The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part D. - From Elizabeth to James I.
by David Hume
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* Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 60, et seq. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 162.

** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 45. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 127.

*** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 47, 48. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 159.

**** Crawford, p. 92. Melvil, p. 94, 95. Haynes, p. 574.

He had ever been a partisan of the queen of Scots. Secretary Lidington, who began also to incline to that party, and was a man of singular address and capacity, had engaged him to embrace further views in her favor, and even to think of espousing her: and though that duke confessed[*] that the proofs against Mary seemed to him unquestionable, he encouraged Murray in his present resolution, not to produce them publicly in the conferences before the English commissioners.[**]

Norfolk, however, was obliged to transmit to court the queries proposed by the regent. These queries consisted of four particulars: Whether the English commissioners had authority from their sovereign to pronounce sentence against Mary, in case her guilt should be fully proved before them? Whether they would promise to exercise that authority, and proceed to an actual sentence? Whether the queen of Scots, if she were found guilty, should be delivered into the hands of the regent, or, at least, be so secured in England, that she never should be able to disturb the tranquillity of Scotland? and, Whether Elizabeth would also, in that case, promise to acknowledge the young king, and protect the regent in his authority?[***]

Elizabeth, when these queries, with the other transactions, were laid before her, began to think that they pointed towards a conclusion more decisive and more advantageous than she had hitherto expected. She determined therefore to bring the matter into full light; and, under pretext that the distance from her person retarded the proceedings of her commissioners, she ordered them to come to London, and there continue the conferences. On their appearance, she immediately joined in commission with them some of the most considerable of her council; Sir Nicholas Bacon, lord keeper, the earls of Arundel and Leicester, Lord Clinton, admiral, and Sir William Cecil, secretary.[****] The queen of Scots, who knew nothing of these secret motives, and who expected that fear or decency would still restrain Murray from proceeding to any violent accusation against her, expressed an entire satisfaction in this adjournment; and declared that the affair, being under the immediate inspection of Elizabeth, was now in the hands where she most desired to rest it.[v].

* Anderson, vol., iv. part ii. p. 77.

** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 57, 77. State Trials, vol. i. p. 76

*** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 55. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 130.

**** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 99.

v Anderson, vol iv. part ii. p. 95. Goodall, vol. ii. p 177, 179.

The conferences were accordingly continued at Hampton Court; and Mary's commissioners, as before, made no scruple to be present at them.

The queen, meanwhile, gave a satisfactory answer to all Murray's demands; and declared that, though she wished and hoped from the present inquiry to be entirely convinced of Mary's innocence, yet if the event should prove contrary, and if that princess should appear guilty of her husband's murder, she should, for her own part, deem her ever after unworthy of a throne.[*] The regent, encouraged by this declaration, opened more fully his charge against the queen of Scots; and after expressing his reluctance to proceed to that extremity, and protesting that nothing but the necessity of self-defence, which must not be abandoned for any delicacy, could have engaged him in such a measure, he proceeded to accuse her in plain terms of participation and consent in the assassination of the king.[**] The earl of Lenox too appeared before the English commissioners, and, imploring vengeance for the murder of his son, accused Mary as an accomplice with Bothwell in that enormity.[***]

When this charge was so unexpectedly given in, and copies of it were transmitted to the bishop of Ross, Lord Herreis, and the other commissioners of Mary, they absolutely refused to return an answer; and they grounded their silence on very extraordinary reasons: they had orders, they said, from their mistress, if any thing were advanced that might touch her honor, not to make any defence, as she was a sovereign princess, and could not be subject to any tribunal; and they required that she should previously be admitted to Elizabeth's presence, to whom, and to whom alone, she was determined to justify her innocence.[****]

* Goodall, vol. ii. p. 199.

** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 115, et seq. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 206.

*** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 122. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 208.

**** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 125, et seq. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 184, 211, 217.

They forgot that the conferences were at first begun, and were still continued, with no other view than to clear her from the accusations of her enemies; that Elizabeth had ever pretended to enter into them only as her friend, by her own consent and approbation, not as assuming any jurisdiction over her; that this princess had from the beginning refused to admit her to her presence, till she should vindicate herself from the crimes imputed to her; that she had therefore discovered no new signs of partiality by her perseverance in that resolution; and that though she had granted an audience to the earl of Murray and his colleagues, she had previously conferred the same honor on Mary's commissioners;[*] and her conduct was so far entirely equal to both parties.[**] [11]

As the commissioners of the queen of Scots refused to give in any answer to Murray's charge, the necessary consequence seemed to be, that there could be no further proceedings in the conference. But though this silence might be interpreted as a presumption against her, it did not fully answer the purpose of those English ministers who were enemies to that princess. They still desired to have in their hands the proofs of her guilt; and in order to draw them with decency from the regent, a judicious artifice was employed by Elizabeth. Murray was called before the English commissioners, and reproved by them, in the queen's name, for the atrocious imputations which he had the temerity to throw upon his sovereign; but though the earl of Murray, they added, and the other commissioners, had so far forgotten the duty of allegiance to their prince, the queen never would overlook what she owed to her friend, her neighbor, and her kinswoman; and she therefore desired to know what they could say in their own justification.[***] Murray, thus urged, made no difficulty in producing the proofs of his charge against the queen of Scots; and among the rest, some love-letters and sonnets of hers to Bothwell, written all in her own hand, and two other papers, one written in her own hand, another subscribed by her, and written by the earl of Huntley; each of which contained a promise of marriage with Bothwell, made before the pretended trial and acquittal of that nobleman.

* Lesley's Negotiations in Anderson, vol. iii. p. 25. Haynes, p. 487.

** See note K, at the end of the volume.

*** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 147. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 233.

All these important papers had been kept by Bothwell in a silver box or casket, which had been given him by Mary, and which had belonged to her first husband, Francis; and though the princess had enjoined him to burn the letters as soon as he had read them, he had thought proper carefully to preserve them, as pledges of her fidelity, and had committed them to the custody of Sir James Balfour, deputy governor of the Castle of Edinburgh. When that fortress was besieged by the associated lords, Bothwell sent a servant to receive the casket from the hands of the deputy governor. Balfour delivered it to the messenger; but as he had at that time received some disgust from Bothwell, and was secretly negotiating an agreement with the ruling party, he took care, by conveying private intelligence to the earl of Morton, to make the papers be intercepted by him, They contained incontestable proofs of Mary's criminal correspondence with Bothwell, of her consent to the king's murder, and of her concurrence in the violence which Bothwell pretended to commit upon her.[*] Murray fortified this evidence by some testimonies of corresponding facts;[**] and he added, some time after, the dying confession of one Hubert, or French Paris, as he was called, a servant of Bothwell's, who had been executed for the king's murder, and who directly charged the queen with her being accessory to that criminal enterprise.[***]

Mary's commissioners had used every expedient to ward this blow, which they saw coming upon them, and against which, it appears, they were not provided with any proper defence. As soon as Murray opened his charge, they endeavored to turn the conferences from an inquiry into a negotiation; and though informed by the English commissioners, that nothing could be more dishonorable for their mistress, than to enter into a treaty with such undutiful subjects, before she had justified herself from those enormous imputations which had been thrown upon her, they still insisted that Elizabeth should settle terms of accommodation between Mary and her enemies in Scotland.[****] They maintained, that till their mistress had given in her answer to Murray's charge, his proofs could neither be called for nor produced:[v] and finding that the English commissioners were still determined to proceed in the method which had been projected, they finally broke off the conferences, and never would make any reply.

* Anderson, vol. ii. p. 115. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 1.

** Anderson, vol. ii. part ii. p. 165, etc. Goodall, vol. ii.

*** Anderson, vol. ii. p. 192. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 76.

**** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 135, 139. Goodall, vol. ii.

v Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 139, 145. Goodall, vol. ii.

These papers, at least translations of them, have since been published. The objections made to their authenticity are in general of small force: but were they ever so specious, they cannot now be hearkened to; since Mary, at the time when the truth could have been fully cleared, did in effect ratify the evidence against her, by recoiling from the inquiry at the very critical moment, and refusing to give an answer to the accusation of her enemies.[*] [12]

But Elizabeth, though she had seen enough for her own satisfaction, was determined that the most eminent persons of her court should also be acquainted with these transactions, and should be convinced of the equity of her proceedings. She ordered her privy council to be assembled; and, that she might render the matter more solemn and authentic, she summoned along with them the earls of Northumberland, Westmoreland, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Huntingdon, and Warwick. All the proceedings of the English commissioners were read to them: the evidences produced by Murray were perused: a great number of letters written by Mary to Elizabeth were laid before them, and the handwriting compared with that of the letters delivered in by the regent: the refusal of the queen of Scots' commissioners to make any reply was related: and on the whole, Elizabeth told them, that as she had from the first thought it improper that Mary, after such horrid crimes were imputed to her, should be admitted to her presence, before she had in some measure justified herself from the charge, so now, when her guilt was confirmed by so many evidences, and all answer refused, she must, for her part, persevere more steadily in that resolution.[**] Elizabeth next called in the queen of Scots' commissioners; and after observing, that she deemed it much more decent for their mistress to continue the conferences, than to require the liberty of justifying herself in person, she told them, that Mary might either send her reply by a person whom she trusted, or deliver it herself to some English nobleman, whom Elizabeth should appoint to wait upon her: but as to her resolution of making no reply at all, she must regard it as the strongest confession of guilt, nor could they ever be deemed her friends who advised her to that method of proceeding.[***] These topics she enforced still more strongly in a letter which she wrote to Mary herself.[****]

* See note L, at the end of the volume.

** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 170, etc. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 254.

*** Anderson, vol. iv. part ii. p. 179, etc. Goodall, vol. ii p. 268.

**** Anderson, vol. iv part ii. p. 183. Goodall, vol. ii. p. 269.

The queen of Scots had no other subterfuge from these pressing remonstrances, than still to demand a personal interview with Elizabeth: a concession which, she was sensible, would never be granted;[*] because Elizabeth knew that this expedient could decide nothing; because it brought matters to extremity, which that princess desired to avoid; and because it had been refused from the beginning, even before the commencement of the conferences. In order to keep herself better in countenance, Mary thought of another device. Though the conferences were broken off, she ordered her commissioners to accuse the earl of Murray and his associates as the murderers of the king:[**] but this accusation, coming so late, being extorted merely by a complaint of Murray's, and being unsupported by any proof, could only be regarded as an angry recrimination upon her enemy.[***] [13] She also desired to have copies of the papers given in by the regent; but as she still persisted in her resolution to make no reply before the English commissioners, this demand was finally refused her.[****] [14]

* Cabala, p. 157.

** Goodall, vol. ii. p. 280.

*** See note M, at the end of the volume.

**** Goodall, vol. ii. p. 253, 283, 289, 310, 311. Haynes, vol. i. p. 492. See note N, at the end of the volume.

As Mary had thus put an end to the conferences, the regent expressed great impatience to return into Scotland; and he complained, that his enemies had taken advantage of his absence, and had thrown the whole government into confusion. Elizabeth therefore dismissed him; and granted him a loan of five thousand pounds, to bear the charges of his journey.[*] During the conferences at York, the duke of Chatelrault arrived at London, in passing from France; and as the queen knew that he was engaged in Mary's party, and had very plausible pretensions to the regency of the king of Scots, she thought proper to detain him till after Murray's departure. But notwithstanding these marks of favor, and some other assistance which she secretly gave this latter nobleman,[**] she still declined acknowledging the young king, or treating with Murray as regent of Scotland.

* Rymer, tom. xv. p. 677.

* MS. in the Advocates' library. A. 3, 29, p. 128, 129, 130, from Cott. lab. Cal. c. 1.

Orders were given for removing the queen of Scots from Bolton, a place surrounded with Catholics, to Tutbury, in the county of Stafford, where she was put under the custody of the earl of Shrewsbury. Elizabeth entertained hopes that this princess, discouraged by her misfortunes, and confounded by the late transactions, would be glad to secure a safe retreat from all the tempests with which she had been agitated; and she promised to bury every thing in oblivion, provided Mary would agree, either voluntary to resign her crown, or to associate her son with her in the government; and the administration to remain, during his minority, in the hands of the earl of Murray.[*] But that high-spirited princess refused all treaty upon such terms, and declared that her last words should be those of a queen of Scotland. Besides many other reasons, she said, which fixed her in that resolution, she knew, that if in the present emergence she made such concessions, her submission would be universally deemed an acknowledgment of guilt, and would ratify all the calumnies of her enemies.[**]

* Goodall, vol. ii. p. 295.

** Goodall. vol. ii. p. 301.

Mary still insisted upon this alternative; either that Elizabeth should assist her in recovering her authority, or should give her liberty to retire into France, and make trial of the friendship of other princes: and as she asserted, that she had come voluntarily into England, invited by many former professions of amity, she thought that one or other of these requests could not, without the most extreme injustice, be refused her. But Elizabeth, sensible of the danger which attended both these proposals, was secretly resolved to detain her still a captive; and as her retreat into England had been little voluntary, her claim upon the queen's generosity appeared much less urgent than she was willing to pretend. Necessity, it was thought, would to the prudent justify her detention: her past misconduct would apologize for it to the equitable: and though it was foreseen, that compassion for Mary's situation, joined to her intrigues and insinuating behavior, would, while she remained in England, excite the zeal of her friends, especially of the Catholics, these inconveniences were deemed much inferior to those which attended any other expedient. Elizabeth trusted also to her own address, for eluding all these difficulties: she purposed to avoid breaking absolutely with the queen of Scots, to keep her always in hopes of an accommodation, to negotiate perpetually with her, and still to throw the blame of not coming to any conclusion, either on unforeseen accidents, or on the obstinacy and perverseness of others.

We come now to mention some English affairs which we left behind us, that we might not interrupt our narrative of the events in Scotland, which formed so material a part of the present reign. The term fixed by the treaty of Chateau-Cambresis for the restitution of Calais, expired in 1567; and Elizabeth, after making her demand at the gates of that city, sent Sir Thomas Smith to Paris; and that minister, in conjunction with Sir Henry Norris, her resident ambassador, enforced her pretensions. Conferences were held on that head, without coming to any conclusion satisfactory to the English. The chancellor, De L'Hospital, told the English ambassadors, that though France by an article of the treaty was obliged to restore Calais on the expiration of eight years, there was another article of the same treaty, which now deprived Elizabeth of any right that could accrue to her by that engagement; that it was agreed, if the English should, during the interval, commit hostilities upon France, they should instantly forfeit all claim to Calais; and the taking possession of Havre and Dieppe, with whatever pretences that measure might be covered, was a plain violation of the peace between the nations: that though these places were not entered by force, but put into Elizabeth's hands by the governors, these governors were rebels; and a correspondence with such traitors was the most flagrant injury that could be committed on any sovereign: that in the treaty which ensued upon the expulsion of the English from Normandy, the French ministers had absolutely refused to make any mention of Calais, and had thereby declared their intention to take advantage of the title which had accrued to the crown of France: and that though a general clause had been inserted, implying a reservation of all claims, this concession could not avail the English, who at that time possessed no just claim to Calais, and had previously forfeited all right to that fortress.[*] The queen was nowise surprised at hearing these allegations; and as she knew that the French court intended not from the first to make restitution, much less after they could justify their refusal by such plausible reasons, she thought it better for the present to acquiesce in the loss, than to pursue a doubtful title by a war both dangerous and expensive, as well as unseasonable.[**]

* Haynes, p. 587.

** Camden, p. 406.

Elizabeth entered anew into negotiations for espousing the archduke Charles; and she seems, at this time, to have had no great motive of policy which might induce her to make this fallacious offer: but as she was very rigorous in the terms insisted on, and would not agree that the archduke, if he espoused her, should enjoy any power or title in England, and even refused him the exercise of his religion, the treaty came to nothing; and that prince, despairing of success in his addresses, married the daughter of Albert, duke of Bavaria.[*]

* Camden, p. 407, 408.



{1568.} Of all the European churches which shook off the yoke of papal authority, no one proceeded with so much reason and moderation as the church of England; an advantage which had been derived partly from the interposition of the civil magistrate in this innovation, partly from the gradual and slow steps by which the reformation was conducted in that kingdom. Rage and animosity against the Catholic religion was as little indulged as could be supposed in such a revolution: the fabric of the secular hierarchy was maintained entire: the ancient liturgy was preserved, so far as was thought consistent with the new principles: many ceremonies, become venerable from age and preceding use were retained: the splendor of the Romish worship, though removed, had at least given place to order and decency: the distinctive habits of the clergy, according to their different ranks, were continued: no innovation was admitted merely from spite and opposition to former usage: and the new religion, by mitigating the genius of the ancient superstition, and rendering it more compatible with the peace and interests of society, had preserved itself in that happy medium which wise men have always sought, and which the people have so seldom been able to maintain.

But though such in general was the spirit of the reformation in that country, many of the English reformers, being men of more warm complexions and more obstinate tempers, endeavored to push matters to extremities against the church of Rome, and indulged themselves in the most violent contrariety and antipathy to all former practices. Among these, Hooper, who afterwards suffered for his religion with such extraordinary constancy, was chiefly distinguished. This man was appointed, during the reign of Edward, to the see of Glocester, and made no scruple of accepting the episcopal office; but he refused to be consecrated in the episcopal habit, the cymar and rochet, which had formerly, he said, been abused to superstition, and which were thereby rendered unbecoming a true Christian. Cranmer and Ridley were surprised at this objection, which opposed the received practice, and even the established laws; and though young Edward, desirous of promoting a man so celebrated for his eloquence, his zeal, and his morals, enjoined them to dispense with this ceremony, they were still determined to retain it. Hooper then embraced the resolution, rather to refuse the bishopric than clothe himself in those hated garments; but it was deemed requisite that, for the sake of the example, he should not escape so easily. He was first confined to Cranmer's house, then thrown into prison, till he should consent to be a bishop on the terms proposed: he was plied with conferences, and reprimands, and arguments: Bucer and Peter Martyr, and the most celebrated foreign reformers, were consulted on this important question: and a compromise, with great difficulty, was at last made, that Hooper should not be obliged to wear commonly the obnoxious robes, but should agree to be consecrated in them, and to use them during cathedral service;[*] a condescension not a little extraordinary in a man of so inflexible a spirit as this reformer.

