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The Leading Facts of English History
by D.H. Montgomery
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On the other hand, Philip II of Spain (SS370, 374) favored Elizabeth, but solely because he hoped to marry her and annex her kingdom to his dominions. Scotland was divided between two religious factions, the Catholics and the Protestants, and its attitude as an independent kingdom could hardly be called friendly. The Catholics in the greater part of Ireland were in a state bordering on rebellion, and were ready to join in any attack on an English sovereign.

378. The Religious Problem.

But the religious problem was more dangerous than any other, for England itself was divided in its faith. In the north, many noble families stood by the Catholic faith, and hoped to see the Pope's authority fully and permanently restored (S352). In the towns of the southeast, a majority favored the Church of England as it had been organized under the Protestant influence of Edward VI (S362).[1]

[1] See Goldwin Smith's "England."

Within these two great parties there were two more, who made up in zeal and determination what they lacked in numbers. One was the Jesuits; the other, the Puritans. The Jesuits were a new Roman Catholic order (1540), banded together by a solemn oath to restore the complete power of the Church and to extend it throughout the world. Openly or secretly their agents penetrated every country, and their opponents declared that they hesitated at nothing to gain their ends.

The Puritans were the extreme Protestants who, like John Calvin of Geneva and John Knox of Edinburgh, were bent on cleansing or "purifying" the reformed faith from every vestige of Catholicism. Many of them were what the rack and the stake had naturally made them,—hard, fearless, narrow, bitter.

In Scotland the Puritans had got possession of the government, while in England they were steadily gaining ground. They were ready to recognize the Queen as head of the Church of England, they even wished that all persons should be compelled to worship as the government prescribed, but they protested against what they considered the halfway form of Church which Elizabeth and the bishops seemed inclined to maintain.

379. The Queen's Choice of Counselors.

Elizabeth's policy from the beginning was one of compromise. In order to conciliate the Catholic party, she retained eleven of her sister Mary's counselors. But she added to them Sir William Cecil (Lord Burghley), who was her chief adviser,[2] Sir Nicholas Bacon, and, later, Sir Francis Walsingham, with others who were favorable to the Protestant faith.

[2] See Macaulay's essay on "Lord Burghley."

On his appointment, Elizabeth said to Cecil, "This judgment I have of you, that you will not be corrupted with any gifts, that you will be faithful to the State, and that without respect to my private will you give me that counsel which you think best." Cecil served the Queen until his death, forty years afterward. The almost implicit obedience with which Elizabeth followed his advice sufficiently proves that Cecil was the real power not only behind, but generally above, the throne.

380. The Coronation (1559).

The bishops were Roman Catholics, and Elizabeth found it difficult to get one to perform the coronation services. At length one consented, but only on condition that the Queen should take the ancient form of coronation oath, by which she virtually bound herself to support the Roman Catholic Church.[1] To this Elizabeth consented, and having consulted an astrologer, Dr. Dee, he named a lucky day for the ceremony, and she was crowned (1559).

[1] By this oath every English sovereign from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth, inclusive, and even as late as James II, with the single exception of Edward VI, swore "to preserve religion in the same state as did Edward the Confessor." The form of the coronation oath was changed to support Protestantism by the Revolution of 1688. Finally, under George V, in 1910, the phraseology of the oath was modified by Act of Parliament in order to make it less objectionable not only to English Catholics, but to a large majority of the people of the nation.

381. Changes in the Church Service (1559).

The late Queen Mary (S373), besides having repealed the legislation of the two preceding reigns, in so far as it was opposed to her own strong religious convictions (S370), had restored the Roman Catholic Latin Prayer Book (S362). At Elizabeth's coronation a petition was presented stating that it was the custom to release a certain number of prisoners on such occasions. The petitioners, therefore, begged her Majesty to set at liberty the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and also the apostle Paul, who had been for some time shut up in a strange language. The English Book of Common Prayer (S362), with some slight changes, was accordingly reinstated, Parliament repealed the laws by which the late Queen Mary had practically restored the Roman Catholic religion, and it authorized the publication of a new and revised edition of the English Bible (S357).

382. New Act of Supremacy; Act of Uniformity; High Commission Court, 1559.

No sooner was the Queen's accession announced to the Pope than he declared her illegitimate (SS349, 355), and ordered her to lay aside her crown and submit herself to his guidance. Such a demand was a signal for battle. However much attached a large part of the nation, especially the country people, may have been to the Catholic religion of their fathers (S370), yet the majority of them were loyal to the Queen and intended to stand by her.

The temper of Parliament manifested itself in the immediate reenactment of the Act of Supremacy. It way essentially the same, "though with its edge a little blunted," as that by which Henry VIII had freed England from the dominion of the Pope (S349). It declared Elizabeth not "supreme head" but "supreme governor" of the Church. Later, the act was made more stringent (1563).

To this act, every member of the House of Commons was obliged to subscribe; thus all Catholics were exclued from that body. The Lords, however, not being an elective body, were excused from the obligation at that time (S478).

In order to enforce the Act of Supremacy, Parliament passed a new Act of Uniformity (S362), which ordered the minister of every congregation in England, whether Catholic or Protestant, to use the services laid down in the recently established Book of Common Prayer, and to use no other. In fact the law forbade the holding of any other service, even in a room with closed doors. In case he failed to obey this law he would be severely punished, and for a third offense would be imprisoned for life. The same act imposed a heavy fine on all persons who failed to attend the Established Church of England on Sundays and holidays.

The reason for these stringent measures was that in that age Church and State were everywhere considered to be inseparable. No country in Europe—not even Protestant Germany—could then conceive the idea of their existing independently of each other. Whoever refused to support the established form of worship, whatever that might be, was looked upon as a "rebel" against the government.

In order to try such "rebels" Parliament now gave Queen Elizabeth power to organize the High Commission Court.[1] By that Court many Catholics were imprisoned and tortured for refusing to comply with the new Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity, and later on about two hundred priests and Jesuits were put to death on charges of treason. A number of Puritans, also, were executed for publishing books or pamphlets which attacked the government, and others were cast into prison or banished from the realm.

[1] High Commission Court: so called because originally certain church dignitaries were appointed commissioners to inquire into heresies and kindred matters. See, too, Summary of Constitutional History in the Appendix, p. xiv, S15.

383. The Thirty-Nine Articles (1563); the Queen's Religion.

Four years later, the religious belief of the English Church, which had been first formulated under Edward VI (S362), was revised and reduced to the Thirty-Nine Articles which constitute it at the present time.[1] But the real value of the religious revolution which was taking place did not lie in the substitution of one creed for another, but in the new spirit of inquiry, and the new freedom of thought, which that change awakened.

[1] But the Clerical Subscription Act (1866) simply requires the clergy of the Church of England to make a general declaration of assent to the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Prayer Book.

As for Elizabeth herself, she seems to have had no deep and abiding convictions on these matters. Her political interests practically compelled her to favor Protestantism, but to the end of her life she kept up some Catholic forms. Though she upheld the service of the Church of England, yet she shocked the Puritans by keeping a crucifix, with lighted candles in front of it, hung in her private chapel, before which she prayed to the Virgin as fervently as her sister Mary had ever done.

384. The Nation halting between Two Opinions.

In this double course she represented a large part of the nation, which hesitated about committing itself fully to either side. Men were not wanting who were ready to lay down their lives for conscience' sake, but they do not appear to have been numerous.

Some sympathized at heart with the notorious Vicar of Bray, who kept his pulpit under the whole or some part of the successive reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth, changing his theology with each change of rule. When taunted as a turncoat, he replied, "Not so, for I have always been true to my principles, which are to live and die Vicar of Bray."[2]

[2] "For this as law I will maintain Until my dying day, sir, That whatsoever king shall reign, I'll be Vicar of Bray, sir."

Though there was nothing morally noble in such halting between two opinions, and facing both ways, yet it saved England for the time from the worst of all calamities, a religious civil war. Such a conflict rent France in pieces, drenched her fair fields with the blood of Catholics and Protestants, split Germany and Italy into petty states, and ended in Spain in the triumph of the Inquisition and of intellectual death.[1]

[1] S. R. Gardiner's "History of England"; consult also J. F. Bright's "History of England" and L. Von Ranke's "History of England."

385. The Question of the Queen's Marriage.

Elizabeth showed the same tact with regard to marriage that she did with regard to religion. Her first Parliament, realizing that the welfare of the country depended largely on whom the Queen should marry, begged her to consider the question of taking a husband. Her reply was that she had resolved to live and die a maiden queen. When further pressed, she returned answers that, like the ancient Greek oracles, might be interpreted either way.

The truth was that Elizabeth saw the difficult of her position better than any one else. The choice opf her heart at that time would probably have been Robert Dudley, her "sweet Robin," the handsome but unscrupulous Earl of Leicester; but, as he called himself a Protestant, she knew that to take him as consort would be to incur the enmity of the Catholic powers of Europe. On the other hand, if she accepted a Catholic, she would inevitably alienate a large and influential number of her own subjects.

