested at the same time with her and closely confined.

Sufferings of the queen.
Her mental distress.

When the poor queen was introduced into her dungeon, she fell on her knees, and, in an agony of terror and despair, she implored God to help her in this hour of her extremity, and most solemnly called him to witness that she was innocent of the crime imputed to her charge. Seeking thus a refuge in God calmed and composed her in some small degree; but when, again, thoughts of the imperious and implacable temper of her husband came over her, of the impetuousness of his passions, of the certainty that he wished her removed out of the way in order that room might be made for her rival, and then, when her distracted mind turned to the forlorn and helpless condition of her little daughter Elizabeth, now scarcely three years old, her fortitude and self-possession forsook her entirely; she sank half insane upon her bed, in long and uncontrollable paroxysms of sobs and tears, alternating with still more uncontrollable and frightful bursts of hysterical laughter.

Examination of Anne.

The king sent a commission to take her examination. At the same time, he urged her, by the persons whom he sent, to confess her guilt, promising her that, if she did so, her life should be spared. She, however, protested her innocence with the utmost firmness and constancy. She begged earnestly to be allowed to see the king, and, when this was refused, she wrote a letter to him, which still remains, and which expresses very strongly the acuteness of her mental sufferings.

Her letter to the king.

In this letter, she said that she was so distressed and bewildered by the king's displeasure and her imprisonment, that she hardly knew what to think or to say. She assured him that she had always been faithful and true to him, and begged that he would not cast an indelible stain upon her own fair fame and that of her innocent and helpless child by such unjust and groundless imputations. She begged him to let her have a fair trial by impartial persons, who would weigh the evidence against her in a just and equitable manner. She was sure that by this course her innocence would be established, and he himself, and all mankind would see that she had been most unjustly accused.

But if, on the other hand, she added, the king had determined on her destruction, in order to remove an obstacle in the way of his possession of a new object of love, she prayed that God would forgive him and all her enemies for so great a sin, and not call him to account for it at the last day. She urged him, at all events, to spare the lives of the four gentlemen who had been accused, as she assured him they were wholly innocent of the crime laid to their charge, begging him, if he had ever loved the name of Anne Boleyn, to grant this her last request. She signed her letter his "most loyal and ever faithful wife," and dated it from her "doleful prison in the Tower."

Anne's fellow-prisoners.
They are executed.

The four gentlemen were promised that their lives should be spared if they would confess their guilt. One of them did, accordingly, admit his guilt, and the others persisted to the end in firmly denying it. They who think Anne Boleyn was innocent, suppose that the one who confessed did it as the most likely mode of averting destruction, as men have often been known, under the influence of fear, to confess crimes of which it was afterward proved they could not have been guilty. If this was his motive, it was of no avail. The four persons accused, after a very informal trial, in which nothing was really proved against them, were condemned, apparently to please the king, and were executed together.

Anne tried and condemned.

Three days after this the queen herself was brought to trial before the peers. The number of peers of the realm in England at this time was fifty-three. Only twenty-six were present at the trial. The king is charged with making such arrangements as to prevent the attendance of those who would be unwilling to pass sentence of condemnation. At any rate, those who did attend professed to be satisfied of the guilt of the accused, and they sentenced her to be burned, or to be beheaded, at the pleasure of the king. He decided that she should be beheaded.

She protests her innocence.

The execution was to take place in a little green area within the Tower. The platform was erected here, and the block placed upon it, the whole being covered with a black cloth, as usual on such occasions. On the morning of the fatal day, Anne sent for the constable of the Tower to come in and receive her dying protestations that she was innocent of the crimes alleged against her. She told him that she understood that she was not to die until 12 o'clock, and that she was sorry for it, for she wished to have it over. The constable told her the pain would be very slight and momentary. "Yes," she rejoined, "I am told that a very skillful executioner is provided, and my neck is very slender."

Anne's execution.

At the appointed hour she was led out into the court-yard where the execution was to take place. There were about twenty persons present, all officers of state or of the city of London. The bodily suffering attendant upon the execution was very soon over, for the slender neck was severed at a single blow, and probably all sensibility to pain immediately ceased. Still, the lips and the eyes were observed to move and quiver for a few seconds after the separation of the head from the body. It was a relief, however, to the spectators when this strange and unnatural prolongation of the mysterious functions of life came to an end.

Disposition of the body.
The king's brutality.

No coffin had been provided. They found, however, an old wooden chest, made to contain arrows, lying in one of the apartments of the tower, which they used instead. They first laid the decapitated trunk within it, and then adjusted the dissevered head to its place, as if vainly attempting to repair the irretrievable injury they had done. They hurried the body, thus enshrined, to its burial in a chapel, which was also within the tower, doing all with such dispatch that the whole was finished before the clock struck twelve; and the next day the unfeeling monster who was the author of this dreadful deed was publicly married to his new favorite, Jane Seymour.

Elizabeth's forlorn condition.

The king had not merely procured Anne's personal condemnation; he had also obtained a decree annulling his marriage with her, on the ground of her having been, as he attempted to prove, previously affianced to another man. This was, obviously, a mere pretense. The object was to cut off Elizabeth's rights to inherit the crown, by making his marriage with her mother void. Thus was the little princess left motherless and friendless when only three years old.

The War in Scotland

1559-1560

Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots.
Their rivalry.

Q ueen  Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots are strongly associated together in the minds of all readers of English history. They were cotemporary sovereigns, reigning at the same time over sister kingdoms. They were cousins, and yet, precisely on account of the family relationship which existed between them, they became implacable foes. The rivalry and hostility, sometimes open and sometimes concealed, was always in action, and, after a contest of more than twenty years, Elizabeth triumphed. She made Mary her prisoner, kept her many years a captive, and at last closed the contest by commanding, or at least allowing, her fallen rival to be beheaded.

Character of Mary.
Character of Elizabeth.

Thus Elizabeth had it all her own way while the scenes of her life and of Mary's were transpiring, but since that time mankind have generally sympathized most strongly with the conquered one, and condemned the conqueror. There are several reasons for this, and among them is the vast influence exerted by the difference in the personal character of the parties. Mary was beautiful, feminine in spirit, and lovely. Elizabeth was talented, masculine, and plain. Mary was artless, unaffected, and gentle. Elizabeth was heartless, intriguing, and insincere. With Mary, though her ruling principle was ambition, her ruling passion was love. Her love led her to great transgressions and into many sorrows, but mankind pardon the sins and pity the sufferings which are caused by love more readily than those of any other origin. With Elizabeth, ambition was the ruling principle, and the ruling passion too. Love, with her, was only a pastime. Her transgressions were the cool, deliberate, well-considered acts of selfishness and desire of power. During her life-time her success secured her the applauses of the world. The world is always ready to glorify the greatness which rises visibly before it, and to forget sufferings which are meekly and patiently borne in seclusion and solitude. Men praised and honored Elizabeth, therefore, while she lived, and neglected Mary. But since the halo and the fascination of the visible greatness and glory have passed away, they have found a far greater charm in Mary's beauty and misfortune than in her great rival's pride and power.

Elizabeth's celebrity while living.
Interest in Mary when dead.

There is often thus a great difference in the comparative interest we take in persons or scenes, when, on the one hand, they are realities before our eyes, and when, on the other, they are only imaginings which are brought to our minds by pictures or descriptions. The hardships which it was very disagreeable or painful to bear, afford often great amusement or pleasure in the recollection. The old broken gate which a gentleman would not tolerate an hour upon his grounds, is a great beauty in the picture which hangs in his parlor. We shun poverty and distress while they are actually existing; nothing is more disagreeable to us; and we gaze upon prosperity and wealth with never-ceasing pleasure. But when they are gone, and we have only the tale to hear, it is the story of sorrow and suffering which possesses the charm. Thus it happened that when the two queens were living realities, Elizabeth was the center of attraction and the object of universal homage; but when they came to be themes of history, all eyes and hearts began soon to turn instinctively to Mary. It was London, and Westminster, and Kenilworth that possessed the interest while Elizabeth lived, but it is Holyrood and Loch Leven now.

Real nature of the question at issue between Mary and Elizabeth.

It results from these causes that Mary's story is read far more frequently than Elizabeth's, and this operates still further to the advantage of the former, for we are always prone to take sides with the heroine of the tale we are reading. All these considerations, which have had so much influence on the judgment men form, or, rather, on the feeling to which they incline in this famous contest, have, it must be confessed, very little to do with the true merits of the case. And if we make a serious attempt to lay all such considerations aside, and to look into the controversy with cool and rigid impartiality, we shall find it very difficult to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion. There are two questions to be decided. In advancing their conflicting claims to the English crown, was it Elizabeth or Mary that was in the right? If Elizabeth was right, were the measures which she resorted to to secure her own rights, and to counteract Mary's pretensions, politically justifiable? We do not propose to add our own to the hundred decisions which various writers have given to this question, but only to narrate the facts, and leave each reader to come to his own conclusions.

The two marriages.
One or the other necessarily null.
Views of Mary's friends.

The foundation of the long and dreadful quarrel between these royal cousins was, as has been already remarked, their consanguinity, which made them both competitors for the same throne; and as that throne was, in some respects, the highest and most powerful in the world, it is not surprising that two such ambitious women should be eager and persevering in their contest for it. By turning to the genealogical table on page 68 , where a view is presented of the royal family of England in the time of Elizabeth, the reader will see once more what was the precise relationship which the two queens bore to each other and to the succession. By this table it is very evident that Elizabeth was the true inheritor of the crown, provided it were admitted that she was the lawful daughter and heir of King Henry the Eighth, and this depended on the question of the validity of her father's marriage with his first wife, Catharine of Aragon; for, as has been before said, he was married to Anne Boleyn before obtaining any thing like a divorce from Catharine; consequently, the marriage with Elizabeth's mother could not be legally valid, unless that with Catharine had been void from the beginning. The friends of Mary Queen of Scots maintained that it was not thus void, and that, consequently, the marriage with Anne Boleyn was null; that Elizabeth, therefore, the descendant of the marriage, was not, legally and technically, a daughter of Henry the Eighth, and, consequently, not entitled to inherit his crown; and that the crown, of right, ought to descend to the next heir, that is, to Mary Queen of Scots herself.

Views of Elizabeth's friends.

Queen Elizabeth's friends and partisans maintained, on the other hand, that the marriage of King Henry with Catharine was null and void from the beginning, because Catharine had been before the wife of his brother. The circumstances of this marriage were very curious and peculiar. It was his father's work, and not his own. His father was King Henry the Seventh. Henry the Seventh had several children, and among them were his two oldest sons, Arthur and Henry. When Arthur was about sixteen years old, his father, being very much in want of money, conceived the plan of replenishing his coffers by marrying his son to a rich wife. He accordingly contracted a marriage between him and Catharine of Aragon, Catharine's father agreeing to pay him two hundred thousand crowns as her dowry. The juvenile bridegroom enjoyed the honors and pleasures of married life for a few months, and then died.

Circumstances of Henry the Eighth's first marriage.

This event was a great domestic calamity to the king, not because he mourned the loss of his son, but that he could not bear the idea of the loss of the dowry. By the law and usage in such cases, he was bound not only to forego the payment of the other half of the dowry, but he had himself no right to retain the half that he had already received. While his son lived, being a minor, the father might, not improperly, hold the money in his son's name; but when he died this right ceased, and as Arthur left no child, Henry perceived that he should be obliged to pay back the money. To avoid this unpleasant necessity, the king conceived the plan of marrying the youthful widow again to his second boy, Henry, who was about a year younger than Arthur, and he made proposals to this effect to the King of Aragon.

The King of Aragon made no objection to this proposal, except that it was a thing unheard of among Christian nations, or heard of only to be condemned, for a man or even a boy to marry his brother's widow. All laws, human and divine, were clear and absolute against this. Still, if the dispensation of the pope could be obtained, he would make no objection. Catharine might espouse the second boy, and he would allow the one hundred thousand crowns already paid to stand, and would also pay the other hundred thousand. The dispensation was accordingly obtained, and every thing made ready for the marriage.

The papal dispensation.
Doubts about it.

Very soon after this, however, and before the new marriage was carried into effect, King Henry the Seventh died, and this second boy, now the oldest son, though only about seventeen years of age, ascended the throne as King Henry the Eighth. There was great discussion and debate, soon after his accession, whether the marriage which his father had arranged should proceed. Some argued that no papal dispensation could authorize or justify such a marriage. Others maintained that a papal dispensation could legalize any thing; for it is a doctrine of the Catholic Church that the pope has a certain discretionary power over all laws, human and divine, under the authority given to his great predecessor, the Apostle Peter, by the words of Christ: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."[C] Henry seems not to have puzzled his head at all with the legal question; he wanted to have the young widow for his wife, and he settled the affair on that ground alone. They were married.

[C] Matthew, xvi. 19

England turns Protestant.
The marriage annulled.

Catharine was a faithful and dutiful spouse; but when, at last, Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn, he made these old difficulties a pretext for discarding her. He endeavored, as has been already related, to induce the papal authorities to annul their dispensation; because they would not do it, he espoused the Protestant cause, and England, as a nation, seceded from the Catholic communion. The ecclesiastical and parliamentary authorities of his own realm then, being made Protestant, annulled the marriage, and thus Anne Boleyn, to whom he had previously been married by a private ceremony, became legally and technically his wife. If this annulling of his first marriage were valid, then Elizabeth was his heir—otherwise not; for if the pope's dispensation was to stand, then Catharine was a wife. Anne Boleyn would in that case, of course, have been only a companion, and Elizabeth, claiming through her, a usurper.

Mary in France.
She becomes Queen of France.

The question, thus, was very complicated. It branched into extensive ramifications, which opened a wide field of debate, and led to endless controversies. It is not probable, however, that Mary Queen of Scots, or her friends, gave themselves much trouble about the legal points at issue. She and they were all Catholics, and it was sufficient for them to know that the Holy Father at Rome had sanctioned the marriage of Catharine, and that that marriage, if allowed to stand, made her the Queen of England. She was at this time in France. She had been sent there at a very early period of her life, to escape the troubles of her native land, and also to be educated. She was a gentle and beautiful child, and as she grew up amid the gay scenes and festivities of Paris, she became a very great favorite, being universally beloved. She married at length, though while she was still quite young, the son of the French king. Her young husband became king himself soon afterward, on account of his father's being killed, in a very remarkable manner, at a tournament; and thus Mary, Queen of Scots before, became also Queen of France now.

Mary's pretensions to the English crown.

While Mary was thus residing in France as the wife of the king, she was surrounded by a very large and influential circle, who were Catholics like herself, and who were also enemies of Elizabeth and of England, and glad to find any pretext for disturbing her reign. These persons brought forward Mary's claim. They persuaded Mary that she was fairly entitled to the English crown. They awakened her youthful ambition, and excited strong desires in her heart to attain to the high elevation of Queen of England. Mary at length assumed the title in some of her official acts, and combined the arms of England with those of Scotland in the escutcheons with which her furniture and her plate were emblazoned.

Elizabeth's fears.
Measures of Elizabeth.

When Queen Elizabeth learned that Mary was advancing such pretensions to her crown, she was made very uneasy by it. There was, perhaps, no immediate danger, but then there was a very large Catholic party in England, and they would naturally espouse Mary's cause and they might, at some future time, gather strength so as to make Elizabeth a great deal of trouble. She accordingly sent an embassador over to France to remonstrate against Mary's advancing these pretensions. But she could get no satisfactory reply. Mary would not disavow her claim to Elizabeth's crown, nor wouldshe directly assert it. Elizabeth, then, knowing that all her danger lay in the power and influence of her own Catholic subjects, went to work, very cautiously and warily, but in a very extended and efficient way, to establish the Reformation, and to undermine and destroy all traces of Catholic power. She proceeded in this work with great circumspection, so as not to excite opposition or alarm.

Progress of Protestantism in Scotland.
Difficulties in Scotland.

In the mean time, the Protestant cause was making progress in Scotland too, by its own inherent energies, and against the influence of the government. Finally, the Scotch Protestants organized themselves, and commenced an open rebellion against the regent whom Mary had left in power while she was away. They sent to Elizabeth to come and aid them. Mary and her friends in France sent French troops to assist the government. Elizabeth hesitated very much whether to comply with the request of the rebels. It is very dangerous for a sovereign to countenance rebellion in any way. Then she shrunk, too, from the expense which she foresaw that such an attempt would involve. To fit out a fleet, and to levy and equip an army, and to continue the forces thus raised in action during a long and uncertain campaign, would cost a large sum of money, and Elizabeth was constitutionally economical and frugal. But then, on the other hand, as she deliberated upon the affair long and, anxiously, both alone and with her council, she thought that, if she should so far succeed as to get the government of Scotland into her power, she could compel Mary to renounce forever all claims to the English crown, by threatening her, if she would not do it, with the loss of her own.

Elizabeth's interference.
Fruitless negotiations.

Finally, she decided on making the attempt. Cecil, her wise and prudent counselor, strongly advised it. He said it was far better to carry on the contest with Mary and the French in one of their countries than in her own. She began to make preparations. Mary and the French government, on learning this, were alarmed in their turn. They sent word to Elizabeth that for her to render countenance and aid to rebels in arms against their sovereign, in a sister kingdom, was wholly unjustifiable, and they remonstrated most earnestly against it. Besides making this remonstrance, they offered, as an inducement of another kind, that if she would refrain from taking any part in the contest in Scotland, they would restore to her the great town and citadel of Calais, which her sister had been so much grieved to lose. To this Elizabeth replied that, so long as Mary adhered to her pretensions to the English crown, she should be compelled to take energetic measures to protect herself from them; and as to Calais, the possession of a fishing town on a foreign coast was of no moment to her in comparison with the peace and security of her own realm. This answer did not tend to close the breach. Besides the bluntness of the refusal of their offer, the French were irritated and vexed to hear their famous sea-port spoken of so contemptuously.

The war goes on.

Elizabeth accordingly fitted out a fleet and an army, and sent them northward. A French fleet, with re-enforcements for Mary's adherents in this contest, set sail from France at about the same time. It was a very important question to be determined which of these two fleets should get first upon the stage of action.

The Firth of Forth with Leith and Edinburgh in the
Distance.The Firth of Forth with Leith and Edinburgh in the Distance.
The French shut up in Leith.

In the mean time, the Protestant party in Scotland, or the rebels, as Queen Mary and her government called them, had had very hard work to maintain their ground. There was a large French force already there, and their co-operation and aid made the government too strong for the insurgents to resist. But, when Elizabeth's English army crossed the frontier, the face of affairs was changed. The French forces retreated in their turn. The English army advanced. The Scotch Protestants came forth from the recesses of the Highlands to which they had retreated, and, drawing closer and closer around the French and the government forces, they hemmed them in more and more narrowly, and at last shut them up in the ancient town of Leith, to which they retreated in search of a temporary shelter, until the French fleet, with re-enforcements, should arrive.

Situation of the town.

The town of Leith is on the shore of the Firth of Forth, not far from Edinburgh. It is the port or landing-place of Edinburgh, in approaching it from the sea. It is on the southern shore of the firth, and Edinburgh stands on higher land, about two miles south of it. Leith was strongly fortified in those days, and the French army felt very secure there, though yet anxiously awaiting the arrival of the fleet which was to release them. The English army advanced in the mean time, eager to get possession of the city before the expected succors should arrive. The English made an assault upon the walls. The French, with desperate bravery, repelled it. The French made a sortie; that is, they rushed out of a sudden and attacked the English lines. The English concentrated their forces at the point attacked, and drove them back again. These struggles continued, both sides very eager for victory, and both watching all the time for the appearance of a fleet in the offing.

The English victorious.
The Treaty of Edinburgh.

At length, one day, a cloud of white sails appeared rounding the point of land which forms the southern boundary of the firth, and the French were thrown at once into the highest state of exultation and excitement. But this pleasure was soon turned into disappointment and chagrin by finding that it was Elizabeth's fleet, and not theirs, which was coming into view. This ended the contest. The French fleet never arrived. It was dispersed and destroyed by a storm. The besieged army sent out a flag of truce, proposing to suspend hostilities until the terms of a treaty could be agreed upon. The truce was granted. Commissioners were appointed on each side. These commissioners met at Edinburgh, and agreed upon the terms of a permanent peace. The treaty, which is called in history the Treaty of Edinburgh, was solemnly signed by the commissioners appointed to make it, and then transmitted to England and to France to be ratified by the respective queens. Queen Elizabeth's forces and the French forces were then both, as the treaty provided, immediately withdrawn. The dispute, too, between the Protestants and the Catholics in Scotland was also settled, though it is not necessary for our purpose in this narrative to explain particularly in what way.

Stipulations of the treaty.

There was one point, however, in the stipulations of this treaty which is of essential importance in this narrative, and that is, that it was agreed that Mary should relinquish all claims whatever to the English crown so long as Elizabeth lived. This, in fact, was the essential point in the whole transaction. Mary, it is true, was not present to agree to it; but the commissioners agreed to it in her name, and it was stipulated that Mary should solemnly ratify the treaty as soon as it could be sent to her.

Mary refuses to ratify it.

But Mary would not ratify it—at least so far as this last article was concerned. She said that she had no intention of doing any thing to molest Elizabeth in her possession of the throne, but that as to herself, whatever rights might legally and justly belong to her, she could not consent to sign them away. The other articles of the treaty had, however, in the mean time, brought the war to a close, and both the French and English armies were withdrawn. Neither party had any inclination to renew the conflict; but yet, so far as the great question between Mary and Elizabeth was concerned, the difficulty was as far from being settled as ever. In fact, it was in a worse position than before; for, in addition to her other grounds of complaint against Mary, Elizabeth now charged her with dishonorably refusing to be bound by a compact which had been solemnly made in her name, by agents whom she had fully authorized to make it.

Death of Mary's husband.
She returns to Scotland.

It was about this time that Mary's husband, the King of France, died, and, after enduring various trials and troubles in France, Mary concluded to return to her own realm. She sent to Elizabeth to get a safe-conduct—a sort of permission allowing her to pass unmolested through the English seas. Elizabeth refused to grant it unless Mary would first ratify the treaty of Edinburgh. This Mary would not do, but undertook, rather, to get home without the permission. Elizabeth sent ships to intercept her; but Mary's little squadron, when they approached the shore, were hidden by a fog, and so she got safe to land. After this there was quiet  between Mary and Elizabeth for many years, but no peace.

Personal Character

1560-1586

Opinions of Elizabeth's character.

M ankind  have always been very much divided in opinion in respect to the personal character of Queen Elizabeth, but in one point all have agreed, and that is, that in the management of public affairs she was a woman of extraordinary talent and sagacity, combining, in a very remarkable degree, a certain cautious good sense and prudence with the most determined resolution and energy.

The Catholics and Protestants.
Parties in England.

She reigned about forty years, and during almost all that time the whole western part of the Continent of Europe was convulsed with the most terrible conflicts between the Protestant and Catholic parties. The predominance of power was with the Catholics, and was, of course, hostile to Elizabeth. She had, moreover, in the field a very prominent competitor for her throne in Mary Queen of Scots. The foreign Protestant powers were ready to aid this claimant, and there was, besides, in her own dominions a very powerful interest in her favor. The great divisions of sentiment in England, and the energy with which each party struggled against its opponents, produced, at all times, a prodigious pressure of opposing forces, which bore heavily upon the safety of the state and of Elizabeth's government, and threatened them with continual danger. The administration of public affairs moved on, during all this time, trembling continually under the heavy shocks it was constantly receiving, like a ship staggering on in a storm, its safety depending on the nice equilibrium between the shocks of the seas, the pressure of the wind upon the sails, and the weight and steadiness of the ballast below.

Elizabeth's wise administration.
Mary claims the English throne.
She is made prisoner by Elizabeth.

During all this forty years it is admitted that Elizabeth and her wise and sagacious ministers managed very admirably. They maintained the position and honor of England, as a Protestant power, with great success; and the country, during the whole period, made great progress in the arts, in commerce, and in improvements of every kind. Elizabeth's greatest danger, and her greatest source of solicitude during her whole reign, was from the claims of Mary Queen of Scots. We have already described the energetic measures which she took at the commencement of her reign to counter act and head off, at the outset, these dangerous pretensions. Though these efforts were triumphantly successful at the time, still the victory was not final. It postponed, but did not destroy, the danger. Mary continued to claim the English throne. Innumerable plots were beginning to be formed among the Catholics, in Elizabeth's own dominions, for making her queen. Foreign potentates and powers were watching an opportunity to assist in these plans. At last Mary, on account of internal difficulties in her own land, fled across the frontier into England to save her life, and Elizabeth made her prisoner.

In England, to plan or design the dethronement of a monarch is, in a subject, high treason. Mary had undoubtedly designed the dethronement of Elizabeth, and was waiting only an opportunity to accomplish it. Elizabeth, consequently, condemned her as guilty of treason, in effect; and Mary's sole defense against this charge was that she was not a subject. Elizabeth yielded to this plea, when she first found Mary in her power, so far as not to take her life, but she consigned her to a long and weary captivity.

Various plots.
Execution of Mary.

This, however, only made the matter worse. It stimulated the enthusiasm and zeal of all the Catholics in England, to have their leader, and as they believed, their rightful queen, a captive in the midst of them, and they formed continually the most extensive and most dangerous plots. These plots were discovered and suppressed, one after another, each one producing more anxiety and alarm than the preceding. For a time Mary suffered no evil consequences from these discoveries further than an increase of the rigors of her confinement. At last the patience of the queen and of her government was exhausted. A law was passed against treason, expressed in such terms as to include Mary in the liability for its dreadful penalties although she was not a subject, in case of any new transgression; and when the next case occurred, they brought her to trial and condemned her to death. The sentence was executed in the gloomy castle of Fotheringay, where she was then confined.

The impossibility of settling the claims of Mary and Elizabeth.

As to the question whether Mary or Elizabeth had the rightful title to the English crown, it has not only never been settled, but from its very nature it can not be settled. It is one of those cases in which a peculiar contingency occurs which runs beyond the scope and reach of all the ordinary principles by which analogous cases are tried, and leads to questions which can not be decided. As long as a hereditary succession goes smoothly on, like a river keeping within its banks, we can decide subordinate and incidental questions which may arise; but when a case occurs in which we have the omnipotence of Parliament to set off against the infallibility of the pope—the sacred obligations of a will against the equally sacred principles of hereditary succession—and when we have, at last, two contradictory actions of the same ultimate umpire, we find all technical grounds of coming to a conclusion gone. We then, abandoning these, seek for some higher and more universal principles—essential in the nature of things, and thus independent of the will and action of man—to see if they will throw any light on the subject. But we soon find ourselves as much perplexed and confounded in this inquiry as we were before. We ask, in beginning the investigation, What is the ground and nature of the right by which any king or queen  succeeds to the power possessed by his ancestors? And we give up in despair, not being able to answer even this first preliminary inquiry.

Elizabeth's duplicity.
Her scheming to entrap Mary.

Mankind have not, in their estimate of Elizabeth's character, condemned so decidedly the substantial acts which she performed, as the duplicity, the false-heartedness, and the false pretensions which she manifested in performing them. Had she said frankly and openly to Mary before the world, if these schemes for revolutionizing England and placing yourself upon the throne continue, your life must be forfeited, my own safety and the safety of the realm absolutely demand it; and then had fairly, and openly, and honestly executed her threat, mankind would have been silent on the subject, if they had not been satisfied. But if she had really acted thus, she would not have been Elizabeth. She, in fact, pursued a very different course. She maneuvered, schemed, and planned; she pretended to be full of the warmest affection for her cousin; she contrived plot after plot, and scheme after scheme, to ensnare her; and when, at last, the execution took place, in obedience to her own formal and written authority, she pretended to great astonishment and rage. She never meant that the sentence should take effect. She filled England, France, and Scotland with the loud expressions of her regret, and she punished the agents who had executed her will. This management was to prevent the friends of Mary from forming plans of revenge.

This was her character in all things. She was famous for her false pretensions and double dealings, and yet, with all her talents and sagacity, the disguise she assumed was sometimes so thin and transparent that her assuming it was simply ridiculous.

Maiden ladies.
Their benevolent spirit.
Elizabeth's selfishness and jealousy.

Maiden ladies, who spend their lives, in some respects, alone, often become deeply imbued with a kind and benevolent spirit, which seeks its gratification in relieving the pains and promoting the happiness of all around them. Conscious that the circumstances which have caused them to lead a single life would secure for them the sincere sympathy and the increased esteem of all who know them, if delicacy and propriety allowed them to be expressed, they feel a strong degree of self-respect, they live happily, and are a continual means of comfort and joy to all around them. This was not so, however, with Elizabeth. She was jealous, petulant, irritable. She envied others the love and the domestic enjoyments which ambition forbade her to share, and she seemed to take great pleasure in thwarting and interfering with the plans of others for securing this happiness.

The maids of honor.
Instance of Elizabeth's cruelty.

One remarkable instance of this kind occurred. It seems she was sometimes accustomed to ask the young ladies of the court—her maids of honor—if they ever thought about being married, and they, being cunning enough to know what sort of an answer would please the queen always promptly denied that they did so. Oh no! they never thought about being married at all. There was one young lady, however, artless and sincere, who, when questioned in this way, answered, in her simplicity, that she often thought of it, and that she should like to be married very much, if her father would only consent to her union with a certain gentleman whom she loved. "Ah!" said Elizabeth; "well, I will speak to your father about it, and see what I can do." Not long after this the father of the young lady came to court, and the queen proposed the subject to him. The father said that he had not been aware that his daughter had formed such an attachment, but that he should certainly give his consent, without any hesitation, to any arrangement of that kind which the queen desired and advised. "That is all, then," said the queen; "I will do the rest." So she called the young lady into her presence, and told her that her father had given his free consent. The maiden's heart bounded with joy, and she began to express her happiness and her gratitude to the queen, promising to do every thing in her power to please her, when Elizabeth interrupted her, saying, "Yes, you will act so as to please me, I have no doubt, but you are not going to be a fool and get married. Your father has given his consent to me, and not to you, and you may rely upon it you will never get it out of my possession. You were pretty bold to acknowledge your foolishness to me so readily."

Her irritable temper.

Elizabeth was very irritable, and could never bear any contradiction. In the case even of Leicester, who had such an unbounded influence over her, if he presumed a little too much he would meet sometimes a very severe rebuff, such as nobody but a courtier would endure; but courtiers, haughty and arrogant as they are in their bearing toward inferiors, are generally fawning sycophants toward those above them, and they will submit to any thing imaginable from a queen.

Leicester's friend and the gentleman of the black rod.

It was the custom in Elizabeth's days, as it is now among the great in European countries, to have a series or suite of rooms, one beyond the other, the inner one being the presence chamber, and the others being occupied by attendants and servants of various grades, to regulate and control the admission of company. Some of these officers were styled gentlemen of the black rod, that name being derived from a peculiar badge of authority which they were accustomed to carry. It happened, one day, that a certain gay captain, a follower of Leicester's, and a sort of favorite of his, was stopped in the antechamber by one of the gentlemen of the black rod, named Bowyer, the queen having ordered him to be more careful and particular in respect to the admission of company. The captain, who was proud of the favor which he enjoyed with Leicester, resented this affront, and threatened the officer, and he was engaged in an altercation with him on the subject when Leicester came in. Leicester took his favorite's part, and told the gentleman usher that he was a knave, and that he would have him turned out of office. Leicester was accustomed to feel so much confidence in his power over Elizabeth, that his manner toward all beneath him had become exceedingly haughty and overbearing. He supposed, probably, that the officer would humble himself at once before his rebukes.

Elizabeth in a rage.
Her invectives against Leicester.

The officer, however, instead of this, stepped directly in before Leicester, who was then going in himself to the presence of the queen; kneeled before her majesty, related the facts of the case, and humbly asked what it was her pleasure that he should do. He had obeyed her majesty's orders, he said, and had been called imperiously to account for it, and threatened violently by Leicester, and he wished now to know whether Leicester was king or her majesty queen. Elizabeth was very much displeased with the conduct of her favorite. She turned to him, and, beginning with a sort of oath which she was accustomed to use when irritated and angry, she addressed him in invectives and reproaches the most severe. She gave him, in a word, what would be called a scolding, were it not that scolding is a term not sufficiently dignified for history, even for such humble history as this. She told him that she had indeed shown him favor, but her favor was not so fixed and settled upon him that nobody else was to have any share, and that if he imagined that he could lord it over her household, she would contrive a way very soon to convince him of his mistake. There was one mistress to rule there, she said, but no master. She then dismissed Bowyer, telling Leicester that, if any evil happened to him, she should hold him, that is, Leicester, to a strict account for it, as she should be convinced it would have come through his means.

Leicester's chagrin.

Leicester was exceedingly chagrined at this result of the difficulty. Of course he dared not defend himself or reply. All the other courtiers enjoyed his confusion very highly, and one of them, in giving an account of the affair, said, in conclusion, that "the queen's words so quelled him, that, for some time after, his feigned humility was one of his best virtues."

Elizabeth's powers of satire.
Elizabeth's views of marriage.
Her insulting conduct.

Queen Elizabeth very evidently possessed that peculiar combination of quickness of intellect and readiness of tongue which enables those who possess it to say very sharp and biting things, when vexed or out of humor. It is a brilliant talent, though it always makes those who possess it hated and feared. Elizabeth was often wantonly cruel in the exercise of this satirical power, considering very little—as is usually the case with such persons—the justice of her invectives, but obeying blindly the impulses of the ill nature which prompted her to utter them. We have already said that she seemed always to have a special feeling of ill will against marriage and every thing that pertained to it, and she had, particularly, a theory that the bishops and the clergy ought not to be married. She could not absolutely prohibit their marrying, but she did issue an injunction forbidding any of the heads of the colleges or cathedrals to take their wives into the same, or any of their precincts. At one time, in one of her royal progresses through the country, she was received, and very magnificently and hospitably entertained, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, at his palace. The archbishop's wife exerted herself very particularly to please the queen and to do her honor. Elizabeth evinced her gratitude by turning to her, as she was about to take her leave, and saying that she could not call her the archbishop's wife, and did not like to call her his mistress, and so she did not know what to call her; but that, at all events, she was very much obliged to her for her hospitality.

The Dean of Christ Church and the Prayer Book.

Elizabeth's highest officers of state were continually exposed to her sharp and sudden reproaches, and they often incurred them by sincere and honest efforts to gratify and serve her. She had made an arrangement, one day, to go into the city of London to St. Paul's Church, to hear the Dean of Christ Church, a distinguished clergyman, preach. The dean procured a copy of the Prayer Book, and had it splendidly bound, with a great number of beautiful and costly prints interleaved in it. These prints were all of a religious character, being representations of sacred history, or of scenes in the lives of the saints. The volume, thus prepared, was very beautiful, and it was placed, when the Sabbath morning arrived, upon the queen's cushion at the church, ready for her use. The queen entered in great state, and took her seat in the midst of all the parade and ceremony customary on such occasions. As soon, however, as she opened the book and saw the pictures, she frowned, and seemed to be much displeased. She shut the book and put it away, and called for her own; and, after the service, she sent for the dean, and asked him who brought that book there. He replied, in a very humble and submissive manner, that he had procured it himself, having intended it as a present for her majesty. This only produced fresh expressions of displeasure. She proceeded to rebuke him severely for countenancing such a popish practice as the introduction of pictures in the churches. All this time Elizabeth had herself a crucifix in her own private chapel, and the dean himself, on the other hand, was a firm and consistent Protestant, entirely opposed to the Catholic system of images and pictures, as Elizabeth very well knew.

Elizabeth's good qualities.
Her courage.

This sort of roughness was a somewhat masculine trait of character for a lady, it must be acknowledged, and not a very agreeable one, even in man; but with some of the bad qualities of the other sex, Elizabeth possessed, also, some that were good. She was courageous, and she evinced her courage sometimes in a very noble manner. At one time, when political excitement ran very high, her friends thought that there was serious danger in her appearing openly in public, and they urged her not to do it, but to confine herself within her palaces for a time, until the excitement should pass away. But no; the representations made to her produced no effect. She said she would continue to go out just as freely as ever. She did not think that there was really any danger; and besides, if there was, she did not care; she would rather take her chance of being killed than to be kept shut up like a prisoner.

The shot at the barge.

At the time, too, when the shot was fired at the barge in which she was going down the Thames, many of her ministers thought it was aimed at her. They endeavored to convince her of this, and urged her not to expose herself to such dangers. She replied that she did not believe that the shot was aimed at her; and that, in fact, she would not believe any thing of her subjects which a father would not be willing to believe of his own children. So she went on sailing in her barge just as before.

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth.Portrait of Queen Elizabeth.
Elizabeth's vanity.
Elizabeth and the embassador.

Elizabeth was very vain of her beauty, though, unfortunately, she had very little beauty to be vain of. Nothing pleased her so much as compliments. She sometimes almost exacted them. At one time, when a distinguished embassador from Mary Queen of Scots was at her court, she insisted on his telling her whether she or Mary was the most beautiful. When we consider that Elizabeth was at this time over thirty years of age, and Mary only twenty-two, and that the fame of Mary's loveliness had filled the world, it must be admitted that this question indicated a considerable degree of self-complacency. The embassador had the prudence to attempt to evade the inquiry. He said at first that they were both beautiful enough. But Elizabeth wanted to know, she said, which was most beautiful. The embassador then said that his queen was the most beautiful queen in Scotland and Elizabeth in England. Elizabeth was not satisfied with this, but insisted on a definite answer to her question; and the embassador said at last that Elizabeth had the fairest complexion, though Mary was considered a very lovely woman. Elizabeth then wanted to know which was the tallest of the two. The embassador said that Mary was. "Then," said Elizabeth, "she is too tall, for I am just of the right height myself."

The pictures.

At one time during Elizabeth's reign, the people took a fancy to engrave and print portraits of her, which, being perhaps tolerably faithful to the original, were not very alluring. The queen was much vexed at the circulation of these prints, and finally she caused a grave and formal proclamation to be issued against them. In this proclamation it was stated that it was the intention of the queen, at some future time, to have a proper artist employed to execute a correct and true portrait of herself, which should then be published; and, in the mean time, all persons were forbidden to make or sell any representations of her whatever.

Elizabeth's fondness for pomp and parade.

Elizabeth was extremely fond of pomp and parade. The magnificence and splendor of the celebrations and festivities which characterized her reign have scarcely ever been surpassed in any country or in any age. She once went to attend Church, on a particular occasion, accompanied by a thousand men in full armor of steel, and ten pieces of cannon, with drums and trumpets sounding. She received her foreign embassadors with military spectacles and shows, and with banquets and parties of pleasure, which for many days kept all London in a fever of excitement. Sometimes she made excursions on the river, with whole fleets of boats and barges in her train; the shores, on such occasions, swarming with spectators, and waving with flags and banners. Sometimes she would make grand progresses through her dominions, followed by an army of attendants—lords and ladies dressed and mounted in the most costly manner—and putting the nobles whose seats she visited to a vast expense in entertaining such a crowd of visitors. Being very saving of her own means, she generally contrived to bring the expense of this magnificence upon others. The honor was a sufficient equivalent. Or, if it was not, nobody dared to complain.

Summary of Elizabeth's character.

To sum up all, Elizabeth was very great, and she was, at the same time, very little. Littleness and greatness mingled in her character in a manner which has scarcely ever been paralleled, except by the equally singular mixture of admiration and contempt with which mankind have always regarded her.

1561.

Tragedy of Ferrex and Porrex.—Translations of ancient tragedies.—Death of Francis II.—Mary refuses to ratify the treaty of Edinburgh—returns to Scotland.—Enmity between Mary and Elizabeth.—Philip II. secretly encourages the English papists.—Measures of rigor adopted against them by Elizabeth.—Anecdote of the queen and Dr. Sampson.—St. Paul's struck by lightning.—Bishop Pilkington's sermon on the occasion.—Paul's Walk.—Precautions against the queen's being poisoned.—The king of Sweden proposes to visit her.—Steps taken in this matter.

T he  eighteenth of January 1561 ought to be celebrated as the birthday of the English drama; for it was on this day that Thomas Sackville caused to be represented at Whitehall, for the entertainment of Elizabeth and her court, the tragedy of Ferrex and Porrex, otherwise called Gorboduc, the joint production of himself and Thomas Norton. From the unrivalled force of imagination, the vigor and purity of diction, and the intimate knowledge and tasteful adaptation of the beauties of the Latin poets displayed in the contributions of Sackville to the Mirror of Magistrates, a lettered audience would conceive high expectations from his attempt in a new walk of poetry; but in the then barbarous state of our Theatre, such a performance as Gorboduc must have been hailed as not only a novelty but a wonder. It was the first piece composed in English on the ancient tragic model, with a regular division into five acts, closed by lyric choruses.

It offered the first example of a story from British history, or what passed for history, completely dramatized and represented with an attempt at theatrical illusion; for the earlier pieces published under the title of tragedies were either ballads or monologues, which might indeed be sung or recited, but were incapable of being acted. The plot of the play was fraught with those circumstances of the deepest horror by which the dormant sensibilities of an inexperienced audience require and delight to be awakened. An unwonted force of thought and dignity of language claimed the patience, if not the admiration, of the hearers, for the long political disquisitions by which the business of the piece was somewhat painfully retarded.

The curiosity of the public respecting a drama which had been performed with general applause both at court and before the society of the Middle Temple, encouraged its surreptitious appearance in print in 1565, and a second stolen edition was followed, some years after, by a corrected one published under the inspection of the authors themselves. The taste for the legitimate drama thus awakened, may be supposed to have led to the naturalization amongst us of several of its best ancient models. The Phœnissæ of Euripides appeared under the title of Jocasta, having received an English dress from Gascoigne and Kinwelmershe, two students of Gray's Inn. The ten tragedies of Seneca, englished by different hands, succeeded. It is worthy of note, however, that none of these translators had the good taste to imitate the authors of Ferrex and Porrex in the adoption of blank verse, and that one only amongst them made use of the heroic rhymed couplet; the others employing the old alexandrine measure, excepting in the choruses, which were given in various kinds of stanza. Her majesty alone seems to have perceived the superior advantages, or to have been tempted by the greater facility of Sackville's verse; and amongst the MSS. of the Bodleian library there is found a translation by her own hand of part of Seneca's Hercules Oetæus, which is in this measure. Warton however adds, that this specimen "has no other recommendation than its royalty."

The propensity of Elizabeth, amid all the serious cares of government and all the pettinesses of that political intrigue to which she was addicted, to occupy herself with attempts in polite literature, for which she possessed no manner of talent, is not the least remarkable among the features of her extraordinary and complicated character.

At the period of her reign however which we are now considering, public affairs must have required from her an almost undivided attention. By the death of Francis II. about the end of the year 1560, the queen of Scots had become a widow, and the relations of England with France and Scotland had immediately assumed an entirely novel aspect.

The change was in one respect highly to the advantage of Elizabeth. By the loss of her royal husband, Mary was deprived of that command over the resources of the French monarchy by which she had hoped to render effective her claim to the English crown, and she found it expedient to discontinue for the present the use of the royal arms of England. The enmity of the queen-mother had even chased her from that court where she had reigned so lately, and obliged her to retire to her uncle, the cardinal of Lorrain at Rheims. But from the age and temper of the beautiful and aspiring Mary, it was to be expected that she would ere long be induced to re-enter the matrimonial state with some one of the princes of Europe; and neither as a sovereign nor a woman could Elizabeth regard without jealousy the plans for her reestablishment already agitated by her ambitious uncles of the house of Guise. Under these circumstances, it was the first object of Elizabeth to obtain from her rival the formal ratification, which had hitherto been withheld, of the treaty of Edinburgh, by one article of which Mary was pledged never to resume the English arms; and Throgmorton, then ambassador to France, was instructed to urge strongly her immediate compliance with this certainly not inequitable demand. The queen of Scots, however, persisted in evading its fulfilment, and on pleas so forced and futile as justly to confirm all previous suspicions of her sincerity.

Matters were in this state between the two sovereigns, when Mary came to the resolution of acceding to the unanimous entreaties of her subjects of both religions, by returning to govern in person the kingdom of her ancestors; and she sent to request of Elizabeth a safe-conduct. The English princess promptly replied, that the queen had only to ratify the treaty of Edinburgh, and she should obtain not merely a safe-conduct but free permission to shorten the fatigues of her voyage by passing through England, where she should be received with all the marks of affection due to a beloved sister. By this answer Mary chose to regard herself as insulted; and declaring to the English ambassador in great heat that nothing vexed her so much as to have exposed herself without necessity to such a refusal, and that she doubted not that she should be able to return to her country without the permission of Elizabeth, as she had quitted it in spite of all the vigilance of her brother, she abruptly broke off the conference.

Henceforth the breach between these illustrious kinswomen became irreparable. In vain did Mary, after her arrival in Scotland, endeavour to remedy the imprudence which she was conscious of having committed, by professions of respect and friendship; for with these hollow compliments she had the further indiscretion to mingle the demand that Elizabeth should publicly declare her next heir to the English throne; a proposal which this high-spirited princess could never hear without rage. Neither of the queens was a novice in the arts of dissimulation, and as often as it suited the interest or caprice of the moment, each would lavish upon the other, without scruple, every demonstration of amity, every pledge of affection; but jealousy, suspicion, and hatred dwelt irremoveably in the inmost recesses of their hearts. The protestant party in Scotland was powerfully protected by Elizabeth, the catholic party in England was secretly incited by Mary; and it became scarcely less the care and occupation of each to disturb the administration of her rival than to fix her own on a solid basis.

Mary had been attended on her return to Scotland by her three uncles, the duke of Aumale, the grand prior and the marquis of Elbeuf, with a numerous retinue of French nobility; and when after a short visit the duke and the grand prior took their leave of her, they with their company consisting of more than a hundred returned through England, visiting in their way the court of Elizabeth. Brantome, who was of the party, has given incidentally the following particulars of their entertainment in the short memoir which he has devoted to the celebration of Henry II. of France.

"Bref, c'estoit un roy tres accomply & fort aymable. J'ay ouy conter a la reigne d'Angleterre qui est aujourd'huy, que c'estoit le roy & le prince du monde qu'elle avoit plus desiré de voir, pour le beau rapport qu'on luy en avoit fait, & pour sa grande renommée qui en voloit par tout. Monsieur le connestable qui vit aujourd'huy s'en pourra bien ressouvenir, ce fut lorsque retournant d'Escosse M. le grand prieur de France, de la maison de Lorreine, & luy, la reigne leur donna un soir a soupper, où après se fit un ballet de ses filles, qu'elle avoit ordonné & dressé, representant les vierges de l'evangile, desquelles les unes avoient leurs lampes allumées & les autres n'avoient ny huile ny feu & en demandoient. Ces lampes estoient d'argent fort gentiment faites & elabourées, & les dames étoient tres-belles & honnestes & bien apprises, qui prirent nous autres François pour danser, mesme la reigne dansa, & de fort bonne grace & belle majesté royale, car elle l'avoit & estoit lors en sa grande beauté & belle grace. Rien ne l'a gastée que l'execution de la pauvre reigne d'Escosse, sans cela c'estoit une tres-rare princesse.

"...Estant ainsi à table devisant familierement avec ces seigneurs, elle dit ces mots, (après avoir fort loüé le roy): C'estoit le prince du monde que j'avois plus desiré de voir, & luy avois deja mandé que bientost je le verrois, & pour ce j'avois commandé de me faire bien appareiller mes galeres (usant de ces mots) pour passer en France exprès pour le voir. Monsieur le connestable, d'aujourd'huy, qui estoit lors Monsieur d'Amville, respondit, Madame, je m'asseure que vous eussiez esté tres-contente de le voir, car son humeur & sa façon vous eussent pleu; aussi lui eust il esté tres-content de vous voir, car il eust fort aimé vôtre belle humeur & vos agreables façons, & vous eust fait un honorable accueil & tres-bonne chere, & vous eust bien fait passer le temps. Je le croy & m'en asseure, dit elle." &c.

By the death of the king of France, and the increasing distractions of that unhappy country under the feeble minority of Charles IX., the politics of the king of Spain also were affected. He had not now to fear the union of the crowns of England France and Scotland under the joint rule of Francis and Mary, which he had once regarded as a not improbable event; consequently his strongest inducement for keeping measures with Elizabeth ceased to operate, and he began daily to disclose more and more of that animosity with which he could not fail to regard a princess who was at once the heroine and patroness of protestantism. From this time he began to furnish secret aids which added hope and courage to the English partisans of popery and of Mary; and Elizabeth judged it a necessary policy to place her catholic subjects under a more rigid system of restraint. It was contrary to her private inclinations to treat this sect with severity, and she was the more reluctant to do so as she thus gratified in an especial manner the wishes of the puritanical or Calvinistic party in the church, their inveterate enemies; and by identifying in some measure her cause with theirs, saw herself obliged to conform in several points to their views rather than her own wishes.

The law which rendered it penal to hear mass was first put in force against several persons of rank, that the example might strike the more terror. Sir Edward Waldegrave, in Mary's reign a privy-councillor, was on this account committed to the Tower, with his lady and some others; and lord Loughborough, also a privy-councillor much favored and trusted by the late queen, was brought into trouble on the same ground. Against Waldegrave it is to be feared that much cruelty was exercised during his imprisonment; for it is said to have occasioned his death, which occurred in the Tower a few months afterwards. The High Commission court now began to take cognisance of what was called recusancy, or the refusal to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy; it also encouraged informations against such as refrained from joining in the established worship; and numerous professors of the old religion, both ecclesiastics and laity, were summoned on one account or other before this tribunal. Of these, some were committed to prison, others restricted from entering certain places, as the two universities, or circumscribed within the limits of some town or county; and most were bound in great penalties to be forthcoming whenever it should be required.

As a further demonstration of zeal against popery, the queen caused all the altars in Westminster abbey to be pulled down; and about the same time a remarkable scene occurred between her majesty and Dr. Thomas Sampson dean of Christ-church.

It happened that the queen had appointed to go to St. Paul's on New Year's day to hear the dean preach; and he, thinking to gratify her on that day with an elegant and appropriate present, had procured some prints illustrative of the histories of the saints and martyrs, which he caused to be inserted in a richly bound prayer-book and laid on the queen's cushion for her use. Her majesty opened the volume; but no sooner did the prints meet her eye, than she frowned, blushed, and called to the verger to bring her the book she was accustomed to use. As soon as the service was ended, she went into the vestry and inquired of the dean who had brought that book? and when he explained that he had meant it as a present to her majesty, she chid him severely, inquired if he was ignorant of her proclamation against images, pictures, and Romish reliques in the churches, and of her aversion to all idolatry, and strictly ordered that no similar mistake should be made in future. What renders this circumstance the more curious is, that Elizabeth at this very time kept a crucifix in her private chapel, and that Sampson was so far from being popishly inclined, that he had refused the bishopric of Norwich the year before, on account of the habits and ceremonies, and was afterwards deprived of his deanery by archbishop Parker for nonconformity.

Never did parties in religion run higher than about this period of the reign of Elizabeth; and we may remark as symptomatic of the temper of the times, the manner in which a trivial accident was commented upon by adverse disputants. The beautiful steeple of St. Paul's cathedral, the loftiest in the kingdom, had been stricken by lightning and utterly destroyed, together with the bells and roof. A papist immediately dispersed a paper representing this accident as a judgement of Heaven for the discontinuance of the matins and other services which had used to be performed in the church at different hours of the day and night. Pilkington bishop of Durham, who preached at Paul's cross after the accident, was equally disposed to regard it as a judgement, but on the sins of London in general, and particularly on certain abuses by which the church had formerly been polluted. In a tract published in answer to that of the papist he afterwards gave an animated description of the practices of which this cathedral had been the theatre; curious at the present day as a record of forgotten customs. He said that "no place had been more abused than Paul's had been, nor more against the receiving of Christ's Gospel; wherefore it was more wonder that God had spared it so long, than that he overthrew it now.... From the top of the spire, at coronations or other solemn triumphs, some for vain glory had used to throw themselves down by a rope, and so killed themselves, vainly to please other men's eyes. At the battlements of the steeple, sundry times were used their popish anthems, to call upon their Gods, with torch and taper, in the evenings. In the top of one of the pinnacles was Lollards' Tower, where many an innocent soul had been by them cruelly tormented and murdered. In the middest alley was their long censer, reaching from the roof to the ground; as though the Holy Ghost came down in their censing, in likeness of a dove. In the arches, men commonly complained of wrong and delayed judgments in ecclesiastical causes: and divers had been condemned there by Annas and Caiaphas for Christ's cause. Their images hung on every wall, pillar and door, with their pilgrimages and worshipings of them: passing over their massing and many altars, and the rest of their popish service. The south alley was for usury and popery, the north for simony; and the horse fair in the midst for all kind of bargains, meetings, brawlings, murders, conspiracies. The font for ordinary payments of money as well known to all men as the beggar knows his dish.... So that without and within, above the ground and under, over the roof and beneath, from the top of the steeple and spire down to the low floor, not one spot was free from wickedness."

The practice here alluded to, of making the nave of St. Paul's a kind of exchange for the transaction of all kinds of business, and a place of meeting for idlers of every sort, is frequently referred to by the writers of this and the two succeeding reigns; and when or by what means the custom was put an end to, does not appear. It was here that sir Nicholas Throgmorton held a conference with an emissary of Wyat's; it was here that one of the bravoes engaged in the noted murder of Arden of Feversham was hired. It was in Paul's that Falstaff is made to say he "bought" Bardolph.

In bishop Earl's admirable little book called Micro-cosmography the scene is described with all the wit of the author and somewhat of the quaintness of his age, which was that of James I.

"Paul's walk  is the land's epitome, or you may call it the lesser isle of Great Britain. It is, more than this, the whole world's map, which you may here discern in its perfectest motion, justling, and turning. It is the great exchange of all discourse, and no business whatsoever but is here stirring and afoot. It is the synod of all pates politic, joined and laid together in most serious posture, and they are not half so busy at the parliament.... It is the market of young lecturers, whom you may cheapen here at all rates and sizes. It is the general mint of all famous lies, which are here, like the legends of popery, first coined and stamped in the church. All inventions are emptied here, and not a few pockets. The best sign of a temple in it is, that it is the thieves sanctuary.... The visitants are, all men without exception, but the principal inhabitants and possessors are, stale knights, and captains out of service, men of long rapiers and breeches which, after all, turn merchants here, and traffic for news. Some make it a preface to their dinner, but thriftier men make it their ordinary, and board here very cheap."

The vigilant ministers of Elizabeth had now begun to alarm themselves and her with apprehensions of plots against her life from the malice of the papists; and it would be rash to pronounce that such fears were entirely void of foundation; but we may be permitted to smile at the ignorant credulity on the subject of poisons,—universal indeed in that age,—which dictated the following minute of council, extant in the handwriting of Cecil. "We think it very convenient that your majesty's apparel, and specially all manner of things that shall touch any part of your majesty's body bare, be circumspectly looked unto; and that no person be permitted to come near it, but such as have the trust and charge thereof.

"Item. That no manner of perfume either in apparel or sleeves, gloves or such like, or otherwise that shall be appointed for your majesty's savor, be presented by any stranger or other person, but that the same be corrected by some other fume.

"Item. That no foreign meat or dishes being dressed out of your majesty's court, be brought to your food, without assured knowledge from whom the same cometh; and that no use be had hereof.

"Item. That it may please your majesty to take the advice of your physician for the receiving weekly twice some preservative 'contra pestem et venena,' as there be many good things 'et salutaria.'

"Item. It may please your majesty to give order who shall take the charge of the back doors to your chamberers chambers, where landresses, tailors, wardrobers, and the like, use to come; and that the same doors be duly attended upon, as becometh, and not to stand open but upon necessity.

"Item. That the privy chamber may be better ordered, with an attendance of an usher, and the gentlemen and grooms [48]."

It was fortunate that the same exaggerated notions of the power of poisons prevailed amongst papists as protestants. Against the ill effects of a drug applied by direction of a Spanish friar to the arms of a chair and the pommel of a saddle, the antidotes received twice a week might be depended upon as an effectual preservative.

From these perils, real and imaginary,—none of which however appear to have taken strong hold of the cheerful and courageous temper of the queen,—her attention and that of her council was for some time diverted by the expectation of a royal suitor.

Eric king of Sweden,—whose hopes of final success in his addresses were kept up in spite of the repeated denials of the queen, by the artifice of some Englishmen at his court who deluded him by pretended secret intelligence,—had sent to her majesty a royal present, and declared his intention of following in person. The present consisted of eighteen large piebald horses, and two ship-loads of precious articles which are not particularized. It does not appear that this offering was ill-received; but as Elizabeth was determined not to relent in favor of the sender, she caused him to be apprized of the impositions passed upon him by the English to whom he had given ear, at the same time expressing her anxious hope that he would spare himself the fatigues of a fruitless voyage. Fearing however that he might be already on his way, she occupied herself in preparations for receiving him with all the hospitality and splendor due to his errand, his rank and her own honor. It was at the same time a business of some perplexity so to regulate all these matters of ceremony that neither Eric himself nor others might conclude that he was a favored suitor. Among the state papers of the time we find, first a letter of council to the lord mayor, setting forth, that, "Whereas certain bookbinders and stationers did utter certain papers wherein were printed the face of her majesty and the king of Sweden; although her majesty was not miscontented that either her own face or that of this king should be pourtrayed; yet to be joined in the same paper with him or any other prince who was known to have made request for marriage to her, was what she could not allow. Accordingly it was her pleasure that the lord mayor should seize all such papers, and pack them up so that none of them should get abroad. Otherwise she might seem to authorize this joining of herself in marriage to him, which might seem to touch her in honor." Next we have a letter to the duke of Norfolk directing the manner in which he should go to meet the king, if he landed at any part of Norfolk or Suffolk: and lastly, we have the solemn judgement of the lord-treasurer, the lord-steward, and the lord-chamberlain, on the ceremonial to be observed towards him on his arrival by the queen herself.

One paragraph is conceived with all the prudery and the deep policy about trifles, which marked the character of Elizabeth herself. "Bycause the queen's majesty is a maid, in this case would many things be omitted of honor and courtesy, which otherwise were mete to be showed to him, as in like cases hath been of kings of this land to others, and therefore it shall be necessary that the gravest of her council do, as of their own judgement, excuse the lack thereof to the king; and yet on their own parts offer the supplement thereof with reverence."

After all, the king of Sweden never came.


[48]"Burleigh Papers" by Haynes, p. 368.

Accession to the Throne

1555-1558

Mary's unhappy reign.
Unrequited love.
Mary's sufferings.

I f  it were the story of Mary instead of that of Elizabeth that we were following, we should have now to pause and draw a very melancholy picture of the scenes which darkened the close of the queen's unfortunate and unhappy history. Mary loved her husband, but she could not secure his love in return. He treated her with supercilious coldness and neglect, and evinced, from time to time, a degree of interest in other ladies which awakened her jealousy and anger. Of all the terrible convulsions to which the human soul is subject, there is not one which agitates it more deeply than the tumult of feeling produced by the mingling of resentment and love. Such a mingling, or, rather, such a conflict, between passions apparently inconsistent with each other, is generally considered not possible by those who have never experienced it. But it is possible. It is possible to be stung with a sense of the ingratitude, and selfishness, and cruelty of an object, which, after all, the heart will persist in clinging to with the fondest affection. Vexation and anger, a burning sense of injury, and desire for revenge, on the one hand, and feelings of love, resistless and uncontrollable, and bearing, in their turn, all before them, alternately get possession of the soul, harrowing and devastating it in their awful conflict, and even sometimes reigning over it, for a time, in a temporary but dreadful calm, like that of two wrestlers who pause a moment, exhausted in a mortal combat, but grappling each other with deadly energy all the time, while they are taking breath for a renewal of the conflict. Queen Mary, in one of these paroxysms, seized a portrait of her husband and tore it into shreds. The reader, who has his or her experience in affairs of the heart yet to come, will say, perhaps, her love for him then must have been all gone. No; it was at its height. We do not tear the portraits of those who are indifferent to us.

Her religious principles.
Progress of Mary's Catholic zeal.
Her moderation at first.

At the beginning of her reign, and, in fact, during all the previous periods of her life, Mary had been an honest and conscientious Catholic. She undoubtedly truly believed that the Christian Church ought to be banded together in one great communion, with the Pope of Rome as its spiritual head, and that her father had broken away from this communion—which was, in fact, strictly true—merely to obtain a pretext for getting released from her mother. How natural, under such circumstances, that she should have desired to return. She commenced, immediately on her accession, a course of measures to bring the nation back to the Roman Catholic communion. She managed very prudently and cautiously at first—especially while the affair of her marriage was pending—seemingly very desirous of doing nothing to exasperate those who were of the Protestant faith, or even to awaken their opposition. After she was married, however, her desire to please her Catholic husband, and his widely-extended and influential circle of Catholic friends on the Continent, made her more eager to press forward the work of putting down the Reformation in England; and as her marriage was now effected, she was less concerned about the consequences of any opposition which she might excite. Then, besides, her temper, never very sweet, was sadly soured by her husband's treatment of her. She vented her ill will upon those who would not yield to her wishes in respect to their religious faith. She caused more and more severe laws to be passed, and enforced them by more and more severe penalties. The more she pressed these violent measures, the more the fortitude and resolution of those who suffered from them were aroused. And, on the other hand, the more they resisted, the more determined she became that she would compel them to submit. She went on from one mode of coercion to another, until she reached the last possible point, and inflicted the most dreadful physical suffering which it is possible for man to inflict upon his fellow-man.

Mary's terrible persecution of the Protestants.
Burning at the stake.
The title of Bloody given to Mary.

This worst and most terrible injury is to burn the living victim in a fire. That a woman could ever order this to be done would seem to be incredible. Queen Mary, however, and her government, were so determined to put down, at all hazards, all open disaffection to the Catholic cause, that they did not give up the contest until they had burned nearly three hundred persons by fire, of whom more than fifty were women, and four were children ! This horrible persecution was, however, of no avail. Dissentients increased faster than they could be burned; and such dreadful punishments became at last so intolerably odious to the nation that they were obliged to desist, and then the various ministers of state concerned in them attempted to throw off the blame upon each other. The English nation have never forgiven Mary for these atrocities. They gave her the name of Bloody Mary at the time, and she has retained it to the present day. In one of the ancient histories of the realm, at the head of the chapter devoted to Mary, there is placed, as an appropriate emblem of the character of her reign, the picture of a man writhing helplessly at a stake, with the flames curling around him, and a ferocious-looking soldier standing by, stirring up the fire.

Mary and Elizabeth reconciled.
Scenes of festivity.

The various disappointments, vexations, and trials which Mary endured toward the close of her life, had one good effect; they softened the animosity which she had felt toward Elizabeth, and in the end something like a friendship seemed to spring up between the sisters. Abandoned by her husband, and looked upon with dislike or hatred by her subjects, and disappointed in all her plans, she seemed to turn at last to Elizabeth for companionship and comfort. The sisters visited each other. First Elizabeth went to London to visit the queen, and was received with great ceremony and parade. Then the queen went to Hatfield to visit the princess, attended by a large company of ladies and gentlemen of the court, and several days were spent there in festivities and rejoicings. There were plays in the palace, and a bear-baiting in the court-yard, and hunting in the park, and many other schemes of pleasure. This renewal of friendly intercourse between the queen and the princess brought the latter gradually out of her retirement. Now that the queen began to evince a friendly spirit toward her, it was safe for others to show her kindness and to pay her attention. The disposition to do this increased rapidly as Mary's health gradually declined, and it began to be understood that she would not live long, and that, consequently, Elizabeth would soon be called to the throne.

The war with France.
Loss of Calais.
Murmurs of the English.

The war which Mary had been drawn into with France, by Philip's threat that he would never see her again, proved very disastrous. The town of Calais, which is opposite to Dover, across the straits, and, of course, on the French side of the channel, had been in the possession of the English for two hundred years. It was very gratifying to English pride to hold possession of such a stronghold on the French shore; but now every thing seemed to go against Mary. Calais was defended by a citadel nearly as large as the town itself, and was deemed impregnable. In addition to this, an enormous English force was concentrated there. The French general, however, contrived, partly by stratagem, and partly by overpowering numbers of troops, and ships, and batteries of cannon, to get possession of the whole. The English nation were indignant at this result. Their queen and her government, so energetic in imprisoning and burning her own subjects at home, were powerless, it seemed, in coping with their enemies abroad. Murmurs of dissatisfaction were heard every where, and Mary sank down upon her sick bed overwhelmed with disappointment, vexation, and chagrin. She said that she should die, and that if, after her death, they examined her body, they would find Calais like a load upon her heart.

King of Sweden's proposal to Elizabeth.

In the mean time, it must have been Elizabeth's secret wish that she would die, since her death would release the princess from all the embarrassments and restraints of her position, and raise her at once to the highest pinnacle of honor and power. She remained, however, quietly at Hatfield, acting in all things in a very discreet and cautious manner. At one time she received proposals from the King of Sweden that she would accept of his son as her husband. She asked the embassador if he had communicated the affair to Mary. On his replying that he had not, Elizabeth said that she could not entertain at all any such question, unless her sister were first consulted and should give her approbation. She acted on the same principles in every thing, being very cautious to give Mary and her government no cause of complaint against her, and willing to wait patiently until her own time should come.

Mary's energy.

Though Mary's disappointments and losses filled her mind with anguish and suffering, they did not soften her heart. She seemed to grow more cruel and vindictive the more her plans and projects failed. Adversity vexed and irritated, instead of calming and subduing her. She revived her persecutions of the Protestants. She fitted out a fleet of a hundred and twenty ships to make a descent upon the French coast, and attempt to retrieve her fallen fortunes there. She called Parliament together and asked for more supplies. All this time she was confined to her sick chamber, but not considered in danger. The Parliament were debating the question of supplies. Her privy council were holding daily meetings to carry out the plans and schemes which she still continued to form, and all was excitement and bustle in and around the court, when one day the council was thunderstruck by an announcement that she was dying.

Mary's privy council alarmed.

They knew very well that her death would be a terrible blow to them. They were all Catholics, and had been Mary's instruments in the terrible persecutions with which she had oppressed the Protestant faith. With Mary's death, of course they would fall. A Protestant princess was ready, at Hatfield, to ascend the throne. Every thing would be changed, and there was even danger that they might, in their turn, be sent to the stake, in retaliation for the cruelties which they had caused others to suffer. They made arrangements to have Mary's death, whenever it should take place, concealed for a few hours, till they could consider what they should do.

Their perplexity.

There was nothing  that they could do. There was now no other considerable claimant to the throne but Elizabeth, except Mary Queen of Scots, who was far away in France. She was a Catholic, it was true; but to bring her into the country and place her upon the throne seemed to be a hopeless undertaking. Queen Mary's counselors soon found that they must give up their cause in despair. Any attempt to resist Elizabeth's claims would be high treason, and, of course, if unsuccessful, would bring the heads of all concerned in it to the block.

Uncertainty about Elizabeth's future course.
Her cautious policy.
Death of Mary.

Besides, it was not certain  that Elizabeth would act decidedly as a Protestant. She had been very prudent and cautious during Mary's reign, and had been very careful never to manifest any hostility to the Catholics. She never had acted as Mary had done on the occasion of her brother's funeral, when she refused even to countenance with her presence the national service because it was under Protestant forms. Elizabeth had always accompanied Mary to mass whenever occasion required; she had always spoken respectfully of the Catholic faith; and once she asked Mary to lend her some Catholic books, in order that she might inform herself more fully on the subject of the principles of the Roman faith. It is true, she acted thus not because there was any real leaning in her mind toward the Catholic religion; it was all merely a wise and sagacious policy. Surrounded by difficulties and dangers as she was during Mary's reign, her only hope of safety was in passing as quietly as possible along, and managing warily, so as to keep the hostility which was burning secretly against her from breaking out into an open flame. This was her object in retiring so much from the court and from all participation in public affairs, in avoiding all religious and political contests, and spending her time in the study of Greek, and Latin, and philosophy. The consequence was, that when Mary died, nobody knew certainly what course Elizabeth would pursue. Nobody had any strong motive for opposing her succession. The council, therefore, after a short consultation, concluded to do nothing but simply to send a message to the House of Lords, announcing to them the unexpected death of the queen.

Announcement to Parliament.

The House of Lords, on receiving this intelligence, sent for the Commons to come into their hall, as is usual when any important communication is to be made to them either by the Lords themselves or by the sovereign. The chancellor, who is the highest civil officer of the kingdom in respect to rank, and who presides in the House of Lords, clothed in a magnificent antique costume, then rose and announced to the Commons, standing before him, the death of the sovereign. There was a moment's solemn pause, such as propriety on the occasion of an announcement like this required, all thoughts being, too, for a moment turned to the chamber where the body of the departed queen was lying. But the sovereignty was no longer there. The mysterious principle had fled with the parting breath, and Elizabeth, though wholly unconscious of it, had been for several hours the queen. The thoughts, therefore, of the august and solemn assembly lingered but for a moment in the royal palace, which had now lost all its glory; they soon turned spontaneously, and with eager haste, to the new sovereign at Hatfield, and the lofty arches of the Parliament hall rung with loud acclamations, "God save Queen Elizabeth, and grant her a long and happy reign."

Elizabeth proclaimed.
Joy of the people.

The members of the Parliament went forth immediately to proclaim the new queen. There are two principal places where it was then customary to proclaim the English sovereigns. One of these was before the royal palace at Westminster, and the other in the city of London, at a very public place called the Great Cross at Cheapside. The people assembled in great crowds at these points to witness the ceremony, and received the announcement which the heralds made, with the most ardent expressions of joy. The bells were every where rung; tables were spread in the streets, and booths erected, bonfires and illuminations were prepared for the evening, and every thing indicated a deep and universal joy.

The Te Deum.

In fact, this joy was so strongly expressed as to be even in some degree disrespectful to the memory of the departed queen. There is a famous ancient Latin hymn which has long been sung in England and on the Continent of Europe on occasions of great public rejoicing. It is called the Te Deum, or sometimes the Te Deum Laudamus. These last are the three Latin words with which the hymn commences, and mean, Thee, God, we praise. They sung the Te Deum  in the churches of London on the Sunday after Mary died.

Elizabeth's emotions.

In the mean time, messengers from the council proceeded with all speed to Hatfield, to announce to Elizabeth the death of her sister, and her own accession to the sovereign power. The tidings, of course, filled Elizabeth's mind with the deepest emotions. The oppressive sense of constraint and danger which she had endured as her daily burden for so many years, was lifted suddenly from her soul. She could not but rejoice, though she was too much upon her guard to express her joy. She was overwhelmed with a profound agitation, and, kneeling down, she exclaimed in Latin, "It is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful in our eyes."

Cecil made secretary of state.

Several of the members of Mary's privy council repaired immediately to Hatfield. The queen summoned them to attend her, and in their presence appointed her chief secretary of state. His name was Sir William Cecil. He was a man of great learning and ability, and he remained in office under Elizabeth for forty years. He became her chief adviser and instrument, an able, faithful, and indefatigable servant and friend during almost the whole of her reign. His name is accordingly indissolubly connected with that of Elizabeth in all the political events which occurred while she continued upon the throne, and it will, in consequence, very frequently occur in the sequel of this history. He was now about forty years of age. Elizabeth was twenty-five.

His faithfulness.

Elizabeth had known Cecil long before. He had been a faithful and true friend to her in her adversity. He had been, in many cases, a confidential adviser, and had maintained a secret correspondence with her in certain trying periods of her life. She had resolved, doubtless, to make him her chief secretary of state so soon as she should succeed to the throne. And now that the time had arrived, she instated him solemnly in his office. In so doing, she pronounced, in the hearing of the other members of the council, the following charge:

Elizabeth's charge to Cecil.

"I give you this charge that you shall be of my privy council, and content yourself to take pains for me and my realm. This judgment I have of you, that you will not be corrupted with any gift; and that you will be faithful to the state; and that, without respect of my private will, you will give me that counsel that you think best; and that, if you shall know any thing necessary to be declared to me of secrecy you shall show it to myself only; and assure yourself I will not fail to keep taciturnity therein. And therefore herewith I charge you."

Elizabeth's Progress to London.Elizabeth's Progress to London.
Her journey to London.
Elizabeth's triumphant entrance into the Tower.

It was about a week after the death of Mary before the arrangements were completed for Elizabeth's journey to London, to take possession of the castles and palaces which pertain there to the English sovereigns. She was followed on this journey by a train of about a thousand attendants, all nobles or personages of high rank, both gentlemen and ladies. She went first to a palace called the Charter House, near London, where she stopped until preparations could be made for her formal and public entrance into the Tower; not, as before, through the Traitors' Gate, a prisoner, but openly, through the grand entrance, in the midst of acclamations as the proud and applauded sovereign of the mighty realm whose capital the ancient fortress was stationed to defend. The streets through which the gorgeous procession was to pass were spread with fine, smooth gravel; bands of musicians were stationed at intervals, and decorated arches, and banners, and flags, with countless devices of loyalty and welcome, and waving handkerchiefs, greeted her all the way. Heralds and other great officers, magnificently dressed, and mounted on horses richly caparisoned, rode before her, announcing her approach, with trumpets and proclamations; while she followed in the train, mounted upon a beautiful horse, the object of universal homage. Thus Elizabeth entered the Tower; and inasmuch as forgetting her friends is a fault with which she can not justly be charged, we may hope, at least, that one of the first acts which she performed, after getting established in the royal apartments, was to send for and reward the kind-hearted child who had been reprimanded for bringing her the flowers.

The coronation.
Pageants in the streets.
Devices.
Presentation of the Bible.
The heavy purse.

The coronation, when the time arrived for it, was very splendid. The queen went in state in a sumptuous chariot, preceded by trumpeters and heralds in armor, and accompanied by a long train of noblemen, barons, and gentlemen, and also of ladies, all most richly dressed in crimson velvet, the trappings of the horses being of the same material. The people of London thronged all the streets through which she was to pass, and made the air resound with shouts and acclamations. There were triumphal arches erected here and there on the way, with a great variety of odd and quaint devices, and a child stationed upon each, who explained the devices to Elizabeth as she passed, in English verse, written for the occasion. One of these pageants was entitled "The Seat of worthy Governance." There was a throne, supported by figures which represented the cardinal virtues, such as Piety, Wisdom, Temperance, Industry, Truth, and beneath their feet were the opposite vices, Superstition, Ignorance, Intemperance, Idleness, and Falsehood: these the virtues were trampling upon. On the throne was a representation of Elizabeth. At one place were eight personages dressed to represent the eight beatitudes pronounced by our Savior in his sermon on the Mount—the meek, the merciful, &c. Each of these qualities was ingeniously ascribed to Elizabeth. This could be done with much more propriety then than in subsequent years. In another place, an ancient figure, representing Time, came out of a cave which had been artificially constructed with great ingenuity, leading his daughter, whose name was Truth. Truth had an English Bible in her hands, which she presented to Elizabeth as she passed. This had a great deal of meaning; for the Catholic government of Mary had discouraged the circulation of the Scriptures in the vernacular tongue. When the procession arrived in the middle of the city, some officers of the city government approached the queen's chariot, and delivered to her a present of a very large and heavy purse filled with gold. The queen had to employ both hands in lifting it in. It contained an amount equal in value to two or three thousand dollars.

The sprig of rosemary.

The queen was very affable and gracious to all the people on the way. Poor women would come up to her carriage and offer her flowers, which she would very condescendingly accept. Several times she stopped her carriage when she saw that any one wished to speak with her, or had something to offer; and so great was the exaltation of a queen in those days, in the estimation of mankind, that these acts were considered by all the humble citizens of London as acts of very extraordinary affability, and they awakened universal enthusiasm. There was one branch of rosemary given to the queen by a poor woman in Fleet Street; the queen put it up conspicuously in the carriage, where it remained all the way, watched by ten thousand eyes, till it got to Westminster.

The wedding ring.

The coronation took place at Westminster on the following day. The crown was placed upon the young maiden's head in the midst of a great throng of ladies and gentlemen, who were all superbly dressed, and who made the vast edifice in which the service was performed ring with their acclamations and their shouts of "Long live the Queen!" During the ceremonies, Elizabeth placed a wedding ring upon her finger with great formality, to denote that she considered the occasion as the celebration of her espousal  to the realm of England; she was that day a bride, and should never have, she said, any other husband. She kept this, the only wedding ring she ever wore, upon her finger, without once removing it, for more than forty years.

1560.

Successful campaign in Scotland.—Embassy of viscount Montacute to Spain—of sir T. Chaloner to the Emperor.—Account of Chaloner.—Letter of his respecting Dudley and the queen.—Dudley loses his wife.—Mysterious manner of her death.—Suspicion cast upon her husband.—Dudley and several other courtiers aspire to the hand of their sovereign.—Tournaments in her honor.—Impresses.—Sir W. Pickering.—Rivalry of Arundel and Dudley.

T he  accession of Francis II., husband to the queen of Scots, to the French throne had renewed the dangers of Elizabeth from the hostility of France and of Scotland; and in the politic resolution of removing from her own territory to that of her enemies the seat of a war which she saw to be inevitable, she levied a strong army and sent it under the command of the duke of Norfolk and lord Grey de Wilton to the frontiers of Scotland. She also entered into a close connexion with the protestant party in that country, who were already in arms against the queen-regent and her French auxiliaries. Success attended this well-planned expedition, and at the end of a single campaign Elizabeth was able to terminate the war by the treaty of Edinburgh; a convention the terms of which were such as effectually to secure her from all fear of future molestation in this quarter.

During the period of these hostilities, however, her situation was an anxious one. It was greatly to be feared that the emperor and the king of Spain, forgetting in their zeal for the catholic church the habitual enmity of the house of Austria against that of Bourbon, would make common cause with France against a sovereign who now stood forth the avowed protectress of protestantism; and such a combination of the great powers of Europe, seconded by a large catholic party at home, England was by no means in a condition to withstand. By skilful negotiation it seemed possible to avert these evils; and Elizabeth, by her selection of diplomatic agents on this important occasion, gave striking evidence of her superior judgement.

To plead her cause with the king of Spain, she dispatched Anthony Browne viscount Montacute; a nobleman who, to the general recommendation of wisdom and experience in public affairs, added the peculiar one, for this service, of a zealous attachment to the Romish faith, proved by his determined opposition in the house of lords to the bill of uniformity lately carried by a great majority. The explanations and arguments of the viscount prevailed so far with Philip, that he ordered his ambassador at Rome to oppose the endeavours of the French court to prevail on the pope to fulminate his ecclesiastical censures against Elizabeth. It was found impracticable, however, to bring him to terms of cordial amity with a heretic sovereign whose principles he both detested and dreaded; and by returning, some time after, the decorations of the order of the garter, he distinctly intimated to the queen, that motives of policy alone restrained him from becoming her open enemy.