The same objection which had arisen with regard to the episcopal habit, had been moved against the raiment of the inferior clergy; and the surplice in particular, with the tippet and corner cap, was a great object of abhorrence to many of the popular zealots.[**]

* Burnet, vol. ii. p. 152. Heylin, p. 90.

** Strype, vol. i. p. 416.

In vain was it urged, that particular habits, as well as postures and ceremonies, having been constantly used by the clergy, and employed in religious service, acquire a veneration in the eyes of the people, appear sacred in their apprehensions, excite their devotion, and contract a kind of mysterious virtue, which attaches the affections of men to the national and established worship: that in order to produce this effect, a uniformity in these particulars is requisite, and even a perseverance, as far as possible, in the former practice: and that the nation would be happy, if, by retaining these inoffensive observances, the reformers could engage the people to renounce willingly what was absurd or pernicious in the ancient superstition. These arguments, which had influence with wise men, were the very reasons which engaged the violent Protestants to reject the habits. They pushed matters to a total opposition with the church of Rome; every compliance, they said, was a symbolizing with Antichrist.[*] And this spirit was carried so far by some reformers, that, in a national remonstrance, made afterwards by the church of Scotland against these habits, it was asked, "What has Christ Jesus to do with Belial? What has darkness to do with light? If surplices, corner caps, and tippets have been badges cf idolaters in the very act of their idolatry, why should the preacher of Christian liberty, and the open rebuker of all superstition, partake with the dregs of the Romish beast? Yea, who is there that ought not rather to be afraid of taking in his hand, or on his forehead, the print and mark of that odious beast?"[**] But this application was rejected by the English church.

There was only one instance in which the spirit of contradiction to the Romanists took place universally in England: the altar was removed from the wall, was placed in the middle of the church, and was thenceforth denominated the communion table. The reason why this innovation met with such general reception was, that the nobility and gentry got thereby a pretence for making spoil of the plate, vestures, and rich ornaments which belonged to the altars.[***]

* Strype, vol. i. p. 416.

** Keith, p. 565. Knox, p. 402.

*** Heylin, Preface, p. 3. Hist. p. 106.

These disputes, which had been started during the reign of Edward, were carried abroad by the Protestants who fled from the persecutions of Mary; and as the zeal of these men had received an increase from the furious cruelty of their enemies, they were generally inclined to carry their opposition to the utmost extremity against the practices of the church of Rome. Their communication with Calvin, and the other reformers who followed the discipline and worship of Geneva, confirmed them in this obstinate reluctance; and though some of the refugees, particularly those who were established at Frankfort, still adhered to King Edward's liturgy, the prevailing spirit carried these confessors to seek a still further reformation. On the accession of Elizabeth, they returned to their native country; and being regarded with general veneration, on account of their zeal and past sufferings, they ventured to insist on the establishment of their projected model; nor did they want countenance from many considerable persona in the queen's council. But the princess herself, so far from being willing to despoil religion of the few ornaments and ceremonies which remained in it, was rather inclined to bring the public worship still nearer to the Romish ritual;[*] and she thought that the reformation had already gone too far in shaking off those forms and observances, which, without distracting men of more refined apprehensions, tend, in a very innocent manner, to allure, and amuse, and engage the vulgar.

* "When Nowel, one of her chaplains, had spoken less reverently, in a sermon preached before her, of the sign of the cross, she called aloud to him from her closet window, commanding him to retire from the ungodly digression, and to return unto his text. And on the other side, when one of her divines had preached a sermon in defence of the real presence, she openly gave him thanks for his pains and piety." Heylin, p. 124. She would have absolutely forbidden the marriage of the clergy, if Cecil had not interposed. Strype's Life of Parker, p. 107, 108, 109. She was an enemy to sermons; and usually said, that she thought two or three preachers were sufficient for a whole county. It was probably for these reasons that one Doring told her to her face from the pulpit, that she was like an untamed heifer, that would not be ruled by God's people, but obstructed his discipline See Life of Hooker, prefixed to his works.

She took care to have a law for uniformity strictly enacted: she was empowered by the parliament to add any new ceremonies which she thought proper: and though she was sparing in the exercise of this prerogative, she continued rigid in exacting an observance of the established laws, and in punishing all nonconformity. The zealots, therefore, who harbored a secret antipathy to the Episcopal order, and to the whole liturgy, were obliged, in a great measure, to conceal these sentiments, which would have been regarded as highly audacious and criminal; and they confined their avowed objections to the surplice, the confirmation of children, the sign of the cross in baptism, the ring in marriage, kneeling at the sacrament, and bowing at the name of Jesus. So fruitless is it for sovereigns to watch with a rigid care over orthodoxy, and to employ the sword in religious controversy, that the work, perpetually renewed, is perpetually to begin; and a garb, a gesture, nay, a metaphysical or grammatical distinction, when rendered important by the disputes of theologians and the zeal of the magistrate, is sufficient to destroy the unity of the church, and even the peace of society. These controversies had already excited such ferment among the people, that in some places, they refused to frequent the churches where the habits and ceremonies were used; would not salute the conforming clergy; and proceeded so far as to revile them in the streets, to spit in their faces, and to use them with all manner of contumely.[*] And while the sovereign authority checked these excesses, the flame was confined, not extinguished; and burning fiercer from confinement, it burst out in the succeeding reigns to the destruction of the church and monarchy.

* Strype's Life of Whitgift, p. 460

All enthusiasts, indulging themselves in rapturous flights ecstasies, visions, inspirations, have a natural aversion to episcopal authority, to ceremonies, rites, and forms which they denominate superstition, or beggarly elements, and which seem to restrain the liberal effusions of their zeal and devotion: but there was another set of opinions adopted by these innovators, which rendered them in a peculiar manner the object of Elizabeth's aversion. The same bold and daring spirit which accompanied them in their addresses to the Divinity, appeared in their political speculations; and the principles of civil liberty, which during some reigns had been little avowed in the nation, and which were totally incompatible with the present exorbitant prerogative, had been strongly adopted by this new sect. Scarcely any sovereign before Elizabeth, and none after her, carried higher, both in speculation and practice, the authority of the crown; and the Puritans (so these sectaries were called, on account of their pretending to a superior purity of worship and discipline) could not recommend themselves worse to her favor, than by inculcating the doctrine of resisting or restraining princes. From all these motives, the queen neglected no opportunity of depressing those zealous innovators; and while they were secretly countenanced by some of her most favored ministers, Cecil, Leicester, Knolles, Bedford, Walsingham, she never was, to the end of her life, reconciled to their principles and practices.

We have thought proper to insert in this place an account of the rise and the genius of the Puritans; because Camden marks the present year as the period when they began to make themselves considerable in England. We now return to our narration.

{1569.} The duke of Norfolk was the only peer that enjoyed the highest title of nobility; and as there were at present no princes of the blood, the splendor of his family, the opulence of his fortune, and the extent of his influence, had rendered him, without comparison, the first subject in England. The qualities of his mind corresponded to his high station:—beneficent, affable, generous, he had acquired the affections of the people; prudent, moderate, obsequious, he possessed, without giving her any jealousy, the good graces of his sovereign. His grandfather and father had long been regarded as the leaders of the Catholics; and this hereditary attachment, joined to the alliance of blood, had procured him the friendship of the most considerable men of that party; but as he had been educated among the reformers, was sincerely devoted to their principles, and maintained that strict decorum and regularity of life by which the Protestants were at that time distinguished, he thereby enjoyed the rare felicity of being popular even with the most opposite factions. The height of his prosperity alone was the source of his misfortunes, and engaged him in attempts from which his virtue and prudence would naturally have forever kept him at a distance.

Norfolk was at this time a widower; and being of a suitable age, his marriage with the queen of Scots had appeared so natural, that it occurred to several of his friends and those of that princess: but the first person who, after Secretary Lidington, opened the scheme to the duke, is said to have been the earl of Murray, before his departure for Scotland.[*] That nobleman set before Norfolk, both the advantage of composing the dissensions in Scotland by an alliance which would be so generally acceptable, and the prospect of reaping the succession of England; and in order to bind Norfolk's interest the faster with Mary's, he proposed that the duke's daughter should also espouse the young king of Scotland. The previously obtaining of Elizabeth's consent was regarded, both by Murray and Norfolk, as a circumstance essential to the success of their project; and all terms being adjusted between them, Murray took care, by means of Sir Robert Melvil, to have the design communicated to the queen of Scots. This princess replied, that the vexations which she had met with in her two last marriages, had made her more inclined to lead a single life; but she was determined to sacrifice her own inclinations to the public welfare: and therefore, as soon as she should be legally divorced from Bothwell, she would be determined by the opinion of her nobility and people in the choice of another husband.[**]

* Lesley, p. 36, 87.