In this delimma she resolved to keep both sides in a state of hopeful expectation. Philip II of Spain, who had married her sister Mary (S370), made overtures to Elizabeth. She kept him waiting in uncertainty until at last his ambassador lost all patience, and declared that the Queen "was possessed with ten thousand demons."

Later, the Duke of Anjou, a son of Henry II of France, proposed. He was favorably received, but the country became so alarmed at the prospect of having a Catholic King, that Stubbs, a Puritan lawyer, published a coarse and violent pamphlet denouncing the marriage.[2] For this attack his right hand was cut off; as it fell, says an eyewitness,[3] he seized his hat with the other hand, and waved it, shouting, "God save Queen Elizabeth!" That act was an index to the popular feeling. A majority of the people, whether Catholics or Protestants, stood by the Crown even when they condemned its policy, determined, at all hazards, to preserve the unity of the nation. That spirit of intense loyalty and love of country without regard to creed or calling found perfect expression in Shakespeare's utterance:

"This England never did, nor never shall, Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror. . . . . . . . . Come the three corners of the world in arms, And we shall shock them: nought shall make us rue, If England to itself do but rest true."[4]

We shall see that this feeling showed itself still more unmistakably, when, years later, men of all classes and of widely different religious views rose to destroy the Armada,—that great fleet which Spain sent to subjugate the English realm (SS398-401).

[2] Stubbs's pamphlet was entitled "The Discovery of the Gaping Gulf, wherein England is likely to be swallowed up by another French marriage, unless the Lords forbid the bans by letting her see the sin and punishment thereof." [3] Camden's "Annals," 1581. [4] Shakespeare's "King John," Act V, scene vii; written after the defeat of the Armada.

386. The Queen a Coquette.

During all this time the court buzzed with whispered scandals. Elizabeth was by nature an incorrigible coquette. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the Earl of Essex, and Sir Walter Raleigh were by turns her favorites. Over her relations with Dudley there hangs the terrible shadow of the suspected murder of his wife, the beautiful Amy Robsart.[3]

[3] See the "De Quadra Letter" in Froude's "England."

Elizabeth's vanity was as insatiable as it was ludicrous. She issued a proclamation forbidding any one to sell her picture, lest it should fail to do her justice. She was greedy of flattery even when long past sixty, and there was a sting of truth in the letter which Mary Queen of Scots wrote her, saying, "Your aversion to marriage proceeds from your not wishing to lose the liberty of compelling people to make love to you."

387. Violence of Temper; Crooked Policy.

In temper Elizabeth was arbitrary, fickle, and passionate. When her blood was up, she would swear like a trooper, spit on a courtier's new velvet suit, beat her maids of honor, and box Essex's ears. She wrote abusive and even profane letters to high Church dignitaries,[1] and she openly insulted the wife of Archbishop Parker, because she did not believe in a married clergy.

[1] For the famous letter to the bishop of Ely attributed to Elizabeth, see Hallam's "Constitutional History of England," Froude, or Creighton; but the "Dictionary of National Biography" ("Elizabeth") calls it a forgery.

The age in which Elizabeth reigned was preeminently one of craft and intrigue. The Kings of that day endeavored to get by fraud what their less polished predecessors got by force. At this game of double dealing Elizabeth had few equals and no superior. So profound was her dissimulation that her most confidential advisers never felt quite sure that she was not deceiving them. In her diplomatic relations she never hesitated at an untruth if it would serve her purpose, and when the falsehood was discovered, she always had another and more plausible one ready to take its place. In all this her devotion to England stands out unquestioned and justifies the saying, "She lived and lied for her country."

388. Her Knowledge of Men; the Monopolies.

The Queen's real ability lay in her instinctive perception of the needs of the age, and in her power of self-adjustment to them. Elizabeth never made public opinion, but watched it and followed it. She knew an able man at sight, and had the happy faculty of attaching such men to her service. By nature she was both irresolute and impulsive; but her sense was good and her judgment clear. She could tell when she was well advised, and although she fumed and blustered, she yielded.

It has been said that the next best thing to having a good rule is to know when to break it. Elizabeth always knew when to change her policy. No matter how obstinate she was, she saw the point where obstinacy became dangerous. In order to enrich Raleigh and her numerous other favorites, she granted them the exclusive right to deal in certain articles. These privileges were called "monopolies."

They finally came to comprise almost everything that could be bought or sold, from French wines to secondhand shoes. The effect was to raise prices so as to make even the common necessaries of life excessively dear. A great outcry finally arose; Parliament requested the Queen to abolish the "monopolies"; she hesitated, but when she saw their determined attitude she gracefully granted the ptition (S433).

389. The Adulation of the Court.

No English sovereign was so popular or so praised. The great writers and the great men of that day vied with each other in their compliments to Elizabeth's beauty, wisdom, and wit. She lived in an atmosphere of splendor, of pleasure, and of adulation. Her reign was full of pageants, progresses, or journeys made with great pomp and splendor, and feasts, like those which Scott describes in his delightful novel, "Kenilworth."

Spenser composed his poem, the "Faerie Queen," as he said, to extol "the glorious person of our sovereign Queen." Shakespeare is reported to have written the "Merry Wives of Windsor" for her amusement, and in his "Midsummer Night's Dream" he addresses her as the "fair vestal in the West." The translators of the Bible spoke of her as "that bright Occidental Star," and the common people loved to sing and shout the praises of their "good Queen Bess." After her death at Richmond, when her body was being conveyed down the Thames to Westminster, one extravagant eulogist declared that the very fishes that followed the funeral barge "wept out their eyes and swam blind after!"

390. Grandeur of the Age; More's "Utopia."

The reign of Elizabeth was, in fact, Europe's grandest age. It was a time when everything was bursting into life and color. The world had suddenly grown larger; it had opened toward the east in the revival of classical learning; it had opened toward the west, and disclosed a continent of unknown extent and unimaginable resources.

About twenty years after Cabot had discovered the mainland of America (S335), Sir Thomas More (SS339, 351) wrote a remarkable work of fiction, in Latin (1516), called "Utopia" (the Land of Nowhere). In it he pictured an ideal commonwealth, where all men were equal; where none were poor; where perpetual peace prevailed; where there was absolute freedom of thought; where all were contented and happy. It was, in fact, the Golden Age come back to earth again.

More's book, now translated into English (1551), suited such a time, for Elizabeth's reign was one of adventure, of poetry, of luxury, of rapidly increasing wealth. When men looked across the Atlantic, their imaginations were stimulated, and the most extravagant hopes did not appear too good to be true. Courtiers and adventurers dreamed of fountains of youth in Florida, of silver mines in Brazil, of rivers in Virginia, whose pebbles were precious stones.[1] Thus all were dazzled with visions of sudden riches and of renewed life.

[1] "Why, man, all their dripping-pans [in Virginia] are pure gould; ... all the prisoners they take are feterd in gold; and for rubies and diamonds, they goe forth on holydayes and gather 'hem by the sea-shore, to hang on their children's coates."—"Eastward Hoe," a play by John Marston and others, "as it was playd in the Blackfriers [Theatre] by the Children of her Maiesties Revels." (1603?)

391. Change in Mode of Life.

England, too, was undergoing transformation. Once, a nobleman's residence had been simply a square stone fortress, built for safety only; but now that the Wars of the Roses had destroyed the old feudal barons (SS299, 316), there was no need of such precaution. Men were no longer content to live shut up in somber strongholds, surrounded with moats of stagnant water, or in meanly built houses, where the smoke curled around the rafters for want of chimneys by which to escape, while the wind whistled through the unglazed latticed windows.

Mansions and stately manor houses like Hatfield, Knowle, parts of Haddon Hall, and the "Bracebridge Hall" of Washington Irving,[2] rose instead of castles, and hospitality, not exclusion, became the prevailing custom. The introduction of chimneys brought the cheery comfort of the English fireside, while among the wealthy, carpets, tapestry, and silver plate took the place of floors strewed with rushes, of bare walls, and of tables covered with pewter or woooden dishes.

[2] Aston Hall, Birmingham, is the original of Irving's "Bracebridge Hall." It came a little later than Elizabeth's time, but is Elizabethan in style.

An old writer, lamenting these innovations, says: "When our houses were built of willow, then we had oaken men; but, now that our houses are made of oak, our men have not only become willow, but many are altogether of straw, which is a sore affliction."

392. An Age of Adventure and of Daring.

But they were not all of straw, for that was a period of daring enterprise, of explorers, sea rovers, and freebooters. Sir Walter Raleigh planted the first English colony in America, which the maiden Queen named Virginia, in honor of herself. It proved unsuccessful, but he said, "I shall live to see it an English nation yet"; and he did.

Frobisher explored the coasts of Labrador and Greenland. Sir Francis Drake, who plundered the treasure ships of Spain wherever he found them, sailed into the Pacific, spent a winter in or near the harbor of San Francisco, and ended his voyage by circumnavigating the globe. (See map facing p. 222.) In the Far East, London merchants had established the East India Company, the beginning of English dominion in Asia; while in Holland, Sir Philip Sydney gave his lifeblood for the cause of Protestantism.