For ambassador to the emperor she made choice, at the recommendation probably of Cecil, of his relation and beloved friend sir Thomas Chaloner the elder, a statesman, a soldier, and a man of letters; and in these three characters, so rarely united, one of the distinguished ornaments of his age. He was born in 1515 of a good family in Wales, and, being early sent to Cambridge, became known as a very elegant Latin poet, and generally as a young man of the most promising talents. After a short residence at court, his merit caused him to be selected to attend into Germany sir Henry Knevet the English ambassador, with a view to his qualifying himself for future diplomatic employment. At the court of Charles V. he was received with extraordinary favor; and after waiting upon that monarch, in several of his journeys, he was at length induced, by admiration of his character, to accompany him as a volunteer in his rash expedition against Algiers. He was shipwrecked in the storm which almost destroyed the fleet, and only escaped drowning by catching in his mouth, as he was struggling with the waves, a cable, by which he was drawn up into a ship with the loss of several of his teeth.

Returning home, he was made clerk of the council, which office he held during the remainder of Henry's reign. Early in the next he was distinguished by the protector, and, having signalized his valor in the battle of Pinkey, was knighted by him on the field. The fall of his patron put a stop to his advancement; but he solaced himself under this reverse by the cultivation of literature, and of friendship with such men as Cook, Smith, Cheke, and Cecil. The strictness of his protestant principles rendered his situation under the reign of Mary both disagreeable and hazardous, and he generously added to its perils by his strenuous exertions in behalf of the unfortunate Cheke; but the services which he had rendered in Edward's time to many of the oppressed catholics now interested their gratitude in his protection, and were thus the means of preserving him unhurt for better times.

Soon after his return from his embassy to the emperor Ferdinand, we find him engaged in a very perplexing and disagreeable mission to the unfriendly court of Philip II., where the mortifications which he encountered, joined to the insalubrity of the climate, so impaired his health that he found himself obliged to solicit his recall, which he did in an Ovidian elegy addressed to the queen. The petition of the poet was granted, but too late; he sunk under a lingering malady in October 1565, a few months after his return.

The poignant grief of Cecil for his loss found its best alleviation in the exemplary performance of all the duties of surviving friendship. He officiated as chief mourner at his funeral, and superintended with solicitude truly paternal the education of his son, Thomas Chaloner the younger, afterwards a distinguished character. By his encouragement, the Latin poems of his friend, chiefly consisting of epitaphs and panegyrics on his most celebrated contemporaries, were collected and published; and it was under his patronage, and prefaced by a Latin poem from his pen in praise of the author, that a new and complete edition appeared of the principal work of this accomplished person;—a tractate "on the right ordering of the English republic," also in Latin.

Sir Thomas Chaloner was the first ambassador named by Elizabeth; a distinction of which he proved himself highly deserving. Wisdom and integrity he was already known to possess; and in his negotiations with the imperial court, where it was his business to draw the bonds of amity as close as should be found practicable without pledging his mistress to the acceptance of the hand of the archduke Charles, he also manifested a degree of skill and dexterity which drew forth the warmest commendations from Elizabeth herself. His conduct, she said, had far exceeded all her expectations of his prudence and abilities.

This testimony may be allowed to give additional weight to his opinion on a point of great delicacy in the personal conduct of her majesty, as well as on some more general questions of policy, expressed in a postscript to one of his official letters to secretary Cecil. The letter, it should be observed, was written near the close of the year 1559, when the favor of the queen to Dudley had first become a subject of general remark, and before all hopes were lost of her finally closing with the proposals of the archduke.

"I assure you, sir, these folks are broad-mouthed where I spake of one too much in favor, as they esteem. I think ye guess whom they named; if ye do not, I will upon my next letters write further. To tell you what I conceive; as I count the slander most false, so a young princess cannot be too wary what countenance or familiar demonstration she maketh, more to one than another. I judge no man's service in the realm worth the entertainment with such a tale of obloquy, or occasion of speech to such men as of evil will are ready to find faults. This delay of ripe time for marriage, besides the loss of the realm (for without posterity of her highness what hope is left unto us?) ministereth matter to these leud tongues to descant upon, and breedeth contempt. I would I had but one hour's talk with you. Think if I trusted not your good nature, I would not write thus much; which nevertheless I humbly pray you to reserve as written to yourself.

"Consider how ye deal now in the emperor's matter: much dependeth on it. Here they hang in expectation as men desirous it should go forward, but yet they have small hope: In mine opinion (be it said to you only) the affinity is great and honorable: The amity necessary to stop and cool many enterprises. Ye need not fear his greatness should overrule you; he is not a Philip, but better for us than a Philip. Let the time work for Scotland as God will, for sure the French, I believe, shall never long enjoy them: and when we be stronger and more ready, we may proceed with that, that is yet unripe. The time itself will work, when our great neighbours fall out next. In the mean time settle we things begun; and let us arm and fortify our frontiers." &c.[46]

Sufficient evidence remains that the sentiments of Cecil respecting the queen's behaviour to Dudley coincided with those of his friend, and that fears for her reputation gave additional urgency about this period to those pleadings in favor of matrimony which her council were doomed to press upon her attention so often and so much in vain. But a circumstance occurred soon after which totally changed the nature of their apprehensions respecting her future conduct, and rendered her anticipated choice of a husband no longer an object of hope and joy, but of general dissatisfaction and alarm.

Just when the whispered scandal of the court had apprized him how obvious to all beholders the partiality of his sovereign had become,—just when her rejection of the proposals of so many foreign princes had confirmed the suspicion that her heart had given itself at home,—just, in short, when every thing conspired to sanction hopes which under any other circumstances would have appeared no less visionary than presumptuous,—at the very juncture most favorable to his ambition, but most perilous to his reputation, lord Robert Dudley lost his wife, and by a fate equally sudden and mysterious.

This unfortunate lady had been sent by her husband, under the conduct of sir Richard Verney, one of his retainers,—but for what reason or under what pretext does not appear,—to Cumnor House in Berkshire, a solitary mansion inhabited by Anthony Foster, also a dependent of Dudley's and bound to him by particular obligations. Here she soon after met with her death; and Verney and Foster, who appear to have been alone in the house with her, gave out that it happened by an accidental fall down stairs. But this account, from various causes, gained so little credit in the neighbourhood, that reports of the most sinister import were quickly propagated. These discourses soon reached the ears of Thomas Lever, a prebendary of Coventry and a very conscientious person, who immediately addressed to the secretaries of state an earnest letter, still extant, beseeching them to cause strict inquiry to be made into the case, as it was commonly believed that the lady had been murdered: but he mentioned no particular grounds of this belief, and it cannot now be ascertained whether any steps were taken in consequence of his application. If there were, they certainly produced no satisfactory explanation of the circumstance; for not only the popular voice, which was ever hostile to Dudley, continued to accuse him as the contriver of her fate, but Cecil himself, in a memorandum drawn up some years after of reasons against the queen's making him her husband, mentions among other objections, "that he is infamed by the death of his wife."

Whether the thorough investigation of this matter was evaded by the artifices of Dudley, or whether his enemies, finding it impracticable to bring the crime home to him, found it more advisable voluntarily to drop the inquiry, certain it is, that the queen was never brought in any manner to take cognisance of the affair, and that the credit of Dudley continued as high with her as ever. But in the opinion of the country the favorite passed ever after for a dark designer, capable of perpetrating any secret villainy in furtherance of his designs, and skilful enough to conceal his atrocity under a cloak of artifice and hypocrisy impervious to the partial eyes of his royal mistress, though penetrated by all the world besides. This idea of his character caused him afterwards to be accused of practising against the lives of several other persons who were observed to perish opportunely for his purposes. Each of these charges will be particularly examined in its proper place; but it ought here to be observed, that not one of them appears to be supported by so many circumstances of probability as the first; and even in support of this, no direct evidence has ever been adduced.

Under all the circumstances of his situation, Dudley could not venture as yet openly to declare himself the suitor of his sovereign; but she doubtless knew how to interpret both the vehemence of his opposition to the pretensions of the archduke, and the equal vehemence with which those pretensions were supported by an opposite party in her council, of which the earl of Sussex was the head.

Few could yet be persuaded that the avowed determination of the queen in favor of the single state would prove unalterable: most therefore who observed her averseness to a foreign connexion believed that she was secretly meditating to honor with her hand some subject of her own, who could never have a separate interest from that of his country, and whose gratitude for the splendid distinction would secure to her the possession of his lasting attachment.

This idea long served to animate the assiduities of her nobles and courtiers, and two or three besides Dudley were bold enough to publish their pretensions. Secret hopes or wishes were cherished in the bosoms of others; and it thus became a fashion to accost her in language where the passionate homage of the lover mingled with the base adulation of the menial. Her personal vanity, triumphant over her good sense and her perceptions of regal dignity, forbade her to discourage a style of address equally disgraceful to those who employed and to her who permitted it; and it was this unfortunate habit of receiving, and at length requiring, a species of flattery which became every year more grossly preposterous, which depraved by degrees her taste, infected her whole disposition, and frequently lent to the wisest sovereign of Europe the disgusting affectation of a heroine of French romance.

Tilts and tournaments were still the favorite amusements of all the courts of Europe; and it was in these splendid exhibitions that the rival courtiers of Elizabeth found the happiest occasions of displaying their magnificence, giving proof of their courage and agility, and at the same time insinuating, by a variety of ingenious devices, their hopes and fears, their amorous pains, and their profound devotedness to her service.

In the purer ages of chivalry, no other cognisances on shields were adopted, either in war or in these games which were its image, than the armorial bearings which each warrior had derived from his ancestors, or solemnly received at the hands of the heralds before he entered on his first campaign. But as the spirit of theoriginal institution declined, and the French fashion of gallantry began to be engrafted upon it, an innovation had taken place in this matter, which is thus commemorated and deplored by the worthy Camden, Clarencieux king-at-arms, who treats the subject with a minuteness and solemnity truly professional. "Whoever," says he, "would note the manners of our progenitors,—in wearing their coat-armour over their harness, and bearing their arms in their shields, their banners and pennons, and in what formal manner they were made bannerets, and had license to rear their banner of arms, which they presented rolled up, unto the prince, who unfolded and re-delivered it with happy wishes; I doubt not but he will judge that our ancestors were as valiant and gallant as they have been since they left off their arms and used the colors and curtains of their mistress' bed instead of them." The same author afterwards observes, that these fopperies, as well as the adoption of impresses, first prevailed in the expedition of Charles VIII. against Naples in 1494, and that it was about the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII. that the English wits first thought of imitating the French and Italians in the invention of these devices.

An impress, it seems, was an emblematical device assumed at the will of the bearer, and illustrated by a suitable motto; whereas the coat of arms had either no motto, or none appropriate. Of this nature therefore was the representation of an English archer, with the words "Cui adhæreo præest" (He prevails to whom I adhere), used by Henry VIII. at his meeting with Charles and Francis.

Elizabeth delighted in these whimsical inventions. Camden says that she "used upon different occasions so many heroical devices as would require a volume," but most commonly a sieve without a word. Her favorite mottos were "Video taceo" (I see and am silent), and "Semper eadem" (Always the same). Thus patronized, the use of impresses became general. Scarcely a public character of that age, whether statesman, courtier, scholar, or soldier, was unprovided with some distinction of this nature; and at tournaments in particular, the combatants all vied with each other in the invention of occasional devices, sometimes quaintly, sometimes elegantly, expressive of their situation or sentiments, and for the most part conveying some allusion at once gallant and loyal.

It may be worth while to cite a few of the most remarkable of these out of a considerable number preserved by Camden. The prevalence amongst them of astronomical emblems is worthy of observation, as indicative of that general belief of the age in the delusions of judicial astrology, which rendered its terms familiar alike to the learned, the great, and the fair.

A dial with the sun setting, "Occasu desines esse" (Thy being ceases with its setting). The sun shining on a bush, "Si deseris pereo" (Forsake me, and I perish). The sun reflecting his rays from the bearer, "Quousque avertes" (How long wilt thou avert thy face)? Venus in a cloud, "Salva me, Domina" (Mistress, save me). The letter I, "Omnia ex uno" (All things from one). A fallow field, "At quando messis" (When will be the harvest)? The full moon in heaven, "Quid sine te cœlum" (What is heaven without thee)? Cynthia, it should be observed, was a favorite fancy-name of the queen's; she was also designated occasionally by that of Astræa, whence the following devices. A man hovering in the air, "Feror ad Astræam" (I am borne to Astræa). The zodiac with Virgo rising, "Jam redit et Virgo" (The Maid returns); and a zodiac with no characters but those of Leo and Virgo, "His ego præsidiis" (With these to friend). A star, "Mihi vita Spica Virginis" (My life is in Spica Virginis)—a star in the left hand of Virgo so called: here the allusion was probably double; to the queen, and to the horoscope of the bearer. The twelve houses of heaven with neither sign nor planet therein, "Dispone" (Dispose). A white shield, "Fatum inscribat Eliza" (Eliza writes my fate). An eye in a heart, "Vulnus alo" (I feed the wound). A ship sinking and the rainbow appearing, "Quid tu si pereo" (To what avail if I perish)? As the rainbow is an emblem seen in several portraits of the queen, this device probably reproaches some tardy and ineffectual token of her favor. The sun shining on a withered tree which blooms again, "His radiis rediviva viresco" (These rays revive me). A pair of scales, fire in one, smoke in the other, "Ponderare errare" (To weigh is to err).

At one tilt were borne all the following devices, which Camden particularly recommends to the notice and interpretation of the reader. Many flies about a candle, "Sic splendidiora petuntur" ("Thus brighter things are sought). Drops falling into a fire, "Tamen non extinguenda" (Yet not to be extinguished). The sun, partly clouded over, casting its rays upon a star, "Tantum quantum" (As much as is vouchsafed). A folded letter, "Lege et relege"[47] (Read and reread).

It would have increased our interest in these very significant impresses, if our author could have informed us who were the respective bearers. Perhaps conjecture would not err in ascribing one of the most expressive to sir William Pickering, a gentleman whose name has been handed down to posterity as an avowed pretender to the royal marriage. That a person illustrious neither by rank nor ancestry, and so little known to fame that no other mention of him occurs in the history of the age, should ever have been named amongst the suitors of his sovereign, is a circumstance which must excite more curiosity than the scanty biographical records of the time will be found capable of satisfying. A single paragraph of Camden's Annals seems to contain nearly all that can now be learned of a man once so remarkable.

"Nor were lovers wanting at home, who deluded themselves with vain hopes of obtaining her in marriage. Namely sir William Pickering, a man of good family though little wealth, and who had obtained reputation by the cultivation of letters, by the elegance of his manners, and by his embassies to France and Germany." &c.

Rapin speaks of him as one who was encouraged to hope by some distinguished mark of the queen's favor, which he does not however particularize. Lloyd in his "Worthies" adds nothing to Camden's information but the epithet "comely" applied to his person, the vague statement that "his embassies in France and Germany were so well managed, that in king Edward's days he was by the council pitched upon as the oracle whereby our agents were to be guided abroad," and a hint that he soon retired from the court of Elizabeth to devote himself to his studies.

The earl of Arundel might be the bearer of another of these devices. We have already seen with what magnificence of homage this nobleman had endeavoured to bespeak the favorable sentiments of his youthful sovereign; and if illustrious ancestry, vast possessions, established consequence in the state, and long experience in public affairs, might have sufficed to recommend a subject to her choice, none could have advanced fairer pretensions than the representative of the ancient house of Fitzalan. The advanced age of the earl was indeed an objection of considerable and daily increasing weight; he persevered however in his suit, notwithstanding the queen's visible preference of Dudley and every other circumstance of discouragement, till the year 1566. Losing then all hopes of success, and becoming sensible at length of pecuniary difficulties from the vast expense which he had lavished on this splendid courtship, he solicited the permission of his royal mistress to retire for a time into Italy.

While it lasted, however, the rivalry of Arundel and Dudley, or rather, in the heraldic phraseology of the day, that of the White Horse and the Bear, divided the court, inflamed the passions of the numerous retainers of the respective candidates, and but for the impartial vigilance of Cecil might have ended in deeds of blood.

In the Burleigh Papers is a confession of one Guntor, a servant or retainer of the earl of Arundel, who was punished for certain rash speeches relative to this competition, from which we learn some curious particulars. He says, that he once fell in talk with a gentleman named Cotton, who told him, that the queen, having supped one evening at lord Robert Dudley's, it was dark before she could get away; and some servants of the house were sent with torches to light her home. That by the way her highness was pleased to enter into conversation with the torch-bearers, and was reported to have said, that she would make their lord the best that ever was of his name. As the father of lord Robert was a duke, this promise was understood to imply nothing less than her design of marrying him. On this Guntor answered, that he prayed all men might take it well, and that no trouble might arise thereof; afterwards he said, that he thought if a parliament were held, some men would recommend lord Robert, and some his own master to the queen for a husband; and so it might fortune there would rise trouble among the noblemen, adding, "I trust the White Horse will be in quiet, and so shall we be out of trouble; it is well known his  blood as yet was never attaint, nor was he ever man of war, wherefore it is likely that we shall sit still; but if he should stomach it, he were able to make a great power." In his zeal for the cause of his lord, he also wished that his rival had been put to death with his father, "or that some ruffian would have dispatched him by the way as he hath gone, with some dag (pistol) or gun."

So high did words run on occasion of this great contest.


[46]"Burleigh Papers," by Haynes, p. 212.

[47]See Camden's "Remains."

Elizabeth's Lovers

1560-1581

Claimants to the throne.

E lizabeth  was now securely established upon her throne. It is true that Mary Queen of Scots had not renounced her pretensions, but there was no immediate prospect of her making any attempt to realize them, and very little hope for her that she would be successful, if she were to undertake it. There were other claimants, it is true, but their claims were more remote and doubtful than Mary's. These conflicting pretensions were likely to make the country some trouble after Elizabeth's death, but there was very slight probability that they would sensibly molest Elizabeth's possession of the throne during her life-time, though they caused her no little anxiety.

General character of Elizabeth's reign.

The reign which Elizabeth thus commenced was one of the longest, most brilliant, and, in many respects, the most prosperous in the whole series presented to our view in the long succession of English sovereigns. Elizabeth continued a queen for forty-five years, during all which time she remained a single lady; and she died, at last, a venerable maiden, seventy years of age.

Elizabeth's suitors.
Their motives.

It was not for want of lovers, or, rather, of admirers and suitors, that Elizabeth lived single all her days. During the first twenty years of her reign, one half of her history is a history of matrimonial schemes and negotiations. It seemed as if all the marriageable princes and potentates of Europe were seized, one after another, with a desire to share her seat upon the English throne. They tried every possible means to win her consent. They dispatched embassadors; they opened long negotiations; they sent her ship-loads of the most expensive presents: some of the nobles of high rank in her own realm expended their vast estates, and reduced themselves to poverty, in vain attempts to please her. Elizabeth, like any other woman, loved these attentions. They pleased her vanity, and gratified those instinctive impulses of the female heart by which woman is fitted for happiness and love. Elizabeth encouraged the hopes of those who addressed her sufficiently to keep them from giving up in despair and abandoning her. And in one or two cases she seemed to come very near yielding. But it always happened that, when the time arrived in which a final decision must be made, ambition and desire of power proved stronger than love, and she preferred continuing to occupy her lofty position by herself, alone.

Philip of Spain proposes.
His strange conduct.

Philip of Spain, the husband of her sister Mary, was the first of these suitors. He had seen Elizabeth a good deal in England during his residence there, and had even taken her part in her difficulties with Mary, and had exerted his influence to have her released from her confinement. As soon as Mary died and Elizabeth was proclaimed, one of her first acts was, as was very proper, to send an embassador to Flanders to inform the bereaved husband of his loss. It is a curious illustration of the degree and kind of affection that Philip had borne to his departed wife, that immediately on receiving intelligence of her death by Elizabeth's embassador, he sent a special dispatch to his own embassador in London to make a proposal to Elizabeth to take him for her  husband!

Elizabeth declines Philip's proposal.

Elizabeth decided very soon to decline this proposal. She had ostensible reasons, and real reasons for this. The chief ostensible reason was, that Philip was so inveterately hated by all the English people, and Elizabeth was extremely desirous of being popular. She relied solely on the loyalty and faithfulness of her Protestant subjects to maintain her rights to the succession, and she knew that if she displeased them by such an unpopular Catholic marriage, her reliance upon them must be very much weakened. They might even abandon her entirely. The reason, therefore, that she assigned publicly was, that Philip was a Catholic, and that the connection could not, on that account, be agreeable to the English people.

Her reasons for so doing.

Among the real reasons was one of a very peculiar nature. It happened that there was an objection to her marriage with Philip similar to the one urged against that of Henry with Catharine of Aragon. Catharine had been the wife of Henry's brother. Philip had been the husband of Elizabeth's sister. Now Philip had offered to procure the pope's dispensation, by which means this difficulty would be surmounted. But then all the world would say, that if this dispensation could legalize the latter marriage, the former must have been legalized by it, and this would destroy the marriage of Anne Boleyn, and with it all Elizabeth's claims to the succession. She could not, then, marry Philip, without, by the very act, effectually undermining all her own rights to the throne. She was far too subtle and wary to stumble into such a pitfall as that.

The English people wish Elizabeth to be married.

Elizabeth rejected this and some other offers, and one or two years passed away. In the mean time, the people of the country, though they had no wish to have her marry such a stern and heartless tyrant as Philip of Spain, were very uneasy at the idea of her not being married at all. Her life would, of course, in due time, come to an end, and it was of immense importance to the peace and happiness of the realm that, after her death, there should be no doubt about the succession. If she were to be married and leave children, they would succeed to the throne without question; but if she were to die single and childless, the result would be, they feared, that the Catholics would espouse the cause of Mary Queen of Scots, and the Protestants that of some Protestant descendant of Henry VII., and thus the country be involved in all the horrors of a protracted civil war.

Petition of the Parliament.
Elizabeth's "gracious" reply.

The House of Commons in those days was a very humble council, convened to discuss and settle mere internal and domestic affairs, and standing at a vast distance from the splendor and power of royalty, to which it looked up with the profoundest reverence and awe. The Commons, at the close of one of their sessions, ventured, in a very timid and cautious manner, to send a petition to the queen, urging her to consent, for the sake of the future peace of the realm, and the welfare of her subjects, to accept of a husband. Few single persons are offended at a recommendation of marriage, if properly offered, from whatever quarter it may come. The queen, in this instance, returned what was called a very gracious reply. She, however, very decidedly refused the request. She said that, as they had been very respectful in the form of their petition, and as they had confined it to general terms, without presuming to suggest either a person or a time, she would not take offense at their well-intended suggestion, but that she had no design of ever being married. At her coronation, she was married, she said, to her people, and the wedding ring was upon her finger still. Her people were the objects of all her affection and regard. She should never have any other spouse. She said she should be well contented to have it engraved upon her tomb-stone, "Here lies a queen who lived and died a virgin."

This answer silenced the Commons, but it did not settle the question in the public mind.Cases often occur of ladies saying very positively that they shall never consent to be married, and yet afterward altering their minds; and many ladies, knowing how frequently this takes place, sagaciously conclude that, whatever secret resolutions they may form, they will be silent about them, lest they get into a position from which it will be afterward awkward to retreat. The princes of the Continent and the nobles of England paid no regard to Elizabeth's declaration, but continued to do all in their power to obtain her hand.

Elizabeth attacked with the small-pox.
Alarm of the country.

One or two years afterward Elizabeth was attacked with the small-pox, and for a time was dangerously sick, in fact, for some days her life was despaired of, and the country was thrown into a great state of confusion and dismay. Parties began to form—the Catholics for Mary Queen of Scots, and the Protestants for the family of Jane Grey. Every thing portended a dreadful contest. Elizabeth, however, recovered; but the country had been so much alarmed at their narrow escape, that Parliament ventured once more to address the queen on the subject of her marriage. They begged that she would either consent to that measure, or, if she was finally determined not to do that, that she would cause a law to be passed, or an edict to be promulgated, deciding beforehand who was really to succeed to the throne in the event of her decease.

Elizabeth would not do either. Historians have speculated a great deal upon her motives; all that is certain is the fact, she would not do either.

Portrait of the Earl of Leicester.Portrait of the Earl of Leicester.
The Earl of Leicester.
His character.
Services of Cecil.

But, though Elizabeth thus resisted all the plans formed for giving her a husband, she had, in her own court, a famous personal favorite, who has always been considered as in some sense her lover. His name was originally Robert Dudley, though she made him Earl of Leicester, and he is commonly designated in history by this latter name. He was a son of the Duke of Northumberland, who was the leader of the plot for placing Lady Jane Grey upon the throne in the time of Mary. He was a very elegant and accomplished man, and young, though already married. Elizabeth advanced him to high offices and honors very early in her reign, and kept him much at court. She made him her Master of Horse, but she did not bestow upon him much real power. Cecil was her great counselor and minister of state. He was a cool, sagacious, wary man, entirely devoted to Elizabeth's interests, and to the glory and prosperity of the realm. He was at this time, as has already been stated, forty years of age, thirteen or fourteen years older than Elizabeth. Elizabeth showed great sagacity in selecting such a minister, and great wisdom in keeping him in power so long. He remained in her service all his life, and died at last, only a few years before Elizabeth, when he was nearly eighty years of age.

Elizabeth's attachment to Leicester.

Dudley, on the other hand, was just about Elizabeth's own age. In fact, it is said by some of the chronicles of the times that he was born on the same day and hour with her. However this may be, he became a great personal favorite, and Elizabeth evinced a degree and kind of attachment to him which subjected her to a great deal of censure and reproach.

She could not be thinking of him for her husband, it would seem, for he was already married. Just about this time, however, a mysterious circumstance occurred, which produced a great deal of excitement, and has ever since marked a very important era in the history of Leicester and Elizabeth's attachment. It was the sudden and very singular death of Leicester's wife.

Leicester's wife.

Leicester had, among his other estates, a lonely mansion in Berkshire, about fifty miles west of London. It was called Cumnor House. Leicester's wife was sent there, no one knew why; she went under the charge of a gentleman who was one of Leicester's dependents, and entirely devoted to his will. The house, too, was occupied by a man who had the character of being ready for any deed which might be required of him by his master. The name of Leicester's wife was Amy Robesart.

Her mysterious death.

In a short time news came to London that the unhappy woman was killed by a fall down stairs! The instantaneous suspicion darted at once into every one's mind that she had been murdered. Rumors circulated all around the place where the death had occurred that she had been murdered. A conscientious clergyman of the neighborhood sent an account of the case to London, to the queen's ministers, stating the facts, and urging the queen to order an investigation of the affair, but nothing was ever done. It has accordingly been the general belief of mankind since that time, that the unprincipled courtier destroyed his wife in the vain hope of becoming afterward the husband of the queen.

Leicester hated by the people.
Various rumors.

The people of England were greatly incensed at this transaction. They had hated Leicester before, and they hated him now more inveterately still. Favorites are very generally hated; royal favorites always. He, however, grew more and more intimate with the queen, and every body feared that he was going to be her husband. Their conduct was watched very closely by all the great world, and, as is usual in such cases, a thousand circumstances and occurrences were reported busily from tongue to tongue, which the actors in them doubtless supposed passed unobserved or were forgotten.

The torch-light conversation.
The servants quarrel.

One night, for instance, Queen Elizabeth, having supped with Dudley, was going home in her chair, lighted by torch-bearers. At the present day, all London is lighted brilliantly at midnight with gas, and ladies go home from their convivial and pleasure assemblies in luxurious carriages, in which they are rocked gently along through broad and magnificent avenues, as bright, almost, as day. Then, however, it was very different. The lady was borne slowly along through narrow, and dingy, and dangerous streets, with a train of torches before and behind her, dispelling the darkness a moment with their glare, and then leaving it more deep and somber than ever. On the night of which we are speaking, Elizabeth, feeling in good humor, began to talk with some of the torch-bearers on the way. They were Dudley's men, and Elizabeth began to praise their master. She said to one of them, among other things, that she was going to raise him to a higher position than any of his name had ever borne before. Now, as Dudley's father was a duke, which title denotes the highest rank of the English nobility, the man inferred that the queen's meaning was that she intended to marry him, and thus make him a sort of king. The man told the story boastingly to one of the servants of Lord Arundel, who was also a suitor of the queen's. The servants, each taking the part of his master in the rivalry, quarreled. Lord Arundel's man said that he wished that Dudley had been hung with his father, or else that somebody would shoot him in the street with a dag. A dag was, in the language of those days, the name for a pistol.

Splendid style of living.
Public ceremonies.

Time moved on, and though Leicester seemed to become more and more a favorite, the plan of his being married to Elizabeth, if any such were entertained by either party, appeared to come no nearer to an accomplishment. Elizabeth lived in great state and splendor, sometimes residing in her palaces in or near London, and sometimes making royal progresses about her dominions. Dudley, together with the other prominent members of her court, accompanied her on these excursions, and obviously enjoyed a very high degree of personal favor. She encouraged, at the same time, her other suitors, so that on all the great public occasions of state, at the tilts and tournaments, at the plays—which, by-the-way, in those days were performed in the churches—on all the royal progresses and grand receptions at cities, castles, and universities, the lady queen was surrounded always by royal or noble beaux, who made her presents, and paid her a thousand compliments, and offered her gallant attentions without number—all prompted by ambition in the guise of love. They smiled upon the queen with a perpetual sycophancy, and gnashed their teeth secretly upon each other with a hatred which, unlike the pretended love, was at least honest and sincere. Leicester was the gayest, most accomplished, and most favored of them all, and the rest accordingly combined and agreed in hating him more than they did each other.

Elizabeth recommends Leicester to Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary marries Darnley.

Queen Elizabeth, however, never really admitted that she had any design of making Leicester, or Dudley, as he is indiscriminately called, her husband. In fact, at one time she recommended him to Mary Queen of Scots for a husband. After Mary returned to Scotland, the two queens were, for a time, on good terms, as professed friends, though they were, in fact, all the time, most inveterate and implacable foes; but each, knowing how much injury the other might do her, wished to avoid exciting any unnecessary hostility. Mary, particularly, as she found she could not get possession of the English throne during Elizabeth's life-time, concluded to try to conciliate her, in hopes to persuade her to acknowledge, by act of Parliament, her right to the succession after her death. So she used to confer with Elizabeth on the subject of her own marriage, and to ask her advice about it. Elizabeth did not wish to have Mary married at all, and so she always proposed somebody who she knew would be out of the question. She at one time proposed Leicester, and for a time seemed quite in earnest about it, especially so long as Mary seemed averse to it. At length, however, when Mary, in order to test her sincerity, seemed inclined to yield, Elizabeth retreated in her turn, and withdrew her proposals. Mary then gave up the hope of satisfying Elizabeth in any way and married Lord Darnley without her consent.

Elizabeth's visit to Kenilworth.

Elizabeth's regard for Dudley, however, still continued. She made him Earl of Leicester, and granted him the magnificent castle of Kenilworth, with a large estate adjoining and surrounding it; the rents of the lands giving him a princely income, and enabling him to live in almost royal state. Queen Elizabeth visited him frequently in this castle. One of these visits is very minutely described by the chroniclers of the times. The earl made the most expensive and extraordinary preparations for the reception and entertainment of the queen and her retinue on this occasion. The moat—which is a broad canal filled with water surrounding the castle—had a floating island upon it, with a fictitious personage whom they called the lady of the lake upon the island, who sung a song in praise of Elizabeth as she passed the bridge. There was also an artificial dolphin swimming upon the water, with a band of musicians within it. As the queen advanced across the park, men and women, in strange disguises, came out to meet her, and to offer her salutations and praises. One was dressed as a sibyl, another like an American savage, and a third, who was concealed, represented an echo. This visit was continued for nineteen days, and the stories of the splendid entertainments provided for the company—the plays, the bear-baitings, the fireworks, the huntings, the mock fights, the feastings and revelries—filled all Europe at the time, and have been celebrated by historians and story-tellers ever since. The Castle of Kenilworth is now a very magnificent heap of ruins, and is explored every year by thousands of visitors from every quarter of the globe.

Leicester's marriage.
Elizabeth sends him to prison.

Leicester, if he ever really entertained any serious designs of being Elizabeth's husband at last gave up his hopes, and married another woman. This lady had been the wife of the Earl of Essex. Her husband died very suddenly and mysteriously just before Leicester married her. Leicester kept the marriage secret for some time, and when it came at last to the queen's knowledge she was exceedingly angry. She had him arrested and sent to prison. However, she gradually recovered from her fit of resentment, and by degrees restored him to her favor again.

Prosperity of Elizabeth's reign.

Twenty years of Elizabeth's reign thus passed away, and no one of all her suitors had succeeded in obtaining her hand. All this time her government had been administered with much efficiency and power. All Europe had been in great commotion during almost the whole period, on account of the terrible conflicts which were raging between the Catholics and the Protestants, each party having been doing its utmost to exterminate and destroy the other. Elizabeth and her government took part, very frequently, in these contests; sometimes by negotiations, and sometimes by fleets and armies, but always sagaciously and cautiously, and generally with great effect. In the mean time, however, the queen, being now forty-five years of age, was rapidly approaching the time when questions of marriage could no longer be entertained. Her lovers, or, rather, her suitors, had, one after another, given up the pursuit, and disappeared from the field. One only seemed at length to remain, on the decision of whose fate the final result of the great question of the queen's marriage seemed to be pending.

The Duke of Anjou.
Catharine de Medici.
She proposes her son to Elizabeth.

It was the Duke of Anjou. He was a French prince. His brother, who had been the Duke of Anjou before him, was now King Henry III. of France. His own name was Francis. He was twenty five years younger than Elizabeth, and he was only seventeen years of age when it was first proposed that he should marry her. He was then Duke of Alençon. It was his mother's plan. She was the great Catharine de Medici, queen of France, and one of the most extraordinary women, for her talents, her management, and her power, that ever lived. Having one son upon the throne of France, she wanted the throne of England for the other. The negotiation had been pending fruitlessly for many years, and now, in 1581, it was vigorously renewed. The duke himself, who was at this time a young man of twenty-four or five, began to be impatient and earnest in his suit. There was, in fact, one good reason why he should be so. Elizabeth was forty-eight, and, unless the match were soon concluded, the time for effecting it would be obviously forever gone by.

The Barges on the River.The Barges on the River.
Quarrels of the favorites.
The shot.

He had never had an interview with the queen. He had seen pictures of her, however, and he sent an embassador over to England to urge his suit, and to convince Elizabeth how much he was in love with her charms. The name of this agent was Simier. He was a very polite and accomplished man, and soon learned the art of winning his way to Elizabeth's favor. Leicester was very jealous of his success. The two favorites soon imbibed a terrible enmity for each other. They filled the court with their quarrels. The progress of the negotiation, however, went on, the people taking sides very violently, some for and some against the projected marriage. The animosities became exceedingly virulent, until at length Simier's life seemed to be in danger. He said that Leicester had hired one of the guards to assassinate him; and it is a fact, that one day, as he and the queen, with other attendants, were making an excursion upon the river, a shot was fired from the shore into the barge. The shot did no injury except to wound one of the oarsmen, and frighten all the party pretty thoroughly. Some thought the shot was aimed at Simier, and others at the queen herself. It was afterward proved, or supposed to be proved, that this shot was the accidental discharge of a gun, without any evil intention whatever.

The people oppose the match.

In the mean time, Elizabeth grew more and more interested in the idea of having the young duke for her husband; and it seemed as if the maidenly resolutions, which had stood their ground so firmly for twenty years, were to be conquered at last. The more, however, she seemed to approach toward a consent to the measure, the more did all the officers of her government, and the nation at large, oppose it. There were, in their minds, two insuperable objections to the match. The candidate was a Frenchman, and he was a papist. The council interceded. Friends remonstrated. The nation murmured and threatened. A book was published entitled "The Discovery of a gaping Gulf wherein England is like to be swallowed up by another French marriage, unless the Lord forbid the Bans by letting her see the Sin and Punishment thereof." The author of it had his right hand cut off for his punishment.

The arrangements completed.

At length, after a series of most extraordinary discussions, negotiations, and occurrences, which kept the whole country in a state of great excitement for a long time, the affair was at last all settled. The marriage articles, both political and personal, were all arranged. The nuptials were to be celebrated in six weeks. The duke came over in great state, and was received with all possible pomp and parade. Festivals and banquets were arranged without number, and in the most magnificent style, to do him and his attendants honor. At one of them, the queen took off a ring from her finger, and put it upon his, in the presence of a great assembly, which was the first announcement to the public that the affair was finally settled. The news spread every where with great rapidity. It produced in England great consternation and distress, but on the Continent it was welcomed with joy, and the great English alliance, now so obviously approaching, was celebrated with ringing of bells, bonfires, and grand illuminations.

The match broken off.
The duke's rage.

And yet, notwithstanding all this, as soon as the obstacles were all removed, and there was no longer opposition to stimulate the determination of the queen, her heart failed her at last, and she finally concluded that she would not be married, after all. She sent for the duke one morning to come and see her. What takes place precisely between ladies and gentlemen when they break off their engagements is not generally very publicly known, but the duke came out from this interview in a fit of great vexation and anger. He pulled off the queen's ring and threw it from him, muttering curses upon the fickleness and faithlessness of women.

The duke's departure.
The farewell.

Still Elizabeth would not admit that the match was broken off. She continued to treat the duke with civility and to pay him many honors. He decided, however, to return to the Continent. She accompanied him a part of the way to the coast, and took leave of him with many professions of sorrow at the parting, and begged him to come back soon. This he promised to do, but he never returned. He lived some time afterward in comparative neglect and obscurity, and mankind considered the question of the marriage of Elizabeth as now, at last, settled forever.

The Invincible Armada

1585-1588

Fierce contests between Catholics and Protestants.
Philip's cruelty.

T hirty  years of Queen Elizabeth's reign passed away. During all this time the murderous contests between the Catholic governments of France and Spain and their Protestant subjects went on with terrible energy. Philip of Spain was the great leader and head of the Catholic powers, and he prosecuted his work of exterminating heresy with the sternest and most merciless determination. Obstinate and protracted wars, cruel tortures, and imprisonments and executions without number, marked his reign.

Notwithstanding all this, however, strange as it may seem, the country increased in population, wealth, and prosperity. It is, after all, but a very small proportion of fifty millions of people which the most cruel monster of a tyrant can kill, even if he devotes himself fully to the work. The natural deaths among the vast population within the reach of Philip's power amounted, probably, to two millions every year; and if he destroyed ten thousand every year, it was only adding one death by violence to two hundred produced by accidents, disasters, or age. Dreadful as are the atrocities of persecution and war, and vast and incalculable as are the encroachments on human happiness which they produce, we are often led to overrate their relative importance, compared with the aggregate value of the interests and pursuits which are left unharmed by them, by not sufficiently appreciating the enormous extent and magnitude of these interests and pursuits in such communities as England, France, and Spain.

Effects of war.
Napoleon and Xerxes.
March of improvement.
Spanish armadas.

Sometimes, it is true, the operations of military heroes have been on such a prodigious scale as to make very serious inroads on the population of the greatest states. Napoleon for instance, on one occasion took five hundred thousand men out of France for his expedition to Russia. The campaign destroyed nearly all of them. It was only a very insignificant fraction of the vast army that ever returned. By this transaction, Napoleon thus just about doubled the annual mortality in France at a single blow. Xerxes enjoys the glory of having destroyed about a million of men—and these, not enemies, but countrymen, followers, and friends—in the same way, on a single expedition. Such vast results, however, were not attained in the conflicts which marked the reigns of Elizabeth and Philip of Spain. Notwithstanding the long-protracted international wars, and dreadful civil commotions of the period, the world went on increasing in wealth and population, and all the arts and improvements of life made very rapid progress. America had been discovered, and the way to the East Indies had been opened to European ships, and the Spaniards, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English, and the French, had fleets of merchant vessels and ships of war in every sea. The Spaniards, particularly, had acquired great possessions in America, which contained very rich mines of gold and silver, and there was a particular kind of vessels called galleons, which went regularly once a year, under a strong convoy, to bring home the treasure. They used to call these fleets armada, which is the Spanish word denoting an armed squadron. Nations at war with Spain always made great efforts to intercept and seize these ships on their homeward voyages, when, being laden with gold and silver, they became prizes of the highest value.

The Low Countries.
Their situation and condition.

Things were in this state about the year 1585, when Queen Elizabeth received a proposition from the Continent of Europe which threw her into great perplexity. Among the other dominions of Philip of Spain, there were certain states situated in the broad tract of low, level land which lies northeast of France, and which constitutes, at the present day, the countries of Holland and Belgium. This territory was then divided into several provinces, which were called, usually, the Low Countries, on account of the low and level situation of the land. In fact, there are vast tracts of land bordering the shore, which lie so low that dikes have to be built to keep out the sea. In these cases, there are lines of windmills, of great size and power, all along the coast, whose vast wings are always slowly revolving, to pump out the water which percolates through the dikes, or which flows from the water-courses after showers of rain.

The Low Countries were very unwilling to submit to the tyrannical government which Philip exercised over them. The inhabitants were generally Protestants, and Philip persecuted them cruelly. They were, in consequence of this, continually rebelling against his authority, and Elizabeth secretly aided them in these struggles, though she would not openly assist them, as she did not wish to provoke Philip to open war. She wished them success, however, for she knew very well that if Philip could once subdue his Protestant subjects at home, he would immediately turn his attention to England, and perhaps undertake to depose Elizabeth, and place some Catholic prince or princess upon the throne in her stead.

Embassage from the Low Countries.
Their proposition.
Elizabeth's decision.

Things were in this state in 1585, when the confederate provinces of the Low Countries sent an embassage to Elizabeth, offering her the government of the country as sovereign queen, if she would openly espouse their cause and protect them from Philip's power. This proposition called for very serious and anxious consideration. Elizabeth felt very desirous to make this addition to her dominions on its own account, and besides, she saw at once that such an acquisition would give her a great advantage in her future contests with Philip, if actual war must come. But then, on the other hand, by accepting the proposition, war must necessarily be brought on at once. Philip would, in fact, consider her espousing the cause of his rebellious subjects as an actual declaration of war on her part, so that making such a league with these countries would plunge her at once into hostilities with the greatest and most extended power on the globe. Elizabeth was very unwilling thus to precipitate the contest; but then, on the other hand, she wished very much to avoid the danger that threatened, of Philip's first subduing his own dominions, and then advancing to the invasion of England with his undivided strength. She finally concluded not to accept the sovereignty of the countries, but to make a league, offensive and defensive, with the governments, and to send out a fleet and an army to aid them. This, as she had expected, brought on a general war.

Leicester and Drake.
Leicester sets out for the Low Countries.

The queen commissioned Leicester to take command of the forces which were to proceed to Holland and the Netherlands; she also equipped a fleet, and placed it under the command of Sir Francis Drake, a very celebrated naval captain, to proceed across the Atlantic and attack the Spanish possessions on the American shores. Leicester was extremely elated with his appointment, and set off on his expedition with great pomp and parade. He had not generally, during his life, held stations of any great trust or responsibility. The queen had conferred upon him high titles and vast estates, but she had confided all real power to far more capable and trustworthy hands. She thought however, perhaps, that Leicester would answer for her allies; so she gave him his commission and sent him forth, charging him, with many injunctions, as he went away, to be discreet and faithful, and to do nothing which should compromise, in any way, her interests or honor.

It will, perhaps, be recollected that Leicester's wife had been, before her marriage with him, the wife of a nobleman named the Earl of Essex. She had a son, who, at his father's death, succeeded to the title. This young Essex accompanied Leicester on this occasion. His subsequent adventures, which were romantic and extraordinary, will be narrated in the next chapter.

His reception.
Leicester's elation.

The people of the Netherlands, being extremely desirous to please Elizabeth, their new ally, thought that they could not honor the great general she had sent them too highly. They received him with most magnificent military parades, and passed a vote in their assembly investing him with absolute authority as head of the government, thus putting him, in fact, in the very position which Elizabeth had herself declined receiving. Leicester was extremely pleased and elated with these honors. He was king all but in name. He provided himself with a noble life-guard, in imitation of royalty, and assumed all the state and airs of a monarch. Things went on so very prosperously with him for a short time, until he was one day thunderstruck by the appearance at his palace of a nobleman from the queen's court, named Heneage, who brought him a letter from Elizabeth which was in substance as follows:

Elizabeth's displeasure.

"How foolishly, and with what contempt of my authority, I think you have acted, the messenger I now send to you will explain. I little imagined that a man whom I had raised from the dust, and treated with so much favor, would have forgotten all his obligations, and acted in such a manner. I command you now to put yourself entirely under the direction of this messenger, to do in all things precisely as he requires, upon pain of further peril."

Leicester humbled himself immediately under this rebuke, sent home most ample apologies and prayers for forgiveness, and, after a time, gradually recovered the favor of the queen. He soon, however, became very unpopular in the Netherlands. Grievous complaints were made against him, and he was at length recalled.

Drake's success.
His deeds of cruelty.

Drake was more successful. He was a bold, undaunted, and energetic seaman, but unprincipled and merciless. He manned and equipped his fleet, and set sail toward the Spanish possessions in America. He attacked the colonies, sacked the towns, plundered the inhabitants, intercepted the ships, and searched them for silver and gold. In a word, he did exactly what pirates are hung for doing, and execrated afterward by all mankind. But, as Queen Elizabeth gave him permission to perform these exploits, he has always been applauded by mankind as a hero. We would not be understood as denying that there is any difference between burning and plundering innocent towns and robbing ships, whether there is or is not a governmental permission to commit these crimes. There certainly is a difference. It only seems to us surprising that there should be so great a difference as is made by the general estimation of mankind.

Drake's expedition in 1577.

Drake, in fact, had acquired a great and honorable celebrity for such deeds before this time, by a similar expedition, several years before, in which he had been driven to make the circumnavigationof the globe. England and Spain were then nominally at peace, and the expedition was really in pursuit of prizes and plunder.

Execution of Doughty.

Drake took five vessels with him on this his first expedition, but they were all very small. The largest was only a vessel of one hundred tons, while the ships which are now built are often of three thousand. With this little fleet Drake set sail boldly, and crossed the Atlantic, being fifty-five days out of sight of land. He arrived at last on the coast of South America, and then turned his course southward, toward the Straits of Magellan. Two of his vessels, he found, were so small as to be of very little service; so he shipped the men on board the others, and turned the two adrift. When he got well into the southern seas, he charged his chief mate, whose name was Doughty, with some offense against the discipline of his little fleet, and had him condemned to death. He was executed at the Straits of Magellan—beheaded. Before he died, the unhappy convict had the sacrament administered to him, Drake himself partaking of it with him. It was said, and believed at the time, that the charge against Doughty was only a pretense, and that the real cause of his death was that Leicester had agreed with Drake to kill him when far away, on account of his having assisted, with others, in spreading the reports that Leicester had murdered the Earl of Essex, the former husband of his wife.

Straits of Magellan.
Drake plunders the Spaniards.

The little squadron passed through the Straits of Magellan, and then encountered a dreadful storm, which separated the ships, and drove them several hundred miles to the westward, over the then boundless and trackless waters of the Pacific Ocean. Drake himself afterward recovered the shore with his own ship alone, and moved northward. He found Spanish ships and Spanish merchants every where, who, not dreaming of the presence of an English enemy in those distant seas, were entirely secure; and they fell, one after another, a very easy prey. The very extraordinary story is told of his finding, in one place, a Spaniard asleep upon the shore, waiting, perhaps, for a boat, with thirty bars of silver by his side, of great weight and value, which Drake and his men seized and carried off, without so much as waking the owner. In one harbor which he entered he found three ships, from which the seamen had all gone ashore, leaving the vessels completely unguarded, so entirely unconscious were they of any danger near. Drake broke into the cabins of these ships, and found fifty or sixty wedges of pure silver there, of twenty pounds each. In this way, as he passed along the coast, he collected an immense treasure in silver and gold, both coin and bullion, without having to strike a blow for it. At last he heard of a very rich ship, called the Cacofogo, which had recently sailed for Panama, to which place they were taking the treasure, in order that it might be transported across the isthmus, and so taken home to Spain; for, before Drake's voyage, scarcely a single vessel had ever passed round Cape Horn. The ships which he had plundered had been all built upon the coast, by Spaniards who had come across the country at the Isthmus of Darien, and were to be used only to transport the treasure northward, where it could be taken across to the Gulf of Mexico.

Chase of the Cacofogo.
Drake captures her.

Drake gave chase to the Cacofogo. At last he came near enough to fire into her, and one of his first shots cut away her foremast and disabled her. He soon captured the ship, and he found immense riches on board. Besides pearls and precious stones of great value, there were eighty pounds of gold, thirteen chests of silver coin, and silver enough in bars "to ballast a ship."

Drake's escape by going round the world.

Drake's vessel was now richly laden with treasures, but in the mean time the news of his plunderings had gone across the Continent, and some Spanish ships of war had gone south to intercept him at the Straits of Magellan on his return. In this dilemma, the adventurous sailor conceived of the sublime idea of avoiding them by going round the world  to get home. He pushed boldly forward, therefore, across the Pacific Ocean to the East Indies, thence through the Indian Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope, and, after three years from the time he left England, he returned to it safely again, his ship loaded with the plundered silver and gold.

As soon as he arrived in the Thames, the whole world flocked to see the little ship that had performed all these wonders. The vessel was drawn up alongside the land, and a bridge made to it, and, after the treasure was taken out, it was given up, for some time, to banquetings and celebrations of every kind. The queen took possession of all the treasure, saying that Philip might demand it, and she be forced to make restitution, for it must be remembered that all this took place several years before the war. She, however, treated the successful sailor with every mark of consideration and honor; she went herself on board his ship, and partook of an entertainment there, conferring the honor of knighthood, at the same time, on the admiral, so that "Sir Francis Drake" was thenceforth his proper title.

Character of Drake.
Philip demands the treasure.

If the facts already stated do not give sufficient indications of the kind of character which in those days made a naval hero, one other circumstance may be added. At one time during this voyage, a Spaniard, whose ship Drake had spared, made him a present of a beautiful negro girl. Drake kept her on board his ship for a time, and then sent her ashore on some island that he was passing, and inhumanly abandoned her there, to become a mother among strangers, utterly friendless and alone. It must be added, however, in justice to the rude men among whom this wild buccaneer lived, that, though they praised all his other deeds of violence and wrong, this atrocious cruelty was condemned. It had the effect, even in those days, of tarnishing his fame.

Philip did claim the money, but Elizabeth found plenty of good excuses for not paying it over to him.

Alarming news.

This celebrated expedition occupied more than three years. Going round the world is a long journey. The arrival of the ship in London took place in 1581, four years before the war actually broke out between England and Spain, which was in 1585; and it was in consequence of the great celebrity which Drake had acquired in this and similar excursions, that when at last hostilities commenced, he was put in command of the naval preparations. It was not long before it was found that his services were likely to be required near home, for rumors began to find their way to England that Philip was preparing a great fleet for the actual invasion of England. The news put the whole country into a state of great alarm.

Elizabeth's navy.

The reader, in order to understand fully the grounds for this alarm, must remember that in those days Spain was the mistress of the ocean, and not England herself. Spain possessed the distant colonies and the foreign commerce, and built and armed the great ships, while England had comparatively few ships, and those which she had were small. To meet the formidable preparations which the Spaniards were making, Elizabeth equipped only four ships. To these however, the merchants of London added twenty or thirty more, of various sizes, which they furnished on condition of having a share in the plunder which they hoped would be secured. The whole fleet was put under Drake's command.

Drake's expedition against the Spaniards.
His bold stroke.

Robbers and murderers, whether those that operate upon the sea or on the land, are generally courageous, and Drake's former success had made him feel doubly confident and strong. Philip had collected a considerable fleet of ships in Cadiz, which is a strong sea-port in the southeastern part of Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea, and others were assembling in all the ports and bays along the shore, wherever they could be built or purchased. They were to rendezvous finally at Cadiz. Drake pushed boldly forward, and, to the astonishment of the world, forced his way into the harbor, through a squadron of galleys stationed there to protect the entrance, and burned, sunk, and destroyed more than a hundred ships which had been collected there. The whole work was done, and the little English fleet was off again, before the Spaniards could recover from their astonishment. Drake then sailed along the coast, seizing and destroying all the ships he could find. He next pushed to sea a little way, and had the good fortune to intercept and capture a richly-laden ship of very large size, called a carrack, which was coming home from the East Indies. He then went back to England in triumph. He said he had been "singeing the whiskers" of the King of Spain.

Exasperation of Philip.
His preparations.

The booty was divided among the London merchants, as had been agreed upon. Philip was exasperated and enraged beyond expression at this unexpected destruction of armaments which had cost him so much time and money to prepare. His spirit was irritated and aroused by the disaster, not quelled; and he immediately began to renew his preparations, making them now on a still vaster scale than before. The amount of damage which Drake effected was, therefore, after all, of no greater benefit to England than putting back the invasion for about a year.

Elizabeth's preparations.
The army and navy.

At length, in the summer of 1588, the preparations for the sailing of the great armada, which was to dethrone Elizabeth and bring back the English nation again under the dominion of some papal prince, and put down, finally, the cause of Protestantism in Europe, were complete. Elizabeth herself, and the English people, in the mean time, had not been idle. The whole kingdom had been for months filled with enthusiasm to prepare for meeting the foe. Armies were levied and fleets raised. Every maritime town furnished ships; and rich noblemen, in many cases, built or purchased vessels with their own funds, and sent them forward ready for the battle, as their contribution toward the means of defense. A large part of the force thus raised was stationed at Plymouth, which is the first great sea-port which presents itself on the English coast in sailing up the Channel. The remainder of it was stationed at the other end of the Channel, near the Straits of Dover, for it was feared that, in addition to the vast armament which Philip was to bring from Spain, he would raise another fleet in the Netherlands, which would, of course, approach the shores of England from the German Ocean.

Elizabeth reviews the troops.

Besides the fleets, a large army was raised. Twenty thousand men were distributed along the southern shores of England in such positions as to be most easily concentrated at any point where the armada might attempt to land and about as many more were marched down the Thames, and encamped near the mouth of the river, to guard that access. This encampment was at a place on the northern bank of the river, just above its mouth. Leicester, strange as it may seem, was put in command of this army. The queen, however, herself, went to visit this encampment, and reviewed the troops in person. She rode to and fro on horseback along the lines, armed like a warrior. At least she had a corslet of polished steel over her magnificent dress, and bore a general's truncheon, a richly-ornamented staff used as a badge of command. She had a helmet, too, with a white plume. This, however she did not wear. A page bore it, following her, while she rode, attended by Leicester and the other generals, all mounted on horses and splendidly caparisoned, from rank to rank, animating the men to the highest enthusiasm by her courageous bearing, her look of confidence, and her smiles.

Her speech.
Elizabeth's energy.

She made an address to the soldiers. She said that she had been warned by some of her ministers of the danger of trusting herself to the power of such an armed multitude, for these forces were not regularly enlisted troops, but volunteers from among the citizens, who had suddenly left the ordinary avocations and pursuits of life to defend their country in this emergency. She had, however, she said, no such apprehensions of danger. She could trust herself without fear to the courage and fidelity of her subjects, as she had always, during all her reign, considered her greatest strength and safeguard as consisting in their loyalty and good will. For herself, she had come to the camp, she assured them, not for the sake of empty pageantry and parade, but to take her share with them in the dangers, and toils, and terrors of the actual battle. If Philip should land, they would find their queen in the hottest of the conflict, fighting by their sides. "I have," said she, "I know, only the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart of a king; and I am ready for my God, my kingdom, and my people, to have that body laid down, even in the dust. If the battle comes, therefore, I shall myself be in the midst and front of it, to live or die with you."

Approach of the armada.

These were, thus far, but words, it is true, and how far Elizabeth would have vindicated their sincerity, if the entrance of the armada into the Thames had put her to the test, we can not now know. Sir Francis Drake saved her from the trial. One morning a small vessel came into the harbor at Plymouth, where the English fleet was lying, with the news that the armada was coming up the Channel under full sail. The anchors of the fleet were immediately raised, and great exertions made to get it out of the harbor, which was difficult, as the wind at the time was blowing directly in. The squadron got out at last, as night was coming on. The next morning the armada hove in sight, advancing from the westward up the Channel, in a vast crescent, which extended for seven miles from north to south, and seemed to sweep the whole sea.

The Invincible Armada.The Invincible Armada.
A grand spectacle.
A singular fight.
Defeat of the armada.

It was a magnificent spectacle, and it was the ushering in of that far grander spectacle still, of which the English Channel was the scene for the ten days which followed, during which the enormous naval structures of the armada, as they slowly made their way along, were followed, and fired upon, and harassed by the smaller, and lighter, and more active vessels of their English foes. The unwieldy monsters pressed on, surrounded and worried by their nimbler enemies like hawks driven by kingfishers through the sky. Day after day this most extraordinary contest, half flight and half battle continued, every promontory on the shores covered all the time with spectators, who listened to the distant booming of the guns, and watched the smokes which arose from the cannonading and the conflagrations. One great galleon after another fell a prey. Some were burned, some taken as prizes, some driven ashore; and finally, one dark night, the English sent a fleet of fire-ships, all in flames, into the midst of the anchorage to which the Spaniards had retired, which scattered them in terror and dismay, and completed the discomfiture of the squadron.

A remnant escapes.

The result was, that by the time the invincible armada had made its way through the Channel, and had passed the Straits of Dover, it was so dispersed, and shattered, and broken, that its commanders, far from feeling any disposition to sail up the Thames, were only anxious to make good their escape from their indefatigable and tormenting foes. They did not dare, in attempting to make this escape, to return through the Channel, so they pushed northward into the German Ocean. Their only course for getting back to Spain again was to pass round the northern side of England, among the cold and stormy seas that are rolling in continually among the ragged rocks and gloomy islands which darken the ocean there. At last a miserable remnant of the fleet—less than half—made their way back to Spain again.

Lady Jane Grey

1550-1553

Lady Jane Grey.

A mong  Elizabeth's companions and playmates in her early years was a young lady, her cousin, as she was often called, though she was really the daughter of her cousin, named Jane Grey, commonly called in history Lady Jane Grey. Her mother was the Marchioness of Dorset, and was the daughter of one of King Henry the Eighth's sisters. King Henry had named her as the next in the order of succession after his own children, that is, after Edward his son, and Mary and Elizabeth his two daughters; and, consequently, though she was very young, yet, as she might one day be Queen of England, she was a personage of considerable importance. She was, accordingly, kept near the court, and shared, in some respects, the education and the studies of the two princesses.

Her disposition and character.
Lady Jane's parents.
Restraints put upon her.

Lady Jane was about four years younger than the Princess Elizabeth, and the sweetness of her disposition, united with an extraordinary intellectual superiority, which showed itself at a very early period, made her a universal favorite. Her father and mother, the Marquis and Marchioness of Dorset, lived at an estate they possessed, called Broadgate, in Leicestershire, which is in the central part of England, although they took their title from the county of Dorset, which is on the southwestern coast. They were very proud of their daughter, and attached infinite importance to her descent from Henry VII., and to the possibility that she might one day succeed to the English throne. They were very strict and severe in their manners, and paid great attention to etiquette and punctilio, as persons who are ambitious of rising in the world are very apt to do. In all ages of the world, and among all nations, those who have long been accustomed to a high position are easy and unconstrained in their manners and demeanor, while those who have been newly advanced from a lower station, or who are anticipating or aspiring to such an advance, make themselves slaves to the rules of etiquette and ceremony. It was thus that the father and mother of Lady Jane, anticipating that she might one day become a queen, watched and guarded her incessantly, subjected her to a thousand unwelcome restraints, and repressed all the spontaneous and natural gayety and sprightliness which belongs properly to such a child.

Lady Jane's attainments.
Character of her teacher.
Anecdote of Elizabeth and Aylmer.

She became, however, a very excellent scholar in consequence of this state of things. She had a private teacher, a man of great eminence for his learning and abilities, and yet of a very kind and gentle spirit, which enabled him to gain a strong hold on his pupil's affection and regard. His name was John Aylmer. The Marquis of Dorset, Lady Jane's father, became acquainted with Mr. Aylmer when he was quite young, and appointed him, when he had finished his education, to come and reside in his family as chaplain and tutor to his children. Aylmer afterward became a distinguished man, was made Bishop of London, and held many high offices of state under Queen Elizabeth, when she came to reign. He became very much attached to Queen Elizabeth in the middle and latter part of his life, as he had been to Lady Jane in the early part of it. A curious incident occurred during the time that he was in the service of Elizabeth, which illustrates the character of the man. The queen was suffering from the toothache, and it was necessary that the tooth should be extracted. The surgeon was ready with his instruments, and several ladies and gentlemen of the royal household were in the queen's room commiserating her sufferings; but the queen dreaded the operation so excessively that she could not summon fortitude enough to submit to it. Aylmer, after trying some time in vain to encourage her, took his seat in the chair instead of her, and said to the surgeon, "I am an old man, and have but few teeth to lose; but come, draw this one, and let her majesty see how light a matter it is." One would not have supposed that Elizabeth would have allowed this to be done; but she did, and, finding that Aylmer made so light of the operation, she submitted to have it performed upon herself.

Lady Jane's attachment to Aylmer.

But to return to Lady Jane. She was very strongly attached to her teacher, and made great progress in the studies which he arranged for her. Ladies of high rank, in those days, were accustomed to devote great attention to the ancient and modern languages. There was, in fact, a great necessity then, as indeed there is now, for a European princess to be acquainted with the principal languages of Europe; for the various royal families were continually intermarrying with each other, which led to a great many visits, and other intercourse between the different courts. There was also a great deal of intercourse with the pope, in which the Latin  language was the medium of communication. Lady Jane devoted a great deal of time to all these studies, and made rapid proficiency in them all.

Elizabeth's studies.
Roger Ascham.

The Princess Elizabeth was also an excellent scholar. Her teacher was a very learned and celebrated man, named Roger Ascham. She spoke French and Italian as fluently as she did English. She also wrote and spoke Latin with correctness and readiness. She made considerable progress in Greek too. She could write the Greek character very beautifully, and could express herself tolerably well in conversation in that language. One of her companions, a young lady of the name of Cecil, is said to have spoken Greek as well as English. Roger Ascham took great interest in advancing the princess in these studies, and in the course of these his instructions he became acquainted with Lady Jane, and he praises very highly, in his letters, the industry and assiduity of Lady Jane in similar pursuits.

Lady Jane's acquirements in Greek.
Her interview with Ascham.

One day Roger Ascham, being on a journey from the north of England to London, stopped to make a call at the mansion of the Marquis of Dorset. He found that the family were all away; they had gone off upon a hunting excursion in the park. Lady Jane, however, had been left at home, and Ascham went in to see her. He found her in the library reading Greek. Ascham examined her a little, and was very much surprised to find how well acquainted with the language she had become, although she was then only about fifteen years old. He told her that he should like very much to have her write him a letter in Greek, and this she readily promised to do. He asked her, also, how it happened that, at her age, she had made such advances in learning. "I will tell you," said she, "how it has happened. One of the greatest benefits that God ever conferred upon me was in giving me so sharp and severe parents and so gentle a teacher; for, when I am in the presence of either my father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go; eat, drink, be merry or sad; be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing any thing else, I must do it, as it were, in just such weight, measure, and number, as perfectly as possible, or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea, presently, sometimes with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways, which I will not name for the honor I bear my parents, that I am continually teased and tormented. And then, when the time comes for me to go to Mr. Aylmer, he teaches me so gently, so pleasantly, and with such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing while I am with him; and I am always sorry to go away from him, because whatsoever else I do but learning is full of grief, trouble, fear, and suffering."

Lady Jane Grey at Study.Lady Jane Grey at Study.

Lady Jane's intimacy with Edward.
The Earl of Northumberland.
Harsh treatment of Mary.

Lady Jane Grey was an intimate friend and companion of the young King Edward as long as he lived. Edward died when he was sixteen years of age, so that he did not reach the period which his father had assigned for his reigning in his own name. One of King Edward's most prominent and powerful ministers during the latter part of his life was the Earl of Northumberland. The original name of the Earl of Northumberland was John Dudley. He was one of the train who came in the procession at the close of the baptism of Elizabeth, carrying the presents. He was a Protestant, and was very friendly to Edward and to Lady Jane Grey, for they were Protestants too. But his feelings and policy were hostile to Mary, for she was a Catholic. Mary was sometimes treated very harshly by him, and she was subjected to many privations and hardships on account of her religious faith. The government of Edward justified these measures, on account of the necessity of promoting the Reformation, and discouraging popery by every means in their power. Northumberland supposed, too, that it was safe to do this, for Edward being very young, it was probable that he would live and reign a long time. It is true that Mary was named, in her father's will, as his successor, if she outlived him, but then it was highly probable that she would not outlive him, for she was several years older than he.

Decline of Edward's health.

All these calculations, however, were spoiled by the sudden failure of Edward's health when he was sixteen years old. Northumberland was much alarmed at this. He knew at once that if Edward should die, and Mary succeed him, all his power would be gone, and he determined to make desperate efforts to prevent such a result.

Uncertainty in respect to the succession.

It must not be understood, however, that in coming to this resolution, Northumberland considered himself as intending and planning a deliberate usurpation of power. There was a real uncertainty in respect to the question who was the true and rightful heir to the crown. Northumberland was, undoubtedly, strongly biased by his interest, but he may have been unconscious of the bias, and in advocating the mode of succession on which the continuance of his own power depended, he may have really believed that he was only maintaining what was in itself rightful and just.

Struggle for power.

In fact, there is no mode which human ingenuity has ever yet devised for determining the hands in which the supreme executive of a nation shall be lodged, which will always avoid doubt and contention. If this power devolves by hereditary descent, no rules can be made so minute and full as that cases will not sometimes occur that will transcend them. If, on the other hand, the plan of election be adopted, there will often be technical doubts about a portion of the votes, and cases will sometimes occur where the result will depend upon this doubtful portion. Thus there will be disputes under any system, and ambitious men will seize such occasions to struggle for power.

Queen Elizabeth's family connections.

In order that our readers may clearly understand the nature of the plan which Northumberland adopted, we present, on the following page, a sort of genealogical table of the royal family of England in the days of Elizabeth.

 

TABLE OF THE ROYAL FAMILY OF ENGLAND IN THE TIME OF ELIZABETH.

 
1. King Henry VII.  
= 2. King Henry VIII.
Catharine of Aragon.= 4. Queen Mary.   
Anne Boleyn.= 5. Queen Elizabeth.    
Jane Seymour.= 3. King Edward VI.    
Anne of Cleves.     
Catharine Howard.     
Catharine Parr.     
 
=Margaret.
James IV. of Scotland = James V. of Scotland  = Mary Queen of Scots }=6. King James VI. of
Scotland and I. of England.
Earl of Angus = Margaret Douglas = Earl of Lenox  = Lord Darnley
 
= Mary.
Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk  = Frances, marchioness of Dorset =Lady Jane Grey
 = Eleanor.
 

EXPLANATION.

This table gives the immediate descendants of Henry VII., a descent being denoted by the sign =. The names of the persons whom they respectively married are in italics. Those who became sovereigns of England are in small capitals, and the order in which they reigned is denoted by the figures prefixed to their names.

Explanation of the table.
King Henry's will.

By examination of this table it will be seen that King Henry VII. left a son and two daughters. The son was King Henry VIII., and he  had three children. His third child was King Edward VI., who was now about to die. The other two were the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, who would naturally be considered the next heirs after Edward; and besides, King Henry had left a will, as has been already explained, confirming their rights to the succession. This will he had made near the time of his death; but it will be recollected that, during his life-time, both the marriages from which these princesses had sprung had been formally annulled. His marriage with Catharine of Aragon had been annulled on one plea, and that of Anne Boleyn on another. Both these decrees of annulment had afterward been revoked, and the right of the princesses to succeed had been restored, or attempted to be restored, by the will. Still, it admitted of a question, after all, whether Mary and Elizabeth were to be considered as the children of true and lawful wives or not.

Various claimants for the throne.
Perplexing questions.

If they were not, then Lady Jane Grey was the next heir, for she was placed next to the princesses by King Henry the Eighth's will. This will, for some reason or other, set aside a the descendants of Margaret, who went to Scotland as the wife of James IV. of that country. What right the king had thus to disinherit the children of his sister Margaret was a great question. Among her descendants was Mary Queen of Scots, as will be seen by the table, and she was, at this time, the representative of that branch of the family. The friends of Mary Queen of Scots claimed that she was the lawful heir to the English throne after Edward. They maintained that the marriage of Catharine, the Princess Mary's mother, and also that of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother, had both been annulled, and that the will could not restore them. They maintained, also, that the will was equally powerless in setting aside the claims of Margaret, her grandmother. Mary Queen of Scots, though silent now, advanced her claim subsequently, and made Elizabeth a great deal of trouble.

Then there was, besides these, a third party, who maintained that King Henry the Eighth's will was not effectual in legalizing again the annulled marriages, but that it was sufficient to set aside the claims of Margaret. Of course, with them, Lady Jane Grey, who, as will be seen by the table, was the representative of the second  sister of Henry VIII., was the only heir. The Earl of Northumberland embraced this view. His motive was to raise Lady Jane Grey to the throne, in order to exclude the Princess Mary, whose accession he knew very well would bring all his greatness to a very sudden end.

Power of Northumberland.

The Earl of Northumberland was at this time the principal minister of the young king. The protector Somerset had fallen long ago. Northumberland, whose name was then John Dudley, had supplanted him, and had acquired so great influence and power at court that almost every thing seemed to be at his disposal. He was, however, generally hated by the other courtiers and by the nation. Men who gain the confidence of a young or feeble-minded prince, so as to wield a great power not properly their own, are almost always odious. It was expected, however, that his career would be soon brought to an end, as all knew that King Edward must die, and it was generally understood that Mary was to succeed him.

His schemes.
Marriage of Lady Jane.
Feelings of the people.

Northumberland, however, was very anxious to devise some scheme to continue his power, and in revolving the subject in his mind, he conceived of plans which seemed to promise not only to continue, but also greatly to increase it. His scheme was to have the princesses' claims set aside, and Lady Jane Grey raised to the throne. He had several sons. One of them was young, handsome, and accomplished. He thought of proposing him to Lady Jane's father as the husband of Lady Jane, and, to induce the marquis to consent to this plan, he promised to obtain a dukedom for him by means of his influence with the king. The marquis agreed to the proposal. Lady Jane did not object to the husband they offered her. The dukedom was obtained, and the marriage, together with two others which Northumberland had arranged to strengthen his influence, were celebrated, all on the same day, with great festivities and rejoicings. The people looked on moodily, jealous and displeased, though they had no open ground of displeasure, except that it was unsuitable to have such scenes of gayety and rejoicing among the high officers of the court while the young monarch himself was lying upon his dying bed. They did not yet know that it was Northumberland's plan to raise his new daughter-in-law to the throne.

Efforts to set Mary aside.
Northumberland works on the young king.

Northumberland thought it would greatly increase his prospect of success if he could obtain some act of acknowledgment of Lady Jane's claims to the crown before Edward died. An opportunity soon occurred for effecting this purpose. One day, as he was sitting by young Edward's bedside, he turned the conversation to the subject of the Reformation, which had made great progress during Edward's reign, and he led Edward on in the conversation, until he remarked that it was a great pity to have the work all undone by Mary's accession, for she was a Catholic, and would, of course, endeavor to bring the country back again under the spiritual dominion of Rome. Northumberland then told him that there was one way, and one way only, to avert such a calamity, and that was to make Lady Jane his heir instead of Mary.

King Edward was a very thoughtful, considerate, and conscientious boy, and was very desirous of doing what he considered his duty. He thought it was his duty to do all in his power to sustain the Reformation, and to prevent the Catholic power from gaining ascendency in England again. He was, therefore, easily persuaded to accede to Northumberland's plan, especially as he was himself strongly attached to Lady Jane, who had often been his playmate and companion.

Conduct of the judges.

The king accordingly sent for three judges of the realm, and directed them to draw up a deed of assignment, by which the crown was to be conveyed to Lady Jane on the young king's death, Mary and Elizabeth being alike excluded. The judges were afraid to do this; for, by King Henry the Eighth's settlement of the crown, all those persons who should do any thing to disturb the succession as he arranged it were declared to be guilty of high treason. The judges knew very well, therefore, that if they should do what the king required of them, and then, if the friends of Lady Jane should fail of establishing her upon the throne, the end of the affair would be the cutting off of their own heads in the Tower. They represented this to the king, and begged to be excused from the duty that he required of them. Northumberland was in a great rage at this, and seemed almost ready to break out against the judges in open violence. They, however, persisted in their refusal to do what they well knew would subject them to the pains and penalties of treason.

Pardon by anticipation.
Edward's deed of settlement.

Northumberland, finding that threats and violence would not succeed, contrived another mode of obviating the difficulty. He proposed to protect the judges from any possible evil consequences of their act by a formal pardon for it, signed by the king, and sealed with the great seal, so that, in case they were ever charged with treason, the pardon would save them from punishment. This plan succeeded. The pardon was made out, being written with great formality upon a parchment roll, and sealed with the great seal. The judges then prepared and signed the deed of settlement by which the crown was given to Lady Jane, though, after all, they did it with much reluctance and many forebodings.

Plan to entrap the princesses.

Northumberland next wanted to contrive some plan for getting the princesses into his power, in order to prevent their heading any movement in behalf of their own claims at the death of the king. He was also desirous of making such arrangements as to conceal the death of the king for a few days after it should take place, in order that he might get Lady Jane and her officers in complete possession of the kingdom before the demise of the crown should be generally known. For this purpose he dismissed the regular physicians who had attended upon the king, and put him under the charge of a woman, who pretended that she had a medicine that would certainly cure him. He sent, also, messengers to the princesses, who were then in the country north of London, requesting that they would come to Greenwich, to be near the sick chamber where their brother was lying, that they might cheer and comfort him in his sickness and pain.

Death of Edward.
Escape of the princesses.
Precautions of Mary.

The princesses obeyed the summons. They each set out immediately on the journey, and moved toward London on their way to Greenwich. In the mean time, Edward was rapidly declining. The change in the treatment which took place when his physicians left him, made him worse instead of better. His cough increased, his breathing became more labored and difficult; in a word, his case presented all the symptoms of approaching dissolution. At length he died. Northumberland attempted to keep the fact concealed until after the princesses should arrive, that he might get them into his power. Some faithful friend, however, made all haste to meet them, in order to inform them what was going on. In this way Mary received intelligence of her brother's death when she had almost reached London, and was informed, also, of the plans of Northumberland for raising Lady Jane to the throne. The two princesses were extremely alarmed, and both turned back at once toward the northward again. Mary stopped to write a letter to the council, remonstrating against their delay in proclaiming her queen, and then proceeded rapidly to a strong castle at a place called Framlingham, in the county of Suffolk, on the eastern coast of England. She made this her head-quarters, because she supposed that the people of that county were particularly friendly to her; and then, besides, it was near the sea, and, in case the course of events should turn against her, she could make her escape to foreign lands. It is true that the prospect of being fugitive and an exile was very dark and gloomy, but it was not so terrible as the idea of being shut up a prisoner in the Tower, or being beheaded on a block for treason.

Lady Jane proclaimed queen.

In the mean time, Northumberland went, at the head of a troop of his adherents, to the residence of Lady Jane Grey, informed her of the death of Edward, and announced to her their determination to proclaim her queen. Lady Jane was very much astonished at this news. At first she absolutely refused the offered honor; but the solicitations and urgency of Northumberland, and of her father and her young husband, at length prevailed. She was conducted to London, and instated in at least the semblance of power.

Great excitement.
Public opinion in favor of Mary.

As the news of these transactions spread throughout the land, a universal and strong excitement was produced, every body at once taking sides either for Mary or Lady Jane. Bands of armed men began to assemble. It soon became apparent, however, that, beyond the immediate precincts of London, the country was almost unanimous for Mary. They dreaded, it is true, the danger which they anticipated from her Catholic faith, but still they had all considered it a settled point, since the death of Henry the Eighth, that Mary was to reign whenever Edward should die; and this general expectation that she would be queen had passed insensibly into an opinion that she ought to be. Considered strictly as a legal question, it was certainly doubtful which of the four claimants to the throne had the strongest title; but the public were not disposed so to regard it. They chose, on the whole, that Mary should reign. Large military masses consequently flocked to her standard. Elizabeth took sides with her, and, as it was important to give as much public effect to her adhesion as possible, they furnished Elizabeth with a troop of a thousand horsemen, at the head of which she rode to meet Mary and tender her aid.

Northumberland taken prisoner.

Northumberland went forth at the head of such forces as he could collect, but he soon found that the attempt was vain. His troops forsook him. The castles which had at first been under his command surrendered themselves to Mary. The Tower of London went over to her side. Finally, all being lost, Northumberland himself was taken prisoner, and all his influential friends with him, and were committed to the Tower. Lady Jane herself too, together with her husband and father, were seized and sent to prison.

He is beheaded.

Northumberland was immediately put upon his trial for treason. He was condemned, and brought at once to the block. In fact, the whole affair moved very promptly and rapidly on, from its commencement to its consummation. Edward the Sixth died on the 5th of July, and it was only the 22d of August when Northumberland was beheaded. The period for which the unhappy Lady Jane enjoyed the honor of being called a queen was nine days.

Mary's triumphal procession.
Shared by Elizabeth.

It was about a month after this that Mary passed from the Tower through the city of London in a grand triumphal procession to be crowned. The royal chariot, covered with cloth of golden tissue, was drawn by six horses most splendidly caparisoned. Elizabeth, who had aided her sister, so far as she could, in the struggle, was admitted to share the triumph. She had a carriage drawn by six horses too, with cloth and decorations of silver. They proceeded in this manner, attended and followed by a great cavalcade of nobles and soldiery, to Westminster Abbey, where Mary took her seat with great formality upon her father's throne.

1595 to 1598.

Essex and Cecil factious—Expedition to Cadiz.—Robert Cecil appointed secretary.—Notice of sir T. Bodley.—Critical situation of Essex.—Francis Bacon addresses to him a letter of advice—composes speeches for him.—Notice of Toby Matthew.—Outrages in London repressed by martial law.—Death of lord Hunsdon—of the earl of Huntingdon—of bishop Fletcher.—Anecdote of bishop Vaughan.—Book on the queen's touching for the evil.