** Lesley, p. 40, 41.

It is probable that Murray was not sincere in this proposal. He had two motives to engage him to dissimulation. Heknew the danger which he must run in his return through the north of England, from the power of the earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, Mary's partisans in that country; and he dreaded an insurrection in Scotland from the duke of Chatelrault and the earls of Argyle and Huntley, whom she had appointed her lieutenants during her absence. By these feigned appearances of friendship, he both engaged Norfolk to write in his favor to the northern noblemen,[*] and he persuaded the queen of Scots to give her lieutenants permission, and even advice, to conclude a cessation of hostilities with the regent's party.[**]

The duke of Norfolk, though he had agreed that Elizabeth's consent should be previously obtained before the completion of his marriage, had reason to apprehend that he never should prevail with her voluntarily to make that concession. He knew her perpetual and unrelenting jealousy against her heir and rival; he was acquainted with her former reluctance to all proposals of marriage with the queen of Scots; he foresaw that this princess's espousing a person of his power, and character, and interest, would give the greatest umbrage; and as it would then become necessary to reinstate her in possession of her throne on some tolerable terms, and even to endeavor the reestablishing of her character, he dreaded lest Elizabeth, whose politics had now taken a different turn, would never agree to such indulgent and generous conditions. He therefore attempted previously to gain the consent and approbation of several of the most considerable nobility; and he was successful with the earls of Pembroke, Arundel, Derby, Bedford, Shrewsbury, Southampton, Northumberland, Westmoreland, Sussex.[***] Lord Lumley and Sir Nicholas Throgmorton cordially embraced the proposal: even the earl of Leicester, Elizabeth's declared favorite, who had formerly entertained some views of espousing Mary, willingly resigned all his pretensions, and seemed to enter zealously into Norfolk's interests.[****] There were other motives, besides affection to the duke, which produced this general combination of the nobility.

* State Trials, p. 76, 78.

** Lesley, p. 41.

*** Lesley, p. 55. Camden, p. 419. Spotswood, p. 230.

**** Haynes, p. 535.

Sir William Cecil, secretary of state, was the most vigilant, active, and prudent minister ever known in England; and as he was governed by no views but the interests of his sovereign which he had inflexibly pursued, his authority over her became every day more predominant. Ever cool himself, and uninfluenced by prejudice or affection, he checked those sallies of passion, and sometimes of caprice, to which she was subject; and if he failed of persuading her in the first movement, his perseverance, and remonstrances, and arguments were sure at last to recommend themselves to her sound discernment. The more credit he gained with his mistress, the more was he exposed to the envy of her other counsellors; and as he had been supposed to adopt the interests of the house of Suffolk, whose claim seemed to carry with it no danger to the present establishment, his enemies, in opposition to him, were naturally led to attach themselves to the queen of Scots. Elizabeth saw without uneasiness this emulation among her courtiers, which served to augment her own authority: and though she supported Cecil whenever matters came to extremities, and dissipated every conspiracy against him, particularly one laid about this time for having him thrown into the Tower on some pretence or other,[*] she never gave him such unlimited confidence as might enable him entirely to crush his adversaries.

Norfolk, sensible of the difficulty which he must meet with in controlling Cecil's counsels, especially where they concurred with the inclination as well as interest of the queen, durst not open to her his intentions of marrying the queen of Scots, but proceeded still in the same course of increasing his interest in the kingdom, and engaging more of the nobility to take part in his measures. A letter was written to Mary by Leicester, and signed by several of the first rank, recommending Norfolk for her husband, and stipulating conditions for the advantage of both kingdoms; particularly, that she should give sufficient surety to Elizabeth, and the heirs of her body, for the free enjoyment of the crown of England, that a perpetual league, offensive and defensive, should be made between their realms and subjects; that the Protestant religion should be established by law in Scotland; and that she should grant an amnesty to her rebels in that kingdom.[**]

* Camden, p. 417.

** Lesley, p. 50. Camden, p. 420. Haynes, p. 535, 539

When Mary returned a favorable answer to this application, Norfolk employed himself with new ardor in the execution of his project; and besides securing the interests of many of the considerable gentry and nobility who resided at court, he wrote letters to such as lived at their country seats, and possessed the greatest authority in the several counties.[*] The kings of France and Spain, who interested themselves extremely in Mary's cause, were secretly consulted, and expressed their approbation of these measures.[**] And though Elizabeth's consent was always supposed as a previous condition to the finishing of this alliance, it was apparently Norfolk's intention, when he proceeded such lengths without consulting her, to render his party so strong, that it should no longer be in her power to refuse it.[***]

It was impossible that so extensive a conspiracy could entirely escape the queen's vigilance and that of Cecil. She dropped several intimations to the duke, by which he might learn that she was acquainted with his designs; and she frequently warned him to beware on what pillow he reposed his head:[****] but he never had the prudence or the courage to open to her his full intentions. Certain intelligence of this dangerous combination was given her first by Leicester, then by Murray,[v] who, if ever he was sincere in promoting Norfolk's marriage, which is much to be doubted, had at least intended for his own safety and that of his party, that Elizabeth should in reality, as well as in appearance, be entire arbiter of the conditions, and should not have her consent extorted by any confederacy of her own subjects. This information gave great alarm to the court of England; and the more so, as those intrigues were attended with other circumstances, of which, it is probable, Elizabeth was not wholly ignorant.

* Lesley, p. 62.

** Lesley, p. 63.

*** State Trials, vol. i. p. 82.

**** Camden, p. 420. Spotswood, p. 231.

v Lesley, p. 71. It appears by Haynes, (p. 521, 525,) that Elizabeth had heard rumors of Norfolk's dealing with Murray; and charged the latter to inform her of the whole truth, which he accordingly did. See also the earl of Murray's letter produced on Norfolk's trial.

Among the nobility and gentry that seemed to enter into Norfolk's views, there were many who were zealously attached to the Catholic religion, who had no other design than that of restoring Mary to her liberty, and who would gladly, by a combination with foreign powers, or even at the expense of a civil war, have placed her on the throne or England. The earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, who possessed great power in the north, were leaders of this party; and the former nobleman made offer to the queen of Scots, by Leonard Dacres, brother to Lord Dacres, that he would free her from confinement, and convey her to Scotland, or any other place to which she should think proper to retire.[*] Sir Thomas and Sir Edward Stanley, sons of the earl of Derby, Sir Thomas Gerrard, Rolstone, and other gentlemen whose interest lay in the neighborhood of the place where Mary resided, concurred in the same views; and required that, in order to facilitate the execution of the scheme, a diversion should in the mean time be made from the side of Flanders.[**] Norfolk discouraged, and even, in appearance, suppressed these conspiracies; both because his duty to Elizabeth would not allow him to think of effecting his purpose by rebellion, and because he foresaw that, if the queen of Scots came into the possession of these men, they would rather choose for her husband the king of Spain, or some foreign prince, who had power, as well as inclination, to reestablish the Catholic religion.[***]

* Lesley, p. 76.

** Lesley, p. 98.

*** Lesley, p. 77.

When men of honor and good principles, like the duke of Norfolk, engage in dangerous enterprises, they are commonly so unfortunate as to be criminal by halves; and while they balance between the execution of their designs and their remorses, their fear of punishment and their hope of pardon, they render themselves an easy prey to their enemies. The duke, in order to repress the surmises spread against him, spoke contemptuously to Elizabeth of the Scottish alliance; affirmed that his estate in England was more valuable than the revenue of a kingdom wasted by civil wars and factions; and declared, that when he amused himself in his own tennis-court at Norwich amidst his friends and vassals, he deemed himself at least a petty prince, and was fully satisfied with his condition.[*] Finding that he did not convince her by these asseverations, and that he was looked on with a jealous eye by the ministers, he retired to his country seat without taking leave.[**] He soon after repented of this measure, and set out on his return to court, with a view of using every expedient to regain the queen's good graces; but he was met at St. Albans by Fitz-Garret, lieutenant of the band of pensioners by whom he was conveyed to Burnham, three miles from Windsor, where the court then resided.[***]

* Camden, p. 420

** Haynes, p. 528.

*** Haynes, p. 339.

He was soon after committed to the Tower, under the custody of Sir Henry Nevil. [*] Lesley, bishop of Ross, the queen of Scots' ambassador, was examined, and confronted with Norfolk before the council.[**] The earl of Pembroke was confined to his own house: Arundel, Lumley, and Throgmorton were taken into custody. The queen of Scots herself was removed to Coventry; all access to her was, during some time, more strictly prohibited; and Viscount Hereford was joined to the earls of Shrewsbury and Huntingdon in the office of guarding her.

A rumor had been diffused in the north of an intended rebellion; and the earl of Sussex, president of York, alarmed with the danger, sent for Northumberland and Westmoreland, in order to examine them: but not finding any proof against them, he allowed them to depart. The report, meanwhile, gained ground daily; and many appearances of its reality being discovered, orders were despatched by Elizabeth to these two noblemen, to appear at court, and answer for their conduct.[***] They had already proceeded so far in their criminal designs, that they dared not to trust themselves in her hands: they had prepared measures for a rebellion; had communicated their design to Mary and her ministers;[****] had entered into a correspondence with the duke of Alva, governor of the Low Countries; had obtained his promise of a reenforcement of troops, and of a supply of arms and ammunition; and had prevailed on him to send over to London Chiapino Vitelii, one of his most famous captains, on pretence of adjusting some differences with the queen, but in reality with a view of putting him at the head of the northern rebels.

* Camden, p. 421. Haynes, p. 540.