393. Literature and Natural Philosophy.

It was an age, too, not only of brave deeds but of high thoughts. Shakespeare, Spenser, and Jonson were making English literature the noblest of all literatures. Furthermore, Shakespeare had no equal as a teacher of English history. His historical plays appealed then, as they do now, to every heart. At his touch the dullest and driest records of the past are transformed and glow with color, life, movement, and meaning.[1] On the other hand, Francis Bacon, son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, of Elizabeth's council, was giving a wholly different direction to education. In his new system of philosophy,[2] he taught men that in order to use the forces of nature they must learn by observation and experiment to know nature herself; "for," said he, "knowledge is power."

[1] On the value of Shakespeare's Historical Plays, see S298, note 1; S313, note 2; and S410. [2] In his tract on "The Greatest Birth of Time," in 1582.

394. Mary Queen of Scots claims the Crown (1561).

For England it was also an age of great and constant peril. Elizabeth's entire reign was undermined with plots against her life and against the life of the Protestant faith. No sooner was one conspiracy detected and suppressed than a new one sprang up. Perhaps the most formidable of these was the effort which Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, made to supplant her English rival. Shortly after Elizabeth's accession, Mary's husband, the King of France, died. She returned to Scotland (1561) and there assumed the Scottish crown, at the same time asserting her right to the English throne.[3]

[3] See Genealogical Table (p. 207). Mary's claim was based on the fact that the Pope had never recognized Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother, as lawful, while she, herself, as the direct descendant of Henry's sister, Margaret, stood next in succession.

395. Mary marries Darnley; his Murder.

A few years later Mary married Lord Darnley. He became jealous of Rizzio, her private secretary, and, with the aid of accomplices, seized him in her presence, dragged him into an antechamber, and there stabbed him. The next year Darnley was murdered. It was believed that Mary and the Earl of Bothwell, whom she soon married, were guilty of the crime. The people rose and cast her into prison, and forced her to abdicate in favor of her infant son, James VI, who eventually became King of England and Scotland (1603).

396. Mary escapes to England (1568); plots against Elizabeth and Protestantism.

Mary escaped and fled to England. Elizabeth, fearing she might pass over to France and stir up war, confined her in Bolton Castle, Yorkshire. During her imprisonment in another stronghold, to which she had been transferred, she was accused of being implicated in a plot for assassinating the English Queen and seizing the reins of government in behalf of herself and the Jesuits (S378).

It was, in fact, a time when the Protestant faith seemed everywhere marked for destruction. In France evil counselors had induced the King to order a massacre of the Reformers, and on St. Batholomew's Day thousands were slain. The Pope, misinformed in the matter, ordered a solemn thanksgiving for the slaughter, and struck a gold medal to commemorate it. Philip II of Spain, whose cold, impassive face scarcely ever relaxed into a smile, now laughed outright. Still more recently, William the Silent, who had driven out the Catholics from a part of the Netherlands, had been assassinated by a Jesuit fanatic. Meanwhile the Pope had excommunicated Queen Elizabeth (1570) and had released her subjects from allegiance to her. A fanatic nailed this bull of excommunication to the door of the Bishop of London's palace. This bold act, for which the offender suffered death, brought matters to a crisis.

Englishmen felt that they could no longer remain halting between two opinions. They realized that now they must resolve to take their stand by the Queen or else by the Pope. Parliament at once retaliated against the Pope by passing two stringent measures which declared it high treason for any one to deny the Queen's right to the crown, to name her successor, to denounce her as a heretic, or to say or do anything which should "alienate the hearts and minds of her Majesty's subjects from their dutiful obedience" to her. Later, the "Association," a vigilance committee, was formed by a large number of the principal people of the realm to protect Elizabeth against assassination. Not only prominent Protestants but many Catholic noblemen joined the organization to defend the Queen at all hazards.

397. Elizabeth beheads Mary, 1587.

The ominous significance of these events had their full effect on the English Queen. Aroused to a sense of her danger, she signed the Scottish Queen's death warrant, and Mary, after nineteen years' imprisonment, was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle.[1]

[1] Fotheringay Castle, Northamptonshire, demolished by James I.

As soon as the news of her execution was brought to Elizabeth, she became alarmed at the political consequences the act might have in Europe. With her usual duplicity she bitterly upbraided the minister who had advised it, and throwing Davidson, her secretary, into the Tower, fined him 10,000 pounds, the payment of which reduced him to beggary.

Not satisfied with this, Elizabeth even had the effrontery to write a letter of condolence to Mary's son, James VI, declaring that his mother had been beheaded by mistake! Yet facts prove that Elizabeth had not only determined to put Mary to death, but that she had urged those who held Mary prisoner to kill her privately.[2]

[2] See "Elizabeth" in the "National Dictionary of (British) Biography."

398. The Spanish Armada.

Mary was hardly under ground when a new and greater danger threatened the country. At her death, the Scottish Queen, disgusted with her mean-spirited son James,[3] bequeathed her dominions, including her claim to the English throne, to Philip II of Spain (S370). He was then the most powerful sovereign in Europe, ruling over a territory equal to that of the Roman Empire in its greatest extent.

[3] James had deserted his mother and accepted a pension from Elizabeth.

Philip II, with the encouragement of the Pope, and with the further help of the promise of a very large sum of money from him, resolved to invade England, conquer it, annex it to his possessions, and restore the religion of Rome. To accomplish this, he began fitting out the "Invisible Armada," an immense fleet of warships, intended to carry twenty thousand soldiers, and to receive on its way reenforcements of thirty thousand more from the Spanish army in the Netherlands.

399. Drake's Expedition; Sailing of the Armada (1588).

Sir Francis Drake (S392) determined to check Philip's preparations. He heard that the enemy's fleet was gathered at Cadiz. He sailed there, and in spite of all opposition effectually "singed the Spanish King's beard," as he said, by burning and otherwise destroying more than a hundred ships.

This so crippled the expedition that it had to be given up for that year, but the next summer a vast armament set sail. Motley[1] says it consisted of ten squadrons, of more than one hundred and thirty ships, carrying upwards of three thousand cannon.

[1] Motley's "United Netherlands," II, 465; compare Froude's "England," XII, 466, and Laughton's "Armada" (State Papers), pp. xl-lvii.

The impending peril thoroughly roused England. Both Catholics and Protestants rose to defend their country and their Queen.

400. The Battle, 1588.

The English sea forces under Lord High Admiral Howard, of Effingham, a zealous patriot, with Sir Francis Drake, who ranked second in command, were assembled at Plymouth, watching for the enemy. Whe nthe long-looked-for Spanish fleet came in sight, beacon fires were lighted on the hills to give the alarm.

"For swift to east and swift to west the ghastly war flame spread; High on St. Michael's Mount it shone: it shone on Beachy Head. Far on the deep the Spaniard saw, along each southern shire, Cape beyond cape, in endless range, those twinkling points of fire." —Macaulay's "Armada."

The enemy's ships moved steadily toward the coast in the form of a crescent seven miles across; but Howard, Drake, Hawkins, Raleigh, and other noted captains, were ready to receive them. With their fast-sailing cruisers they sailed around the unwieldy Spanish warships, firing four shots to the enemy's one, and "harassing them as a swarm of wasps worry a bear." Several of the Spanish vessels were captured and one blown up. At last the commander sailed for Calais to repair damages and take a fresh start. The English followed. When night came on, Drake sent eight blazing fire ships to drift down among the Armada as it lay at anchor. Thoroughly alarmed at the prospect of being burned where they lay, the Spaniards cut their cables and made sail for the north.

401. Destruction of the Armada, 1588; Elizabeth at Tilbury and at St. Paul's.

They were hotly pursued by the English, who, having lost but a single vessel in the fight, might have cut them to pieces, had not Elizabeth's suicidal economy stinted them in body powder and provisions. Meanwhile the Spanish fleet kept moving northward. The wind increased to a gale, the gale to a furious storm. The commander of the Armada attempted to go around Scotland and return home that way; but ship after ship was driven ashore and wrecked on the wild and rocky coast of western Ireland. On one strand, less than five miles long, over a thousand corpses were counted. Those who escaped the waves met death by the hands of the inhabitants. Of the magnificent fleet which had sailed so proudly from Spain only fifty-three vessels returned, and they were but half manned by exhausted crews stricken by pestilence and death. Thus ended Philip II's boasted attack on England.

When all danger was past, Elizabeth went to Tilbury, on the Thames below London, to review the troops collected there to defend the capital. "I know," said she, "that I have but the feeble body of a woman, but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England too." Unhappily the niggardly Queen had half starved her brave sailors, and many of them came home only to die. None the less Elizabeth went with solemn pomp to St. Paul's Cathedral to offer thanks for the great victory, which was commemorated by a medal bearing this inscription: "God blew with his winds, and they were scattered." The date of the defeat of the Armada, 1588, was a turning point in English history. From that time England gradually rose, under the leadership of such illustrious commanders as Drake, Blake, and Nelson, until she became what she has ever since remained—the greatest sea power in the world (SS459, 557).