F rom  this period nearly of the reign of Elizabeth, her court exhibited a scene of perpetual contest between the faction of the earl of Essex and that of lord Burleigh, or rather of Robert Cecil; and so widely did the effects of this intestine division extend, that there was perhaps scarcely a single court-attendant or public functionary whose interests did not become in some mode or other involved in the debate. Yet the quarrel itself may justly be regarded as base and contemptible; no public principle was here at stake; whether religious, as in the struggles between papists and protestants which often rent the cabinet of Henry VIII.; or civil, as in those of whigs and tories by which the administrations of later times have been divided and overthrown. It was simply and without disguise a strife between individuals, for the exclusive possession of that political power and court influence of which each might without disturbance have enjoyed a share capable of contenting an ordinary ambition.

In religion there was apparently no shade of difference between the hostile leaders; neither of them had studied with so little diligence the inclinations of the queen as to persist at this time in the patronage of the puritans, though the early impressions, certainly of Essex and probably of sir Robert Cecil also, must have been considerably in favor of this persecuted sect. Still less would either venture to stand forth the advocate of the catholics; though it was among the most daring and desperate of this body that Essex was compelled at length to seek adherents, when the total ruin of his interest with his sovereign fatally compelled him to exchange the character of head of a court party for that of a conspirator and a rebel. Of the title of the king of Scots both were steady supporters; and first Essex and afterwards Cecil maintained a secret correspondence with James, who flattered each in his turn with assurances of present friendship and future favor.

On one public question alone of any considerable magnitude do the rivals appear to have been at issue;—that of the prosecution of an offensive war against Spain.

The age and the wisdom of lord Burleigh alike inclined him to a pacific policy; and though Robert Cecil, for the purpose of strengthening himself and weakening his opponent, would frequently act the patron towards particular officers,—those especially of whom he observed the earl to entertain a jealousy,—it is certain that warlike ardor made no part of his natural composition. Essex on the contrary was all on fire for military glory; and at this time he was urging the queen with unceasing importunities to make a fresh attack upon her capital enemy in the heart of his European dominions. In this favorite object, after encountering considerable opposition from her habits of procrastination and from some remaining fears and scruples, he succeeded; and the zeal of the people hastening to give full effect to the designs of her majesty, a formidable armament was fitted out in all diligence, which in June 1596 set sail for Cadiz.

Lord Howard of Effingham, as lord admiral, commanded the fleet; Essex himself received with transport the appointment of general of all the land-forces, and spared neither pains nor cost in his preparations for the enterprise. Besides his constant eagerness for action, his spirit was on this occasion inflamed by an indignation against the tyrant Philip, "which rose," according to the happy expression of one of his biographers, "to the dignity of a personal aversion [118]." In his letters he was wont to employ the expression, "I will make that proud king know" &c.: a phrase, it seems, which gave high offence to Elizabeth, who could not tolerate what she regarded as arrogance against a crowned head, though her bitterest foe.

Subordinate commands were given to lord Thomas Howard, second son of the late duke of Norfolk, who was at this time inclined to the party of Essex; to Raleigh, who now affected an extraordinary deference for the earl, his secret enemy and rival; to that very able officer sir Francis Vere of the family of the earls of Oxford, who had highly distinguished himself during several years in the wars of the Low Countries; to sir George Carew, an intimate friend of sir Robert Cecil; and to some others, who formed together a council of war.

The queen herself composed on this occasion a prayer for the use of the fleet, and she sent to her land and her sea commander jointly "a letter of license to depart; besides comfortable encouragement." "But ours in particular," adds a follower of Essex, "had one fraught with all kind of promises and loving offers, as the like, since he was a favorite, he never had."

Enterprise was certainly not the characteristic of the lord admiral as a commander; and when on the arrival of the armament off Cadiz, it was proposed that an attack should be made by the fleet on the ships in the harbour, he remonstrated against the rashness of such an attempt, and prevailed on several members of the council of war to concur in his objections. In the end, however, the arguments or importunities of the more daring party prevailed; and Essex threw his hat into the sea in a wild transport of joy on learning that the admiral consented to make the attack. He was now acquainted by the admiral with the queen's secret order, dictated by her tender care for the safety of her young favorite,—that he should by no means be allowed to lead the assault;—and he promised an exact obedience to the mortifying prohibition. But, once in presence of the enemy, his impetuosity would brook no control. He broke from the station of inglorious security which had been assigned him, and rushed into the heat of the action.

The Spanish fleet was speedily driven up the harbour, under the guns of the fort of Puntal, where the admiral's ship and another first-rate were set on fire by their own crews, and the rest run aground. Of these, two fine ships fell into the hands of the English; and the lord admiral having refused to accept of any ransom for the remainder, saying that he came to consume and not to compound, they were all, to the number of fifty, burned by the Spanish admiral.

Meantime, Essex landed his men and marched them to the assault of Cadiz. The town was on this side well fortified, and the defenders, having also the advantage of the ground, received the invaders so warmly that they were on the point of being repulsed from the gate against which they had directed their attack: but Essex, just at the critical moment, rushed forward, seized his own colors and threw them over the wall; "giving withal a most hot assault unto the gate, where, to save the honor of their ensign, happy was he that could first leap down from the wall and with shot and sword make way through the thickest press of the enemy."

The town being thus stormed, was of course given up to plunder; but Essex, whose humanity was not less conspicuous than his courage, put an immediate stop to the carnage by a vigorous exertion of his authority; protected in person the women, children, and religious, whom he caused to retire to a place of safety; caused the prisoners to be treated with the utmost tenderness; and allowed all the citizens to withdraw, on payment of a ransom, before the place with its fortifications was committed to the flames. It was indeed the wish and intention of Essex to have kept possession of Cadiz; which he confidently engaged to the council of war to hold out against the Spaniards, with a force of no more than three or four thousand men, till succours could be sent from England; and with this view he had in the first instance sedulously preserved the buildings from all injury. But among his brother officers few were found prepared to second his zeal: the expedition was in great measure an adventure undertaken at the expense of private persons, who engaged in it with the hope of gain rather than glory; and as these men probably attributed the success which had hitherto crowned their arms in great measure to the surprise of the Spaniards, they were unwilling to risk in a more deliberate contest the rich rewards of valor of which they had possessed themselves.

The subsequent proposals of Essex for the annoyance of the enemy, either by an attack on Corunna, or on St. Sebastian and St. Andero, or by sailing to the Azores in quest of the homeward-bound carracks, all experienced the same mortifying negative from the members of the council of war, of whom lord Thomas Howard alone supported his opinions. But undeterred by this systematic opposition, he persevered in urging, that more might and more ought to be performed by so considerable an armament; and the lord admiral, weary of contesting the matter, sailed away at length and left him on the Spanish coast with the few ships and the handful of men which still adhered to him. Want of provisions compelled him in a short time to abandon an enterprise now desperate; and he returned full of indignation to England, where fresh struggles and new mortifications awaited him. The appointment during his absence of Robert Cecil to the office of secretary of state, instead of Thomas Bodley, afterwards the founder of the library which preserves his name,—for whom, since he had found the restoration of Davison hopeless, Essex had been straining every nerve to procure it,—gave him ample warning of all the counteraction on other points which he was doomed to experience; and was in fact the circumstance which finally established the ascendency of his adversaries: yet to an impartial eye many considerations may appear to have entirely justified on the part of the queen this preference. Where, it might be asked, could a fitter successor be found to lord Burleigh in the post which he had so long filled to the satisfaction of his sovereign and the benefit of his country, than in the son who certainly inherited all his ability;—though not, as was afterwards seen, his principles or his virtues;—and who had been trained to business as the assistant of his father and under his immediate inspection? Why should the earl of Essex interfere with an order of things so natural? On what pretext should the queen be induced to disappoint the hopes of her old and faithful servant, and to cast a stigma upon a young man of the most promising talents, who was unwearied in his efforts to establish himself in her favor?

By the queen and the people, Essex, their common favorite, was welcomed, on his safe return from an expedition to himself so glorious, with every demonstration of joy and affection, and no one appeared to sympathize more cordially than her majesty in his indignation that nothing had been attempted against the Spanish treasure-ships. On the other hand, no pains were spared by his adversaries to lessen in public estimation the glory of his exploits, by ascribing to the naval commanders a principal share in the success at Cadiz, which he accounted all his own. An anonymous narrative of the expedition which he had prepared, was suppressed by means of a general prohibition to the printers of publishing any thing whatsoever relating to that business; and no other resource was left him than the imperfect one of dispersing copies in manuscript. It was suggested to the queen by some about her, that though the treasure-ships had escaped her, she might at least reimburse herself for the expenses incurred out of the rich spoils taken at Cadiz; and no sooner had this project gained possession of her mind than she began to quarrel with Essex for his lavish distribution of prize-money. She insisted that the commanders should resign to her a large share of their gains; and she had even the meanness to cause the private soldiers and sailors to be searched before they quitted the ships, that the value of the money or other booty of which they had possessed themselves might be deducted from their pay. Her first feelings of displeasure and disappointment over, the rank and reputation of the officers concerned, and especially the brilliancy of the actual success, were allowed to cover all faults. The influence of her kinsman the lord admiral over the mind of the queen was one which daily increased in strength with her advance in age,—according to a common remark respecting family attachments; and it will appear that he finally triumphed so completely over the accusations of his youthful adversary, as to ground on this very expedition his claim of advancement to a higher title.

It was the darling hope of Essex that he might be authorized to lead without delay his flourishing and victorious army to the recovery of Calais, now held by a Spanish garrison; and he took some secret steps with the French ambassador in order to procure a request to this effect from Henry IV. to Elizabeth. But this king absolutely refused to allow the town to be recaptured by his ally, on the required condition of her retaining it at the peace as an ancient possession of the English crown; the Cecil party also opposed the design; and the disappointed general saw himself compelled to pause in the career of glory.

It was not in the disposition of Essex to support these mortifications with the calmness which policy appeared to dictate; and Francis Bacon, alarmed at the courses which he saw the earl pursuing, and already foreboding his eventual loss of the queen's favor, and the ruin of those, himself included, who had placed their dependence on him, addressed to him a very remarkable letter of caution and remonstrance, not less characteristic of his own peculiar mind than illustrative of the critical situation of him to whom it was written.

After appealing to the earl himself for the advantage which he had lately received by following his own well-meant advice, in renewing with the queen "a treaty of obsequious kindness," which "did much attemper a cold malignant humor then growing upon her majesty towards him," he repeats his counsel that he should "win the queen;" adding, "if this be not the beginning of any other course, I see no end. And I will not now speak of favor or affection, but of other correspondence and agreeableness, which, when it shall be conjoined with the other of affection, I durst wager my life... that in you she will come to question of Quid fiet homini quem rex vult honorare? But how is it now? A man of a nature not to be ruled; that hath the advantage of my affection and knoweth it; of an estate not grounded to his greatness; of a popular reputation; of a military dependence. I demand whether there can be a more dangerous image than this represented to any monarch living, much more to a lady, and of her majesty's apprehension? And is it not more evident than demonstration itself, that whilst this impression continueth in her majesty's breast, you can find no other condition than inventions to keep your estate bare and low; crossing and disgracing your actions; extenuating and blasting of your merit; carping with contempt at your nature and fashions; breeding, nourishing and fortifying such instruments as are most factious against you; repulses and scorns of your friends and dependents that are true and steadfast; winning and inveigling away from you such as are flexible and wavering; thrusting you into odious employments and offices to supplant your reputation; abusing you and feeding you with dalliances and demonstrations to divert you from descending into the serious consideration of your own case; yea and percase venturing you in perilous and desperate enterprises?"

With his usual exactness of method, he then proceeds to offer remedies for the five grounds of offence to her majesty here pointed out; amongst which the following are the most observable. That he ought to ascribe any former and irrevocable instance of an ungovernable humor in him to dissatisfaction, and not to his natural temper:—That though he sought to shun, and in some respects rightly, any imitation of Hatton or Leicester, he should yet allege them on occasion to the queen as authors and patterns, because there was no readier means to make her think him in the right course:—That when his lordship happened in speeches to do her majesty right, "for there is no such matter as flattery amongst you all," he had rather the air of paying fine compliments than of speaking what he really thought; "so that," adds he, "a man may read your formality in your countenance," whereas "it ought to be done familiarly and with an air of earnest."

That he should never be without some particulars on foot which he should seem to pursue with earnestness and affection, and then let them fall upon taking knowledge of her majesty's opposition and dislike. Of which kind the weightiest might be, if he offered to labor, in the behalf of some whom he favored, for some of the places then void, choosing such a subject as he thought her majesty likely to oppose.... A less weighty sort of particulars might be the pretence of some journeys, which at her majesty's request his lordship might relinquish; as if he should pretend a journey to see his estate towards Wales, or the like.... And the lightest sort of particulars, which yet were not to be neglected, were in his habits, apparel, wearings, gestures, and the like."

With respect to a "military dependence," which the writer regards as the most injurious impression respecting him of all, he declares that he could not enough wonder that his lordship should say the wars were his occupation, and go on in that course. He greatly rejoiced indeed, now it was over, in his expedition to Cadiz, on account of the large share of honor which he had acquired, and which would place him for many years beyond the reach of military competition. Besides that the disposal of places and other matters relating to the wars, would of themselves flow in to him as he increased in other greatness, and preserve to him that dependence entire. It was indeed a thing which, considering the times and the necessity of the service, he ought above all to retain; but while he kept it in substance, he should abolish it in shows to the queen, who loved peace, and did not love cost. And on this account he could not so well approve of his affecting the place of earl-marshal or master of the ordnance, on account of their affinity to a military greatness, and rather recommended to his seeking the peaceful, profitable and courtly office of lord privy seal. In the same manner, with respect to the reputation of popularity, which was a good thing in itself, and one of the best flowers of his greatness both present and future, the only way was to quench it verbis, non rebus ; to take all occasions to declaim against popularity and popular courses to the queen, and to tax them in all others, yet for himself, to go on as before in all his honorable commonwealth courses. "And therefore," says he, "I will not advise to cure this by dealing in monopolies or any oppressions."

The last and most curious article of all, respects his quality of a favorite. As, separated from all the other matters it could not hurt, so, joined with them, he observes that it made her majesty more fearful and captious, as not knowing her own strength. For this, the only remedy was to give place to any other favorite to whom he should find her majesty incline, "so as the subject had no ill or dangerous aspect" towards himself. "For otherwise," adds this politic adviser, "whoever shall tell me that you may not have singular use of a favorite at your devotion, I will say he understandeth not the queen's affection, nor your lordship's condition."

These crafty counsels, which steadily pursued would have laid the army, the court, and the people, and in effect the queen herself, at the feet of a private nobleman, seem to have made considerable impression for the time on the mind of Essex; though the impetuosity of his temper, joined to a spirit of sincerity, honor and generosity, which not even the pursuits of ambition and the occupations of a courtier could entirely quench, soon caused him to break loose from their intolerable restraint.

Francis Bacon, in furtherance of the plan which he had suggested to his patron of appearing to sink all other characters in that of a devoted servant of her majesty, likewise condescended to employ his genius upon a device which was exhibited by the earl on the ensuing anniversary of her accession, with great applause.

First, his page, entering the tilt-yard, accosted her majesty in a fit speech, and she in return graciously pulled off her glove and gave it to him. Some time after appeared the earl himself, who was met by an ancient hermit, a secretary of state, and a soldier; each of whom presented him with a book recommending his own course of life, and, after a little pageantry and dumb show to relieve the solemnity of the main design, pronounced a long and well-penned speech to the same effect. All were answered by an esquire, or follower of the earl, who pointed out the evils attached to each pursuit, and concluded, says our reporter, "with an excellent but too plain English, that this knight would never forsake his mistress' love, whose virtue made all his thoughts divine, whose wisdom taught him all true policy, whose beauty and worth made him at all times fit to command armies. He showed all the defects and imperfections of their times, and therefore thought his own course of life to be best in serving his mistress.... The queen said that if she had thought there had been so much said of her, she would not have been there that night; and so went to bed." These speeches may still be read, with mingled admiration and regret, amongst the immortal works of Francis Bacon. In majesty of diction and splendor of allusion they are excelled by none of his more celebrated pieces; and with such a weight of meaning are they fraught, that they who were ignorant of the serious purpose which he had in view might wonder at the prodigality of the author in employing massy gold and real gems on an occasion which deserved nothing better than tinsel and false brilliants. That full justice might be done to the eloquence of the composition, the favorite part of the esquire was supported by Toby Matthew, whose father was afterwards archbishop of York; a man of a singular and wayward disposition, whose prospects in life were totally destroyed by his subsequent conversion to popery; but whose talents and learning were held in such esteem by Bacon, that he eagerly engaged his pen in the task of translating into Latin some of the most important of his own philosophical works. Such were the "wits, besides his own," of which the munificent patronage of Essex had given him "the command!"

A few miscellaneous occurrences of the years 1595 and 1596 remain to be noticed.

The size of London, notwithstanding many proclamations and acts of parliament prohibiting the erection of any new buildings except on the site of old ones, had greatly increased during the reign of Elizabeth; and one of the first effects of its rapid growth was to render its streets less orderly and peaceful. The small houses newly erected in the suburbs being crowded with poor, assembled from all quarters, thefts became frequent; and a bad harvest having plunged the lower classes into deeper distress, tumults and outrages ensued. In June 1595 great disorders were committed on Tower-hill; and the multitude having insulted the lord mayor who went out to quell them, Elizabeth took the violent and arbitrary step of causing martial law to be proclaimed in her capital. Sir Thomas Wilford, appointed provost-marshal for the occasion, paraded the streets daily with a body of armed men ready to hang all rioters in the most summary manner; and five of these offenders suffered for high treason on Tower-hill, without resistance on the part of the people, or remonstrance on that of the parliament, against so flagrant a violation of the dearest rights of Englishmen.

Lord Hunsdon, the nearest kinsman of the queen, whose character has been already touched upon, died in 1596. It is related that Elizabeth, on hearing of his illness, finally resolved to confer upon him the title of earl of Wiltshire, to which he had some claim as nephew and heir male to sir Thomas Boleyn, her majesty's grandfather, who had borne that dignity. She accordingly made him a gracious visit, and caused the patent and the robes of an earl to be brought and laid upon his bed; but the old man, preserving to the last the blunt honesty of his character, declared, that if her majesty had accounted him unworthy of that honor while living, he accounted himself unworthy of it now that he was dying; and with this refusal be expired. Lord Willoughby succeeded him in the office of governor of Berwick, and lord Cobham, a wealthy but insignificant person of the party opposed to Essex, in that of lord chamberlain.

Henry third earl of Huntingdon of the family of Hastings died about the same time. By his mother, eldest daughter and coheiress of Henry Pole lord Montacute, he was the representative of the Clarence branch of the family of Plantagenet; but no pretensions of his had ever awakened anxiety in the house of Tudor. He was a person of mild disposition, greatly attached to the puritan party, which, bound together by a secret compact, now formed a church within the church; he is said to have impaired his fortune by his bounty to the more zealous preachers; and be largely contributed by his will to the endowment of Emanuel college, the puritanical character of which was now well known.

Richard Fletcher bishop of London, "a comely and courtly prelate," who departed this life in the same year, affords a subject for a few remarks. It was a practice of the more powerful courtiers of that day, when the lands of a vacant see had excited, as they seldom failed to do, their cupidity, to "find out some men that had great minds and small means or merits, that would be glad to leave a small deanery to make a poor bishopric, by new leasing lands that were almost out of lease [119];" and on these terms, which more conscientious churchmen disdained, Fletcher had taken the bishopric of Oxford, and had in due time been rewarded for his compliance by translation first to Worcester and afterwards to London. His talents and deportment pleased the queen; and it is mentioned, as an indication of her special favor, that she once quarrelled with him for wearing too short a beard. But he afterwards gave her more serious displeasure by taking a wife, a gay and fair court lady of good quality; and he had scarcely pacified her majesty by the propitiatory offering of a great entertainment at his house in Chelsea, when he was carried off by a sudden death, ascribed by his contemporaries to his immoderate use of the new luxury of smoking tobacco. This prelate was the father of Fletcher the dramatic poet.

Bishop Vaughan succeeded him, of whom Harrington gives the following trait: "He was an enemy to all supposed miracles, insomuch as one arguing with him in the closet at Greenwich in defence of them, and alleging the queen's healing of the evil for an instance, asking him what he could say against it, he answered, that he was loth to answer arguments taken from the topic-place of the cloth of estate; but if they would urge him to answer, he said his opinion was, she did it by virtue of some precious stone in possession of the crown of England that had such a natural quality. But had queen Elizabeth been told that he ascribed more virtue to her jewels (though she loved them well) than to her person, she would never have made him bishop of Chester."

Of the justice of the last remark there can be little question. In this reign, the royal pretension referred to, was asserted with unusual earnestness, and for good reasons, as we learn from a different authority. In 1597 a quarto book appeared, written in Latin and dedicated to her majesty by one of her chaplains, which contained a relation of the cures thus performed by her; in which it is related, that a catholic having been so healed went away persuaded that the pope's excommunication of her majesty was of no effect: "For if she had not by right obtained the sceptre of the kingdom, and her throne established by the authority and appointment of God, what she attempted could not have succeeded. Because the rule is, that God is not any where witness to a lie [120]." Such were the reasonings of that age.

It is probably to bishop Vaughan also that sir John Harrington refers in the following article of his Brief Notes.

"One Sunday (April last) my lord of London preached to the queen's majesty, and seemed to touch on the vanity of decking the body too finely. Her majesty told the ladies, that if the bishop held more discourse on such matters, she would fit him for heaven, but he should walk thither without a staff, and leave his mantle behind him. Perchance the bishop hath never sought her highness' wardrobe, or he would have chosen another text [121]."


[118]See A Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, by lord Orford.

[119]Harrington's Brief View.

[120]Strype's Annals.

[121]Nugæ Antiquæ.

The Earl of Essex

1588-1600

Character of Essex.

T he  lady whom the Earl of Leicester married was, a short time before he married her, the wife of the Earl of Essex, and she had one son, who, on the death of his father, became the Earl of Essex in his turn. He came to court, and continued in Leicester's family after his mother's second marriage. He was an accomplished and elegant young man, and was regarded with a good deal of favor by the queen. He was introduced at court when he was but seventeen years old, and, being the step-son of Leicester, he necessarily occupied a conspicuous position; his personal qualities, joined with this, soon gave him a very high and honorable name.

Death of Leicester.
Essex becomes the queen's favorite.
Cecil and Essex.

About a month after the victory obtained by the English over the invincible armada, Leicester was seized with a fever on a journey, and, after lingering for a few days, died, leaving Essex, as it were, in his place. Elizabeth seems not to have been very inconsolable for her favorite's death. She directed, or allowed, his property to be sold at auction, to pay some debts which he owed her—or, as the historians of the day express it, which he owed the crown —and then seemed at once to transfer her fondness and affection to the young Essex, who was at that time twenty-one years of age. Elizabeth herself was now nearly sixty. Cecil was growing old also, and was somewhat infirm, though he had a son who was rapidly coming forward in rank and influence at court. This son's name was Robert. The young Earl of Essex's name was Robert too. The elder Cecil and Leicester had been, all their lives, watchful and jealous of each other, and in some sense rivals. Robert Cecil and Robert Devereux—for that was, in full, the Earl of Essex's family name—being young and ardent, inherited the animosity of their parents, and were less cautious and wary in expressing it. They soon became open foes.

Elizabeth's regard for Essex.
His impulsive bravery.
Essex's ardor for battle.

Robert Devereux, or Essex, as he is commonly called in history, was handsome and accomplished, ardent, impulsive, and generous. The war with Spain, notwithstanding the destruction of the armada, continued, and Essex entered into it with all zeal. The queen, who with all her ambition, and her proud and domineering spirit, felt, like any other woman, the necessity of having something to love, soon began to take a strong interest in his person and fortunes, and seemed to love him as a mother loves a son; and he, in his turn, soon learned to act toward her as a son, full of youthful courage and ardor, often acts toward a mother over whose heart he feels that he has a strong control. He would go away, without leave, to mix in affrays with the Spanish ships in the English Channel and in the Bay of Biscay, and then come back and make his peace with the queen by very humble petitions for pardon, and promises of future obedience. When he went, with her leave, on these expeditions, she would charge his superior officers to keep him out of danger; while he, with an impetuosity which strongly marked his character, would evade and escape from all these injunctions, and press forward into every possible exposure, always eager to have battle given, and to get, himself, into the hottest part of it, when it was begun. At one time, off Cadiz, the officers of the English ships hesitated some time whether to venture an attack upon some ships in the harbor—Essex burning with impatience all the time—and when it was at length decided to make the attack, he was so excited with enthusiasm and pleasure that he threw his cap up into the air, and overboard, perfectly wild with delight, like a school-boy in anticipation of a holiday.

His duel.
Elizabeth's remark upon the duel.

Ten years passed away, and Essex rose higher and higher in estimation and honor. He was sometimes in the queen's palaces at home, and sometimes away on the Spanish seas, where he acquired great fame. He was proud and imperious at court, relying on his influence with the queen, who treated him as a fond mother treats a spoiled child. She was often vexed with his conduct, but she could not help loving him. One day, as he was coming into the queen's presence chamber, he saw one of the courtiers there who had a golden ornament upon his arm which the queen had given him the day before. He asked what it was; they told him it was a "favor" from the queen. "Ah," said he, "I see how it is going to be; every fool must have his favor." The courtier resented this mode of speaking of his distinction, and challenged Essex to a duel. The combatants met in the Park, and Essex was disarmed and wounded. The queen heard of the affair, and, after inquiring very curiously about all the particulars, she said that she was glad of it; for, unless there was somebody to take down his pride, there would be no such thing as doing any thing with him.

She gives Essex a ring.

Elizabeth's feelings toward Essex fluctuated in strange alternations of fondness and displeasure. At one time, when affection was in the ascendency, she gave him a ring, as a talisman of her protection. She promised him that if he ever should become involved in troubles or difficulties of any kind, and especially if he should lose her favor, either by his own misconduct or by the false accusations of his enemies, if he would send her that ring, it should serve to recall her former kind regard, and incline her to pardon and save him. Essex took the ring, and preserved it with the utmost care.

The quarrel.
The box on the ear.

Friendship between persons of such impetuous and excitable temperaments as Elizabeth and Essex both possessed, though usually very ardent for a time, is very precarious and uncertain in duration. After various petulant and brief disputes, which were easily reconciled, there came at length a serious quarrel. There was, at that time, great difficulty in Ireland; a rebellion had broken out, in fact, which was fomented and encouraged by Spanish influence. Essex was one day urging very strongly the appointment of one of his friends to take the command there, while the queen was disposed to appoint another person. Essex urged his views and wishes with much importunity, and when he found that the queen was determined not to yield, he turned his back upon her in a contemptuous and angry manner. The queen lost patience in her turn, and, advancing rapidly to him, her eyes sparkling with extreme resentment and displeasure, she gave him a severe box on the ear, telling him, at the same time, to "go and be hanged." Essex was exceedingly enraged; he clasped the handle of his sword, but was immediately seized by the other courtiers present. They, however, soon released their hold upon him, and he walked off out of the apartment, saying that he could not and would not bear such an insult as that. He would not have endured it, he said, from King Henry the Eighth himself. The name of King Henry the Eighth, in those days, was the symbol and personification of the highest possible human grandeur.

Mortification of Essex.

The friends of Essex among the courtiers endeavored to soothe and calm him, and to persuade him to apologize to the queen, and seek a reconciliation. They told him that, whether right or wrong, he ought to yield; for in contests with the law or with a prince, a man, they said, ought, if wrong, to submit himself to justice ; if right, to necessity ; in either case, it was his duty to submit.

This was very good philosophy; but Essex was not in a state of mind to listen to philosophy. He wrote a reply to the friend who had counseled him as above, that "the queen had the temper of a flint; that she had treated him with such extreme injustice and cruelty so many times that his patience was exhausted, and he would bear it no longer. He knew well enough what duties he owed the queen as an earl and grand marshal of England, but he did not understand being cuffed and beaten like a menial servant; and that his body suffered in every part from the blow he had received."

He and Elizabeth reconciled.

His resentment, however, got soothed and softened in time, and he was again admitted to favor, though the consequences of such quarrels are seldom fully repaired. The reconciliation was, however, in this case, apparently complete, and in the following year Essex was himself appointed the Governor, or, as styled in those days, the Lord Deputy of Ireland.

Essex sent to Ireland.
Curious negotiations.

He went to his province, and took command of the forces which had been collected there, and engaged zealously in the work of suppressing the rebellion. For some reason or other, however, he made very little progress. The name of the leader of the rebels was the Earl of Tyrone.[D] Tyrone wanted a parley, but did not dare to trust himself in Essex's power. It was at last, however, agreed that the two leaders should come down to a river, one of them upon each side, and talk across it, neither general to have any troops or attendants with him. This plan was carried into effect. Essex, stationing a troop near him, on a hill, rode down to the water on one side, while Tyrone came into the river as far as his horse could wade on the other, and then the two earls attempted to negotiate terms of peace by shouting across the current of the stream.

[D] Spelled in the old histories Tir-Oen.

The queen's displeasure.

Nothing effectual was accomplished by this and some other similar parleys, and in the mean time the weeks were passing away, and little was done toward suppressing the rebellion. The queen was dissatisfied. She sent Essex letters of complaint and censure. These letters awakened the lord deputy's resentment. The breach was thus rapidly widening, when Essex all at once conceived the idea of going himself to England, without permission, and without giving any notice of his intention, to endeavor, by a personal interview, to reinstate himself in the favor of the queen.

The House of the Earl of Essex.The House of the Earl of Essex.
Essex's sudden return.
Essex is arrested.

This was a very bold step. It was entirely contrary to military etiquette for an officer to leave his command and go home to his sovereign without orders and without permission. The plan, however, might have succeeded. Leicester did once succeed in such a measure; but in this case, unfortunately, it failed. Essex traveled with the utmost dispatch, crossed the Channel, made the best of his way to the palace where the queen was then residing, and pressed through the opposition of all the attendants into the queen's private apartment, in his traveling dress, soiled and way-worn. The queen was at her toilet, with her hair down over her eyes. Essex fell on his knees before her, kissed her hand, and made great professions of gratitude and love, and of an extreme desire to deserve and enjoy her favor. The queen was astonished at his appearance, but Essex thought that she received him kindly. He went away after a short interview, greatly pleased with the prospect of a favorable issue to the desperate step he had taken. His joy, however, was soon dispelled. In the course of the day he was arrested by order of the queen, and sent to his house under the custody of an officer. He had presumed too far.

Resentment and love.

Essex was kept thus secluded and confined for some time. His house was on the bank of the river. None of his friends, not even his countess, were allowed access to him. His impetuous spirit wore itself out in chafing against the restraints and means of coercion which were pressing upon him; but he would not submit. The mind of the queen, too, was deeply agitated all the time by that most tempestuous of all mental conflicts, a struggle between resentment and love. Her affection for her proud-spirited favorite seemed as strong as ever, but she was determined to make him yield in the contest she had commenced with him. How often cases precisely similar occur in less conspicuous scenes of action, where they who love each other with a sincere and uncontrollable affection take their stand in attitudes of hostility, each determined that the obstinacy of the other shall give way, and each heart persisting in its own determination, resentment and love struggling all the time in a dreadful contest, which keeps the soul in a perpetual commotion, and allows of no peace till either the obstinacy yields or the love is extinguished and gone.

Essex's anger and chagrin.

It was indirectly made known to Essex that if he would confess his fault, ask the queen's forgiveness, and petition for a release from confinement, in order that he might return to his duties in Ireland, the difficulty could be settled. But no, he would make no concessions. The queen, in retaliation, increased the pressure upon him. The more strongly he felt the pressure, the more his proud and resentful spirit was aroused. He walked his room, his soul boiling with anger and chagrin, while the queen, equally distressed and harassed by the conflict in her own soul, still persevered, hoping every day that the unbending spirit with which she was contending would yield at last.

He is taken sick.
Nature of Essex's sickness.
The queen's anxiety.

At length the tidings came to her that Essex, worn out with agitation and suffering, was seriously sick. The historians doubt whether his sickness was real or feigned; but there is not much difficulty in understanding, from the circumstances of the case, what its real nature was. Such mental conflicts as those which he endured suspend the powers of digestion and accelerate the pulsations of the heart, which beats in the bosom with a preternatural frequency and force, like a bird fluttering to get free from a snare. The result is a sort of fever burning slowly in the veins, and an emaciation which wastes the strength away, and, in impetuous and uncontrollable spirits, like that of Essex, sometimes exhausts the powers of life altogether. The sickness, therefore, though of mental origin, becomes bodily and real; but then the sufferer is often ready, in such cases, to add a little to it by feigning. An instinct teaches him that nothing is so likely to move the heart whose cruelty causes him to suffer, as a knowledge of the extreme to which it has reduced him. Essex was doubtless willing that Elizabeth should know that he was sick. Her knowing it had, in some measure, the usual effect. It reawakened and strengthened the love she had felt for him, but did not give it absolutely the victory. She sent eight  physicians to him, to examine and consult upon his case. She caused some broth to be made for him, and gave it to one of these physicians to carry to him, directing the messenger, in a faltering voice, to say to Essex that if it were proper to do so she would have come to see him herself. She then turned away to hide her tears. Strange inconsistency of the human heart—resentment and anger holding their ground in the soul against the object of such deep and unconquerable love. It would be incredible, were it not that probably every single one of all the thousands who may read this story has experienced the same.

The queen's kindness to Essex.
They are reconciled again.
Essex's promises.

Nothing has so great an effect in awakening in the heart a strong sentiment of kindness as the performance of a kind act. Feeling originates and controls action, it is true, but then, on the other hand, action has a prodigious power in modifying feeling. Elizabeth's acts of kindness to Essex in his sickness produced a renewal of her tenderness for him so strong that her obstinacy and anger gave way before it, and she soon began to desire some mode of releasing him from his confinement, and restoring him to favor. Essex was softened too. In a word, there was finally a reconciliation, though it was accomplished by slow degrees, and by means of a sort of series of capitulations. There was an investigation of his case before the privy council, which resulted in a condemnation of his conduct, and a recommendation to the mercy of the queen; and then followed some communications between Essex and his sovereign, in which he expressed sorrow for his faults, and made satisfactory promises for the future.

The queen's ungenerous conduct.

The queen, however, had not magnanimity enough to let the quarrel end without taunting and irritating the penitent with expressions of triumph. In reply to his acknowledgments and professions, she told him that she was glad to hear of his good intentions, and she hoped that he would show, by his future conduct, that he meant to fulfill them; that he had tried her patience for a long time, but she hoped that henceforth she should have no further trouble. If it had been her father, she added, instead of herself, that he had had to deal with, he would not have been pardoned at all. It could not be a very cordial reconciliation which was consummated by such words as these. But it was very like Elizabeth to utter them. They who are governed by their temper are governed by it even in their love.

Essex's monopoly of wines.

Essex was not restored to office. In fact, he did not wish to be restored. He said that he was resolved henceforth to lead a private life. But even in respect to this plan he was at the mercy of the queen, for his private income was in a great measure derived from a monopoly, as it is called, in a certain kind of wines, which had been granted to him some time before. It was a very customary mode, in those days, of enriching favorites, to grant them monopolies of certain kinds of merchandise, that is, the exclusive right to sell them. The persons to whom this privilege was granted would underlet their right to merchants in various parts of the kingdom, on condition of receiving a certain share of the profits. Essex had thus derived a great revenue from his monopoly of wines. The grant, however, was expiring, and he petitioned the queen that it might be renewed.

The queen refuses to renew it.

The interest which Essex felt in the renewal of this grant was one of the strongest inducements to lead him to submit to the humiliations which he had endured, and to make concessions to the queen. But he was disappointed in his hopes. The queen, elated a little with the triumph already attained, and, perhaps, desirous of the pleasure of humbling Essex still more, refused at present to renew his monopoly, saying that she thought it would do him good to be restricted a little, for a time, in his means. "Unmanageable beasts," she said, "had to be tamed by being stinted in their provender."

Essex made desperate.

Essex was sharply stung by such a refusal, accompanied, too, by such an insult. He was full of indignation and anger. At first he gave free expression to his feelings of vexation in conversation with those around him. The queen, he said, had got to be a perverse and obstinate old woman, as crooked in mind as she was in body. He had plenty of enemies to listen to these speeches, and to report them in such a way as that they should reach the queen. A new breach was consequently opened, which seemed now wider than ever, and irreparable.

His treasonable schemes.

At least it seemed so to Essex; and, abandoning all plans for again enjoying the favor of Elizabeth, he began to consider what he could do to undermine her power and rise upon the ruins of it. The idea was insanity, but passion always makes men insane. James, king of Scotland, the son and successor of Mary, was the rightful heir to the English throne after Elizabeth's death. In order to make his right of succession more secure, he had wished to have Elizabeth acknowledge it; but she, always dreading terribly the thoughts of death, could never bear to think of a successor, and seemed to hate every one who entertained any expectation of following her. Essex suppressed all outward expressions of violence and anger; became thoughtful, moody, and sullen; held secret consultations with desperate intriguers, and finally formed a scheme to organize a rebellion, to bring King James's troops to England to support it, to take possession of the Tower and of the strong-holds about London, to seize the palace of the queen, overturn her government, and compel her both to acknowledge James's right to the succession and to restore Essex himself to power.

Ramifications of the plot.
It is discovered.
Anxious deliberations.

The personal character of Essex had given him a very wide-spread popularity and influence, and he had, consequently, very extensive materials at his command for organizing a powerful conspiracy. The plot was gradually matured, extending itself, in the course of the few following months, not only throughout England, but also into France and Spain. The time for the final explosion was drawing near, when, as usual in such cases, intelligence of the existence of this treason, in the form of vague rumors, reached the queen. One day, when the leading conspirators were assembled at Essex's palace, a messenger came to summon the earl to appear before the council. They received, also, private intelligence that their plots were probably discovered. While they were considering what to do in this emergency—all in a state of great perplexity and fear—a person came, pretending to be a deputy sent from some of the principal citizens of London, to say to Essex that they were ready to espouse his cause. Essex immediately became urgent to commence the insurrection at once. Some of his friends, on the other hand, were in favor of abandoning the enterprise, and flying from the country; but Essex said he had rather be shot at the head of his bands, than to wander all his days beyond the seas, a fugitive and a vagabond.

The rising determined upon.
The hostages.

The conspirators acceded to their leader's councils. They sent word, accordingly, into the city, and began to make their arrangements to rise in arms the next morning. The night was spent in anxious preparations. Early in the morning, a deputation of some of the highest officers of the government, with a train of attendants, came to Essex's palace, and demanded entrance in the name of the queen. The gates of the palace were shut and guarded. At last, after some hesitation and delay, the conspirators opened a wicket, that is, a small gate within the large one, which would admit one person at a time. They allowed the officers themselves to enter, but shut the gate immediately so as to exclude the attendants. The officers found themselves in a large court-yard filled with armed men, Essex standing calmly at the head of them. They demanded what was the meaning of such an unusual assemblage. Essex replied that it was to defend his life from conspiracies formed against it by his enemies. The officers denied this danger, and began to expostulate with Essex in angry terms, and the attendants on his side to reply with vociferations and threats, when Essex, to end the altercation, took the officers into the palace. He conducted them to a room and shut them up, to keep them as hostages.

Essex enters the city.
The proclamation.

It was now near ten o'clock, and, leaving his prisoners in their apartment, under a proper guard, Essex sallied forth, with the more resolute and desperate of his followers, and proceeded into the city, to bring out into action the forces which he supposed were ready to co-operate with him there. He rode on through the streets, calling to arms, and shouting, "For the queen! For the queen!" His design was to convey the impression that the movement which he was making was not against the queen herself, but against his own enemies in her councils, and that she was herself on his side. The people of London, however, could not be so easily deceived. The mayor had received warning before, from the council, to be ready to suppress the movement, if one should be made. As soon, therefore, as Essex and his company were fairly in the city, the gates were shut and barred to prevent his return. One of the queen's principal ministers of state too, at the head of a small troop of horsemen, came in and rode through the streets, proclaiming Essex a traitor, and calling upon all the citizens to aid in arresting him. One of Essex's followers fired a pistol at this officer to stop his proclamation, but the people generally seemed disposed to listen to him, and to comply with his demand. After riding, therefore, through some of the principal streets, he returned to the queen, and reported to her that all was well in the city; there was no danger that Essex would succeed in raising a rebellion there.

Essex unsuccessful.
Essex's hopeless condition.
He escapes to his palace.

In the mean time, the further Essex proceeded, the more he found himself environed with difficulties and dangers. The people began to assemble here and there with evident intent to impede his movements. They blocked up the streets with carts and coaches to prevent his escape. His followers, one after another, finding all hope of success gone, abandoned their despairing leader and fled. Essex himself, with the few who still adhered to him, wandered about till two o'clock, finding the way of retreat every where hemmed up against him. At length he fled to the river side, took a boat, with the few who still remained with him, and ordered the watermen to row as rapidly as possible up the river. They landed at Westminster, retreated to Essex's house, fled into it with the utmost precipitation, and barricaded the doors. Essex himself was excited in the highest degree, fully determined to die there rather than surrender himself a prisoner. The terrible desperation to which men are reduced in emergencies like these is shown by the fact that one of his followers did actually station himself at a window bare-headed, inviting a shot from the pistols of the pursuers, who had by this time environed the house, and were preparing to force their way in. His plan succeeded. He was shot, and died that night.

Essex made prisoner, tried, and condemned.

Essex himself was not quite so desperate as this. He soon saw, however, that he must sooner or later yield. He could not stand a siege in his own private dwelling against the whole force of the English realm. He surrendered about six in the evening, and was sent to the Tower. He was soon afterward brought to trial. The facts, with all the arrangements and details of the conspiracy, were fully proved, and he was condemned to die.

His remorse.

As the unhappy prisoner lay in his gloomy dungeon in the Tower, the insane excitement under which he had for so many months been acting slowly ebbed away. He awoke from it gradually, as one recovers his senses after a dreadful dream. He saw how utterly irretrievable was the mischief which had been done. Remorse for his guilt in having attempted to destroy the peace of the kingdom to gratify his own personal feelings of revenge; recollections of the favors which Elizabeth had shown him, and of the love which she had felt for him, obviously so deep and sincere; the consciousness that his life was fairly forfeited, and that he must die—to lie in his cell and think of these things, overwhelmed him with anguish and despair. The brilliant prospects which were so recently before him were all forever gone, leaving nothing in their place but the grim phantom of an executioner, standing with an ax by the side of a dreadful platform, with a block upon it, half revealed and half hidden by the black cloth which covered it like a pall.

Elizabeth's distress.
The ring not sent.
The warrant signed.

Elizabeth, in her palace, was in a state of mind scarcely less distressing than that of the wretched prisoner in his cell. The old conflict was renewed—pride and resentment on the one side, and love which would not be extinguished on the other. If Essex would sue for pardon, she would remit his sentence and allow him to live. Why would he not do it? If he would send her the ring which she had given him for exactly such an emergency, he might be saved. Why did he not send it? The courtiers and statesmen about her urged her to sign the warrant; the peace of the country demanded the execution of the laws in a case of such unquestionable guilt. They told her, too, that Essex wished to die, that he knew that he was hopelessly and irretrievably ruined, and that life, if granted to him, was a boon which would compromise her own safety and confer no benefit on him. Still Elizabeth waited and waited in an agony of suspense, in hopes that the ring would come; the sending of it would be so far an act of submission on his part as would put it in her power to do the rest. Her love could bend her pride, indomitable as it usually was, almost  to the whole concession, but it would not give up quite all. It demanded some sacrifice on his part, which sacrifice the sending of the ring would have rendered. The ring did not come, nor any petition for mercy, and at length the fatal warrant was signed.

What the courtiers said about Essex's desire to die was doubtless true. Like every other person involved in irretrievable sufferings and sorrows, he wanted to live, and he wanted to die. The two contradictory desires shared dominion in his heart, sometimes struggling together in a tumultuous conflict, and sometimes reigning in alternation, in calms more terrible, in fact, than the tempests which preceded and followed them.

The platform.

At the appointed time the unhappy man was led out to the court-yard in the Tower where the last scene was to be enacted. The lieutenant of the Tower presided, dressed in a black velvet gown, over a suit of black satin. The "scaffold" was a platform about twelve feet square and four feet high, with a railing around it, and steps by which to ascend. The block was in the center of it, covered, as well as the platform itself, with black cloth. There were seats erected near for those who were appointed to be present at the execution. Essex ascended the platform with a firm step, and, surveying the solemn scene around him with calmness and composure, he began to speak.

Essex's last words.

He asked the forgiveness of God, of the spectators present, and of the queen, for the crimes for which he was about to suffer. He acknowledged his guilt, and the justice of his condemnation. His mind seemed deeply imbued with a sense of his accountability to God, and he expressed a strong desire to be forgiven, for Christ's sake, for all the sins which he had committed, which had been, he said, most numerous and aggravated from his earliest years. He asked the spectators present to join him in his devotions, and he then proceeded to offer a short prayer, in which he implored pardon for his sins, and a long life and happy reign for the queen. The prayer ended, all was ready. The executioner, according to the strange custom on such occasions, then asked his pardon for the violence which he was about to commit, which Essex readily granted. Essex laid his head upon the block, and it required three blows to complete its severance from the body. When the deed was done, the executioner took up the bleeding head, saying solemnly, as he held it, "God save the queen."

The closing scene.
The courtier.
His fiendish pleasure.

There were but few spectators present at this dreadful scene, and they were chiefly persons required to attend in the discharge of their official duties. There was, however, one exception; it was that of a courtier of high rank, who had long been Essex's inveterate enemy, and who could not deny himself the savage pleasure of witnessing his rival's destruction. But even the stern and iron-hearted officers of the Tower were shocked at his appearing at the scaffold. They urged him to go away, and not distress the dying man by his presence at such an hour. The courtier yielded so far as to withdraw from the scaffold; but he could not go far away. He found a place where he could stand unobserved to witness the scene, at the window of a turret which overlooked the court-yard.

1533 TO 1536.

Birth of Elizabeth.—Circumstances attending the marriage of her parents.—Public entry of Anne Boleyn into London.—Pageants exhibited.—Baptism of Elizabeth.—Eminent persons present.—Proposal of marriage between Elizabeth and a French prince.—Progress of the reformation.—Henry persecutes both parties.—Death of Catherine of Arragon.—Disgrace of Anne Boleyn.—Her death.—Confesses an obstacle to her marriage.—Particulars on this subject.—Elizabeth declared illegitimate.—Letter of lady Bryan respecting her.—The king marries Jane Seymour.

O n  the 7th of September 1533, at the royal palace of Greenwich in Kent, was born, under circumstances as peculiar as her after-life proved eventful and illustrious, Elizabeth  daughter of king Henry VIII. and his queen Anne Boleyn.

Delays and difficulties equally grievous to the impetuous temper of the man and the despotic habits of the prince, had for years obstructed Henry in the execution of his favourite project of repudiating, on the plea of their too near alliance, a wife who had ceased to find favor in his sight, and substituting on her throne the youthful beauty who had captivated his imagination. At length his passion and his impatience had arrived at a pitch capable of bearing down every obstacle. With that contempt of decorum which he displayed so remarkably in some former, and many later transactions of his life, he caused his private marriage with Anne Boleyn to precede the sentence of divorce which he had resolved that his clergy should pronounce against Catherine of Arragon; and no sooner had this judicial ceremony taken place, than the new queen was openly exhibited as such in the face of the court and the nation.

An unusual ostentation of magnificence appears to have attended the celebration of these august nuptials. The fondness of the king for pomp and pageantry was at all times excessive, and on this occasion his love and his pride would equally conspire to prompt an extraordinary display. Anne, too, a vain, ambitious, and light-minded woman, was probably greedy of this kind of homage from her princely lover; and the very consciousness of the dubious, inauspicious, or disgraceful circumstances attending their union, might secretly augment the anxiety of the royal pair to dazzle and impose by the magnificence of their public appearance. Only once before, since the Norman conquest, had a king of England stooped from his dignity to elevate a private gentlewoman and a subject to a partnership of his bed and throne; and the bitter animosities between the queen's relations on one side, and the princes of the blood and great nobles on the other, which had agitated the reign of Edward IV., and contributed to bring destruction on the heads of his helpless orphans, stood as a strong warning against a repetition of the experiment.

The unblemished reputation and amiable character of Henry's "some-time wife," had long procured for her the love and respect of the people; her late misfortunes had engaged their sympathy, and it might be feared that several unfavorable points of comparison would suggest themselves between the high-born and high-minded Catherine and her present rival—once her humble attendant—whose long-known favor with the king, whose open association with him at Calais, whither she had attended him, whose private marriage of uncertain date, and already advanced pregnancy, afforded so much ground for whispered censures.

On the other hand, the personal qualities of the king gave him great power over popular opinion. The manly beauty of his countenance, the strength and agility which in the chivalrous exercises of the time rendered him victorious over all competitors; the splendor with which he surrounded himself; his bounty; the popular frankness of his manners, all conspired to render him, at this period of his life, an object of admiration rather than of dread to his subjects; while the respect entertained for his talents and learning, and for the conscientious scruples respecting his first marriage which he felt or feigned, mingled so much of deference in their feelings towards him, as to check all hasty censures of his conduct. The protestant party, now considerable by zeal and numbers, foresaw too many happy results to their cause from the circumstances of his present union, to scrutinize with severity the motives which had produced it. The nation at large, justly dreading a disputed succession, with all its long-experienced evils, in the event of Henry's leaving behind him no offspring but a daughter whom he had lately set aside on the ground of illegitimacy, rejoiced in the prospect of a male heir to the crown. The populace of London, captivated, as usual, by the splendors of a coronation, were also delighted with the youth, beauty, and affability of the new queen.

The solemn entry therefore of Anne into the city of London was greeted by the applause of the multitude; and it was probably the genuine voice of public feeling, which, in saluting her queen of England, wished her, how much in vain! a long and prosperous life.

The pageants displayed in the streets of London on this joyful occasion, are described with much minuteness by our chroniclers, and afford ample indications that the barbarism of taste which permitted an incongruous mixture of classical mythology with scriptural allusions, was at its height in the learned reign of our eighth Henry. Helicon and Mount Parnassus appeared on one side; St. Anne, and Mary the wife of Cleophas with her children, were represented on the other. Here the three Graces presented the queen with a golden apple by the hands of their orator Mercury; there the four cardinal Virtues promised, in set speeches, that they would always be aiding and comforting to her.

On the Sunday after her public entry, a day not at this period regarded as improper for the performance of such a ceremonial, Henry caused his queen to be crowned at Westminster with great solemnity; an honor which he never thought proper to confer on any of her successors.

In the sex of the child born to them a few months afterwards, the hopes of the royal pair must doubtless have sustained a severe disappointment: but of this sentiment nothing was suffered to appear in the treatment of the infant, whom her father was anxious to mark out as his only legitimate offspring and undoubted heir to the crown.

She was destined to bear the auspicious name of Elizabeth, in memory of her grandmother, that heiress of the house of York whose marriage with the earl of Richmond, then Henry VII., had united the roses, and given lasting peace to a country so long rent by civil discord. The unfortunate Mary, now in her sixteenth year, was stripped of the title of princess of Wales, which she had borne from her childhood, that it might adorn a younger sister; one too whose birth her interest, her religion, and her filial affection for an injured mother, alike taught her to regard as base and infamous.

A public and princely christening served still further to attest the importance attached to this new member of the royal family.

By the king's special command, Cranmer archbishop of Canterbury stood godfather to the princess; and Shakespeare, by a fiction equally poetical and courtly, has represented him as breaking forth on this memorable occasion into an animated vaticination of the glories of the "maiden reign." Happy was it for the peace of mind of the noble personages there assembled, that no prophet was empowered at the same time to declare how few of them should live to share its splendors; how awfully large a proportion of their number should fall, or behold their nearest connexions falling, untimely victims of the jealous tyranny of Henry himself, or of the convulsions and persecutions of the two troubled reigns destined to intervene before those halcyon days which they were taught to anticipate!

For the purpose of illustrating the truth of this remark, and at the same time of introducing to the reader the most distinguished personages of Henry's court, several of whom will afterwards be found exerting different degrees of influence on the character or fortunes of the illustrious subject of this work, it may be worth while to enumerate in regular order the performers in this august ceremonial. The circumstantial Holinshed, to whom we are indebted for their names and offices, will at the same time furnish some of those minute particulars which serve to bring the whole pompous scene before the eye of fancy.

Early in the afternoon, the lord-mayor and corporation of London, who had been summoned to attend, took boat for Greenwich, where they found many lords, knights, and gentlemen assembled. The whole way from the palace to the friery was strown with green rushes, and the walls were hung with tapestry, as was the Friers' church in which the ceremony was performed.

A silver font with a crimson canopy was placed in the middle of the church; and the child being brought into the hall, the long procession set forward. It began with citizens walking two-and-two, and ended with barons, bishops, and earls. Then came, bearing the gilt basins, Henry earl of Essex, the last of the ancient name of Bourchier who bore the title. He was a splendid nobleman, distinguished in the martial games and gorgeous pageantries which then amused the court: he also boasted of a royal lineage, being sprung from Thomas of Woodstock, youngest son of Edward III.; and perhaps he was apprehensive lest this distinction might hereafter become as fatal to himself as it had lately proved to the unfortunate duke of Buckingham. But he perished a few years after by a fall from his horse; and leaving no male issue, the king, to the disgust of this great family, conferred the title on the low-bred Cromwel, then his favorite minister.

The salt was borne by Henry marquis of Dorset, the unfortunate father of lady Jane Grey; who, after receiving the royal pardon for his share in the criminal plot for setting the crown on the head of his daughter, again took up arms in the rebellion of Wyat, and was brought to expiate this treason on the scaffold.

William Courtney marquis of Exeter followed with the taper of virgin wax; a nobleman who had the misfortune to be very nearly allied to the English throne; his mother being a daughter of Edward IV. He was at this time in high favor with the king his cousin, who, after setting aside his daughter Mary, had even declared him heir-apparent, to the prejudice of his own sisters: but three years after he fell a victim to the jealousy of the king, on a charge of corresponding with his proscribed kinsman cardinal Pole: his honors and estates were forfeited; and his son, though still a child, was detained in close custody.

The chrism was borne by lady Mary Howard, the beautiful daughter of the duke of Norfolk; who lived not only to behold, but, by the evidence which she gave on his trial, to assist in the most unmerited condemnation of her brother, the gallant and accomplished earl of Surry. The king, by a trait of royal arrogance, selected this lady, descended from our Saxon monarchs and allied to all the first nobility, for the wife of his base-born son created duke of Richmond; but it does not appear that the spirit of the Howards was high enough in this reign to feel the insult as it deserved.

The royal infant, wrapped in a mantle of purple velvet, having a long train furred with ermine, was carried by one of her godmothers, the dowager-duchess of Norfolk. Anne Boleyn was this lady's step-grand-daughter: but in this alliance with royalty she had little cause to exult; still less in the closer one which was afterwards formed for her by the elevation of her own grand-daughter Catherine Howard. On discovery of the ill conduct of this queen, the aged duchess was overwhelmed with disgrace; she was even declared guilty of misprision of treason, and committed to custody, but was released by the king after the blood of Catherine and her paramours had quenched his fury.

The dowager-marchioness of Dorset was the other godmother at the font:—of the four sons of this lady, three perished on the scaffold; her grand-daughter lady Jane Grey shared the same fate; and the surviving son died a prisoner during the reign of Elizabeth, for the offence of distributing a pamphlet asserting the title of the Suffolk line to the crown.

The marchioness of Exeter was the godmother at the confirmation, who had not only the affliction to see her husband brought to an untimely end, and her only son wasting his youth in captivity, but, being herself attainted of high treason some time afterwards, underwent a long and arbitrary imprisonment.

On either hand of the duchess of Norfolk walked the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the only nobles of that rank then existing in England.

Their names occur in conjunction on every public occasion, and in almost every important transaction, civil and military, of the reign of Henry VIII., but the termination of their respective careers was strongly contrasted. The duke of Suffolk had the extraordinary good fortune never to lose that favor with his master which he had gained as Charles Brandon, the partner of his youthful pleasures. What was a still more extraordinary instance of felicity, his marriage with the king's sister brought to him neither misfortunes nor perils, and he did not live to witness those which overtook his grand-daughters. He died in peace, lamented by a sovereign who knew his worth.

The duke of Norfolk, on the contrary, was powerful enough by birth and connexions to impress Henry with fears for the tranquillity of his son's reign. The memory of former services was sacrificed to present alarm. Almost with his last breath he ordered his old and faithful servant to the scaffold; but even Henry was no longer absolute on his death-bed. For once he was disobeyed, and Norfolk survived him; but the long years of his succeeding captivity were poorly compensated by a brief and tardy restoration to liberty and honors under Mary.

One of the child's train-bearers was the countess of Kent. This was probably the widow of the second earl of that title and of the name of Grey: she must therefore have been the daughter of the earl of Pembroke, a zealous Yorkist who was slain fighting in the cause of Edward IV. Henry VIII. was doubtless aware that his best hereditary title to the crown was derived from his mother, and during his reign the Yorkist families enjoyed at least an equal share of favor with the Lancastrians, whom his father had almost exclusively countenanced.

Thomas Boleyn earl of Wiltshire, the proud and happy grandfather of the princely infant, supported the train on one side. It is not true that he afterwards, in his capacity of a privy councillor, pronounced sentence of death on his own son and daughter; even Henry was not inhuman enough to exact this of him; but he lived to witness their cruel and disgraceful end, and died long before the prosperous days of his illustrious grandchild.

On the other side the train was borne by Edward Stanley third earl of Derby. This young nobleman had been a ward of Wolsey, and was carefully educated by that splendid patron of learning in his house and under his own eye. He proved himself a faithful and loyal subject to four successive sovereigns; stood unshaken by the tempests of the most turbulent times; and died full of days in the possession of great riches, high hereditary honors, and universal esteem, in 1574.

A splendid canopy was supported over the infant by four lords, three of them destined to disastrous fates. One was her uncle, the elegant, accomplished, viscount Rochford, whom the impartial suffrage of posterity has fully acquitted of the odious crime for which he suffered by the mandate of a jealous tyrant.

Another was lord Hussey; whom a rash rebellion brought to the scaffold a few years afterwards. The two others were brothers of that illustrious family of Howard, which furnished in this age alone more subjects for tragedy than "Thebes or Pelops' line" of old. Lord William, uncle to Catherine Howard, was arbitrarily adjudged to perpetual imprisonment and forfeiture of goods for concealing her misconduct; but Henry was pleased soon after to remit the sentence: he lived to be eminent in the state under the title of lord Howard of Effingham, and died peacefully in a good old age. Lord Thomas suffered by the ambition so frequent in his house, of matching with the blood royal. He formed a secret marriage with the lady Margaret Douglas, niece to the king; on discovery of which, he was committed to a close imprisonment, whence he was only released by death.

After the ceremony of baptism had been performed by Stokesly bishop of London, a solemn benediction was pronounced upon the future queen by Cranmer, that learned and distinguished prelate, who may indeed be reproached with some too courtly condescensions to the will of an imperious master, and what is worse, with several cruel acts of religious persecution; but whose virtues were many, whose general character was mild and benevolent, and whose errors and weaknesses were finally expiated by the flames of martyrdom.

In the return from church, the gifts of the sponsors, consisting of cups and bowls, some gilded, and others of massy gold, were carried by four persons of quality: Henry Somerset second earl of Worcester, whose father, notwithstanding his illegitimacy, had been acknowledged as a kinsman by Henry VII., and advanced to the peerage; lord Thomas Howard the younger, a son of the duke of Norfolk who was restored in blood after his father's attainder, and created lord Howard of Bindon; Thomas Ratcliffe lord Fitzwalter, afterwards earl of Sussex; and sir John Dudley, son of the detested associate of Empson, and afterwards the notorious duke of Northumberland, whose crimes received at length their due recompense in that ignominious death to which his guilty and extravagant projects had conducted so many comparatively innocent victims.

We are told, that on the same day and hour which gave birth to the princess Elizabeth, a son was born to this "bold bad man," who received the name of Robert, and was known in after-times as earl of Leicester. It was believed by the superstition of the age, that this coincidence of their nativities produced a secret and invincible sympathy which secured to Dudley, during life, the affections of his sovereign lady. It may without superstition be admitted, that this circumstance, seizing on the romantic imagination of the princess, might produce a first impression, which Leicester's personal advantages, his insinuating manners, and consummate art of feigning, all contributed to render deep and permanent.

The personal history of Elizabeth may truly be said to begin with her birth; for she had scarcely entered her second year when her marriage—that never-accomplished project, which for half a century afterwards inspired so many vain hopes and was the subject of so many fruitless negotiations, was already proposed as an article of a treaty between France and England.

Henry had caused an act of succession to be passed, by which his divorce was confirmed, the authority of the pope disclaimed, and the crown settled on his issue by Anne Boleyn. But, as if half-repenting the boldness of his measures, he opened a negotiation almost immediately with Francis I., for the purpose of obtaining a declaration by that king and his nobility in favor of his present marriage, and the intercession of Francis for the revocation of the papal censures fulminated against him. And in consideration of these acts of friendship, he offered to engage the hand of Elizabeth to the duke d'Angoulême, third son of the French king. But Francis was unable to prevail upon the new pope to annul the acts of his predecessor; and probably not wishing to connect himself more closely with a prince already regarded as a heretic, he suffered the proposal of marriage to fall to the ground.

The doctrines of Zwingle and of Luther had at this time made considerable progress among Henry's subjects, and the great work of reformation was begun in England. Several smaller monasteries had been suppressed; the pope's supremacy was preached against by public authority; and the parliament, desirous of widening the breach between the king and the pontiff, declared the former, head of the English church. After some hesitation, Henry accepted the office, and wrote a book in defence of his conduct. The queen was attached, possibly by principle, and certainly by interest, to the antipapal party, which alone admitted the validity of the royal divorce, and consequently of her marriage; and she had already engaged her chaplain Dr. Parker, a learned and zealous reformist, to keep a watchful eye over the childhood of her daughter, and early to imbue her mind with the true principles of religious knowledge.

But Henry, whose passions and interests alone, not his theological convictions, had set him in opposition to the old church establishment, to the ceremonies and doctrines of which he was even zealously attached, began to be apprehensive that the whole fabric would be swept away by the strong tide of popular opinion which was now turned against it, and he hastened to interpose in its defence. He brought to the stake several persons who denied the real presence, as a terror to the reformers; whilst at the same time he showed his resolution to quell the adherents of popery, by causing bishop Fisher and sir Thomas More to be attainted of treason, for refusing such part of the oath of succession as implied the invalidity of the king's first marriage, and thus, in effect, disallowed the authority of the papal dispensation in virtue of which it had been celebrated.

Thus were opened those dismal scenes of religious persecution and political cruelty from which the mind of Elizabeth was to receive its early and indelible impressions.

The year 1536, which proved even more fertile than its predecessor in melancholy incidents and tragical catastrophes, opened with the death of Catherine of Arragon; an event equally welcome, in all probability, both to the sufferer herself, whom tedious years of trouble and mortification must have rendered weary of a world which had no longer a hope to flatter her; and to the ungenerous woman who still beheld her, discarded as she was, with the sentiments of an enemy and a rival. It is impossible to contemplate the life and character of this royal lady, without feelings of the deepest commiseration. As a wife, the bitter humiliations which she was doomed to undergo were entirely unmerited; for not only was her modesty unquestioned, but her whole conduct towards the king was a perfect model of conjugal love and duty. As a queen and a mother, her firmness, her dignity, and her tenderness, deserved a far other recompense than to see herself degraded, on the infamous plea of incest, from the rank of royalty, and her daughter, so long heiress to the English throne, branded with illegitimacy, and cast out alike from the inheritance and the affections of her father. But the memory of this unhappy princess has been embalmed by the genius of Shakespeare, in the noble drama of which he has made her the touching and majestic heroine; and let not the praise of magnanimity be denied to the daughter of Anne Boleyn, in permitting those wrongs and those sufferings which were the price of her glory, nay of her very existence, to be thus impressively offered to the compassion of her people.

Henry was moved to tears on reading the tender and pious letter addressed to him by the dying hand of Catherine; and he marked by several small but expressive acts, the respect, or rather the compunction, with which the recollection of her could not fail to inspire him. Anne Boleyn paid to the memory of the princess-dowager of Wales—such was the title now given to Catherine—the unmeaning compliment of putting on yellow mourning; the color assigned to queens by the fashion of France: but neither humanity nor discretion restrained her from open demonstrations of the satisfaction afforded her by the melancholy event.

Short was her unfeeling triumph. She brought into the world a few days afterwards, a dead son; and this second disappointment of his hopes completed that disgust to his queen which satiety, and perhaps also a growing passion for another object, was already beginning to produce in the mind of the king.

It is traditionally related, that at Jane Seymour's first coming to court, the queen, espying a jewel hung round her neck, wished to look at it; and struck with the young lady's reluctance to submit it to her inspection, snatched it from her with violence, when she found it to contain the king's picture, presented by himself to the wearer. From this day she dated her own decline in the affections of her husband, and the ascendancy of her rival. However this might be, it is certain that the king about this time began to regard the conduct of his once idolized Anne Boleyn with an altered eye. That easy gaiety of manner which he had once remarked with delight, as an indication of the innocence of her heart and the artlessness of her disposition, was now beheld by him as a culpable levity which offended his pride and alarmed his jealousy. His impetuous temper, with which "once to suspect was once to be resolved," disdained to investigate proofs or to fathom motives; a pretext alone was wanting to his rising fury, and this he was not long in finding.

On May-day, then observed at court as a high festival, solemn justs were held at Greenwich, before the king and queen, in which viscount Rochford, the queen's brother, was chief challenger, and Henry Norris principal defender. In the midst of the entertainment, the king suddenly rose and quitted the place in anger; but on what particular provocation is not certainly known. Saunders the Jesuit, the great calumniator of Anne Boleyn, says that it was on seeing his consort drop her handkerchief, which Norris picked up and wiped his face with. The queen immediately retired, and the next day was committed to custody. Her earnest entreaties to be permitted to see the king were disregarded, and she was sent to the Tower on a charge of treason and adultery.

Lord Rochford, Norris, one Smeton a musician, and Brereton and another gentleman of the bed-chamber, were likewise apprehended, and brought to trial on the accusation of criminal intercourse with the queen. They were all convicted; but from the few particulars which have come down to us, it seems to be justly inferred, that the evidence produced against some at least of these unhappy gentlemen, was slight and inconclusive. Lord Rochford is universally believed to have fallen a victim to the atrocious perjuries of his wife, who was very improperly admitted as a witness against him, and whose infamous conduct was afterwards fully brought to light. No absolute criminality appears to have been proved against Weston and Brereton; but Smeton confessed the fact. Norris died much more generously: he protested that he would rather perish a thousand times than accuse an innocent person; that he believed the queen to be perfectly guiltless; he, at least, could accuse her of nothing; and in this declaration he persisted to the last. His expressions, if truly reported, seem to imply that he might have saved himself by criminating the queen: but besides the extreme improbability that the king would have shown or promised any mercy to such a delinquent, we know in fact that the confession of Smeton did not obtain for him even a reprieve: it is therefore absurd to represent Norris as having died in vindication of the honor of the queen; and the favor afterwards shown to his son by Elizabeth, had probably little connexion with any tenderness for the memory of her mother, a sentiment which she certainly exhibited in no other circumstance.

The trial and condemnation of the queen followed. The process was conducted with that open disregard of the first principles of justice and equity then universal in all cases of high treason: no counsel were assigned her, no witnesses confronted with her, and it does not appear that she was even informed of Smeton's confession: but whether, after all, she died innocent, is a problem which there now exist no means of solving, and which it is somewhat foreign from the purpose of this work to discuss.

One part of this subject, however, on account of the intimate relation which it bears to the history of Elizabeth, and the influence which it may be presumed to have exercised in the formation of her character, must be treated somewhat at large.

The common law of England, by an anomaly truly barbarous, denounced, against females only, who should be found guilty of high treason, the punishment of burning. By menaces of putting into execution this horrible sentence, instead of commuting it for decapitation, Anne Boleyn was induced to acknowledge some legal impediment to her marriage with the king; and on this confession alone, Cranmer, with his usual subserviency, gratified his royal master by pronouncing that union null and void, and its offspring illegitimate.

What this impediment, real or pretended, might be, we only learn from a public declaration made immediately afterwards by the earl of Northumberland, stating, that whereas it had been pretended, that a precontract had subsisted between himself and the late queen, he has declared upon oath before the lords of the council, and taken the sacrament upon it, that no such contract had ever passed between them. In explanation of this protest, the noble historian of Henry VIII.[1] furnishes us with the following particulars. That the earl of Northumberland, when lord Percy, had made proposals of marriage to Anne Boleyn, which she had accepted, being yet a stranger to the passion of the king; that Henry, unable to bear the idea of losing her, but averse as yet to a declaration of his sentiments, employed Wolsey to dissuade the father of lord Percy from giving his consent to their union, in which he succeeded; the earl of Northumberland probably becoming aware how deeply the personal feelings of the king were concerned: that lord Percy, however, refused to give up the lady, alleging in the first instance that he had gone too far to recede with honor; but was afterwards compelled by his father to form another matrimonial connexion. It should appear by this statement, that some engagement had in fact subsisted between Northumberland and Anne; but there is no necessity for supposing it to have been a contract of that solemn nature which, according to the law as it then stood, would have rendered null the subsequent marriage of either party. The protestation of the earl was confirmed by the most solemn sanctions; which there is no ground for supposing him capable of violating, especially as on this occasion, so far from gaining any advantage by it, he was likely to give high offence to the king. If then, as appears most probable, the confession by which Anne Boleyn disinherited and illegitimatised her daughter was false; a perjury so wicked and cowardly must brand her memory with everlasting infamy:—even should the contrary have been the fact, the transaction does her little honor; in either case it affords ample justification to that daughter in leaving, as she did, her remains without a monument and her conduct without an apology.

The precarious and equivocal condition to which the little Elizabeth was reduced by the divorce and death of her mother, will be best illustrated by the following extracts of a letter addressed soon after the event, by lady Bryan her governess, to lord Cromwel. It may at the same time amuse the modern reader to remark the minute details on which, in that day, the first minister of state was expected to bestow his personal attention.

"...My lord, when your lordship was last here, it pleased you to say, that I should not mistrust the king's grace, nor your lordship. Which word was more comfort to me than I can write, as God knoweth. And now it boldeneth me to show you my poor mind. My lord, when my lady Mary's grace was born, it pleased the king's grace to [appoint] me lady mistress, and made me a baroness. And so I have been to the children his grace have had since.

"Now, so it is, my lady Elizabeth is put from that degree she was afore; and what degree she is at now, I know not but by hearsay. Therefore I know not how to order her, nor myself, nor none of hers that I have the rule of; that is, her women and her grooms. Beseeching you to be good lord to my lady and to all hers; and that she may have some rayment. For she hath neither gown, nor kirtle, nor petticoat, nor no manner of linen, nor foresmocks, nor kerchiefs, nor sleeves, nor rails, nor body-stitchets, nor mufflers, nor biggins. All these, her grace's mostake [2], I have driven off as long as I can, that, by my troth, I cannot drive it no lenger. Beseeching you, my lord, that you will see that her grace may have that is needful for her, as my trust is ye will do—that I may know from you by writing how I shall order myself; and what is the king's grace's pleasure and yours, that I shall do in every thing.

"My lord, Mr. Shelton saith he is the master of this house: what fashion that shall be, I cannot tell; for I have not seen it before.—I trust your lordship will see the house honourably ordered, howsomever it hath been ordered aforetime.

"My lord, Mr. Shelton would have my lady Elizabeth to dine and sup every day at the board of estate. Alas! my lord, it is not meet for a child of her age to keep such rule yet. I promise you, my lord, I dare not take it upon me to keep her in health and she keep that rule. For there she shall see divers meats and fruits, and wine: which would be hard for me to restrain her grace from it. Ye know, my lord, there is no place of correction there. And she is yet too young to correct greatly. I know well, and she be there, I shall nother bring her up to the king's grace's honour, nor hers; nor to her health, nor my poor honesty. Wherefore I show your lordship this my desire. Beseeching you, my lord, that my lady may have a mess of meat to her own lodging, with a good dish or two, that is meet for her grace to eat of.

"God knoweth my lady hath great pain with her great teeth, and they come very slowly forth: and causeth me to suffer her grace to have her will, more than I would. I trust to God and her teeth were well graft, to have her grace after another fashion than she is yet: so as I trust the king's grace shall have great comfort in her grace. For she is as toward a child, and as gentle of conditions, as ever I knew any in my life. Jesu preserve her grace! As for a day or two at a hey time, or whensomever it shall please the king's grace to have her set abroad, I trust so to endeavour me, that she shall so do, as shall be to the king's honour and hers; and then after to take her ease again.

"Good my lord, have my lady's grace, and us that be her poor servants in your remembrance.

"From Hunsdon." (No date of time.)

On the day immediately following the death of the unfortunate Anne Boleyn, the king was publicly united in marriage to Jane Seymour; and an act of parliament soon after passed by which the lady Elizabeth was declared incapable of succeeding to the crown, which was now settled on the offspring of Henry by his present queen.


[1]Lord Herbert of Chirbury.

[2]This is a word which I am utterly unable to explain; but it is thus printed in Strype's "Memorials," whence the letter is copied.

1573 TO 1577.

Letters of lord Talbot to his father.—Connexion of Leicester with lady Sheffield.—Anecdote of the queen and Mr. Dyer.—Queen suspicions of Burleigh.—Countesses of Lenox and Shrewsbury imprisoned.—Queen refuses the sovereignty of Holland.—Her remarkable speech to the deputies.—Alchemy.—Notice of Dr. Dee—of Frobisher.—Family of Love.—Burning of two Anabaptists.—Entertainment of the queen at Kennelworth.—Notice of Walter earl of Essex.—General favor towards his son Robert.—Letter of the queen to the earl of Shrewsbury respecting Leicester.

G reat  as had been the injustice committed by Elizabeth in the detention of the queen of Scots, it must be confessed that the offence brought with it its own sufficient punishment in the fears, jealousies and disquiets which it entailed upon her.

Where Mary was concerned, the most approved loyalty, the longest course of faithful service, and the truest attachment to the protestant cause, were insufficient pledges to her oppressor of the fidelity of her nobles or ministers. The earl of Shrewsbury, whom she had deliberately selected from all others to be the keeper of the captive queen, and whose vigilance had now for so long a period baffled all attempts for her deliverance, was, to the last, unable so to establish himself in the confidence of his sovereign as to be exempt from such starts of suspicion and fits of displeasure as kept him in a state of continual apprehension. Feeling with acuteness all the difficulties of his situation, this nobleman judged it expedient to cause Gilbert lord Talbot, his eldest son, to remain in close attendance on the motions of the queen; charging him to study with unremitting attention all the intrigues of the court, on which in that day so much depended, and to acquaint him with them frequently and minutely. To this precaution of the earl's we owe several extant letters of lord Talbot, which throw considerable light on the minor incidents of the time.

In May 1573, this diligent news-gatherer acquaints his father, that the earl of Leicester was much with her majesty, that he was more than formerly solicitous to please her, and that he was as high in favor as ever: but that two sisters, lady Sheffield and lady Frances Howard, were deeply in love with him and at great variance with each other; that the queen was on this account very angry with them, and not well pleased with him, and that spies were set upon him. To such open demonstrations of feminine jealousy did this great queen condescend to have recourse! Yet she remained all her life in ignorance of the true state of this affair, which, in fact, is not perfectly cleared up at the present day.

It appears that a criminal intimacy was known to subsist between Leicester and lady Sheffield even before the death of her lord, in consequence of which, this event, which was sudden, and preceded it is said by violent symptoms, was popularly attributed to the Italian arts of Leicester. During this year, lady Sheffield bore him a son, whose birth was carefully concealed for fear of giving offence to the queen, though many believed that a private marriage had taken place. Afterwards he forsook the mother of his child to marry the countess of Essex, and the deserted lady became the wife of another. In the reign of James I., many years after the death of Leicester, sir Robert Dudley his son, to whom he had left a great part of his fortune, laid claim to the family honors, bringing several witnesses to prove his mother's marriage, and among others his mother herself. This lady declared on oath that Leicester, in order to compel her to form that subsequent marriage in his lifetime which must deprive her of the power of claiming him as her husband, had employed the most violent menaces, and had even attempted her life by a poisonous potion which had thrown her into an illness by which she lost her hair and nails. After the production of all this evidence, the heirs of Leicester exerted all their interest to stop proceedings;—no great argument of the goodness of their cause;—and sir Robert Dudley died without having been able to bring the matter to a legal decision. In the next reign the evidence formerly given was reviewed, and the title of duchess Dudley conferred on the widow of sir Robert, the patent setting forth that the marriage of the earl of Leicester with lady Sheffield had been satisfactorily proved.

So close were the contrivances, so deep, as it appears, the villanies of this celebrated favorite! But his consummate art was successful in throwing over these and other transactions of his life, a veil of doubt andmystery which time itself has proved unable entirely to remove.

Hatton was at this time ill, and lord Talbot mentions that the queen went daily to visit him, but that a party with which Leicester was thought to co-operate, was endeavouring to bring forwards Mr. Edward Dyer to supplant him in her majesty's favor. This gentleman, it seems, had been for two years in disgrace; and as he had suffered during the same period from a bad state of health, the queen was made to believe that the continuance of her displeasure was the cause of his malady, and that his recovery was without her pardon hopeless. This was taking her by her weak side; she loved to imagine herself the dispenser of life and death to her devoted servants, and she immediately dispatched to the sick gentleman a comfortable message, on receipt of which he was made whole. The letter-writer observes, to the honor of lord Burleigh, that he concerned himself as usual only in state affairs, and suffered all these love-matters and petty intrigues to pass without notice before his eyes.

All the caution, however, and all the devotedness of this great minister were insufficient to preserve him, on the following occasion, from the unworthy suspicions of his mistress. The queen of Scots had this year with difficulty obtained permission to resort to the baths of Buxton for the recovery of her health; and a similar motive led thither at the same time the lord-treasurer. Elizabeth marked the coincidence; and when, a year or two afterwards, it occurred for the second time, her displeasure broke forth: she openly accused her minister of seeking occasions of entering into intelligence with Mary by means of the earl of Shrewsbury and his lady, and it was not without difficulty that he was able to appease her. This striking fact is thus related by Burleigh himself in a remarkable letter to the earl of Shrewsbury.

Lord Burleigh to the earl of Shrewsbury.