** Lesley, p. 80.

*** Haynes, p. 552.

**** Haynes, 595. Strype, vol. ii. Append, p. 30. MS. in the Ad socates' Library from Cott. Lib. Cal. c. 9.

The summons sent to the two earls precipitated the rising before they were fully prepared; and Northumberland remained in suspense between opposite dangers, when he was informed that some of his enemies were on the way with a commission to arrest him. He took horse instantly, and hastened to his associate Westmoreland, whom he found surrounded with his friends and vassals, and deliberating with regard to the measures which he should follow in the present emergence. They determined to begin the insurrection without delay; and the great credit of these two noblemen, with that zeal for the catholic religion which still prevailed in the neighborhood, soon drew together multitudes of the common people. They published a manifesto, in which they declared that they intended to attempt nothing against the queen, to whom they vowed unshaken allegiance: and that their sole aim was to reestablish the religion of their ancestors, to remove evil counsellors, and to restore the duke of Norfolk and other faithful peers to their liberty and to the queen's favor.[*] The number of the malecontents amounted to four thousand foot and sixteen hundred horse; and they expected the concurrence of all the Catholics in England.[**]

The queen was not negligent in her own defence, and she had beforehand, from her prudent and wise conduct, acquired the general good will of her people, the best security of a sovereign; insomuch that even the Catholics in most counties expressed an affection for her service;[***] and the duke of Norfolk himself, though he had lost her favor, and lay in confinement, was not wanting, as far as his situation permitted, to promote the levies among his friends and retainers. Sussex, attended by the earls of Rutland, the lords Hunsdon, Evers, and Willoughby of Parham, marched against the rebels at the head of seven thousand men, and found them already advanced to the bishopric of Durham, of which they had taken possession. They retired before him to Hexham; and hearing that the earl of Warwick and Lord Clinton were advancing against them with a greater body, they found no other resource than to disperse themselves without striking a blow. The common people retired to their houses: the leaders fled into Scotland. Northumberland was found skulking in that country, and was confined by Murray in the Castle of Lochlevin. Westmoreland received shelter from the chieftains of the Kers and Scots, partisans of Mary; and persuaded them to make an inroad into England, with a view of exciting a quarrel between the two kingdoms. After they had committed great ravages, they retreated to their own country. This sudden and precipitate rebellion was followed soon after by another still more imprudent, raised by Leonard Uacres. Lord Hunsdon, at the head of the garrison of Berwick, was able, without any other assistance, to quell these rebels. Great severity was exercised against such as had taken part in these rash enterprises. Sixty-six petty constables were hanged;[****] and no less than eight hundred persons are said, on the whole, to have suffered by the hands of the executioner.[v]

* Cabala, p. 169. Strype, vol. i. p. 547.

** Stowe, p. 663.

*** Cabala, p, 170. Digges, p. 4.

**** Camden, p, 423.

v Lesley, p. 82.

But the queen was so well pleased with Norfolk's behavior, that she released him from the Tower; allowed him to live, though under some show of confinement, in his own house; and only exacted a promise from him not to proceed any further in his negotiations with the queen of Scots.[*]

Elizabeth now found that the detention of Mary was attended with all the ill consequences which she had foreseen when she first embraced that measure. This latter princess recovering, by means of her misfortunes and her own natural good sense, from that delirium into which she seems to have been thrown during her attachment to Bothwell, had behaved with such modesty and judgment, and even dignity, that every one who approached her was charmed with her demeanor; and her friends were enabled, on some plausible grounds, to deny the reality of all those crimes which had been imputed to her.[**]

* Lesley, p. 98. Camden, p. 429. Haynes, p. 597.

** Lesley, p. 232. Haynes, p. 511, 548.

Compassion for her situation, and the necessity of procuring her liberty, proved an incitement among all her partisans to be active in promoting her cause; and as her deliverance from captivity, it was thought, could nowise be effected but by attempts dangerous to the established government, Elizabeth had reason to expect little tranquillity so long as the Scottish queen remained a prisoner in her hands. But as this inconvenience had been preferred to the danger of allowing that princess to enjoy her liberty, and to seek relief in all the Catholic courts of Europe, it behoved the queen to support the measure which she had adopted, and to guard, by every prudent expedient, against the mischiefs to which it was exposed. She still flattered Mary with hopes of her protection, maintained an ambiguous conduct between that queen and her enemies in Scotland, negotiated perpetually concerning the terms of her restoration, made constant professions of friendship to her; and by these artifices endeavored, both to prevent her from making any desperate efforts for her deliverance, and to satisfy the French and Spanish ambassadors, who never intermitted their solicitations, sometimes accompanied with menaces, in her behalf. This deceit was received with the same deceit by the queen of Scots: professions of confidence were returned by professions equally insincere: and while an appearance of friendship was maintained on both sides, the animosity and jealousy, which had long prevailed between them, became every day more inveterate and incurable. These two princesses, in address, capacity, activity, and spirit, were nearly a match for each other; but unhappily, Mary, besides her present forlorn condition, was always inferior in personal conduct and discretion, as well as in power, to her illustrious rival.

Elizabeth and Mary wrote at the same time letters to the regent. The queen of Scots desired, that her marriage with Bothwell might be examined, and a divorce be legally pronounced between them. The queen of England gave Murray the choice of three conditions; that Mary should be restored to her dignity on certain terms; that she should be associated with her son, and the administration remain in the regent's hands, till the young prince should come to years of discretion; or that she should be allowed to live at liberty as a private person in Scotland, and have an honorable settlement made in her favor.[*] Murray summoned a convention of states, in order to deliberate on these proposals of the two queens. No answer was made by them to Mary's letter, on pretence that she had there employed the style of a sovereign, addressing herself to her subjects; but in reality, because they saw that her request was calculated to prepare the way for a marriage with Norfolk, or some powerful prince, who could support her cause, and restore her to the throne. They replied to Elizabeth that the two former conditions were so derogatory to the royal authority of their prince, that they could not so much as deliberate concerning them: the third alone could be the subject of treaty. It was evident that Elizabeth, in proposing conditions so unequal in their importance, invited the Scots to a refusal of those which were most advantageous to Mary; and as it was difficult, if not impossible, to adjust all the terms of the third, so as to render it secure and eligible to all parties, it was concluded that she was not sincere in any of them.[**]

* MSS. in the Advocates' Library. A. 329, p. 137, from Cott. Lib. Catal. c. 1.

** Spotswood, p. 230, 231. Lesley, p. 71.

{1570.} It is pretended, that Murray had entered into a private negotiation with the queen, to get Mary delivered into his hands;[*] and as Elizabeth found the detention of her in England so dangerous, it is probable that she would have been pleased, on any honorable or safe terms, to rid herself of a prisoner who gave her so much inquietude.[**] [15] But all these projects vanished by the sudden death of the regent, who was assassinated in revenge of a private injury, by a gentleman of the name of Hamilton. Murray was a person of considerable vigor, abilities, and constancy; but though he was not unsuccessful, during his regency, in composing the dissensions in Scotland, his talents shone out more eminently in the beginning than in the end of his life. His manners were rough and austere; and he possessed not that perfect integrity which frequently accompanies, and can alone atone for, that unamiable character.

By the death of the regent, Scotland relapsed into anarchy. Mary's party assembled together, and made themselves masters of Edinburgh. The castle, commanded by Kirkaldy of Grange, seemed to favor her cause; and as many of the principal nobility had embraced that party, it became probable, though the people were in general averse to her, that her authority might again acquire the ascendant. To check its progress, Elizabeth despatched Sussex with an army to the north, under color of chastising the ravages committed by the borderers. He entered Scotland, and laid waste the lands of the Kers and Scots, seized the Castle of Hume, and committed hostilities on all Mary's partisans, who, he said, had offended his mistress by harboring the English rebels. Sir William Drury was afterwards sent with a body of troops, and he threw down the houses of the Hamiltons, who were engaged in the same faction. The English armies were afterwards recalled by agreement with the queen of Scots, who promised, in return, that no French troops should be introduced into Scotland, and that the English rebels should be delivered up to the queen by her partisans.[***]

But though the queen, covering herself with the pretence of revenging her own quarrel, so far contributed to support the party of the young king of Scots, she was cautious not to declare openly against Mary; and she even sent a request, which was equivalent to a command, to the enemies of that princess, not to elect, during some time, a regent in the place of Murray.[****] Lenox, the king's grandfather, was therefore chosen temporary governor, under the title of lieutenant.

* Camden, p. 425. Lesley, p. 83.

** See note O, at the end of the volume.

*** Lesley, p. 91.

**** Spotswood, p. 240.

Hearing afterwards that Mary's partisans, instead of delivering up Westmoreland and the other fugitives, as they had promised, had allowed them to escape into Flanders, she permitted the king's party to give Lenox the title of regent,[*] and she sent Randolph, as her resident, to maintain a correspondence with him. But notwithstanding this step, taken in favor of Mary's enemies, she never laid aside her ambiguous conduct, nor quitted the appearance of amity to that princess. Being importuned by the bishop of Ross and her other agents, as well as by foreign ambassadors, she twice procured a suspension of arms between the Scottish factions, and by that means stopped the hands of the regent, who was likely to obtain advantages over the opposite party.[**] By these seeming contrarieties she kept alive the factions in Scotland, increased their mutual animosity, and rendered the whole country a scene of devastation and of misery.[***] She had no intention to conquer the kingdom, and consequently no interest or design to instigate the parties against each other; but this consequence was an accidental effect of her cautious politics, by which she was engaged, as far as possible, to keep on good terms with the queen of Scots, and never to violate the appearances of friendship with her, at least those of neutrality.[****] [16]

* Spotswood, p. 241.