402. Insurrection in Ireland (1595).

A few years later a terrible rebellion broke out in Ireland. From its partial conquest in the time of Henry II (S159), the condition of that island continued to be deplorable. First, the chiefs of the native tribes fought constantly among themselves; next, the English attempted to force the Protestant religion upon a people who detested it; lastly, the greed and misgovernment of the rulers put a climax to these miseries. Sir Walter Raleigh said, "The country was a commonwealth of common woe." What made this state of things still more dangerous was the fact that the Catholic rulers of Spain considered the Irish as their natural allies, and were plotting to send troops to that island in order to strike England a deadly side blow when she least expected it.

Elizabeth's government began a war, the object of which was "not to subdue but to destroy." The extermination was so merciless that the Queen herself declared that if the work of destruction went on much longer, "she should have nothing left but ashes and corpses to rule over." Then, but not till then, the starving remnant of the Irish people submitted, and England gained a barren victory which has ever since carried with it its own curse.

403. The First Poor Law (1601).

In Elizabeth's reign the first effective English poor law was passed. It required each parish to make provision for such paupers as were unable to work, while the able-bodied were compelled to labor for their own support. This measure relieved much of the distress which had prevailed during the three previous reigns (S354), and forms the basis of the law in force at the present time (S607).

404. Elizabeth's Death (1603).

The death of the great Queen (1603) was as sad as her life had been brilliant. Her favorite, Essex, Shakespeare's intimate friend, had been beheaded for an attempted rebellion against her power. From that time she grew, as she said, "heavy-hearted." Her old friends and counselors were dead, her people no longer welcomed her with their former enthusiasm. She kept a sword always within reach. Treason had grown so common that Hentzner, a German traveler in England, said that he counted three hundred heads of persons, who had suffered death for this crime, exposed on London Bridge. Elizabeth felt that her sun was nearly set; gradually her strength declined; she ceased to leave her palace, and sat muttering to herself all day long, "Mortua, sed non sepulta!" (Dead, but not buried).

At length she lay propped up on cushions on the floor,[1] "tired," as she said, "of reigning and tired of life." In that sullen mood she departed to join that "silent majority" whose realm under earth is bounded by the sides of the grave. "Four days afterward," says a writer of that time, "she was forgotten."

[1] See in the works of Delaroche his fine picture of "The Death of Queen Elizabeth."

One sees her tomb, with her full-length, recumbent effigy, in the north aisle of Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, while in the south aisle he sees the tomb and effigy of her old rival and enemy, Mary Queen of Scots (S397). The sculptured features of both look placid. "After life's fitful fever they sleep well."

405. Summary.

The Elizabethan period was in every respect remarkable. It was great in its men of thought, great in its literature, and equally great in its men of action. It was greatest, however, in its successful resistance to the armed hand of religious oppression. "Practically the reign of Elizabeth," as Bishop Creighton remarks, "saw England established as a Protestant country."[2]

[2] See "The Dictionary of English History" ("The Reformation"), p. 860.

The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 gave renewed courage to the cause of the Reformation, not only in England, but in every Protestant country in Europe. It meant that a movement had begun which, though it might be temporarily hindered, would secure to all civilized countries, which accepted it, the right of private judgment and of liberty of conscience in matters of religion.

General Reference Summary of the Tudor Period (1485-1603)

I. Government II. Religion III. Military Affairs. IV. Literature, Learning and Art. V. General Industry and Commerce. VI. Mode of Life, Manners, and Customs

I. Government

406. Absolutism of the Crown; Free Trade; the Post Office.

During a great part of the Tudor period the power of the Crown was well-nigh absolute. Four causes contributed to this: (1) The destruction of a very large part of the feudal nobility by the Wars of the Roses.[1] (2) The removal of many of the higher clergy from the House of Lords.[2] (3) The creation of a new nobility dependant on the king. (4) The desire of the great body of the people for "peace at any price."

[1] In the last Parliament before the Wars of the Roses (1454) there were fifty-three temporal peers; at the beginning of the reign of Henry VII (1485) there were only twenty-nine. [2] Out of a total of barely ninety peers, Henry VIII, by the suppression of the monasteries, removed upwards of thirty-six abbots and priors. He, however, added five new bishops, which made the House of Lords number about fifty-nine.

Under Henry VII and Elizabeth the courts of Star Chamber and High Commission exercised arbitrary power, and often inflicted cruel punishments for offenses against the government, and for heresy or the denial of the religious supremacy of the sovereign.

Henry VII established a treaty of free trade, called the "Great Intercourse," between England and the Netherlands. Under Elizabeth the first postmaster-general entered upon his duties, though the post office was nott fully established until the reign of her successor.

II. Religion

407. Establishment of the Protestant Church of England.

Henry VIII suppressed the Roman Catholic monasteries, seized their property, and ended by declaring the Church of England independent of the Pope. Thenceforth he assumed the title of Supreme Head of the National Church. Under Edward VI Protestantism was established by law. Mary led a reaction in favor of Roman Catholicism, but her successor, Elizabeth, reinstated the Protestant form of worship. Under Elizabeth the Puritans demanded that the National Church be completely "purified" from all Catholic forms and doctrines. Severe laws were passed under Elizabeth for the punishment of both Catholics and Puritans who failed to conform to the Church of England.

III. Military Affairs

408. Arms and Armor; the Navy.

Though gunpowder had been in use for two centuries, yet full suits of armor were still worn during a great part of the period. An improved matchlock gun, with the pistol, an Italian invention, and heavy cannon were introduced. Until the death of Henry VIII foot soldiers continued to be armed with the long bow; but under Edward VI that weapon was superseded by firearms. The principal wars of the period were with Scotland, France, and Spain, the last being by far the most important, and ending with the destruction of the Armada.

Henry VIII established a permanent navy, and built several vessels of upwards of one thousand tons register. The largest men-of-war under Elizabeth carried forty cannon and a crew of several hundred men.

IV. Literature, Learning, and Art

409. Schools. The revival of learning gave a great impetus to education. The money which had once been given to monasteries was now spent in building schools, colleges, and hospitals. Dean Colet established the free grammar school of St. Paul's, several colleges were endowed at Oxford and Cambridge, and Edward VI opened upwards of forty charity schools in different parts of the country, of which the Christ's Hospital or "Blue-Coat School," originally established in London, is one of the best known. Improved textbooks were rpepared for the schools, and Lily's "Latin Grammar," first published in 1513 for the use of Dean Colet's school, continued a standard work for over three hundred years.

410. Literature; the Theater.

The latter part of the period deserves the name of the "Golden Age of English Literature." More, Sydney, Hooker, Jewell, and Bacon were the leading prose writers; while Shakespeare, Spenser, Marlowe, and Jonson represented the poets.

In 1574 a public theater was erected in London, in which Shakespeare was a stockholder. Not very long after, a second was opened. At both these, the Globe and the Blackfriars, the great dramatist appeared in his own plays, and in such pieces as "King John," "Richard the Third," and the Henrys, he taught his countrymen more of the true spirit and meaning of the nation's history than they had ever learned before. His historical plays are chiefly based on Holinshed and Hall, two noted chroniclers of the period.

411. Progress of Science; Superstitions.

The discoveries of Columbus, Cabot, Magellan, and other navigators, had proved the earth to be a globe. Copernicus, a Prussian astronomer, now demonstrated the fact that it both turns on its axis and revolves around the sun, but the discovery was not accepted until many years later.

On the other hand, astrology, witchcraft, and the transmutation of copper and lead into gold were generally believed in. In preaching before Queen Elizabeth, Bishop Jewell urged that stringent measures be taken with witches and sorcerers, saying that through their demoniacal acts "your Grace's subjects pine away even unto death, their color fadeth, their flesh rotteth." Lord Bacon and other eminent men held the same belief, and many persons eventually suffered death for the practice of witchcraft.

412. Architecture.

The Gothic, or Pointed, style of architecture reached its final stage (the Perpendicular) in the early part of this period. The first examples of it have already been mentioned at the close of the preceding period (S324). After the close of Henry VII's reign no attempts were made to build any grand church edifices until St. Paul's Cathedral was rebuilt by Wren, in the seventeenth century, in the Italian, or classical, style.

In the latter part of the Tudor period many stately country houses[1] and grand city mansions were built, ornamented with carved woodwork and bay windows. Castles were no longer constructed, and, as the country was at peace, many of those which had been built were abandoned, though a few castellated mansions like Thornbury, Gloucestershire, were built in Henry VIII's time. The streets of London still continued to be very narrow, and the houses, with their projecting stories, were so near together at the top that neighbors living on opposite sides of the street might almost shake hands from the upper windows.

[1] Such as Hatfield House, Knowle Hall, Hardwick Hall, and part of Haddon Hall; and, in London, Crosby Hall and other noble mansions.

V. General Industry and Commerce

413. Foreign Trade.

The eographical discoveries of this period gave a great impulse to foreign trade with Africe, Brazil, and North America. The wool trade continued to increase, and also commerce with the East Indies. In 1600 the East India Company was established, thus laying the foundation of England's Indian empire, and ships now brought cargoes direct to England by way of the Cape of Good Hope.