"My very good lord,

"My most hearty and due commendations done, I cannot sufficiently express in words the inward hearty affection that I conceive by your lordship's friendly offer of the marriage of your younger son; and that in such a friendly sort, by your own letter, and, as your lordship writeth, the same proceeding of yourself. Now, my lord, as I think myself much beholding to you for this your lordship's kindness, and manifest argument of a faithful good will, so must I pray your lordship to accept mine answer, with assured opinion of my continuance in the same towards your lordship. There are specially two causes why I do not in plain terms consent by way of conclusion hereto; the one for that my daughter is but young in years; and upon some reasonable respects I have determined, notwithstanding I have been very honorably offered matches, not to treat of marrying of her, if I may live so long, until she shall be above fifteen or sixteen; and if I were of more likelihood myself to live longer than I look to do, she should not, with my liking, be married before she were near eighteen or twenty.

"The second cause why I defer to yield to conclusion with your lordship, is grounded upon such a consideration as, if it were not truly to satisfy your lordship, and to avoid a just offence which your lordship might conceive of my forbearing, I would not by writing or message utter, but only by speech to your lordship's self. My lord, it is over true and over much against reason, that upon my being at Buckstones last, advantage was sought by some that loved me not, to confirm in her majesty a former conceit which had been labored to be put into her head, that I was of late time become friendly to the queen of Scots, and that I had no disposition to encounter her practises; and now, at my being at Buckstones, her majesty did directly conceive that my being there was, by means of your lordship and my lady, to enter into intelligence with the queen of Scots; and hereof at my return to her majesty's presence I had very sharp reproofs for my going to Buckstones, with plain charging of me for favoring the queen of Scots, and that in so earnest a sort as I never looked for, knowing my integrity to her majesty; but, specially, knowing how contrariously the queen of Scots conceived of me for many things past to the offence of the said queen of Scots. And yet, true it is, I never indeed gave just cause by any private affection of my own, or for myself, to offend the queen of Scots; but whatsoever I did was for the service of mine own lady and queen, which if it were yet again to be done I would do. And though I know myself subject to contrary workings of displeasure, yet I will not, for remedy of any of them both, decline from the duty I owe to God and my sovereign queen; for I know, and do understand, that I am in this contrary sort maliciously depraved, and yet in secret sort; on the one part, and that of long time, that I am the most dangerous enemy and evil willer to the queen of Scots; on the other side, that I am also a secret well willer to her and her title; and that I have made my party good with her. Now, my lord, no man can make both these true together; but it sufficeth for such as like not me in doing my duty to deprave me, and yet in such sort is done in darkness as I cannot get opportunity to convince them in the light. In all these crossings, my good lord, I appeal to God, who knoweth, yea, I thank him infinitely, who directeth my thoughts to intend principally the service and honor of God, and, jointly with that, the surety and greatness of my sovereign lady the queen's majesty; and for any other respect but that may tend to those two, I appeal to God to punish me if I have any. As for the queen of Scots, truly I have no spot of evil meaning to her; neither do I mean to deal with any titles to the crown. If she shall intend any evil to the queen's majesty my sovereign, for her sake I must and will mean to impeach her; and therein I may be her unfriend or worse.

"Well now, my good lord, your lordship seeth I have made a long digression from my answer, but I trust your lordship can consider what moveth me thus to digress: Surely it behoveth me not only to live uprightly, but to avoid all probable arguments that may be gathered to render me suspected to her majesty, whom I serve with all dutifulness and sincerity; and therefore I gather this, that if it were understood that there were a communication, or a purpose of a marriage between your lordship's son and my daughter, I am sure there would be an advantage sought to increase these former suspicions [word missing] purpose. Considering the young years of our two children [word missing] as if the matter were fully agreed betwixt us, the parents, the marriage could not take effect, I think it best to refer the motion in silence, and yet so to order it with ourselves, that, when time shall hereafter be more convenient, we may, and then also with less cause of vain suspicion, renew it. And, in the meantime, I must confess myself much bounden to your lordship for your goodness; wishing your lordship's son all the good education that may be mete to teach him to fear God, love your lordship his natural father, and to know his friends; without any curiosity of human learning, which, without the fear of God, I see doth much hurt to all youth in this time and age. My lord, I pray you bear with my scribbling, which I think your lordship shall hardly read, and yet I would not use my man's hand in such a matter as this is. [From Hampton Court, 25th Dec. 1575.]

"Your lordship's most assured at command

"W. Burleigh [76]."

A similar caution to that of lord Burleigh was not observed in the disposal of her daughters by the countess of Shrewsbury; a woman remarkable above all her contemporaries for a violent, restless and intriguing spirit, and an inordinate thirst of money and of sway. She brought to effect in 1574 a marriage between Elizabeth Cavendish, her daughter by a former husband, and Charles Stuart, brother of Darnley and next to the king of Scots in the order of succession to the crowns both of England and Scotland. Notwithstanding the rooted enmity between Mary and the house of Lenox, this union was supposed to be the result of some private intrigue between lady Shrewsbury and the captive queen; and in consequence of it Elizabeth committed to custody for some time, both the mother of the bride and the unfortunate countess of Lenox, doomed to expiate by such a variety of sufferings the unpardonable offence, in the eyes of Elizabeth, of having given heirs to the British sceptres.

A signal occasion presented itself to the queen in 1575 of demonstrating to all neighbouring powers, that whatever suspicions her close and somewhat crooked system of policy might now and then have excited, self-defence was in reality its genuine principle and single object; and that the clear and comprehensive view which she had taken of her own true interests, joined to the habitual caution of her character, would ever restrain her from availing herself of the most tempting opportunities of aggrandizement at their expense.

The provinces of Holland and Zealand, goaded into revolt by the bigotry and barbarity of Philip of Spain, had from the first experienced in the English nation, and even in Elizabeth herself, a disposition to encourage and shelter them; and despairing of being able longer to maintain alone the unequal contest which they had provoked, yet resolute to return no more under the tyranny of a detested master, they now embraced the resolution of throwing themselves entirely upon her protection. It was urged that Elizabeth,—as descended from Philippa wife of Edward III., a daughter of that count of Hainalt and Holland from one of whose co-heiresses the king of Spain derived the Flemish part of his dominions,—might claim somewhat of a hereditary title to their allegiance, and a solemn deputation was appointed to offer to her the sovereignty of the provinces on condition of defending them from the Spaniards.

There was much in the proposal to flatter the pride and tempt the ambition of a prince; much also to gratify that desire of retaliation which the encouragement given by Philip to the Northern rebellion and to certain movements in Ireland, as well as to all the machinations of the queen of Scots, may reasonably be supposed to have excited in the bosom of Elizabeth. Zeal for the protestant cause, had she ever entertained it separately from considerations of personal interest and safety, might have proved a further inducement with her to accept the patronage of these afflicted provinces:—but not all the motives which could be urged were of force to divert her from her settled plan of policy; and after a short interval of anxious hesitation, she resolved to dismiss the envoys with an absolute refusal. The speech which she addressed to them on this occasion was highly characteristic, and in one point extremely remarkable.

She reprobated, doubtless with great sincerity, the principle, that there were cases in which subjects might be justified in throwing off allegiance to their lawful prince; and protested that, for herself, nothing could ever tempt her to usurp upon the dominions either of her good brother of Spain or any other prince. Finally, she took upon her to advert to the religious scruples which had produced the revolt of the Hollanders, in a tone of levity which it is difficult to understand her motive for assuming: since it could not fail, from her lips especially, to give extreme scandal to the deputies and to all other serious men. She said, that it was unreasonable in the Dutch to have stirred up so great a commotion merely on account of the celebration of mass; and that so contumacious a resistance to their king could never redound to their honor, since they were not compelled to believe in the divinity of the mass, but only to be spectators of its performance,—as at a public spectacle. "What!" said she, "if I were to begin to act some scene in a dress like this," (for she was clad in white like a priest,) "should you regard it as a crime to behold it?[77]" Was the queen here making the apology of her own compliances under the reign of her sister, or was she generously furnishing a salvo for others? In any case, the sentiment, as coming from the heroine of protestantism, is extraordinary.

An ineffectual remonstrance, addressed by Elizabeth to the king of Spain, was the only immediate result of this attempt of the Provinces to engage her in their concerns. She kept a watchful eye, however, upon their great and glorious struggle; and the time at length came, when she found it expedient to unite more closely her interest with theirs.

England now enjoyed profound tranquillity, internal and external, and our annalists find leisure to advert to various circumstances of domestic history. They mention a corporation formed for the transmutation of iron into copper by the method of one Medley an alchemist, of which the learned but credulous sir Thomas Smith, secretary of state, was a principal promoter, and in which both Leicester and Burleigh embarked some capital. The master of the Mint ventured to express a doubt of the success of the experiment, because the adept had engaged that the weight of copper procured should exceed that of all the substances employed in its production; but nobody seems to have felt the force of this simple objection, and great was the disappointment of all concerned when at length the bubble burst.

About the same time the famous Dr. Dee, mathematician, astrologer, and professor of the occult sciences, being pressed by poverty, supplicated Burleigh to procure her majesty's patronage for his infallible method of discovering hidden treasures. This person, who stood at the head of his class, had been early protected by Leicester, who employed him to fix a lucky day for the queen's coronation. He had since been patronized by her majesty, who once visited him at his house at Mortlake, took lessons of him in astronomy, and occasionally supplied him with money to defray the expenses of his experiment. She likewise presented him to some ecclesiastical benefices; but he often complained of the delay or non-performance of her promises of pensions and preferment. On one occasion he was sent to the continent, ostensibly for the purpose of consulting physicians and philosophers on the state of her majesty's health; but probably not without some secret political commission. After a variety of wild adventures in different countries of Europe, in which he and his associate Kelly discovered still more knavery than credulity in the exercise of their various false sciences and fallacious arts, Dee was invited home by her majesty in 1589, and was afterwards presented by her with the wardenship of Manchester-college. But he was hated and sometimes insulted by the people as a conjurer; quarrelled with the fellows of his college, quitted Manchester in disgust, and failing to obtain the countenance of king James died at length in poverty and neglect;—the ordinary fate of his class of projectors. Elizabeth performed a more laudable part in lending her support to the enterprise of that able and spirited navigator Martin Frobisher, who had long been soliciting in vain among the merchants the means of attempting a northwest passage to the Indies, and was finally supplied by the queen with two small vessels. With these he set sail in June 1576, and though unsuccessful in the prime object of his voyage, extended considerably the previous acquaintance of navigators with the coasts of Greenland, and became the discoverer of the straits which still bear his name.

A sect called "The family of Love" had lately sprung up in England. Its doctrines, notwithstanding the frightful reports raised of them, were probably dangerous neither to the established church, with the rites of which the brethren willingly complied, nor yet to the state; and it may be doubted whether they were in any respect incompatible with private morals; but no innovations in religion were regarded as tolerable or venial under the rigid administration of Elizabeth; and the leaders of the new heresy were taken into custody, and compelled to recant. Some anabaptists were apprehended about the same time, who acknowledged their error at Paul's Cross, bearing faggots,—the tremendous symbol of the fate from which their recantation had rescued them. Two of these unhappy men, however, repented of the disingenuous act into which human frailty had betrayed them; and returning to the open profession of their opinions were burned in Smithfield, to the eternal opprobrium of protestant principles and the deep disgrace of the governess and institutress of the Anglican Church.

The observation of lord Talbot, that the earl of Leicester showed himself more than ever solicitous to improve the favor of his sovereign, received confirmation from the unparalleled magnificence of the reception which he provided for her when, during her progress in the summer of 1575, she honored him with a visit in Warwickshire.

The "princely pleasures of Kennelworth," were famed in their day as the quintessence of all courtly delight, and very long and very pompous descriptions of these festive devices have come down to our times. They were conducted on a scale of grandeur and expense which may still surprise; but taste as yet was in its infancy, and the whole was characterized by the unmerciful tediousness, the ludicrous incongruities, and the operose pedantry of a semi-barbarous age.

A temporary bridge 70 feet in length was thrown across a valley to the great gate of the castle, and its posts were hung with the offerings of seven of the Grecian deities to her majesty; displaying in grotesque assemblage, cages of various large birds, fruits, corn, fishes, grapes, and wine in silver vessels, musical instruments of many kinds and weapons and armour hung trophy-wise on two ragged staves. A poet standing at the end of the bridge explained in Latin verse the meaning of all. The Lady of the Lake, invisible since the disappearance of the renowned prince Arthur, approached on a floating island along the moat to recite adulatory verses. Arion, being summoned for the like purpose, appeared on a dolphin four-and-twenty feet long, which carried in its belly a whole orchestra. A Sibyl, a "Salvage man" and an Echo posted in the park, all harangued in the same strain. Music and dancing enlivened the Sunday evening. Splendid fireworks were displayed both on land and water;—a play was performed;—an Italian tumbler exhibited his feats;—thirteen bears were baited;—there were three stag-hunts, and a representation of a country bridal, followed by running at the quintin: finally, the men of Coventry exhibited, by express permission, their annual mock fight in commemoration of a signal defeat of the Danes.

Nineteen days did the earl of Leicester sustain the overwhelming honor of this royal visit;—a demonstration of her majesty's satisfaction in her entertainment quite unexampled, but which probably awakened less envy than any other token of her peculiar grace by which she might have been pleased to distinguish her favorite.

No domestic incident had for a long time excited so strong a sensation as the death of Walter Devereux earl of Essex, which took place at Dublin in the autumn of the year 1576. This nobleman is celebrated for his talents, his virtues, his unfortunate and untimely death, and also as the father of a son still more distinguished and destined to a fate yet more disastrous. He was of illustrious descent, deriving a part of his hereditary honors from the lords Ferrers of Chartley, and the rest from the noble family of Bourchier, through a daughter of Thomas of Woodstock youngest son of Edward III. In his nineteenth year he succeeded his grandfather as viscount Hereford, and coming to court attracted the merited commendations of her majesty by his learning, his abilities, and his ingenuous modesty.

During a short period the viscount was joined in commission with the earls of Huntingdon and Shrewsbury for the safe keeping of the queen of Scots. On the breaking out of the northern rebellion, he joined the royal army with all the forces he could raise; and in reward of this forwardness in her service her majesty conferred on him the garter, and subsequently invested him, after the most solemn and honorable form of creation, with the dignity of earl of Essex, long hereditary in the house of Bourchier.

By these marks of favor the jealousy of Leicester and of other courtiers was strongly excited; but with little cause. The spirit of the earl had too much of boldness, of enterprise, of a high-souled generosity, to permit him to take root and flourish in that scene of treachery and intrigue—a court; it quickly prompted him to seek occupation at a distance, in the attempt to subdue and civilize a turbulent Irish province.

He solicited and obtained from the queen, by a kind of agreement then not unusual, a grant to himself and the adventurers under him of half of the district of Clandeboy in Ulster, on condition of his rescuing and defending the whole of it from the rebels and defraying half the expenses of the service. Great things were expected from his expedition, on which he embarked in August 1573: but sir William Fitzwilliams, deputy of Ireland, viewed the arrival of the earl with sentiments which led him to oppose every possible obstacle to his success. Probably, too, Essex himself found, on trial, the task of subduing the Irishry  (as the natives of the island were then called) a more difficult one than he had anticipated. Some brilliant service, however, amid many delays and disappointments, he performed in various parts of the country; and having returned to England in 1575 to lay all his grievances before the queen, and face the court faction which injured him in his absence, he was sent back with the title of Marshal of Ireland, an appointment which Leicester, for his own purposes, is said to have been active in procuring him.

Sir Henry Sidney had now succeeded Fitzwilliams as lord-deputy; and from him it does not appear that Essex had the same systematic opposition to encounter: on the contrary, having been applied to by the queen for his opinion of the expediency of granting several requests of the earl relative to this service, sir Henry advised her majesty to comply with most of them, prefacing his counsel with the following sentence: "Of the earl I must say, that he is so noble and worthy a personage, and so forward in all his actions, and so complete a gentleman wherein he may either advance your honor or service, as you may take comfort to have in store so rare a subject, who hath nothing in greater regard than to show himself such an one indeed as the common fame reporteth him; which hath been no more, in troth, than his due deserts and painful travels in the worst parts of this miserable country have deserved [78]."

Such in fact was the apparent cordiality between the deputy and the marshal, that a proposal passed for the marriage of Philip Sidney to the lady Penelope Devereux daughter of the earl: but if this friendship were ever sincere on the part of sir Henry, it was at least short-lived; for, writing a few months after Essex's death to Leicester respecting the earl of Ormond, whom the favorite regarded as his enemy, he says.... "In fine, my lord, I am ready to accord with him; but, my most dear lord and brother, be you upon your keeping for him; for, if Essex had lived, you should have found him as violent an enemy as his heart, power and cunning would have served him to have been; and for that their malice, I take God to record, I could brook neither of them both [79]."

Ireland was, during the whole of Elizabeth's reign, that part of her dominions which it cost her most trouble to govern, and with which her system of policy prospered the least. Without a considerable military force it was impossible to bring into subjection those parts of the country which still remained in a state of barbarism under the sway of native chieftains, or even to preserve in safety and civility such districts as were already reclaimed and brought within the English pale. But the queen's parsimony, or, more truly, the narrowness of her income, caused her perpetually to repine at the great expenses to which she was put for this service, and frequently to run the risk of losing all that had been slowly gained, by a sudden withdrawment, or long delay, of the necessary supplies. Her suspicious temper caused her likewise to lend ready ear to the complaints, whether founded or not, brought by the disaffected Irish against her officers. Sir Henry Sidney himself, the deputy whom she most favored and trusted, and continued longer in office than any other, supported as he was at court by the potent influence of Leicester and the steady friendship of Burleigh, had many causes offered him of vexation anddiscontent; and those who held inferior commands, and were less ably protected from the attacks of their enemies, experienced almost insupportable anxieties from counteractions, difficulties and hardships of every kind. Of these the unfortunate earl of Essex had his full share.

The hopes of improving his fortune, with which he had entered upon the service, were so far from being realized that he found himself sinking continually deeper in debt. His efforts against the rebels were by no means uniformly successful. His court enemies contrived to divert most of the succours designed him by his sovereign, and the perplexities of his situation went on accumulating instead of diminishing. The bodily fatigue which he endured in the prosecution of his designs, joined to the anguish of a wounded spirit, undermined at length the powers of his constitution, and after repeated attacks he was carried off by a dysentery in September 1576.

Essex was liberal, affable, brave and eloquent, and generally beloved both in England and Ireland. The symptoms of his disease, though such as exposure alone to the pestilential damps of the climate might well have produced, were also susceptible of being ascribed to poison; and one of his attendants, a divine who likewise professed medicine, seeing him in great pain, suddenly exclaimed, "By the mass, my lord, you are poisoned!" The report spread like wild-fire. To common minds it is a relief under irremediable misfortune to find an object for blame; and accordingly, though no direct evidence of the fact was produced, it was universally believed that some villain had administered to him "an ill drink."

As Leicester was known to be his enemy, strongly suspected of an intrigue with his wife, and believed capable of any enormity, the friends and partisans of Essex seem immediately to have pointed at him as the contriver of his death; yet I find no contemporary evidence of the imputation, except in the conduct of sir Henry Sidney on this occasion, which indicates great anxiety for the reputation of his patron and brother-in-law.

The lord-deputy was unfortunately absent from Dublin at the time of the earl of Essex's death, and before he could institute a regular examination into the manner of it, a thousand false tales had been circulated which were greedily received by the public. On his return, however, he entered into the investigation with great zeal and diligence:—the decisive test of an examination of the body was not indeed applied, for it was one with which that age seems to have been unacquainted; but many witnesses were called, reports were traced to their source and in some instances disproved, and the result of the whole was transmitted by the deputy to the privy-council in a letter which appears satisfactorily to prove that there was no solid ground to ascribe the event to any but natural causes. That the deputy himself was convinced of the correctness of this representation is seen from one of his private letters to Leicester, published long after in the "Sidney Papers."

In all probability, posterity would scarcely have heard of this imputation on the character of Leicester, had not his marriage with the widow of Essex served as corroboration of the charge, and given occasion to the malicious comments of the author of "Leicester's Commonwealth." This union, however, was not publicly celebrated till two years afterwards; and we have no certain authority for the fact of the criminal connexion of the parties during the life of the earl of Essex, nor for the private marriage said to have been huddled up with indecent precipitation on his decease.

Walter earl of Essex left Robert his son and successor, then in the tenth year of his age, to the care and protection of the earl of Sussex and lord Burleigh; but Mr. Edward Waterhouse, a person of great merit and abilities, then employed in Ireland and distinguished by the favor both of lord Burleigh and sir Henry Sidney, had the immediate management of the fortune and affairs of the minor. Of this friend Essex is related to have taken leave in his last moments with many kisses, exclaiming, "O my Ned, my Ned, farewell! thou art the faithfulest and friendliest gentleman that ever I knew." He proved the fidelity of his attachment by attending the body of the earl to Wales, whither it was conveyed for interment, and it was thence that he immediately afterwards addressed to sir Henry Sidney a letter, of which the following is an extract.

"The state of the earl of Essex, being best known to myself, doth require my travel for a time in his causes; but my burden cannot be great when every man putteth to his helping hand. Her majesty hath bestowed upon the young earl his marriage, and all his father's rules in Wales, and promiseth the remission of his debt. The lords do generally favor and further him; some for the trust reposed, some for love to the father, other for affinity with the child, and some for other causes. All these lords that wish well to the children, and, I suppose, all the best sort of the English lords besides, do expect what will become of the treaty between Mr. Philip and my lady Penelope.

"Truly, my lord, I must say to your lordship, as I have said to my lord of Leicester and Mr. Philip, the breaking off of this match, if the default be on your parts, will turn to more dishonor than can be repaired with any other marriage in England. And I protest unto your lordship, I do not think that there is at this day so strong a man in England of friends as the little earl of Essex; nor any man more lamented than his father since the death of king Edward [80]."

Under such high auspices, and with such a general consent of men's minds in his favor, did the celebrated, the rash, the lamented Essex commence his brief and ill-starred course! The match between Philip Sidney and lady Penelope Devereux was finally broken off, as Waterhouse seems to have apprehended. She married lord Rich, and afterwards Charles Blount earl of Devonshire, on whose account she had been divorced from her first husband.

How little all the dark suspicions and sinister reports to which the death of the earl of Essex had givenoccasion, were able to influence the mind of Elizabeth against the man of her heart, may appear by the tenor of an extraordinary letter written by her in June 1577 to the earl and countess of Shrewsbury.

"Our very good cousins;

"Being given to understand from our cousin of Leicester how honorably he was not only lately received by you our cousin the countess at Chatsworth, and his diet by you both discharged at Buxtons, but also presented with a very rare present, we should do him great wrong (holding him in that place of favor we do) in case we should not let you understand in how thankful sort we accept the same at both your hands, not as done unto him but to our own self; reputing him as another self; and therefore ye may assure yourselves that we, taking upon us the debt, not as his but our own, will take care accordingly to discharge the same in such honorable sort as so well deserving creditors as ye shall never have cause to think ye have met with an ungrateful debtor." &c.

Lord Talbot, on another occasion, urged upon his father the policy of ingratiating himself with Leicester by a pressing invitation to Chatsworth, adding moreover, that he did not believe it would greatly either further or hinder his going into that part of the country.


[76]"Illustrations" by Lodge.

[77]Reidani "Annal." Vide Bayle's "Dictionary," art. Elizabeth.

[78]"Sidney Papers," vol. i.

[79]"Sidney Papers," vol. i.

[80]"Sidney Papers."

1565 AND 1566.

Renewal of the archduke's proposal.—Disappointment of Leicester.—Anecdote concerning him.—Disgrace of the earl of Arundel.—Situation of the duke of Norfolk.—Leicester his secret enemy.—Notice of the earl of Sussex.—Proclamation respecting fencing schools.—Marriage of lady Mary Grey.—Sir H. Sidney deputy of Ireland.—Queen's letter to him.—Prince of Scotland born.—Melvil sent with the news to Elizabeth.—His account of his reception.—Motion in the house of commons for naming a successor.—Discord between the house and the queen on this ground.—She refuses a subsidy—dissolves parliament—visits Oxford.—Particulars of her reception.

W hether  or not it was with a view of impeding the marriage of the queen of Scots that Elizabeth had originally encouraged the renewal of the proposals of the archduke to herself, certain it is that the treaty was still carried on, and even with increased earnestness, long after this motive had ceased to operate.

It was subsequently to Mary's announcement of her approaching nuptials, that to the instances of the imperial ambassador Elizabeth had replied, that she desired to keep herself free till she had finally decided on the answer to be given to the king of France, who had also offered her his hand [55]. After breaking off this negotiation with Charles IX., she declared to the same ambassador, that she would never engage to marry a person whom she had not seen;—an answer which seemed to hint to the archduke that a visit would be well received. It was accordingly reported with confidence that this prince would soon commence his journey to England; and Cecil himself ventured to write to a friend, that if he would accede to the national religion, and if his person proved acceptable to her majesty, "except God should please to continue his displeasure against us, we should see some success." But he thought that the archduke would never explain himself on religion to any one except the queen, and not to her until he should see hopes of speeding.

The splendid dream of Leicester's ambition was dissipated for ever by these negotiations; and a diminution of the queen's partiality towards him, distinctly visible to the observant eyes of her courtiers, either preceded or accompanied her entertaining so long, and with such an air of serious deliberation, the proposals of a foreign prince. The enemies of Leicester,—a large and formidable party, comprehending almost all the highest names among the nobility and the greater part of the ministers,—openly and zealously espoused the interest of the archduke. Leicester at first with equal warmth and equal openness opposed his pretensions; but he was soon admonished by the frowns of his royal mistress, that if he would preserve or recover his influence, he must now be content to take a humbler tone, and disguise a disappointment which there was arrogance in avowing.

The disposition of Elizabeth partook so much more of the haughty than the tender, that the slightest appearances of presumption would always provoke her to take a pleasure in mortifying the most distinguished of her favorites; and it might be no improbable guess, that almost the whole of the encouragement given by her to the addresses of the archduke was prompted by the desire of humbling the pride of Leicester, and showing him that his ascendency over her was not so complete or so secure as he imagined.

A circumstance is related which we may conjecture to have occurred about this time, and which sets in a strong light this part of the character of Elizabeth. "Bowyer, a gentleman of the Black Rod, being charged by her express command to look precisely into all admissions into the privy-chamber, one day stayed a very gay captain, and a follower of my lord of Leicester's, from entrance; for that he was neither well known, nor a sworn servant to the queen: at which repulse, the gentleman, bearing high on my lord's favor, told him, he might perchance procure him a discharge. Leicester coming into the contestation, said publicly (which was none of his wont) that he was a knave, and should not continue long in his office; and so turning about to go in to the queen, Bowyer, who was a bold gentleman and well beloved, stepped before him and fell at her majesty's feet, related the story, and humbly craves her grace's pleasure; and whether my lord of Leicester was king, or her majesty queen? Whereunto she replied with her wonted oath, 'God's death, my lord, I have wished you well; but my favor is not so locked up for you, that others shall not partake thereof; for I have many servants, to whom I have, and will at my pleasure, bequeath my favor, and likewise resume the same: and if you think to rule here, I will take a course to see you forthcoming. I will have here but one mistress, and no master; and look that no ill happen to him, lest it be required at your hands.' Which words so quelled my lord of Leicester, that his feigned humility was long after one of his best virtues [56]."

It might be some consolation to Leicester, under his own mortifications, to behold his ancient rival the earl of Arundel subjected to far severer ones. This nobleman had resigned in disgust his office of lord-chamberlain; subsequently, the queen, on some ground of displeasure now unknown, had commanded him to confine himself to his own house; and at the end of several months passed under this kind of restraint, she still denied him for a further term the consolation and privilege of approaching her royal presence. Disgraces so public and so lasting determined him to throw up the desperate game on which he had hazarded so deep a stake: he obtained leave to travel, and hastened to conceal or forget in foreign lands the bitterness of his disappointment and the embarrassment of his circumstances.

It is probable that from this time Elizabeth found no more serious suitors amongst her courtiers, though they flattered her by continuing, almost to the end of her life, to address her in the language of love, or rather of gallantry. With all her coquetry, her head was clear, her passions were cool; and men began to perceive that there was little chance of prevailing with her to gratify her heart or her fancy at the expense of that independence on which her lofty temper led her to set so high a value. Some were still uncharitable, unjust enough to believe that Leicester was, or had been, a fortunate lover; but few now expected to see him her husband, and none found encouragement sufficient to renew the experiment in which he had failed. Notwithstanding her short and capricious fits of pride and anger, it was manifest that Leicester still exercised over her mind an influence superior on the whole to that of any other person; and the high distinction with which she continued to treat him, both in public and private, alarmed the jealousy and provoked the hostility of all who thought themselves entitled by rank, by relationship, or by merit, to a larger share of her esteem and favor, or a more intimate participation in her councils.

One nobleman there was, who had peculiar pretensions to supersede Leicester in his popular appellation of "Heart of the Court," and on whom he had already fixed in secret the watchful eye of a rival. This was Thomas duke of Norfolk. Inheriting through several channels the blood of the Plantagenets,—nearly related to the queen by her maternal ancestry, and connected by descent or alliance with the whole body of the ancient nobility; endeared also to the people by many shining qualities, and still more by his unfeigned zeal for reformed religion,—his grace stood first amongst the peers of England, not in degree alone or in wealth, but in power, in influence, and in public estimation.

He was in the prime of manhood and lately a widower; and when, in the parliament of 1566, certain members did not scruple to maintain that the queen ought to be compelled to marry for the good of her country, the duke was named by some, as the earl of Pembroke was by others and the earl of Leicester by a third party, as the person whom she ought to accept as a husband. It does not however appear that the duke himself had aspired, openly at least, to these august but unattainable nuptials.

Elizabeth seems to have entertained for him at this period a real regard: he could be to her no object of distrust or danger, and the example which she was ever careful to set of a scrupulous observance of the gradations of rank, led her on all occasions to prefer him to the post of honor. Thus, after the peace with France in 1564, when Charles IX. in return for the Garter, which the queen of England had sent him, offered to confer the order of St. Michael on two English nobles of her appointment, she named without hesitation the duke of Norfolk and the earl of Leicester.

The arrogance of Dudley seldom escaped from the control of policy; and as he had the sagacity to perceive that the duke was a competitor over whom treachery alone could render him finally triumphant, he cautiously avoided with him any open collision of interests, any offensive rivalry in matters of place and dignity. He even went further; he compelled himself, by a feigned deference, to administer food to that exaggerated self-consequence,—the cherished foible of the house of Howard in general and of this duke in particular,—out of which he perhaps already hoped that matter would arise to work his ruin. The chronicles of the year 1565 give a striking instance of this part of his behaviour, in the information, that the duke of Norfolk, going to keep his Christmas in his own county, was attended out of London by the earls of Leicester and Warwick, the lord-chamberlain and other lords and gentlemen, who brought him on his journey, "doing him all the honor in their power."

The duke was not gifted with any great degree of penetration, and the generosity of his disposition combined with his vanity to render him generally the dupe of outward homage and fair professions. He repaid the insidious complaisance of Leicester with good will and even with confidence; and it was not till all was lost that he appears to have recognised this fatal and irreparable error.

Thomas earl of Sussex was an antagonist of a different nature,—an enemy rather than a rival,—and one who sought the overthrow of Leicester with as much zeal and industry as Leicester himself sought his, or that of the duke; but by means as open and courageous as those of his opponent were ever secret, base, and cowardly. This nobleman, the third earl of the surname of Radcliffe, and son of him who had interfered with effect to procure more humane and respectful treatment of Elizabeth during the period of her adversity, had been first known by the title of lord Fitzwalter, which he derived from a powerful line of barons well known in English history from the days of Henry I. By his mother, a daughter of Thomas second duke of Norfolk, he was first-cousin to queen Anne Boleyn; and friendship, still more than the ties of blood, closely connected him with the head of the Howards. Several circumstances render it probable that he was not a zealous protestant, though it is no where hinted that he was even secretly attached to the catholic party. During the reign of Mary, his high character and approved loyalty had caused him to be employed, first in an embassy to the emperor Charles V. to settle the queen's marriage-articles; and afterwards in the arduous post of lord-deputy of Ireland. Elizabeth continued him for some time in this situation; but wishing to avail herself of his counsels and service at home, she recalled him in 1565, conferred upon him the high dignity of lord-chamberlain, vacant by the resignation of the earl of Arundel, and appointed as his successor in Ireland his excellent second in office sir Henry Sidney, who stood in the same relation, that of brother-in-law, to Sussex and to Leicester, and whose singular merit and good fortune it was to preserve to the end the esteem and friendship of both.

The ostensible cause of quarrel between these two earls seems to have been their difference of opinion respecting the Austrian match; but this was rather the pretext than the motive of an animosity deeply rooted in the natures and situation of each, and probably called into action by particular provocations now unknown. The disposition of Sussex was courageous and sincere; his spirit high, his judgement clear and strong, his whole character honorable and upright. In the arts of a courtier, which he despised, he was confessedly inferior to his wily adversary; in all the qualifications of a statesman and a soldier he vastly excelled him.

Sussex was endowed with penetration sufficient to detect, beneath the thick folds of hypocrisy and artifice in which he had involved them, the monstrous vices of Leicester's disposition; and he could not without indignation and disgust behold a princess whose blood he shared, whose character he honored, and whose service he had himself embraced with pure devotion, the dupe of an impostor so despicable and so pernicious. That influence which he saw Leicester abuse to the dishonor of the queen and the detriment of the country, he undertook to overthrow by fair and public means, and, so far as appears, without motives of personal interest or ambition:—thus far all was well, and for the effort, whether successful or not, he merited the public thanks. But there mingled in the bosom of the high-born Sussex an illiberal disdain of the origin of Dudley, with a just abhorrence of his character and conduct.

He was wont to say of him, that two ancestors were all that he could number, his father and grandfather; both traitors and enemies to their country. His sarcasms roused in Leicester an animosity which he did not attempt to disguise: with the exception of Cecil and his friends, who stood neuter, the whole court divided into factions upon the quarrel of these two powerful peers; and to such extremity were matters carried, that for some time neither of them would stir abroad without a numerous train armed, according to the fashion of the day, with daggers and spiked bucklers.

Scarcely could the queen herself restrain these "angry opposites" from breaking out into acts of violence: at length however, summoning them both into her presence, she forced them to a reconciliation neither more nor less sincere than such pacifications by authority have usually proved.

The open and unmeasured enmity of Sussex seems to have been productive in the end of more injury to his own friends than to Leicester. The storm under which the favorite had bowed for an instant was quickly overpast, and he once more reared his head erect and lofty as before. To revenge himself by the ruin or disgrace of Sussex was however beyond his power: the well-founded confidence of Elizabeth in his abilities and his attachment to her person, he found to be immovable; but against his friends and adherents, against the duke of Norfolk himself, his malignant arts succeeded but too well; and it seems not improbable that Leicester, for the purpose of carrying on without molestation his practices against them, concurred in procuring for his adversary an honorable exile in the shape of an embassy to the imperial court, on which he departed in the year 1567.

After his return from this mission the queen named the earl of Sussex lord-president of the North, an appointment which equally removed him from the immediate theatre of court intrigue. Not long after, the hand of death put a final close to his honorable career, and to an enmity destined to know no other termination. As he lay upon his death-bed, this eminent person is recorded to have thus addressed his surrounding friends: "I am now passing into another world, and must leave you to your fortunes and to the queen's grace and goodness; but beware of the Gipsy  (meaning Leicester), for he will be too hard for you all; you know not the beast so well as I do [57]."

This earl left no children, and his widow became the munificent foundress of Sidney Sussex college, Cambridge. Of his negotiations with the court of Vienna respecting the royal marriage which he had so much at heart, particulars will be given in due time; but the miscellaneous transactions of two or three preceding years claim a priority of narration.

By a proclamation of February 1566, the queen revived some former sumptuary laws respecting apparel; chiefly, it should appear, from an apprehension that a dangerous confusion of ranks would be the consequence of indulging to her subjects the liberty of private judgement in a matter so important. The following clause concerning fencing schools is appended to this instrument.

"Because it is daily seen what disorders do grow and are likely to increase in the realm, by the increase of numbers of persons taking upon them to teach the multitude of common people to play at all kind of weapons; and for that purpose set up schools called schools of fence, in places inconvenient; tending to the great disorder of such people as properly ought to apply to their labours and handy works: Therefore her majesty ordereth and commandeth, that no teacher of fence shall keep any school or common place of resort in any place of the realm, but within the liberties of some city of the realm. Where also they shall be obedient to such orders as the governors of the cities shall appoint to them, for the better keeping of the peace, and for prohibition of resort of such people to the same schools as are not mete for that purpose." &c.

On these restrictions, which would seem to imply an unworthy jealousy of putting arms and the skill to use them into the hands of the common people, it is equitable to remark, that the custom of constantly wearing weapons, at this time almost universal, though prohibited by the laws of some of our early kings, had been found productive of those frequent acts of violence and outrage which have uniformly resulted from this truly barbarous practice in all the countries where it has been suffered to prevail.

From the description of England prefixed to Holinshed's Chronicles, we learn several particulars on this subject. Few men, even of the gravest and most pacific characters, such as ancient burgesses and city magistrates, went without a dagger at their side or back. The nobility commonly wore swords or rapiers as well as daggers, as did every common serving-man following his master. Some "desperate cutters" carried two daggers, or two rapiers in a sheath, always about them, with which in every drunken fray they worked much mischief; their swords and daggers also were of an extraordinary length (an abuse which was provided against by a clause of the proclamation above quoted); some "suspicious fellows" also would carry on the highways staves of twelve or thirteen feet long, with pikes of twelve inches at the end, wherefore the honest traveller was compelled to ride with a case of dags  (pistols) at his saddle-bow, and none travelled without sword, or dagger, or hanger.

About this time occurred what a contemporary reporter called "an unhappy chance and monstrous;" the marriage of lady Mary Grey to the serjeant-porter: a circumstance thus recorded by Fuller, with his accustomed quaintness. "Mary Grey... frighted with the infelicity of her two elder sisters, Jane and this Catherine, forgot her honor to remember her safety, and married one whom she could love and none need fear, Martin Kays, of Kent esquire, who was a judge at court, (but only of doubtful casts at dice, being serjeant-porter,) and died without issue the 20th of April 1578 [58]."

The queen, according to her usual practice in similar cases, sent both husband and wife to prison. What became further of the husband I do not find; but respecting the wife, sir Thomas Gresham the eminent merchant, in a letter to lord Burleigh dated in April 1572, mentions, that the lady Mary Grey had been kept in his house nearly three years, and begs of his lordship that he will make interest for her removal. Thus it should appear that this unfortunate lady did not sufficiently "remember her safety" in forming this connexion, obscure and humble as it was; for all matrimony had now become offensive to the austerity or the secret envy of the maiden queen.

Sir Henry Sidney, on arriving to take the government of Ireland, found that unhappy country in a state of more than ordinary turbulence, distraction, and misery. Petty insurrections of perpetual recurrence harassed the English pale; and the native chieftains, disdaining to accept the laws of a foreign sovereign as the umpire of their disputes, were waging innumerable private wars, which at once impoverished, afflicted, and barbarized their country. The most important of these feuds was one between the earls of Ormond and Desmond, which so disquieted the queen that, in addition to all official instructions, she deemed it necessary to address her deputy on the subject in a private letter written with her own hand. This document, printed in the Sidney papers, is too valuable, as a specimen of her extraordinary style and her manner of thinking, to be omitted. It is without date, but must have been written in 1565.

"Letter of Queen Elizabeth to Sir Henry Sidney, on the Quarrel between Thomas Earl of Ormond and the Earl of Desmond, anno  1565.

"Harry ,

"If our partial slender managing of the contentious quarrel between the two Irish earls did not make the way to cause these lines to pass my hand, this gibberish should hardly have cumbered your eyes; but warned by my former fault, and dreading worser hap to come, I rede you take good heed that the good subjects lost state be so revenged that I hear not the rest be won to a right bye way to breed more traitor's stocks, and so the goal is gone. Make some difference between tried, just, and false friend. Let the good service of well-deservers be never rewarded with loss. Let their thank be such as may encourage no strivers for the like. Suffer not that Desmond's denying deeds, far wide from promised works, make you to trust to other pledge than either himself or John for gage: he hath so well performed his English vows, that I warn you trust him no longer than you see one of them. Prometheus let me be, Epimetheus [59] hath been mine too long. I pray God your old strange sheep late (as you say) returned into the fold, wore not her wooly garment upon her wolvy back. You know a kingdom knows no kindred, si violandum jus regnandi causa. A strength to harm is perilous in the hand of an ambitious head. Where might is mixed with wit, there is too good an accord in a government. Essays be oft dangerous, specially when the cup-bearer hath received such a preservative as, what might so ever betide the drinker's draught, the carrier takes no bane thereby.

"Believe not, though they swear, that they can be full sound, whose parents sought the rule that they full fain would have. I warrant you they will never be accused of bastardy; you were to blame to lay it to their charge, they will trace the steps that others have passed before. If I had not espied, though very late, legerdemain, used in these cases, I had never played my part. No, if I did not see the balances held awry, I had never myself come into the weigh house. I hope I shall have so good a customer of you, that all other officers shall do their duty among you. If aught have been amiss at home, I will patch though I cannot whole it. Let us not, nor no more do you, consult so long as till advice come too late to the givers: where then shall we wish the deeds while all was spent in words; a fool too late bewares when all the peril is past. If we still advise, we shall never do, thus are we still knitting a knot never tied; yea, and if our web [60] be framed with rotten hurdles, when our loom  is welny done, our work is new to begin. God send the weaver true prentices again, and let them be denizens I pray you if they be not citizens; and such too as your ancientest aldermen, that have or now dwell in your official place, have had best cause to commend their good behaviour.

"Let this memorial be only committed to Vulcan's base keeping, without any longer abode than the reading thereof, yea, and with no mention made thereof to any other wight. I charge you as I may command you. Seem not to have had but secretary's letter from me.

"Your loving mistress

"Elizabeth R."

In the month of June 1566, the queen of Scots was delivered of a son. James Melvil was immediately dispatched with the happy intelligence to her good sister of England: and he has fortunately left us a narrative of this mission, which equals in vivacity the relation of his former visit. "By twelve of the clock I took horse, and was that night at Berwick. The fourth day after, I was at London, and did first meet with my brother sir Robert (then ambassador to England), who that same night sent and advertised secretary Cecil of my arrival, and of the birth of the prince, desiring him to keep it quiet till my coming to court to show it myself unto her majesty, who was for the time at Greenwich, where her majesty was in great mirth, dancing after supper. But so soon as the secretary Cecil whispered in her ear the news of the prince's birth, all her mirth was laid aside for that night. All present marvelling whence proceeded such a change; for the queen did sit down, putting her hand under her cheek, bursting out to some of her ladies, that the queen of Scots was mother of a fair son, while she was but a barren stock.

"The next morning was appointed for me to get audience, at what time my brother and I went by water to Greenwich, and were met by some friends who told us how sorrowful her majesty was at my news, but that she had been advised to show a glad and cheerful countenance; which she did in her best apparel, saying, that the joyful news of the queen her sister's delivery of a fair son, which I had sent her by secretary Cecil, had recovered her out of a heavy sickness which she had lain under for fifteen days. Therefore she welcomed me with a merry volt, and thanked me for the diligence I had used in hasting to give her that welcome intelligence." &c. "The next day her majesty sent unto me her letter, with the present of a fair chain."

Resolved to perform with a good grace the part which she had assumed, Elizabeth accepted with alacrity the office of sponsor to the prince of Scotland, sending thither as her proxies the earl of Bedford, Mr. Carey son of lord Hunsdon, and other knights and gentlemen; who met with so cordial a reception from Mary,—now at open variance with her husband, and therefore desirous of support from England,—as to provoke the jealousy of the French ambassadors. The present of the royal godmother was a font of pure gold worth above one thousand pounds; in return for which, rings, rich chains of diamond and pearl, and other jewels were liberally bestowed upon her substitutes.

The birth of her son lent a vast accession of strength to the party of the queen of Scots in England; and Melvil was commissioned to convey back to her from several of the principal personages of the court, warm professions of an attachment to her person and interests, which the jealousy of their mistress compelled them to dissemble. Elizabeth, on her part, was more than ever disturbed by suspicions on this head, which were kept in constant activity by the secret informations of the armies of spies whom it was her self-tormenting policy to set over the words and actions of the Scottish queen and her English partisans. The more she learned of the influence privately acquired by Mary amongst her subjects, the more, of course, she feared and hated her, and the stronger became her determination never to give her additional consequence by an open recognition of her right of succession. At the same time she was fully sensible that no other person could be thought of as the inheritrix of her crown; and she resolved, perhaps wisely, to maintain on this subject an inflexible silence: this policy, however, connected with her perseverance in a state of celibacy, began to awaken in her people an anxiety respecting their future destinies, which, being artfully fomented by Scottish emissaries, produced, in 1566, the first symptoms of discord between the queen and her faithful commons.

A motion was made in the lower house for reviving the suit to her majesty touching the naming of a successor in case of her death without posterity; and in spite of the strenuous opposition of the court party, and the efforts of the ministers to procure a delay by declaring "that the queen was moved to marriage and inclined to prosecute the same," it was carried, and a committee appointed to confer with the lords. The business was not very agreeable to the upper house: a committee however was named, and the queen soon after required some members of both houses to wait upon her respecting this matter; when the lord-keeper explained their sentiments in a long speech, to which her majesty was pleased to reply after her darkest and most ambiguous manner. "As to her marriage," she said, "a silent thought might serve. She thought it had been so desired that none other trees blossom should have been minded or ever any hope of fruit had been denied them. But that if any doubted that she was by vow or determination never bent to trade in that kind of life, she bade them put out that kind of heresy, for their belief was therein awry. And though she could think it best for a private woman, yet she strove with herself to think it not meet for a prince. As to the succession, she bade them not think that they had needed this desire, if she had seen a time so fit; and it so ripe to be denounced. That the greatness of the cause, and the need of their return, made her say that a short time for so long a continuance ought not to pass by rote. That as cause by conference with the learned should show her matter worth utterance for their behoof, so she would more gladly pursue their good after her days, than with all her prayers while she lived be a means to linger out her living thread. That for their comfort, she had good record in that place that other means than they mentioned had been thought of perchance for their good, as much as for her own surety: which, if they could have been presently or conveniently executed, it had not been now deferred or over-slipped. That she hoped to die in quiet with Nunc dimittis, which could not be without she saw some glimpse of their following surety after her graved bones."

These vague sentences tended little to the satisfaction of the house; and a motion was made, and strongly supported by the speeches of several members, for reiteration of the suit. At this her majesty was so incensed, that she communicated by sir Francis Knowles her positive command to the house to proceed no further in this business, satisfying themselves with the promise of marriage which she had made on the word of a prince. But that truly independent member Paul Wentworth could not be brought to acquiesce with tameness in this prohibition, and he moved the house on the question, whether the late command of her majesty was not a breach of its privileges? The queen hereupon issued an injunction that there should be no debates on this point; but the spirit of resistance rose so high in the house of commons against this her arbitrary interference, that she found it expedient, a few days after, to rescind both orders, making a great favor however of her compliance, and insisting on the condition, that the subject should not at this time be further pursued.

In her speech on adjourning parliament she did not omit to acquaint both houses with her extreme displeasure at their interference touching the naming of a successor; a matter which she always chose to regard as belonging exclusively to her prerogative;—and she ended by telling them, "that though perhaps they might have after her one better learned or wiser, yet she assured them none more careful over them. And therefore henceforth she bade them beware how they proved their prince's patience as they had now done hers. And notwithstanding, not meaning, she said, to make a Lent of Christmas, the most part of them might assure themselves that they departed in their prince's grace [61]."

She utterly refused an extraordinary subsidy which the commons had offered on condition of her naming her successor, and even of the ordinary supplies which she accepted, she remitted a fourth, popularly observing, that it was as well for her to have money in the coffers of her subjects as in her own. By such an alternation of menaces and flatteries did Elizabeth contrive to preserve her ascendency over the hearts and minds of her people!

The earl of Leicester had lately been elected chancellor of the university of Oxford, and in the autumn of 1566 the queen consented to honor with her presence this seat of learning, long ambitious of such a distinction. She was received with the same ceremonies as at Cambridge: learned exhibitions of the same nature awaited her; and she made a similar parade of her bashfulness, and a still greater of her erudition; addressing this university not in Latin, but in Greek.

Of the dramatic exhibitions prepared for her recreation, an elegant writer has recorded the following particulars [62]. "In the magnificent hall of Christ-church, she was entertained with a Latin comedy called Marcus Geminus, the Latin tragedy of Progne, and an English comedy on the story of Palamon and Arcite, (by Richard Edwards gentleman of the queen's chapel, and master of the choristers,) all acted by the students of the university. When the last play was over, the queen summoned the poet into her presence, whom she loaded with thanks and compliments: and at the same time, turning to her levee, remarked, that Palamon was so justly drawn as a lover, that he must have been in love indeed; that Arcite was a right martial knight, having a swart and manly countenance, yet with the aspect of a Venus clad in armour: that the lovely Emilia was a virgin of uncorrupted purity and unblemished simplicity; and that though she sung so sweetly, and gathered flowers alone in the garden, she preserved her chastity undeflowered. The part of Emilia, the only female part in the play, was acted by a boy of fourteen, whose performance so captivated her majesty, that she made him a present of eight guineas [63]. During the exhibition, a cry of hounds belonging to Theseus was counterfeited without in the great square of the college; the young students thought it a real chase, and were seized with a sudden transport to join the hunters: at which the queen cried out from her box, "O excellent! these boys, in very troth, are ready to leap out of the windows to follow the hounds!"

Dr. Lawrence Humphreys, who had lately been distinguished by his strenuous opposition to the injunctions of the queen and archbishop Parker respecting the habits and ceremonies, was at this time vice-chancellor of Oxford; and when he came forth in procession to meet the queen, she could not forbear saying with a smile, as she gave him her hand to kiss—"That loose gown, Mr. Doctor, becomes you mighty well; I wonder your notions should be so narrow."


[55]It is on the authority of Strype's "Annals" that this offer of Charles IX. to Elizabeth is recorded. Hume, Camden, Rapin, are all silent respecting it; but as it seems that Catherine dei Medici was at the time desirous of the appearance of a closer connexion with Elizabeth, it is not improbable that she might throw out some hint of this nature without any real wish of bringing about an union in all respects so unsuitable.

[56]Naunton's "Fragmenta Regalia."

[57]Naunton's "Fragmenta Regalia."

[58]"Worthies in Leicestershire."

[59]In the original, "and Prometheus," but evidently by a mere slip of the pen.

[60]The words web  and loom  in this sentence ought certainly to be transposed.

[61]Strype's "Annals."

[62]Warton's "History of English Poetry."

[63]Mr. Warton apparently forgets that guineas  were first coined by Charles II.

1549 TO 1553.

Decline of the protector's authority.—He is imprisoned—accused of misdemeanors—loses his office—is liberated—reconciled with Dudley, who succeeds to his authority.—Dudley pushes on the reformation.—The celebration of mass prohibited.—Princess Mary persecuted.—The emperor attempts to get her out of the kingdom, but without success—interferes openly in her behalf.—Effect of persecution on the mind of Mary.—Marriage proposed for Elizabeth with the prince of Denmark.—She declines it.—King betrothed to a princess of France.—Sweating sickness.—Death of the duke of Suffolk.—Dudley procures that title for the marquis of Dorset, and the dukedom of Northumberland for himself.—Particulars of the last earl of Northumberland.—Trial, conviction, and death of the duke of Somerset.—Christmas festivities of the young king.—Account of George Ferrers master of the king's pastimes, and his works.—Views of Northumberland.—Decline of the king's health.—Scheme of Northumberland for lady Jane Grey's succession.—Three marriages contrived by him for this purpose.—He procures a settlement of the crown on the lady Jane.—Subserviency of the council.—Death of Edward concealed by Northumberland.—The princesses narrowly escape falling into his hands.—Courageous conduct of Elizabeth.—Northumberland deserted by the council and the army.—Jane Grey imprisoned.—Northumberland arrested.—Mary mounts the throne.

I t  was to little purpose that the protector had stained his hands with the blood of his brother, for the exemption thus purchased from one kind of fear or danger, was attended by a degree of public odium which could not fail to render feeble and tottering an authority based, like his, on plain and open usurpation.

Other causes conspired to undermine his credit and prepare his overthrow. The hatred of the great nobles, which he augmented by a somewhat too ostentatious patronage of the lower classes against the rich and powerful, continually pursued and watched the opportunity to ruin him. Financial difficulties pressed upon him, occasioned in great measure by the wars with France and Scotland which he had carried on, in pursuance of Henry's design of compelling the Scotch to marry their young queen to his son. An object which had finally been frustrated, notwithstanding the vigilance of the English fleet, by the safe arrival of Mary in France, and her solemn betrothment to the dauphin. The great and glorious work of religious reformation, though followed by Somerset, under the guidance of Cranmer, with a moderation and prudence which reflect the highest honor on both, could not be brought to perfection without exciting the rancorous hostility of thousands, whom various motives and interests attached to the cause of ancient superstition; and the abolition, by authority, of the mass, and the destruction of images and crucifixes, had given birth to serious disturbances in different parts of the country. The want and oppression under which the lower orders groaned,—and which they attributed partly to the suppression of the monasteries to which they had been accustomed to resort for the supply of their necessities, partly to a general inclosure bill extremely cruel and arbitrary in its provisions,—excited commotions still more violent and alarming. In order to suppress the insurrection in Norfolk, headed by Kett, it had at length been found necessary to send thither a large body of troops under the earl of Warwick, who had acquired a very formidable degree of celebrity by the courage and conduct which he exhibited in bringing this difficult enterprise to a successful termination.

A party was now formed in the council, of which Warwick, Southampton, Arundel, and St. John, were the chiefs; and strong resolutions were entered into against the assumed authority of the protector. This unfortunate man, whom an inconsiderate ambition, fostered by circumstances favorable to its success, had pushed forward into a station equally above his talents and his birth, was now found destitute of all the resources of courage and genius which might yet have retrieved his authority and his credit. He suffered himself to be surprised into acts indicative of weakness and dismay, which soon robbed him of his remaining partisans, and gave to his enemies all the advantage which they desired.

His committal to the Tower on several charges, of which his assumption of the whole authority of the state was the principal, soon followed. A short time after he was deprived of his high office, which was nominally vested in six members of the council, but really in the earl of Warwick, whose private ambition seems to have been the main-spring of the whole intrigue, and who thus became, almost without a struggle, undisputed master of the king and kingdom.

That poorness of spirit which had sunk the duke of Somerset into insignificance, saved him at present from further mischief. In the beginning of the ensuing year, 1550, having on his knees confessed himself guilty of all the matters laid to his charge, without reservation or exception, and humbly submitted himself to the king's mercy, he was condemned in a heavy fine, on remission of which by the king he was liberated. Soon after, by the special favor of his royal nephew, he was readmitted into the council; and a reconciliation was mediated for him with Warwick, cemented by a marriage between one of his daughters and the son and heir of this aspiring leader.

The catholic party, which had flattered itself that the earl of Warwick, from gratitude for the support which some of its leaders had afforded him, and perhaps also from principle, no less than from opposition to the duke of Somerset, would be led to embrace its defence, was now destined to deplore its disappointment.

Determined to rule alone, he soon shook off his able but too aspiring colleague, the earl of Southampton, and disgraced, by the imposition of a fine for some alleged embezzlement of public money, the earl of Arundel, also a known assertor of the ancient faith, finally, having observed how closely the principles of protestantism, which Edward had derived from instructors equally learned and zealous, had interwoven themselves with the whole texture and fabric of his mind, he resolved to merit the lasting attachment of the royal minor by assisting him to complete the overthrow of popery in England.

A confession of faith was now drawn up by commissioners appointed for the purpose, and various alterations were made in the Liturgy, which had already been translated into the vulgar tongue for church use. Tests were imposed, which Gardiner, Bonner, and several others of the bishops felt themselves called upon by conscience, or a regard to their own reputation, to decline subscribing, even at the price of deprivation; and prodigious devastations were made by the courtiers on the property of the church. To perform or assist at the performance of the mass was also rendered highly penal. But no dread of legal animadversion was capable of deterring the lady Mary from the observance of this essential rite of her religion; and finding herself and her household exposed to serious inconveniences on account of their infraction of the new statute, she applied for protection to her potent kinsman the emperor Charles V., who is said to have undertaken her rescue by means which could scarcely have failed to involve him in a war with England. By his orders, or connivance, certain ships were prepared in the ports of Flanders, manned and armed for an attempt to carry off the princess either by stealth or open force, and land her at Antwerp. In furtherance of the design, several of her gentlemen had already taken their departure for that city, and Flemish light vessels were observed to keep watch on the English coast. But by these appearances the apprehensions of the council were awakened, and a sudden journey of the princess from Hunsdon in Hertfordshire towards Norfolk, for which she was unable to assign a satisfactory reason, served as strong confirmation of their suspicions.

A violent alarm was immediately sounded through the nation, of foreign invasion designed to co-operate with seditions at home; bodies of troops were dispatched to protect different points of the coast; and several ships of war were equipped for sea; while a communication on the subject was made by the council to the nobility throughout the kingdom, in terms calculated to awaken indignation against the persecuted princess, and all who were suspected, justly or unjustly, of regarding her cause with favor. A few extracts from this paper will exhibit the fierce and jealous spirit of that administration of which Dudley formed the soul.

"So it is, that the lady Mary, not many days past, removed from Newhall in Essex to her house of Hunsdon in Hertfordshire, the cause whereof, although we knew not, yet did we rather think it likely that her grace would have come to have seen his majesty; but now upon Tuesday last, she hath suddenly, without knowledge given either to us here or to the country there, and without any cause in the world by us to her given, taken her journey from Hunsdon towards Norfolk" &c. "This her doing we be sorry for, both for the evil opinion the king's majesty our master may conceive thereby of her, and for that by the same doth appear manifestly the malicious rancour of such as provoke her thus to breed and stir up, as much as in her and them lieth, occasion of disorder and unquiet in the realm" &c. "It is not unknown to us but some near about the said lady Mary have very lately in the night seasons had privy conferences with the emperor's embassador here being, which councils can no wise tend to the weal of the king's majesty our master or his realm, nor to the nobility of this realm. And whatsoever the lady Mary shall upon instigation of these forward practices further do, like to these her strange beginnings, we doubt not but your lordship will provide that her proceedings shall not move any disobedience or disorder—The effect whereof if her counsellors should procure, as it must be to her grace, and to all other good Englishmen therein seduced, damnable, so shall it be most hurtful to the good subjects of the country" &c.[15]

Thus did the fears, the policy, or the party-spirit, of the members of the council lead them to magnify the peril of the nation from the enterprises of a young and defenceless female, whose best friend was a foreign prince, whose person was completely within their power, and who, at this period of her life "more sinned against than sinning," was not even suspected of any other design than that of withdrawing herself from a country in which she was no longer allowed to worship God according to her conscience. Some slight tumults in Essex and Kent, in which she was not even charged with any participation, were speedily suppressed; and after some conference with the chancellor and secretary Petre, Mary obeyed a summons to attend them to the court, where she was now to be detained for greater security.

On her arrival she received a reprimand from the council for her obstinacy respecting the mass, with an injunction to instruct herself, by reading, in the grounds of protestant belief. To this she replied, with the inflexible resolution of her character, that as to protestant books, she thanked God that she never had read any, and never intended so to do; that for her religion she was ready to lay down her life, and only feared that she might not be found worthy to become its martyr. One of her chaplains was soon after thrown into prison; and further severities seemed to await her, when a message from the emperor, menacing the country with war in case she should be debarred from the free exercise of her religion, taught the council the expediency of relaxing a little the sternness of their intolerance. But the scruples of the zealous young king on this head could not be brought to yield to reasons of state, till he had "advised with the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of London and Rochester, who gave their opinion that to give license to sin was sin, but to connive at sin might be allowed in case it were neither long, nor without hope of reformation [16]."

By this prudent and humane but somewhat jesuitical decision this perplexing affair was set at rest for the present; and during the small remainder of her brother's reign, a negative kind of persecution, consisting in disfavor, obloquy, and neglect, was all, apparently, that the lady Mary was called upon to undergo. But she had already endured enough to sour her temper, to aggravate with feelings of personal animosity her systematic abhorrence of what she deemed impious heresy, and to bind to her heart by fresh and stronger ties that cherished faith, in defence of which she was proudly conscious of having struggled and suffered with a lofty and unyielding intrepidity.

In order to counterbalance the threatened hostility of Spain, and impose an additional check on the catholic party at home, it was now judged expedient for the king to strengthen himself by an alliance with Christian III. king of Denmark; an able and enlightened prince, who in the early part of his reign had opposed with vigor the aggressions of the emperor Charles V. on the independence of the north of Europe, and more recently had acquired the respect of the whole protestant body by establishing the reformation in his dominions. An agent was accordingly dispatched with a secret commission to sound the inclinations of the court of Copenhagen towards a marriage between the prince-royal and the lady Elizabeth.

That this negotiation proved fruitless, was apparently owing to the reluctance to the connexion manifested by Elizabeth; of whom it is observable, that she never could be prevailed upon to afford the smallestencouragement to the addresses of any foreign prince whilst she herself was still a subject; well aware that to accept of an alliance which would carry her out of the kingdom, was to hazard the loss of her succession to the English crown, a splendid reversion never absent from her aspiring thoughts.

Disappointed in this design, Edward lost no time in pledging his own hand to the infant daughter of Henry II. of France, which contract he did not live to complete.

The splendid French embassy which arrived in England during the year 1550 to make arrangements respecting the dower of the princess, and to confer on her intended spouse the order of St. Michael, was received with high honors, but found the court-festivities damped by a visitation of that strange and terrific malady the sweating sickness.

This pestilence, first brought into the island by the foreign mercenaries who composed the army of the earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII., now made its appearance for the fourth and last time in our annals. It seized principally, it is said, on males, on such as were in the prime of their age, and rather on the higher than the lower classes: within the space of twenty-four hours the fate of the sufferer was decided for life or death. Its ravages were prodigious; and the general consternation was augmented by a superstitious idea which went forth, that Englishmen alone, were the destined victims of this mysterious minister of fate, which tracked their steps, with the malice and sagacity of an evil spirit, into every distant country of the earth whither they might have wandered, whilst it left unassailed all foreigners in their own.

Two of the king's servants died of this disease, and he in consequence removed to Hampton Court in haste and with very few attendants. The duke of Suffolk and his brother, students at Cambridge, were seized with it at the same time, sleeping in the same bed, and expired within two hours of each other. They were the children of Charles Brandon by his last wife, who was in her own right baroness Willoughby of Eresby. This lady had already made herself conspicuous by that earnest profession of the protestant faith for which, in the reign of Mary, she underwent many perils and a long exile. She was a munificent patroness of the learned and zealous divines of her own persuasion, whether natives or foreigners; and the untimely loss of these illustrious youths, who seem to have inherited both her religious principles and her love of letters, was publicly bewailed by the principal members of the university.

But by the earl of Warwick the melancholy event was rendered doubly conducive to the purposes of his ambition. In the first place it enabled him to bind to his interests the marquis of Dorset married to the half-sister of the young duke of Suffolk, by procuring a renewal of the ducal title in his behalf, and next authorized him by a kind of precedent to claim for himself the same exalted dignity.

The circumstances attending Dudley's elevation to the ducal rank are worthy of particular notice, as connected with a melancholy part of the story of that old and illustrious family of the Percies, celebrated through so many ages of English history.

The last of this house who had borne the title of earl of Northumberland was that ardent and favored suitor of Anne Boleyn, who was compelled by his father to renounce his pretensions to her hand in deference to the wishes of a royal competitor.

The disappointment and the injury impressed themselves in indelible characters on the heart of Percy: in common with the object of his attachment, he retained against Wolsey, whom he believed to have been actively instrumental in fostering the king's passion, a deep resentment, which is said to have rendered peculiarly acceptable to him the duty afterwards imposed upon him, of arresting that celebrated minister in order to his being brought to his trial. For the lady to whom a barbarous exertion of parental authority had compelled him to give his hand, while his whole heart was devoted to another, he also conceived an aversion rather to be lamented than wondered at.

Unfortunately, she brought him no living offspring; and after a few years he separated himself from her to indulge his melancholy alone and without molestation. In this manner he spun out a suffering existence, oppressed with sickness of mind and body, disengaged from public life, and neglectful of his own embarrassed affairs, till the fatal catastrophe of his brother, brought to the scaffold in 1537 for his share in the popish rebellion under Aske. By this event, and the attainder of sir Thomas Percy's children which followed, the earl saw himself deprived of the only consolation which remained to him,—that of transmitting to the posterity of a brother whom he loved, the titles and estates derived to him through a long and splendid ancestry. As a last resource, he bequeathed all his land to the king, in the hope, which was not finally frustrated, that a return of royal favor might one day restore them to the representatives of the Percies.

This done, he yielded his weary spirit on the last day of the same month which had seen the fatal catastrophe of his misguided brother.

From this time the title had remained dormant, till the earl of Warwick, untouched by commiseration or respect for the misfortunes of so great a house, cut off for the present all chance of its restoration, by causing the young monarch whom he governed to confer upon himself the whole of the Percy estates, with the new dignity of duke of Northumberland; an honor undeserved and ill-acquired, which no son of his was ever permitted to inherit.

But the soaring ambition of Dudley regarded even these splendid acquisitions of wealth and dignity only as steps to that summit of power and dominion which he was resolved by all means and at all hazards to attain; and his next measure was to procure the removal of the only man capable in any degree of obstructing his further progress. This was the late protector, by whom some relics of authority were still retained.

At the instigation of Northumberland, a law was passed making it felony to conspire against the life of a privy-counsellor; and by various insidious modes of provocation, he was soon enabled to bring within the danger of this new act an enemy who was rash, little sagacious, by no means scrupulous, and surrounded with violent or treacherous advisers. On October 16th 1551, Somerset and several of his relations and dependants, and on the following day his haughty duchess with certain of her favorites, were committed to the Tower, charged with treason and felony. The duke, being put upon his trial, so clearly disproved most of the accusations brought against him that the peers acquitted him of treason; but the evidence of his having entertained designs against the lives of the duke of Northumberland, the marquis of Northampton, and the earl of Pembroke, appeared so conclusive to his judges,—among whom these three noblemen themselves did not blush to take their seats,—that he was found guilty of the felony.

After his condemnation, Somerset acknowledged with contrition that he had once mentioned to certain persons an intention of assassinating these lords; but he protested that he had never taken any measures for carrying this wicked purpose into execution. However this might be, no act of violence had been committed, and it was hoped by many and expected by more, that the royal mercy might yet be extended to preserve his life: but Northumberland spared no efforts to incense the king against his unhappy uncle; he also contrived by a course of amusements and festivities to divert him from serious thought; and on January 21st 1552, to the great regret of the common people and the dismay of the protestant party, the duke of Somerset underwent the fatal stroke on Tower-hill.

During the whole interval between the condemnation and death of his uncle, the king, as we are informed, had been entertained by the nobles of his court with "stately masques, brave challenges at tilt and at barriers, and whatsoever exercises or disports they could conjecture to be pleasing to him. Then also he first began to keep hall [17], and the Christmas-time was passed over with banquetings, plays, and much variety of mirth [18]."

We learn that it was an ancient custom, not only with the kings of England but with noblemen and "great housekeepers who used liberal feasting in that season," to appoint for the twelve days of the Christmas festival a lord of misrule, whose office it was to provide diversions for their numerous guests. Of what nature these entertainments might be we are not exactly informed; they probably comprised some rude attempts at dramatic representation: but the taste of an age rapidly advancing in literature and general refinement, evidently began to disdain the flat and coarse buffooneries which had formed the solace of its barbarous predecessors; and it was determined that devices of superior elegance and ingenuity should distinguish the festivities of the new court of Edward. Accordingly, George Ferrers, a gentleman regularly educated at Oxford, and a member of the society of Lincoln's inn, was chosen to preside over the "merry disports;" "who," says Holinshed, "being of better credit and estimation than commonly his predecessors had been before, received all his commissions and warrants by the name of master of the king's pastimes. Which gentleman so well supplied his office, both in show of sundry sights and devices of rare inventions, and in act of divers interludes and matters of pastime played by persons, as not only satisfied the common sort, but also were very well liked and allowed by the council, and other of skill in the like pastimes; but best of all by the young king himself, as appeared by his princely liberality in rewarding that service."

"On Monday the fourth day of January," pursues our chronicler, whose circumstantial detail is sometimes picturesque and amusing, "the said lord of merry disports came by water to London, and landing at the Tower wharf entered the Tower, then rode through Tower-street, where he was received by Vause, lord of misrule to John Mainard, one of the sheriffs of London, and so conducted through the city with a great company of young lords and gentlemen to the house of sir George Burne lord-mayor, where he with the chief of his company dined, and after had a great banquet, and at his departure the lord-mayor gave him a standing cup with a cover of silver and gilt, of the value of ten pounds, for a reward, and also set a hogshead of wine and a barrel of beer at his gate, for his train that followed him. The residue of his gentlemen and servants dined at other aldermen's houses and with the sheriffs, and then departed to the Tower wharf again, and so to the court by water, to the great commendation of the mayor and aldermen, and highly accepted, of the king and council."

From this time Ferrers became "a composer almost by profession of occasional interludes for the diversion of the court [19]." None of these productions of his have come down to posterity; but their author is still known to the student of early English poetry, as one of the contributors to an extensive work entitled "The Mirror for Magistrates," which will be mentioned hereafter in speaking of the works of Thomas Sackville lord Buckhurst. The legends combined in this collection, which came from the pen of Ferrers, are not distinguished by any high flights of poetic fancy, nor by a versification extremely correct or melodious. Their merit is that of narrating after the chronicles, facts in English history, in a style clear, natural, and energetic, with an intermixture of political reflections conceived in a spirit of wisdom and moderation, highly honorable to the author, and well adapted to counteract the turbulent spirit of an age in which the ambition of the high and the discontent of the low were alike apt to break forth into outrages destructive of the public tranquillity.

Happy would it have been for England in more ages than one, had the sentiment of the following humblestanza been indelibly inscribed on the hearts of children.

"Some haply here will move a further doubt,
And as for York's part allege an elder right:
O brainless heads that so run in and out!
When length of time a state hath firmly pight,
And good accord hath put all strife to flight,
Were it not better such titles still to sleep
Than all a realm about the trial weep?"

This estimable writer had been a member of parliament in the time of Henry VIII., and was imprisoned by that despot in 1542, very probably without any just cause. He about the same time translated into English the great charter of Englishmen which had become a dead letter through the tyranny of the Tudors; and he rendered the same public service respecting several important statutes which existed only in Latin or Norman French; proofs of a free and courageous spirit extremely rare in that servile age!

Ferrers lived far into the reign of Elizabeth, finishing his career at Flamstead in his native county of Herts in 1579.

From the pleasing contemplation of a life devoted to those honorable arts by which society is cultivated, enlightened and adorned, we must now return to tread with Northumberland the maze of dark and crooked politics. By many a bold and many a crafty step this adept in his art had wound his way to the highest rank of nobility attainable by a subject, and to a station of eminence and command scarcely compatible with that character. But no sooner had he reached it, than a sudden cloud lowered over the splendid prospect stretched around him, and threatened to snatch it for ever from his sight. The youthful monarch in whom, or over whom, he reigned, was seized with a lingering disease which soon put on appearances indicative of a fatal termination. Under Mary, the next heir, safety with insignificance was the utmost that could be hoped by the man who had taken a principal and conspicuous part in every act of harshness towards herself, and every demonstration of hostility towards the faith which she cherished, and against whom, when he should be no longer protected by the power which he wielded, so many lawless and rapacious acts were ready to rise up in judgement.

One scheme alone suggested itself for the preservation of his authority: it was dangerous, almost desperate; but loss of power was more dreaded by Dudley than any degree of hazard to others or himself; and he resolved at all adventures to make the attempt.

By means of the new honors which he had caused to be conferred on the marquis of Dorset, now duke of Suffolk, he engaged this weak and inconsiderate man to give his eldest daughter, the lady Jane Grey, in marriage to his fourth son Guildford Dudley. At the same time he procured an union between her sister, the lady Catherine, and the eldest son of his able but mean-spirited and time-serving associate, the earl of Pembroke; and a third between his own daughter Catherine and lord Hastings, son of the earl of Huntingdon by the eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry Pole lord Montacute; in whom the claims of the line of Clarence now vested.

These nuptials were all celebrated on one day, and with an ostentation of magnificence and festivity which the people exclaimed against as highly indecorous in the present dangerous state of the king's health. But it was not on their  good will that Northumberland founded his hopes, and their clamors were braved or disregarded.

His next measure was to prevail upon the dying king to dispose of the crown by will in favor of the lady Jane. The animosity against his sister Mary, to which their equal bigotry in opposite modes of faith had given birth in the mind of Edward, would naturally induce him to lend a willing ear to such specious arguments as might be produced in justification of her exclusion: but that he could be brought with equal facility to disinherit also Elizabeth, a sister whom he loved, a princess judged in all respects worthy of a crown, and one with whose religious profession he had every reason to be perfectly satisfied, appears an indication of a character equally cold and feeble. Much allowance, however, may be made for the extreme youth of Edward; the weakness of his sinking frame; his affection for the pious and amiable Jane, his near relation and the frequent companion of his childhood; and above all, for the importunities, the artifices, of the practised intriguers by whom his dying couch was surrounded.

The partisans of Northumberland did not fail to urge, that if one of the princesses were set aside on account of the nullification of her mother's marriage, the same ground of exclusion was valid against the other. If, on the contrary, the testamentary dispositions of the late king were to be adhered to, the lady Mary must necessarily precede her sister, and the cause of religious reformation was lost, perhaps for ever.

With regard to the other claimants who might still be interposed between Jane and the English throne, it was pretended that the Scottish branch of the royal family was put out of the question by that clause of Henry's will which placed the Suffolk line next in order to his own immediate descendants; as if an instrument which was set aside as to several of its most important provisions was necessarily to be held binding in all the rest. Even admitting this, the duchess of Suffolk herself stood before her daughter in order of succession; but a renunciation obtained from this lady by the authority of Northumberland, not only of her own title but of that of any future son who might be born to her, was supposed to obviate this objection.

The right of the king, even if he had attained the age of majority, to dispose of the crown by will without the concurrence of parliament, was absolutely denied by the first law authorities: but the power and violence of Northumberland overruled all objections, and in the end the new settlement received the signature of all the privy council, and the whole bench of judges, with the exception of justice Hales, and perhaps of Cecil, then secretary of state, who afterwards affirmed that he put his name to this instrument only as a witness to the signature of the king. Cranmer resisted for some time, but was at length won to compliance by the tears and entreaties of Edward.

Notwithstanding this general concurrence, it is probable that very few of the council either expected or desired that this act should be sanctioned by the acquiescence of the nation: they signed it merely as a protection from the present effects of the anger of Northumberland, whom most of them hated as well as feared; each privately hoping that he should find opportunity to disavow the act of the body in time to obtain the forgiveness of Mary, should her cause be found finally to prevail. The selfish meanness and political profligacy of such a conduct it is needless to stigmatize; but this was not the age of public virtue in England.

A just detestation of the character of Northumberland had rendered very prevalent an idea, that the constitution of the king was undermined by slow poisons of his administering; and it was significantly remarked, that his health had begun to decline from the period of lord Robert Dudley's being placed about him as gentleman of the bed-chamber. Nothing, however, could be more destitute both of truth and probability than such a suspicion. Besides the satisfactory evidence that Edward's disease was a pulmonary consumption, such as no poison could produce, it has been well remarked, that if Northumberland were a sound politician, there could be no man in England more sincerely desirous, for his own sake, of the continuance of the life and reign of this young prince. By a change he had every thing to lose, and nothing to gain. Several circumstances tend also to show that the fatal event, hastened by the treatment of a female empiric to whom the royal patient had been very improperly confided, came upon Northumberland at last somewhat by surprise, and compelled him to act with a precipitation injurious to his designs. Several preparatory steps were yet wanting; in particular the important one of securing the persons of the two princesses: but this omission it seemed still possible to supply; and he ordered the death of the king to be carefully concealed, while he wrote letters in his name requiring the immediate attendance of his sisters on his person. With Mary the stratagem had nearly succeeded: she had reached Hoddesdon on her journey to London, when secret intelligence of the truth, conveyed to her by the earl of Arundel, caused her to change her course. It was probably a similar intimation from some friendly hand, Cecil's perhaps, which caused Elizabeth to disobey the summons, and remain tranquil at one of her houses in Hertfordshire.

Here she was soon after waited upon by messengers from Northumberland, who apprized her of the accession of the lady Jane, and proposed to her to resign her own title in consideration of a sum of money, and certain lands which should be assigned her. But Elizabeth wisely and courageously replied, that her elder sister was first to be agreed with, during whose lifetime she, for her part, could claim no right at all. And determined to make common cause with Mary against their common enemies, she equipped with all speed a body of a thousand horse, at the head of which she went forth to meet her sister on her approach to London.

The event quickly proved that she had taken the right part. Though the council manifested their present subserviency to Northumberland by proclaiming queen Jane in the metropolis, and by issuing in her name a summons to Mary to lay aside her pretensions to the crown, this leader was too well practised in the arts of courts, to be the dupe of their hollow professions of attachment to a cause unsupported, as he soon perceived, by the favor of the people.

The march of Northumberland at the head of a small body of troops to resist the forces levied by Mary in Norfolk and Suffolk, was the signal for the defection of a great majority of the council. They broke from the kind of honorable custody in the Tower in which, from a well-founded distrust of their intentions, Northumberland had hitherto held them; and ordering Mary to be proclaimed in London, they caused the hapless Jane, after a nominal reign of ten days, to be detained as a prisoner in that fortress which she had entered as a sovereign.

Not a hand was raised, not a drop of blood was shed, in defence of this pageant raised by the ambition of Dudley. Deserted by his partisans, his soldiers and himself, the guilty wretch sought, as a last feeble resource, to make a merit of being the first man to throw up his cap in the market-place of Cambridge, and cry "God save queen Mary!" But on the following day the earl of Arundel, whom he had disgraced, and who hated him, though a little before he had professed that he could wish to spend his blood at his feet, came and arrested him in her majesty's name, and Mary, proceeding to London, seated herself without opposition on the throne of her ancestors.


[15]Burleigh Papers by Haynes.

[16]Hayward's Life of Edward VI.

[17]To keep hall, was to keep "open household with frank resort to court."

[18]Hayward's Life of Edward VI.

[19]See Warton's History of English Poetry, vol. iii. p. 213 et seq.

FROM 1591 TO 1593.