** Spotswood, p. 243.

*** Crawford, p. 136.

**** See note P, at the end of the volume.

The better to amuse Mary with the prospect of an accommodation, Cecil and Sir Walter Mildmay were sent to her with proposals from Elizabeth. The terms were somewhat rigorous, such as a captive queen might expect from a jealous rival; and they thereby bore the greater appearance of sincerity on the part of the English court. It was required that the queen of Scots, besides renouncing all title to the crown of England during the lifetime of Elizabeth, should make a perpetual league, offensive and defensive, between the kingdoms; that she should marry no Englishman without Elizabeth's consent, nor any other person without the consent of the states of Scotland; that compensation should be made for the late ravages committed in England; that justice should be executed on the murderers of King Henry; that the young prince should be sent into England, to be educated there; and that six hostages, all of them noblemen, should be delivered to the queen of England, with the Castle of Hume, and some other fortress, for the security of performance.[*] Such were the conditions upon which Elizabeth promised to contribute her endeavors towards the restoration of the deposed queen. The necessity of Mary's affairs obliged her to consent to them; and the kings of France and Spain, as well as the pope, when consulted by her, approved of her conduct chiefly on account of the civil wars, by which all Europe was at that time agitated, and which incapacitated the Catholic princes from giving her any assistance.[**]

Elizabeth's commissioners proposed also to Mary a plan of accommodation with her subjects in Scotland; and after some reasoning on that head, it was agreed that the queen should require Lenox, the regent, to send commissioners, in order to treat of conditions under her mediation. The partisans of Mary boasted, that all terms were fully settled with the court of England, and that the Scottish rebels would soon be constrained to submit to the authority of their sovereign; but Elizabeth took care that these rumors should meet with no credit, and that the king's party should not be discouraged, nor sink too low in their demands. Cecil wrote to inform the regent, that all the queen of England's proposals, so far from being fixed and irrevocable, were to be discussed anew in the conference; and desired him to send commissioners who should be constant in the king's cause, and cautious not to make concessions which might be prejudicial to their party.[***] Sussex, also, in his letters, dropped hints to the same purpose; and Elizabeth herself said to the abbot of Dunfermling, whom Lenox had sent to the court of England, that she would not insist on Mary's restoration, provided the Scots could make the justice of their cause appear to her satisfaction; and that, even if their reasons should fall short of full conviction, she would take effectual care to provide for their future security.[****]

* Spotswood, p. 245. Lesley p. 101.

** Lesley, p. 109, etc.

*** Spotswood, p, 246.

**** Spotswood, p. 247, 248.

{1571.} The parliament of Scotland appointed the earl of Morton and Sir James Macgill, together with the abbot of Dunfermling, to manage the treaty. These commissioners presented memorials, containing reasons for the deposition of their queen; and they seconded their arguments with examples drawn from the Scottish history, with the authority of laws, and with the sentiments of many famous divines. The lofty ideas which Elizabeth had entertained of the absolute, indefensible right of sovereigns, made her be shocked with these republican topics; and she told the Scottish commissioners, that she was no wise satisfied with their reasons for justifying the conduct of their countrymen; and that they might therefore, without attempting any apology, proceed to open the conditions which they required for their security.[*] They replied that their commission did not empower them to treat of any terms which might infringe the title and sovereignty of their young king; but they would gladly hear whatever proposals should be made them by her majesty. The conditions recommended by the queen were not disadvantageous to Mary; but as the commissioners still insisted that they were not authorized to treat in any manner concerning the restoration of that princess,[**] the conferences were necessarily at an end; and Elizabeth dismissed the Scottish commissioners, with injunctions that they should return, after having procured more ample powers from their parliament.[***] The bishop of Ross openly complained to the English council that they had abused his mistress by fair promises and professions; and Mary herself was no longer at a loss to judge of Elizabeth's insincerity. By reason of these disappointments, matters came still nearer to extremities between the two princesses; and the queen of Scots, finding all her hopes eluded, was more strongly incited to make, at all hazards, every possible attempt for her liberty and security.

An incident also happened about this time, which tended to widen the breach between Mary and Elizabeth, and to increase the vigilance and jealousy of the latter princess. Pope Pius V., who had succeeded Paul, after having endeavored in vain to conciliate by gentle means the friendship of Elizabeth, whom his predecessor's violence had irritated, issued at last a bull of excommunication against her, deprived her of all title to the crown, and absolved her subjects from their oaths of allegiance.[****]

* Spotswood, p. 248, 249.

** Haynes, p. 623.

*** Spotswood. p. 249, 250, etc. Lesley, p. 133, 136. Camden, p, 431, 432.

**** Camden, p. 427.

It seems probable that this attack on the queen's authority was made in concert with Mary, who intended by that means to forward the northern rebellion; a measure which was at that time in agitation.[*] John Felton affixed this bull to the gates of the bishop of London's palace; and scorning either to fly or to deny the fact, he was seized and condemned and received the crown of martyrdom, for which he seems to have entertained so violent an ambition.[**]

A new parliament, after five years' interval, was assembled at Westminster; and as the queen, by the rage of the pope against her, was become still more the head of the ruling party, it might be expected, both from this incident and from her own prudent and vigorous conduct, that her authority over the two houses would be absolutely uncontrollable. It was so in fact; yet is it remarkable, that it prevailed not without some small opposition; and that too arising chiefly from the height of zeal for Protestantism; a disposition of the English which, in general, contributed extremely to increase the queen's popularity. We shall be somewhat particular in relating the transactions of this session, because they show, as well the extent of the royal power during that age, as the character of Elizabeth, and the genius of her government. It will be curious also to observe the faint dawn of the spirit of liberty among the English, the jealousy with which that spirit was repressed by the sovereign, the imperious conduct which was maintained in opposition to it, and the ease with which it was subdued by this arbitrary princess.

The lord keeper Bacon, after the speaker of the commons was elected, told the parliament, in the queen's name, that she enjoined them not to meddle with any matters of state:[***] such was his expression; by which he probably meant, the questions of the queen's marriage, and the succession, about which they had before given her some uneasiness; for as to the other great points of government, alliances, peace and war, or foreign negotiations, no parliament in that age ever presumed to take them under consideration, or question, in these particulars, the conduct of their sovereign, or of his ministers.

In the former parliament, the Puritans had introduced seven bills for a further reformation in religion; but they had not been able to prevail in any one of them.[****] This house of commons had sitten a very few days, when Stricland, a member, revived one of the bills—that for the amendment of the liturgy.[v]

* Camden, p. 441, from Cajetanus's Life of Pius V.

** Camden, p. 428.

*** D'Ewes, p. 141.

**** D'Ewes, p. 185.

v D'Ewes p. 156, 157.

The chief objection which he mentioned, was the sign of the cross in baptism. Another member added the kneeling at the sacrament; and remarked, that if a posture of humiliation were requisite in that act of devotion, it were better that the communicants should throw themselves prostrate on the ground, in order to keep at the widest distance from former superstition.[*]

Religion was a point of which Elizabeth was, if possible, still more jealous than of matters of state. She pretended, that in quality of supreme head or governor of the church, she was fully empowered, by her prerogative alone, to decide all questions which might arise with regard to doctrine, discipline, or worship; and she never would allow her parliaments so much as to take these points into consideration.[**] The courtiers did not forget to insist on this topic: the treasurer of the household, though he allowed that any heresy might be repressed by parliament, (a concession which seems to have been rash and unguarded, since the act investing the crown with the supremacy, or rather recognizing that prerogative, gave the sovereign full power to reform all heresies,) yet he affirmed, that it belonged to the queen alone, as head of the church, to regulate every question of ceremony in worship.[***] The comptroller seconded this argument; insisted on the extent of the queen's prerogative; and said that the house might, from former examples, have taken warning not to meddle with such matters. One Pistor opposed these remonstrances of the courtiers. He was scandalized, he said, that affairs of such infinite consequence (namely, kneeling, and making the sign of the cross) should be passed over so lightly. These questions, he added, concern the salvation of souls, and interest every one more deeply than the monarchy of the whole world. This cause he showed to be the cause of God; the rest were all but terrene, yea, trifles in comparison, call them ever so great: subsidies, crowns, kingdoms, he knew not what weight they had, when laid in the balance with subjects of such unspeakable importance.[****] Though the zeal of this member seems to have been approved of, the house, overawed by the prerogative, voted upon the question, that a petition should be presented to her majesty for her license to proceed further in this bill; and in the mean time that they should stop all debate or reasoning concerning it.[v]

* D'Ewes, p. 167.

** D'Ewes, p. 158.

*** D'Ewes, p. 166.

**** D'Ewes, p. 166.

v D'Ewes, p. 167.