Sir Francis Drake did a flourishing business in plundering Spanish settlements in America and Spanish treasure ships on the sea, and Sir John Hawkins became wealthy through the slave trade,—kidnaping negroes on the coast of Guinea, and selling them to the Spanish West India colonies. The domestic trade of England was still carried on largely by great annual fairs. Trade, however, was much deranged by the quantities of debased money issued under Henry VIII and Edward VI.

Elizabeth reformed the currency, and ordered the mint to send out coin which no longer had a lie stamped on its face, thereby setting an example to all future governments, whether monarchical or republican.

VI. Mode of Life, Manners, and Customs

414. Life in the Country and the City.

In the cities this was an age of luxury; but on the farms the laborer was glad to get a bundle of straw for a bed, and a wooden trencher to eat from. Vegetables were scarcely known, and fresh meat was eaten only by the well to do. The cottages were built of sticks and mud, without chimneys, and were nearly as bare of furniture as the wigwam of an American Indian.

The rich kept several mansions and country houses, but paid little attention to cleanliness; and when the filth and vermin in one became unendurable, they left it "to sweeten," as they said, and went to another of their estates. The dress of the nobles continued to be of the most costly materials and the gayest colors.

At table a great variety of dishes were served on silver plate, but fingers were still used in place of forks. Tea and coffee were unknown, and beer was the usual drink at breakfast and supper.

Carriages were seldom used, except by Queen Elizabeth, and most journeys were performed on horseback. Merchandise was also generally transported on pack horses, the roads rarely being good enough for the passage of wagons. The principal amusements were the theater, dancing, masquerading, bull and bear baiting (worrying a bull or bear with dogs), cockfighting, and gambling.

Ninth Period[1]

"It is the nature of the devil of tyranny to tear and rend the body which he leaves."—Macaulay

Beginning with the Divine Right of Kings and Ending with the Divine Right of the People

King or Parliament?

House of Stuart (1603-1649, 1660-1714)

James I, 1603-1625 Charles I, 1625-1649 "The Commonwealth and Protectorate," 1649-1660 Charles II, 1660-1685 James II, 1685-1689 William and Mary,[2] 1689-1702 Anne, 1702-1714

[1] Reference Books on this Period will be found in the Classified List of Books in the Appendix. The pronunciation of names will be found in the Index. The Leading Dates stand unenclosed; all others are in parentheses. [2] House of Orange-Stuart.

415. Accession of James I.

Elizabeth was the last of the Tudor family (S376). By birth, James Stuart, only son of Mary STuart, Queen of Scots, and great-grandson of Margaret, sister of Henry VIII, was the nearest heir to the crown.[3] He was already King of Scotland under the title of James VI. He now, by act of Parliament, became James I of England. By his accession the two countries were united under one sovereign, but each retained its own Parliament, its own National Church, and its own laws.[4] The new monarch found himself ruler over three kingdoms, each professing a different religion. Puritanism prevailed in Scotland, Catholicism in Ireland, Anglicanism or Episcopacy in England.

[3] See Genealogical Table, p.207. [4] On his coins and in his proclamations James styled himself King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland. But the term "Great Britain" did not properly come into use until somewhat more than a hundred years later, when, by an act of Parliament under Anne, Scotland and England were legally united. The English Parliament refused to grant free trade to Scotland and denied to the people of that counttry, even if born after James I came to the English throne (or "Post Nati," as they were called), the rights and privileges possessed by natives of England.

416. The King's Appearances and Character.

James was unfortunate in his birth. Neither his father, Lord Darnley, nor his mother had high qualities of character. The murder of Mary's Italian secretary in her own palace, and almost in her own presence (S395), gave the Queen a shock which left a fatal inheritance of cowardice to her son. Throughout his life he could not endure the sight of a drawn sword. If we can trust common report, his personal appearance was by no means impressive. He had a feeble, rickety body, he could not walk straight, his tongue was too large for his mouth, and he had goggle eyes. Through fear of assassination he habitually wore thickly padded and quilted clothes, usually green in color. He was a man of considerable shrewdness, but of a small mind, and of unbounded conceit. His Scotch tutor had crammed him with much ill-digested learning, so that he gave the impression of a man educated beyond his intellect. His favorites used to flatter him by telling him that he was the "British Solomon"; but the French ambassador came nearer to the mark when he called him "the wisest fool in Christendom."

The King wrote on witchcraft, kingcraft, and theology, and composed numerous commonplace verses. He also wrote a sweeping denunciation of the new plant called tobacco, which Raleigh (S392) had brought from America, and whose smoke now began to perfume, or, according to James, to poison, the air of England. His Majesty had all the superstitions of the age, and one of his earliest acts was the passage of a statute punishing witchcraft with death. Under that law many a wretched woman perished on the scaffold, whose only crime was that she was old, ugly, and friendless.

417. The Great Puritan Petition (1603).

During the latter part of Elizabeth's reign, the Puritans (S378) in England had increased so rapidly that Archbishop Whitgift told James he was amazed to find how "the vipers" had multiplied. The Puritans felt that the Reformation had not been sufficiently thorough.

They complained that many of the forms and ceremonies of the Church of Engalnd were by no means in harmony with the Scriptures. Many of them wished also to change the Episcopal form of Church government, and instead of having bishops appointed by the King, to adopt the more democratic method of having presbyters or elders chosen by the congregation.

While James was on the way from Scotland to London to receive the crown, the Puritans presented the "Millenary Petition" to him. It was so called because it purported to have a thousand signers. The ministers presenting it asked that they might be permitted to preach without wearing the white gown called a surplice, to baptize without making the sign of the cross on the child's forehead, and to perform the marriage ceremony without using the ring. Bishop Hooker and Lord Bacon had pleaded for a certain degree of toleration for the Puritans. They even quoted the words of Christ: "He that is not against us is for us." But the King had no patience with such a plea.

418. Hampton Court Conference (1604).

The King convened a conference at Hampton Court, near London, to consider the Petition, or rather to make a pedantic display of his own learning. The probability that he would grant the petitioners' request was small. James had come to England disgusted with the violence of the Scotch Presbyterians or Puritans (S378), especially since Andrew Melville, one of their leading ministers in Edinburgh, had seized his sleeve at a public meeting and addressed him, with a somewhat brutal excess of truth, as "God's silly vassal."[1]

[1] Gardiner in the "Dictionary of National (British) Biography," "James I," thinks that by "silly" Melville meant "weak." But that is not much improvement.

But the new sovereign had a still deeper reason for his antipathy to the Puritans. He saw that their doctrine of equality in the Church naturally led to that equality in the State. If they objected to Episcopal government in the one, might they not presently object to royal government in the other? Hence to all their arguments he answered with his favorite maxim, "No bishop, no king," meaning that the two must stand or fall together.

At the Hampton Court Conference all real freedom of discussion was practically prohibited. The Conference, however, had one good result, for the King ordered a new and revised translation of the Bible to be made (SS254, 357). It was published a few years later (1611). This translation of the Scriptures excels all others in simplicity, dignity, and beauty of language. After more than three hundred years it still remains the version used in the great majority of Protestant churches and Protestant homes wherever English is spoken.

James regarded the Conference as a success. He had refuted the Puritans, as he believed, with much Latin and some Greek. He ended by declaiming against them with such unction that one enthusiastic bishop declared that his Majesty must be specially inspired by the Holy Ghost!

He closed the meeting by imprisoning the ten persons who had presented the petition, on the ground that it tended to sedition and rebellion. Henceforth, the King's attitude toward the Puritans (S378) was unmistakable. "I will make them conform," said he, "or I will harry them out of the land" (S422).

Accordingly, a law was enacted which required every curate to accept the Thirty-Nine Articles (S381) and the Prayer Book of the Church of England (S381) without reservation. This act drove several hundred clergymen from the Established Church.

419. The Divine Right of Kings, 1604; the Protest of the Commons; "Favorites."

As if with the desire of further alienating his people, James now constantly proclaimed the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. This theory, which was unknown to the English constitution, declared that the King derived his power and right to rule directly from God, and in no way from the people.[1] "It is atheism and blasphemy," he said, "to dispute what God can do, ... so it is presumption and high contempt in a subject to dispute what a king can do."

[1] James's favorite saying was, "A Deo rex, a rege lex" (God makes the king, the king makes the law). He boasted that kings might, as he declared, "make what liked them law and gospel."

In making these utterances James seems to have entirely forgotten that he owed his throne to that act of the English Parliament which accepted him as Elizabeth's successor (S415). In his exalted position as head of the nation, he boasted of his power much like the dwarf in the story, who, perched on the giant's shoulders, cries out, "See how big I am!"

Acting on this assumption, James levied customs duties on goods without asking the consent of Parliament; violated the privileges of the House of Commons; rejected members who had been legally elected; and imprisoned those who dared to criticize his course. The contest was kept up with bitterness during the whole reign.

Toward its close James truckled meanly to the power of Spain, hoping thereby to marry his son Charles to a Spanish princess. Later, he made a feeble and futile effort to help the Protestant party in the great Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), which had begun between the Catholics and Protestants in Germany. The House of Commons implored the King not to humiliate himself and the nation at the feet of Spain. The King replied by warning the House not to meddle with matters which did not concern them, and denied their right to freedom of speech. The Commons solemnly protested, and James seized their official journal, and with his own hands tore out the record of the protest (1621).