Naval war against Spain.—Death of sir Richard Grenville—Notice of Cavendish.—Establishment of the East India company.—Results of voyages of discovery.—Transactions between Raleigh and the queen.—Anecdotes of Robert Cary—of the Holles family.—Progress of the drama.—Dramatic poets before Shakespeare.—Notice of Shakespeare.—Proclamation respecting bear-baiting and acting of plays.—Censorship of the drama.—Anecdote of the queen and Tarleton.

T he  maritime war with Spain, notwithstanding the cautious temper of the queen, was strenuously waged during the year 1591, and produced some striking indications of the rising spirit of the English navy.

A squadron under lord Thomas Howard, which had been waiting six months at the Azores to intercept the homeward bound ships from Spanish America, was there surprised by a vastly more numerous fleet of the enemy which had been sent out for their convoy. The English admiral got to sea in all haste and made good his retreat, followed by his whole squadron excepting the Revenge, which was entangled in a narrow channel between the port and an island. Sir Richard Grenville her commander, after a vain attempt to break through the Spanish line, determined, with a kind of heroic desperation, to sustain alone the conflict with a whole fleet of fifty-seven sail, and to confront all extremities rather than strike his colors. From three o'clock in the afternoon till day-break he resisted, by almost incredible efforts of valor, all the force which could be brought to bear against him, and fifteen times beat back the boarding parties from his deck. At length, when all his bravest had fallen, and he himself was disabled by many wounds; his powder also being exhausted, his small-arms lost or broken, and his ship a perfect wreck, he proposed to his gallant crew to sink her, that no trophy might remain to the enemy. But this proposal, though applauded by several, was overruled by the majority: the Revenge struck to the Spaniards; and two days after, her brave commander died on board their admiral's ship of his glorious wounds, "with a joyful and quiet mind," as he expressed himself, and admired by his enemies themselves for his high spirit and invincible resolution. This was the first English ship of any considerable size captured by the Spaniards during the whole war, and it did them little good; for, besides that the vessel had been shattered to pieces, and sunk a few days after with two hundred Spanish sailors on board, the example of heroic self-devotion set by sir Richard Grenville long continued in the hour of battle to strike awe and terror to their hearts.

Thomas Cavendish, elated by the splendid success of that first expedition in which, with three slender barks of insignificant size carrying only one hundred and twenty-three persons of every degree, he had plundered the whole coast of New Spain and Peru, burned Paita and Acapulco, and captured a Spanish admiral of seven hundred tons, besides many other vessels taken or burned;—then crossed the great South Sea, and circumnavigated the globe in the shortest time in which that exploit had yet been performed;—set sail again in August 1591 on a second voyage. But this time, when his far greater force and more adequate preparations of every kind seemed to promise results still more profitable and glorious, scarce any thing but disasters awaited him. He took indeed the town of Santos in Brazil, which was an acquisition of some importance; but delaying here too long, he arrived at a wrong season in the Straits of Magellan, and was compelled to endure the winter of that inhospitable clime; where seeing his numbers thinned by sickness and hardship, and his plans baffled by dissentions and insubordination, he found it necessary to abandon his original design of crossing the South Sea, and resolved to undertake the voyage to China by the Cape of Good Hope. First, however, he was fatally prevailed upon to return to the coast of Brazil, where he lost many men in rash attempts against various towns, which expecting his attacks were now armed for their defence, and a still greater number by desertion. Baffled in all his designs, worn out with fatigue, anxieties, and chagrin, this brave but unfortunate adventurer breathed his last far from England on the wide ocean, and so obscurely that even the date of his death is unknown.

At this period, a peculiar education was regarded as not more necessary to enable a gentleman to assume the direction of a naval expedition than the command of a troop of horse; and it is probable that even by Cavendish, whose exploits we read with amazement, but a very slender stock of maritime experience was possessed when he first embarked on board the vessel in which he had undertaken to circumnavigate the globe. He was the third son of a Suffolk gentleman of large estate; came early to court; and having there consumed his patrimony in the fashionable magnificence of the time, suddenly discovered within himself sufficient courage to attempt the reparation of his broken fortunes by that favorite resource, the plunder of the Spanish settlements. On his return from his first voyage he sailed up the Thames in a kind of triumph, displaying a top-sail of cloth of gold, and making ostentation of the profit rather than the glory of the enterprise. He appears to have been equally deficient in the enlightened prudence which makes an essential feature of the great commander, and in that lofty disinterestedness of motive which constitutes the hero; but in the activity, the enterprise, the brilliant valor, which now form the spirit of the English navy, he had few equals and especially few predecessors; and amongst the founders of its glory the name of Cavendish is therefore worthy of a conspicuous and enduring place.

By the failure of the late attempt to seat don Antonio on the throne of Portugal, the sovereignty of Philip II. over that country and its dependencies had finally been established; and in consequence its trade and settlements in the East offered a fair and tempting prize to the ambition or cupidity of English adventurers.

The passage by the Cape of Good Hope, repeatedly accomplished by circumnavigators of this nation, had now ceased to oppose any formidable obstacle to the spirit of maritime enterprise; and the papal donation was a bulwark still less capable of preserving inviolate to the sovereigns of Portugal their own rich Indies. The first expedition ever fitted out from England for those eastern regions, where it now possesses an extent of territory in comparison of which itself is but a petty province, consisted of three "tall ships," which sailed in this year under the conduct of George Raymond and James Lancaster. After doubling the Cape and refreshing themselves in Saldanha Bay, which the Portuguese had named but not yet settled, the navigators steered along the eastern coast of Africa, where the ship commanded by Raymond was lost. With the other two, however, they proceeded still eastward; passed without impediment all the stations of the Portuguese on the shores of the Indian ocean, doubled Cape Comorin, and extended their voyage to the Nicobar isles, and even to the peninsula of Malacca. They landed in several parts, where they found means to open an advantageous traffic with the natives; and, after capturing many Portuguese vessels laden with various kinds of merchandise, repassed the Cape in perfect safety with all their booty. In their way home they visited the West Indies, where great disasters overtook them; for here their two remaining ships were lost, and Lancaster, with the slender remnant of their crews, was glad to obtain a passage to Europe on board a French ship which happily arrived to their relief. But as far as respected the eastern part of the expedition, their success had been such as strongly to invite the attempts of future adventurers; and nine years after its sailing, her majesty was prevailed upon to grant a charter of incorporation with ample privileges to an East India company, under whose auspices Lancaster consented to undertake a second voyage. Annual fleets were from this period fitted out by these enterprising traders, and factories of their establishment soon arose in Surat, in Masulipatam, in Bantam, in Siam, and even in Japan. The history of their progress makes no part of the subject of the present work; but the foundation of a mercantile company which has advanced itself to power and importance absolutely unparalleled in the annals of the world, forms a feature not to be overlooked in the glory of Elizabeth.

These long and hazardous voyages of discovery, of hostility, or of commerce, began henceforth to afford one of the most honorable occupations to those among the youthful nobility or gentry of the country, whose active spirits disdained the luxurious and servile idleness of the court: they also opened a welcome resource to younger sons, and younger brothers, impatient to emancipate themselves from the galling miseries of that necessitous dependence on the head of their house to which the customs of the age and country relentlessly condemned them.

Thus Shakespeare in his Two Gentlemen of Verona,

..."He wondered that your lordship
Would suffer him to spend his youth at home,
While other men of slender reputation
Put forth their sons to seek preferment out:
Some to the wars to try their fortune there;
Some to discover islands far away ;
Some to the studious universities.
For any or for all these exercises,
He said, that Protheus your son was meet:
And did request me to importune you
To let him spend his time no more at home;
Which would be great impeachment to his age,
In having known no travel in his youth."

But the advancement of the fortunes of individuals was by no means the principal or most permanent good which accrued to the nation by these enterprises. The period was still indeed far distant, in which voyages of discovery were to be undertaken on scientific principles and with large views of general utility; but new animals, new vegetables, natural productions or manufactured articles before unknown to them, attracted the attention even of these first unskilful explorers. Specimens in every kind were brought home, and, recommended as they never failed to be by fabulous or grossly exaggerated descriptions, in the first instance only served to gratify and inflame the vulgar passion for wonders. But the attention excited to these striking novelties gradually became enlightened; a more familiar acquaintance disclosed their genuine properties, and the purposes to which they might be applied at home;—Raleigh introduced the potatoe on his Irish estates;—an acceptable however inelegant luxury was discovered in the use of tobacco; and somewhat later, the introduction of tea gradually brought sobriety and refinement into the system of modern English manners.

Many allusions to the prevailing passion for beholding foreign, or, as they were then accounted, monstrous animals, may be found scattered over the works of Shakespeare and contemporary dramatists. Trinculo says, speaking of Caliban, "Were I but in England now... and had but this fish painted, not a holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver. There would this monster make  a man; any strange beast there makes a man: when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian." And again; "Do you put tricks upon's with savages and men of Inde?" &c. The whole play of the Tempest, exquisite as it is, must have derived a still more poignant relish, to the taste of that age, from the romantic ideas of desert islands then floating in the imaginations of men.

In the following year, 1592, Raleigh, weary of his Irish exile, and anxious by some splendid exploit to revive the declining favor of the queen, projected a formidable attack on the Spanish power in America, and engaged without difficulty in the enterprise a large number of volunteers. But unavoidable obstacles arose, by which the fleet was detained till the proper season for its sailing was past: Elizabeth recalled Raleigh to court; and the only fortunate result of the expedition, to the command of which Martin Frobisher succeeded, was the capture of one wealthy carrack and the destruction of another.

Raleigh, in the meantime, was amusing his involuntary idleness by an intrigue with one of her majesty's maids of honor, a daughter of the celebrated sir Nicholas Throgmorton. The queen, in the heat of her indignation at the scandal brought upon her court by the consequences of this amour, resorted, as in a thousand other cases, to a vigor beyond the laws; and though sir Walter offered immediately to make the lady the best reparation in his power, by marrying her, which he afterwards performed, Elizabeth unfeelingly published her shame to the whole world by sending both culprits to the Tower.

Sir Walter remained a prisoner during several months. Meanwhile his ships returned from their cruise, and the profits from the sale of the captured carrack were to be divided among the queen, the admiral, the sailors, and the several contributors to the outfit. Disputes arose; her majesty was dissatisfied with the share allotted her; and taking advantage of the situation into which her own despotic violence had thrown Raleigh, she appears to have compelled him to buy his liberty, and the undisturbed enjoyment of all that he held under her, by the sacrifice of no less than eighty thousand pounds due to him as admiral. Such was the disinterested purity of that zeal for morals of which Elizabeth judged it incumbent on her to make profession!

It may be curious to learn, from another incident which occurred about the same time, at what rate hermajesty caused her forgiveness of lawful matrimony to be purchased.

Robert Cary, third son of lord Hunsdon, created lord Leppington by James I. and earl of Monmouth by his successor,—from whose memoirs of himself the following particulars are derived,—was at this time a young man and an assiduous attendant on the court of his illustrious kinswoman. Being a younger son, he had no patrimony either in possession or reversion; he received from the exchequer only one hundred pounds per annum during pleasure, and by the style of life which he found it necessary to support, had incurred a debt of a thousand pounds. In this situation he married a widow possessed of five hundred pounds per annum and some ready money. His father evinced no displeasure on the occasion; but his other friends, and especially the queen, were so much offended at the match, that he took his wife to Carlisle and remained there without approaching the court till the next year. Being then obliged to visit London on business, his father suggested the expediency of his paying the queen the compliment of appearing on her day. Accordingly, he secretly prepared caparisons and a present for her majesty, at the cost of more than four hundred pounds, and presented himself in the tilt-yard in the character of "a forsaken knight who had vowed solitariness." The festival over, he made himself known to his friends in court; but the queen, though she had received his gift, would not take notice of his presence.

It happened soon after, that the king of Scots sent to Cary's elder brother, then marshal of Berwick, to beg that he would wait upon him to receive a secret message which he wanted to transmit to the queen. The marshal wrote to his father to inquire her majesty's pleasure in the matter. She did not choose that he should stir out of Berwick; but "knowing, though she would not know it," that Robert Cary was in court, she said at length to lord Hunsdon, "I hear your fine son that has married lately so worthily is hereabouts; send him if you will to know the king's pleasure." His lordship answered, that he knew he would be happy to obey her commands. "No," said she, "do you bid him go, for I have nothing to do with him." Robert Cary thought it hard to be sent off without first seeing the queen; "Sir," said he to his father, who urged his going, "if she be on such hard terms with me, I had need be wary what I do. If I go to the king without her license, it were in her power to hang me at my return, and that, for any thing I see, it were ill trusting her." Lord Hunsdon "merrily" told the queen what he said. "If the gentleman be so distrustful," she answered, "let the secretary make a safe-conduct to go and come, and I will sign it." On his return with letters from James, Robert Cary hastened to court, and entered the presence-chamber splashed and dirty as he was; but not finding the queen there, lord Hunsdon went to her to announce his son's arrival. She desired him to receive the letter, or message, and bring it to her. But the young gentleman knew the court and the queen too well to consent to give up his dispatches even to his father; he insisted on delivering them himself, and at length, with much difficulty gained admission.

The first encounter was, as he expresses it, "stormy and terrible," which he passed over with silence; but when the queen had "said her pleasure" of himself and his wife, he made her a courtly excuse; with which she was so well appeased, that she at length assured him all was forgiven and forgotten, and received him into her wonted favor. After this happy conclusion of an adventure so perilous to a courtier of Elizabeth, Cary returned to Carlisle; and his father's death soon occurring, he had orders to take upon himself the government of Berwick till further orders. In this situation he remained a year without salary; impairing much his small estate, and unable to obtain from court either an allowance, or leave of absence to enable him to solicit one in person. At length, necessity rendering him bold, he resolved to hazard the step of going up without permission. On his arrival, however, neither secretary Cecil nor even his own brother would venture to introduce him to the queen's presence, but advised him to hasten back before his absence should be known, for fear of her anger. At last, as he stood sorrowfully pondering on his case, a gentleman of the chamber, touched with pity, undertook to mention his arrival to her majesty in a way which should not displease her: and he opened the case by telling her, that she was more beholden to the love and service of one man than of many whom she favored more. This excited her curiosity; and on her asking who this person might be, he answered that it was Robert Cary, who, unable longer to bear his absence from her sight, had posted up to kiss her hand and instantly return. She sent for him directly, received him with greater favor than ever, allowed him after the interview to lead her out by the hand, which seemed to his brother and the secretary nothing less than a miracle; and what was more, granted him five hundred pounds immediately, a patent of the wardenry of the east marches, and a renewal of his grant of Norham-castle. It was this able courtier, rather than grateful kinsman, who earned the good graces of king James by being the first to bring him the welcome tidings of the decease of Elizabeth.

Incidental mention has already been made of sir William Holles of Haughton in Nottinghamshire, the gentleman who refused to marry his daughter to the earl of Cumberland, because he did not choose "to stand cap in hand" to his son-in-law: this worthy knight died at a great age in the year 1590; and a few further particulars respecting him and his descendants may deserve record, on account of the strong light which they reflect on several points of manners. Sir William was distinguished, perhaps beyond any other person of the same rank in the kingdom, for boundless hospitality and a magnificent style of living. "He began his Christmas," says the historian of the family, "at Allhallowtide and continued it until Candlemas; during which any man was permitted to stay three days, without being asked whence he came or what he was." For each of the twelve days of Christmas he allowed a fat ox and other provisions in proportion. He would never dine till after one o'clock; and being asked why he preferred so unusually late an hour, he answered, that "for aught he knew there might a friend come twenty miles to dine with him, and he would be loth he should lose his labor."

At the coronation of Edward VI. he appeared with fifty followers in blue coats and badges,—then the ordinary costume of retainers and serving-men,—and he never went to the sessions at Retford, though only four miles from his own mansion, without thirty "proper fellows" at his heels. What was then rare among the greatest subjects, he kept a company of actors of his own to perform plays and masques at festival times; in summer they travelled about the country.

This sir William was succeeded in his estates by sir John Holles his grandson, who was one of the band of gentlemen pensioners to Elizabeth, and in the reign of James I. purchased the title of earl of Clare. His grandfather had engaged his hand to a kinswoman of the earl of Shrewsbury; but the young man declining to complete this contract, and taking to wife a daughter of sir Thomas Stanhope, the consequence was a long and inveterate feud between the houses of Holles and of Talbot, which was productive of several remarkable incidents. Its first effect was a duel between Orme, a servant of Holles, and Pudsey, master of horse to the earl of Shrewsbury, in which the latter was slain. The earl prosecuted Orme, and sought to take away his life; but sir John Holles in the first instance caused him to be conveyed away to Ireland, and afterwards obtained his pardon of the queen. For his conduct in this business he was himself challenged by Gervase Markham, champion and gallant to the countess of Shrewsbury; but he refused the duel, because the unreasonable demand of Markham, that it should take place in a park belonging to the earl his enemy, gave him just ground to apprehend that some treachery was meditated. Anxious however to wipe away the aspersions which his adversary had taken occasion to cast upon his courage, he sought a rencounter which might wear the appearance of accident; and soon after, having met Markham on the road, they immediately dismounted and attacked each other with their rapiers; Markham fell, severely wounded, and the earl of Shrewsbury lost no time in raising his servants and tenantry to the number of one hundred and twenty in order to apprehend Holles in case Markham's hurt should prove mortal. On the other side lord Sheffield, the kinsman of Holles, joined him with sixty men. "I hear, cousin," said he on his arrival, "that my lord of Shrewsbury is prepared to trouble you; but take my word, before he carry you it shall cost many a broken pate;" and he and his company remained at Haughton till the wounded man was out of danger. Markham had vowed never to eat supper or take the sacrament till he was revenged, and in consequence found himself obliged to abstain from both to the day of his death [111]. What appears the most extraordinary part of the story is, that we do not find the queen and council interfering to put a stop to this private war, worthy of the barbarism of the feudal ages. Gervase Markham, who was the portionless younger son of a Nottinghamshire gentleman of ancient family, became the most voluminous miscellaneous writer of his age, using his pen apparently as his chief means of subsistence. He wrote on a vast variety of subjects, and both in verse and prose; but his works on farriery and husbandry appear to have been the most useful, and those on field sports the most entertaining, of his performances.

The progress of the drama is a subject which claims in this place some share of our attention, partly because it excited in a variety of ways that of Elizabeth herself. By the appearance of Ferrex and Porrex in 1561, and that of Gammer Gurton's Needle five years later, a new impulse had been given to English genius; and both tragedies and comedies approaching the regular models, besides historical and pastoral dramas, allegorical pieces resembling the old moralities, and translations from the ancients, were from this time produced in abundance, and received by all classes with avidity and delight.

About twenty dramatic poets flourished between 1561 and 1590; and an inspection of the titles alone of their numerous productions would furnish evidence of an acquaintance with the stores of history, mythology, classical fiction, and romance, strikingly illustrative of the literary diligence and intellectual activity of the age.

Richard Edwards produced a tragi-comedy on the affecting ancient story of Damon and Pithias, besides his comedy of Palamon and Arcite, formerly noticed as having been performed for the entertainment of her majesty at Oxford. In connexion with this latter piece it may be remarked, that of the chivalrous idea of Theseus in this celebrated tale and in the Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as of all the other gothicized  representations of ancient heroes, of which Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, his Rape of Lucrece, and some passages of Spenser's Faery Queen, afford further examples, Guido Colonna's Historia Trojana, written in 1260, was the original: a work long and widely popular, which had been translated, paraphrased and imitated in French and English, and which the barbarism of its incongruities, however palpable, had not as yet consigned to oblivion or contempt.

George Gascoigne, besides his tragedy from Euripides, translated also a comedy from Ariosto, performed by the students of Gray's Inn under the title of The Supposes; which was the first specimen in our language of a drama in prose. Italian literature was at this period cultivated amongst us with an assiduity unequalled either before or since, and it possessed few authors of merit or celebrity whose works were not speedily familiarized to the English public through the medium of translations. The study of this enchanting language found however a vehement opponent in Roger Ascham, who exclaims against the "enchantments of Circe, brought out of Italy to mar men's manners in England; much by examples of ill life, but more by precepts of fond books, of late translated out of Italian into English, and sold in every shop in London." He afterwards declares that "there be more of these ungracious books set out in print within these few months than have been seen in England many years before." To these strictures on the moral tendencies of the popular writers of Italy some force must be allowed; but it is obvious to remark, that similar objections might be urged with at least equal cogency against the favorite classics of Ascham; and that the use of so valuable an instrument of intellectual advancement as the free introduction of the literature of a highly polished nation into one comparatively rude, is not to be denied to beings capable of moral discrimination, from the apprehension of such partial and incidental injury as may arise out of its abuse. Italy, in fact, was at once the plenteous store-house whence the English poets, dramatists and romance writers of the latter half of the sixteenth century drew their most precious materials; the school where they acquired taste and skill to adapt them to their various purposes; and the Parnassian mount on which they caught the purest inspirations of the muse.

Elizabeth was a zealous patroness of these studies; she spoke the Italian language with fluency and elegance, and used it frequently in her mottos and devices: by her encouragement, as we shall see, Harrington was urged to complete his version of the Orlando Furioso, and she willingly accepted in the year 1600 the dedication of Fairfax's admirable translation of the great epic of Tasso.

But to return to our dramatic writers:... Thomas Kyd was the author of a tragedy entitled Jeronimo, which for the absurd horrors of its plot, and the mingled puerility and bombast of its language, was a source of perpetual ridicule to rival poets, while from a certain wild pathos combined with its imposing grandiloquence it was long a favorite with the people. The same person also translated a play by Garnier on the story of Cornelia the wife of Pompey;—a solitary instance apparently of obligation to the French theatre on the part of these founders of our national drama.

By Thomas Hughes the misfortunes of Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, were made the subject of a tragedy performed before the queen.

Preston, to whom when a youth her majesty had granted a pension of a shilling a day in consideration of his excellent acting in the play of Palamon and Arcite, composed on the story of Cambyses king of Persia "A lamentable tragedy mixed full of pleasant mirth," which is now only remembered as having been an object of ridicule to Shakespeare.

Lilly, the author of Euphues, composed six court comedies and other pieces principally on classical subjects, but disfigured by all the barbarous affectations of style which had marked his earlier production.

Christopher Marlow, unquestionably a man of genius, however deficient in taste and judgement, astonished the world with his Tamburlain the Great, which became in a manner proverbial for its rant and extravagance: he also composed, but in a purer style and with a pathetic cast of sentiment, a drama on the subject of king Edward II., and ministered fuel to the ferocious prejudices of the age by his fiend-like portraiture of Barabas in The rich Jew of Malta. Marlow was also the author of a tragedy, in which the sublime and the grotesque were extraordinarily mingled, on the noted story of Dr. Faustus; a tale of preternatural horrors, which, after the lapse of two centuries, was again to receive a similar distinction from the pen of one of the most celebrated of German dramatists: not the only example which could be produced of a coincidence of taste between the early tragedians of the two countries.

Of the works of these and other contemporary poets, the fathers of the English theatre, some are extant in print, others have come down to us in manuscript, and of no inconsiderable portion the titles alone survive. A few have acquired an incidental value in the eyes of the curious, as having furnished the ground-work of some of the dramas of our great poet; but not one of the number can justly be said to make a part of the living literature of the country.

It was reserved for the transcendent genius of Shakespeare alone, in that infancy of our theatre when nothing proceeded from the crowd of rival dramatists but rude and abortive efforts, ridiculed by the learned and judicious of their own age and forgotten by posterity, to astonish and enchant the nation with those inimitable works which form the perpetual boast and immortal heritage of Englishmen.

By a strange kind of fatality, which excites at once our surprise and our unavailing regrets, the domestic and the literary history of this great luminary of his age are almost equally enveloped in doubt and obscurity. Even of the few particulars of his origin and early adventures which have reached us through various channels, the greater number are either imperfectly attested, or exposed to objections of different kinds which render them of little value; and respecting his theatrical life the most important circumstances still remain matter of conjecture, or at best of remote inference.

When Shakespeare first became a writer for the stage;—what was his earliest production;—whether all the pieces usually ascribed to him be really his, and whether there be any others of which he was in whole or in part the author;—what degree of assistance he either received from other dramatic writers or lent to them;—in what chronological order his acknowledged pieces ought to be arranged, and what dates should be assigned to their first representation;—are all questions on which the ingenuity and indefatigable diligence of a crowd of editors, critics and biographers have long been exerted, without producing any considerable approximation to certainty or to general agreement.

On a subject so intricate, it will suffice for the purposes of the present work to state a few of the leading facts which appear to rest on the most satisfactory authorities. William Shakespeare, who was born in 1564, settled in London about 1586 or 1587, and seems to have almost immediately adopted the profession of an actor. Yet his earliest effort in composition was not of the dramatic kind; for in 1593 he dedicated to his great patron the earl of Southampton, as "the first heir of his invention," his Venus and Adonis, a narrative poem of considerable length in the six-line stanza then popular. In the subsequent year he also inscribed to the same noble friend his Rape of Lucrece, a still longer poem of similar form in the stanza of seven lines, and containing passages of vivid description, of exquisite imagery, and of sentimental excellence, which, had he written nothing more, would have entitled him to rank on a level with the author of the Faery Queen, and far above all other contemporary poets. He likewise employed his pen occasionally in the composition of sonnets, principally devoted to love and friendship, and written perhaps in emulation of those of Spenser, who, as one of these sonnets testifies, was at this period the object of his ardent admiration.

Before the publication however of any one of these poems he must already have attained considerable note as a dramatic writer, since Robert Green, in a satirical piece printed in 1592, speaking of theatrical concerns, stigmatizes this "player" as "an absolute Joannes Factotum," and one who was "in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country."

The tragedy of Pericles, which was published in 1609 with the name of Shakespeare in the title-page, and of which Dryden says in one of his prologues to a first play, "Shakespeare's own muse his Pericles first bore," was probably acted in 1590, and appears to have been long popular. Romeo and Juliet was certainly an early production of his muse, and one which excited much interest, as may well be imagined, amongst the younger portion of theatrical spectators.

There is high satisfaction in observing, that the age showed itself worthy of the immortal genius whom it had produced and fostered. It is agreed on all hands that Shakespeare was beloved as a man, and admired and patronized as a poet. In the profession of an actor, indeed, his success does not appear to have been conspicuous; but the never-failing attraction of his pieces brought overflowing audiences to the Globe theatre in Southwark, of which he was enabled to become a joint proprietor. Lord Southampton is said to have once bestowed on him a munificent donation of a thousand pounds to enable him to complete a purchase; and it is probable that this nobleman might also introduce him to the notice of his beloved friend the earl of Essex. Of any particular gratuities bestowed on him by her majesty we are not informed: but there is every reason to suppose that he must have received from her on various occasions both praises and remuneration; for we are told that she caused several of his pieces to be represented before her, and that the Merry Wives of Windsor in particular owed its origin to her desire of seeing Falstaff exhibited in love.

It remains to notice the principal legal enactments of Elizabeth respecting the conduct of the theatre, some of which are remarkable. During the early part of her reign, Sunday being still regarded principally in the light of a holiday, her majesty not only selected that day, more frequently than any other, for the representation of plays at court for her own amusement, but by her license granted to Burbage in 1574 authorized the performance of them at the public theatre, on Sundays only  out of the hours of prayer. Five years after, however, Gosson in his School of Abuse complains that the players, "because they are allowed to play every Sunday, make four or five Sundays at least every week." To limit this abuse, an order was issued by the privy-council in July 1591, purporting that no plays should be publicly exhibited on Thursdays, because on that day bear-baiting and similar pastimes had usually been practised; and in an injunction to the lord mayor four days after, the representation of plays on Sunday (or the Sabbath as it now began to be called among the stricter sort of people) was utterly condemned; and it was further complained that on "all other days of the week in divers places the players do use to recite their plays, to the great hurt and destruction of the game of bear-baiting, and like pastimes, which are maintained for her majesty's pleasure."

In the year 1589 her majesty thought proper to appoint commissioners to inspect all performances of writers for the stage, with full powers to reject and obliterate whatever they might esteem unmannerly, licentious, or irreverent:—a regulation which might seem to claim the applause of every friend to public decency, were not the state in which the dramas of this age have come down to posterity sufficient evidence, that to render these impressive appeals to the passions of assembled multitudes politically and not morally inoffensive, was the genuine or principal motive of this act of power.

In illustration of this remark the following passage may be quoted: "At supper" the queen "would divert herself with her friends and attendants; and if they made her no answer, she would put them upon mirth and pleasant discourse with great civility. She would then admit Tarleton, a famous comedian and pleasant talker, and other such men, to divert her with stories of the town, and the common jests and accidents. Tarleton, who was then the best comedian in England, had made a pleasant play; and when it was acting before the queen, he pointed at Raleigh, and said, 'See the knave commands the queen!' for which he was corrected by a frown from the queen: yet he had the confidence to add, that he was of too much and too intolerable a power; and going on with the same liberty, he reflected on the too great power of the earl of Leicester; which was so universally applauded by all present, that she thought fit to bear these reflections with a seeming unconcernedness. But yet she was so offended that she forbad Tarleton and all jesters from coming near her table [112]."


[111]See Historical Collections, by Collins.

[112]See Bohun's Character of Queen Elizabeth. Among the various sources whence the preceding dramatic notices have been derived, it is proper to point out Dr. Drake's Memoirs of Shakspeare and his Age, and Warton's History of English Poetry.

1553 AND 1554.

Mary affects attachment to Elizabeth.—Short duration of her kindness.—Earl of Devonshire liberated from the Tower.—His character.—He rejects the love of Mary—shows partiality to Elizabeth.—Anger of Mary.—Elizabeth retires from court.—Queen's proposed marriage unpopular.—Character of sir T. Wyat.—His rebellion.—Earl of Devonshire remanded to the Tower.—Elizabeth summoned to court—is detained by illness.—Wyat taken—is said to accuse Elizabeth.—She is brought prisoner to the court—examined by the council—dismissed—brought again to court—re-examined—committed to the Tower.—Particulars of her behaviour.—Influence of Mary's government on various eminent characters.—Reinstatement of the duke of Norfolk in honor and office.—His retirement and death.—Liberation from the Tower of Tonstal.—His character and after fortunes.—Of Gardiner and Bonner.—Their views and characters.—Of the duchess of Somerset and the marchioness of Exeter.—Imprisonment of the Dudleys—of several protestant bishops—of judge Hales.—His sufferings and death.—Characters and fortunes of sir John Cheke, sir Anthony Cook, Dr. Cox, and other protestant exiles.

T he  conduct of Elizabeth during the late alarming crisis, earned for her from Mary, during the first days of her reign, some demonstration of sisterly affection. She caused her to bear her company in her public entry into London; kindly detained her for a time near her own person; and seemed to have consigned for ever to an equitable oblivion all the mortifications and heartburnings of which the child of Anne Boleyn had been the innocent occasion to her in times past, and under circumstances which could never more return.

In the splendid procession which attended her majesty from the Tower to Whitehall previously to her coronation on October 1st 1553, the royal chariot, sumptuously covered with cloth of tissue and drawn by six horses with trappings of the same material, was immediately followed by another, likewise drawn by six horses and covered with cloth of silver, in which sat the princess Elizabeth and the lady Anne of Cleves, who took place in this ceremony as the adopted sister of Henry VIII.

But notwithstanding these fair appearances, the rancorous feelings of Mary's heart with respect to her sister were only repressed or disguised, not eradicated; and it was not long before a new subject of jealousy caused them to revive in all their pristine energy.

Amongst the state prisoners committed to the Tower by Henry VIII., whose liberation his executors had resisted during the whole reign of Edward, but whom it was Mary's first act of royalty to release and reinstate in their offices or honors, was Edward Courtney, son of the unfortunate marquis of Exeter. From the age of fourteen to that of six-and-twenty, this victim of tyranny had been doomed to expiate in a captivity which threatened to be perpetual, the involuntary offence of inheriting through an attainted father the blood of the fourth Edward. To the surprise and admiration of the court, he now issued forth a comely and accomplished gentleman; deeply versed in the literature of the age; skilled in music, and still more so in the art of painting, which had formed the chief solace of his long seclusion; and graced with that polished elegance of manners, the result, in most who possess it, of early intercourse with the world and an assiduous imitation of the best examples, but to a few of her favorites the free gift of nature herself. To all his prepossessing qualities was superadded that deep romantic kind of interest with which sufferings, long, unmerited, and extraordinary, never fail to invest a youthful sufferer.

What wonder that Courtney speedily became the favorite of the nation!—what wonder that even the severe bosom of Mary herself was touched with tenderness! With the eager zeal of the sentiment just awakened in her heart, she hastened to restore to her too amiable kinsman the title of earl of Devonshire, long hereditary in the illustrious house of Courtney, to which she added the whole of those patrimonial estates which the forfeiture of his father had vested in the crown. She went further; she lent a propitious ear to the whispered suggestion of her people, still secretly partial to the house of York, that an English prince of the blood was most worthy to share the throne of an English queen. It is even affirmed that hints were designedly thrown out to the young man himself of the impression which he had made upon her heart. But Courtney generously disdained, as it appears, to barter his affections for a crown. The youth, the talents, the graces of Elizabeth had inspired him with a preference which he was either unwilling or unable to conceal; Mary was left to vent her disappointment in resentment against the ill-fated object of her preference, and in every demonstration of a malignant jealousy towards her innocent and unprotected rival.

By the first act of a parliament summoned immediately after the coronation, Mary's birth had been pronounced legitimate, the marriage of her father and mother valid, and their divorce null and void. A stigma was thus unavoidably cast on the offspring of Henry's second marriage; and no sooner had Elizabeth incurred the displeasure of her sister, than she was made to feel how far the consequences of this new declaration of the legislature might be made to extend. Notwithstanding the unrevoked succession act which rendered her next heir to the crown, she was forbidden to take place of the countess of Lenox, or the duchess of Suffolk, in the presence-chamber, and her friends were discountenanced or affronted obviously on her account. Her merit, her accomplishments, her insinuating manners, which attracted to her the admiration and attendance of the young nobility, and the favor of the nation, were so many crimes in the eyes of a sovereign who already began to feel her own unpopularity; and Elizabeth, who was not of a spirit to endure public and unmerited slights with tameness, found it at once the most dignified and the safest course, to seek, before the end of the year, the peaceful retirement of her house of Ashridge in Buckinghamshire. It was however made a condition of the leave of absence from court which she was obliged to solicit, that she should take with her sir Thomas Pope and sir John Gage, who were placed about her as inspectors and superintendants of her conduct, under the name of officers of her household.

The marriage of Mary to Philip of Spain was now openly talked of. It was generally and justly unpopular: the protestant party, whom the measures of the queen had already filled with apprehensions, saw, in her desire of connecting herself yet more closely with the most bigoted royal family of Europe, a confirmation of their worst forebodings; and the tyranny of the Tudors had not yet so entirely crushed the spirit of Englishmen as to render them tamely acquiescent in the prospect of their country's becoming a province to Spain, subject to the sway of that detested people whose rapacity, and violence, and unexampled cruelty, had filled both hemispheres with groans and execrations.

The house of commons petitioned the queen against marrying a foreign prince: she replied by dissolving them in anger; and all hope of putting a stop to the connexion by legal means being thus precluded, measures of a more dangerous character began to be resorted to.

Sir Thomas Wyat of Allingham Castle in Kent, son of the poet, wit, and courtier of that name, had hitherto been distinguished by a zealous loyalty; and he is said to have been also a catholic. Though allied in blood to the Dudleys, not only had he refused to Northumberland his concurrence in the nomination of Jane Grey, but, without waiting a moment to see which party would prevail, he had proclaimed queen Mary in the market-place at Maidstone, for which instance of attachment he had received her thanks [20]. But Wyat had been employed during several years of his life in embassies to Spain; and the intimate acquaintance which he had thus acquired of the principles and practices of its court, filled him with such horror of their introduction into his native country, that, preferring patriotism to loyalty where their claims appeared incompatible, he incited his neighbours and friends to insurrection.

In the same cause sir Peter Carew, and sir Gawen his uncle, endeavoured to raise the West, but with small success; and the attempts made by the duke of Suffolk, lately pardoned and liberated, to arm his tenantry and retainers in Warwickshire and Leicestershire, proved still more futile. Notwithstanding however this want of co-operation, Wyat's rebellion wore for some time a very formidable appearance. The London trained-bands sent out to oppose him, went over to him in a body under Bret, their captain; the guards, almost the only regular troops in the kingdom, were chiefly protestants, and therefore little trusted by the queen; and it was known that the inhabitants of the metropolis, for which he was in full march, were in their hearts inclined to his cause.

It was pretty well ascertained that the earl of Devonshire had received an invitation to join the western insurgents; and though he appeared to have rejected the proposal, he was arbitrarily remanded to his ancient abode in the Tower.

Elizabeth was naturally regarded under all these circumstances of alarm with extreme jealousy and suspicion. It was well known that her present compliance with the religion of the court was merely prudential; that she was the only hope of the protestant party, a party equally formidable by zeal and by numbers, and which it was resolved to crush; it was more than suspected, that though Wyat himself still professed an inviolable fidelity to the person of the reigning sovereign, and strenuously declared the Spanish match to be the sole grievance against which he had taken arms, many of his partisans had been led by their religious zeal to entertain the further view of dethroning the queen, in favor of her sister, whom they desired to marry to the earl of Devonshire. It was not proved that the princess herself had given any encouragement to these designs; but sir James Croft, an adherent of Wyat's, had lately visited Ashridge, and held conferences with some of her attendants; and it had since been rumored that she was projecting a removal to her manor of Donnington castle in Berkshire, on the south side of the Thames, where nothing but a day's march through an open country would be interposed between her residence and the station of the Kentish rebels.

Policy seemed now to dictate the precaution of securing her person; and the queen addressed to her accordingly the following letter.

"Right dear and entirely beloved sister,

"We greet you well: And whereas certain evil-disposed persons, minding more the satisfaction of their own malicious and seditious minds than their duty of allegiance towards us, have of late foully spread divers lewd and untrue rumours; and by that means and other devilish practises do travail to induce our good and loving subjects to an unnatural rebellion against God, us, and the tranquillity of our realm: We, tendering the surety of your person, which might chance to be in some peril if any sudden tumult should arise where you now be, or about Donnington, whither, as we understand, you are minded shortly to remove, do therefore think expedient you should put yourself in good readiness, with all convenient speed, to make your repair hither to us. Which we pray you fail not to do: Assuring you, that as you may most safely remain here, so shall you be most heartily welcome to us. And of your mind herein we pray you to return answer by this messenger.

"Given under our signet at our manor of St. James's the 26th of January in the 1st year of our reign.

"Your loving sister,

"Mary , the queen."

This summons found Elizabeth confined to her bed by sickness; and her officers sent a formal statement of the fact to the privy-council, praying that the delay of her appearance at court might not, under such circumstances, be misconstrued either with respect to her or to themselves. Monsieur de Noailles, the French ambassador, in some papers of his, calls this "a favorable illness" to Elizabeth, "since," adds he, "it seems likely to save Mary from the crime of putting her sister to death by violence." And true it is, that by detaining her in the country till the insurrection was effectually suppressed, it preserved her from any sudden act of cruelty which the violence of the alarm might have prompted: but other and perhaps greater dangers still awaited her.

A few days after the date of the foregoing letter, Wyat entered Westminster, but with a force very inadequate to his undertaking: he was repulsed in an attack on the palace; and afterwards, finding the gates of London closed against him and seeing his followers slain, taken, or flying in all directions, he voluntarily surrendered himself to one of the queen's officers and was conveyed to the Tower. It was immediately given out, that he had made a full discovery of his accomplices, and named amongst them the princess and the earl of Devonshire; and on this pretext, for it was probably no more, three gentlemen were sent, attended by a troop horse, with peremptory orders to bring Elizabeth back with them to London.

They reached her abode at ten o'clock at night, and bursting into her sick chamber, in spite of the remonstrances of her ladies, abruptly informed her of their errand. Affrighted at the summons, she declared however her entire willingness to wait upon the queen her sister, to whom she warmly protested her loyal attachment; but she appealed to their own observation for the reality of her sickness, and her utter inability to quit her chamber. The gentlemen pleaded, on the other side, the urgency of their commission, and said that they had brought the queen's litter for her conveyance. Two physicians were then called in, who gave it as their opinion that she might be removed without danger to her life; and on the morrow her journey commenced.

The departure of Elizabeth from Ashridge was attended by the tears and passionate lamentations of her afflicted household, who naturally anticipated from such beginnings the worst that could befal her. So extreme was her sickness, aggravated doubtless by terror and dejection, that even these stern conductors found themselves obliged to allow her no less than four nights' rest in a journey of only twenty-nine miles.

Between Highgate and London her spirits were cheered by the appearance of a number of gentlemen who rode out to meet her, as a public testimony of their sympathy and attachment; and as she proceeded, the general feeling was further manifested by crowds of people lining the waysides, who flocked anxiously about her litter, weeping and bewailing her aloud. A manuscript chronicle of the time describes her passage on this occasion through Smithfield and Fleet-street, in a litter open on both sides, with a hundred "velvet coats" after her, and a hundred others "in coats of fine red guarded with velvet;" and with this train she passed through the queen's garden to the court.

This open countenancing of the princess by a formidable party in the capital itself, seems to have disconcerted the plans of Mary and her advisers; and they contented themselves for the present with detaining her in a kind of honorable custody at Whitehall. Here she underwent a strict examination by the privy-council respecting Wyat's insurrection, and the rising in the West under Carew; but she steadfastly protested her innocence and ignorance of all such designs; and nothing coming out against her, in about a fortnight she was dismissed, and suffered to return to her own house. Her troubles, however, were as yet only beginning. Sir William St. Low, one of her officers, was apprehended as an adherent of Wyat's; and this leader himself, who had been respited for the purpose of working on his love of life, and leading him to betray his confederates, was still reported to accuse the princess. An idle story was officiously circulated, of his having conveyed to her in a bracelet the whole scheme of his plot; and on March 15th she was again taken into custody and brought to Hampton-court.

Soon after her arrival, it was finally announced to her by a deputation of the council, not without strong expressions of concern from several of the members, that her majesty had determined on her committal to the Tower till the matter could be further investigated. Bishop Gardiner, now a principal counsellor, and two others, came soon after, and, dismissing the princess's attendants, supplied their place with some of the queen's, and set a guard round the palace for that night. The next day, the earl of Sussex and another lord were sent to announce to her that a barge was in readiness for her immediate conveyance to the Tower. She entreated first to be permitted to write to the queen; and the earl of Sussex assenting, in spite of the angry opposition of his companion, whose name is concealed by the tenderness of his contemporaries, and undertaking to be himself the bearer of her letter, she took the opportunity to repeat her protestations of innocence and loyalty, concluding, with an extraordinary vehemence of asseveration, in these words: "As for that traitor Wyat, he might peradventure write me a letter; but on my faith I never received any from him. And as for the copy of my letter to the French king, I pray God confound me eternally, if ever I sent him word, message, token, or letter, by any means." With respect to the last clause of this disavowal, it may be fit to observe, that there is indeed no proof that Elizabeth ever returned any answer to the letters or messages of the French king; but that it seems a well-authenticated fact, that during some period of her adversity Henry II. made her the offer of an asylum in France. The circumstance of the dauphin's being betrothed to the queen of Scots, who claimed to precede Elizabeth in the order of succession, renders the motive of this invitation somewhat suspicious; at all events, it was one which she was never tempted to accept.

Her letter did not obtain for the princess what she sought,—an interview with her sister; and the next day, being Palm Sunday, strict orders were issued for all people to attend the churches and carry their palms; and in the mean time she was privately removed to the Tower, attended by the earl of Sussex and the other lord, three of her own ladies, three of the queen's, and some of her officers. Several characteristic traits of her behaviour have been preserved. On reaching her melancholy place of destination, she long refused to land at Traitor's gate; and when the uncourteous nobleman declared "that she should not choose," offering her however, at the same time, his cloak to protect her from the rain, she retained enough of her high spirit to put it from her "with a good dash." As she set her foot on the ill-omened stairs, she said, "Here landeth as true a subject, being a prisoner, as ever landed at these stairs; and before thee, O God! I speak it, having no other friends but thee alone."

On seeing a number of warders and other attendants drawn out in order, she asked, "What meaneth this?" Some one answered that it was customary on receiving a prisoner. "If it be," said she, "I beseech you that for my cause they may be dismissed." Immediately the poor men kneeled down and prayed God to preserve her; for which action they all lost their places the next day.

Going a little further, she sat down on a stone to rest herself; and the lieutenant urging her to rise and come in out of the cold and wet, she answered, "Better sitting here than in a worse place, for God knoweth whither you bring me." On hearing these words her gentleman-usher wept, for which she reproved him; telling him he ought rather to be her comforter, especially since she knew her own truth to be such, that no man should have cause to weep for her. Then rising, she entered the prison, and its gloomy doors were locked and bolted on her. Shocked and dismayed, but still resisting the weakness of unavailing lamentation, she called for her book, and devoutly prayed that she might build her house upon the rock.

Meanwhile her conductors retired to concert measures for keeping her securely; and her firm friend, the earl of Sussex, did not neglect the occasion of reminding all whom it might concern, that the king their master's daughter was to be treated in no other manner than they might be able to justify, whatever should happen hereafter; and that they were to take heed to do nothing but what their commission would bear out. To this the others cordially assented; and having performed their office, the two lords departed.

Having now conducted the heroine of the protestant party to the dismal abode which she was destined for a time to occupy, it will be proper to revert to the period of Mary's accession.

Little more than eight months had yet elapsed from the death of Edward; but this short interval had sufficed to change the whole face of the English court; to alter the most important relations of the country with foreign states; and to restore in great measure the ancient religion, which it had been the grand object of the former reign finally and totally to overthrow. It is the business of the historian to record the series of public measures by which this calamitous revolution was accomplished: the humbler but not uninteresting task, of tracing its effects on the fortunes of eminent individuals, belongs to the compiler of memoirs, and forms an appropriate accompaniment to the relation of the perils, sufferings and obloquy, through which the heiress of the English crown passed on safely to the accomplishment of her high destinies.

The liberation of the state-prisoners confined in the Tower,—an act of grace usual on the accession of a prince,—was one which the causes of detention of the greater part of them rendered it peculiarly gratifying to Mary to perform. The enemies of Henry's or of Edward's government she regarded with reason as her friends and partisans, and the adherents, open or concealed, of that church establishment which was to be forced back on the reluctant consciences of the nation.

The most illustrious of the captives was that aged duke of Norfolk whom the tyrant Henry had condemned to die without a crime, and who had been suffered to languish in confinement during the whole reign of Edward; chiefly, it is probable, because the forfeiture of his vast estates afforded a welcome supply to the exhausted treasury of the young king; though the extensive influence of this nobleman, and the attachment for the old religion which he was believed to cherish, had served as plausible pretexts for his detention. His high birth, his hereditary authority, his religious predilections, were so many titles of merit in the eyes of the new queen, who was also desirous of profiting by his abilities and long experience in all affairs civil and military. Without waiting for the concurrence of parliament, she declared by her own authority his attainder irregular and null, restored to him such of his lands as remained vested in the crown, and proceeded to reinstate him in offices and honors. On August 10th he took his seat at the council-board of the eighth English monarch whose reign he had survived to witness; on the same day he was solemnly reinvested with the garter, of which he had been deprived on his attainder; and a few days after, he sat as lord-high-steward on the trial of that very duke of Northumberland to whom, not long before, his friends and adherents had been unsuccessful suitors for his own liberation.

There is extant a remarkable order of council, dated August 27th of this year, "for a letter to be written to the countess of Surry to send up to Mountjoy Place in London her youngest son, and the rest of her children, by the earl of Surry, where they shall be received by the duke of Norfolk their grandfather [21]." It may be conjectured that these young people were thus authoritatively consigned to the guardianship of the duke, for the purpose of correcting the protestant predilections in which they had been educated; and the circumstance seems also to indicate, what indeed might be well imagined, that little harmony or intercourse subsisted between this nobleman and a daughter-in-law whom he had formerly sought to deprive of her husband in order to form for him a new and more advantageous connexion.

The eldest son of the earl of Surry, now in the seventeenth year of his age, was honored with the title of his father; and he began his distinguished though unfortunate career by performing, as deputy to the duke of Norfolk, the office of earl-marshal at the queen's coronation. On the first alarm of Wyat's rebellion, the veteran duke was summoned to march out against him; but his measures, which otherwise promised success, were completely foiled by the desertion of the London bands to the insurgents; and the last military expedition of his life was destined to conclude with a hasty and ignominious flight. He soon after withdrew entirely from the fatigues of public life, and after all the vicissitudes of court and camp, palace and prison, with which the lapse of eighty eventful years had rendered him acquainted, calmly breathed his last at his own castle of Framlingham in September 1554.

Three deprived bishops were released from the Tower, and restored with honor to their sees. These were, Tonstal of Durham, Gardiner of Winchester, and Bonner of London. Tonstal, many of whose younger years had been spent in diplomatic missions, was distinguished in Europe by his erudition, which had gained him the friendship and correspondence of Erasmus; he was also mild, charitable, and of unblemished morals. Attached by principle to the faith of his forefathers, but loth either to incur personal hazard, or to sacrifice the almost princely emoluments of the see of Durham, he had contented himself with regularly opposing in the house of lords all the ecclesiastical innovations of Edward's reign, and as regularly giving them his concurrence when once established. It was not, therefore, professedly on a religious account that he had suffered deprivation and imprisonment, but on an obscure charge of having participated in some traitorous or rebellious design: a charge brought against him, in the opinion of most, falsely, and through the corrupt procurement of Northumberland, to whose project of erecting the bishopric of Durham into a county palatine for himself, the deprivation of Tonstal, and the abolition of the see by act of parliament, were indispensable preliminaries. This meek and amiable prelate returned to the exercise of his high functions, without a wish of revenging on the protestants, in their adversity, the painful acts of disingenuousness which their late ascendency had forced upon him. During the whole of Mary's reign, no person is recorded to have suffered for religion within the limits of his diocess. The mercy which he had shown, he afterwards most deservedly experienced. Refusing, on the accession of Elizabeth, to preserve his mitre by a repetition of compliances of which so many recent examples of conscientious suffering in men of both persuasions must have rendered him ashamed, he suffered a second deprivation; but his person was only committed to the honorable custody of archbishop Parker. By this learned and munificent prelate the acquirements and virtues of Tonstal were duly appretiated and esteemed. He found at Lambeth a retirement suited to his age, his tastes, his favorite pursuits; by the arguments of his friendly host he was brought to renounce several of the grosser corruptions of popery; and dying in the year 1560, an honorable monument was erected by the primate to his memory.

With views and sentiments how opposite did Gardiner and Bonner resume the crosier! A deep-rooted conviction of the truth and vital importance of the religious opinions which he defends, supplies to the persecutor the only apology of which his foolish and atrocious barbarity admits; and to men naturally mild and candid, we feel a consolation in allowing it in all its force;—but by no particle of such indulgence should Bonner or Gardiner be permitted to benefit. It would be credulity, not candor, to yield to either of these bad men the character of sincere, though over zealous, religionists. True it is that they had subjected themselves to the loss of their bishoprics, and to a severe imprisonment, by a refusal to give in their renunciation of certain doctrines of the Romish church; but they had previously gone much further in compliance than conscience would allow to any real catholic; and they appear to have stopped short in this career only because they perceived in the council such a determination to strip them, under one pretext or another, of all their preferments, as manifestly rendered further compliance useless. Both of them had policy enough to restrain them, under such circumstances, from degrading their characters gratuitously, and depriving themselves of the merit of having suffered for a faith which might soon become again predominant. They received their due reward in the favor of Mary, who recognised them with joy as the fit instruments of all her bloody and tyrannical designs, to which Gardiner supplied the crafty and contriving head, Bonner the vigorous and unsparing arm.

The proud wife of the protector Somerset,—who had been imprisoned, but never brought to trial, as anaccomplice in her husband's plots,—was now dismissed to a safe insignificance. The marchioness of Exeter, against whom, in Henry's reign, an attainder had passed too iniquitous for even him to carry into effect, was also rescued from her long captivity, and indemnified for the loss of her property by some valuable grants from the new confiscations of the Dudleys and their adherents.

The only state prisoner to whom the door was not opened on this occasion was Geffrey Pole, that base betrayer of his brother and his friends by whose evidence lord Montacute and the marquis of Exeter had been brought to an untimely end. It is some satisfaction to know, that the commutation of death for perpetual imprisonment was all the favor which this wretch obtained from Henry; that neither Edward nor Mary broke his bonds; and that, as far as appears, his punishment ended only with his miserable existence.

Not long, however, were these dismal abodes suffered to remain unpeopled. The failure of the criminal enterprise of Northumberland first filled the Tower with the associates, or victims, of his guilt. Nearly the whole of the Dudley family were its tenants for a longer or shorter time; and it was another remarkable coincidence of their destinies, which Elizabeth in the after days of her power and glory might have pleasure in recalling to her favorite Leicester, that during the whole of her captivity in this fortress he also was included in the number of its melancholy inmates.

The places of Tonstal, Gardiner, and Bonner, were soon after supplied by the more zealous of Edward'sbishops, Holgate, Coverdale, Ridley, and Hooper; and it was not long before the vehement Latimer and even the cautious Cranmer were added to their suffering brethren.

The queen made no difficulty of pardoning and receiving into favor those noblemen and others, members of the privy-council, whom a base dread of the resentment of Northumberland had driven into compliance with his measures in favor of Jane Grey; wisely considering, perhaps, that the men who had submitted to be the instruments of his violent and illegal proceedings, would feel little hesitation in lending their concurrence to hers also. On this principle, the marquis of Winchester and the earls of Arundel and Pembroke were employed and distinguished; the last of these experienced courtiers making expiation for his past errors, by causing his son, lord Herbert, to divorce the lady Catherine Grey, to whom it had so lately suited his political views to unite him.

Sir James Hales on the contrary, that conscientious and upright judge, who alone, of all the privy-counsellors and crown-lawyers, had persisted in refusing his signature to the act by which Mary was disinherited of the crown, found himself unrewarded and even discountenanced. The queen well knew, what probably the judge was not inclined to deny, that it was attachment, not to her person, but to the constitution of his country, which had prompted his resistance to that violation of the legal order of succession; and had it even been otherwise, she would have regarded all her obligations to him as effectually cancelled by his zealous adherence to the church establishment of the preceding reign. For daring to urge upon the grand juries whom he addressed in his circuit, the execution of some of Edward's laws in matter of religion, yet unrepealed, judge Hales was soon after thrown into prison. He endured with constancy the sufferings of a long and rigorous confinement, aggravated by the threats and ill-treatment of a cruel jailor. At length some persons in authority were sent to propound to him terms of release. It is suspected that they extorted from him some concessions on the point of religion; for immediately after their departure, retiring to his cell, in a fit of despair he stabbed himself with his knife in different parts of the body, and was only withheld by the sudden entrance of his servant from inflicting a mortal wound. Bishop Gardiner had the barbarity to insult over the agony or distraction of a noble spirit overthrown by persecution; he even converted his solitary act into a general reflection against protestantism, which he called "the doctrine of desperation." Some time after, Hales obtained his enlargement on payment of an arbitrary fine of six thousand pounds. But he did not with his liberty recover his peace of mind; and after struggling for a few months with an unconquerable melancholy, he sought and found its final cure in the waters of a pond in his garden.

No blood except of principals, was shed by Mary on account of the proclamation of Jane Grey; but she visited with lower degrees of punishment, secretly proportioned to the zeal which they had displayed in the reformation of religion, several of the more eminent partisans of this "meek usurper." The three tutors of king Edward, sir Anthony Cook, sir John Cheke and Dr. Cox, were sufficiently implicated in this affair to warrant their imprisonment for some time on suspicion; and all were eager, on their release, to shelter themselves from the approaching storm by flight.

Cheke, after confiscation of his estate, obtained permission to travel for a given time on the continent. Strasburgh was selected by Cook for his place of exile. The wise moderation of character by which this excellent person was distinguished, seems to have preserved him from taking any part in the angry contentions of protestant with protestant, exile with exile, by which the refugees of Strasburgh and Frankfort scandalized their brethren and afforded matter of triumph to the church of Rome. On the accession of Elizabeth he returned with alacrity to re-occupy and embellish the modest mansion of his forefathers, and "through the loopholes of retreat" to view with honest exultation the high career of public fortune run by his two illustrious sons-in-law, Nicholas Bacon and William Cecil.

The enlightened views of society taken by sir Anthony led him to extend to his daughters the noblest privileges of the other sex, those which concern the early and systematic acquisition of solid knowledge. Through his admirable instructions their minds were stored with learning, strengthened with principles, and formed to habits of reasoning and observation, which rendered them the worthy partners of great statesmen, who knew and felt their value. The fame, too, of these distinguished females has reflected back additional lustre on the character of a father, who was wont to say to them in the noble confidence of unblemished integrity, "My life is your portion, my example your inheritance."

Dr. Cox was quite another manner of man. Repairing first to Strasburgh, where the English exiles had formed themselves into a congregation using the liturgy of the church of England, he went thence to Frankfort, another city of refuge to his countrymen at this period; where the intolerance of his zeal against such as more inclined to the form of worship instituted by the Genevan reformer, embarked him in a violent quarrel with John Knox, against whom, on pretext of his having libelled the emperor, he found means to kindle the resentment of the magistrates, who compelled him to quit the city. After this disgraceful victory over a brother reformer smarting under the same scourge of persecution with himself, he returned to Strasburgh, where he more laudably employed himself in establishing a kind of English university.

His zeal for the church of England, his sufferings in the cause, and his services to learning, obtained for him from Elizabeth the bishopric of Ely; but neither party enjoyed from this appointment all the satisfaction which might have been anticipated. The courage, perhaps the self opinion, of Dr. Cox, engaged him on several occasions in opposition to the measures of the queen; and his narrow and persecuting spirit involved him in perpetual disputes and animosities, which rendered the close of a long life turbulent and unhappy, and took from his learning and gray hairs their due reverence. The rapacity of the courtiers, who obtained grant after grant of the lands belonging to his bishopric, was another fruitful source to him of vexation; and he had actually tendered the resignation of his see on very humiliating terms, when death came to his relief in the year 1581, the eighty-second of his age.

If in this and a few other instances, the polemical zeal natural to men who had sacrificed their worldly all for the sake of religion, was observed to degenerate among the refugees into personal quarrels disgraceful to themselves and injurious to their noble cause, it ought on the other hand to be observed, that some of the firmest and most affectionate friendships of the age were formed amongst these companions in adversity; and that by many who attained under Elizabeth the highest preferments and distinctions, the title of fellow-exile never ceased to be regarded as the most sacred and endearing bond of brotherhood.

Other opportunities will arise of commemorating some of the more eminent of the clergy who renounced their country during the persecutions of Mary; but respecting the laity, it may here be remarked, that with the exception of Catherine duchess-dowager of Suffolk, not a single person of quality was found in this list of conscientious sufferers; though one peer, probably the earl of Bedford, underwent imprisonment on a religious account at home. Of the higher gentry, however, there were considerable numbers who either went and established themselves in the protestant cities of Germany, or passed away the time in travelling.

Sir Francis Knowles, whose lady was niece to Anne Boleyn, took the former part, residing with his eldest son at Frankfort; Walsingham adopted the latter. With the views of a future minister of state, he visited in succession the principal courts of Europe, where he employed his diligence and sagacity in laying the foundations of that intimate knowledge of their policy and resources by which he afterwards rendered his services so important to his queen and country.


[20]See Carte's History of England.

[21]See Burleigh Papers by Haynes.

1559.

Meeting of parliament.—Prudent counsel of sir N. Bacon.—Act declaratory of the queen's title.—Her answer to an address praying her to marry.—Philip II. offers her his hand.—Motives of her refusal.—Proposes to her the archduke Charles.—The king of Sweden renews his addresses by the duke of Finland.—Honorable reception of the duke.—Addresses of the duke of Holstein.—The duke of Norfolk, lord R. Dudley, the marquis of Northampton, the earl of Rutland, made knights of the garter.—Notices of the two last.—Queen visits the earl of Pembroke.—His life and character.—Arrival and entertainment of a French embassy.—Review of the London trained-bands.—Tilt in Greenwich park.—Band of gentlemen-pensioners.—Royal progress to Dartford, Cobham Hall, Eltham, and Nonsuch.—The earl of Arundel entertains her at the latter place.—Obsequies for the king of France.—Death of Frances duchess of Suffolk.—Sumptuary law respecting apparel.—Fashions of dress.—Law against witchcraft.

I n  the parliament which met in January 1559, two matters personally interesting to the queen were agitated; her title to the crown, and her marriage; and both were disposed of in a manner calculated to afford a just presage of the maxims by which the whole tenor of her future life and reign was to be guided. By the eminently prudent and judicious counsels of sir Nicholas Bacon keeper of the seals, she omitted to require of parliament the repeal of those acts of her father's reign which had declared his marriage with her mother null, and herself illegitimate; and reposing on the acknowledged maxim of law, that the crown once worn takes away all defects in blood, she contented herself with an act declaratory in general terms of her right of succession. Thus the whole perplexing subject of her mother's character and conduct was consigned to an oblivion equally safe and decent; and the memory of her father, which, in spite of all his acts of violence and injustice, was popular in the nation and respected by herself, was saved from the stigma which the vindication of Anne Boleyn must have impressed indelibly upon it.

On the other topic she explained herself with an earnest sincerity which might have freed her from all further importunity in any concern less interesting to the wishes of her people. To a deputation from the house of commons with an address, "the special matter whereof was to move her grace to marriage," after a gracious reception, she delivered an answer in which the following passages are remarkable.

"...From my years of understanding, sith I first had consideration of my life, to be born a servitor of almighty God, I happily chose this kind of life, in the which I yet live; which I assure you for mine own part hath hitherto best contented myself, and I trust hath been most acceptable unto God. From the which, if either ambition of high estate, offered to me in marriage by the pleasure and appointment of my prince, whereof I have some records in this presence (as you our treasurer well know); or if eschewing the danger of mine enemies, or the avoiding of the peril of death, whose messenger, or rather a continual watchman, the prince's indignation, was no little time daily before mine eyes, (by whose means although I know, or justly may suspect, yet I will not now utter, or if the whole cause were in my sister herself, I will not now burden her therewith, because I will not charge the dead): if any of these, I say, could have drawn or dissuaded me from this kind of life, I had not now remained in this estate wherein you see me; but so constant have I always continued in this determination, although my youth and words may seem to some hardly to agree together; yet it is most true that at this day I stand free from any other meaning that either I have had in times past, or have at this present."

After a somewhat haughty assurance that she takes the recommendation of the parliament in good part, because it contains no limitation of place or person, which she should have regarded as great presumption in them, "whose duties are to obey," and "not to require them that may command;" having declared that should she change her resolution, she will choose one for her husband who shall, if possible, be as careful for the realm as herself, she thus concludes: "And in the end, this shall be for me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare, that a queen, having reigned such a time, lived and died a virgin."

One matrimonial proposal her majesty had already received, and that at once the most splendid and the least suitable which Europe could afford. Philip of Spain, loth to relinquish his hold upon England, but long since aware of the impracticability of establishing any claims of his own in opposition to the title of Elizabeth, now sought to reign by her; and to the formal announcement which she conveyed to him of the death of his late wife, accompanied with expressions of her anxiety to preserve his friendship, he had replied by an offer of his hand.

The objections to this union were so peculiarly forcible, and so obvious to every eye, that it appears at first view almost incredible that the proposal should have been made, as it yet undoubtedly was, seriously and with strong expectations of success. But Philip, himself a politician, believed Elizabeth to be one also; and he flattered himself that he should be able to point out such advantages in the connexion as might over-balance in her mind any scruples of patriotism, of feeling, or of conscience. She stood alone, the last of her father's house, unsupported at home by the authority of a powerful royal family, or abroad by great alliances. The queen of Scots, whom few of the subjects of Elizabeth denied to be next heir to the crown, and whose claim was by most of the catholics held preferable to her own, was married to the dauphin of France, consequently her title would be upheld by the whole force of that country, with which, as well as with Scotland, Elizabeth at her accession had found the nation involved in an unsuccessful war. The loss of Calais, the decay of trade, the failure of the exchequer, and the recent visitations of famine and pestilence, had infected the minds of the English with despondency, and paralysed all their efforts.

In religion they were confessedly a divided people; but it is probable that Philip, misled by his own zeal and that of the catholic clergy, confidently anticipated the extirpation of heresy and the final triumph of the papal system, if the measures of salutary rigor  which had distinguished the reign of Mary should be persisted in by her successor; and that he actually supposed the majority of the nation to be at this time sincerely and cordially catholic. In offering therefore his hand to Elizabeth, he seemed to lend her that powerful aid against her foreign foe and rival without which her possession of the throne could not be secure, and that support against domestic faction without which it could not be tranquil. He readily undertook to procure from the pope the necessary dispensation for the marriage, which he was certain would be granted with alacrity; and before the answer of Elizabeth could reach him, he had actually dispatched envoys to Rome for this purpose.

A princess, in fact, of a character less firm and less sagacious than Elizabeth, might have found in these seeming benefits temptations not to be resisted; the splendor of Philip's rank and power would have dazzled and overawed, the difficulties of her own situation would have affrighted her, and between ambition and alarm she would probably have thrown herself into the arms, and abandoned her country to the mercy, of a gloomy, calculating, relentless tyrant.

But Elizabeth was neither to be deceived nor intimidated. She well knew how odious this very marriage had rendered her unhappy sister; she understood and sympathized in the religious sentiments of the great mass of her subjects; she felt too all the pride, as well as the felicity, of independence; and looking around with a cheerful confidence on a people who adored her, she formed at once the patriotic resolution to wear her English diadem by the suffrage of the English nation alone, unindebted to the protection and free from the participation of any brother-monarch living, even of him who held the highest place among the potentates of Europe.

Her best and wisest counsellors applauded her decision, but they unanimously advised that no means consistent with the rejection of his suit should be omitted, by which the friendship of the king of Spain might be preserved and cultivated. Expedients were accordingly found, without actually encouraging his hopes, for protracting the negotiation till a peace was concluded with France and with Scotland, and finally of declining the marriage without a breach of amity. Yet the duke de Feria, the Spanish ambassador, had not failed to represent to the queen, that as the addresses of his master were founded on personal acquaintance and high admiration of her charms and merit, a negative could not be returned without wounding equally his pride and his feelings. Philip, however, soon consoled himself for this disappointment by taking to wife the daughter of the king of France; and before the end of the year we find him recommending to Elizabeth as a husband his cousin the archduke Charles, son of the emperor Ferdinand. The overture was at this time declined by the queen without hesitation; but some time afterwards, circumstances arose which caused the negotiation to be resumed with prospect of success, and the pretensions and qualifications of the Austrian prince became, as we shall see, an object of serious discussion.

Eric, who had now ascended the throne of Sweden, sent his brother the duke of Finland to plead once more with the English princess in his behalf; and the king of Denmark, unwilling that his neighbour should bear off without a contest so glorious a prize, lost no time in sending forth on the same high adventure his nephew the duke of Holstein. It is more than probable that Shakespear, in his description of the wooers of all countries who contend for the possession of the fair and wealthy Portia [43], satirically alludes to several of these royal suitors, whose departure would often be accounted by his sovereign "a gentle ridance," since she might well exclaim with the Italian heiress, "while we shut the gate on one wooer, another knocks at the door."

The duke of Finland was received with high honors. The earl of Oxford and lord Robert Dudley repaired to him at Colchester and conducted him into London. At the corner of Gracechurch-street he was received by the marquis of Northampton and lord Ambrose Dudley, attended by many gentlemen, and, what seems remarkable, by ladies also; and thence, followed by a great troop of gentlemen in gold chains and yeomen of the guard, he proceeded to the bishop of Winchester's palace in Southwark, "which was hung with rich cloth of arras, and wrought with gold and silver and silks. And there he remained."

On the last circumstance it may be remarked, that it appears at this time to have been the invariable custom for ambassadors and other royal visitants to be lodged at some private house, where they were entertained, nominally perhaps at the expense of the sovereign, but really to the great cost as well as inconvenience of the selected host. The practice discovers a kind of feudal right of ownership still claimed by the prince in the mansions of his barons, some of which indeed were royal castles or manor-houses and held perhaps under peculiar obligations: at the same time it gives us a magnificent idea of the size and accommodation of these mansions and of the style of house-keeping used in them. It further intimates that an habitual distrust of these foreign guests caused it to be regarded as a point of prudence to place them under the secret inspection of some native of approved loyalty and discretion. Prisoners of state, as well as ambassadors and royal strangers, were thus committed to the private custody of peers or bishops.

The duke of Holstein on his arrival was lodged at Somerset Place, of which the queen had granted the use to lord Hunsdon. He came, it seems, with sanguine expectations of success in his suit; but the royal fair one deemed it sufficient to acknowledge his pains by an honorable reception, the order of the garter, and the grant of a yearly pension.

Meantime the queen herself, with equal assiduity and better success than awaited these princely wooers, was applying her cares to gain the affections of her subjects of every class, and if possible of both religious denominations.

On her young kinsman the duke of Norfolk, the first peer of the realm by rank, property, and great alliances, and the most popular by his known attachment to the protestant faith, she now conferred the distinction of the garter, decorating with it at the same time the marquis of Northampton, the earl of Rutland, and lord Robert Dudley.

The marquis, a brother of queen Catherine Parr, whom he resembled in the turn of his religious opinions, had been for these opinions a great sufferer under the last reign. On pretext of his adherence to the cause of Jane Grey, in which he had certainly not partaken more deeply than many others who found nothing but favor in the sight of Mary, he was attainted of high treason, and though his life was spared, his estates were forfeited and he had remained ever since in disgrace and suspicion. A divorce which he had obtained from an unfaithful wife under the ecclesiastical law of Henry VIII. was also called in question, and an after marriage which he had contracted declared null, but it appears to have been confirmed under Elizabeth. He was accounted a modest and upright character, endowed with no great talents for military command, in which he had been unsuccessful, nor yet for civil business; but distinguished by a fine taste in music and poetry, which formed his chief delight. From the new sovereign substantial benefits as well as flattering distinctions awaited him, being reinstated by her in the possession of his confiscated estates and appointed a privy-councillor.

Henry second earl of Rutland of the surname of Manners, was the representative of a knightly family seated during many generations at Ettal in Northumberland, and known in border history amongst the stoutest champions on the English side. But Ettal, a place of strength, was more than once laid in ruins, and the lands devastated and rendered "nothing worth," by incursions of the Scots; and though successive kings rewarded the services and compensated the losses of these valiant knights, by grants of land and appointments to honorable offices in the north, it was many an age before they attained to such a degree of wealth as would enable them to appear with distinction amongst the great families of the kingdom. At length sir Robert Manners, high sheriff of Northumberland, having recommended himself to the favor of the king-making Warwick and of Richard duke of Gloucester, was fortunate enough by a judicious marriage with the daughter of lord Roos, heiress of the Tiptofts earls of Worcester, to add the noble castle and fertile vale of Belvoir to the battered towers and wasted fields of his paternal inheritance.

A second splendid alliance completed the aggrandizement of the house of Manners. The son of sir Robert, bearing in right of his mother the title of lord Roos, and knighted by the earl of Surry for his distinguished bravery in the Scottish wars, was honored with the hand of Anne sole heiress of sir Thomas St. Leger by the duchess-dowager of Exeter, a sister of king Edward IV. The heir of this marriage, in consideration of his maternal ancestry, was advanced by Henry VIII. to the title of earl of Rutland, never borne but by princes of the blood. His successor, whom the queen was pleased to honor on this occasion, had suffered a short imprisonment in the cause of Jane Grey, but was afterwards intrusted by Mary with a military command. Under Elizabeth he was lord lieutenant of the counties of Nottingham and Rutland, and one of the commissioners for enforcing the oath of supremacy on all persons in offices of trust or profit suspected of adherence to the old religion. He died in 1563.

Of lord Robert Dudley it is only necessary here to observe, that his favor with the queen became daily more apparent, and began to give fears and jealousies to her best friends and wisest counsellors.

The hearts of the common people, as this wise princess well knew, were easily and cheaply to be won by gratifying their eyes with the frequent view of her royal person, and she neglected no opportunity of offering herself, all smiles and affability, to their ready acclamations.

On one occasion she passed publicly through the city to visit the mint and inspect the new coinage, which she had the great merit of restoring to its just standard from the extremely depreciated state to which it had been brought by the successive encroachments of her immediate predecessors. Another time she visited the dissolved priory of St. Mary Spittle in Bishopsgate-street, which was noted for its pulpit-cross, where, on set days, the lord-mayor and aldermen attended to hear sermons. It is conjectured that the queen went thither for the same purpose; but if this were the case, her equipage was somewhat whimsical. She was attended, as Stow informs us, by a thousand men in harness with shirts of mail and corselets and morice-pikes, and ten great pieces carried through the city unto the court, with drums and trumpets sounding, and two morice dancings, and in a cart two white bears.

Having supped one afternoon with the earl of Pembroke at Baynard's castle in Thames-street, she afterwards took boat and was rowed up and down the river, "hundreds of boats and barges rowing about her, and thousands of people thronging at the water side to look upon her majesty; rejoicing to see her, and partaking of the music and sights upon the Thames."

This peer was the offspring of a base-born son of William Herbert earl of Pembroke, and coming early to court to push his fortune, became an esquire of the body to Henry VIII. Soon ingratiating himself with this monarch, he obtained from his customary profusion towards his favorites, several offices in Wales and enormous grants of abbey-lands in some of the southern counties. In the year 1554, the 37th of his age, we find him considerable enough to procure the king's license "to retain thirty persons at his will and pleasure, over and above such persons as attended on him, and to give them his livery, badges, and cognizance." The king's marriage with Catherine Parr, his wife's sister, increased his consequence, and Henry on his death-bed appointed him one of his executors and a member of the young king's council. He was actively useful in the beginning of Edward's reign in keeping down commotions in Wales and suppressing some which had arisen in Wiltshire and Somersetshire. This service obtained for him the office of master of the horse; and that more important service which he afterwards performed at the head of one thousand Welshmen, with whom he took the field against the Cornish rebels, was rewarded by the garter, the presidency of the council for Wales, and a valuable wardship. He figured next as commander of part of the forces in Picardy and governor of Calais, and found himself strong enough to claim of the feeble protector as his reward the titles of baron Herbert and earl of Pembroke, become extinct by the failure of legitimate heirs. As soon as his sagacity prognosticated the fall of Somerset, he judiciously attached himself to the rising fortunes of Northumberland. With this aspiring leader it was an object of prime importance to purchase the support of a nobleman who now appeared at the head of three hundred retainers, and whose authority in Wales and the southern counties was equal, or superior, to the hereditary influence of the most powerful and ancient houses. To engage him therefore the more firmly in his interest, Northumberland proposed a marriage between Pembroke's son lord Herbert and lady Catherine Grey, which was solemnized at the same time with that between lord Guildford Dudley and the lady Jane her eldest sister.

But no ties of friendship or alliance could permanently engage Pembroke on the losing side; and though he concurred in the first measures of the privy-council in behalf of lady Jane's title, it was he who devised a pretext for extricating its members from the Tower, where Northumberland had detained them in order to secure their fidelity, and, assembling them in Baynard's castle, procured their concurrence in the proclamation of Mary. By this act he secured the favor of the new queen, whom he further propitiated by compelling his son to repudiate the innocent and ill-fated lady Catherine, whose birth caused her to be regarded at court with jealous eyes. Mary soon confided to him the charge of effectually suppressing Wyat's rebellion, and afterwards constituted him her captain-general beyond the seas, in which capacity he commanded the English forces at the battle of St. Quintin's. Such was the respect entertained for his experience and capacity, that Elizabeth admitted him to her privy-council immediately after her accession, and as a still higher mark of her confidence named him,—with the marquis of Northampton, the earl of Bedford, and lord John Grey, leading men of the protestant party,—to assist at the meetings of divines and men of learning by whom the religious establishment of the country was to be settled. He was likewise appointed a commissioner for administering the oath of supremacy. In short, he retained to his death, which occurred in 1570, in the 63d year of his age, the same high station among the confidential servants of the crown which he had held unmoved through all the mutations of the eventful period of his public life.

Naunton, in his "Fragmenta Regalia," speaking of Paulet marquis of Winchester and lord-treasurer, who, he says, had then served four princes "in as various and changeable season that well I may say, neither time nor age hath yielded the like precedent," thus proceeds: "This man being noted to grow high in her" (queen Elizabeth's) "favor, as his place and experience required, was questioned by an intimate friend of his, how he stood up for thirty years together amidst the changes and reigns of so many chancellors and great personages. 'Why,' quoth the marquis, 'ortus sum ex salice, non ex quercu.' (By being a willow and not an oak). And truly the old man hath taught them all, especially William earl of Pembroke, for they two were ever of the king's religion, and over-zealous professors. Of these it is said, that both younger brothers, yet of noble houses, they spent what was left them and came on trust to the court; where, upon the bare stock of their wits, they began to traffic for themselves, and prospered so well, that they got, spent, and left, more than any subjects from the Norman conquest to their own times: whereunto it hath been prettily replied, that they lived in a time of dissolution.—Of any of the former reign, it is said that these two lived and died chiefly in the queen's favor."

Among the means employed by Pembroke for preserving the good graces of the new queen, the obvious one of paying court to her prime favorite Robert Dudley was not neglected; and lord Herbert, whose first marriage had been contracted in compliance with the views of the father, now formed a third in obedience to the wishes of the son. The lady to whom he was thus united by motives in which inclination had probably no share on either side, was the niece of Dudley and sister of sir Philip Sidney, one of the most accomplished women of her age, celebrated during her life by the wits and poets whom she patronized, and preserved in the memory of posterity by an epitaph from the pen of Ben Jonson which will not be forgotten whilst English poetry remains.

The arrival of ambassadors of high rank from France, on occasion of the peace recently concluded with that country, afforded the queen an opportunity of displaying all the magnificence of her court; and their entertainment has furnished for the curious inquirer in later times some amusing traits of the half-barbarous manners of the age. The duke de Montmorenci, the head of the embassy, was lodged at the bishop of London's, and the houses of the dean and canons of St. Paul's were entirely filled with his numerous retinue. The gorgeousness of the ambassador's dress was thought remarkable even in those gorgeous times. The day after their arrival they were conducted in state to court, where they supped with the queen, and afterwards partook of a "goodly banquet," with all manner of entertainment till midnight. The next day her majesty gave them a sumptuous dinner, followed by a baiting of bulls and bears. "The queen's grace herself" stood with them in a gallery, looking on the pastime, till six o'clock, when they returned by water to sup with the bishop their host. On the following day they were conducted to the Paris Garden, then a favorite place of amusement on the Surry side of the Thames, and there regaled with another exhibition of bull and bear baiting. Two days afterwards they departed, "taking their barge towards Gravesend," highly delighted, it is to be hoped, with the elegant taste of the English in public diversions, and carrying with them a number of mastiffs, given them to hunt wolves in their own country.