Matters would probably have rested here, had not the queen been so highly offended with Stricland's presumption in moving the bill for reformation of the liturgy, that she summoned him before the council, and prohibited him thenceforth from appearing in the house of commons.[*] This act of power was too violent even for the submissive parliament to endure. Carleton took notice of the matter; complained that the liberties of the house were invaded; observed that Stricland was not a private man, but represented a multitude: and moved that he might be sent for, and if he were guilty of any offence, might answer for it at the bar of the house, which he insinuated to be the only competent tribunal.[**] Yelverton enforced the principles of liberty with still greater boldness. He said, that the precedent was dangerous; and though, in this happy time of lenity, among so many good and honorable personages as were at present invested with authority, nothing of extremity or injury was to be apprehended, yet the times might alter; what now is permitted, might hereafter be construed as duty, and might be enforced even on the ground of the present permission. He added, that all matters not treasonable, or which implied not "too much" derogation of the imperial crown, might, without offence, be introduced into parliament; where every question that concerned the community must be considered, and where even the right of the crown itself must finally be determined. He remarked, that men sat not in that house in their private capacities, but as elected by their country; and though it was proper that the prince should retain his prerogative, yet was that prerogative limited by law: as the sovereign could not of himself make laws, neither could he break them merely from his own authority.[***]

* D'Ewes, p. 175.

** D'Ewes, p. 175.

*** D'Ewes, p. 175, 176.

These principles were popular, and noble, and generous; but the open assertion of them was, at this time, somewhat new in England; and the courtiers were more warranted by present practice, when they advanced a contrary doctrine. The treasurer warned the house to be cautious in their proceedings; neither to venture further than their assured warrant might extend, nor hazard their good opinion with her majesty in any doubtful cause. The member, he said, whose attendance they required, was not restrained on account of any liberty of speech, but for his exhibiting a bill in the house against the prerogative of the queen; a temerity which was not to be tolerated. And he concluded with observing, that even speeches made in that house had been questioned and examined by the sovereign.[*] Cleere, another member, remarked, that the sovereign's prerogative is not so much as disputable, and that the safety of the queen is the safety of the subject. He added, that in questions of divinity, every man was for his instruction to repair to his ordinary; and he seems to insinuate, that the bishops themselves, for their instruction, must repair to the queen.[**] Fleetwood observed, that in his memory, he knew a man who, in the fifth of the present queen, had been called to account for a speech in the house. But lest this example should be deemed too recent, he would inform them, from the parliament rolls, that, in the reign of Henry V., a bishop was committed to prison by the king's command, on account of his freedom of speech; and the parliament presumed not to go further than to be humble suitors for him: in the subsequent reign, the speaker himself was committed, with another member; and the house found no other remedy than a like submissive application. He advised the house to have recourse to the same expedient, and not to presume either to send for their member, or demand him as of right.[***] During this speech, those members of the privy council who sat in the house whispered together; upon which the speaker moved that the house should make stay of all further proceedings: a motion which was immediately complied with. The queen, finding that the experiment which she had made was likely to excite a great ferment, saved her honor by this silence of the house; and lest the question might be resumed, she sent next day to Stricland her permission to give his attendance in parliament.[****]

* D'Ewes, p. 175.

** D'Ewes, p. 175.

*** D'Ewes, p. 176.

**** D'Ewes, p. 176.

Notwithstanding this rebuke from the throne, the zeal of the commons still engaged them to continue the discussion of those other bills which regarded religion; but they were interrupted by a still more arbitrary proceeding of the queen, in which the lords condescended to be her instruments. This house sent a message to the commons, desiring that a committee might attend them. Some members were appointed for that purpose; and the upper house informed them, that the queen's majesty, being informed of the articles of reformation which they had canvassed, approved of them, intended to publish them, and to make the bishops execute them by virtue of her royal authority, as supreme head of the church of England; but that she would not permit them to be treated of in parliament.[*] The house, though they did not entirely stop proceedings on account of this injunction, seem to have been nowise offended at such haughty treatment; and in the issue, all the bills came to nothing.

A motion made by Robert Bell, a Puritan, against an exclusive patent granted to a company of merchants in Bristol,[**] gave also occasion to several remarkable incidents. The queen, some days after the motion was made, sent orders, by the mouth of the speaker, commanding the house to spend little time in motions, and to avoid long speeches. All the members understood that she had been offended, because a matter had been moved which seemed to touch her prerogative.[***] Fleetwood accordingly spoke of this delicate subject. He observed, that the queen had a prerogative of granting patents; that to question the validity of any patent was to invade the royal prerogative; that all foreign trade was entirely subjected to the pleasure of the sovereign; that even the statute which gave liberty of commerce, admitted of all prohibitions from the crown; and that the prince, when he granted an exclusive patent, only employed the power vested in him, and prohibited all others from dealing in any particular branch of commerce. He quoted the clerk of the parliament's book to prove, that no man might speak in parliament of the statute of wills, unless the king first gave license; because the royal prerogative in the wards was thereby touched. He showed, likewise, the statutes of Edward I., Edward III., and Henry IV., with a saving of the prerogative. And in Edward VI.'s time, the protector was applied to for his allowance to mention matters of prerogative.[****]

* D'Ewes, p. 180, 185.

** D'Ewes, p. 185.

*** D'Ewes, p. 159.

**** D'Ewes, p. 160.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the gallant and renowned sea adventurer, carried these topics still further. He endeavored to prove the motion made by Bell to be a vain device, and perilous to be treated of; since it tended to the derogation of the prerogative imperial, which whoever should attempt so much as in fancy, could not, he said, be otherwise accounted than an open enemy. For what difference is there between saying, that the queen is not to use the privilege of the crown and saying, that she is not queen? And though experience has shown so much clemency in her majesty, as might, perhaps, make subjects forget their duty, it is not good to sport or venture too much with princes. He reminded them of the fable of the hare, who, upon the proclamation that all horned beasts should depart the court, immediately fled, lest his ears should be construed to be horns; and by this apologue he seems to insinuate, that even those who heard or permitted such dangerous speeches, would not themselves be entirely free from danger. He desired them to beware, lest if they meddled further with these matters, the queen might look to her own power; and finding herself able to suppress their challenged liberty, and to exert an arbitrary authority, might imitate the example of Lewis XI. of France, who, as he termed it, delivered the crown from wardship.[*]

Though this speech gave some disgust, nobody, at the time, replied any thing, but that Sir Humphrey mistook the meaning of the house, and of the member who made the motion: they never had any other purpose, than to represent their grievances, in due and seemly form, unto her majesty. But in a subsequent debate, Peter Wentworth, a man of a superior free spirit, called that speech an insult on the house; noted Sir Humphrey's disposition to flatter and fawn on the prince; compared him to the chameleon, which can change itself into all colors, except white; and recommended to the house a due care of liberty of speech, and of the privileges of parliament.[**]

* D'Ewes, p. 168.

** D'Ewes, p. 175.

It appears, on the whole, that the motion against the exclusive patent had no effect. Bell, the member who first introduced it, was sent for by the council, and was severely reprimanded for his temerity. He returned to the house with such an amazed countenance, that all the members, well informed of the reason, were struck with terror; and during some time no one durst rise to speak of any matter of importance, for fear of giving offence to the queen and council. Even after the fears of the commons were somewhat abated, the members spoke with extreme precaution; and by employing most of their discourse in preambles and apologies, they showed their conscious terror of the rod which hung over them. Wherever any delicate point was touched, though ever so gently; nay, seemed to be approached, though at ever so great a distance; the whisper ran about the house, "The queen will be offended; the council will be extremely displeased:" and by these surmises men were warned of the danger to which they exposed themselves. It is remarkable that the patent, which the queen defended with such imperious violence, was contrived for the profit of four courtiers, and was attended with the utter ruin of seven or eight thousand of her industrious subjects.[*]

Thus every thing which passed the two houses was extremely respectful and submissive; yet did the queen think it incumbent on her, at the conclusion of the session, to check and that with great severity, those feeble efforts of liberty which had appeared in the motions and speeches of some members. The lord keeper told the commons, in her majesty's name, that though the majority of the lower house had shown themselves in their proceedings discreet and dutiful, yet a few of them had discovered a contrary character, and had justly merited the reproach of audacious, arrogant, and presumptuous: contrary to their duty, both as subjects and parliament men; nay, contrary to the express injunctions given them from the throne at the beginning of the session; injunctions which it might well become them to have better attended to; they had presumed to call in question her majesty's grants and prerogatives. But her majesty warns them, that since they thus wilfully forget themselves, they are otherwise to be admonished: some other species of correction must be found for them; since neither the commands of her majesty, nor the example of their wiser brethren, can reclaim their audacious, arrogant, and presumptuous folly, by which they are thus led to meddle with what nowise belongs to them, and what lies beyond the compass of their understanding.[**]

* D'Ewes, p. 242.