Yet, notwithstanding his arbitrary character, James was easily managed by those who would flatter his vanity. For this reason he was always under the control of worthless favorites like Carr, Earl of Somerset, or Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. These men were the secret power behind the throne, and they often dictated the policy of the Crown.

420. The Gunpowder Plot (1605).

The King's arbitrary spirit angered the House of Commons, many of whom were Puritans (S378). They believed that the King secretly favored the Roman Catholics; and for this reason they increased the stringency of the laws against persons of that religion. To vindicate himself from this suspicion, the King proceeded to execute the new statutes with rigor. As a rule, the Catholic were loyal subjects. We have seen that when Spain threatened to invade the country, they fought as valiantly in its defense as the Protestants themselves (SS399, 400). Many of them were now ruined by enormous fines, while the priests were driven from the realm.

One of the sufferers by these unjust measures was Robert Catesby, a Catholic gentleman of good position. He, with the aid of a Yorkshire man, named Guy Fawkes, and about a dozen more, formed a plot to blow up the Parliament House on the day the King was to open the session (November 5, 1605). Their intention, after they had thus summarily disposed of the government, was to induce the Catholics to rise and proclaim a new sovereign. The plot was discovered, the conspirators were executed, and the Catholics treated with greater severity than ever (S382).

421. American Colonies, Virginia, 1607.

A London joint-stock company of merchants and adventurers, or speculators, established the first permanent English colony in America, on the coast of Virginia, in 1607, at a place which they called Jamestown, in honor of the King. (See map facing p. 222.) The colony was wholly under the control of the Crown.

The religion was to be that of the Church of England. Most of those who went out were described as "gentlemen," that is, persons not brought up to manual labor. Fortunately the eneergy and determined courage of Captain John Smith, who was the real soul of the enterprise, saved it from miserable failure.

Negro slavery, which in those days touched no man's conscience, was introduced, and by its means great quantities of tobacco were raised for export. The settlement grew in population and wealth, and at the end of twelve years (1619) it had secured the privilege of making its own local laws, thus becoming practically a self-governing community.

422. The Pilgrims; the New Power.

The year after the Virginia legislature was established, another band of emigrants went out from England, not west, but east; not to seek prosperity, but greater religious freedom. James's declaration that he would make all men conform to the Established Church, or drive them out of the land, was having its due effect (S418).

Those who continued to refuse to conform were fined, cast into filthy prisons, beaten, and often half starved, so that the old and feeble soon died. Strange to say, this kind of treatment did not win over the Puritans to the side of the bishops and the King. On the contrary, it set many of them to thinking more seriously than ever of the true relations of the government to religion.

The result was that not a few came to the conclusion that each body of Christians had the right to form a religious society of its own, wholly independent of the state. That branch of the Puritans (S378) who held this opinion got the name of Independents, or Separatists, because they were determined to separate from the Established Church of England and conduct their worship and govern their religious societies as they deemed best.

In the little village of Scrooby, Nottinghamshire (see map opposite), Postmaster William Brewster, William Bradford, John Carver, and some others, mostly farmers and poor men of the neighborhood, had organized an independent religious society with John Robinson for its minister. After a time they became convinced that so long as they remained in England they could never be safe from persecution. They therefore resolved to leave their native country. They could not get a royal license to go to America, and for this reason they emigrated to Holland, where all men were free to establish societies for the worship of God in their own manner. With much difficulty and danger they managed to escape to that country.

After remaining in Holland about twelve years, a part of them succeeded in obtaining from King James the privilege of emigrating to America.[1] A London trading company, which was sending out an expedition for fish and furs, agreed to furnish the Pilgrims passage by the Mayflower, though on terms so hard that the poor exiles said the "conditions were fitter for thieves and bondslaves than for honest men."

[1] See "Why did the Pilgrim Fathers come to New England?" by Edwin D. Mead, in the New Englander, XLI, 711.

These Pilgrims, or wanderers, set forth in 1620 for that New World beyond the sea, which they hoped would redress the wrongs of the Old. Landing at Plymouth, in Massachusetts, they established a colony on the basis of "equal laws for the general good." Ten years later, John Winthrop, a Puritan gentleman of wealth from Groton, Suffolk (see map opposite), followed with a large number of emigrants and settled Boston (1630). During the next decade no less than twenty thousand Englishmen found a home in America. But to the little band that embarked under Bradford and Brewster in the Mayflower, the scene of whose landing at Plymouth is painted on the walls of the Houses of Parliament, belongs the first credit of the great undertaking.

Of that enterprise one of their brethren in England wrote in the time of their severest distress, with prophetic foresight, "Let it not be grievous to you that you have been instruments to break the ice for others; the honor shall be yours to the world's end." From this time forward the American coast south of the Bay of Fundy was settled mainly by English emigrants, and in the course of a little more than a century (1620-1733), the total number of colonies had reached thirteen. Thus the nation of Great Britain was beginning to expand into that *greater* Britain which it had discovered and planted beyond the sea.

Meanwhile a new power had arisen in England. It was mightier even than that of kings, because greater for both good and evil. Its influence grew up very gradually. It was part of the fruit of Caxton's work undertaken nearly two centuries earlier (S306). This power appeared in the spring of 1622, under the name of the Weekly News,—the first regular newspaper.

423. The Colonization of Ireland (1611).

While the colonization of America was going on, King James was himself planning a very different kind of colony in the northeast of Ireland. The greater part of the province of Ulster, which had been the scene of the rebellion under Elizabeth (S402), had been seized by the Crown. The King now granted these lands to settlers from Scotland and England. The city of London founded a colony which they called Londonderry, and by this means Protestantism was firmly and finally established in the north of the island.

424. The "Addled Parliament"; the New Stand taken by the House of Commons (1610-1614).

The House of Commons at this period began to slowly recover the power it had lost under the Tudors (S350). James suffered from a chronic lack of money. He was obliged to apply to Parliament to supply his wants (1614), but that body was determined to grant nothing without reforms. It laid down the principle, to which it firmly adhered, that the King should not have the nation's coin unless he would promise to right the nation's wrongs.

After several weeks of angry discussion the King dissolved what was nicknamed the "Addled Parliament," because its enemies accused it of having accomplished nothing. In reality it had accomplished much for though it had not passed a single bill, it had shown by its determined attitude the growing stregnth of the people. For the next seven years James ruled without summoning a Parliament. In order to obtain means to support his army in Ireland, the King created a new title of rank, that of baronet,[1] which he granted to any one who would pay liberally for it. As a last resort to get funds he compelled all persons having an income of forty[2] pounds or more a year, derived from landed property, to accept knighthood (thus incurring feudal obligations and payments [S150]) or purchase exemption by a heavy fine.

[1] Baronet: This title (S263, note 1) does not confer the right to a seat in the House of Lords. A baronet is designated as "Sir," e.g. Sir John Franklin. [2] This exaction was ridiculed by the wits of the time in these lines:

"He that hat forty pounds per annum Shall be promoted from the plow; His wife shall take the wall of her grannum*— Honor's sold so dog-cheap now."

The distraint of knighthood, as it was called, began at least as far back as Edward I, 1278. *Take precedence of her grandmother.

425. Impeachment of Lord Bacon (1621).

When James did finally summon a Parliament (1621), it met in a stern mood. The House of Commons impeached Lord Bacon (S393) for having taken bribes in lawsuits tried before him as judge. The House of Lords convicted him. He confessed the crime, but pleaded extenuating circumstances, adding, "I beseech your lordships to be merciful unto a broken reed"; but Bacon had been in every respect a servile tool of James, and no mercy was granted. Parliament imposed a fine of 40,000 pounds, with imprisonment. Had the sentence been fully executed, it would have caused his utter ruin. The King, however, interposed, and his favorite escaped with a few days' confinement in the Tower.

426. Execution of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Meanwhile Sir Walter Raleigh (S392) had been executed on a charge of treason. He had been a prisoner in the Tower for many years (1603-1616), accused of having plotted against the King.[3] Influenced by greed for gain, James released him to go on an expedition in search of gold to replenish the royal coffers. Raleigh, contrary to the King's orders, came into collision with the Spaniards on the coast of South America.[1] He failed in his enterprise, and brought back nothing. Raleigh was especially hated by Spain, not only on account of the part he had taken in the defeat of the Armada (S400), but also for his subsequent attacks on Spanish treasure ships and property.

[3] At the beginning of the reign two plots were discovered: one, called the "Main Plot," aimed to change the government and perhaps to place Arabella Stuart, cousin of James, on the throne. The object of the second conspiracy, called the "Bye Plot," was to obtain religious toleration. Raleigh was accused of having been implicated in the Main Plot. [1] It is said that James had treacherously informed the Spanish ambassador of Raleigh's voyage, so that the collision was inevitable.