But notwithstanding all outward shows of amity with France, Elizabeth had great cause to apprehend that the pretensions of the queen of Scots and her husband the dauphin, who had openly assumed the royal arms of England, might soon reinvolve her in hostilities with that country and with Scotland; and it consequently became a point of policy with her to animate by means of military spectacles, graced with her royal presence and encouragement, the warlike preparations of her subjects. She was now established for a time in her favorite summer-palace of Greenwich, and the London companies were ordered to make a muster of their men at arms in the adjoining park.

The employment of fire-arms had not as yet consigned to disuse either the defensive armour or the weapons of offence of the middle ages; and the military arrays of that time amused the eye of the spectator with a rich variety of accoutrement far more picturesque in its details, and probably more striking even in its general effect, than that magnificent uniformity which, at a modern review, dazzles but soon satiates the sight.

Of the fourteen hundred men whom the metropolis sent forth on this occasion, eight hundred, armed in fine corselets, bore the long Moorish pike; two hundred were halberdiers wearing a different kind of armour, called Almain rivets; and the gunners, or musketeers, were equipped in shirts of mail, with morions or steel caps. Her majesty, surrounded by a splendid court, beheld all their evolutions from a gallery over the park gate, and finally dismissed them, confirmed in loyalty and valor by praises, thanks, and smiles of graciousness.

A few days afterwards the queen's pensioners were appointed "to run with the spear," and this chivalrous exhibition was accompanied with such circumstances of romantic decoration as peculiarly delighted the fancy of Elizabeth. She caused to be erected for her in Greenwich park a banqueting-house "made with fir poles and decked with birch branches and all manner of flowers both of the field and the garden, as roses, julyflowers, lavender, marygolds, and all manner of strewing-herbs and rushes." Tents were also set up for her household, and a place was prepared for the tilters. After the exercises were over, the queen gave a supper in the banqueting-house, succeeded by a masque, and that by a splendid banquet. "And then followed great casting of fire and shooting of guns till midnight."

This band of gentlemen pensioners, the boast and ornament of the court of Elizabeth, was probably the most splendid establishment of the kind in Europe. It was entirely composed of the flower of the nobility and gentry, and to be admitted to serve in its ranks was during the whole of the reign regarded as a distinction worthy the ambition of young men of the highest families and most brilliant prospects. Sir John Holles, afterwards earl of Clare, was accustomed to say, that while he was a pensioner to queen Elizabeth, he did not know a worse man in the whole band than himself; yet he was then in possession of an inheritance of four thousand a year. "It was the constant custom of that queen," pursues the earl's biographer, "to call out of all counties of the kingdom, the gentlemen of the greatest hopes and the best fortunes and families, and with them to fill the more honorable rooms of her household servants, by which she honored them, obliged their kindred and alliance, and fortified herself [44]."

On this point of policy it deserves to be remarked, that however it might strengthen the personal influence of the sovereign to enroll amongst the menial servants of the crown gentlemen of influence and property, it is chiefly perhaps to this practice that we ought to impute that baseness of servility which infected, with scarcely one honorable exception, the public characters of the reign of Elizabeth.

On July 17th the queen set out on the first of those royal progresses  which form so striking a feature in the domestic history of her reign. In them, as in most of the recreations in which she at any time indulged herself, Elizabeth sought to unite political utilities with the gratification of her taste for magnificence, and especially for admiration. It has also been surmised, that she was not inattentive to the savings occasioned to her privy purse by maintaining her household for several weeks in every year at the expense of her nobles, or of the towns through which she passed; and it must be admitted that more than one disgraceful instance might be pointed out, of a great man obliged to purchase the continuance or restoration of her favor by soliciting the almost ruinous honor of a royal visit. On the whole, however, her deportment on these occasions warrants the conclusion, that an earnest and constant desire of popularity was her principal motive for persevering to the latest period of her life to encounter the fatigue of these frequent journeys, and of the acts of public representation which they imposed upon her.

"In her progress," says an acute and lively delineator of her character, "she was most easy to be approached; private persons and magistrates, men and women, country-people and children, came joyfully and without any fear to wait upon her and see her. Her ears were then open to the complaints of the afflicted and of those that had been any way injured. She would not suffer the meanest of her people to be shut out from the places where she resided, but the greatest and the least were then in a manner levelled. She took with her own hand, and read with the greatest goodness, the petitions of the meanest rustics. And she would frequently assure them that she would take a particular care of their affairs, and she would ever be as good as her word. She was never seen angry with the most unseasonable or uncourtly approach; she was never offended with the most impudent or importunate petitioner. Nor was there any thing in the whole course of her reign that more won the hearts of the people than this her wonderful facility, condescension, and the sweetness and pleasantness with which she entertained all that came to her [45]."

The first stage of the queen's progress was to Dartford in Kent, where Henry VIII., whose profusion in the article of royal residences was extreme, had fitted up a dissolved priory as a palace for himself and his successors. Elizabeth kept this mansion in her own hands during the whole of her reign, and once more, after an interval of several years, is recorded to have passed two days under its roof. James I. granted it to the earl of Salisbury: the lords Darcy were afterwards its owners. The embattled gatehouse with an adjoining wing, all that remains in habitable condition, are at the present time occupied as a farm house; while foundations of walls running along the neighbouring fields to a considerable distance, alone attest the magnitude, and leave to be imagined the splendor, of the ancient edifice. Such is at this day the common fate of the castles of our ancient barons, the mansions of our nobles of a following age, and the palaces of the Plantagenets, the Tudors, and the Stuarts!

From Dartford she proceeded to Cobham Hall,—an exception to the general rule,—for this venerable mansion is at present the noble seat of the earl of Darnley; and though the centre has been rebuilt in a more modern style, the wings remain untouched, and in one of them the apartment occupied by the queen on this visit is still pointed out to the stranger. She was here sumptuously entertained by William lord Cobham, a nobleman who enjoyed a considerable share of her favor, and who, after acquitting himself to her satisfaction in an embassy to the Low-Countries, was rewarded with the garter and the place of a privy-councillor. He was however a person of no conspicuous ability, and his wealth and his loyalty appear to have been his principal titles of merit.

Eltham was her next stage; an ancient palace frequently commemorated in the history of our early kings as the scene of rude magnificence and boundless hospitality. In 1270 Henry III. kept a grand Christmas at Ealdham palace,—so it was then called. A son of Edward II. was named John of Eltham, from its being the place of his birth.

Edward III. twice held his parliament in its capacious hall. It was repaired at great cost by Edward IV., who made it a frequent place of residence; but Henry VIII. began to neglect it for Greenwich, and Elizabeth was the last sovereign by whom it was visited.

Its hall, 100 feet in length, with a beautifully carved roof resembling that of Westminster-hall and windows adorned with all the elegance of gothic tracery, is still in being, and admirably serves the purposes of a barn and granary.

Elizabeth soon quitted this seat of antique grandeur to contemplate the gay magnificence of Nonsuch, regarded as the triumph of her father's taste and the masterpiece of all the decorative arts. This stately edifice, of which not a vestige now remains, was situated near Ewel in Surry, and commanded from its lofty turrets extensive views of the surrounding country.

It was built round two courts, an outer and an inner one, both very spacious; and the entrance to each was by a square gatehouse highly ornamented, embattled, and having turrets at the four corners. These gatehouses were of stone, as was the lower story of the palace itself; but the upper one was of wood, "richly adorned and set forth and garnished with variety of statues, pictures, and other antic forms of excellent art and workmanship, and of no small cost:" all which ornaments, it seems, were made of rye dough. In modern language the "pictures" would probably be called basso-relievos. From the eastern and western angles of the inner court rose two slender turrets five stories high, with lanthorns on the top, which were leaded and surrounded with wooden balustrades. These towers of observation, from which the two parks attached to the palace and a wide expanse of champaign country beyond might be surveyed as in a map, were celebrated as the peculiar boast of Nonsuch.

Henry was prevented by death from beholding the completion of this gaudy structure, and queen Mary had it in contemplation to pull it down to save further charges; but the earl of Arundel, "for the love and honor he bare to his old master," purchased the place, and finished it according to the original design. It was to this splendid nobleman that the visit of the queen was paid. He received her with the utmost magnificence. On Sunday night a banquet, a mask, and a concert were the entertainments: the next day she witnessed a course from a standing made for her in the park, and "the children of Paul's" performed a play; after which a costly banquet was served up in gilt dishes. On her majesty's departure her noble host further presented her with a cupboard of plate. The earl of Arundel was wealthy, munificent, and one of the finest courtiers of his day: but it must not be imagined that even by him such extraordinary cost and pains would have been lavished upon his illustrious guest as a pure and simple homage of that sentimental loyalty which feels its utmost efforts overpaid by their acceptance. He looked in fact to a high and splendid recompense,—one which as yet perhaps he dared not name, but which the sagacity of his royal mistress would, as he flattered himself, be neither tardy nor reluctant to divine.

The death of Henry II. of France, which occurred during the summer of this year, gave occasion to a splendid ceremony in St. Paul's cathedral, which was rendered remarkable by some circumstances connected with the late change of religion. This was the performance of his obsequies, then a customary tribute among the princes of Europe to the memory of each other; which Elizabeth therefore would by no means omit, though the custom was so intimately connected with doctrines and practices characteristic of the Romish church, that it was difficult to divest it, in the judgement of a protestant people, of the character of a superstitious observance. A hearse magnificently adorned with the banners and scutcheons of the deceased was placed in the church; a great train of lords and gentlemen attended as mourners; and all the ceremonies of a real funeral were duly performed, not excepting the offering at the altar of money, originally designed, without doubt, for the purchase of masses for the dead. The herald, however, was ordered to substitute other words in place of the ancient request to all present to pray for the soul of the departed; and several reformations were made in the service, and in the communion with which this stately piece of pageantry concluded.

In the month of December was interred with much ceremony in Westminster Abbey Frances duchess-dowager of Suffolk, grandaughter to Henry VII. After the tragical catastrophe of her misguided husband and of lady Jane Grey her eldest daughter, the duchess was suffered to remain in unmolested privacy, and she had since rendered herself utterly insignificant, not to say contemptible, by an obscure marriage with one Stoke, a young man who was her master of the horse. There is a tradition, that on Elizabeth's exclaiming with surprise and indignation when the news of this connexion reached her ears, "What, hath she married her horse keeper?" Cecil replied, "Yes, madam, and she says your majesty would like to do so too;" lord Robert Dudley then filling the office of master of the horse to the queen.

The impolicy or inutility of sumptuary laws was not in this age acknowledged. A proclamation therefore was issued in October 1559 to check that prevalent excess in apparel which was felt as a serious evil at this period, when the manufactures of England were in so rude a state that almost every article for the use of the higher classes was imported from Flanders, France, or Italy, in exchange for the raw commodities of the country, or perhaps for money.

The invectives of divines, in various ages of the Christian church, have placed upon lasting record some transient follies which would otherwise have sunk into oblivion, and the sermons of bishop Pilkington, a warm polemic of this time, may be quoted as a kind of commentary on the proclamation. He reproves "fine-fingered rufflers, with their sables about their necks, corked slippers, trimmed buskins, and warm mittons."—"These tender Parnels," he says, "must have one gown for the day, another for the night; one long, another short; one for winter, another for summer. One furred through, another but faced: one for the work-day, another for the holiday. One of this color, another of that. One of cloth, another of silk, or damask. Change of apparel; one afore dinner, another at after: one of Spanish fashion, another of Turkey. And to be brief, never content with enough, but always devising new fashions and strange. Yea a ruffian will have more in his ruff and his hose than he should spend in a year. He which ought to go in a russet coat, spends as much on apparel for him and his wife, as his father would have kept a good house with."

The costly furs here mentioned had probably become fashionable since a direct intercourse had been opened in the last reign with Russia, from which country ambassadors had arrived, whose barbaric splendor astonished the eyes of the good people of London. The affectation of wearing by turns the costume of all the nations of Europe, with which the queen herself was not a little infected, may be traced partly to the practice of importing articles of dress from those nations, and that of employing foreign tailors in preference to native ones, and partly to the taste for travelling, which since the revival of letters had become laudably prevalent among the young nobility and gentry of England. That more in proportion was expended on the elegant luxuries of dress, and less on the coarser indulgences of the table, ought rather to have been considered as a desirable approach to refinement of manners than a legitimate subject of censure.

An act of parliament was passed in this year subjecting the use of enchantment and witchcraft to the pains of felony. The malcontent catholics, it seems, were accused of employing practices of this nature; their predictions of her majesty's death had given uneasiness to government by encouraging plots against her government; and it was feared, "by many good and sober men," that these dealers in the black art might even bewitch the queen herself. That it was the learned bishop Jewel who had led the way in inspiring these superstitious terrors, to which religious animosities lent additional violence, may fairly be inferred from the following passage of a discourse which was delivered by him in the queen's presence the year before.... "Witches and sorcerers within these last few years are marvellously increased within your grace's realm. These eyes have seen most evident and manifest marks of their wickedness. Your grace's subjects pine away even unto the death; their color fadeth, their flesh rotteth, their speech is benumbed, their senses are bereft. Wherefore your poor subjects' most humble petition to your highness is, that the laws touching such malefactors may be put in due execution. For the shoal of them is great, their doing horrible, their malice intolerable, the examples most miserable. And I pray God they never practise further than upon the subject."


[43]See "The Merchant of Venice."

[44]Collins's "Historical Collections."

[45]Bohun's "Character of Queen Elizabeth."

1560.

On the conduct of Elizabeth as head of the church.—Sketch of the history of the reformation in England.—Notices of Parker, Grindal, and Jewel.

T here  was no part of the regal office the exercise of which appeared so likely to expose Elizabeth to invidious reflections, as that which comprehended the management of ecclesiastical affairs. Few divines, though protestant, could behold without a certain feeling of mingled jealousy and disdain, a female placed at the head of the religion of the country, and by the whole papal party such a supremacy was regarded perhaps as the most horrible, certainly as the most preposterous, of all the prodigies which heresy had yet brought forth. "I have seen the head of the English church dancing!" exclaimed, it is said, with a sarcastic air, an ambassador from one of the catholic courts of Europe.

A more striking incongruity indeed could scarcely be imagined, than between the winning manners and sprightly disposition of this youthful princess, as they displayed themselves amid the festivities of her court and the homage of her suitors, and the grave and awful character of Governess of the church, with which she had been solemnly invested.

In virtue of this office, it was the right and duty of the queen to choose a religion for the country; to ordain its rites and ceremonies, discipline, and form of church government; and to fix the rank, offices and emoluments of its ministers. She was also to exercise this power entirely at her own discretion, free from the control of parliament or the interference of the clerical body, and assisted only by such commissioners, lay or ecclesiastical, as it should please herself to appoint.

This exorbitant authority was first assumed by her arbitrary father when it became his will that his people should acknowledge no other pope than himself; and the servile spirit of the age, joined to the ignorance and indifference on religious subjects then general, had caused it to be submitted to without difficulty. In consequence, the title of Head of the Church had quietly devolved upon Edward VI. as part of his regal style; and while the duties of the office were exercised by Cranmer and the Protector, the nation, now generally favorable to the cause of reform, was more inclined to rejoice in its existence than to dispute the authority by which it had been instituted. Mary abhorred the title, as a badge of heresy and a guilty usurpation on the rights of the sovereign pontiff, and in the beginning of her reign she laid it aside, but was afterwards prevailed upon to resume it, because there was a convenience in the legal sanction which it afforded to her acts of tyranny over the consciences of men.

The first parliament of Elizabeth, in the fervor of its loyalty, decreed to her, as if by acclamation, all the honors or prerogatives ever enjoyed by her predecessors, and it was solely at her own request that the appellation of Head, was now exchanged for the less assuming one of Governess, of the English church. The power remained the same; it was, as we have seen, of the most absolute nature possible; since, unlimited by law, it was also, owing to its recent establishment, equally uncontrolled by custom. It remains to the delineator of the character of Elizabeth to inquire in what manner she acquitted herself, to her country and to posterity, of the awful responsibility imposed upon her by its possession.

A slight sketch of the circumstances attending the introduction of the reformation into England, will serve to illustrate this important branch of her policy.

On comparing the march of this mighty revolution in our own country with its mode of progress amongst the other nations of Europe, one of the first remarks which suggests itself is, that in no other country was its course so immediately or effectually subjected to the guidance and control of the civil power.

In Switzerland, the system of Zwingle, the earliest of the reformers, had fully established itself in the hearts of his fellow-citizens before the magistracies of Zurich and its neighbouring republics thought proper to interfere. They then gave the sanction of law to the religion which had become that of the majority, but abstained from all dictation on points of which they felt themselves incompetent judges.

In Germany, the impulse originating in the daring mind of Luther, was first communicated to the universities, to the lower orders of the clergy, and through them to the people. The princes of the empire afterwards took their part as patrons or persecutors of the new opinions; but in either case they acted under the influence of ecclesiastics, and no where arrogated to themselves the character of lawgivers in matters of faith.

At Geneva, the vigor and dexterity of Calvin's measures brought the magistracy under a complete subjection to the church, of which he had made himself the head, and restricted its agency in religious concerns to the execution of such decrees as the spiritual ruler saw good to promulgate.

The system of the same reformer had recently been introduced into Scotland by the exertions of John Knox, a disciple who equalled his master in the fierceness of his bigotry, in self-opinion, and in the love of power, whilst he exceeded him in turbulence of temper and ferocity of manners: and here the independence of the church on the state, or rather its paramount legislative authority in all matters of faith, discipline and worship, was held in the loftiest terms. The opposition which this doctrine, so formed for popularity, experienced from the government in the outset, was overborne or disregarded, and it was in despite of the utmost efforts of regal authority that the new religion was established by an act of the Scottish parliament.

In England, on the contrary, the passions of Henry VIII. had prompted him to disclaim submission to the papal decrees before the spirit of the people demanded such a step,—before any apostle of reformation had arisen in the land capable of inspiring the multitude with that zeal which makes its will omnipotent, and leaves to rulers no other alternative than to comply or fall,—yet not before the attachment of men to the ancient religion was so far weakened, that the majority could witness its overthrow with patience if not with complacency.

To have timed this momentous step so fortunately for the cause of prerogative might in some princes have been esteemed the result of profound combinations,—the triumph of political sagacity; in Henry it was the pure effect of accident: but the advantages which he derived from the quiescent state of the public mind were not on this account the less real or the less important, nor did he suffer them to go unimproved. On one hand, no considerable opposition was made to his assumption of the supremacy; on the other, the spoil of the monasteries was not intercepted in its passage to the royal coffers by the more rapid movements of a populace intoxicated with fanatical rage or fired with hopes of plunder. What appeared still more extraordinary, he found it practicable, to the end of his reign, to keep the nation suspended, as to doctrine and the forms of worship, in that nice equilibrium between protestant and papist which happened best to accord with his individual views or prejudices.

Cranmer, who has a better title than any other to be revered as the father of the Anglican church, showed himself during the life of Henry the most cautious and complaisant of reformers. Aware that any rashness or precipitation on the part of the favorers of new opinions might expose them to all the fury of persecution from a prince so dogmatical and violent, he constantly refrained from every alarming appeal to the sense of the people on theological questions, and was content to proceed in his great work step by step, with a slow, uncertain, and interrupted progress, at the will of that capricious master whose vacillations of humor or opinion he watched with the patience, and improved with the skill, of a finished courtier.

Administered in so qualified and mitigated a form, the spirit of reformation exhibited in this country little of its stronger and more turbulent workings. No sect at that time arose purely and peculiarly English: our native divines did not embrace exclusively, or with vehemence, the tenets of any one of the great leaders of reform on the continent, and a kind of eclectic system became that of the Anglican church from its earliest institution.

The respective contributions to this system of the most celebrated theologians of the age may be thus stated. It was chiefly from Zwingle,—the first, in point of time, of all the reformers of the sixteenth century, and the one whose doctrine on the eucharist and on several other points diverged most widely from the tenets of the church of Rome,—that our principal opponents of popery in the reign of Henry VIII. derived their notions. Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer himself, were essentially his disciples.

By others, the system of Luther was in the whole or in part adopted. But this reformer was personally so obnoxious to Henry, on account of the disrespectful and acrimonious style of his answer to the book in which that royal polemic had formerly attacked his doctrine, that no English subject thought proper openly to profess himself his follower, or to open any direct communication with him. Thus the Confession of Augsburg, though more consonant to the notions of the English monarch than any other scheme of protestant doctrine, failed to obtain the sanction of that authority which might have rendered it predominant in this country.

A long and vehement controversy on the subject of the eucharist had been maintained between the German and Swiss divines during the later years of Henry; but at the period of Edward's accession, when Cranmer first undertook the formation of a national church according to his own ideas of gospel truth and political expediency, this dispute was in great measure appeased, and sanguine hopes were entertained that a disagreement regarded as dangerous in a high degree to the common cause of religious reform might soon be entirely reconciled.

Luther, the last survivor of the original disputants, was lately dead; and to the post which he had held in the university of Wittemberg, as well as to the station of head of the protestant church, Melancthon had succeeded. This truly excellent person, who carried into all theological debates a spirit of conciliation equally rare and admirable, was earnestly laboring at a scheme of comprehension. His laudable endeavours were met by the zealous co-operation of Calvin, who had by this time extended his influence from Geneva over most of the Helvetic congregations, and was diligent in persuading them to recede from the unambiguous plainness of Zwingle's doctrine,—which reduced the Lord's supper to a simple commemoration,—and to admit so much of a mystical though spiritual presence of Christ in that rite, as might bring them to some seeming agreement with the less rigid of the followers of the Lutheran opinion. At the same time Bucer, who presided over the flourishing church of Strasburg, was engaged in framing yet another explication of this important rite, by which he vainly hoped to accommodate the consciences of all these zealous and acute polemics.

Bucer was remarkable among the theologians of his time by a subtility in distinction resembling that of the schoolmen, and by a peculiar art of expressing himself on doctrinal points in terms so nicely balanced, and in a style of such labored intricacy, that it was scarcely possible to discover his true meaning, or pronounce to which extreme of opinion he most inclined. These dubious qualifications, by which he disgusted alternately both Calvin and the more zealous Lutherans, were however accompanied and redeemed by great learning and diligence; by a remarkable talent for public business, which rendered him eminently useful in all the various negotiations with temporal authorities, or with each other, in which the leaders of the reformation found it necessary to engage; by a mild and candid spirit, and by as much of sincerity and probity as could co-exist with the open defence of pious frauds.

The whole character of the man appeared to Cranmer admirably fitted for co-operation in the work which he had in hand. On the difficult question of the eucharist Bucer would preserve the wariness and moderation which appeared essential in the divided state of protestant opinion: on justification and good works he held a middle doctrine, which might conciliate the catholics, and was capable of being so interpreted as not greatly to offend the moderate Lutherans: on the subject of church government he had not yet committed himself, and there was little doubt that he would cheerfully submit to the natural predilection of the archbishop for prelacy. His erudition and his morals could not fail to prove serviceable and creditable to the great cause of national instruction and reformed religion. Accordingly an invitation was sent to him, in the name of the young king, to come and occupy the theological chair in the university of Cambridge; and in the year 1549 he reached England, and began to discharge with much assiduity the duties of his office.

The name and influence of Bucer became very considerable in this country, though his career was terminated by death within two years after his arrival. A public funeral, attended by all the members of the university and many other persons of eminence, attested the consideration in which he was held by Edward's ministers; the subsequent disinterment of his remains by order of cardinal Pole, for the purpose of committing his bones to the flames, gave further evidence of his merits in the protestant cause; and in the composition of our national Articles, it has been said that no hand has left more distinguishable traces of itself than that of Bucer.

From Strasburg also the university of Oxford was destined to receive a professor of divinity in the person of the celebrated Peter Martyr. This good and learned man, a Florentine by birth and during some years principal of a college of Augustines at Naples, having gradually become a convert to the doctrines of the reformers, and afterwards proceeding openly to preach them, was compelled to quit his country in order to avoid persecution. Passing into Switzerland, he was received with affectionate hospitality by the disciples of Zwingle at Zurich; and after making some abode there he repaired to Basil, whence Bucer caused him to be invited to fill the station of theological professor at Strasburg. He was also appointed the colleague of this divine in the ministry, and their connexion had subsisted about five years in perfect harmony when the offers of Cranmer induced the two friends to remove into England.

It is to be presumed that no considerable differences of opinion on points deemed by themselves essential could exist between associates so united; but a greater simplicity of character and of views, and superior boldness in the enunciation of new doctrines, strikingly distinguished the proceedings of Peter Martyr from those of his friend. With respect to church government, he, like Bucer, was willing to conform to the regulations of Cranmer and the English council; but he preached at Oxford on the eucharist with so Zwinglian a cast of sentiment, that the popish party raised a popular commotion against him, by which his life was endangered, and he was compelled for a time to withdraw from the city. Tranquillity was soon however restored by the interference of the public authority, and the council proceeded vigorously in obliterating the last vestiges of Romish superstition. Ridley throughout his own diocese now caused the altars to be removed from the churches, and communion-tables to be placed in their room; and, as if by way of comment on this alteration, Martyr and others procured a public recognition of the Genevan as a sister church, and the admission into the English service-book of the articles of faith drawn up by Calvin.

During the remainder of Edward's reign the tide of public opinion continued running with still augmenting velocity towards Geneva. Calvin took upon him openly to expostulate with Bucer on the preference of state expediency to Scripture truth, betrayed, as he asserted, by the obstinate adherence of this divine to certain doctrines and observances which savoured too much of popery; and it is probable that a still nearer approach might have been made to his simpler ritual, but for the untimely death of the zealous young king, and the total ruin of the new establishment which ensued.

Just before the persecutions of Mary drove into exile so many of the most zealous and conscientious of her protestant subjects, the discord between the Lutherans and those whom they styled Sacramentarians had burst out afresh in Germany with more fury than ever. The incendiary on this occasion was Westphal, superintendant of the Lutheran church of Hamburgh, who published a violent book on the subject of the eucharist; and through the influence of this man, and of the outrageous spirit of intolerance which his work had raised, Latimer and Ridley were stigmatized by fellow protestants as "the devil's martyrs," and the Lutheran cities drove from their gates as dangerous and detestable heretics the English refugees who fled to them for shelter. By those cities or congregations, on the contrary,—whether in Germany, France, or Switzerland,—in which the tenets either of Zwingle or Calvin were professed, these pious exiles were received with open arms, venerated as confessors, cherished as brethren in distress, and admitted with perfect confidence into the communion of the respective churches.

Treatment so opposite from the two contending parties, between which they had supposed themselves to occupy neutral ground, failed not to produce corresponding effects on the minds of the exiles. At Frankfort, where the largest body of them was assembled, and where they had formed an English congregation using king Edward's liturgy, this form of worship became the occasion of a division amongst themselves, and a strong party soon declared itself in favor of discarding all of popish forms or doctrine which the English establishment, in common with the Lutheran, had retained, and of adopting in their place the simpler creed and ritual of the Genevan church.

It was found impracticable to compromise this difference; a considerable number finally seceded from the congregation, and it was from this division at Frankfort that English nonconformity took its birth. No equally strong manifestation of opinion occurred amongst the exiles in other cities; but on the whole it may be affirmed, that the majority of these persons returned from their wanderings with their previous predilection for the Calvinistic model confirmed and augmented by the united influence of the reasonings and persuasions of its ablest apostles, and of those sentiments of love and hatred from which the speculative opinions of most men receive an irresistible though secret bias.

Their more unfortunate brethren, in the mean time, who, unwilling to resign their country, or unable to escape from it, had been compelled to look persecution in the face and deliberately acquaint themselves with all its horrors, were undergoing other and in some respects opposite influences.

An overpowering dread and abhorrence of the doctrines of the church of Rome must so have absorbed all other thoughts and feelings in the minds of this dispersed and affrighted remnant of the English church, as to leave them little attention to bestow upon the comparatively trifling objects of dispute between protestant and protestant. They might even be disposed to regard such squabbles with emotions of indignation and disgust, and to ask how brethren in affliction could have the heart to nourish animosities against each other. The memory of Edward VI. was deservedly dear to them, and they would contemplate the restoration of his ritual by the successor of Mary as an event in which they ought to regard all their prayers as fulfilled:—yet the practice, forced upon them by the vigilance of persecution, of holding their assemblies for divine worship in places unconsecrated, with the omission of every customary ceremonial and under the guidance frequently of men whom zeal and piety alone had ordained to the office of teachers and ministers of religion, must amongst them also have been producing a secret alienation from established forms and rituals, and a propensity to those extemporaneous effusions of devotion, or urgencies of supplication, which seem best adapted to satisfy the wants of the pious soul under the fiery trial of persecution and distress. The Calvinistic model therefore, as the freest of all, and that which most industriously avoided any resemblance of popish forms, might be the one most likely to obtain their suffrage also.

Such being the state of religious opinion in England at the accession of Elizabeth, it will not appear wonderful that the Genevan reformer should have begun to indulge the flattering expectation of seeing his own scheme established in England as in Scotland, and himself revered throughout the island as a spiritual director from whose decisions there could be no appeal. Emboldened at once by zeal and ambition, he hastened to open a communication with the new government, in the shape of an exhortation to the queen to call a protestant council for establishing uniformity of doctrine and of church government; but his dream of supremacy was quickly dissipated on receiving for answer, that England was determined to preserve her episcopacy.

This decisive rejection of the presbyterian form was followed up by other acts on the part of the queen which gave offence to all the real friends of reformed religion, and went far to prove that Elizabeth was at heart little more of a protestant than her father. The general prohibition of preaching, which was strictly enforced during the first months of her reign, was understood as a measure of repression levelled full as much against the indiscreet zeal of the returned exiles, as against the disaffection of the catholics. An order that until the next meeting of parliament no change should be made in the order of worship established by the late queen, except the reading of the creed and commandments in English, implied, at least, a determination in the civil power to take the management of religion entirely out of the hands of a clergy whose influence over the minds of the people it viewed with a jealous eye. It was soon also discovered, to the increasing horror of all true protestants, that the queen was strongly disposed to insist on the celibacy of the clergy; and even when the strenuous efforts of Cecil and others had brought her to yield with reluctance this capital point, she still pertinaciously refused to authorize their marrying by an express law. She would not even declare valid the marriages contracted by them during the reign of her brother; so that it became necessary to procure private bills of legitimation in behalf of the offspring of these unions, though formed under the express sanction of then existing laws. The son of Cranmer himself, and the son of archbishop Parker, were of the number of those who found it necessary to resort to this disagreeable and degrading expedient.

Other things which offended the reformists were, the queen's predilection, already mentioned, for crucifixes, which she did not cause to be removed from the churches till after considerable delay and difficulty, and retained in her private chapel for many years longer,—and her wish to continue the use of altars. This being regarded as a dangerous compliance with the Romish doctrine, since an altar  could only suit with the notion of a sacrifice  of Christ in the mass, earnest expostulations on the subject were addressed to her by several of the leading divines; and in the end the queen found it expedient, with whatever reluctance, to ordain the substitution of communion-tables.

She was also bent upon retaining in the church of which she was the head the use of vestments similar to those worn by the different orders of popish priests in the celebration of the various offices of their religion. A very natural association of ideas caused the protestant clergy to regard with suspicion and abhorrence such an approximation in externals to that worship which was in their eyes the abomination of idolatry; and several of the returned exiles, to whom bishoprics were now offered, scrupled to accept of them under the obligation of wearing the appointed habits. Repeated and earnest representations were made to the queen against them, but she remained inflexible. In this dilemma, the divines requested the advice of Peter Martyr, who had quitted England on the accession of Mary and was now professor of theology at Zurich. He persuaded compliance, representing to them that it was better that high offices in the church should be occupied by persons like themselves, though with the condition of submitting to some things which they did not approve, than that such posts should be given to Lutherans or concealed catholics, who, instead of promoting any further reformation, would labor continually to bring back more and more of the ancient ceremonies and superstitions. This argument was deemed conclusive, and the bishoprics were accepted. But such a plea, though it might suffice certain men for a time, could not long satisfy universally; and we shall soon have occasion to take notice of scruples on this point, as the source of the first intestine divisions by which the Anglican church was disturbed, and of the first persecutions of her own children by which she disgraced herself.

On the whole, it must be admitted that the personal conduct of Elizabeth in this momentous business exhibited neither enlargement of mind nor elevation of soul. Considerably attached to ceremonial observances, and superior to none of the superstitions which she might have imbibed in her childhood, she was however more attached to her own power and authority than to these. Little under the influence of any individual amongst her clergy, and somewhat inclined to treat that order in general with harshness, if not cruelty,—as in the article of their marriages, in the unmitigated rigor with which she exacted from them her first fruits, and in the rapacity which she permitted her courtiers to exercise upon the temporalities of the bishoprics,—the only view which she took of the subject was that of the sovereign and the politician. Aware on one hand of the manner in which her title to the crown was connected with the renunciation of papal authority, of the irreconcileable enmity borne her by the catholic powers, and of the general attachment of her subjects to the cause of the reformation, she felt herself called upon to assume the protection of the protestant interest of Europe, and to re-establish that worship in her own dominions. On the other hand, she remarked with secret dread and aversion the popular spirit and republican tendency of the institutions of Calvin, and she resolved at all hazards to check the growth of his opinions in England. Accordingly, it was the scope of every alteration made by her in the service-book of Edward, to give it more of a Lutheran aspect, and it was for some time apprehended that she would cause the entire Confession of Augsburg to be received into it.

Of toleration, of the rights of conscience, she had as little feeling or understanding as any prince or polemic of her age. Her establishment was formed throughout in the spirit of compromise and political expediency; she took no pains to ascertain, either by the assembling of a national synod or by the submission of the articles to free discussion in parliament, whether or not they were likely to prove agreeable to the opinions of the majority; it sufficed that she had decreed their reception, and she prepared, by means of penal statutes strictly executed, to prevent the propagation of any doctrines, or the observance of any rites, capable of interfering with the exact uniformity in religion then regarded as essential to the peace and stability of every well constituted state.

To Cecil her chief secretary of state and to Nicholas Bacon her keeper of the seals, assisted by a select number of divines, the management of this great affair was chiefly intrusted by the queen: and much might be said of the sagacity displayed by her in this appointment, and of the wisdom and moderation exercised by them in the discharge of their office; much also might be, much has been said, of the excellencies of the form of worship by them established;—but little, alas! of moral or of religious merit can be awarded by the verdict of impartial history to the motives or conduct of the heroine of protestantism in a transaction so momentous and so memorable.

Three acts of the parliament of 1559 gave the sanction of law to the new ecclesiastical establishment; they were those of Supremacy, of Uniformity, and a third empowering the queen to appoint bishops. By the first, the authority of the pope was solemnly renounced, and the whole government of the church vested in the queen, her heirs and successors; and an important clause further enabled her and them to delegate their authority to commissioners of their own appointment, who amongst other extraordinary powers were to be invested with the cognisance of all errors and heresies whatsoever. On this foundation was erected the famous High Commission Court, which grew into one of the principal grievances of this and the two following reigns, and of which, from the moment of its formation, the proceedings assumed a character of arbitrary violence utterly incompatible with the security and happiness of the subject, and hostile to the whole tenor of the ancient charters.

The act of Uniformity ordained an exact compliance in all points with the established form of worship and a punctual attendance on its offices; it also rendered highly penal the exercise, public or private, of any other; and of this law it was not long before several unfortunate catholics were doomed to experience the utmost rigor.

Many parish priests who had been open and violent papists in the last reign, permitted themselves to take the oath of supremacy and retain their cures under the new order of things, a kind of compliance with the times which the court of Rome is said sometimes to have permitted, sometimes even to have privately enjoined,—on the principle of Peter Martyr, that it was better that its secret adherents should continue to occupy the churches, on whatever conditions, than that they should be surrendered entirely into the hands of an opposite party. The bishops, on the contrary, considered themselves as called upon by the dignity of their character and office to bear a public testimony against the defection of England from the holy see; and those of them who had not previously been deprived on other grounds, now in a body refused the oaths and submitted themselves to the consequences. All were deprived, a few imprisoned, several committed to honorable custody. The policy of Elizabeth, unlike the genuine bigotry of her sister, contented itself with a kind of negative intolerance; and as long as the degraded bishops abstained from all manifestations, by words or deeds, of hostility against her government and ecclesiastical establishment, and all celebration of the peculiar rites of their religion, they were secure from molestation; and never to them, as to their unfortunate protestant predecessors, were articles of religion offered for signature under the fearful alternative of compliance or martyrdom.

To supply the vacancies of the episcopal bench became one of the earliest cares of the queen and her ministers; and their choice, which fell on the most eminent of the confessors and exiles, was generally approved by the nation.

Dr. Parker, formerly her mother's chaplain and the religious instructor of her own childhood, was designated by Elizabeth for the primacy. This eminent divine had likewise been one of the chaplains of Edward VI., and enjoyed under his reign considerable church preferments. He had been the friend of Cranmer, Bucer, Latimer, and Ridley; of Cook, Cheke, and Cecil; and was the ardent coadjutor of these meritorious public characters in the promotion of reformed religion, and the advancement of general learning,—two grand objects, which were regarded by them as inseparable and almost identical.

On the accession of Mary, being stripped of all his benefices as a married priest, Parker with his family was reduced to poverty and distress; and it was only by a careful concealment of his person, by frequent changes of place, and in some instances by the timely advertisements of watchful friends, that he was enabled to avoid a still severer trial of his constancy. During this period of distress he found support and solace from the pious task of translating into English metre the whole of the Psalms. The version still exists in manuscript, and is executed with some spirit, and not inelegantly, in the old measure of fourteen syllables.

Parker's "Nolo episcopari " is supposed to have been more than ordinarily sincere: in fact, the station of metropolitan must at this juncture have been felt as one of considerable difficulty, perhaps even of danger; and the stormy temper of the queen afterwards prepared for the prelate so much of contradiction and humiliation as caused him more than once to bewail his final acceptance of the highest dignity of the English church.

With all her personal regard for the primate, Elizabeth could not always refrain in his presence from reflections against married priests, which gave him great pain.

During a progress which she made in 1561 into Essex and Suffolk, she expressed high displeasure at finding so many of the clergy married, and the cathedrals and colleges so filled with women and children; and in consequence she addressed to the archbishop a royal injunction, "that no head or member of any college or cathedral should bring a wife or any other woman into the precincts of it, to abide in the same, on pain of forfeiture of all ecclesiastical promotion." Parker regarded it as his duty to remonstrate with her in person against so popish a prohibition; on which, after declaring to him that she repented of having made any married bishops, she went on to treat the institution of matrimony itself with a satire and contempt which filled him with horror.

It was to his wife that her majesty, in returning acknowledgements for the magnificent hospitality with which she had been received at the archiepiscopal palace, made use of the well-known ungracious address; "Madam I may not call you, mistress I am ashamed to call you, and so I know not what to call you; but howsoever I thank you."

But these fits of ill-humor were transient; for Parker learned the art of dispelling them by submissions, or soothing them by the frequent and respectful tender of splendid entertainments and costly gifts. He did not long remain insensible to the charms of rank and fortune; and it must not be concealed that an inordinate love of power, and a haughty intolerance of all opposition, gradually superseded that candor and Christian meekness of which he had formerly been cited as an edifying example. Against that sect amongst the clergy who refused to adopt the appointed habits and scrupled some of the ceremonies, soon after distinguished by the appellation of Puritans, he exercised his authority with unsparing rigor; and even stretched it by degrees so far beyond all legal bounds, that the queen herself, little as she was inclined to tolerate this sect or to resent any arbitrary conduct in her commissioners, was moved at length to interpose and reverse some of his proceedings. The archbishop, now become incapable of yielding his own will even to that of his sovereign, complained and remonstrated instead of submitting: reproaches ensued on the part of Elizabeth; and in May 1575 the learned prelate ended in a kind of disgrace the career which he had long pursued amid the warmest testimonies of royal approbation.

The fairest, at least the most undisputed, claim of this eminent prelate to the gratitude of his contemporaries and the respect of posterity, is founded on the character which his high station enabled him to assume and maintain, of the most munificent patron of letters of his age and country. The study which he particularly encouraged, and to which his own leisure was almost exclusively devoted, was that of English antiquities; and he formed and presented to Corpus Christi college a large and valuable collection of the manuscripts relative to these objects which had been scattered abroad at the dissolution of the monasteries, and must have been irretrievably lost but for his diligence in inquiring after them and the liberality with which he rewarded their discovery. He edited four of our monkish historians; was the first publisher of that interesting specimen of early English satire and versification, Pierce Plowman's Visions; composed a history in Latin of his predecessors in the see of Canterbury, and encouraged the labors of many private scholars by acts of generosity and kindness.

Grindal, a divine of eminence, who during his voluntary exile at Frankfort had taken a strong part in favor of king Edward's Service-book, was named as the successor of Bonner in the bishopric of London; but a considerable time was spent in overcoming his objections to the habits and ceremonies, before he could be prevailed upon to assume a charge of which he deeply felt the importance and responsibility.

To the reputation of learning and piety which this prelate enjoyed in common with so many of his clerical contemporaries, he added an extraordinary earnestness in the promotion of Christian knowledge, and a courageous inflexibility on points of professional duty, imitated by few and excelled by none. His manly spirit disdained that slavish obsequiousness by which too many of his episcopal brethren paid homage to the narrow prejudices and state-jealousies of an imperious mistress, and it soon became evident that strife and opposition awaited him.

His first difference was with archbishop Parker, whom he highly offended by his backwardness in proceeding to extremities against the puritans, a sect many of whose scruples Grindal himself had formerly entertained, and was still inclined to view with respect or pity rather than with indignation. Cecil, who was his chief friend and patron, apprehensive of his involving himself in trouble, gladly seized an occasion of withdrawing him from the contest, by procuring his appointment in 1570 to the vacant archbishopric of York; a hitherto neglected province, in which his efforts for the instruction of the people and the reformation of the state of the church were peculiarly required and eminently successful.

For his own repose, Grindal ought never to have quitted this sphere of unmolested usefulness; but when, on the death of Parker in 1575, the primacy was offered to him, ambition, or perhaps the hope of rendering his plans more extensively beneficial, unfortunately prompted its acceptance. Thus was he brought once more within the uncongenial atmosphere of a court, and subjected to the immediate control of his sovereign in matters on which he regarded it as a duty, on the double ground of conscience and the rights of his office, to resist the fiat of a temporal head of the church.

The queen, whose dread and hatred of the puritans augmented with the severities which she exercised against them, had conceived a violent aversion to certain meetings called prophesyings, at this time held by the clergy for the purpose of exercising their younger members in expounding the Scriptures, and at which the laity had begun to attend as auditors in great numbers and with much interest. Such assemblies, her majesty declared, were nothing else than so many schools of puritanism, where the people learned to be so inquisitive that their spiritual superiors would soon lose all influence over them, and she issued positive commands to Grindal for their suppression. At the same time she expressed to him her extreme displeasure at the number of preachers licensed in his province, and required that it should be very considerably lessened, "urging that it was good for the world to have few preachers, that three or four might suffice for a county; and that the reading of the homilies to the people was enough." But the venerable primate, so far from consenting to abridge the means of that religious instruction which he regarded it as the most sacred duty of a protestant church to afford, took the freedom of addressing to her majesty a very plain and earnest letter of expostulation. In this piece, after showing the great necessity which existed for multiplying, rather than diminishing, opportunities of edification both to the clergy and the people, and protesting that he could not in conscience be instrumental to the suppression either of preaching or prophesyings, he proceeded to remonstrate with her majesty on the arbitrary, imperious, and as it were papal manner, in which she took upon herself to decide points better left to the management of her bishops. He ended by exhorting her to remember that she also was a mortal creature, and accountable to God for the exercise of her power, and that she ought above all things to be desirous of employing it piously for the promotion of true religion.

The event showed this remonstrance to be rather well-intended than well-judged. Indignation was the only sentiment which it awakened in the haughty mind of Elizabeth, and she answered it by an order of the Star-chamber, in virtue of which the archbishop was suspended from his functions for six months, and confined during the same period to his house. At the end of this time he was urged by Burleigh to acknowledge himself in fault and beg the queen's forgiveness but he steadily refused to compromise thus a good cause, and his sequestration was continued. It even appears that nothing but the honest indignation of some of her ministers and courtiers restrained the queen from proceeding to deprive him.

At the end of four or five years, her anger being somewhat abated, it pleased her to take off the sequestration, but without restoring the primate to her favor; and as he was now old and blind, he willingly consented to resign the primacy and retire on a pension: but in 1583, before the matter could be finally arranged, he died.

Archbishop Grindal was a great contributor to Fox's "Acts and Monuments," for which he collected many materials; but he was the author of no considerable work, and on the whole he seems to have been less admirable by the display of any extraordinary talents than revered and exemplary for the primitive virtues of probity, sincerity, and godly zeal. These were the qualities which obtained for him the celebration of Spenser in his "Shepherd's Calendar," where he is designated by the name of Algrind, and described as a true teacher of the Gospel and a severe reprover of the pride and worldliness of the popish clergy. The lines were written during the period of the prelate's disgrace, which is allegorically related and bewailed by the poet.

Another distinguished ornament of the episcopal bench was Jewel, consecrated to the see of Salisbury in 1560. It is remarkable that this learned apologist of the church of England had expressed at first a stronger repugnance to the habits than most of his colleagues; but having once brought himself to compliance, he thenceforth became noted for the rigor with which he exacted it of others.

In the time of Henry VIII. Jewel had become suspected of opinions which he openly embraced on the accession of Edward, and he was sufficiently distinguished amongst the reformers of this reign to be marked out as one of the first objects of persecution under Mary. As a preliminary step, on which proceedings might be founded, the Romish articles were offered for his signature, when he disappointed alike his enemies and his friends by subscribing them without apparent reluctance. But his insincerity in this act was notorious, and it was in contemplation to subject him to the fierce interrogatories of Bonner, when timely warning enabled him, through many perils, to escape out of the country. Safe arrived at Frankfort, he made a public confession, before the English congregation, of his guilt in signing articles which his conscience abhorred, and humbly entreated forgiveness of God and the church. After this, he repaired to Strasburgh and passed away the time with his friend Peter Martyr.

The erudition of Jewel was profound and extensive, his private life amiable, his performance of his episcopal duties sedulous; and such was the esteem in which his celebrated "Apology" was held, that Elizabeth, and afterwards James I., ordained that a copy of it should be kept in every parish-church in England.

Of Dr. Cox, elevated to the see of Ely, mention has already been made; and it would be superfluous here to enter more largely into the ecclesiastical history of the reign.

A careful consideration of the behaviour of Elizabeth towards the two successive primates Parker and Grindal, will furnish a sufficiently accurate notion of the spirit of her religious policy, besides affording a valuable addition to the characteristic traits illustrative of her temper and opinions.

1571 TO 1573.

Notice of sir T. Gresham.—Building of his exchange.—The queen's visit to it.—Cecil created lord Burleigh and lord-treasurer.—Justs at Westminster.—Notices of the earl of Oxford, Charles Howard, sir H. Lee, sir Chr. Hatton.—Fresh negotiations for the marriage of Elizabeth with the duke of Anjou.—Renewal of the intrigues of Norfolk.—His re-committal, trial, and conviction.—Death of Throgmorton.—Sonnet by Elizabeth.—Norfolk beheaded.—His character and descendants.—Hostility of Spain.—Wylson's translation of Demosthenes.—Walsingham ambassador to France.—Treaty with that country.—Massacre of Paris.—Temporizing conduct of Elizabeth.—Burleigh's calculation of the queen's nativity.—Notice of Philip Sidney.

F rom  the intrigues and violences of crafty politicians and discontented nobles, we shall now turn to trace the prosperous and honorable career of a private English merchant, whose abilities and integrity introduced him to the notice of his sovereign, and whose patriotic munificence still preserves to him the respectful remembrance of posterity. This merchant was Thomas Gresham. Born of a family at once enlightened, wealthy and commercial, he had shared the advantage of an education at the university of Cambridge previously to his entrance on the walk of life to which he was destined, and which, fortunately for himself, his superior acquirements did not tempt him to desert or to despise.

His father, sir Richard Gresham, had been agent to Henry VIII. for the negotiation of loans with the merchants of Antwerp, and in 1552 he himself was nominated to act in a similar capacity to Edward VI., when he was eminently serviceable in redeeming the credit of the king, sunk to the lowest ebb by the mismanagement of his father's immediate successor in the agency. Under Elizabeth he enjoyed the same appointment, to which was added that of queen's merchant; and it appears by the official letters of the time, that political as well as pecuniary affairs were often intrusted to his discreet and able management. He was also a spirited promoter of the infant manufactures of his country, several of which owed to him their first establishment. By his diligence and commercial talents he at length rendered himself the most opulent subject in the kingdom, and the queen showed her sense of his merit and consequence by bestowing on him the honor of knighthood.

Gresham had always made a liberal and patriotic use of his wealth; but after the death of his only son, in 1564, he formed the resolution of making his country his principal heir. The merchants of London had hitherto been unprovided with any building in the nature of a burse or exchange, such as Gresham had seen in the great commercial cities of Flanders; and he now munificently offered, if the city would give him a piece of ground, to build them one at his own expense. The edifice was begun accordingly in 1566, and finished within three years. It was a quadrangle of brick, with walks on the ground floor for the merchants, (who now ceased to transact their business in the middle aisle of St. Paul's cathedral,) with vaults for warehouses beneath and a range of shops above, from the rent of which the proprietor sought some remuneration for his great charges. But the shops did not immediately find occupants; and it seems to have been partly with the view of bringing them into vogue that the queen promised her countenance to the undertaking. In January 1571, attended by a splendid train, she entered the city; and after dining with sir Thomas at his spacious mansion in Bishopsgate-street (still remaining), she repaired to the burse, visited every part of it, and caused proclamation to be made by sound of trumpet that henceforth it should bear the name of the Royal Exchange. Gresham offered the shops rent-free for a year to such as would furnish them with wares and wax lights against the coming of the queen; and a most sumptuous display was made of the richest commodities and manufactures of every quarter of the globe.

Afterwards the shops of the exchange became the favorite resort of fashionable customers of both sexes: much money was squandered here, and, if we are to trust the representations of satirists and comic writers,many reputations lost. The building was destroyed in the fire of London; and the divines of that day, according to their custom, pronounced this catastrophe a judgement on the avarice and unfair dealing of the merchants and shopkeepers, and the pride, prodigality and luxury of the purchasers and idlers by whom it was frequented and maintained.

Elizabeth soon after paid homage to merit in another form, by conferring on her invaluable servant Cecil,—whose wisdom, firmness and vigilance had most contributed to preserve her unhurt amid the machinations of her implacable enemies,—the dignity of baron of Burleigh; an elevation which might provoke the envy or resentment of some of the courtiers his opponents, but which was hailed by the applauses of the people.

Before the close of the year, the death, at a great but not venerable age, of that corrupt and selfish statesman the marquis of Winchester, afforded her an opportunity of apportioning to the new dignity of her secretary a suitable advance in office and emolument, by conferring on him the post of lord-high-treasurer, which he continued to enjoy to the end of his life.

On the first of May and the two following days solemn justs were held before the queen at Westminster; in which the challengers were the earl of Oxford, Charles Howard, sir Henry Lee and sir Christopher Hatton,—all four deserving of biographical commemoration.

Edward earl of Oxford was the seventeenth of the illustrious family of Vere who had borne that title, and his character presented an extraordinary union of the haughtiness, violence and impetuosity of the feudal baron, with many of the elegant propensities and mental accomplishments which adorn the nobleman of a happier age. It was probably to his travels in Italy that he owed his more refined tastes both in literature and in luxury, and it was thence that he brought those perfumed and embroidered gloves which he was the first to introduce into England. A superb pair which he presented to her majesty were so much approved by her, that she sat for her portrait with them on her hands. These gloves became of course highly fashionable, but those prepared in Spain were soon found to excel in scent all others; and the importance attached to this discovery may be estimated by the following commission given by sir Nicholas Throgmorton, then in France, to sir Thomas Chaloner ambassador in Spain:—"I pray you, good my lord ambassador, send me two pair of perfumed gloves, perfumed with orange-flowers and jasmin, the one for my wife's hand, the other for mine own; and wherein soever I can pleasure you with any thing in this country, you shall have it in recompense thereof, or else so much money as they shall cost you; provided always that they be of the best choice, wherein your judgement is inferior to none [72]."

The earl of Oxford enjoyed in his own times a high poetical reputation; but his once celebrated comedies have perished, and two or three fugitive pieces inserted in collections are the only legacy bequeathed to posterity by his muse. Of these, "The complaint of a lover wearing black and tawny" has ceased, in the change of manners and fashions, to interest or affect the reader. "Fancy and Desire" may still lay claim to the praise of ingenuity, though the idea is perhaps not original even here, and has since been exhibited with very considerable improvements both in French and English, especially in Ben Jonson's celebrated song, "Tell me where was Fancy bred?" Two or three stanzas may bear quotation.

"Where wert thou born Desire?"
"In pomp and pride of May."
"By whom sweet boy wert thou begot?"
"By Fond Conceit men say."

"Tell me who was thy nurse?"
"Fresh Youth in sugred joy."
"What was thy meat and daily food?"
"Sad sighs with great annoy."

"What had'st thou then to drink?"
"Unsavoury lovers' tears."
"What cradle wert thou rocked in?"
"In hope devoid of fears." &c.

In the chivalrous exercises of the tilt and tournament the earl of Oxford had few superiors: he was victor in the justs both of this year and of the year 1580, and on the latter occasion he was led by two ladies into the presence-chamber, all armed as he was, to receive a prize from her majesty's own hand. Afterwards, by gross misconduct, he incurred from his sovereign a disgrace equally marked and public, being committed to the Tower for an attempt on one of her maids of honor. On other occasions his lawless propensities broke out with a violence which Elizabeth herself was scarcely able to restrain.

He had openly begun to muster his friends, retainers and servants, to take vengeance on sir Thomas Knevet, by whom he had been wounded in a duel; and the queen, who interfered to prevent the execution of this savage design, was obliged for some time to appoint Knevet a guard in order to secure his life. He also publicly insulted sir Philip Sidney in the tennis-court of the palace; and her majesty could discover no other means of preventing fatal consequences than compelling sir Philip Sidney, as the inferior in rank, to compromise the quarrel on terms which he regarded as so inequitable and degrading, that after transmitting to her majesty a spirited remonstrance against encouraging the insolence of the great nobles, he retired to Penshurst in disgust. The duke of Norfolk was the nephew of this earl of Oxford, who was very strongly attached to him, and used the utmost urgency of entreaty with Burleigh, whose daughter he had married, to prevail on him to procure his pardon: "but not succeeding," says lord Orford, "he was so incensed against that minister, that in most absurd and unjust revenge (though the cause was amiable) he swore he would do all he could to ruin his daughter; and accordingly not only forsook her bed, but sold and consumed great part of the vast inheritance descended to him from his ancestors [73]."

This remarkable person died very aged early in the reign of James I.

Sir Charles Howard, eldest son of lord Howard of Effingham, was at this period of his life chiefly remarkable for the uncommon beauty of his person,—a species of merit never overlooked by her majesty,—for grace and agility in his exercises, and for the manners of an accomplished courtier. At no time was he regarded as a person of profound judgement, and of vanity and self-consequence he is said to have possessed an abundant share. He was however brave, courteous, liberal, and diligent in affairs; and the favor of the queen admitted him in 1585 to succeed his father in the office of lord-high-admiral. His intrepid bearing, in the year 1588, encouraged his sailors to meet the terrible Armada with stout hearts and cheerful countenances, and the glory of its defeat was as much his own as the participation of winds and waves would allow. In consideration of this distinguished piece of service he was created earl of Nottingham; and the queen's partiality towards her relations increasing with her years, he became towards the end of the reign one of the most considerable persons at her court, where his hostility to Essex grew equally notorious with the better grounded antipathy entertained by Sussex, also a royal kinsman, against Leicester, the earlier favorite of her majesty.

The earl of Nottingham survived to the year 1624, the 88th of his age.

Sir Henry Lee was one of the finest courtiers and certainly the most complete knight-errant of his time. He was now in the fortieth year of his age, had travelled, and had seen some military service; but the tilt-yard was ever the scene of his most conspicuous exploits and those in which he placed his highest glory. He had declared himself the queen's own knight and champion, and having inscribed upon his shield the constellation of Ariadne's Crown, culminant in her majesty's nativity, bound himself by a solemn vow to appear armed in the tilt-yard on every anniversary of her happy accession till disabled by age. This vow gave origin to the annual exercises of the Knights-Tilters, a society consisting of twenty-five of the most gallant and favored of the courtiers of Elizabeth. The modern reader may wonder to find included in this number so grave an officer as Bromley lord chancellor; but under the maiden reign neither the deepest statesman, the most studious lawyer, nor the rudest soldier was exempted from the humiliating obligation of accepting, and even soliciting, those household and menial offices usually discharged by mere courtiers, nor from the irksome one of assuming, for the sake of their sovereign lady, the romantic disguise of armed champions and enamoured knights. Sir Henry Lee, however, appears to have devoted his life to these chivalrous pageantries rather from a quixotical imagination than with any serious views of ambition or interest. He was a gentleman of ancient family and plentiful fortune, little connected, as far as appears, with any court faction or political, party, and neither capable nor ambitious of any public station of importance. It is an amiable and generous trait of his character, that he attended the unfortunate duke of Norfolk even to the scaffold, received his last embrace, and repeated to the assembled multitude his request that they would assist him with their prayers in his final agony. His royal Dulcinea rewarded his fatigues and his adoration by the lieutenancy of Woodstock manor, the office of keeper of the armoury, and especially by the appropriate meed of admission into the most noble order of the Garter. He resigned the championship at the approach of old age with a solemn ceremony hereafter to be described, died at his mansion of Quarendon in Bucks, in 1611, in his 81st year, and was interred in the parish church under a splendid tomb hung round with military trophies, and inscribed with a very long, very quaint and very tumid epitaph.

Christopher Hatton, the last of this undaunted band of challengers, was a new competitor for the smiles of royalty, and bright was the dawn of fortune and of favor which already broke upon him. He was of a decayed family of Northamptonshire gentry, and had just commenced the study of the law at one of the inns of court, when hope or curiosity stimulated him to gain admittance at some court-festival, where he had an opportunity of dancing before the queen in a mask. His figure and his performance so captivated her fancy, that she immediately bestowed upon him some flattering marks of attention, which encouraged him to quit his profession and turn courtier.

This showy outside and these gay accomplishments were unexpectedly found in union with a moderate and cautious temper, enlightened views, and a solid understanding; and after due deliberation, Elizabeth, that penetrating judge of men, decided, in spite of ridicule, that she could not do better than make this superlatively-excellent dancer of galliards her lord-chancellor.

The enemies of Hatton are said to have promoted this appointment in expectation of his disgracing himself by ignorance and incapacity; but their malice was disappointed; whatever he did not know, he was able to learn and willing to be taught; he discharged the duties of his high office with prudence first and afterwards with ability, and died in 1591 in possession of it and of the public esteem. It is remarkable, considering the general predilection of the queen in favor of celibacy, that Hatton was the only one of her ministers who lived and died a bachelor.

Early in this year the king of France married a daughter of the emperor Maximilian; and Elizabeth, desirous at this time of being on the best terms both with the French and Imperial courts, sent lord Buckhurst to Paris on a splendid embassy of congratulation.

Catherine de' Medici took this opportunity of renewing proposals of marriage to the queen of England on the part of her son the duke of Anjou, and they were listened to with an apparent complacency which perplexed the politicians. It is certainly to this negotiation, and to the intrigues of the duke of Norfolk and other nobles with the queen of Scots, that Shakespear alludes in the following ingenious and exquisite passage.

..."Once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a Mermaid  on a Dolphin 's back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's music.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
That very time I saw, but thou could'st not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all-arm'd: a certain aim he took
At a fair Vestal throned by the West,
And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watry moon,
And the Imperial Votress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free."

Midsummer Night's Dream.

Unfortunately for himself, the duke of Norfolk had not acquired, even from the severe admonition of a long imprisonment, resolution sufficient to turn a deaf ear to the enchantments of this syren. His situation was indeed perplexing: He had entered into the most serious engagements with his sovereign to abstain from all further intercourse with the queen of Scots: at the same time the right of Elizabeth to interdict him an alliance so flattering to his vanity might plausibly be questioned, and the previous interchange between himself and Mary of solemn promises of marriage, seemed to have brought him under obligations to her too sacred to be dissolved by any subsequent stipulation of his, though one to which Mary herself had been compelled to become a party. Neither had chivalrous ideas by any means lost their force in this age; and as a knight and a gentleman the duke must have esteemed himself bound in honor to procure the release of the captive princess, and to claim through all perils the fair hand which had been plighted to him. Impressed by such sentiments, he returned to a letter of eloquent complaint which she found means to convey to him, an answer filled with assurances of his inviolable constancy; and the intrigues of the party were soon renewed with as much activity as ever.

But the vigilance of the ministry of Elizabeth could not long be eluded. An important packet of letters written by Ridolfi, a Florentine who had been sent abroad by the party to confer with the pope and with the duke of Alva, was intercepted; and in consequence of the plots thus unfolded, the bishop of Ross, who bore the character of Mary's ambassador in England, was given into private custody. Soon after, a servant of the duke's, intrusted by him with the conveyance of a sum of money from the French ambassador to Mary's adherents in Scotland, carried the parcel containing it to the secretary of state. The duke's secretary was then sent for and examined. This man, who was probably in the pay of government, not only confessed with readiness all that he knew, but produced some letters from the queen of Scots which his lord had commanded him to burn after decyphering them. Other concurring indications of the duke's guilt appearing, he was recommitted to the Tower in September 1571.

After various consultations of civilians on the extent of an ambassador's privilege, and the title which the agent of a deposed sovereign might have to avail himself of that sacred character, it was determined that the laws of nations did not protect the bishop of Ross, and he was carried to the Tower, where, in fear of death, he made full confession of all his machinations against the person and state of Elizabeth. In the most guilty parts of these designs he affirmed that the duke had constantly refused his concurrence;—and in fact, weak and infatuated as he was, the agents of Mary seem to have found it impracticable, by all their artifices, to bring this unfortunate nobleman entirely to forget that he was a protestant and an Englishman. He would never consent directly to procure the death or dethronement of Elizabeth; though it must have been perfectly evident to any man of clear and unbiassed judgement, that, under all the circumstances, the accomplishment of his wishes could by no other means be attained.

This affair was regarded in so very serious a light, that the queen thought it necessary, before the duke was put on his trial, to lay all the circumstances of his case before the court of France; and the parliament, which was again assembled after an interval of five years, passed some new laws for the protection of the queen's person from the imminent perils by which they saw her environed.

The illustrious prisoner was now brought before the tribunal of his brother-peers; and a perfectly fair and regular trial, according to the practices of that age, was accorded him. Whatever his intentions might have been, his actions appear to have come clearly within the limits of treason; and the earl of Shrewsbury, as lord-high-steward for the day, pronounced upon him, with tears, a verdict of Guilty. But the queen hesitated or deferred, from clemency or caution, to sign his death warrant, and he was remanded to the Tower under some uncertainty whether or not the last rigor of the offended laws awaited him.

The name of sir Nicholas Throgmorton was so mixed up in the confessions of the bishop of Ross, that it was perhaps an indulgent fate which had removed him some months previously from the sphere of human action. He died at the house of the earl of Leicester, and certainly of a pleurisy; but the malevolent credulity of that age seldom allowed a person of any eminence to quit the world without imputing the occurrence in some manner, direct or indirect, to the malice of his enemies. It was rumored that Throgmorton had fallen a victim to the hostility of Leicester, which he was thought to have provoked by quitting the party of the earl to reconcile himself with Burleigh, his secret enemy; and the suspicion of proficiency in the art of poisoning, which had so long rested upon the favorite, obtained credit to this absurd report. Possibly there might be more truth in the general opinion, that it was in some measure owing to the enmity of Burleigh that a person of such acknowledged abilities in public affairs, and one who had conducted himself so skilfully in various important negotiations, should never have been advanced to any considerable office of trust or profit. But the lofty and somewhat turbulent spirit of Throgmorton himself, ought probably to bear the chief blame both of this enmity, and of his want of success at the court of a princess who exacted from her servants the exercise of the most refined and cautious policy, as well as an entire and implicit submission to all her views and wishes. It is highly probable that she never entirely pardoned Throgmorton for giving the lie to her declarations respecting the promises made to the earl of Murray and his party, by the open production of his own diplomatic instructions.

The hostility of Leicester extended, as we shall see hereafter, to other branches of the unfortunate family of Throgmorton, whom an imprudent or criminal zeal in the cause of popery exposed without defence to the whole weight of his vengeance. On some slight pretext he procured the dismissal of sir John Throgmorton, the brother of sir Nicholas; from his office of chief justice of Chester, who did not long survive the disgrace though apparently unmerited. Puttenham, author of the "Art of English Poesie," ventured, though a professed courtier, to compose an epitaph on this victim of oppression, of which he has preserved to us the following lines in the work above mentioned:

"Whom Virtue reared Envy hath overthrown,
And lodged full low under this marble stone:
Ne never were his values so well known
Whilst he lived here, as now that he is gone.

No sun by day that ever saw him rest
Free from the toils of his so busy charge,
No night that harboured rancour in his breast,
Nor merry mood made Reason run at large.

His head a source of gravity and sense,
His memory a shop of civil art:
His tongue a stream of sugred eloquence,
Wisdom and meekness lay mingled in his heart." &c.

The literary propensities of Elizabeth have already come under our notice: they had frequently served to divert her mind from the cares of government; but in the state of unremitted anxiety occasioned by her dread of the machinations relative to the queen of Scots, in which she had found the first peer of her realm a principal actor, her thoughts, even in the few leisure hours which she found means to bestow on these soothing recreations, still hovered about the objects from which she most sought to withdraw them.

The following sonnet of her composition will illustrate this remark: it was published during her lifetime in Puttenham's "Arte of English Poesie," and its authenticity, its principal merit, has never been called in question.

Sonnet  by Queen Elizabeth.

The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy,
And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy.
For falsehood now doth flow, and subjects' faith doth ebb;
Which would not be if Reason ruled, or Wisdom weaved the web.
But clouds of toys untried do cloak aspiring minds,
Which turn to rain of late repent by course of changed winds.
The top of hope supposed the root of ruth will be;
And fruitless all their graffed guiles, as shortly ye shall see.
Those dazzled eves with pride, which great ambition blinds,
Shall be unseal'd by worthy wights whose foresight falsehood finds.
The Daughter of Debate that eke discord doth sow,
Shall reap no gain where former rule hath taught still peace to grow.
No foreign banish'd wight shall anchor in this port;
Our realm it brooks no strangers' force, let them elsewhere resort.
Our rusty sword with rest shall first his edge employ,
To poll their tops that seek such change, and gape for joy.

The house of commons, in which great dread and hatred of the queen of Scots and her adherents now prevailed, showed itself strongly disposed to pass an act by which Mary should be declared for ever unworthy and incapable of the English succession: but Elizabeth, with her usual averseness to all unqualified declarations and irrevocable decisions, interfered to prevent the completion of a measure which most sovereigns, under all the circumstances, would have been eager to embrace. To the unanimous expression of the opinion of the house, that the execution of the sentence against the duke of Norfolk ought not to be longer delayed, she was however prevailed upon to lend a more favorable ear; and on June 2d, 1572, this nobleman received his death on Tower-hill.

Norfolk was a man of many amiable and several estimable qualities, and much too good for the faction with which he had been enticed to act and the cause in which he suffered. On the scaffold he acknowledged, with great apparent sincerity, the justice of his sentence, and his peculiar guiltiness in breaking the solemn promise which he had pledged to his sovereign. He declared himself to have been an earnest protestant ever since he had had any taste for religion, and in this faith he died very devoutly. He bequeathed by his will his best George to his kinsman and true friend the earl of Sussex, whose faithful counsels he too late reproached himself with neglecting. By his attainder the dukedom was lost to the family of Howard; but Philip, his eldest son, succeeded his maternal grandfather in the earldom of Arundel; lord Thomas, his second son, (whose mother was the daughter and heiress of lord Audley,) was created lord Howard of Walden by Elizabeth and earl of Suffolk by James; and lord William, the youngest, who possessed Naworth-castle in right of Elizabeth Dacre his wife, and was known upon the West Border (of which he was warden) by the appellation of "Belted Will," was ancestor to the earls of Carlisle [74].

The king of Spain had long been regarded in England as the most implacable and formidable of the enemies of Elizabeth; and on good grounds. It was believed to be through his procurement that Sixtus V. had been led to fulminate his anathema against her;—it was well known that the pope had made a donation to him of the kingdom of Ireland, of which he was anxious to avail himself;—there was strong ground to suspect that he had sent one of his ablest generals in embassy to England with no other view than to have taken the command of the northern rebels, had their enterprise prospered;—and the intimate participation of his agents in all the intrigues of the queen of Scots was notorious. Dr. Wylson, a learned civilian, an accomplished scholar, and one of the first refiners of English prose, had published in 1571, with the express view of rousing the spirit of his readers against this formidable tyrant, a version of the Orations of Demosthenes against the king Philip of his day, and had been at the pains of pointing out in the notes coincidences in the situation of Athens and of England. The author, who was an earnest protestant, had the further motive in this work of paying a tribute to the memory of the learned and unfortunate Cheke, who during his voluntary exile had read gratuitous lectures to his countrymen at Padua on the works of the great Grecian orator, of which Wylson had been an auditor, and who had also made a Latin version of them, of which the English translator freely availed himself.

It was principally her dread of the Spaniards which led Elizabeth into those perpetual reciprocations of deceitful professions and empty negotiations with the profligate and perfidious court of France, which in the judgement of posterity have redounded so little to her honor, but which appeared to her of so much importance that she now thought herself peculiarly fortunate in having discovered an agent capable of conducting with all the wariness, penetration and profound address so peculiarly requisite where sincerity and good faith are wanting. This agent was sir Francis Walsingham, whose rare acquisitions of political knowledge, made principally during the period of his voluntary exile for religion, and still rarer talents for public business, had induced lord Burleigh to recommend him to the service and confidence of his mistress. For several years from this time he resided as the queen's ambassador at the court of France, at first as coadjutor to sir Thomas Smith,—a learned and able man, who afterwards became a principal secretary of state,—the rest of the time alone. There was not in England a man who was regarded as a more sincere and earnest protestant than Walsingham; yet such was at this time his sense of the importance to the country of the French alliance, that he expressed himself strongly in favor of the match between Elizabeth and the duke of Anjou, and, as a minister, spared no pains to promote it.

Similar language was held on this subject both by Leicester and Burleigh; but the former was perhaps no more in earnest on the subject than his mistress; and finally all parties, except the French protestants, who looked to the conclusion of these nuptials as their best security, seem to have been not ill pleased when, the marriage treaty being at length laid aside, a strict league of amity between the two countries was agreed upon in its stead.

Splendid embassies were reciprocally sent to receive the ratifications of this treaty; and Burleigh writes to a friend, between jest and earnest, that an unexpected delay of the French ambassador was cursed by all the husbands whose ladies had been detained at great expense and inconvenience in London, to contribute to the splendor of the court on his reception. On the 9th of June 1572 the duke de Montmorenci and his suite at length arrived. His entertainment was magnificent; all seemed peace and harmony between the rival nations; and Elizabeth even instructed her ambassadors to give favorable ear to a hint which the queen-mother had dropped of a matrimonial treaty between the queen of England and her youngest son, the duke d'Alençon, who had then scarcely attained the age of seventeen.

Lulled by these flattering appearances of tranquillity, her majesty set out on her summer progress, and she was enjoying the festivities prepared by Leicester for her reception at his splendid castle of Kennelworth, when news arrived of the execrable massacre of Paris;—an atrocity not to be paralleled in history! Troops of affrighted Hugonots, who had escaped through a thousand perils with life, and life alone, from the hands of their pitiless assassins, arrived on the English coast, imploring the commiseration of their brother protestants, and relating in accents of despair their tale of horrors. After such a stroke, no one knew what to expect; the German protestants flew to arms; even the subjects of Elizabeth trembled for their countrymen travelling on the continent and for themselves in their island-home. The pope applauded openly the savage deed; the court of Spain showed itself united hand and heart with that of France,—to the astonishment of Elizabeth, who had been taught to believe them at enmity;—and it seemed as if the signal had been given of a general crusade against the reformed churches of Europe.

For several days fears were entertained for the safety of Walsingham himself, who had not dared to transmit any account of the event except one by a servant of his own, whose passage had been by some accident delayed. Even this minister, cautious and crafty and sagacious as he was, assisted by all the spies whom he constantly kept in pay, had been unable to penetrate any part of the bloody secret;—he was completely taken by surprise. But of his personal safety the perfidious young king and his detestable mother were, for their own sakes, careful; and not only were himself and his servants protected from injury, but every Englishman who had the presence of mind to take shelter in his house found it an inviolable sanctuary. Two persons only of this nation fell victims to the fury of that direful night, but the property of many was plundered. The afflicted remnant of the French protestants prepared to stand upon their defence with all the intrepidity of despair. They closed the gates of Rochelle, their strong hold, against the king's troops, casting at the same time an imploring eye towards England, where thousands of brave and generous spirits were burning with impatience to hasten to their succour.

No act would have been hailed with such loud and general applause of her people as an instant renunciation by Elizabeth of all friendship and intercourse with the perjured and blood-stained Charles, the midnight assassin of his own subjects; and it is impossible to contemplate without disdain the coldness and littleness of that character which, in such a case, could consent to measure its demonstrations of indignation and abhorrence by the narrow rules of a self-interested caution. But that early experience of peril and adversity which had formed the mind of this princess to penetration, wariness, and passive courage, and given her a perfect command of the whole art of simulation and dissimulation, had at the same time robbed her of some of the noblest impulses of our nature; of generosity, of ardor, of enterprise, of magnanimity. Where more exalted spirits would only have felt, she calculated; where bolder ones would have flown to action, she contented herself with words.

Charles and his mother, while still in uncertainty how far their master-stroke of policy,—so they regarded it,—would be successful in crushing entirely the Hugonots, prudently resolved to spare no efforts to preserve Elizabeth their friend, or to prevent her at least from becoming an open enemy. Instructions had therefore been in the first instance dispatched to La Mothe Fenelon, the French ambassador in England, to communicate such an account of the massacre and its motives as suited these views, and to solicit a confirmation of the late treaty of amity. His reception at court on this occasion was extremely solemn: the courtiers and ladies who lined the rooms leading to the presence-chamber were all habited in deep mourning, and not one of them would vouchsafe a word or a smile to the ambassador, though himself a man of honor, and one whom they had formerly received on the footing of cordial intimacy. The queen herself, in listening to his message, assumed an aspect more composed, but extremely cold and serious. She expressed her horror at the idea that a sovereign could imagine himself under a necessity of taking such vengeance on his own subjects; represented the practicability of proceeding with them according to law, and desired to be better informed of the reality of the treasonable designs imputed to the Hugonots. She also declared that it would be difficult for her to place reliance hereafter on the friendship of a prince who had shown himself so deadly a foe to those who professed her religion; but, at the suit of the ambassador, she consented to suspend in some degree her judgement of the deed till further information.

Even these feeble demonstrations of sensibility to crime so enormous were speedily laid aside. In spite of Walsingham's declared opinion, that the demonstrations of the French court towards her were so evidently treacherous that its open enmity was less to be dreaded than its feigned friendship, Elizabeth suffered her indignation to evaporate in a few severe speeches, restrained her subjects from carrying such aid to the defenders of Rochelle as could be made a ground of serious quarrel, and even permitted a renewal of the shocking and monstrous overtures for her marriage with the youngest son of Catherine de' Medici herself. By this shameless woman various proposals were now made for bringing about a personal interview between herself and Elizabeth. She first named England as the place of meeting, then the sea between Dover and Calais, and afterwards the isle of Jersey; but from the first plan she herself departed, and the others were rejected in anger by the English council, who remarked, with a proper and laudable spirit, that they who had ventured upon such propositions must imagine them strangely careless of the personal safety of their sovereign.

Charles IX. was particularly anxious that Elizabeth, as a pledge of friendship, should consent to stand sponsor to his new-born daughter; and with this request, after some difficulties and a few declarations of horror at his conduct, she had the baseness to comply. She refused however to indulge that king in his further desire, that she would appoint either the earl of Leicester or lord Burleigh as her proxy;—not choosing apparently to trust these pillars of state and of the protestant cause within his reach; and she sent instead her cousin the earl of Worcester, "a good simple gentleman," as Leicester called him, and a catholic.

All this time Elizabeth was in her heart as hostile to the court of France as the most zealous of her protestant subjects; for she well knew that it was and ever must be essentially hostile to her and her government; and in the midst of her civilities she took care to supply to the Hugonots such secret aids as should enable them still to persevere in a formidable resistance.

It is worth recording, on the subject of these negotiations between Elizabeth and the royal family of France, that Burleigh seems to have been encouraged to expect a successful issue by a calculation of the queen's nativity, seen by Strype in his own handwriting, from which it was foretold that she should marry, in middle life, a foreign prince younger than herself; and probably be the mother of a son, who should be prosperous in his middle age. Catherine de' Medici also, to whom some female fortune-teller had predicted that all her sons should be kings, hoped, after the election of her second son to the throne of Poland, to find the full accomplishment of the prophecy in the advancement of the youngest to the matrimonial crown of England. So serious was the belief of that age in the lying oracles of judicial astrology!

Among the English travellers doomed to be eye-witnesses of the horrors of the massacre of St. Bartholomew was the celebrated Philip Sidney, then a youth of eighteen. He was the eldest son of sir Henry Sidney, lord-deputy of Ireland, and from this excellent man and parent he had received, amongst his earliest and strongest impressions, those elevated principles of honor, veracity and moral purity which regulated and adorned the whole tenor of his after-life. An extraordinary solidity of character with great vivacity of parts had distinguished him from a child, and fortune conspired with genius to bring him early before the public eye.

He was nephew and presumptive heir to the earl of Leicester, by whom he was in a manner adopted; and thus patronized, his rapid advancement was anticipated as a matter of course.