** D'Ewes, p. 151

In all these transactions appears clearly the opinion which Elizabeth had entertained of the duty and authority of parliaments. They were not to canvass any matters of state; still less were they to meddle with the church. Questions of either kind were far above their reach, and were appropriated to the prince alone, or to those councils and ministers with whom he was pleased to intrust them. What then was the office of parliaments? They might give directions for the due tanning of leather, or milling of cloth; for the preservation of pheasants and partridges; for the reparation of bridges and highways; for the punishment of vagabonds or common beggars. Regulations concerning the police of the country came properly under their inspection; and the laws of this kind which they prescribed, had, if not a greater, yet a more durable authority, than those which were derived solely from the proclamations of the sovereign. Precedents or reports could fix a rule for decisions in private property, or the punishment of crimes; but no alteration or innovation in the municipal law could proceed from any other source than the parliament; nor would the courts of justice be induced to change their established practice by an order of council. But the most acceptable part of parliamentary proceedings was the granting of subsidies; the attainting and punishing of the obnoxious nobility, or any minister of state after his fall; the countenancing of such great efforts of power, as might be deemed somewhat exceptionable, when they proceeded entirely from the sovereign. The redress of grievances were sometimes promised to the people; but seldom could have place, while it was an established rule, that the prerogatives of the crown must not be abridged, or so much as questioned and examined in parliament. Even though monopolies and exclusive companies had already reached an enormous height, and were every day increasing to the destruction of all liberty, and extinction of all industry, it was criminal in a member to propose, in the most dutiful and regular manner, a parliamentary application against any of them.

These maxims of government were not kept secret by Elizabeth, nor smoothed over by any fair appearances or plausible pretences. They were openly avowed in her speeches and messages to parliament; and were accompanied with all the haughtiness, nay, sometimes bitterness of expression, which the meanest servant could look for from his offended master. Yet, notwithstanding this conduct, Elizabeth continued to be the most popular sovereign that ever swayed the sceptre of England; because the maxims of her reign were conformable to the principles of the times, and to the opinion generally entertained with regard to the constitution. The continued encroachments of popular assemblies on Elizabeth's successors have so changed our ideas in these matters, that the passages above mentioned appear to us extremely curious, and even, at first, surprising; but they were so little remarked, during the time, that neither Camden, though a contemporary writer, nor any other historian, has taken any notice of them. So absolute, indeed, was the authority of the crown, that the precious spark of liberty had been kindled, and was preserved, by the Puritans alone; and it was to this sect, whose principles appear so frivolous, and habits so ridiculous, that the English owe the whole freedom of their constitution. Actuated by that zeal which belongs to innovators, and by the courage which enthusiasm inspires, they hazarded the utmost indignation of their sovereign, and employing all their industry to be elected into parliament,—a matter not difficult while a seat was rather regarded as a burden than an advantage—they first acquired a majority in that assembly, and then obtained an ascendent over the church and monarchy.

The following were the principal laws enacted this session. It was declared treason, during the lifetime of the queen, to affirm that she was not the lawful sovereign, or that any other possessed a preferable title, or that she was a heretic, schismatic, or infidel, or that the laws and statutes cannot limit and determine the right of the crown and the successor thereof: to maintain, in writing or printing, that any person, except the "natural issue" of her body, is, or ought to be, the queen's heir or successor, subjected the person and all his abettors, for the first offence, to imprisonment during a year, and to the forfeiture of half their goods: the second offence subjected them to the penalty of a praemunire.[*] This law was plainly levelled against the queen of Scots and her partisans; and implied an avowal, that Elizabeth never intended to declare her successor. It may be noted, that the usual phrase of "lawful issue," which the parliament thought indecent towards the queen, as if she could be supposed to have any other, was changed into that of "natural issue." But this alteration was the source of pleasantry during the time; and some suspected a deeper design, as if Leicester intended, in case of the queen's demise, to produce some bastard of his own, and affirm that he was her offspring.[**]

* 13 Eliz. c. I.

** Camden, p. 436.

It appeared this session, that a bribe of four pounds had been given to a mayor for a seat in parliament. D'Ewes, p. 181. It is probable that the member had no other view than the privilege of being free from arrests.

It was also enacted, that whosoever by bulls should publish absolutions or other rescripts of the pope, or should, by means of them, reconcile any man to the church of Rome, such offenders, as well as those who were so reconciled, should be guilty of treason. The penalty of a praemunire was imposed on every one who imported any Agnus Dei, crucifix, or such other implement of superstition, consecrated by the pope.[*] The former laws against usury were enforced by a new statute.[**] A supply of one subsidy and two fifteenths was granted by parliament. The queen, as she was determined to yield to them none of her power, was very cautious in asking them for any supply. She endeavored, either by a rigid frugality to make her ordinary revenues suffice for the necessities of the crown, or she employed her prerogative, and procured money by the granting of patents, monopolies, or by some such ruinous expedient.

* 13 Eliz. c. 2.

** 13 Eliz. c. 8.

Though Elizabeth possessed such uncontrolled authority over her parliaments, and such extensive influence over her people; though, during a course of thirteen years, she had maintained the public tranquillity, which was only interrupted by the hasty and ill-concerted insurrection in the north; she was still kept in great anxiety, and felt her throne perpetually totter under her. The violent commotions excited in France and the Low Countries, as well as in Scotland, seemed in one view to secure her against any disturbance; but they served, on more reflection, to instruct her in the danger of her situation, when she remarked that England, no less than these neighboring countries, contained the seeds of intestine discord; the differences of religious opinion, and the furious intolerance and animosity of the opposite sectaries.

The league, formed at Bayonne in 1566, for the extermination of the Protestants, had not been concluded so secretly but intelligence of it had reached Conde, Coligny, and the other leaders of the Hugonots; and finding that the measures of the court agreed with their suspicions, they determined to prevent the cruel perfidy of their enemies, and to strike a blow before the Catholics were aware of the danger. The Hugonots, though dispersed over the whole kingdom, formed a kind of separate empire; and being closely united, as well by their religious zeal as by the dangers to which they were perpetually exposed, they obeyed with entire submission the orders of their leaders, and were ready on every signal to fly to arms. The king and queen mother were living in great security at Monceaux, in Brie, when they found themselves surrounded by Protestant troops, which had secretly marched thither from all quarters; and had not a body of Swiss come speedily to their relief, and conducted them with great intrepidity to Paris, they must have fallen, without resistance, into the hands of the malecontents. A battle was afterwards fought in the plains of St. Denis; where, though the old constable, Montmorency, the general of the Catholics, was killed combating bravely at the head of his troops, the Hugonots were finally defeated. Conde, collecting his broken forces and receiving a strong reenforcement from the German Protestants, appeared again in the field; and laying siege to Chartres, a place of great importance, obliged the court to agree to a new accommodation.

So great was the mutual animosity of those religionists, that even had the leaders on both sides been ever so sincere in their intentions for peace, and reposed ever so much confidence in each other, it would have been difficult to retain the people in tranquillity; much more where such extreme jealousy prevailed, and where the court employed every pacification as a snare for their enemies. A plan was laid for seizing the person of the prince and admiral; who narrowly escaped to Rochelle, and summoned their partisans to their assistance.[*]

* Davila, lib. iv.

The civil wars were renewed with greater fury than ever, and the parties became still more exasperated against each other. The young duke of Anjou, brother to the king, commanded the forces of the Catholics; and fought in 1569, a great battle at Jarnac with the Hugonots, where the prince of Conde was killed, and his army defeated. This discomfiture, with the loss of so great a leader, reduced not the Hugonots to despair. The admiral still supported the cause; and having placed at the head of the Protestants the prince of Navarre, then sixteen years of age, and the young prince of Conde, he encouraged the party rather to perish bravely in the field, than ignominiously by the hands of the executioner. He collected such numbers, so determined to endure every extremity, that he was enabled to make head against the duke of Anjou; and being strengthened by a new reenforcement of Germans, he obliged that prince to retreat and to divide his forces.

Coligny then laid siege to Poietiers; and as the eyes of all France were fixed on this enterprise, the duke of Guise, emulous of the renown which his father had acquired by the defence of Metz, threw himself into the place, and so animated the garrison by his valor and conduct, that the admiral was obliged to raise the siege. Such was the commencement of that unrivalled fame and grandeur afterwards attained by this duke of Guise. The attachment which all the Catholics had borne to his father, was immediately transferred to the son; and men pleased themselves in comparing all the great and shining qualities which seemed, in a manner, hereditary in that family. Equal in affability, in munificence, in address, in eloquence, and in every quality which engages the affections of men; equal also in valor, in conduct, in enterprise, in capacity; there seemed only this difference between them, that the son, educated in more turbulent times, and finding a greater dissolution of all law and order, exceeded the father in ambition and temerity, and was engaged in enterprises still more destructive to the authority of his sovereign, and to the repose of his native country.

Elizabeth, who kept her attention fixed on the civil commotions of France, was nowise pleased with this new rise of her enemies, the Guises; and being anxious for the fate of the Protestants, whose interests were connected with her own,[*] she was engaged, notwithstanding her aversion from all rebellion, and from all opposition to the will of the sovereign, to give them secretly some assistance. Besides employing her authority with the German princes, she lent money to the queen of Navarre, and received some jewels as pledges for the loan. And she permitted Henry Champernon to levy, and transport over into France, a regiment of a hundred gentlemen volunteers; among whom Walter Raleigh, then a young man, began to distinguish himself, in that great school of military valor.[**]

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