The King of that country now demanded vengeance, and James, in order to get a pretext for his execution, revived the sentence which had been passed on Raleigh fifteen years before. He doubtless hoped that, by sacrificing Raleigh, he might secure the hand of the daughter of the King of Spain for his son, Prince Charles. Raleigh died as Sir Thomas More did (S351), his last words a jest at death. His deeper feelings found expression in the lines which he wrote on the fly leaf of his Bible the night before his judicial murder:

"Even such is Time, that takes in trust Our youth, our joys, our all we have, And pays us but with age and dust; Who in the dark and silent grave, When we have wandered all our ways, Shuts up the story of our days. Buy from this earth, this grave, this dust, My God shall raise me up, I trust!"

427. Death of James.

James died suddenly a few years later, a victim of sloth, drunkenness, and gluttony. He had taught his son, Prince Charles, to believe that the highest power on earth was the royal will. It was a terrible inheritance for the young man, for just as he was coming to the throne, the people were beginning to insist that their will should be respected.

428. Summary.

Three chief events demand our attention in this reign. First, the increased power and determined attitude of the House of Commons. Secondly, the growth of the Puritan and Independent parties in religion. Thirdly, the establishment of permanent, self-governing colonies in Virginia and New England, destined in time to unite with others and become a new and independent nation,—the American Republic.

Charles I—1625-1649

429. Accession of Charles; Result of the Doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings.

The doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings, which had been so zealously put forth by James (S419), bore its full and fatal fruit in the career of his son. Unlike his father, Charles was by nature a gentleman. In his private and personal relations he was conscientious and irreproachable; in public matters he was exactly the reverse.

This singular contrast—this double character, as it were—arose from the fact that, as a man, Charles felt himself bound by truth and honor, but, as a sovereign, he considered himself superior to such obligations. In all his dealings with the nation he seems to have acted on the principle that the people had no rights which kings were bound to respect.

430. The King's Two Mistakes at the Outset.

Charles I began his reign with two mistakes. First, he insisted on retaining the Duke of Buckingham, his father's favorite (S419), as his chief adviser, though the Duke was, for good reasons, generally distrusted and disliked. Next, shortly after his accession, Charles married Henrietta Maria, a French Catholic princess. The majority of the English people hated her religion, and her extravagant habits soon got the King into trouble.

To meet her incessant demands for money, and to carry on a petty war with Spain, and later with France, he was obliged to ask Parliament for funds. Parliament declined to grant him the supply he demanded unless he would redress certain grievances of long standing. Charles refused and dissolved that body.

431. The Second Parliament (1626); the King extorts Loans.

Necessity, however, compelled the King to call a new Parliament. when it met, the Commons, under the lead of Sir John Eliot and other eminent men, proceeded to draw up articles of impeachment, accusing the Duke of Buckingham of mismanagement (SS243, 425). To save his favorite from being brought to trial, the King dissolved Parliament (1626), and as no supplies of money had been voted, Charles now proceeded to levy illegal taxes and to extort illegal loans. Sir John Eliot, Sir Edmund Hampden, cousin of the famous John Hampden (S436), and Thomas Wentworth refused (1627) to lend his Majesty the sum asked for. For this refusal they were thrown into prison. This led to increased agitation and discontent. At length the King found himself again forced to summon Parliament; to the Parliament, Eliot and Wentworth, with others who sympathized with them, were elected.

432. ThePetition of Right, 1628.

Shortly after assembling, the House of Commons, led by Sir Thomas Wentworth and John Pym, drew up the Petition of Right, which passed the Lords and was presented to the King for his signature. The Petition was a law reaffirming some of the chief provisions of the Great Charter, which the nation, more than four centuries earlier, had extorted from King John (S199). It stipulated in particular, that no taxes whatever should be levied without the consent of Parliament, and that no one should be unlawfully imprisoned for refusing to pay such taxes. In the petition there was not an angry word, but as a member of the Commons declared, "We say no more than what a worm trodden upon would say if he could speak: I pray thee tread on me no more."

433. Charles signs the Petition of Right, 1628; but he revives Monopolies.

Charles refused to sign the Petition; but finding that money could be got on no other terms, he at length gave his signature, 1628.[1] But for Charles to pledge his royal word to the nation meant its direct and open violation. The King now revived the "monopolies," which had been abolished under Elizabeth (S388).

[1] Petition of Right: See Summary of Constitutional History in the Appendix, p. xvi, S17, and p. xxix.

By these grants certain persons bought the sole right of dealing in nearly every article of food, drink, fuel, and clothing. The Commons denounced this outrage. One member said: "The 'monopolists' have seized everything. They sip in our cup, they sup in our dish, they sit by our fire."

434. Eliot's Remonstrance (1629).

Sir John Eliot (S431) drew up a remonstrance against these new acts of royal tyranny, but the Speaker of the House of Commons, acting under the King's order, refused to put the measure to vote, and endeavored to adjourn.

Several members sprang forward and held him in his chair until the resolutions were passed, which declared that whoever levied or paid any taxes not voted by Parliament, or attempted to make any change in religion, was an enemy to the kingdom. In revenge Charles sent Eliot to close confinement in the Tower. He died there three years later, a martyr in the cause of liberty.

435. The King rules without Parliament; "Thorough."

For the next eleven years (1629-1640) the King ruled without a Parliament. The obnoxious Buckingham (S431) had led an expedition against France which resulted in miserable failure. He was about setting out on a second expedition to aid the Huguenots, who had rebelled against the French King, when he was assassinated (1628). His successor was Sir Thomas Wentworth, who later (1640) became Earl of Strafford. Wentworth had signed the Petition of Right (S432), but he was now a renegade to liberty, and wholly devoted to the King. By means of the Court of Star Chamber (S330) and his scheme called "Thorough," which meant that he would stop at nothing to make Charles absolute, Strafford labored to establish a complete despotism.

Archbishop Laud worked with Strafford through the High Commission Court (S382). Together, the two exercised a crushing and merciless system of political and religious tyranny; the Star Chamber fining and imprisoning those who refused the illegal demands for money made upon them, the High Commission Court showing itself equally zealous in punishing those who could not conscientiously conform to the Established Church of England.[1]

[1] To strengthen the hands of Archbishop Laud and to secure absolute uniformity of faith, Charles issued (1628) a Declaration (still found in the English editions of the Book of Common Prayer), which forbade any one to understand or explain the Thirty-Nine Articles (S383) in any sense except that established by the bishops and the King.

Charles exasperated the Puritans (S378) still further by reissuing (1633) his father's Declaration of Sunday Sports, which had never really been enforced. This Declaration encouraged parishioners to dance, play games, and practice archery in the churchyards after divine service. Laud used it as a test, and turned all clergymen out of their livings who refused to read it from their pulpits. When the Puritans finally got the upper hand (1644) they publicly burned the Declaration.

436. "Ship Money"; John Hampden refuses to pay it, 1637.

To obtain means with which to equip a standing army, the King forced the whole country to pay a tax known as "ship money," on the pretext that it was needed to free the English coast from the depredations of Algerine pirates. During previous reigns an impost of this kind on the coast towns in time of war might have been considered legitimate, since its original object was to provide ships for the national defense.

In time of peace, however, such a demand could not be rightfully made, especially on the inland towns, as the Petition of Right (S432) expressly provided that no money should be demanded from the country without the consent of its representatives in Parliament. John Hampden, a wealthy farmer in Buckinghamshire, refused to pay the twenty shillings required from him. He did not grudge the money, but he would not tamely submit to have even that trifling sum taken from him contrary to law. The case was brought to trial (1637), and the corrupt judges decided for the King.

437. Hampden and Cromwell endeavor to leave the Country.

Meanwhile John Winthrop with many other Puritans emigrated to America to escape oppression. According to tradition John Hampden (S436) and his cousin, Oliver Cromwell, who was a member of the last Parliament, embarked on a vessel in the Thames for New England. But it is said that they were prevented from sailing by the King's order. The two friends remained to teach the despotic sovereign a lesson which neither he nor England ever forgot.[1]

[1] Macaulay's "Essay on Hampden," Guizot's "English Revolution," and other well-known authorities, relate the proposed sailing of Hampden and Cromwell, but several recent writers question its truth.

438. The Difficulty with the Scottish Church (1637).

The King determined to force the use of a prayer book, similar to that used in the English Church (S381), on the Scotch Puritans. But no sooner had the Dean of Edinburgh opened the book than a general cry arose in the church, "A Pope, a Pope! Antichrist! Stone him!" When the bishops endeavored to appease the tumult, the enraged congregation clapped, stamped, and yelled.

Again the dean tried to read a prayer from the hated book, when an old woman hurled her stool at his head, shouting, "D'ye mean to say mass[1] at my lug [ear]?" Riots ensued, and eventually the Scotch solemnly bound themselves by a Covenant to resist all attempts to change their religion. The King resolved to force his prayer book on the Covenanters[2] at the point of the bayonet.

[1] Mass: here used for the Roman Catholic church service. [2] The first Covenanters were the Scottish leaders, who, in 1557, bound themselves by a solemn covenant to overthrow all attempts to reestablish the Catholic religion in Scotland; when Charles I undertook to force the Scotch to accept Episcopacy the Puritan party in Scotland drew up a new covenant (1638) to resist it.

But he had no money to pay his army, and the "Short Parliament," which he summoned in the spring of 1640, refused to grant any unless the King would redress the nation's grievances.