It was the practice of that day for parents in higher life to dispose of their children in marriage at an age now justly accounted immature [75]; and no sooner had young Sidney completed his fourteenth year than arrangements were made for his union with Anne Cecil, daughter of the secretary. Why the connexion never took place we do not learn: sir Henry Sidney in a letter to Cecil says, with reference to this affair; "I am sorry that you find coldness any where in proceeding, where such good liking appeared in the beginning; but, for my part, I was never more ready to perfect that affair than presently I am." &c. Shortly after, the lady, unfortunately for herself, became the wife of the earl of Oxford; and Sidney, still unfettered by matrimonial engagements, obtained license to travel, and reached Paris in May 1572. Charles IX., in consideration no doubt of the influence of his uncle at the English court, gave him the appointment of a gentleman of his bed-chamber, a fortnight only beforethe massacre. On that night of horrors Sidney took shelter in the house of Walsingham, and thus escaped all personal danger; but his after-conduct fully proved how indelible was the impression left upon his mind of the monstrous wickedness of the French royal family, and the disgrace and misery which an alliance with it must entail on his queen and country.

He readily obeyed his uncle's directions to quit France without delay; and, proceeding to Frankfort, there formed a highly honorable and beneficial friendship with the virtuous Hubert Languet, who opened to him at once his heart and his purse. The remonstrances of this patron, who dreaded to excess for his youthful friend the artifices of the papal court, deterred him from extending his travels to Rome, an omission which he afterwards deeply regretted; but a leisurely survey of the northern cities of Italy, during which he became advantageously known to many eminent characters, occupied him profitably and delightfully till his return to his native country in 1575, after which he will again occur to our notice as the pride and wonder of the English court.


[72]"Burleigh Papers" by Haynes.

[73]"Royal and Noble Authors."

[74]

"His Bilboa blade, by marchmen felt,
Hung in a broad and studded belt;
Hence in rude phrase the Borderers still
Call noble Howard Belted Will."

Lay of the Last Minstrel.

[75]Thus we find sir George Manners, ancestor of the dukes of Rutland, who died in 1513, bequeathing to each of his unmarried daughters a portion of three hundred marks to be paid at the time of their marriage, or within four  years after if the husband be not twenty-one years of age; or at such time as the husband came of age.

Collins's "Peerage," by sir E. Brydges.

1558 AND 1559.

General joy on the accession of Elizabeth.—Views of the nobility—of the middling and lower classes.—Flattery with which she is addressed.—Descriptions of her person.—Her first privy-council.—Parry and Cecil brought into office.—Notices of each.—Death of cardinal Pole.—The queen enters London—passes to the Tower.—Lord Robert Dudley her master of the horse.—Notices respecting him.—The queen's treatment of her relations.—The Howard family.—Sir Richard Sackville.—Henry Cary.—The last, created lord Hunsdon.—Preparations in London against the queen's coronation.—Splendid costume of the age.—She passes by water from Westminster to the Tower.—The procession described.—Her passage through the city.—Pageants exhibited.—The bishops refuse to crown her.—Bishop of Carlisle prevailed on.—Religious sentiments of the queen.—Prohibition of preaching—of theatrical exhibitions.

N ever  perhaps was the accession of any prince the subject of such keen and lively interest to a whole people as that of Elizabeth.

Both in the religious establishments and political relations of the country, the most important changes were anticipated; changes in which the humblest individual found himself concerned, and to which a vast majority of the nation looked forward with hope and joy.

With the courtiers and great nobles, whose mutability of faith had so happily corresponded with everyecclesiastical vicissitude of the last three reigns, political and personal considerations may well be supposed to have held the first place; and though the old religion might still be endeared to them by many cherished associations and by early prejudice, there were few among them who did not regard the liberation of the country from Spanish influence as ample compensation for the probable restoration of the religious establishment of Henry or of Edward. Besides, there was scarcely an individual belonging to these classes who had not in some manner partaken of the plunder of the church, and whom the avowed principles of Mary had not disquieted with apprehensions that some plan of compulsory restitution would sooner or later be attempted by an union of royal and papal authority.

With the middling and lower classes religious views and feelings were predominant The doctrines of the new and better system of faith and worship had now become more precious and important than ever in the eyes of its adherents from the hardships which many of them had encountered for its sake, and from the interest which each disciple vindicated to himself in the glory and merit of the holy martyrs whose triumphant exit they had witnessed. With all the fervor of pious gratitude they offered up their thanksgivings for the signal deliverance by which their prayers had been answered. The bloody tyranny of Mary was at an end; and though the known conformity of Elizabeth to Romish rites might apparently give room for doubts and suspicions, it should seem that neither catholics nor protestants were willing to believe that the daughter of Anne Boleyn could in her heart be a papist. Under this impression the citizens of London, who spoke the sense of their own class throughout the kingdom, welcomed the new queen as a protectress sent by Heaven itself: but even in the first transports of their joy, and amid the pompous pageantries by which their loyal congratulations were expressed, they took care to intimate, in a manner not to be misunderstood, their hopes and expectations on the great concern now nearest to their hearts.

Prudence confined within their own bosoms the regrets and murmurs of the popish clergy; submission and a simulated loyalty were at present obviously their only policy: thus not a whisper breathed abroad but of joy and gratulation and happy presage of the days to come.

The sex, the youth, the accomplishments, the graces, the past misfortunes of the princess, all served to heighten the interest with which she was beheld: the age of chivalry had not yet expired; and in spite of the late unfortunate experience of a female reign, the romantic image of a maiden queen dazzled all eyes, subdued all hearts, inflamed the imaginations of the brave and courtly youth with visions of love and glory, exalted into a passionate homage the principle of loyalty, and urged adulation to the very brink of idolatry.

The fulsome compliments on her beauty which Elizabeth, almost to the latest period of her life, not only permitted but required and delighted in, have been adverted to by all the writers who have made her reign and character their theme: and those of the number whom admiration and pity of the fair queen of Scots have rendered hostile to her memory, have taken a malicious pleasure in exaggerating the extravagance of this weakness, by denying her, even in her freshest years, all pretensions to those personal charms by which her rival was so eminently, distinguished. Others however have been more favorable, and probably more just, to her on this point; and it would be an injury to her memory to withhold from the reader the following portraitures which authorize us to form a pleasing as well as majestic image of this illustrious female at the period of her accession and at the age of five-and-twenty.

"She was a lady of great beauty, of decent stature, and of an excellent shape. In her youth she was adorned with a more than usual maiden modesty; her skin was of pure white, and her hair of a yellow colour; her eyes were beautiful and lively. In short, her whole body was well made, and her face was adorned with a wonderful and sweet beauty and majesty. This beauty lasted till her middle age, though it declined [31]." &c.

"She was of personage tall, of hair and complexion fair, and therewith well favored, but high-nosed; of limbs and feature neat, and, which added to the lustre of those exterior graces, of stately and majestic comportment; participating in this more of her father than her mother, who was of an inferior allay, plausible, or, as the French hath it, more debonaire and affable, virtues which might suit well with majesty, and which descending as hereditary to the daughter, did render her of a more sweeter temper and endeared her more to the love and liking of her people, who gave her the name and fame of a most gracious and popular prince [32]."

The death of Mary was announced to the two houses, which were then sitting, by Heath bishop of Ely, the lord-chancellor. In both assemblies, after the decorum of a short pause, the notification was followed by joyful shouts of "God save queen Elizabeth! long and happily may she reign!" and with great alacrity the members issued out to proclaim the new sovereign before the palace in Westminster and again at the great cross in Cheapside.

The Londoners knew not how to contain their joy on this happy occasion:—the bells of all the churches were set ringing, bonfires were kindled, and tables were spread in the streets according to the bountiful and hospitable custom of that day, "where was plentiful eating, drinking, and making merry." On the following Sunday Te Deum  was sung in the churches; probably an unexampled, however merited, expression of disrespect to the memory of the former sovereign.

Elizabeth received the news of her own accession at Hatfield. We are not told that she affected any great concern for the loss of her sister, much less did any unbecoming sign of exultation escape her; but, "falling on her knees, after a good time of respiration she uttered this verse of the Psalms; A Domino factum est istud, et est mirabile oculis nostris [33]: which to this day we find on the stamp of her gold; with this on her silver, Posui Deum adjutorem meum [34]."[35]

Several noblemen of the late queen's council now repairing to her, she held at Hatfield on November the 20th her first privy-council; at which she declared sir Thomas Parry comptroller of her household, sir Edward Rogers captain of the guard, and sir William Cecil principal secretary of state, all three being at the same time admitted to the council-board. From these appointments, the first of her reign, some presages might be drawn of her future government favorable to her own character and correspondent to the wishes of her people.

Parry was the person who had filled for many years the office of her cofferer, who was perfectly in the secret of whatever confidential intercourse she might formerly have held with the lord-admiral, and whose fidelity to her in that business had stood firm against all the threats of the protector and council, and the artifices of those by whom his examination had been conducted. That mindfulness of former services, of which the advancement of this man formed by no means a solitary instance in the conduct of Elizabeth, appeared the more commendable in her, because she accompanied it with a generous oblivion of the many slights and injuries to which her defenceless and persecuted condition had so long exposed her from others.

The merit of Cecil was already in part known to the public; and his promotion to an office of such importance was a happy omen for the protestant cause, his attachment to which had been judged the sole impediment to his advancement under the late reign to situations of power and trust corresponding with the opinion entertained of his integrity and political wisdom. A brief retrospect of the scenes of public life in which he had already been an actor will best explain the character and sentiments of this eminent person, destined to wield for more than forty years with unparalleled skill and felicity, under a mistress who knew his value, the energies of the English state.

Born, in 1520, the son of the master of the royal wardrobe, Cecil early engaged the notice of Henry VIII. by the fame of a religious dispute which he had held in Latin with two popish priests attached to the Irish chieftain O'Neal. A place in reversion freely bestowed on him by the king at once rewarded the zeal of the young polemic, and encouraged him to desert the profession of the law, in which he had embarked, for the political career.

His marriage with the sister of sir John Cheke strengthened his interest at court by procuring him an introduction to the earl of Hertford, and early in the reign of Edward this powerful patronage obtained for him the office of secretary of state. In the first disgrace of the protector he lost his place, and was for a short time a prisoner in the Tower; but his compliant conduct soon restored him to favor: he scrupled not to draw the articles of impeachment against the protector; and Northumberland, finding him both able in business and highly acceptable to the young monarch, procured, or permitted, his reinstatement in office in September 1550.

Cecil, however, was both too wary and too honest to regard himself as pledged to the support of Northumberland's inordinate schemes of ambition; and scarcely any public man of the day, attached to the protestant cause, escaped better in the affair of lady Jane Grey. It is true that one writer accuses him of having drawn all the papers in her favor: but this appears to be, in part at least, either a mistake or a calumny; and it seems, on the contrary, that he refused to Northumberland some services of this nature. It has been already mentioned that his name appeared with those of the other privy-councillors to Edward's settlement of the crown; and his plea of having signed it merely as a witness to the king's signature, deserves to be regarded as a kind of subterfuge. But he was early in paying his respects to Mary, and he took advantage of the graciousness with which she received his explanations to obtain a general pardon, which protected him from all personal danger. He lost however his place of secretary, which some have affirmed that he might have retained by further compliances in religion. This however is the more doubtful, because it cannot be questioned that he must have yielded a good deal on this point, without which he neither could nor would have made one of a deputation sent to conduct to England cardinal Pole the papal legate, nor probably would he have been joined in commission with the cardinal and other persons sent to treat of a peace with France.

But admitting, as we must, that this eminent statesman was far from aspiring to the praise of a confessor, he will still be found to deserve high commendation for the zeal and courage with which, as a member of parliament, he defended the interests of his oppressed and suffering fellow-protestants. At considerable hazard to himself, he opposed with great freedom of speech a bill for confiscating the property of exiles for religion; and he appears to have escaped committal to the Tower on this account, solely by the presence of mind which he exhibited before the council and the friendship of some of its members.

He is known to have maintained a secret and intimate correspondence with Elizabeth during the time of her adversity, and to have assisted her on various trying occasions with his salutary counsels; and nothing could be more interesting than to trace the origin and progress of that confidential relation between these eminent and in many respects congenial characters, which after a long course of years was only terminated by the hand of death;—but materials for this purpose are unfortunately wanting.

The letters on both sides were probably sacrificed by the parties themselves to the caution which their situation required; and among the published extracts from the Burleigh papers, only a single document is found relative to the connexion subsisting between them during the reign of Mary. This is a short and uninteresting letter addressed to Cecil by sir Thomas Benger, one of the princess's officers, in which, after some mention of accounts, not now intelligible, he promises that he and sir Thomas Parry will move the princess to grant his correspondent's request, which is not particularized, and assures him that as his coming thither would be thankfully received, so he wishes that all the friends of the princess entertained the same sense of that matter as he does. The letter seems to point at some official concern of Cecil in the affairs of Elizabeth. It is dated October 24th 1556.

The private character of Cecil was in every respect exemplary, and his disposition truly amiable. His second marriage with one of the learned daughters of sir Anthony Cook conferred upon him that exalted species of domestic happiness which a sympathy in mental endowments can alone bestow; whilst it had the further advantage of connecting him with the excellent man her father, with sir Nicholas Bacon and sir Thomas Hobby, the husbands of two of her sisters, and generally with the wisest and most conscientious supporters of the protestant interest. This great minister was honorably distinguished through life by an ardor and constancy of friendship rare in all classes of men, but esteemed peculiarly so in those whose lives are occupied amid the heartless ceremonial of courts and the political intrigues of princes. His attachments, as they never degenerated into the weakness of favoritism, were as much a source of benefit to his country as of enjoyment to himself; for his friends were those of virtue and the state. And there were few among the more estimable public men of this reign who were not indebted either for their first introduction to the notice of Elizabeth, their continuance in her favor, or their restoration to it when undeservedly lost, to the generous patronage or powerful intercession of Cecil.

On appointing him a member of her council, the queen addressed her secretary in the following gracious words:

"I give you this charge, that you shall be of my privy-council, and content yourself to take pains for me and my realm. This judgement I have of you, that you will not be corrupted with any gift, and that you will be faithful to the state, and that, without respect of my private will, you will give me that counsel that you think best: And that if you shall know any thing necessary to be declared to me of secrecy, you shall show it to myself only, and assure yourself I will not fail to keep taciturnity therein. And therefore herewith I charge you [36]."

Cardinal Pole was not doomed to be an eye-witness of the relapse of the nation into what he must have regarded as heresy of the most aggravated nature; he expired a few hours after his royal kinswoman: and Elizabeth, with due consideration for the illustrious ancestry, the learning, the moderation, and the blameless manners of the man, authorized his honorable interment at Canterbury among the archbishops his predecessors, with the attendance of two bishops, his ancient friends and the faithful companions of his long exile.

On November 23d the queen set forward for her capital, attended by a train of about a thousand nobles, knights, gentlemen, and ladies, and took up her abode for the present at the dissolved monastery of the Chartreux, or Charterhouse, then the residence of lord North; a splendid pile which offered ample accommodation for a royal retinue. Her next remove, in compliance with ancient custom, was to the Tower. On this occasion all the streets from the Charterhouse were spread with fine gravel; singers and musicians were stationed by the way, and a vast concourse of people freely lent their joyful and admiring acclamations, as preceded by her heralds and great officers, and richly attired in purple velvet, she passed along mounted on her palfrey, and returning the salutations of the humblest of her subjects with graceful and winning affability.

With what vivid and what affecting impressions of the vicissitudes attending on the great must she have passed again within the antique walls of that fortress once her dungeon, now her palace! She had entered it by the Traitor's gate, a terrified and defenceless prisoner, smarting under many wrongs, hopeless of deliverance, and apprehending nothing less than an ignominious death. She had quitted it, still a captive, under the guard of armed men, to be conducted she knew not whither. She returned to it in all the pomp of royalty, surrounded by the ministers of her power, ushered by the applauses of her people; the cherished object of every eye, the idol of every heart.

Devotion alone could supply becoming language to the emotions which swelled her bosom; and no sooner had she reached the royal apartments, than falling on her knees she returned humble and fervent thanks to that Providence which had brought her in safety, like Daniel from the den of lions, to behold this day of exaltation.

Elizabeth was attended on her passage to the Tower by one who like herself returned with honor to that place of his former captivity; but not, like herself, with a mind disciplined by adversity to receive with moderation and wisdom "the good vicissitude of joy." This person was lord Robert Dudley, whom the queen had thus early encouraged to aspire to her future favors by appointing him to the office of master of the horse.

We are totally uninformed of the circumstances which had recommended to her peculiar patronage this bad son of a bad father; whose enterprises, if successful, would have disinherited of a kingdom Elizabeth herself no less than Mary. But it is remarkable, that even under the reign of the latter, the surviving members of the Dudley family had been able to recover in great measure from the effects of their late signal reverses. Lord Robert, soon after his release from the Tower, contrived to make himself so acceptable to king Philip by his courtier-like attentions, and to Mary by his diligence in posting backwards and forwards to bring her intelligence of her husband during his long visits to the continent, that he earned from the latter several marks of favor. Two of his brothers fought, and one fell, in the battle of St. Quintin's; and immediately afterwards the duchess their mother found means, through some Spanish interests and connexions, to procure the restoration in blood of all her surviving children. The appointment of Robert to the place of master of the ordnance soon followed; so that even before the accession of Elizabeth he might be regarded as a rising man in the state. His personal graces and elegant accomplishments are on all hands acknowledged to have been sufficiently striking to dazzle the eyes and charm the heart of a young princess of a lively imagination and absolute mistress of her own actions. The circumstance of his being already married, blinded her perhaps to the nature of her sentiments towards him, or at least it was regarded by her as a sufficient sanction in the eyes of the public for those manifestations of favor and esteem with which she was pleased to honor him. But whether the affection which she entertained for him best deserved the name of friendship or a still tenderer one, seems after all a question of too subtile and obscure a nature for sober discussion; though in a French "cour d'amour " it might have furnished pleas and counterpleas of exquisite ingenuity, prodigious sentimental interest, and length interminable. What is unfortunately too certain is, that he was a favorite, and in the common judgement of the court, of the nation, and of posterity, an unworthy one; but calumny and prejudice alone have dared to attack the reputation of the queen.

Elizabeth had no propensity to exalt immoderately her relations by the mother's side;—for she neither loved nor honored that mother's memory; but several of the number may be mentioned, whose merits towards herself, or whose qualifications for the public service, justly entitled them to share in her distribution of offices and honors, and whom she always treated with distinction. The whole illustrious family of the Howards were her relations; and in the first year of her reign she conferred on the duke of Norfolk, her second-cousin, the order of the garter. Her great-uncle lord William Howard, created baron of Effingham by Mary, was continued by her in the high office of lord-chamberlain, and soon after appointed one of the commissioners for concluding a peace with France. Lord Thomas Howard, her mother's first-cousin, who had treated her with distinguished respect and kindness on her arrival at Hampton Court from Woodstock, and had the further merit of being indulgent to protestants during the persecutions of Mary, received from her the title of viscount Bindon, and continued much in her favor to the end of his days.

Sir Richard Sackville, also her mother's first-cousin, had filled different fiscal offices under the three last reigns; he was a man of abilities, and derived from a long line of ancestors great estates and extensive influence in the county of Sussex. The people, who marked his growing wealth, and to whom he was perhaps officially obnoxious, nicknamed him Fill-sack: in Mary's time he was a catholic, a privy-councillor, and chancellor of the court of Augmentations; under her successor he changed the first designation and retained the two last, which he probably valued more. He is chiefly memorable as the father of Sackville the poet, afterwards lord Buckhurst and progenitor of the dukes of Dorset.

Sir Francis Knolles, whose lady was one of the queen's nearest kinswomen, was deservedly called to the privy-council on his return from his voluntary banishment for conscience' sake; his sons gained considerable influence in the court of Elizabeth; his daughter, the mother of Essex, and afterwards the wife of Leicester, was for various reasons long an object of the queen's particular aversion.

But of all her relations, the one who had deserved most at her hands was Henry Carey, brother to lady Knolles, and son to Mary Boleyn, her majesty's aunt. This gentleman had expended several thousand pounds of his own patrimony in her service and relief during the time of her imprisonment, and she liberally requited his friendship at her first creation of peers, by conferring upon him, with the title of baron Hunsdon, the royal residence of that name, with its surrounding park and several beneficial leases of crown lands. He was afterwards joined in various commissions and offices of trust: but his remuneration was, on the whole, by no means exorbitant; for he was not rapacious, and consequently not importunate; and the queen, in the employments which she assigned him, seemed rather to consult her own advantage and that of her country, by availing herself of the abilities of a diligent and faithful servant, than to please herself by granting rewards to an affectionate and generous kinsman. In fact, lord Hunsdon was skilled as little in the ceremonious and sentimental gallantry which she required from her courtiers, as in the circumspect and winding policy which she approved in her statesmen. "As he lived in a ruffling time," says Naunton, "so he loved sword and buckler men, and such as our fathers wont to call men of their hands, of which sort he had many brave gentlemen that followed him; yet not taken for a popular or dangerous person." Though extremely choleric, he was honest, and not at all malicious. It was said of him that "his Latin and his dissimulation were both alike," equally bad, and that "his custom in swearing and obscenity in speech made him seem a worse Christian than he was."

Fuller relates of him the following characteristic anecdote. "Once, one Mr. Colt chanced to meet him coming from Hunsdon to London, in the equipage of a lord of those days. The lord, on some former grudge, gave him a box on the ear: Colt presently returned the principal with interest; and thereupon his servants drawing their swords, swarmed about him. 'You rogues,' said my lord, 'may not I and my neighbour change a blow but you must interpose?' Thus the quarrel was begun and ended in the same minute [37]."

The queen's attachment to such of her family as she was pleased to honor with her notice, was probably the more constant because there was nothing in it of excess or of blindness:—even Leicester in the height of his favor felt that he must hold sacred their claims to her regard: according to Naunton's phrase, he used to say of Sackville and Hunsdon, "that they were of the tribe of Dan, and were Noli me tangere's."

After a few days spent in the Tower, Elizabeth passed by water to Somerset Place; and thence, about a fortnight after, when the funeral of her predecessor was over, to the palace of Westminster, where she kept her Christmas.

Busy preparation was now making in her good city of London against the solemn day of her passage in state from the Tower to her coronation at Westminster. The usages and sentiments of that age conferred upon these public ceremonials a character of earnest and dignified importance now lost; and on this memorable occasion, when the mingled sense of deliverance received and of future favor to be conciliated had opened the hearts of all men, it was resolved to lavish in honor of the new sovereign every possible demonstration of loyal affection, and every known device of festal magnificence.

The costume of the age was splendid. Gowns of velvet or satin, richly trimmed with silk, furs, or gold lace, costly gold chains, and caps or hoods of rich materials adorned with feathers or ouches, decorated on all occasions of display the persons not of nobles or courtiers alone, but of their crowds of retainers and higher menials, and even of the plain substantial citizens. Female attire was proportionally sumptuous. Hangings, of cloth, of silk, of velvet, cloth of gold or silver, or "needlework sublime," clothed on days of family-festivity the upper chamber [38] of every house of respectable appearance; these on public festivals were suspended from the balconies, and uniting with the banners and pennons floating overhead, gave to the streets almost the appearance of a suit of long and gayly-dressed saloons. Every circumstance thus conspired to render the public entry of queen Elizabeth the most gorgeous and at the same time the most interesting spectacle of the kind ever exhibited in the English metropolis.

Her majesty was first to be conducted from her palace in Westminster to the royal apartments in the Tower; and a splendid water procession was appointed for the purpose. At this period, when the streets were narrow and ill-paved, the roads bad, and the luxury of close carriages unknown, the Thames was the great thoroughfare of the metropolis. The old palace of Westminster, as well as those of Richmond and Greenwich, the favorite summer residences of the Tudor princes, stood on its banks, and the court passed from one to the other in barges. The nobility were beginning to occupy with their mansions and gardens the space between the Strand and the water, and it had become a reigning folly amongst them to vie with each other in the splendor of their barges and of the liveries of the rowers, who were all distinguished by the crests or badges of their lords.

The corporation and trading companies of London possessed, as now, their state-barges enriched with carved and gilded figures and "decked and trimmed with targets and banners of their misteries."

On the 12th of January 1559 these were all drawn forth in grand array; and to enliven the pomp, "the bachelor's barge of the lord-mayor's company, to wit the mercers, had their barge with a foist  trimmed with three tops and artillery aboard, gallantly appointed to wait upon them, shooting off lustily as they went, with great and pleasant melody of instruments, which played in most sweet and heavenly manner." In this state they rowed up to Westminster and attended her majesty with the royal barges back to the Tower.

Her passage through the city took place two days after.

She issued forth drawn in a sumptuous chariot, preceded by trumpeters and heralds in their coat-armour and "most honorably accompanied as well with gentlemen, barons, and other the nobility of this realm, as also with a notable train of goodly and beautiful ladies, richly appointed." The ladies were on horseback, and both they and the lords were habited in crimson velvet, with which their horses were also trapped. Let it be remarked by the way, that the retinue of fair equestrians constantly attendant on the person of the maiden queen in all her public appearances, was a circumstance of prodigious effect; the gorgeousness of royal pomp was thus heightened, and at the same time rendered more amiable and attractive by the alliance of grace and beauty; and a romantic kind of charm, comparable to that which seizes the imagination in the splendid fictions of chivalry, was cast over the heartless parade of courtly ceremonial.

It was a very different spirit, however, from that of romance or of knight-errantry which inspired the bosoms of the citizens whose acclamations now rent the air on her approach. They beheld in the princess whom they welcomed the daughter of that Henry who had redeemed the land from papal tyranny and extortion; the sister of that young and godly Edward,—the Josiah of English story,—whose pious hand had reared again the altars of pure and primitive religion; and they had bodied forth for her instruction and admonition, in a series of solemn pageants, the maxims by which they hoped to see her equal or surpass these deep-felt merits of her predecessors.

These pageants were erections placed across the principal streets in the manner of triumphal arches: illustrative sentences in English and Latin were inscribed upon them; and a child was stationed in each, who explained to the queen in English verse the meaning of the whole. The first was of three stories, and represented by living figures: first, Henry VII. and his royal spouse Elizabeth of York, from whom her majesty derived her name; secondly, Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn; and lastly, her majesty in person; all in royal robes. The verses described the felicity of that union of the houses to which she owed her existence, and of concord in general. The second pageant was styled "The seat of worthy governance," on the summit of which sat another representative of the queen; beneath were the cardinal virtues trampling under their feet the opposite vices, among whom Ignorance and Superstition were not forgotten. The third exhibited the eight Beatitudes, all ascribed with some ingenuity of application to her majesty. The fourth ventured upon a more trying topic: its opposite sides represented in lively contrast the images of a decayed and of a flourishing commonwealth; and from a cave below issued Time leading forth his daughter Truth, who held in her hand an English bible, which she offered to the queen's acceptance. Elizabeth received the volume, and reverently pressing it with both hands to her heart and to her lips, declared aloud, amid the tears and grateful benedictions of her people, that she thanked the city more for that gift than for all the cost they had bestowed upon her, and that she would often read over that book. The last pageant exhibited "a seemly and mete personage, richly apparelled in parliament robes, with a sceptre in her hand, over whose head was written 'Deborah, the judge and restorer of the house of Israel.'"

To render more palatable these grave moralities, the recorder of London, approaching her majesty's chariot near the further end of Cheapside, where ended the long array of the city companies, which had lined the streets all the way from Fenchurch, presented her with a splendid and ample purse, containing one thousand marks in gold. The queen graciously received it with both hands, and answered his harangue "marvellous pithily."

To crown the whole, those two griesly personages vulgarly called Gog and Magog, but described by the learned as Gogmagog the Albion and Corineus the Briton, deserted on this memorable day that accustomed station in Guildhall where they appear as the tutelary genii of the city, and were seen rearing up their stately height on each side of Temple-bar. With joined hands they supported above the gate a copy of Latin verses, in which they obligingly expounded to her majesty the sense of all the pageants which had been offered to her view, concluding with compliments and felicitations suitable to the happy occasion. The queen, in few but cordial words, thanked the citizens for all their cost and pains, assured them that she would "stand their good queen," and passed the gate amid a thunder of applause.

Elizabeth possessed in a higher degree than any other English prince who ever reigned, the innocent and honest arts of popularity; and the following traits of her behaviour on this day are recorded by our chroniclers with affectionate delight. "'Yonder is an ancient citizen,' said one of the knights attending on her person, 'which weepeth and turneth his face backward: How may it be interpreted? that he doth so for sorrow or for gladness?' With a just and pleasing confidence, the queen replied, 'I warrant you it is for gladness,'" "How many nosegays did her grace receive at poor women's hands! How many times staid she her chariot when she saw any simple body offer to speak to her grace! A branch of rosemary given her grace with a supplication by a poor woman about Fleet-bridge was seen in her chariot till her grace came to Westminster [39]."

The reader may here be reminded, that five-and-twenty years before, when the mother of this queen passed through London to her coronation, the pageants exhibited derived their personages and allusions chiefly from pagan mythology or classical fiction. But all was now changed; the earnestness of religious controversy in Edward's time, and the fury of persecution since, had put to flight Apollo, the Muses, and the Graces: Learning indeed had kept her station and her honors, but she had lent her lamp to other studies, and whether in the tongue of ancient Rome or modern England, Elizabeth was hailed in Christian strains, and as the sovereign of a Christian country. A people filled with earnest zeal in the best of causes implored her to free them once again from popery; to overthrow the tyranny of error and of superstition; to establish gospel truth; and to accept at their hands, as the standard of her faith and the rule of her conduct, that holy book of which they regarded the free and undisturbed possession as their brightest privilege.

How tame, how puerile, in the midst of sentiments serious and profound as these, would have appeared the intrusion of classical imagery, however graceful in itself or ingenious in its application! Frigid must have been the spectator who could even have remarked its absence, while shouts of patriotic ardor and of religious joy were bursting from the lips of the whole assembled population.

The august ceremonies of the coronation, which took place on the following day, merit no particular description; regulated in every thing by ancient custom, they afforded little scope for that display of popular sentiment which had given so intense an interest to the procession of the day before. Great perplexity was occasioned by the refusal of the whole bench of bishops to perform the coronation service; but at length, to the displeasure of his brethren, Ogelthorp bishop of Carlisle suffered himself to be gained over, and the rite was duly celebrated. This refractoriness of the episcopal order was wisely overlooked for the present by the new government; but it proceeded no doubt from the principle, that, the marriage of Henry VIII. with Catherine of Arragon having been declared lawful and valid, the child of Anne Boleyn must be regarded as illegitimate and incapable of the succession. The compliance of Ogelthorp could indeed be censured by the other bishops on no other ground than their disallowance of the title of the sovereign; in the office itself, as he performed it, there was nothing to which the most rigid catholic could object, for the ancient ritual is said to have been followed without the slightest modification. This circumstance has been adduced among others, to show that it was ratherby the political necessities of her situation, than by her private judgement and conscience in religious matters, that Elizabeth was impelled finally to abjure the Roman catholic system, and to declare herself the general protectress of the protestant cause.

Probably, had she found herself free to follow entirely the dictates of her own inclinations, she would have established in the church of which she found herself the head, a kind of middle scheme like that devised by her father, for whose authority she was impressed with the highest veneration. To the end of her days she could never be reconciled to married bishops; indeed with respect to the clergy generally, a sagacious writer of her own time observes, that "cæteris paribus, and sometimes imparibus  too, she preferred the single man before the married [40]."

She would allow no one "to speak irreverently of the sacrament of the altar;" that is, to enter into discussions respecting the real presence; she enjoined the like respectful silence concerning the intercession of saints; and we learn that one Patch, who had been Wolsey's fool, and had contrived, like some others, to keep in favor through all the changes of four successive reigns, was employed by sir Francis Knolles to break down a crucifix which she still retained in her private chapel to the scandal of all good protestants.

A remarkable incident soon served to intimate the coolness and caution with which it was her intention to proceed in re-establishing the maxims of the reformers. Lord Bacon thus relates the anecdote: "Queen Elizabeth on the morrow of her coronation (it being the custom to release prisoners at the inauguration of a prince) went to the chapel; and in the great chamber one of her courtiers, who was well known to her, either out of his own motion, or by the instigation of a wiser man, presented her with a petition, and before a great number of courtiers besought her with a loud voice that now this good time there might be four or five more principal prisoners released: these were the four evangelists, and the apostle St. Paul, who had been long shut up in an unknown tongue, as it were in prison; so as they could not converse with the common people. The queen answered very gravely, that it was best first to inquire of themselves whether they would be released or not [41]."

It was not long, however, ere this happy deliverance was fully effected. Before her coronation, Elizabeth had taken the important step of authorizing the reading of the liturgy in English; but she forbade preaching on controverted topics generally, and all preaching at Paul's Cross in particular, till the completion of that revision of the service used in the time of Edward VI. which she had intrusted to Parker archbishop-elect of Canterbury, with several of her wisest counsellors. It was the zeal of the ministers lately returned from exile, many of whom had imbibed at Geneva or Zurich ideas of a primitive simplicity in Christian worship widely remote from the views and sentiments of the queen, which gave occasion to this prohibition. The learning, the piety, the past sufferings of the men gave them great power over the minds and opinions of the people, who ran in crowds to listen to their sermons; and Elizabeth began already to apprehend that the hierarchy which she desired to establish would stand as much in need of protection from the disciples of Calvin and Zwingle on one hand, as from the adherents of popery on the other.

There is good reason to believe, that a royal proclamation issued some time after, by which all manner of plays and interludes were forbidden to be represented till after the ensuing hallowmass, was dictated by similar reasons of state with the prohibition of popular and unlicensed preaching.

From the earliest beginnings of the reformation under Henry VIII. the stage had come in aid of the pulpit; not, according to the practice of its purer ages, as the "teacher best of moral wisdom, with delight received," but as the vehicle of religious controversy, and not seldom of polemical scurrility. Several times already had this dangerous novelty attracted the jealous eyes of authority, and measures had in vain been taken for its suppression.

In 1542 Henry added to an edict for the destruction of Tyndale's English bible, with all the controversial works on both sides of which it had been the fertile parent, an injunction that "the kingdom should be purged and cleansed of all religious plays, interludes, rhymes, ballads, and songs, which are equally pestiferous and noisome to the peace of the church." During the reign of Edward, when the papists had availed themselves of the license of the theatre to attack Cranmer and the protector, a similar prohibition was issued against all dramatic performances, as tending to the growth of "disquiet, division, tumults and uproars." Mary's privy-council, on the other hand, found it necessary to address a remonstrance to the president of the North, respecting certain players, servants to sir Francis Lake, who had gone about the country representing pieces in ridicule of the king and queen and the formalities of the mass; and the design of the proclamation of Elizabeth was rendered evident by a solemn enactment of heavy penalties against such as should abuse the Common-prayer in any interludes, songs, or rhymes [42].


[31]Bohun's "Character of Queen Elizabeth."

[32]Naunton's "Fragmenta Regalia."

[33]It is the Lord's doing, it is marvellous in our eyes.

[34]I have chosen God for my helper.

[35]"Fragmenta Regalia."

[36]"Nugæ Antiquæ."

[37]"Worthies" in Herts.

[38]As long as that style of domestic architecture prevailed in which every story was made to project considerably beyond the one beneath it, the upper room, from its superior size and lightsomeness, appears to have been that dedicated to the entertainment of guests.

[39]Holinshed's Chronicles.

[40]Harrington's "Brief View."

[41]Bacon's "Apophthegms."

[42]Warton's "History of English Poetry," vol. iii. p. 202 et seq.

1555 TO 1558.

Elizabeth applies herself to classical literature.—Its neglected state.—Progress of English poetry.—Account of Sackville and his works.—Plan of his Mirror for Magistrates.—Extracts.—Notice of the contributors to this collection.—Its popularity and literary merits.—Entertainment given to Elizabeth by sir Thomas Pope.—Dudley Ashton's attempt.—Elizabeth acknowledged innocent of his designs.—Her letter to the queen.—She returns to London—quits it in some disgrace after again refusing the duke of Savoy.—Violence of Philip respecting this match.—Mary protects her sister.—Festivities at Hatfield, Enfield, and Richmond.—King of Sweden's addresses to Elizabeth rejected.—Letter of sir T. Pope respecting her dislike of marriage.—Proceedings of the ecclesiastical commission.—Cruel treatment of sir John Cheke.—General decay of national prosperity.—Loss of Calais.—Death of Mary.

N otwithstanding  the late fortunate change in her situation, Elizabeth must have entertained an anxious sense of its remaining difficulties, if not dangers; and the prudent circumspection of her character again, as in the latter years of her brother, dictated the expediency of shrouding herself in all the obscurity compatible with her rank and expectations. To literature, the never failing resource of its votaries, she turned again for solace and occupation; and claiming the assistance which Ascham was proud and happy to afford her, she resumed the diligent perusal of the Greek and Latin classics.

The concerns of the college of which sir Thomas Pope was the founder likewise engaged a portion of her thoughts; and this gentleman, in a letter to a friend, mentions that the lady Elizabeth, whom he served, and who was "not only gracious but right learned," often asked him of the course which he had devised for his scholars.

Classical literature was now daily declining from the eminence on which the two preceding sovereigns had labored to place it. The destruction of monastic institutions, and the dispersion of libraries, with the impoverishment of public schools and colleges through the rapacity of Edward's courtiers, had inflicted far deeper injury on the cause of learning than the studious example of the young monarch and his chosen companions was able to compensate. The persecuting spirit of Mary, by driving into exile or suspending from the exercise of their functions the able and enlightened professors of the protestant doctrine, had robbed the church and the universities of their brightest luminaries; and it was not under the auspices of her fierce and ignorant bigotry that the cultivators of the elegant and humanizing arts would seek encouragement or protection. Gardiner indeed, where particular prejudices did not interfere, was inclined to favor the learned; and Ascham owed to him the place of Latin secretary. Cardinal Pole also, himself a scholar, was desirous to support, as much as present circumstances would permit, his ancient character of a patron of scholars, and he earnestly pleaded with sir Thomas Pope to provide for the teaching of Greek as well as Latin in his college; but sir Thomas persisted in his opinion that a Latin professorship was sufficient, considering the general decay of erudition in the country, which had caused an almost total cessation of the study of the Greek language.

It was in the department of English poetry alone that any perceptible advance was effected or prepared during this deplorable æra; and it was to the vigorous genius of one man, whose vivid personifications of abstract beings were then quite unrivalled, and have since been rarely excelled in our language, and whose clear, copious, and forcible style of poetic narrative interested all readers, and inspired a whole school of writers who worked upon his model, that this advance is chiefly to be attributed. This benefactor to our literature was Thomas Sackville, son of sir Richard Sackville, an eminent member of queen Mary's council, and second-cousin to the lady Elizabeth by his paternal grandmother, who was a Boleyn. The time of his birth is doubtful, some placing it in 1536, others as early as 1527. He studied first at Oxford and afterwards at Cambridge, distinguishing himself at both universities by the vivacity of his parts and the excellence of his compositions both in verse and prose. According to the custom of that age, which required that an English gentleman should acquaint himself intimately with the laws of his country before he took a seat amongst her legislators, he next entered himself of the Inner Temple, and about the last year of Mary's reign he served in parliament. But at thisearly period of life poetry had more charms for Sackville than law or politics; and following the bent of his genius, he first produced "Gorboduc," confessedly the earliest specimen of regular tragedy in our language; but which will be noticed with more propriety when we reach the period of its representation before queen Elizabeth. He then, about the year 1557 as is supposed, laid the plan of an extensive work to be called "A Mirror for Magistrates;" of which the design is thus unfolded in a highly poetical "Induction."

The poet wandering forth on a winter's evening, and taking occasion from the various objects which "told the cruel season," to muse on the melancholy changes of human affairs, and especially on the reverses incident to greatness, suddenly encounters a "piteous wight," clad all in black, who was weeping, sighing, and wringing her hands, in such lamentable guise, that

"————never man did see
A wight but half so woe-begone as she."

Struck with grief and horror at the view, he earnestly requires her to "unwrap" her woes, and inform him who and whence she is, since her anguish, if not relieved, must soon put an end to her life. She answers,

"Sorrow am I, in endless torments pained
Among the furies in th' infernal lake:"

from these dismal regions she is come, she says, to bemoan the luckless lot of those

"Whom Fortune in this maze of misery,
Of wretched chance most woful Mirrors chose:"

and she ends by inviting him to accompany her in her return:

"Come, come, quoth she, and see what I shall show,
Come hear the plaining and the bitter bale
Of worthy men by Fortune's overthrow:
Come thou and see them ruing all in row.
They were but shades that erst in mind thou rolled,
Come, come with me, thine eyes shall then behold."

He accepts the invitation, having first done homage to Sorrow as to a goddess, since she had been able to read his thought. The scenery and personages are now chiefly copied from the sixth book of the Æneid; but with the addition of many highly picturesque and original touches.

The companions enter, hand in hand, a gloomy wood, through which Sorrow only could have found the way.

"But lo, while thus amid the desert dark
We passed on with steps and pace unmeet,
A rumbling roar, confused with howl and bark
Of dogs, shook all the ground beneath our feet,
And struck the din within our ears so deep,
As half distraught unto the ground I fell;
Besought return, and not to visit hell."

His guide however encourages him, and they proceed by the "lothly lake" Avernus,

"In dreadful fear amid the dreadful place."

"And first within the porch and jaws of hell
Sat deep Remorse of Conscience, all besprent
With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and cursing never stent
To sob and sigh: but ever thus lament
With thoughtful care, as she that all in vain
Should wear and waste continually in pain.

Her eyes, unsteadfast rolling here and there,
Whirled on each place as place that vengeance brought,
So was her mind continually in fear,
Tossed and tormented with tedious thought
Of those detested crimes that she had wrought:
With dreadful cheer and looks thrown to the sky,
Longing for death, and yet she could not die.

Next saw we Dread, all trembling how he shook
With foot uncertain proffered here and there,
Benumbed of speech, and with a ghastly look
Searched every place, all pale and dead with fear,
His cap borne up with staring of his hair." &c.

All the other allegorical personages named, and only named, by Virgil, as well as a few additional ones, are pourtrayed in succession, and with the same strength and fullness of delineation; but with the exception of War, who appears in the attributes of Mars, they are represented simply as examples  of Old age, Malady, &c., not as the agents  by whom these evils are inflicted upon others. Cerberus and Charon occur in their appropriate offices, but the monstrous forms Gorgon, Chimæra, &c., are judiciously suppressed; and the poet is speedily conducted to the banks of that "main broad flood"

"Which parts the gladsome fields from place of woe."

"With Sorrow for my guide, as there I stood,
A troop of men the most in arms bedight,
In tumult clustered 'bout both sides the flood:
'Mongst whom, who were ordained t' eternal night,
Or who to blissful peace and sweet delight,
I wot not well, it seemed that they were all
Such as by death's untimely stroke did fall."

Sorrow acquaints him that these are all illustrious examples of the reverses which he was lately deploring, who will themselves relate to him their misfortunes; and that he must afterwards

"Recount the same to Kesar, king and peer."

The first whom he sees advancing towards him from the throng of ghosts is Henry duke of Buckingham, put to death under Richard III.: and his "Legend," or story, is unfortunately the only one which its author ever found leisure to complete; the favor of his illustrious kinswoman on her accession causing him to sink the poet in the courtier, the ambassador, and finally the minister of state. But he had already done enough to earn himself a lasting name amongst the improvers of poetry in England. In tragedy he gave the first regular model; in personification he advanced far beyond all his predecessors, and furnished a prototype to that master of allegory, Spenser. A greater than Spenser has also been indebted to him; as will be evident, I think, to all who compare the description of the figures on the shield of war in his Induction, and especially those of them which relate to the siege of Troy, with the exquisitely rich and vivid description of a picture on that subject in Shakespeare's early poem on Tarquin and Lucretia.

The legend of the duke of Buckingham is composed in a style rich, free and forcible; the examples brought from ancient history, of the suspicion and inward wretchedness to which tyrants have ever been a prey, and afterwards, of the instability of popular favor, might in this age be accounted tedious and pedantic; they are however pertinent, well recited, and doubtless possessed the charm of novelty with respect to the majority of contemporary readers. The curses which the unhappy duke pours forth against the dependent who had betrayed him, may almost compare, in the energy and inventiveness of malice, with those of Shakespeare's queen Margaret; but they lose their effect by being thrown into the form of monologue and ascribed to a departed spirit, whose agonies of grief and rage in reciting his own death have something in them bordering on the burlesque.

The mind of Sackville was deeply fraught, as we have seen, with classic stores; and at a time when England possessed as yet no complete translation of Virgil, he might justly regard it as a considerable service to the cause of national taste to transplant into our vernacular poetry some scattered flowers from his rich garden of poetic sweets. Thus he has embellished his legend with an imitation or rather paraphrase of the celebrated description of night in the fourth book of the Æneid. The lines well merit transcription.

"Midnight was come, when ev'ry vital thing
With sweet sound sleep their weary limbs did rest;
The beasts were still, the little birds that sing
Now sweetly slept besides their mother's breast,
The old and all were shrowded in their nest;
The waters calm, the cruel seas did cease;
The woods, the fields, and all things held their peace.

The golden stars were whirled amid their race,
And on the earth did laugh with twinkling light,
When each thing nestled in his resting place
Forgat day's pain with pleasure of the night:
The hare had not the greedy hounds in sight;
The fearful deer had not the dogs in doubt,
The partridge dreamt not of the falcon's foot.

The ugly bear now minded not the stake,
Nor how the cruel mastives do him tear;
The stag lay still unroused from the brake;
The foamy boar feared not the hunter's spear:
All things were still in desert, bush and breer.
With quiet heart now from their travails ceast
Soundly they slept in midst of all their rest."

The allusion to bear-bating in the concluding stanza may offend the delicacy of a modern reader; but let it be remembered that in the days of Mary, and even of Elizabeth, this amusement was accounted "sport for ladies."

The "Mirror for Magistrates" was not lost to the world by the desertion of Sackville from the service of the muses; for a similar or rather perhaps the same design was entertained, and soon after carried into execution, by other and able though certainly inferior hands.

During the reign of Mary,—but whether before or after the composition of Sackville's Induction does not appear,—a certain printer, having communicated to several "worshipful and honorable persons" his intention of republishing Lydgate's translation in verse of Boccacio's "Fall of Princes," was by them advised to procure a continuation of the work, chiefly in English examples; and he applied in consequence to Baldwyne, an ecclesiastic and graduate of Oxford. Baldwyne declined to embark alone in so vast a design, and one, as he thought, so little likely to prove profitable; but seven other contemporary poets, of whom George Ferrers has already been mentioned as one, having promised their assistance, he consented to assume the editorship of the work. The general frame agreed upon by these associates was that employed in the original work of Boccacio, who feigned, that a party of friends being assembled, it was determined that each of them should contribute to the pleasure of the company by personating some illustrious and unfortunate character, and relating his adventures in the first person. A contrivance so tame and meagre compared with the descent to the regions of the dead sketched with so much spirit by Sackville, that it must have preceded, in all probability, their knowledge at least of his performance. The first part of the work, almost entirely by Baldwyne, was written, and partly printed, in Mary's time, but its publication was prevented by the interference of the lord-chancellor,—a trait of the mean and cowardly jealousy of the administration, which speaks volumes. In the first year of Elizabeth lord Stafford, an enlightened patron of letters, procured a licence for its appearance. A second part soon followed, in which Sackville's Induction and Legend were inserted. The success of this collection was prodigious; edition after edition was given to the public under the inspection of different poetical revisers, by each of whom copious additions were made to the original work. Its favor and reputation continued during all the reign of Elizabeth, and far into that of James; for Mr. Warton tells us that in Chapman's "May-day," printed in 1611, "a gentleman of the most elegant taste for reading and highly accomplished in the current books of the times, is called 'one that has read Marcus Aurelius, Gesta Romanorum, and the Mirror of Magistrates.'[28]"

The greater part of the contributors to this work were lawyers; an order of men who, in most ages and nations, have accounted it a part of professional duty to stand in opposition to popular seditions on one hand, and to the violent and illegal exertion of arbitrary power on the other. Accordingly, many of the legends are made to exemplify the evils of both these excesses; and though, in more places than one, the unlawfulness, on any provocation, of lifting a hand against "the Lord's anointed" is in strong terms asserted, the deposition of tyrants is often recorded with applause; and no mercy is shown to the corrupt judge or minister who wrests law and justice in compliance with the wicked will of his prince.

The newly published chronicles of the wars of York and Lancaster by Hall, a writer who made some approach to the character of a genuine historian, furnished facts to the first composers of the Mirror; the later ones might draw also from Holinshed and Stow. There is some probability that the idea of forming plays on English history was suggested to Shakespeare by the earlier of these legends; and it is certain that his plays, in their turn, furnished some of their brightest ornaments of sentiment and diction to the legends added by later editors.

To a modern reader, the greater part of these once admired pieces will appear trite, prosaic, and tedious; but an uncultivated age—like the children and the common people of all ages—is most attracted and impressed by that mode of narration which leaves the least to be supplied by the imagination of the hearer or reader; and when this collection of history in verse is compared, not with the finished labors of a Hume or a Robertson, but with the prolix and vulgar narratives of the chroniclers, the admiration and delight with which it was received will no longer surprise.

One circumstance more respecting a work so important by the quantity of historical knowledge which it diffused among the mass of readers, and the influence which it exerted over the public mind during half a century, deserves to be here adverted to. Baldwyne and his fellow-laborers began their series from the Norman conquest, and the same starting-point had been judiciously chosen by Sackville; but the fabulous history of Geffrey of Monmouth still found such powerful advocates in national vanity, ignorance and credulity, that succeeding editors found it convenient to embellish their work with moral examples drawn from his fictitious series of British kings before the invasion of the Romans. Accordingly they have brought forward a long line of worthies, beginning with king Albanact, son of Brute the Trojan, and ending with Cadwallader the last king of the Britons, scarcely one of whom, excepting the renowned prince Arthur, is known even by name to the present race of students in English history; though amongst poetical readers, the immortal verse of Spenser preserves some recollection that such characters once were fabled. In return for this superfluity, our Saxon line of kings is passed over with very little notice, only three legends, and those of very obscure personages, being interposed between Cadwallader and king Harold. The descent of the royal race of Britain from the Trojans was at this period more than an article of poetical faith; it was maintained, or rather taken for granted, by the gravest and most learned writers. One Kelston, who dedicated a versified chronicle of the Brutes to Edward VI., went further still, and traced up the pedigree of his majesty through two-and-thirty generations, to Osiris king of Egypt. Troynovant, the name said to have been given to London by Brute its founder, was frequently employed in verse. A song addressed to Elizabeth entitles her the "beauteous queen of second Troy;" and in describing the pageants which celebrated her entrance into the provincial capitals which she visited in her progresses, it will frequently be necessary to introduce to the reader personages of the ancient race of this fabled conqueror of our island, who claimed for his direct ancestor,—but whether in the third or fourth degree authors differ,—no less a hero than the pious Æneas himself.

But to return to the personal circumstances of Elizabeth.

The public and splendid celebration of the festivals of the church was the least reprehensible of the measures employed by Mary for restoring the ascendancy of her religion over the minds of her subjects. She had been profuse in her donations of sacred vestments and ornaments to the churches and the monasteries, of which she had restored several; and these gaudy trappings of a ceremonial worship were exhibited, rather indeed to the scandal than the edification of a dejected people, in frequent processions conducted with the utmost solemnity and magnificence. Court entertainments always accompanied these devotional ceremonies, and Elizabeth seems by assisting at the latter to have purchased admission to the former. The Christmas festivities in which she shared have already been described in the words of a contemporary chronicler; and from the same source we derive the following account of the "antique pageantries" with which another season of rejoicing was celebrated for her recreation, by the munificence of the indulgent superintendent of her conduct and affairs. "In Shrove-tide 1556, sir Thomas Pope made for the lady Elizabeth, all at his own costs, a great and rich masking in the great hall at Hatfield, where the pageants were marvellously furnished. There were there twelve minstrels anticly disguised; with forty six or more gentlemen and ladies, many of them knights or nobles, and ladies of honor, apparelled in crimson sattin, embroidered upon with wreaths of gold, and garnished with borders of hanging pearl. And the devise of a castle of cloth of gold, set with pomegranates about the battlements, with shields of knights hanging therefrom; and six knights in rich harness tourneyed. At night the cupboard in the hall was of twelve stages mainly furnished with garnish of gold and silver vessul, and a banquet of seventy dishes, and after a voidee of spices and suttleties with thirty six spice-plates; all at the charges of sir Thomas Pope. And the next day the play of Holophernes. But the queen percase misliked these folleries as by her letters to sir Thomas it did appear; and so their disguisings ceased [29]."

A circumstance soon afterwards occurred calculated to recall past dangers to the mind of the princess, and perhaps to disturb her with apprehensions of their recurrence.

Dudley Ashton, formerly a partisan of Wyat, had escaped into France, after the defeat and capture of his leader, whence he was still plotting the overthrow of Mary's government. By the connivance or assistance of that court, now on the brink of war with England, he was at length enabled to send over one Cleberry, a condemned person, whom he instructed to counterfeit the earl of Devonshire, and endeavour to raise the country in his cause. Letters and proclamations were at the same time dispersed by Ashton, in which the name of Elizabeth was employed without scruple. The party had even the slanderous audacity to pretend, that between Courtney and the heiress of the crown the closest of all intimacies, if not an actual marriage, subsisted; and the matter went so far that at Ipswich, one of the strong holds of protestantism, Cleberry proclaimed the earl of Devonshire and the princess, king and queen. But the times were past when any advantage could be taken of this circumstance against Elizabeth, whose perfect innocence was well known to the government; and the council immediately wrote in handsome terms to sir Thomas Pope, directing him to acquaint her, in whatever manner he should judge best, with the abominable falsehoods circulated respecting her. A few days after, the queen herself wrote also to her sister in terms fitted to assure her of perfect safety. The princess replied, says Strype, "in a well penned letter," "utterly detesting and disclaiming all concern in the enterprise, and declaiming against the actors in it." Of the epistle thus commended, a single paragraph will probably be esteemed a sufficient specimen.... "And among earthly things I chiefly wish this one; that there were as good surgeons for making anatomies of hearts, that might show my thoughts to your majesty, as there are expert physicians of the bodies, able to express the inward griefs of their maladies to the patient. For then I doubt not, but know well, that whatsoever others should suggest by malice, yet your majesty should be sure by knowledge; so that the more such misty clouds offuscate the clear light of my truth, the more my tried thoughts should glister to the dimming of their hidden malice." &c. It must be confessed that this erudite princess had not perfectly succeeded in transplanting into her own language the epistolary graces of her favorite Cicero;—but to how many much superior classical scholars might a similar remark be applied!

The frustration of Mary's hope of becoming a mother, her subsequent ill state of health, and the resolute refusal of the parliament to permit the coronation of her husband, who had quitted England in disgust to attend his affairs on the continent, conferred, in spite of all the efforts of the catholic party, a daily augmenting importance on Elizabeth. When therefore in November 1556 she had come in state to Somerset Place, her town-residence, to take up her abode for the winter, a kind of court was immediately formed around her; and she might hope to be richly indemnified for any late anxieties or privations, by the brilliant festivities, the respectful observances, and the still more welcome flatteries, of which she found herself the distinguished object:—But disappointment awaited her.

She had been invited to court for the purpose of receiving a second and more solemn offer of the hand of the duke of Savoy, whose suit was enforced by the king her brother-in-law with the whole weight of his influence or authority. This alliance had been the subject of earnest correspondence between Philip and the English council; the Imperial ambassadors were waiting in England for her answer; and the disappointment of the high-raised hopes of the royal party, by her reiteration of a decided negative, was followed by her quitting London in a kind of disgrace early in the month of December.

But Philip would not suffer the business to end here. Indignant at the resistance opposed by the princess to his measures, he seems to have urged the queen to interfere in a manner authoritative enough to compel obedience; but, by a remarkable exchange of characters, Mary now appeared as the protectress of her sister from the violence of Philip.

In a letter still preserved, she tells him, that unless the consent of parliament were first obtained, she fears that the accomplishment of the marriage would fail to procure for him the advantages which he expected; but that, however this might be, her conscience would not allow her to press the matter further. That the friar Alphonso, Philip's confessor, whom he had sent to argue the point with her, had entirely failed of convincing her; that in fact she could not comprehend the drift of his arguments. Philip, it is manifest, must already have made use of very harsh language towards the queen respecting her conduct in this affair, for she deprecates his further displeasure in very abject terms; but yet persists in her resolution with laudable firmness. Her husband was so far, however, from yielding with a good grace a point on which he had certainly no right to dictate either to Mary or to her sister, that soon afterwards he sent into England the duchesses of Parma and Lorrain for the purpose of conducting the princess into Flanders:—but this step was ill-judged. His coldness and neglect had by this time nearly extinguished the fond passion of the queen, who is said to have torn his picture in a fit of rage, on report of some disrespectful language which he had used concerning her since his departure for the continent. Resentment and jealousy now divided her gloomy soul; and Philip's behaviour, on which she had doubtless her spies, caused her to regard the duchess of Lorrain as the usurper of his heart. The extraordinary circumstances of pomp and parade with which this lady, notwithstanding the smallness of her revenues, now appeared in England, confirmed and aggravated her most painful suspicions; and so far from favoring the suit urged by such an ambassadress, Mary became more than ever determined on thwarting it. She would not permit the duchesses to pay the princess a single visit at Hatfield; and her reception gave them so little encouragement to persevere, that they speedily returned to report their failure to him who sent them.

These circumstances seem to have produced a cordiality of feeling and frequency of intercourse between the sisters which had never before existed. In February 1557 the princess arrived with a great retinue at Somerset Place, and went thence to wait upon the queen at Whitehall; and when the spring was somewhat further advanced, her majesty honored her by returning the visit at Hatfield. The royal guest was, of course, to be entertained with every species of courtly and elegant delight; and accordingly, on the morning after her arrival, she and the princess, after attending mass, went to witness a grand exhibition of bear-bating, "with which their highnesses were right well content." In the evening the chamber was adorned with a sumptuous suit of tapestry, called, but from what circumstance does not appear, "the hangings of Antioch." After supper a play was represented by the choristers of St. Paul's, then the most applauded actors in London; and after it was over, one of the children accompanied with his voice the performance of the princess on the virginals.

Sir Thomas Pope could now without offence gratify his lady with another show, devised by him in that spirit of romantic magnificence equally agreeable to the taste of the age and the temper of Elizabeth herself. She was invited to repair to Enfield Chase to take the amusement of hunting the hart. Twelve ladies in white satin attended her on their "ambling palfreys," and twenty yeomen clad in green. At the entrance of the forest she was met by fifty archers in scarlet boots and yellow caps, armed with gilded bows, one of whom presented to her a silver-headed arrow winged with peacock's feathers. The splendid show concluded, according to the established laws of the chase, by the offering of the knife to the princess, as first lady on the field; and her taking 'say  of the buck with her own fair and royal hand.

During the summer of the same year the queen was pleased to invite her sister to an entertainment at Richmond, of which we have received some rather interesting particulars. The princess was brought from Somerset Place in the queen's barge, which was richly hung with garlands of artificial flowers and covered with a canopy of green sarcenet, wrought with branches of eglantine in embroidery and powdered with blossoms of gold. In the barge she was accompanied by sir Thomas Pope and four ladies of her chamber. Six boats attended filled with her retinue, habited in russet damask and blue embroidered satin, tasseled and spangled with silver; their bonnets cloth of silver with green feathers. The queen received her in a sumptuous pavilion in the labyrinth of the gardens. This pavilion, which was of cloth of gold and purple velvet, was made in the form of a castle, probably in allusion to the kingdom of Castile; its sides were divided in compartments, which bore alternately the fleur de lis in silver, and the pomegranate, the bearing of Granada, in gold. A sumptuous banquet was here served up to the royal ladies, in which there was introduced a pomegranate-tree in confectionary work, bearing the arms of Spain:—so offensively glaring was the preference given by Mary to the country of her husband and of her maternal ancestry over that of which she was a native and in her own right queen! There was no masking or dancing, but a great number of minstrels performed. The princess returned to Somerset Place the same evening, and the next day to Hatfield.

The addresses of a new suitor soon after furnished Elizabeth with an occasion of gratifying the queen by fresh demonstrations of respect and duty. The king of Sweden was earnestly desirous of obtaining for Eric his eldest son the hand of a lady whose reversionary prospects, added to her merit and accomplishments, rendered her without dispute the first match in Europe. He had denied his son's request to be permitted to visit her in person, fearing that those violences of temper and eccentricities of conduct of which this ill-fated prince had already given strong indications, might injure his cause in the judgement of so discerning a princess. The business was therefore to be transacted through the Swedish ambassador; but he was directed by his sovereign to make his application by a message to Elizabeth herself, in which the queen and council were not for the present to participate. The princess took hold of this circumstance as a convenient pretext for rejecting a proposal which she felt no disposition to encourage; and she declared that she could never listen to any overtures of this nature which had not first received the sanction of her majesty. The ambassador pleaded in answer, that as a gentleman his master had judged it becoming that his first application should be made to herself; but that should he be so happy as to obtain her concurrence, he would then, as a king, make his demand in form to the queen her sister. The princess replied, that if it were to depend on herself, a single life would ever be her choice; and she finally dismissed the suit with a negative.

On receiving some hint of this transaction, Mary sent for sir Thomas Pope, and having learned from him all the particulars, she directed him to express to her sister her high approbation of her proper and dutiful conduct on this occasion; and also to make himself acquainted with her sentiments on the subject of matrimony in general. He soon after transmitted to her majesty all the information she could desire, in the following letter:

"First after I had declared to her grace how well the queen's majesty liked of her prudent and honorable answer made to the same messenger; I then opened unto her grace the effects of the said messenger's credence; which after her grace had heard, I said, the queen's highness had sent me to her grace, not only to declare the same, but also to understand how her grace liked the said motion. Whereunto, after a little pause taken, her grace answered in form following: 'Master Pope, I require you, after my most humble commendations to the queen's majesty, to render unto the same like thanks that it pleased her highness, of her goodness, to conceive so well of my answer made to the same messenger; and herewithal, of her princely consideration, with such speed to command you by your letters to signify the same unto me: who before remained wonderfully perplexed, fearing that her majesty might mistake the same: for which her goodness, I acknowledge myself bound to honor, serve, love, and obey her highness during my life. Requiring you also to say unto her majesty, that in the king my brother's time there was offered me a very honorable marriage, or two; and ambassadors sent to treat with me touching the same; whereupon I made my humble suit unto his highness, as some of honor yet living can be testimonies, that it would like the same to give me leave, with his grace's favor, to remain in that estate I was, which of all others best liked me, or pleased me. And, in good faith, I pray you say unto her highness, I am even at this present of the same mind, and so intend to continue, with her majesty's favor: and assuring her highness I so well like this estate, as I persuade myself there is not any kind of life comparable unto it. And as concerning my liking the said motion made by the said messenger, I beseech you say unto her majesty, that to my remembrance I never heard of his master before this time; and that I so well like both the message and the messenger, as I shall most humbly pray God upon my knees, that from henceforth I never hear of the one nor the other: assure you that if he should eftsoons repair unto me, I would forbear to speak to him. And were there nothing else to move me to mislike the motion, other than that his master would attempt the same without making the queen's majesty privy thereunto, it were cause sufficient.'

"And when her grace had thus ended, I was so bold as of myself to say unto her grace, her pardon first required, that I thought few or none would believe but that her grace could be right well contented to marry; so that there were some honorable marriage offered her by the queen's highness, or by her majesty's assent. Whereunto her grace answered, 'What I shall do hereafter I know not; but I assure you, upon my truth and fidelity, and as God be merciful unto me, I am not at this time otherwise minded than I have declared unto you; no, though I were offered the greatest prince in all Europe.' And yet percase, the queen's majesty may conceive this rather to proceed of a maidenly shamefacedness, than upon any such certain determination [30]."

This letter appears to have been the last transaction which occurred between Mary and Elizabeth: from it, and from the whole of the notices relative to the situation of the latter thrown together in the preceding pages, it may be collected, that during the three last years of her sister's reign,—the period, namely, of her residence at Hatfield,—she had few privations, and no personal hardships to endure: but for individuals whom she esteemed, for principles to which her conscience secretly inclined, for her country which she truly loved, her apprehensions must have been continually excited, and too often justified by events the most cruel and disastrous.

The reestablishment, by solemn acts of the legislature, of the Romish ritual and the papal authority, though attended with the entire prohibition of all protestant worship, was not sufficient for the bigotry of Mary. Aware that the new doctrines still found harbour in the bosoms of her subjects, she sought to drag them by her violence from this last asylum; for to her, as to all tyrants, it appeared both desirable and possible to subject the liberty of thinking to the regulation and control of human laws.

By virtue of her authority as head of the English church,—a title which the murmurs of her parliament had compelled her against her conscience to resume after laying it aside for some time,—she issued an ecclesiastical commission, which wanted nothing of the Spanish inquisition but the name. The commissioners were empowered to call before them the leading men in every parish of the kingdom, and to compel them to bind themselves by oath to give information against such of their neighbours as, by abstaining from attendance at church or other symptoms of disaffection to the present order of things, afforded room to doubt the soundness of their belief. Articles of faith were then offered to the suspected persons for their signature, and on their simple refusal they were handed over to the civil power, and fire and faggot awaited them. By this barbarous species of punishment, about two hundred and eighty persons are stated to have perished during the reign of Mary; but, to the disgrace of the learned, the rich, and the noble, these martyrs, with the exception of a few distinguished ecclesiastics, were almost all from the middling or lower, some from the very lowest classes of society.

Amongst these glorious sufferers, therefore, the princess could have few personal friends to regret; but in the much larger number of the disgraced, the suspected, the imprisoned, the fugitive, she saw the greater part of the public characters, whether statesmen or divines, on whose support and attachment she had learned to place reliance.

The extraordinary cruelties exercised upon sir John Cheke, who whilst he held the post of preceptor to her brother had also assisted in her own education, must have been viewed by Elizabeth with strong emotion of indignation and grief.

It has been already mentioned, that after his release from imprisonment incurred in the cause of lady Jane Grey,—a release, by the way, which was purchased by the sacrifice of his landed property and all his appointments,—this learned and estimable person obtained permission to travel for a limited period. This was regarded as a special favor; for it was one of Mary's earliest acts of tyranny to prohibit the escape of her destined victims, and it was only by joining themselves to the foreign congregations of the reformed, who had license to depart the kingdom, or by eluding with much hazard the vigilance of the officers by whom the seaports were watched, that any of her protestant subjects had been enabled to secure liberty of conscience in a voluntary exile. It is a little remarkable that Rome should have been Cheke's first city of pilgrimage; but classical associations in this instance overcame the force of protestant antipathies. He took the opportunity however of visiting Basil in his way, where an English congregation was established, and where he had the pleasure of introducing himself to several learned characters, once perhaps the chosen associates of Erasmus.

In the beginning of 1556 he had reached Strasburgh, for it was thence that he addressed a letter to his dear friend and brother-in-law sir William Cecil, who appears to have made some compliances with the times which alarmed and grieved him. It is in a strain of the most affectionate earnestness that he entreats him to hold fast his faith, and "to take heed how he did in the least warp or strain his conscience by any compliance for his worldly security." But such exhortations, however salutary in themselves, did not come with the best grace from those who had found in flight a refuge from the terrors of that persecution which was raging in all its fierceness before the eyes of such of their unfortunate brethren as had found themselves necessitated to abide the fiery trial. A remark by no means foreign to the case before us! Sir John Cheke's leave of absence seems now to have expired; and it was probably with the design of making interest for its renewal that he privately repaired, soon after the date of his letter, to Brussels, on a visit to his two learned friends, lord Paget and sir John Mason, then residing in that city as Mary's ambassadors. These men were recent converts, or more likely conformists, to the court religion; and Paget's furious councils against Elizabeth have been already mentioned. It is to be hoped that they did not add to the guilt of self-interested compliances in matters of faith the blacker crime of a barbarous act of perfidy against a former associate and brother-protestant who had scarcely ceased to be their guest;—but certain it is, that on some secret intimation of his having entered his territories, king Philip issued special orders for the seizure of Cheke. On his return, between Brussels and Antwerp, the unhappy man, with sir Peter Carew his companion, was apprehended by a provost-marshal, bound hand and foot, thrown into a cart, and so conveyed on board a vessel sailing for England. He is said to have been brought to the Tower muffled, according to an odious practice of Spanish despotism introduced into the country during the reign of Mary. Under the terror of such a surprise the awful alternative "Comply or burn" was laid before him. Human frailty under these trying circumstances prevailed; and in an evil hour this champion of light and learning was tempted to subscribe his false assent to the doctrine of the real presence and the whole list of Romish articles. This was but the beginning of humiliations: he was now required to pronounce two ample recantations, one before the queen in person, the other before cardinal Pole, who also imposed upon him various acts of penance. Even this did not immediately procure his liberation from prison; and while he was obliged in public to applaud the mercy of his enemies in terms of the most abject submission, he bewailed in private, with abundance of bitter tears, their cruelty, and still more his own criminal compliance. The savage zealots knew not how to set bounds to their triumph over a man whom learning and acknowledged talents and honorable employments had rendered so considerable.

Even when at length he was set free, and flattered himself that he had drained to the dregs his cup of bitterness, he discovered that the masterpiece of barbarity, the refinement of insult, was yet in store. He was required, as evidence of the sincerity of his conversion and a token of his complete restoration to royal favor, to take his seat on the bench by the side of the savage Bonner, and assist at the condemnation of his brother-protestants. The unhappy man did not refuse,—so thoroughly was his spirit subdued within him,—but it broke his heart; and retiring at last to the house of an old and learned friend, whose door was opened to him in Christian charity, he there ended within a few months, his miserable life, a prey to shame, remorse and melancholy. A sadder tale the annals of persecution do not furnish, or one more humbling to the pride and confidence of human virtue. Many have failed under lighter trials; few have expiated a failure by sufferings so severe. How often must this victim of a wounded spirit have dwelt with envy, amid his slower torments, on the brief agonies and lasting crown of a courageous martyrdom!

It is happily not possible for a kingdom to flourish under the crushing weight of such a tyranny as that of Mary. The retreat of the foreign protestants had robbed the country of hundreds of industrious and skilful artificers; the arbitrary exactions of the queen impoverished and discouraged the trading classes, against whom they principally operated; tumults and insurrections were frequent, and afforded a pretext for the introduction of Spanish troops; the treasury was exhausted in efforts for maintaining the power of the sovereign, restoring the church to opulence and splendor, and re-edifying the fallen monasteries. To add to these evils, a foreign marriage rendered both the queen and country subservient to the interested or ambitious projects of the Spanish sovereign. For his sake a needless war was declared against France, which, after draining entirely an already failing treasury, ended in the loss of Calais, the last remaining trophy of the victories by which the Edwards and the Henrys had humbled in the dust the pride and power of France.

This last stroke completed the dejection of the nation; and Mary herself, who was by no means destitute of sensibility where the honor of her crown was concerned, sunk into an incurable melancholy. "When I die," said she to her attendants who sought to discover the cause of her despondency, "Calais will be found at my heart."

The unfeeling desertion of her husband, the consciousness of having incurred the hatred of her subjects, the unprosperous state of her affairs, and the well founded apprehension that her successor would once more overthrow the whole edifice of papal power which she had labored with such indefatigable ardor to restore, may each be supposed to have infused its own drop of bitterness into the soul of this unhappy princess. The long and severe mortifications of her youth, while they soured her temper, had also undermined her constitution, and contributed to bring upon her a premature old age; dropsical symptoms began to appear, and after a lingering illness of nearly half a year she sunk into the grave on the 17th day of November 1558, in the forty-fourth year of her age.


[28]History of English Poetry, vol. iii.

[29]See Nichols's "Progresses," vol. i. p. 19.

[30]The hint of "some honorable marriage" in the above letter, has been supposed to refer to the duke of Savoy; but if the date inscribed upon the copy which is found among the Harleian MSS. be correct (April 26th 1558), this could not well be; since the queen, early in the preceding year, had declined to interfere further in his behalf.

1536 TO 1542.

Vague notions of hereditary succession to the English throne.—Henry's jealousy of the royal family.—Imprisonment of lord T. Howard and lady M. Douglas.—After-fortunes of this lady.—Princess Mary reconciled with her father.—Dissolution of monasteries proceeds.—Insurrections in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.—Remarkable trait of the power of the nobles.—Rebellion of T. Fitzgerald.—Romantic adventures of Gerald Fitzgerald.—Birth of prince Edward.—Death of the queen.—Rise of the two Seymours.—Henry's views in their advancement.—His enmity to cardinal Pole.—Causes of it.—Geffrey Pole discloses a plot.—Trial and death of lord Montacute, the marquis of Exeter, sir Edward Nevil, and sir N. Carew.—Particulars of these persons.—Attainder of the marchioness of Exeter and countess of Salisbury.—Application of these circumstances to the history of Elizabeth.—Decline of the protestant party.—Its causes.—Cromwel proposes the king's marriage with Anne of Cleves.—Accomplishments of this lady.—Royal marriage.—Cromwel made earl of Essex.—Anger of the Bourchier family.—Justs at Westminster.—The king determines to dissolve his marriage.—Permits the fall of Cromwel.—Is divorced.—Behaviour of the queen.—Marriage of the king to Catherine Howard.—Ascendency of the papists.—Execution of the countess of Salisbury—of lord Leonard Grey.—Discovery of the queen's ill-conduct.—Attainders passed against her and several others.

N othing  could be more opposite to the strict principles of hereditary succession than the ideas entertained,even by the first lawyers of the time of Henry VIII., concerning the manner in which a title to the crown was to be established and recognised.

When Rich, the king's solicitor, was sent by his master to argue with sir Thomas More on the lawfulness of acknowledging the royal supremacy; he inquired in the course of his argument, whether sir Thomas would not own for king any person whatever,—himself for example,—who should have been declared so by parliament? He answered, that he would. Rich then demanded, why he refused to acknowledge a head of the church so appointed? "Because," replied More, "a parliament can make a king and depose him, and that every parliament-man may give his consent thereunto, but a subject cannot be bound so in case of supremacy [3]." Bold as such doctrine respecting the power of parliaments would now be thought, it could not well be controverted at a time when examples were still recent of kings of the line of York or Lancaster alternately elevated or degraded by a vote of the two houses, and when the father of the reigning sovereign had occupied the throne in virtue of such a nomination more than by right of birth.

But the obvious inconveniences and dangers attending the exercise of this power of choice, had induced the parliaments of Henry VIII. to join with him in various acts for the regulation of the succession. It was probably with the concurrence of this body, that in 1532 he had declared his cousin, the marquis of Exeter, heir to the crown; yet this very act, by which the king excluded not only his daughter Mary, but his two sisters and their children, every one of whom had a prior right according to the rules at present received, must have caused the sovereignty to be regarded rather as elective in the royal family than properly hereditary—a fatal idea, which converted every member of that family possessed of wealth, talents, or popularity, into a formidable rival, if not to the sovereign on the throne, at least to his next heir, if a woman or a minor, and which may be regarded as the immediate occasion of those cruel proscriptions which stained with kindred blood the closing years of the reign of Henry, and have stamped upon him to all posterity the odious character of a tyrant.

The first sufferer by the suspicions of the king was lord Thomas Howard, half-brother to the duke of Norfolk, who was attainted of high treason in the parliament of 1536, for having secretly entered into a contract of marriage with lady Margaret Douglas, the king's niece, through which alliance he was accused of aiming at the crown. For this offence he was confined in the Tower till his death; but on what evidence of traitorous designs, or by what law, except the arbitrary mandate of the monarch confirmed by a subservient parliament, it would be difficult to say. That his marriage was forbidden by no law, is evident from the passing of an act immediately afterwards, making it penal to marry any female standing in the first degree of relationship to the king, without his knowledge and consent.

The lady Margaret was daughter to Henry's eldest sister, the queen-dowager of Scotland, by her second husband the earl of Angus. She was born in England, whither her mother had been compelled to fly for refuge by the turbulent state of her son's kingdom, and the ill success of her own and her husband's struggles for the acquisition of political power. In the English court the lady Margaret had likewise been educated, and had formed connexions of friendship; whilst her brother James V. laboured under the antipathy with which the English then regarded those northern neighbours, with whom they were involved in almost perpetual hostilities. It might easily therefore have happened, in case of the king's death without male heirs, that in spite of the power recently bestowed on him by parliament of disposing of the crown by will, which it is very uncertain how he would have employed, a connexion with the potent house of Howard might have given the title of lady Margaret a preference over that of any other competitor. Henry was struck with this danger, however distant and contingent: he caused his niece, as well as her spouse, to be imprisoned; and though he restored her to liberty in a few months, and the death of Howard, not long afterwards, set her free from this ill-starred engagement, she ventured not to form another, till the king himself, at the end of several years, gave her in marriage to the earl of Lenox; by whom she became the mother of lord Darnley, and through him the progenitrix of a line of princes destined to unite another crown to the ancient inheritance of the Plantagenets and the Tudors.

The princess Mary, after the removal of Anne Boleyn, who had exercised towards her the utmost insolence and harshness, ventured upon some overtures towards a reconciliation with her father; but he would accept them on no other conditions than her adopting his religious creed, acknowledging his supremacy, denying the authority of the pope, and confessing the unlawfulness of her mother's marriage. It was long before motives of expediency, and the persuasion of friends, could wring from Mary a reluctant assent to these cruel articles: her compliance was rewarded by the return of her father's affection, but not immediately by her reinstatement in the order of succession. She saw the child of Anne Boleyn still a distinguished object of the king's paternal tenderness; the new queen was likely to give another heir to the crown; and whatever hopes she, with the catholic party in general, had founded on the disgrace of his late spouse, became frustrated by succeeding events.

The death of Catherine of Arragon seemed to have removed the principal obstacles to an agreement between the king and the pope; and the holy father now deigned to make some advances towards a son whom he hoped to find disposed to penitence: but they were absolutely rejected by Henry, who had ceased to dread his spiritual thunders. The parliament and the convocation showed themselves prepared to adopt, without hesitation, the numerous changes suggested by the king in the ancient ritual; and Cromwel, with influence not apparently diminished by the fall of the late patroness of the protestant party, presided in the latter assembly with the title of vicegerent, and with powers unlimited.