439. The "Long Parliament," 1640; Impeachment of Strafford and Laud; the "Grand Remonstrance."

In the autumn Charles summoned that memorable Parliament which met in November of 1640. It sat almost continuously for thirteen years, and so got the name of the "Long Parliament."[3] This new Parliament was made up of three parties: the Church of England party, the Presbyterian party, and the Independents (S422). The spirit of this body soon showed itself. John Pym (S432), the leader of the House of Commons, demanded the impeachment of Strafford (S435) for high treason and despotic oppression. He was tried and sentenced to execution. The King refused to sign the death warrant, but Strafford himself urged him to do so in order to appease the people. Charles, frightened at the tumult that had arisen, and entreated by his wife, finally put his hand to the paper, and thus sent his most faithful servant to the block.

Parliament next charged Archbishop Laud (S435) with attempting to overthrow the Protestant religion. It condemned him to prison, and ultimately to death. Next, it abolished the Star Chamber and the High Commission Court (S435). It next passed the Triennial Act,[1] a bill requiring Parliament to be summoned once in three years, and also a statute forbidding the collection of "ship money" unless authorized by Parliament.

[1] The Triennial Act was repealed (in form only) in 1664; it was reenacted in 1694; in 1716 it was superseded by the Septennial Act (S535).

Under the leadership of Pym, it followed this by drawing up the "Grand Remonstrance,"[2] which was printed and circulated throughout the country. The "Remonstrance" set forth the faults of the King's government, while it declared utter distrust of his policy. Cromwell did not hesitate to say that if the House of Commons had failed to adopt and print the "Remonstrance," he would have left England never to return. The radicals in the House next made an ineffectual attempt to pass the "Root and Branch Bill," for the complete destruction— "root and branch"—of the Established Church of England. Finally, the House enacted a law forbidding the dissolution of the present Parliament except by its own consent.

[2] See Summary of Constitutional History in the Appendix, p. xvii, S19.

440. The King attempts to arrest Five Members (1642).

The parliamentary leaders had entered into communication with the Scots and so laid themselves open to a charge of treason. It was rumored, too, that they were about to take a still bolder step and impeach the Queen for having conspired with the Catholics and the Irish to destroy the liberties of the country. No one knew better than Charles how strong a case could be made out against his frivolous and unprincipled consort.

Driven to extremities, Charles determined to seize the five members, John Pym, John Hampden (SS432, 436), and three others, who headed the opposition.[3] The King commanded the House of Commons to give them up for trial. The request was not complied with and the Queen urged Charles to take them by force, saying, "Go along, you coward, and pull those rascals out by the ears!" Thus taunted, the King went on the next day to the House of Parliament with a company of soldiers to seize the members. They had been forewarned, and had left the House, taking refuse in the "city," which showed itself then, as always, on the side of liberty (S34, note 1). Leaving his soldiers at the door, the King entered the House of Commons. Seeing that the five members were absent, the King turned to the Speaker and asked where they were. The Speaker, kneeling before the King, answered, "May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as this House is pleased to direct me." Vexed that he could learn nothing further, Charles left the hall amid ominous cries of "Privilege! privilege!"[1]

[3] The full list was Hampden, Pym, Hollis, Haselrig, and Strode, to which a sixth, Mandeville, was added later. Copley's fine painting of the "Attempted Arrest" is in the Boston Public Library.[1] Privilege: the privilege of Parliament to debate all questions exempt from royal interference.

441. The Great Civil War, 1642-1649, between the King and Parliament.

The King, baffled in his purpose, resolved to coerce Parliament by military force. He left London in 1642, never to return until he came as a prisoner, and was delivered into the custody of that legislative body that he had insulted and defied. Parliament now attempted to come to an understanding with the King.

There was then no standing army in England, but each county and large town had a body of militia, formed of citizens who were occasionally mustered for drill. This militia was under the control of the King. Parliament insisted on his resigning that control to them. Charles refused to give up his undoubted constitutional right in the matter, and raised the royal flag at Nottingham, August, 1642. Parliament then organized an army of its own, and the war began.

442. Cavaliers and Roundheads.

It opened in the autumn of that year (1642) with the battle of Edgehill, Warwickshire, and was at first favorable to the King. On his side were a majority of the nobility, the clergy and the country gentlemen. They were mainly members of the Church of England and were known collectively as Cavaliers, from their dashing and daring horsemanship. Their leader was Prince Rupert, a nephew of Charles.[1]

[1] See "A charge with Prince Rupert," Atlantic Monthly, III, 725.

On the side of Parliament were the shopkeepers, small farmers and landowners, with a considerable number of men of high rank; as a rule they were Puritans (S378). The King's party nicknamed them "Roundheads," because, despising the long locks and effeminate ringlets worn by the Cavaliers, they cut their hair short so that it showed the shape of the head.[2] Essex and Fairfax were the first leaders of the "Roundheads"; later, Cromwell became their commander.

[2] "Those roundheaded dogs that bawled against bishops," said the Cavaliers.

443. How the Country was divided; Rise of Political Newspapers.

Taking England as a whole, we may say that the southeastern half, that is, what was then the richest part of England, with London and most of the other large towns, was against the King, and that the southwestern half, with most of the North, was for him. (See map opposite.) Each side made great sacrifices in carrying on the war. The Queen sold her crown jewels, and the Cavaliers melted down their silver plate to provide money to pay the King's troops.

On behalf of the People's army Parliament imposed heavy taxes, and levied now for the first time a duty on domestic products, especially on ales and liquors, known as the "Excise Tax." Furthermore, it required each household to fast once a week, and to give the price of a dinner to support the soldiers who were fighting against the King.

Parliament also passed what was called the "Self-denying Ordinance" (1644) (repeated in 1645). It required all members who had any civil or military office to resign, and, as Cromwell seaid, "deny themselves and their private interests for the public good." The real object of this measure was to get rid of incompetent commanders, and give the People's army (soon to be remodeled) the vigorous men that the times demanded.

With the outbreak of the war great numbers of little local newspapers sprang into short-lived existence in imitation of the first publication of that sort, the Weekly News, which was issued not quite twenty years before in the reign of James I (S422). Each of the rival armies, it is said, carried a printing press with it, and waged furious battles in type against the other. The whole country was inundated with floods of pamphlets discussing every conceivable religious and political question.

444. The "New Model"; Death of John Hampden; the Solemn League and Covenant (1642-1645).

At the first battle fought, at Edgehill, Warwickshire (1642), Cromwell saw that the Cavaliers (S442) had the advantage, and told John Hampden (SS436, 440) that "a set of poor tapsters [drawers of liquor] and town apprentices would never fight against men of honor." He forthwith proceeded to organize his regiment of "Ironsides," a "lovely company," he said, none of whom swore or gambled.

After the first Self-denying Ordinance was passed (S443), Cromwell and Fairfax formed a new People's army of "God-fearing men" on the same pattern, almost all of whom were Independents (S439). This was called the "New Model" (1645) and was placed under the joint command of the men who organized it. Very many of its officers were kinsmen of Cromwell's, and it speedily became the most formidable body of soldiers of its size in the world,—always ready to preach, pray, exhort, or fight.[1]

[1] "The common soldiers, as well as the officers, did not only pray and preach among themselves, but went up into the pulpits in all churches and preached to the people."—Clarendon, "History of the Rebellion," Book X, 79.

Meanwhile John Hampden (SS436, 440) had been mortally wounded in a skirmish at Chalgrove Field, Oxfordshire. His death was a terrible blow to the parliamentary army fighting in behalf of the rights of the people.[2]

[2] See Macaulay's "Essay on Hampden." Clarendon says that Hampden's death produced as great consternation in his party "as if their whole army had been cut off."

Parliament endeavored to persuade the Scotch to give their aid in the war against the King. The latter finally agreed to do so (1643) on condition that Parliament would sign the Solemn League and Covenant (S438). Parliament signed it, and so made the Scotch Presbyterian worship the state religion of England and Ireland (1647). In reality only a small part of the English people accepted it; but the charge forced a large number of Episcopal clergymen to leave their parishes.

445. Marston Moor and Naseby, 1644, 1645.

On the field of Marston Moor, Yorkshire, 1644, the north of England was conquered by Cromwell with his invincible little army. The following year Cromwell's "Ironsides," who "trusted in God and kept their powder dry," gained the decisive victory of Naseby, 1645, in the Midlands. (See map facing p. 252.) After the fight papers belonging to the King were picked up on the battlefield. They proved that Charles intended betraying those who were negotiating with him for peace, and that he was planning to bring foreign troops to England. The discovery of these papers, which were published by Parliament, was more damaging to the royal cause than the defeat itself.

446. The King and Parliament.

Standing on the walls of the ancient city of Chester, Charles saw his last army utterly routed (1645). Shortly afterwards he fled to the Scots. Oxford, the King's chief city in the Midlands, surrendered to Fairfax (1646). The first civil war was now practically over. The Scots gave up the King (1647) to the parliamentary commissioners, and he was taken to Holmby House, Northamptonshire. There Cromwell and the army made overtures to him, but without effect. He was then brought by the Parliamentary or People's army to Hampton Court, near London.

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