The suppression of monasteries was now carried on with increasing rigor, and thousands of their unfortunate inhabitants were mercilessly turned out to beg or starve. These, dispersing themselves over the country, in which their former hospitalities had rendered them generally popular, worked strongly on the passions of the many, already discontented at the imposition of new taxes, which served to convince them that the king and his courtiers would be the only gainers by the plunder of the church; and formidable insurrections were in some counties the result. In Lincolnshire the commotions were speedily suppressed by the interposition of the earl of Shrewsbury and other loyal noblemen; but it was necessary to send into Yorkshire a considerable army under the duke of Norfolk. Through the dexterous management of this leader, who was judged to favor the cause of the revolters as much as his duty to his sovereign and a regard to his own safety would permit, little blood was shed in the field; but much flowed afterwards on the scaffold, where the lords Darcy and Hussey, sir Thomas Percy, brother to the earl of Northumberland, and several private gentlemen, suffered as traitors.

The suppression of these risings strengthened, as usual, the hands of government, but at the expense of converting into an object of dread, a monarch who in the earlier and brighter period of his reign had been regarded with sentiments of admiration and love.

In lord Herbert's narrative of this insurrection, we meet with a passage too remarkable to be omitted. "But the king, who was informed from divers parts, but chiefly from Yorkshire, that the people began there also to take arms, and knowing of what great consequence it might be if the great persons in those parts, though the rumour were false, should be said to join with him, had commanded George earl of Shrewsbury, Thomas Manners earl of Rutland, and George Hastings earl of Huntingdon, to make a proclamation to the Lincolnshire-men, summoning and commanding them on their allegiance and peril of their lives to return; which, as it much disheartened them, so many stole away," &c.

In this potency of the hereditary aristocracy of the country, and comparative feebleness, on some occasions at least, of the authority of the most despotic sovereign whom England had yet seen on the throne, we discern at once the excuse which Henry would make to himself for his severities against the nobility, and the motive of that extreme popularity of manners by which Elizabeth aimed at attaching to herself the affections of the middling and lower orders of her subjects.

Soon after these events, Henry confirmed the new impressions which his subjects had received of his character, by an act of extraordinary, but not unprovoked, severity, which involved in destruction one of the most ancient and powerful houses among the peerage of Ireland, that of Fitzgerald earl of Kildare. The nobleman who now bore this title had married for his second wife lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of the first marquis of Dorset, and first-cousin to the king by his mother; he had been favored at court, and was at this time lord deputy of Ireland. But the country being in a very disturbed state, and the deputy accused of many acts of violence, he had obeyed with great reluctance a summons to answer for his conduct before the king in council, leaving his eldest son to exercise his office during his absence. On his arrival, he was committed to the Tower, and his son, alarmed by the false report of his having lost his head, broke out immediately into a furious rebellion. After a temporary success, Thomas Fitzgerald was reduced to great difficulties: at the same time a promise of pardon was held out to him; and confiding in it he surrendered himself to lord Leonard Grey, brother to the countess his step-mother. His five uncles, also implicated in the guilt of rebellion, were seized by surprise, or deceived into submission. The whole six were then conveyed to England in the same ship; and all, in spite of the entreaties and remonstrances of lord Leonard Grey, who considered his own honor as pledged for the safety of their lives, were hanged at Tyburn.

The aged earl had died in the Tower on receiving news of his son's rash enterprise; and a posthumous attainder being issued against him, his lands and goods were forfeited. The king however, in pity to the widow, and as a slight atonement for so cruel an injustice, permitted one of her daughters to retain some poor remains of the family plate and valuables; and another of them, coming to England, appears to have received her education at Hunsdon palace with the princesses Mary and Elizabeth her relations. Here she was seen by Henry earl of Surry, whose chaste and elegant muse has handed her down to posterity as the lovely Geraldine, the object of his fervent but fruitless devotion. She was married first to sir Anthony Brown, and afterwards became the wife of the earl of Lincoln, surviving by many years her noble and unfortunate admirer.

The countess of Kildare, and the younger of her two sons, likewise remained in England obscure and unmolested; but the merciless rancour of Henry against the house of Fitzgerald still pursued its destitute and unoffending heir, who was struggling through a series of adventures the most perilous and the most romantic.

This boy, named Gerald, then about twelve years old, had been left by his father at a house in Kildare, under the care and tuition of Leverous a priest who was his foster-brother. The child was lying ill of the small-pox, when the news arrived that his brother and uncles had been sent prisoners to England: but his affectionate guardian, justly apprehensive of greater danger to his young charge, wrapped him up as carefully as he could, and conveyed him away with all speed to the house of one of his sisters, where he remained till he was quite recovered. Thence his tutor removed him successively into the territories of two or three different Irish chieftains, who sheltered him for about three quarters of a year, after which he carried him to his aunt the lady Elenor, at that time widow of a chief named Maccarty Reagh.

This lady had long been sought in marriage by O'Donnel lord of Tyrconnel, to whose suit she had been unpropitious: but wrought upon by the hope of being able to afford effectual protection to her unfortunate nephew, she now consented to an immediate union; and taking Gerald along with her to her new home in the county of Donegal, she there hospitably entertained him for about a year. But the jealous spirit of the implacable king seemed to know no rest while this devoted youth still breathed the air of liberty, and he caused a great reward to be offered for his apprehension, which the base-minded O'Donnel immediately sought to appropriate by delivering him up. Fortunately the lady Elenor discovered his intentions in time, and instantly causing her nephew to disguise his person, and storing him, like a bountiful aunt, with "sevenscore portugueses," she put him under the charge of Leverous and an old servant of his father's, and shipped him on board a vessel bound for St. Malo's.

Having thus secured his escape, she loftily expostulated with her husband on his villainy in plotting to betray her kinsman, whom she had stipulated that he should protect to the utmost of his power; and she bid him know, that as the danger of the youth had alone induced her to form any connection with him, so the assurance of his safety should cause her to sequester herself for ever from the society of so base and mercenary a wretch: and hereupon, collecting all that belonged to her, she quitted O'Donnel and returned to her own country.

Gerald, in the mean time, arrived without accident in Bretagne, and was favorably received by the governor of that province, when the king of France, being informed of his situation, gave him a place about the dauphin. Sir John Wallop however, the English embassador, soon demanded him, in virtue of a treaty between the two countries for the delivering up of offenders and proscribed persons; and while the king demurred to the requisition, Gerald consulted his safety by making a speedy retreat into Flanders. Thither his steps were dogged by an Irish servant of the embassador's; but the governor of Valenciennes protected him by imprisoning this man, till the youth himself generously begged his release; and he reached the emperor's court at Brussels, without further molestation. But here also the English embassador demanded him; the emperor however excused himself from giving up a fugitive whose youth sufficiently attested his innocence, and sent him privately to the bishop of Liege, with a pension of a hundred crowns a month. The bishop entertained him very honorably, placing him in a monastery, and watching carefully over the safety of his person, till, at the end of half a year, his mother's kinsman, cardinal Pole, sent for him into Italy.

Before he would admit the young Irishman to his presence, the cardinal required him to learn Italian; and allowing him an annuity, placed him first with the bishop of Verona, then with a cardinal, and afterwards with the duke of Mantua. At the end of a year and a half he invited him to Rome, and soon becoming attached to him, took him into his house, and for three years had him instructed under his own eye in all the accomplishments of a finished gentleman. At the end of this time, when Gerald had nearly attained the age of nineteen, his generous patron gave him the choice either of pursuing his studies or of travelling to seek his adventures. The youth preferred the latter; and repairing to Naples, he fell in with some knights of Rhodes, whom he accompanied to Malta, and thence to Tripoli, a place at that time possessed by the order, whence they carried on fierce war against the "Turks and miscreants," spoiling and sacking their villages and towns, and taking many prisoners whom they sold to the Christians for slaves. In these proceedings, the young adventurer took a strenuous and valiant part, much to his profit; for in less than a year he returned to Rome laden with a rich booty. "Proud was the cardinal to hear of his prosperous exploits," and increased his pension to three hundred pounds a year. Shortly after, he entered into the service of Cosmo duke of Florence, and remained three years his master of the horse.

The tidings of Henry's death at length put an end to his exile, and he hastened to London in the company of some foreign embassadors, and still attended by his faithful guardian Leverous. Appearing at king Edward's court in a mask, or ball, he had the good fortune to make a deep impression on the heart of a young lady, daughter to sir Anthony Brown, whom he married; and through the intercession of her friends was restored to a part of his inheritance by the young monarch, who also knighted him. In the next reign, the interest of cardinal Pole procured his reinstatement in all the titles and honors of his ancestors. He was a faithful and affectionate subject to queen Elizabeth, in whose reign he turned protestant; was by her greatly favored, and finally died in peace in 1585.[4]

That ill-directed restlessness which formed so striking a feature in the character of Henry VIII. had already prompted him to interfere, as we have seen, on more than one occasion, with the order of succession; and the dangerous consequences of these capricious acts with respect to the several branches of the royal family have already been observed. To the people at large also, his instability on so momentous a point was harassing and alarming, and they became as much at a loss to conjecture what successor, as what religion, he would at last bequeath them.

Under such circumstances, great indeed must have been the joy in the court and in the nation on the occurrence of an event calculated to end all doubts and remove all difficulties—the birth of a prince of Wales.

This auspicious infant seemed to strangle in his cradle the serpents of civil discord. Every lip hastened to proffer him its homage; every heart united, or seemed at least to unite, in the general burst of thankfulness and congratulation.

The zealous papists formed the party most to be suspected of insincerity in their professions of satisfaction; but the princess Mary set them an excellent example of graceful submission to what was inevitable, by soliciting the office of godmother. Her sister was happily too young to be infected with court-jealousies, or to behold in a brother an unwelcome intruder, who came to snatch from her the inheritance of a crown: between Elizabeth and Edward an attachment truly fraternal sprung up with the first dawnings of reason; and notwithstanding the fatal blow given to her interests by the act of settlement extorted from his dying hand, this princess never ceased to cherish his memory, and to mention him in terms of affectionate regret.

The conjugal felicities of Henry were destined to be of short duration, and before he could receive the felicitations of his subjects on the birth of his son, the mother was snatched away by death. The queen died deeply regretted, not only by her husband, but by the whole court, whom she had attached by the uncommon sweetness of her disposition. To the princess Mary her behaviour had been the reverse of that by which her predecessor had disgraced herself; and the little Elizabeth had received from her marks of a maternal tenderness. Jane Seymour was accounted a favourer of the protestant cause; but as she was apparently free from the ambition of interfering in state affairs, her death had no further political influence than what resulted from the king's marriage thus becoming once more an object of speculation and court intrigue. It did not even give a check to the advancement of her two brothers, destined to act and to suffer so conspicuously in the fierce contentions of the ensuing minority; for the king seemed to regard it as a point of policy to elevate those maternal relations of his son, on whose care he relied to watch over the safety of his person in case of his own demise, to a dignity and importance which the proudest nobles of the land might view with respect or fear. Sir Edward Seymour, who had been created lord Beauchamp the year before, was now made earl of Hertford; and high places at court and commands in the army attested the favor of his royal brother-in-law. Thomas Seymour, afterwards lord high-admiral, attained during this reign no higher dignity than that of knighthood; but considerable pecuniary grants were bestowed upon him; and whilst he saw his wealth increase, he was secretly extending his influence, and feeding his aspiring spirit with fond anticipations of future greatness.

All now seemed tranquil: but a discerning eye might already have beheld fresh tempests gathering in the changeful atmosphere of the English court. The jealousies of the king, become too habitual to be discarded, had in fact only received a new direction from the birth of his son: his mind was perpetually haunted with the dread of leaving him, a defenceless minor, in the hands of contending parties in religion, and of a formidable and factious nobility; and for the sake of obviating the distant and contingent evils which he apprehended from this source, he showed himself ready to pour forth whole rivers of the best blood of England.

The person beyond all comparison most dreaded and detested by Henry at this juncture was his cousin Reginald Pole, for whom when a youth he had conceived a warm affection, whose studies he had encouraged by the gift of a deanery and the hope of further church-preferment, and of whose ingratitude he always believed himself entitled to complain. It was the long-contested point of the lawfulness of Henry's marriage with his brother's widow, which set the kinsmen at variance. Pole had from the first refused to concur with the university of Paris, in which he was then residing, in its condemnation of this union: afterwards, alarmed probably at the king's importunities on the subject, he had obtained the permission then necessary for leaving England, to which he had returned, and travelled into Italy. Here he formed friendships with the most eminent defenders of the papal authority, now incensed to the highest degree against Henry, on account of his having declared himself head of the English church; and both his convictions and his passions becoming still more strongly engaged on the side which he had already espoused, he published a work on the unity of the church, in which the conduct of his sovereign and benefactor became the topic of his vehement invective.

The offended king, probably with treacherous intentions, invited Pole to come to England, and explain to him in person certain difficult passages of his book: but his kinsman was too wary to trust himself in such hands; and his refusal to obey this summons, which implied a final renunciation of his country and all his early prospects, was immediately rewarded by the pope, through the emperor's concurrence, with a cardinal's hat and the appointment of legate to Flanders. But alarmed, as well as enraged, at seeing the man whom he regarded as his bitterest personal enemy placed in a situation so convenient for carrying on intrigues with the disaffected papists in England, Henry addressed so strong a remonstrance to the governess of the Netherlands, as caused her to send the cardinal out of the country before he had begun to exercise the functions of his legantine office.

From this time, to maintain any intercourse or correspondence with Pole was treated by the king as either in itself an act of treason, or at least as conclusive evidence of traitorous intentions. He believed that the darkest designs were in agitation against his own government and his son's succession; and the circumstance of the cardinal's still declining to take any but deacon's orders, notwithstanding his high dignity in the church, suggested to him the suspicion that his kinsman aimed at the crown itself, through a marriage with the princess Mary, of whose legitimacy he had shown himself so strenuous a champion. What foundation there might be for such an idea it is difficult to determine.

There is an author who relates that the lady Mary was educated with the cardinal under his mother, and hints that an early attachment had thus been formed between them [5]: A statement manifestly inaccurate, since Pole was sixteen years older than the princess; though it is not improbable that Mary, during some period of her youth, might be placed under the care of the countess of Salisbury, and permitted to associate with her son on easy and affectionate terms. It is well known that after Mary's accession, Charles V. impeded the journey of Pole into England till her marriage with his son Philip had been actually solemnized; but this was probably rather from a persuasion of the inexpediency of the cardinal's sooner opening his legantine commission in England, than from any fear of his supplanting in Mary's affections his younger rival, though some have ascribed to the emperor the latter motive.

When however it is recollected, that in consequence of Henry's having caused a posthumous judgement of treason to be pronounced against the papal martyr Becket, his shrine to be destroyed, his bones burned, and his ashes scattered, the pope had at length, in 1538, fulminated against him the long-suspended sentence of excommunication, and made a donation of his kingdom to the king of Scots, and thus impressed the sanction of religion on any rebellious attempts of his Roman-catholic subjects,—it would be too much to pronounce the apprehensions of the monarch to have been altogether chimerical. But his suspicion appears, as usual, to have gone beyond the truth, and his anger to have availed itself of slight pretexts to ruin where he feared and hated.

Such was the state of his mind when the treachery or weakness of Geffrey Pole furnished him withintelligence of a traitorous correspondence carried on with his brother the cardinal by several persons of distinction attached to the papal interest, and in which he had himself been a sharer. On his information, the marquis of Exeter, viscount Montacute, sir Edward Nevil, and sir Nicholas Carew, were apprehended, tried and found guilty of high treason. Public opinion was at this time nothing; and notwithstanding the rank, consequence and popularity of the men whose lives were sacrificed on this occasion; notwithstanding that secret consciousness of his own ill-will towards them, which ought to have rendered Henry more than usually cautious in his proceedings,—not even an attempt was made to render their guilt clear and notorious to the nation at large; and posterity scarcely even knows of what designs they were accused; to overt acts it is quite certain that they had not proceeded.

Henry lord Montacute was obnoxious on more than one account: he was the brother of cardinal Pole; and as eldest son of Margaret, sole surviving child of the duke of Clarence and heiress to her brother the earl of Warwick, he might be regarded as succeeding to those claims on the crown which under Henry VII. had proved fatal to the last-mentioned unfortunate and ill-treated nobleman. During the early part of this reign, however, he, in common with other members of the family of Pole, had received marks of the friendship of Henry. In 1514, his mother was authorized to assume the title of countess of Salisbury, and he that of viscount Montacute, notwithstanding the attainder formerly passed against the great house of Nevil, from whom these honors were derived. In 1521 lord Montacute had been indicted for concealing the treasons, real or pretended, of the duke of Buckingham; but immediately on his acquittal he was restored to the good graces of his sovereign, and, two years after, attended him on an expedition to France.

It is probable that lord Montacute was popular; he was at least a partisan of the old religion, and heir to the vast possessions which his mother derived from the king-making earl of Warwick her maternal grandfather; sufficient motives with Henry for now wishing his removal. If the plot in which he was charged by his perfidious brother with participating, had in view the elevation of the cardinal to a matrimonial crown by his union with the princess Mary, which seems to have been insinuated, lord Montacute must at least stand acquitted of all design of asserting his own title; yet it may justly be suspected that his character of representative of the house of Clarence, was by Henry placed foremost in the catalogue of his offences.

A similar remark applies still more forcibly to the marquis of Exeter. Son of Catherine, youngest daughter of Edward IV., and so lately declared his heir by Henry himself, it is scarcely credible that any inducement could have drawn this nobleman into a plot for disturbing the succession in favour of a claim worse founded than his own; and that the blood which he inherited was the true object of Henry's apprehensions from him, evidently appeared to all the world by his causing the son of the unhappy marquis, a child at this period, to be detained a state prisoner in the Tower during the remainder of his reign.

Sir Edward Nevil was brother to lord Abergavenny and to the wife of lord Montacute—a connection likely to bring him into suspicion, and perhaps to involve him in real guilt; but it must not be forgotten that he was a lineal descendant of the house of Lancaster by Joan daughter of John of Gaunt. The only person not of royal extraction who suffered on this occasion was sir Nicholas Carew, master of the horse, and lately a distinguished favourite of the king; of whom it is traditionally related, that though accused as an accomplice in the designs of the other noble delinquents, the real offence for which he died, was the having retorted, with more spirit than prudence, some opprobrious language with which his royal master had insulted him as they were playing at bowls together [6]. The family of Carew was however allied in blood to that of Courtney, of which the marquis of Exeter was the head.

But the attempt to extirpate all who under any future circumstances might be supposed capable of advancing claims formidable to the house of Tudor, must have appeared to Henry himself a task almost as hopeless as cruel. Sons and daughters of the Plantagenet princes had in every generation freely intermarried with the ancient nobles of the land; and as fast as those were cut off whose connection with the royal blood was nearest and most recent, the pedigrees of families pointed out others, and others still, whose relationship grew into nearness by the removal of such as had stood before them, and presented to the affrighted eyes of their persecutor, a hydra with still renewed and multiplying heads.

Not content with these inflictions,—sufficiently severe it might be thought to intimidate the papal faction,—Henry gratified still further his stern disposition by the attainder of the marchioness of Exeter and the aged countess of Salisbury. The marchioness he soon after released; but the countess was still detained prisoner under a sentence of death, which a parliament, atrocious in its subserviency, had passed upon her without form of trial, but which the king did not think proper at present to carry into execution, either because he chose to keep her as a kind of hostage for the good behaviour of her son the cardinal, or because, tyrant as he had become, he had not yet been able to divest himself of all reverence or pity for the hoary head of a female, a kinswoman, and the last who was born to the name of Plantagenet.

It is melancholy, it is even disgusting, to dwell upon these acts of legalized atrocity, but let it be allowed that it is important and instructive. They form unhappily a leading feature of the administration of Henry VIII. during the latter years of his reign; they exhibit in the most striking point of view the sentiments and practices of the age; and may assist us to form a juster estimate of the character and conduct of Elizabeth, whose infant mind was formed to the contemplation of these domestic tragedies, and whose fame has often suffered by inconsiderate comparisons which have placed her in parallel with the enlightened and humanized sovereigns of more modern days, rather than with the stern and arbitrary Tudors, her barbarous predecessors.

It is remarkable that the protestant party at the court of Henry, so far from gaining strength and influence by the severities exercised against the adherents of cardinal Pole and the ancient religion, was evidently in a declining state. The feeble efforts of its two leaders Cromwel and Cranmer, of whom the first was deficient in zeal, the last in courage, now experienced irresistible counteraction from the influence of Gardiner, whose uncommon talents for business, joined to his extreme obsequiousness, had rendered him at once necessary and acceptable to his royal master. The law of the Six Articles, which forbade under the highest penalties the denial of several doctrines of the Romish church peculiarly obnoxious to the reformers, was probably drawn up by this minister. It was enacted in the parliament of 1539: a vast number of persons were soon after imprisoned for transgressing it; and Cranmer himself was compelled, by the clause which ordained the celibacy of the clergy, to send away his wife.

Under these circumstances Cromwel began to look on all sides for support; and recollecting with regret the powerful influence exerted by Anne Boleyn in favor of the good cause, and even the gentler and more private aid lent to it by the late queen, he planned a new marriage for his sovereign, with a lady educated in the very bosom of the protestant communion. Political considerations favored the design; since a treaty lately concluded between the emperor and the king of France rendered it highly expedient that Henry, by way of counterpoise, should strengthen his alliance with the Smalcaldic league. In short, Cromwel prevailed. Holbein, whom the king had appointed his painter on the recommendation of sir Thomas More, and still retained in that capacity, was sent over to take the portrait of Anne sister of the duke of Cleves; and rashly trusting in the fidelity of the likeness, Henry soon after solicited her hand in marriage.

"The lady Anne," says a historian, "understood no language but Dutch, so that all communication of speech between her and our king was intercluded. Yet our embassador, Nicholas Wotton doctor of law, employed in the business, hath it, that she could both read and write in her own language, and sew very well; only for music, he said, it was not the manner of the country to learn it [7]." It must be confessed that for a princess this list of accomplishments appears somewhat scanty; and Henry, unfortunately for the lady Anne, was a great admirer of learning, wit and talents, in the female sex, and a passionate lover of music, which he well understood. What was still worse, he piqued himself extremely on his taste in beauty, and was much more solicitous respecting the personal charms of his consorts than is usual with sovereigns; and when, on the arrival of his destined bride in England, he hastened to Rochester to gratify his impatience by snatching a private view of her, he found that in this capital article he had been grievously imposed upon. The uncourteous comparison by which he expressed his dislike of her large and clumsy person is well known. Bitterly did he lament to Cromwel the hard fortune which had allotted him so unlovely a partner, and he returned to London very melancholy. But the evil appeared to be now past remedy; it was contrary to all policy to affront the German princes by sending back their countrywoman after matters had gone so far, and Henry magnanimously resolved to sacrifice his own feelings, once in his life, for the good of his country. Accordingly, he received the princess with great magnificence and with every outward demonstration of satisfaction, and was married to her at Greenwich in January 1540.

Two or three months afterwards, the king, notwithstanding his secret dissatisfaction, rewarded Cromwel for his pains in concluding this union by conferring on him the vacant title of earl of Essex;—a fatal gift, which exasperated to rage the mingled jealousy and disdain which this low-born and aspiring minister had already provoked from the ancient nobility, by intruding himself into the order of the garter, and which served to heap upon his devoted head fresh coals of wrath against the day of retribution which was fast approaching. The act of transferring this title to a new family, could in fact be no otherwise regarded by the great house of Bourchier, which had long enjoyed it, than either as a marked indignity to itself, or as a fresh result of the general Tudor system of depressing and discountenancing the blood of the Plantagenets, from which the Bourchiers, through a daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, were descended. The late earl had left a married daughter, to whom, according to the customary courtesy of English sovereigns in similar circumstances, the title ought to have been continued; and as this lady had no children, the earl of Bath, as head of the house, felt himself also aggrieved by the alienation of family honors which he hoped to have seen continued to himself and his posterity.

In honor, probably, of the recent marriage of the king, unusually splendid justs were opened at Westminster on May-day; in which the challengers were headed by sir John Dudley, and the defenders by the earl of Surry. This entertainment was continued for several successive days, during which the challengers, according to the costly fashion of ancient hospitality, kept open house at their common charge, and feasted the king and queen, the members of both houses, and the lord-mayor and aldermen with their wives.

But scenes of pomp and festivity had no power to divert the thoughts of the king from his domestic grievance,—a wife whom he regarded with disgust: on the contrary, it is probable that this season of courtly revelry encreased his disquiet, by giving him opportunities of beholding under the most attractive circumstances the charms of a youthful beauty whom he was soon seized with the most violent desire of placing beside him on the throne which he judged her worthy to adorn.

No considerations of rectitude or of policy could longer restrain the impetuous monarch from casting off the yoke of a detested marriage: and as a first step towards emancipation, he determined to permit the ruin of its original adviser, that unpopular minister, but vigorous and serviceable instrument of arbitrary power, whom he had hitherto defended with pertinacity against all attacks.

No sooner was the decline of his favor perceived, and what so quickly perceived at courts? than the ill-fated Cromwel found himself assailed on every side. His active agency in the suppression of monasteries had brought upon him, with the imputation of sacrilege, the hatred of all the papists;—a certain coldness, or timidity, which he had manifested in the cause of religious reformation in other respects, and particularly the enactment of the Six Articles during his administration, had rendered him an object of suspicion or dislike to the protestants;—in his new and undefined office of royal vicegerent for the exercise of the supremacy, he had offended the whole body of the clergy;—and he had just filled up the measure of his offences against the nobility by procuring a grant of the place of lord high-steward, long hereditary in the great house of the Veres earls of Oxford. The only voice raised in his favor was that of Cranmer, who interceded with Henry in his behalf in a letter eloquent, touching, and even courageous, times and persons considered. Gardiner and the duke of Norfolk urged on his accusation; the parliament, with its accustomed subserviency, proceeded against him by attainder; and having voted him guilty of heresy and treason, left it in the choice of the king to bring him either to the block or the stake for whichever he pleased of these offences; neither of which was proved by evidence, or even supported by reasonable probabilities. But against this violation in his person of the chartered rights of Englishmen, however flagrant, the unfortunate earl of Essex had forfeited all right to appeal, since it was himself who had first advised the same arbitrary mode of proceeding in the cases of the marchioness of Exeter, of the countess of Salisbury, and of several persons of inferior rank connected with them; on whom capital punishment had already been inflicted.

With many private virtues, Essex, like his great master Wolsey, and like the disgraced ministers of despotic princes in general, perished unpitied; and the king and the faction of Gardiner and of the Howards seemed equally to rejoice in the free course opened by his removal to their further projects. The parliament was immediately ordered to find valid a certain frivolous pretext of a prior contract, on which its master was pleased to demand a divorce from Ann of Cleves; and the marriage was unanimously declared null, without any opportunity afforded to the queen of bringing evidence in its support.

The fortitude, or rather phlegm, with which her unmerited degradation was supported by the lady Anne, has in it something at once extraordinary and amusing. There is indeed a tradition that she fainted on first receiving the information that her marriage was likely to be set aside; but the shock once over, she gave to the divorce, without hesitation or visible reluctance, that assent which was required of her. Taking in good part the pension of three thousand pounds per annum, and the title of his sister  which her ex-husband was graciously pleased to offer her, she wrote to her brother the elector to entreat him still to live in amity with the king of England, against whom she had no ground of complaint; and she continued, till the day of her death, to make his country her abode. Through the whole affair she gave no indication of wounded pride; unless her refusal to return in the character of a discarded and rejected damsel, to the home which she had so lately quitted in all the pomp and triumph of a royal bride, is to be regarded as such. But even for this part of her conduct a different motive is with great plausibility assigned by a writer, who supposes her to have been swayed by the prudent consideration, that the regular payment of her pension would better be secured by her remaining under the eyes and within the protection of the English nation.

A very few weeks after this apparently formidable business had been thus readily and amicably arranged, Catherine Howard niece to the duke of Norfolk, and first cousin to Anne Boleyn, was declared queen. This lady, beautiful, insinuating, and more fondly beloved by the king than any of her predecessors, was a catholic, and almost all the members of the council who now possessed office or influence were attached, more or less openly, to the same communion. In consequence, the penalties of the Six Articles were enforced with great cruelty against the reformers; but this did not exempt from punishment such as, offending on the other side, ventured to deny the royal supremacy; the only difference was, that the former class of culprits were burned as heretics, the latter hanged as traitors.

The king soon after seized the occasion of a trifling insurrection in Yorkshire, of which sir John Nevil was the leader, to complete his vengeance against cardinal Pole, by bringing to a cruel and ignominious end the days of his venerable and sorrow-stricken mother, who had been unfortunate enough thus long to survive the ruin of her family. The strange and shocking scene exhibited on the scaffold by the desperation of this illustrious and injured lady, is detailed by all our historians: it seems almost incredible that the surrounding crowd were not urged by an unanimous impulse of horror and compassion to rush in and rescue from the murderous hands of the executioner the last miserable representative of such a line of princes. But the eyes of Henry's subjects were habituated to these scenes of blood; and they were viewed by some with indifference, and by the rest with emotions of terror which effectually repressed the generous movements of a just and manly indignation.

In public causes, to be accused and to suffer death were now the same thing; and another eminent victim of the policy of the English Tiberius displayed in a novel and truly portentous manner his utter despair of the justice of the country and the mercy of his sovereign.

Lord Leonard Grey, late deputy of Ireland, was accused of favouring the escape of that persecuted child his nephew Gerald Fitzgerald, of corresponding with cardinal Pole, and of various other offences called treasonable. Being brought before a jury of knights, "he saved them," says lord Herbert, "the labour of condemning him, and without more ado confessed all. Which, whether this lord, who was of great courage, did out of desperation or guilt, some circumstances make doubtful; and the rather, that the articles being so many, he neither denied nor extenuated any of them, though his continual fighting with the king's enemies, where occasion was, pleaded much on his part. Howsoever, he had his head cut off [8]."

The queen and her party were daily gaining upon the mind of the king; and Cranmer himself, notwithstanding the high esteem entertained for him by Henry, had begun to be endangered by their machinations, when an unexpected discovery put into his hands the means of baffling all their designs, and producing a total revolution in the face of the court.

It was towards the close of the year 1541 that private information was conveyed to the primate of such disorders in the conduct of the queen before her marriage as could not fail to plunge her in infamy and ruin. Cranmer, if not exceedingly grieved, was at least greatly perplexed by the incident:—at first sight there appeared to be equal danger in concealing or discovering circumstances of a nature so delicate, and the archbishop was timid by nature, and cautious from the experience of a court. At length, all things well weighed, he judiciously preferred the hazard of making the communication at once, without reserve, and directly, to the person most interested; and, forming into a narrative facts which his tongue dared not utter to the face of a prince whose anger was deadly, he presented it to him and entreated him to peruse it in secret.

Love and pride conspired to persuade the king that his Catherine was incapable of having imposed upon him thus grossly, and he at once pronounced the whole story a malicious fabrication; but the strict inquiry which he caused to be instituted for the purpose of punishing its authors, not only established the truth of the accusations already brought, but served also to throw the strongest suspicions on the conjugal fidelity of the queen.

The agonies of Henry on this occasion were such as in any other husband would have merited the deepest compassion: with him they were quickly succeeded by the most violent rage; and his cry for vengeance was, as usual, echoed with alacrity by a loyal and sympathizing parliament. Party animosity profited by the occasion and gave additional impulse to their proceedings. After convicting by attainder the queen and her paramours, who were soon after put to death, the two houses proceeded also to attaint her uncle, aunt, grandmother, and about ten other persons, male and female, accused of being accessary or privy to her disorders before marriage, and of not revealing them to the king when they became acquainted with his intention of making her his consort; an offence declared to be misprision of treason by an ex post facto law. But this was an excess of barbarity of which Henry himself was ashamed: the infamous lady Rochford was the only confident who suffered capitally; the rest were released after imprisonments of longer or shorter duration; yet a reserve of bitterness appears to have remained stored up in the heart of the king against the whole race of Howard, which the enemies of that illustrious house well knew how to cherish and augment against a future day.


[3]See Herbert's Henry VIII.

[4]See Chron. of Ireland in Holinshed, pass. Collins's Peerage, by sir E. Brydges, article Viscount Leinster.

[5]See Lloyd's Worthies, article Pole.

[6]See Fuller's Worthies in Surry.

[7]Herbert.

[8]Many years after, the earl of Kildare solemnly assured the author of the "Chronicles of Ireland" in Holinshed, that lord Leonard Grey had no concern whatever in his escape.

1568 TO 1570.

Proceedings of the commissioners at York in the cause of Mary.—Intrigues of the duke of Norfolk with the regent Murray.—The conferences transferred to Westminster.—Mary's guilt disclosed.—Fresh intrigues of Norfolk.—Conspiracy for procuring his marriage with Mary.—Conduct of Throgmorton.—Attempt to ruin Cecil baffled by the queen.—Endeavour of Sussex to reconcile Norfolk and Cecil.—Norfolk betrayed by Leicester—his plot revealed—committed to the Tower.—Mary given in charge to the earl of Huntingdon.—Remarks on this subject.—Notice of Leonard Dacre—of the earls of Westmorland and Northumberland.—Their rebellion.—Particulars of the Norton family.—Severities exercised against the rebels.—Conduct of the earl of Sussex.—Rising under Leonard Dacre.—His after-fortunes and those of his family.—Expedition of the earl of Sussex into Scotland.—Murder of regent Murray.—Influence of this event on the affairs of Elizabeth.—Campaign in Scotland.—Papal bull against the queen.—Trifling effect produced by it.—Attachment of the people to her government.

T he  three commissioners named by Elizabeth to sit as judges in the great cause between Mary and her subjects, of which she had been named the umpire, were the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Sussex, and sir Ralph Sadler, a very able negotiator and man of business. On the part of the Scottish nation, the regent Murray, fearing to trust the cause in other hands, appeared in person, attended by several men of talent and consequence. The situation of Mary herself was not more critical or more unprecedented, and scarcely more humiliating, than that in which Murray was placed by her appeal to Elizabeth. Acting on behalf of the infant king his nephew, he saw himself called upon to submit to the tribunal of a foreign sovereign such proofs of the atrocious guilt of the queen his sister; as should justify in the eyes of this sovereign, and in those of Europe, the degradation of Mary from the exalted station which she was born to fill, her imprisonment, her violent expulsion from the kingdom, and her future banishment or captivity for life:—an attempt in which, though successful, there was both disgrace to himself and detriment to the honor and independence of his country; and from which, if unsuccessful, he could contemplate nothing but certain ruin. Struck with all the evils of this dilemma; with the danger of provoking beyond forgiveness his own queen, whose restoration he still regarded as no improbable event, and with the imprudence of relying implicitly on the dubious protection of Elizabeth, Murray long hesitated to bring forward the only charge dreaded by the illustrious prisoner,—that of having conspired with Bothwell the murder of her husband.

In the mean time Maitland, a Scottish commissioner secretly attached to Mary, found means to open a private communication with the duke of Norfolk, and to suggest to this nobleman, now a widower for the third time, the project of obtaining for himself the hand of Mary, and of replacing her by force on the throne of her ancestors. The vanity of Norfolk, artfully worked upon by the bishop of Ross, Mary's prime agent, caused him to listen with complacency to this rash proposal; and having once consented to entertain it, he naturally became earnest to prevent Murray from preferring that heinous accusation which he had at length apprized the English commissioners that he was provided with ample means of substantiating. After some deliberation on the means of effecting this object, he accordingly resolved upon the step of discovering his views to the regent himself, and endeavouring to obtain his concurrence. Murray, who seems to have felt little confidence in the stability of the government of which he was the present head, and who judged perhaps that the return of the queen as the wife of an English protestant nobleman would afford the best prospect of safety to himself and his party, readily acceded to the proposal, and consented still to withhold the "damning proofs" of Mary's guilt which he held in his hand.

But neither the Scottish associates of Murray nor the English cabinet were disposed to rest satisfied with this feeble and temporizing conduct. Mary's commissioners too, emboldened by his apparent timidity, of which the motives were probably not known to them all, began to push their advantage in a manner which threatened final defeat to his party: the queen of England artfuly incited him to proceed; and in spite of his secret engagements with the duke and his own reluctance, he at length saw himself compelled to let fall the long suspended stroke on the head of Mary. He applied to the English court for encouragement and protection in his perilous enterprise; and Elizabeth, being at length suspicious of the intrigue which had hitherto baffled all her expectations from the conferences at York, suddenly gave orders for the removal of the queen of Scots from Bolton-castle and the superintendence of lord Scrope, the duke's brother-in-law, to the more secure situation of Tutbury-castle in Staffordshire and the vigilant custody of the earl of Shrewsbury. At the same time she found pretexts for transferring the conferences from York to Westminster, and added to the number of her commissioners sir Nicholas Bacon, lord-keeper, the earls of Arundel and Leicester, lord Clinton, and Cecil.

Anxious to preserve an air of impartiality, Elizabeth declined giving to the regent all the assurances for his future security which he required; but on his arrival in London she extended to him a reception equally kind and respectful, and by alternate caresses and hints of intimidation she gradually led him on to the production of the fatal casket containing the letters of Mary to Bothwell, by which her participation in the murder of her husband was clearly proved.

After steps on the part of his sovereign from which the duke might have inferred her knowledge of his secret machinations; after discoveries respecting the conduct of Mary which impeached her of guilt so heinous, and covered her with infamy so indelible; prudence and honor alike required that he should abandon for ever the thought of linking his destiny with hers. But in the light and unbalanced mind of Norfolk, the ambition of matching with royalty unfortunately preponderated over all other considerations: he speedily began to weave anew the tissue of intrigue which the removal of the conferences had broken off; and turning once more with fond credulity to Murray, by whom his cause had been before deserted, he again put confidence in his assurances that the marriage-project had his hearty approbation, and should receive his effectual support. Melvil informs us that this fresh compact was brought about by sir Nicholas Throgmorton, "being a man of a deep reach and great prudence and discretion, who had ever travelled for the union of this isle." But notwithstanding his "deep reach," he was certainly imposed upon in this affair; for the regent, insincere perhaps from the beginning, had now no other object than to secure his present personal safety by lavishing promises which he had no intention to fulfil. Melvil, who attended him on his return to Scotland, thus explains the secret of his conduct: "At that time the duke commanded over all the north parts of England, where our mistress was kept, and so might have taken her out when he pleased. And when he was angry at the regent, he had appointed the earl of Westmorland to lie in his way, and cut off himself and so many of his company as were most bent upon the queen's accusation. But after the last agreement, the duke sent and discharged the said earl from doing us any harm; yet upon our return the earl came in our way with a great company of horse, to signify to us that we were at his mercy."

It is difficult to believe, notwithstanding this positive testimony, that the duke of Norfolk, a man of mild dispositions and guided in the main by religion and conscience, would have hazarded, or would not have scrupled, so atrocious, so inexpiable an act of violence, as that of cutting off the regent of Scotland returning to his own country under sanction of the public faith and the express protection of the queen: but he may have indulged himself in vague menaces, which Westmorland, a bigoted papist, ripe for rebellion against the government of Elizabeth, would have felt little reluctance to carry into effect, and thus the regent's duplicity might in fact be prompted and excused to himself by a principle of self-defence.

Whatever degree of confidence Norfolk and his advisers might place in Murray's sincerity, they were well aware that other steps must be taken, and other confederates engaged, before the grand affair of the marriage could be put in a train to ensure its final success. There was no immediate prospect of Mary's regaining her liberty by means of the queen of England, or with her concurrence; for since the production of the great charge against her, to which she had instructed her commissioners to decline making any answer, Elizabeth had regarded her as one who had suffered judgement to go against her by default, and began to treat her accordingly. Her confinement was rendered more rigorous, and henceforth the still pending negotiations respecting her return to her own country were carried on with a slackness which evidently proceeded from the dread of Mary, and the reluctance of Elizabeth, to bring to a decided determination a business which could not now be ended either with credit or advantage to the deposed queen.

Elizabeth had dismissed the regent to his government without open approbation of his conduct as without censure; but he had received from her in private an important supply of money, and such other effectual aids as not only served to establish the present preponderance of his authority, but would enable him, it was thought, successfully to withstand all future attempts for the restoration of Mary. Evidently then it was only by the raising of a formidable party in the English court that any thing could be effected in behalf of the royal captive; but her agents and those of the duke assured themselves that ample means were in their hands for setting this machine in action.

Elizabeth, it was now thought, would not marry: the queen of Scots was generally admitted to be her legal heir; and it appeared highly important to the welfare of England that she should not transfer her claims, with her hand, to any of the more powerful princes of Europe; consequently the duke entertained little doubt of uniting in favor of his suit the suffrages of all those leading characters in the English court who had formerly conveyed to Mary assurances of their attachment to her title and interests. His own influence amongst the nobility was very considerable, and he readily obtained the concurrence of the earl of Pembroke, the earl of Arundel (his first wife's father), and lord Lumley (a catholic peer closely connected with the house of Howard). The design was now imparted to Leicester, who entered into it with an ostentation of affectionate zeal which ought perhaps to have alarmed the too credulous duke. As if impatient to give an undeniable pledge of his sincerity, he undertook to draw up with his own hand a letter to the queen of Scots, warmly recommending the duke to her matrimonial choice, which immediately received the signatures of the three nobles above mentioned and the rest of the confederates. By these subscribers it was distinctly stipulated, that the union should not take place without the knowledge and approbation of the queen of England, and that the reformed religion should be maintained in both the British kingdoms;—conditions by which they at first perhaps believed that they had provided sufficiently for the interests of Elizabeth and of protestantism: it was however immediately obvious that the duke and his agents had the design of concealing carefully all their measures from their sovereign, till the party should have gained such strength that it would no longer be safe for her to refuse a consent which it was well known that she would always be unwilling to grant.

But when, on encouragement being given by Mary to the hopes of her suitor, the kings of France and Spain, and even the Pope himself, were made privy to the scheme and pledged to give it their assistance, all its English, and especially all its protestant supporters, ought to have been aware that their undertaking was assuming the form of a conspiracy with the enemies of their queen and country against her government and personal safety; against the public peace, and the religion by law established; and nothing can excuse the blindness, or palliate the guilt, of their perseverance in a course so perilous and so crooked.

Private interests were doubtless at the bottom with most or all of the participators in this affair who were not papists; and those,—they were not a few,—who envied or who feared the influence and authority of Cecil, eagerly seized the occasion to array against him a body of hostility by which they trusted to work his final and irretrievable ruin.

It seems to have been by an ambitious rivalry with the secretary, that sir Nicholas Throgmorton, whose early life had exhibited so bold a spirit of resistance to tyranny and popery when triumphant and enthroned, had been carried into a faction which all his principles ought to have rendered odious to him. In his intercourses with the queen of Scots as ambassador from Elizabeth, he had already shown himself her zealous partisan. In advising her to sign for her safety the deed of abdication tendered to her at Loch-Leven, he had basely suggested that the compulsion under which she acted would excuse her from regarding it as binding: to the English crown he also regarded her future title as incontrovertible. He now represented to his party, that Cecil was secretly inclined to the house of Suffolk; and that no measure favorable to the reputation or authority of the queen of Scots could be carried whilst he enjoyed the confidence of his mistress. By these suggestions, the duke, unfortunately for himself, was led to sanction an attempt against the power and reputation of this great minister.

Leicester, who had long hated his virtues; the old corrupt statesmen Winchester, Pembroke, and Arundel; and the discontented catholic peers Northumberland and Westmorland, eagerly joined in the plot. It was agreed to attack the secretary in the privy-council, on the ground of his having advised the detention of the money going into the Low Countries for the service of the king of Spain, and thus exposing the nation to the danger of a war with this potentate; and Throgmorton is said to have advised that, whatever he answered, they should find some pretext for sending him to the Tower; after which, he said, it would be easy to compass his overthrow.

But the penetration of Elizabeth enabled her to appretiate justly, with a single exception, the principles, characters, and motives of all her servants; and she knew that, while his enemies were exclusively attached to their own interests, Cecil was attached also to the interests of his prince, his country, and his religion; that while others,—with that far-sighted selfishness which involves men in so many intrigues, usually rendered fruitless or needless by the after-course of events,—were bent on securing to themselves the good graces of her successor, he was content to depend on her alone; that while others were the courtiers, the flatterers, or the ministers, of the queen, he, and perhaps he only, was the friend of Elizabeth. All the rest she knew that she could replace at a moment;—him never. Secret information was carried to her of all that her council were contriving, and had almost executed, against the secretary: full of indignation she hurried to their meeting, where she was not expected, and by her peremptory mandate put an instant stop to their proceedings; making Leicester himself sensible, by a warmth which did her honor, that the man who held the first place in her esteem was by no one to be injured with impunity.

The earl of Sussex, the true friend of Norfolk, and never his abettor in designs of which his sober judgement could discern all the criminality and all the rashness, was grieved to the soul that the artifices of his followers should have set him at variance with Cecil. He was doubtless aware of the advantage which their disagreement would minister against them both to the malignant Leicester, his and their common enemy; and trembling for the safety of the duke and the welfare of both, he addressed to the secretary, from the north, where he was then occupied in the queen's service, a letter on the subject, eloquent by its uncommon earnestness.

He tells him that he knows not the occasion of the coldness between him and the duke, of which he had acknowledged the existence; but that he cannot believe other, esteeming both parties as he does, than that it must have had its origin in misrepresentation and the ill offices of their enemies; and he implores him, as the general remedy of all such differences, to resort to a full and fair explanation with the duke himself, in whom he will find "honor, truth, wisdom and plainness."

These excellent exhortations were not without effect: it is probable that the incautious duke had either been led inadvertently or dragged unwillingly, by his faction, into the plot against the secretary, whose ruin he was not likely to have sought from any personal motive of enmity; and accordingly a few weeks after (June 1569) we find Sussex congratulating Cecil, in a second letter, on a reconciliation between them which he trusts will prove entire and permanent [68].

Hitherto the queen had preserved so profound a silence respecting the intrigues of the duke, that he flattered himself she was without a suspicion of their existence; but this illusion was soon to vanish. In August 1569, the queen being at Farnham in her progress and the duke in attendance on her, she took him to dine with her, and in the course of conversation found occasion, "without any show of displeasure," but with sufficient significance of manner, to give him the advice, "to be very careful on what pillow he rested his head." Afterwards she cautioned him in plain terms against entering into any marriage treaty with the queen of Scots. The duke, in his first surprise, made no scruple to promise on his allegiance that he would entertain no thoughts of her; he even affected to speak of such a connexion with disdain, declaring that he esteemed his lands in England worth nearly as much as the whole kingdom of Scotland, wasted as it was by wars and tumults, and that in his tennis-court at Norwich he reckoned himself equal to many a prince.—These demonstrations were all insincere; the duke remained steady to his purpose, and his correspondence with the queen of Scots was not for a single day intermitted in submission to his Sovereign. But he felt that it was now time to take off the mask; and fully confiding in the strength of his party, he requested the earl of Leicester immediately to open the marriage proposal to her majesty, and solicit her consent. This the favorite promised, but for his own ends continued to defer the business from day to day.

Cecil, who had recently been taken into the consultations of the duke, urged upon him with great force the expediency of being himself the first to name his wishes to the queen; but Norfolk, either from timidity, or, more probably, from an ill-founded reliance on Leicester's sincerity, and a distrust, equally misplaced, of that of Cecil, whom he was conscious of having ill treated, neglected to avail himself of this wise and friendly counsel, by which he might yet have been preserved. Leicester, who watched all his motions, was at length satisfied that his purpose was effected,—the victim was inveigled beyond the power of retreat or escape, and it was time for the decoy-bird to slip out of the snare.

He summoned to his aid a fit of sickness, the never-failing resource of the courtiers of Elizabeth in case of need. His pitying mistress, as he had doubtless anticipated, hastened to pay him a charitable visit at his own house, and he then suffered her to discover that his malady was occasioned by some momentous secret which weighed upon his spirits; and after due ostentation of penitence and concern, at length revealed to her the whole of the negotiations for the marriage of the duke with the queen of Scots, including the part which he had himself taken in that business.

Elizabeth, who seems by no means to have suspected that matters had gone so far, or that so many of her nobles were implicated in this transaction, was moved with indignation, and commanded the immediate attendance of the duke, who, conscious of his delinquency, and disquieted by the change which he thought he had observed in the countenance of her majesty and the carriage towards him of his brother peers, had sometime before quitted the court, and retired first to his house in London, and afterwards to his seat of Kenninghall in Norfolk. The duke delayed to appear, not daring to trust himself in the hands of his offended sovereign; and after a short delay, procured for him by the compassion of Cecil, who persisted in assuring the queen that he would doubtless come shortly of his own accord, a messenger was sent to bring him up to London. This messenger, on his arrival, found the duke apparently, and perhaps really, laboring under a violent ague; and he suffered himself to be prevailed upon to accept his solemn promise of appearing at court as soon as he should be able to travel, and to return without him.

Meanwhile the queen, now bent upon sifting this matter to the bottom, had written to require the Scottish regent to inform her of the share which he had taken in the intrigue, and whatever else he knew respecting it. Murray had become fully aware how much more important it was to his interests to preserve the favor and friendship of Elizabeth than to aim at keeping any measures with Mary, by whom he was now hated with extreme bitterness; and learning that the confidence of the duke had already been betrayed by the earl of Leicester, he made no scruple of acquainting her with all the particulars in which he was immediately concerned.

It thus became known to Elizabeth, that as early as the conferences at York, the regent had been compelled, by threats of personal violence on his return to Scotland, to close with the proposals of the duke relative to his marriage;—that it was with a view to this union that Mary had solicited from the states of Scotland a sentence of divorce from Bothwell, which Murray by the exertion of his influence had induced them to refuse, and thus delayed the completion of the contract: but it appeared from other evidence, that written promises of marriage had actually been exchanged between the duke and Mary, and committed to the safe keeping of the French ambassador. It was also found to be a part of the scheme to betroth the infant king of Scots to a daughter of the duke of Norfolk.

The anger of Elizabeth disdained to be longer trifled with; and she dispatched a messenger with peremptory orders to bring up the duke, "his ague notwithstanding," who found him already preparing to set out on his journey. Cecil in one of his letters to sir Henry Norris, dated October 1569, relates these circumstances at length, and expresses his satisfaction in the last, both for the sake of the state and of the duke himself, whom, of all subjects, he declares he most loved and honored. He then proceeds thus: "The queen's majesty hath willed the earl of Arundel and my lord of Pembroke to keep their lodgings here, for that they were privy of this marriage intended, and did not reveal it to her majesty; but I think none of them did so with any evil meaning, and of my lord of Pembroke's intent herein I can witness, that he meant nothing but well to the queen's majesty; my lord Lumley is also restrained: the queen's majesty hath also been grievously offended with my lord of Leicester; but considering that he hath revealed all that he saith he knoweth of himself, her majesty spareth her displeasure the more towards him. Some disquiets must arise, but I trust not hurtful; for her majesty saith she will know the truth, so as every one shall see his own fault, and so stay.... My lord of Huntingdon is joined with the earl of Shrewsbury for the Scots queen's safety. Whilst this matter was in passing, you must not think but the queen of Scots was nearer looked to than before."

The duke on his arrival was committed to the Tower; but neither against him nor any of his adherents did the queen think proper to proceed by course of law, and they were all liberated after a restraint of longer or shorter duration.

It is proper to mention, that the adherents of Mary in her own time, and various writers since, have conspired to cast severe reflections upon Elizabeth for committing her to the joint custody of the earl of Huntingdon, because this nobleman, being descended by his mother, a daughter of Henry Pole lord Montacute, from the house of Clarence, was supposed to put his right of succession to the crown in competition with hers, and therefore to entertain against her peculiar animosity. But on the part of Elizabeth it may be observed, First, that there is not the slightest ground to suspect that this nobleman, who was childless, entertained the most distant idea of reviving the obsolete claims of his family; and certainly if Elizabeth had suspected him of it, he would never have held so high a place in her confidence. Secondly, nothing less than the death of Mary would have served any designs that he might have formed; and by joining him in commission with others for her safe keeping, Elizabeth will scarcely be said to have put it in his power to make away with her. Thirdly, the very writers who complain of the vigilance and strictness with which the queen of Scots was now guarded, all acknowledge that nothing less could have baffled the plans of escape which the zeal of her partisans was continually setting on foot. Amongst the warmest of these partisans was Leonard Dacre, a gentleman whose personal qualities, whose errors, injuries and misfortunes, all conspire to render him an object of attention, illustrative as they also are of the practices and sentiments of his age.

Leonard was the second son of William lord Dacre of Gilsland, descended from the ancient barons Vaux who had held lordships in Cumberland from the days of the Conqueror.

In 1568, on the death without issue of his nephew, a minor in wardship to the duke of Norfolk, Leonard as heir male laid claim to the title and family estates, but the three sisters of the last lord disputed with him this valuable succession; and being supported by the interest of the duke of Norfolk their step-father, to whose three sons they were married, they found means to defeat the claims of their uncle, though indisputably good in law;—one instance in a thousand of the scandalous partiality towards the rich and powerful exhibited in the legal decisions of that age.

Stung with resentment against the government and the queen herself, by whom justice had been denied him, Leonard Dacre threw himself, with all the impetuosity of his character, into the measures of the malcontents and the interests of the queen of Scots, and he laid a daring plan for her deliverance from Tutbury-castle. This plan the duke on its being communicated to him had vehemently opposed, partly from his repugnance to measures of violence, partly from the apprehension that Mary, when at liberty, might fall into the hands of a foreign and catholic party, and desert her engagements with him for a marriage with the king of Spain. Dacre, however, was not to be diverted from his design, especially by the man with whom he was at open enmity, and he assembled a troop of horse for its execution; but suspicions had probably been excited, and the sudden removal of the prisoner to Wingfield frustrated all his measures.

This was not the only attempt of that turbulent and dangerous faction of which the inconsiderate ambition of the duke had rendered him nominally the head but really the tool and victim, which he had now the grief to find himself utterly unable to guide or restrain.

The earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, heads of the ancient and warlike families of Percy and Nevil, were the first to break that internal tranquillity which the kingdom had hitherto enjoyed, without the slightest interruption, under the wise and vigorous rule of Elizabeth. The remoteness of these noblemen from the court and capital, with the poverty and consequent simplicity, almost barbarism, of the vassals over whom they bore sway, and whose homage they received like native and independent princes, appears to have nourished in their minds ideas of their own importance better suited to the period of the wars of the Roses than to the happier age of peace and order which had succeeded.

The offended pride of the earl of Westmorland, a man destitute in fact of every kind of talent, seems on some occasion to have conducted him to the discovery that at the court of Elizabeth the representative of the king-making Warwick was a person of very slender consideration. The failure of the grand attack upon the secretary, in which he had taken part, confirmed this mortifying impression; and the committal of his brother-in-law, the great and powerful duke of Norfolk himself, must subsequently have carried home to the bottom of his heart unwilling conviction that the preponderance of the ancient aristocracy of the country was subverted, and its proudest chieftains fast sinking to the common level of subjects. His attachment to the religion, with the other practices and prejudices of former ages, gave additional exasperation to his discontent against the established order of things: the incessant invectives of Romish priests against a princess whom the pope was on the point of anathematizing, represented the cause of her enemies as that of Heaven itself; and the spirit of the earl was roused at length to seek full vengeance for all the injuries sustained by his pride, his interests, or his principles.

Every motive of disaffection which wrought upon the mind of Westmorland, affected equally the earl of Northumberland; and to the cause of popery the latter was still further pledged by the example and fate of his father, that sir Thomas Percy who had perished on the scaffold for his share in Aske's rebellion. The attainder of sir Thomas had debarred his son from succeeding to the titles and estates of the last unhappy earl his uncle, and he had suffered the mortification of seeing them go to raise the fortunes of the house of Dudley; but on the accession of Mary, by whom his father was regarded as a martyr, he had been restored to all the honors of his birth, and treated with a degree of favor which could not but strengthen his predilection for the faith of which she was the patroness. It appears, however, that the attachment of the earl to the cause of popery had not on all occasions been proof against immediate personal interest. Soon after the marriage of the queen of Scots with Darnley, that rash and ill-judging pair esteeming their authority in the country sufficiently established to enable them to venture on an attempt for the restoration of the old religion, the pope, in furtherance of their pious designs, had remitted the sum of eight thousand crowns. "But the ship wherein the said gold was," says James Melvil in his memoirs, "did shipwrack upon the coast of England, within the earl of Northumberland's bounds, who alleged the whole to appertain to him by just law, which he caused his advocate to read unto me, when I was directed to him for the demanding restitution of the said sum, in the old Norman language, which neither he nor I understood well, it was so corrupt. But all my entreaties were ineffectual, he altogether refusing to give any part thereof to the queen, albeit he was himself a catholic, and professed secretly to be her friend." And through this disappointment Mary was compelled to give up her design.

An additional trait of the earl's character is furnished by the same author, in transcribing the instructions which he carried home from his brother sir Robert Melvil, then ambassador to England, on his return from that country, after announcing the birth of the prince of Scotland. "Item, that her majesty cast not off the earl of Northumberland, albeit as a fearful and facile man he delivered her letter to the queen of England; neither appear to find fault with sir Henry Percy as yet for his dealing with Mr. Ruxbie," (an English spy in Scotland) "which he doth to gain favor at court, being upon a contrary faction to his brother the earl."

The machinations of the two earls, however cautiously carried on, did not entirely escape the penetration of the earl of Sussex, lord president of the north, who sent for them both and subjected them to some kind of examination; but no sufficient cause for their detention then appearing, he dismissed them, hoping probably that the warning would prove efficacious in securing their peaceable behaviour. In this idea, however, he was deceived: on their return they instantly resumed their mischievous designs; and they were actually preparing for an insurrection, which was to be supported by troops from Flanders promised by the duke of Alva, when a summons from the queen for their immediate attendance at court disconcerted all their measures.

To comply with the command seemed madness in men who were conscious that their proceedings had already amounted to high treason;—but to refuse obedience, and thus set at defiance a power to which they were as yet unprepared to oppose any effectual resistance, seemed equally desperate. They hesitated; and it is said that the irresolution of Northumberland was only ended by the stratagem of some of his dependents, who waked him one night with a false alarm that his enemies were upon him, and thus hurried him into the irretrievable step of quitting his home and joining Westmorland, on which the country flocked in for their defence, and they found themselves compelled to raise their standard.

The enterprise immediately assumed the aspect of a Holy War, or crusade against heresy: on the banners of the insurgents were displayed the cross, the five wounds of Christ, and the cup of the eucharist: mass was regularly performed in their camp; and on reaching Durham, they carried off from the cathedral and committed to the flames the bible and the English service books.

The want of money to purchase provisions compelled the earls to relinquish their first idea of marching to London; they took however a neighbouring castle, and remained masters of the country as long as no army appeared to oppose them; but on the approach of the earl of Sussex and lord Hunsdon from York, with a large body of troops, they gradually retreated to the Scotch borders; and there disbanded their men without a blow. The earl of Westmorland finally made his escape to Flanders, where he dragged out a tedious existence in poverty and obscurity, barely supplied with the necessaries of life by a slender pension from the king of Spain. Northumberland, being betrayed for a reward by a Scottish borderer to whom, as to a friend, he had fled for refuge, was at length delivered up by the regent Morton to the English government, and was beheaded at York.

Posterity is not called upon to respect the memory of these rebellious earls as martyrs even to a mistaken zeal for the good of their country, or to any other generous principle of action. The objects of their enterprise, as assigned by themselves, were the restoration of the old religion, the removal of evil counsellors, and the liberation of the duke of Norfolk and other imprisoned nobles. But even their attachment to popery appears to have been entirely subservient to their views of personal interest; and so little was the duke inclined to blend his cause with theirs, that he exerted himself in every mode that his situation would permit to strengthen the hands of government for their overthrow; and it was in consideration of the loyal spirit manifested by him on occasion of this rebellion, and of a subsequent rising in Norfolk, that he soon after obtained his liberty on a solemn promise to renounce all connexion with the queen of Scots.

In the northern counties, however, the cause and the persons of the two earls, who had well maintained the hospitable fame of their great ancestors, were alike the objects of popular attachment: the miserable destiny of the outlawed and ruined Westmorland, and the untimely end of Northumberland through the perfidy of the false friend in whom he had put his trust, were long remembered with pity and indignation, and many a minstrel "tuned his rude harp of border frame" to the fall of the Percy or the wanderings of the Nevil. There was also an ancient gentleman named Norton, of Norton in Yorkshire, who bore the banner of the cross and the five wounds before the rebel army, whose tragic fall, with that of his eight sons, has received such commemoration and embellishment as the pathetic strains of a nameless but probably contemporary bard could bestow. The excellent ballad entitled "The Rising in the North [69]" impressively describes the mission of Percy's "little foot page" to Norton, to pray that he will "ride in his company;" the council held by Richard Norton with his nine sons, when

"Eight of them did answer make,
Eight of them spake hastily,
O father! till the day we die
We'll stand by that good earl and thee;"

while Francis, the eldest, seeks to dissuade his father from rebellion, but finding him resolved, offers to accompany him "unarmed and naked." Their standard is then mentioned: and after recording the flight of the two earls, the minstrel adds,

"Thee Norton with thine eight good sons
They doomed to die, alas for ruth!
Thy reverend locks thee could not save,
Nor them their fair and blooming youth!"

But how slender is the authority of a poet in matters of history! It is quite certain that Richard Norton did not perish by the hands of the executioner, and it is uncertain whether any one of his sons did. It is true that the old man with three more of the family was attainted, that his great estates were confiscated, and that he ended his days a miserable exile in Flanders. We also know that two gentlemen of the name of Norton were hanged at London: but some authorities make them brothers of the head of the family; and two of the sons of Richard Norton, Francis, and Edmund ancestor of the present lord Grantley, certainly lived and died in peace on their estates in Yorkshire.

It is little to the honor of Elizabeth's clemency, that a rebellion suppressed almost without bloodshed should have been judged by her to justify and require the unmitigated exercise of martial law over the whole of the disaffected country. Sir John Bowes, marshal of the army, made it his boast, that in a tract sixty miles in length and forty in breadth, there was scarcely a town or village where he had not put some to death; and at Durham the earl of Sussex caused sixty-three constables to be hanged at once;—a severity of which it should appear that he was the unwilling instrument; for in a letter written soon after to Cecil he complains, that during part of the time of his command in the north he had nothing left to him "but to direct hanging matters." But the situation of this nobleman at the time was such as would by no means permit him at his own peril to suspend or evade the execution of such orders as he received from court. Egremond Ratcliffe his half-brother was one of about forty noblemen and gentlemen attainted for their concern in this rebellion; he had in the earl of Leicester an enemy equally vindictive and powerful; and some secret informations had infused into the mind of the queen a suspicion that there had been some wilful slackness in his proceedings against the insurgents. There was however at the bottom of Elizabeth's heart a conviction of the truth and loyalty of her kinsman which could not be eradicated, and he soon after took a spirited step which disconcerted entirely the measures of his enemies, and placed him higher than ever in her confidence and esteem. Cecil thus relates the circumstance in one of his letters to Norris, dated February 1570.

"The earl of Sussex... upon desire to see her majesty, came hither unlooked for; and although, in the beginning of this northern rebellion, her majesty sometimes uttered some misliking of the earl, yet this day she, meaning to deal very princely with him, in presence of her council, charged him with such things as she had heard to cause her misliking, without any note of mistrust towards him for his fidelity; whereupon he did with such humbleness, wisdom, plainness and dexterity, answer her majesty, as both she and all the rest were fully satisfied, and he adjudged by good proofs to have served in all this time faithfully, and so circumspectly, as it manifestly appeareth that if he had not so used himself in the beginning, the whole north part had entered into the rebellion."

A formidable mass of discontent did in fact subsist among the catholics of the north, and it was not long before a new and more daring leader found means to set it again in fierce and violent action.

Leonard Dacre had found no opportunity to take part in the enterprise of the two earls, though a deep participator in their counsels; for knowing that their design could not yet be ripe for execution, and foreseeing as little as the rest of the faction those measures of the queen by which their affairs were prematurely brought to a crisis, he had proceeded to court on his private concerns, and was there amusing her majesty with protestations of his unalterable fidelity and attachment, while his associates in the north were placing their lands and lives on the hazard of rebellion. Learning on his journey homewards the total discomfiture of the earls, he carefully preserved the semblance of a zealous loyalty, till, having armed the retainers of his family on pretence of preserving the country in the queen's obedience, and having strongly garrisoned its hereditary castles of Naworth and Greystock, which he wrested from the custody of the Howards, he declared himself, and broke out into violent rebellion.

The late severities had rather exasperated than subdued the spirit of disaffection in this neighbourhood, and three thousand men ranged themselves under the scallop-shells of Dacre;—a well known ensign which from age to age had marshalled the hardy borderers to deeds of warlike prowess. Lord Hunsdon, the governor of Berwick, marched promptly forth with all the force he could muster to disperse the rebels; but this time they stood firmly on the banks of the little river Gelt, to give him battle. Such indeed was the height of fanaticism or despair to which these unhappy people were wrought up, that the phrensy gained the softer sex; and there were seen in their ranks, says the chronicler, "many desperate women that gave the adventure of their lives, and fought right stoutly." After a sharp action in which about three hundred were left dead on the field, victory at length declared for the queen's troops; and Leonard Dacre, who had bravely sustained, notwithstanding the deformity of his person, the part of soldier as well as general, seeing that all was lost, turned his horse's head and rode off full speed for Scotland, whence he passed into Flanders and took up at Lovain his melancholy abode.

The treason of this unfortunate gentleman was, it must be confessed, both notorious and heinous; and had he been intercepted in making his escape, no blame could have attached to Elizabeth in exacting the full penalty of his offence. But when, five-and-twenty years after this time, we find his aged mother at court "an earnest suitor" for the pardon of her two sons [70]; obtaining, probably by costly bribes, a promise of admission to the queen's presence, and at length gaining nothing more,—it is impossible not to blame or lament that relentless severity of temper which rendered Elizabeth so much a stranger to the fairest attribute of sovereign power. The case of Francis Dacre indeed was one which ought to have appealed to her sense of justice rather than to her feelings of mercy. This gentleman, after the expatriation and attainder of his elder brother, had prosecuted at law the claims to the honors and lands of the barony of Gilsland which had thus devolved upon him; but being baffled in all his appeals to the equity of the courts, he had withdrawn in disgust to Flanders, and on this account suffered a sentence of outlawry. He lived and died in exile, leaving a son, named Ranulph, heir only to poverty and misfortunes, to noble blood, and to rights which he was destitute of the power of rendering available. Lord Dacre of the south, as he was usually called, settled on this poor man, his very distant relation, a small annuity; and on his death the following lord Dacre, becoming the heir male of the family, received by way of compromise from the Howards no less than thirteen manors which they had enjoyed to the prejudice of Leonard Dacre, of his brother and of his nephew.

On the suppression of this second rising in the north, the queen, better advised or instructed by experience, granted a general pardon to all but its leader; and such was the effect of this lenity, or of the example of repeated failure on the part of the insurgents, that the internal tranquillity of her kingdom was never more disturbed from this quarter, the most dangerous of all from the vicinity of Scotland.

The earl of Sussex had been kept for some time in a state of dissatisfaction, as appears from one of his letters to Cecil, by her majesty's dilatoriness in conferring upon him such a mark of her special favor as she had graciously promised at the conclusion of his satisfactory defence of himself before the council; but she appeased at length his wounded feelings, by admitting him to the council-board and giving him the command of a strong force appointed to act on the Scottish border.

The occasion for this military movement arose out of the tragical incident of the assassination of the regent Murray, which had proved the signal for a furious inroad upon the English limits by some of the southern clans, who found themselves immediately released from the restraints of an administration vigorous enough to make the lawless tremble. Sussex was ordered to chastize their insolence; and he performed the task thoroughly and pitilessly, laying waste with fire and sword the whole obnoxious district.

Besides recognising in Murray a valuable coadjutor, neighbour and ally, Elizabeth appears to have loved and esteemed him as a man and a friend, and she bewailed his death with an excess of dejection honorable surely to her feelings, though regarded by some as derogatory from the dignity of her station. It was indeed an event which broke all her measures, and which, at a period when difficulties and dangers were besetting her on all hands, added fresh embarrassment to her perplexity and presented new chances of evil to her fears. What degree of compunction she felt for her unjustifiable detention of Mary may be doubtful; but it is certain that her mind was now shaken with perpetual terrors and anxieties for the consequences of that irrevocable step, and that there was nothing which she more earnestly desired than to transfer to other hands the custody of so dangerous a prisoner.

She had nearly concluded an agreement for this purpose with Murray, to whom she was to have surrendered the person of the captive queen, receiving six Scottish noblemen as hostages for her safe keeping; and though the interference of the French and Spanish ambassadors had obliged her to suspend its execution, there is no reason to suppose that the design was relinquished, when this unexpected stroke rendered it for ever impracticable. The regency of Scotland, too, was now to be contested by the enraged factions of that distracted country, and it was of great importance to Elizabeth that the victory should fall to the party of the young king; yet such were the perplexities of her political situation, that it was some time before she could satisfy herself that there would not be too great a hazard in supporting by arms the election of the earl of Lenox, to whom she gave her interest.

Her first recourse was to her favorite arts of intrigue; and she sent Randolph, her chosen instrument for these occasions, to tamper with various party-leaders, while Sussex, whose character inclined him more to measures of coercion, exhorted her to put an end to her irresolution and throw the sword into the scale of Lenox. She at length found reason to adopt this counsel; and the earl, re-entering Scotland with his army, laid waste the lands and took or destroyed the castles of Mary's adherents.

Sir William Drury, marshal of the army, was afterwards sent further into the country to chastize the Hamiltons, of which clan was the assassin of Murray.

The contemporary accounts of this expedition, amid many lamentable particulars of ravages committed, afford one amusing trait of manners. Lord Fleming, who held out Dumbarton castle for the queen of Scots, had demanded a parley with sir William Drury, during which he treacherously caused him to be fired upon; happily without effect. Sir George Cary, burning to avenge the injury offered to his commander, sent immediately a letter of defiance to lord Fleming, challenging him to meet him in single combat on this quarrel, when, where and how he dares; concluding thus: "Otherwise I will baffle your good name, sound with the trumpet your dishonor, and paint your picture with the heels upward and bear it in despite of yourself." That this was not the only species of affront to which portraits were in these days exposed, we learn from an expression of Ben Jonson's:—"Take as unpardonable offence as if he had torn your mistress's colors, or breathed on her picture [71]."

The Scotch war was terminated a few months after, by an agreement between Elizabeth and Mary, by virtue of which the former consented to withdraw her troops from the country on the engagement of the latter that no French forces should enter it in support of her title. After this settlement, Elizabeth returned to her usual ambiguous dealing in the affairs of Scotland; and so far from insisting that Lenox should be named regent, she sent a request to the heads of the king's party that they would refrain for a time from the nomination of any person to that office. In consequence of this mandate, which they dared not disobey, Lenox was only chosen lieutenant for a time; an appointment which served equally well the purposes of the English queen.

Connected with all the other measures adopted by the zeal of the great catholic combination for the destruction of Elizabeth and the ruin of the protestant cause, was one from which their own narrow prejudices or sanguine wishes, rather than any just views of the state of public opinion in England, led them to anticipate important results. This was the publication of a papal bull solemnly anathematizing the queen, and dispensing her subjects from their oath of allegiance. A fanatic named Fulton was found willing to earn the crown of martyrdom by affixing this instrument to the gate of the bishop of London's palace. He was taken in the fact, and suffered the penalty of treason without exciting a murmur among the people. A trifling insurrection in Norfolk ensued, of which however the papal bull was not openly assigned as the motive, and which was speedily suppressed with the punishment of a few of the offenders according to law. Even the catholic subjects of Elizabeth for the most part abhorred the idea of lifting their hands against her government and the peace of their native land; and several of them were now found among the foremost and most sincere in their offers of service against the disaffected.

On the whole, the result of the great trial of the hearts of her people afforded to the queen by the alarms of this anxious period, was satisfactory beyond all example. Henceforth she knew, and the world knew, the firmness of that rock on which her throne was planted;—based on religion, supported by wisdom and fortitude and adorned by every attractive art, it stood dear and venerable to her people, defying the assaults of her baffled and malignant enemies. The anniversary of her accession began this year to be celebrated by popular festivals all over the country;—a practice which was retained not only to the end of the reign, but for many years afterwards, during which the 17th of November continued to be solemnly observed under designation of the Birthday of the Gospel.


[68]"Illustrations" &c. by Lodge, vol. ii.

[69]See Percy's "Reliques," vol. ii.

[70]Letter of R. Whyte in "Sidney Papers."

[71]See "Every Man out of his Humour."

1597 AND 1598.

Fresh expedition against Spain proposed.—Extracts from Whyte's letters.—Raleigh reconciles Essex and R. Cecil.—Essex master of the ordnance.—Anecdote of the queen and Mrs. Bridges.—Preparations for the expedition.—Notice of lord Southampton.—Ill success of the voyage.—Quarrel of Essex and Raleigh.—Displeasure of the queen.—Lord admiral made earl of Nottingham.—Anger of Essex.—He is declared hereditary earl marshal.—Reply of the queen to a Polish ambassador.—to a proposition of the king of Denmark.—State of Ireland.—Treaty of Vervins.—Agreement between Cecil and Essex.—Anecdotes of Essex and the queen.—Their quarrel.—Letter of Essex to the lord keeper.—Dispute between Burleigh and Essex.—Agreement with the Dutch.—Death and character of Burleigh.—Transactions between the queen and the king of Scots, and an extract from their correspondence.—Anecdote of sir Roger Aston and the queen.—Anecdote of archbishop Hutton.—Death of Spenser.—Hall's satires.—Notice of sir John Harrington.—Extracts from his note-book.

A  fresh expedition against the Spaniards was in agitation from the beginning of this year, which occasioned many movements at court, and, as usual, disturbed the mind of the queen with various perplexities. Her captious favor towards Essex, and the arts employed by him to gain his will on every contested point, are well illustrated in the letters of Rowland White, to which we must again recur.

On February twenty-second he writes: "My lord of Essex kept his bed the most part of all yesterday; yet did one of his chamber tell me, he could not weep for it, for he knew his lord was not sick. There is not a day passes that the queen sends not often to see him, and himself every day goeth privately to her." Two days after, he reports that "my lord of Essex comes out of his chamber in his gown and night-cap.... Full fourteen days his lordship kept in; her majesty, as I heard, resolved to break him of his will and to pull down his great heart, who found it a thing impossible, and says he holds it from the mother's side; but all is well again, and no doubt he will grow a mighty man in our state."

The earl of Cumberland made "some doubt of his going to sea," because lord Thomas Howard and Raleigh were to be joined with him in equal authority; the queen mentioned the subject to him, and on his repeating to herself his refusal, he was "well chidden."

In March, Raleigh was busied in mediating a reconciliation between Essex and Robert Cecil, in which he was so far successful that a kind of compromise took place; and henceforth court favors were shared without any open quarrels between their respective adherents. The motives urged by Raleigh for this agreement were, that it would benefit the country; that the queen's "continual unquietness" would turn to contentment, and that public business would go on to the hurt of the common enemy.

Essex however was malcontent at heart; he began to frequent certain meetings held in Blackfriars at the house of lady Russel, a busy puritan, who was one of the learned daughters of sir Anthony Cook. "Wearied," says White, "with not knowing how to please, he is not unwilling to listen to those motions made him for the public good." He was soon after so much offended with her majesty for giving the office of warden of the cinque ports to his enemy lord Cobham, after he had asked it for himself, that he was about to quit the court; but the queen sent for him, and, to pacify him, made him master of the ordnance.

It is mentioned about this time, that the queen had of late "used the fair Mrs. Bridges with words and blows of anger." This young lady was one of the maids of honor, and the same referred to in a subsequent letter, where it is said, "it is spied out by envy that the earl of Essex is again fallen in love with his fairest B." On which White observes, "It cannot choose but come to the queen's ears; and then is he undone, and all that depend upon his favor." A striking indication of the nature of the sentiment which the aged sovereign cherished for her youthful favorite!

In May our intelligencer writes thus: "Here hath been much ado between the queen and the lords about the preparation to sea; some of them urging the necessity of setting it forward for her safety; but she opposing it by no danger appearing towards her any where; and that she will not make wars but arm for defence; understanding how much of her treasure was already spent in victual, both for ships and soldiers at land. She was extremely angry with them that made such haste in it, and at Burleigh for suffering it, seeing no greater occasion. No reason nor persuasion by some of the lords could prevail, but that her majesty hath commanded order to be given to stay all proceeding, and sent my lord Thomas (Howard) word that he should not go to sea. How her majesty may be wrought to fulfil the most earnest desire of some to have it go forward, time must make it known."

But the reconciliation, whether sincere or otherwise, brought about by Raleigh between Essex and the Cecils, rendered at this time the war-party so strong, that the scruples of the queen were at length overruled, and a formidable armament was sent to sea, with the double object of destroying the Spanish ships in their harbours and intercepting their homeward-bound West India fleet. Essex was commander in chief by sea and land; lord Thomas Howard and Raleigh vice and rear admirals; lord Montjoy was lieutenant-general; sir Francis Vere, marshal. Several young noblemen attached to Essex joined the expedition as volunteers; as lord Rich his brother-in-law, the earl of Rutland, afterwards married to the daughter of the countess of Essex by sir Philip Sidney; lord Cromwel, and the earl of Southampton. The last, whose friendship for Essex afterwards hurried him into an enterprise still more perilous, appears to have been attracted to him by an extraordinary conformity of tastes and temper. Like Essex, he was brave and generous, but impetuous and somewhat inclined to arrogance:—like him, a munificent patron of the genius which he loved. Like his friend again, he received from her majesty tokens of peculiar favor, which she occasionally suspended on his giving indications of an ungovernable temper or too lofty spirit, and which she finally withdrew, on his presuming to marry without that consent which to certain persons she could never have been induced to accord. This earl of Southampton was grandson of that ambitious and assuming but able and diligent statesman, lord chancellor Wriothesley, appointed by Henry VIII. one of his executors; he was father of the virtuous Southampton lord treasurer, and by him, grandfather of the heroical and ever-memorable Rachel lady Russel.

A storm drove the ill-fated armament back to Plymouth, where it remained wind-bound for a month, and Essex and Raleigh posted together up to court for fresh instructions. Having concerted their measures, they made sail for the Azores, and Raleigh with his division arriving first, attacked and captured the isle of Fayal without waiting for his admiral. Essex was incensed; and there were not wanting those about him who applied themselves to fan the flame, and even urged him to bring sir Walter to a court-martial: but he refused; and his anger soon evaporating, lord Thomas Howard was enabled to accommodate the difference, and the rivals returned to the appearance of friendship. Essex was destitute of the naval skill requisite for the prosperous conduct of such an enterprise: owing partly to his mistakes, and partly to several thwarting circumstances, the West India fleet escaped him, and three rich Havannah ships, which served to defray most of the expenses, were the only trophies of