A Child's History of England
Charles Dickens

Part 6 out of 8

he wanted; among other vile accommodations, they gave him new
powers of murdering, at his will and pleasure, any one whom he
might choose to call a traitor. But the worst measure they passed
was an Act of Six Articles, commonly called at the time 'the whip
with six strings;' which punished offences against the Pope's
opinions, without mercy, and enforced the very worst parts of the
monkish religion. Cranmer would have modified it, if he could;
but, being overborne by the Romish party, had not the power. As
one of the articles declared that priests should not marry, and as
he was married himself, he sent his wife and children into Germany,
and began to tremble at his danger; none the less because he was,
and had long been, the King's friend. This whip of six strings was
made under the King's own eye. It should never be forgotten of him
how cruelly he supported the worst of the Popish doctrines when
there was nothing to be got by opposing them.

This amiable monarch now thought of taking another wife. He
proposed to the French King to have some of the ladies of the
French Court exhibited before him, that he might make his Royal
choice; but the French King answered that he would rather not have
his ladies trotted out to be shown like horses at a fair. He
proposed to the Dowager Duchess of Milan, who replied that she
might have thought of such a match if she had had two heads; but,
that only owning one, she must beg to keep it safe. At last
Cromwell represented that there was a Protestant Princess in
Germany - those who held the reformed religion were called
Protestants, because their leaders had Protested against the abuses
and impositions of the unreformed Church - named ANNE OF CLEVES,
who was beautiful, and would answer the purpose admirably. The
King said was she a large woman, because he must have a fat wife?
'O yes,' said Cromwell; 'she was very large, just the thing.' On
hearing this the King sent over his famous painter, Hans Holbein,
to take her portrait. Hans made her out to be so good-looking that
the King was satisfied, and the marriage was arranged. But,
whether anybody had paid Hans to touch up the picture; or whether
Hans, like one or two other painters, flattered a princess in the
ordinary way of business, I cannot say: all I know is, that when
Anne came over and the King went to Rochester to meet her, and
first saw her without her seeing him, he swore she was 'a great
Flanders mare,' and said he would never marry her. Being obliged
to do it now matters had gone so far, he would not give her the
presents he had prepared, and would never notice her. He never
forgave Cromwell his part in the affair. His downfall dates from
that time.

It was quickened by his enemies, in the interests of the unreformed
religion, putting in the King's way, at a state dinner, a niece of
the Duke of Norfolk, CATHERINE HOWARD, a young lady of fascinating
manners, though small in stature and not particularly beautiful.
Falling in love with her on the spot, the King soon divorced Anne
of Cleves after making her the subject of much brutal talk, on
pretence that she had been previously betrothed to some one else -
which would never do for one of his dignity - and married
Catherine. It is probable that on his wedding day, of all days in
the year, he sent his faithful Cromwell to the scaffold, and had
his head struck off. He further celebrated the occasion by burning
at one time, and causing to be drawn to the fire on the same
hurdles, some Protestant prisoners for denying the Pope's
doctrines, and some Roman Catholic prisoners for denying his own
supremacy. Still the people bore it, and not a gentleman in
England raised his hand.

But, by a just retribution, it soon came out that Catherine Howard,
before her marriage, had been really guilty of such crimes as the
King had falsely attributed to his second wife Anne Boleyn; so,
again the dreadful axe made the King a widower, and this Queen
passed away as so many in that reign had passed away before her.
As an appropriate pursuit under the circumstances, Henry then
applied himself to superintending the composition of a religious
book called 'A necessary doctrine for any Christian Man.' He must
have been a little confused in his mind, I think, at about this
period; for he was so false to himself as to be true to some one:
that some one being Cranmer, whom the Duke of Norfolk and others of
his enemies tried to ruin; but to whom the King was steadfast, and
to whom he one night gave his ring, charging him when he should
find himself, next day, accused of treason, to show it to the
council board. This Cranmer did to the confusion of his enemies.
I suppose the King thought he might want him a little longer.

He married yet once more. Yes, strange to say, he found in England
another woman who would become his wife, and she was CATHERINE
PARR, widow of Lord Latimer. She leaned towards the reformed
religion; and it is some comfort to know, that she tormented the
King considerably by arguing a variety of doctrinal points with him
on all possible occasions. She had very nearly done this to her
own destruction. After one of these conversations the King in a
very black mood actually instructed GARDINER, one of his Bishops
who favoured the Popish opinions, to draw a bill of accusation
against her, which would have inevitably brought her to the
scaffold where her predecessors had died, but that one of her
friends picked up the paper of instructions which had been dropped
in the palace, and gave her timely notice. She fell ill with
terror; but managed the King so well when he came to entrap her
into further statements - by saying that she had only spoken on
such points to divert his mind and to get some information from his
extraordinary wisdom - that he gave her a kiss and called her his
sweetheart. And, when the Chancellor came next day actually to
take her to the Tower, the King sent him about his business, and
honoured him with the epithets of a beast, a knave, and a fool. So
near was Catherine Parr to the block, and so narrow was her escape!

There was war with Scotland in this reign, and a short clumsy war
with France for favouring Scotland; but, the events at home were so
dreadful, and leave such an enduring stain on the country, that I
need say no more of what happened abroad.

A few more horrors, and this reign is over. There was a lady, ANNE
ASKEW, in Lincolnshire, who inclined to the Protestant opinions,
and whose husband being a fierce Catholic, turned her out of his
house. She came to London, and was considered as offending against
the six articles, and was taken to the Tower, and put upon the rack
- probably because it was hoped that she might, in her agony,
criminate some obnoxious persons; if falsely, so much the better.
She was tortured without uttering a cry, until the Lieutenant of
the Tower would suffer his men to torture her no more; and then two
priests who were present actually pulled off their robes, and
turned the wheels of the rack with their own hands, so rending and
twisting and breaking her that she was afterwards carried to the
fire in a chair. She was burned with three others, a gentleman, a
clergyman, and a tailor; and so the world went on.

Either the King became afraid of the power of the Duke of Norfolk,
and his son the Earl of Surrey, or they gave him some offence, but
he resolved to pull THEM down, to follow all the rest who were
gone. The son was tried first - of course for nothing - and
defended himself bravely; but of course he was found guilty, and of
course he was executed. Then his father was laid hold of, and left
for death too.

But the King himself was left for death by a Greater King, and the
earth was to be rid of him at last. He was now a swollen, hideous
spectacle, with a great hole in his leg, and so odious to every
sense that it was dreadful to approach him. When he was found to
be dying, Cranmer was sent for from his palace at Croydon, and came
with all speed, but found him speechless. Happily, in that hour he
perished. He was in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and the
thirty-eighth of his reign.

Henry the Eighth has been favoured by some Protestant writers,
because the Reformation was achieved in his time. But the mighty
merit of it lies with other men and not with him; and it can be
rendered none the worse by this monster's crimes, and none the
better by any defence of them. The plain truth is, that he was a
most intolerable ruffian, a disgrace to human nature, and a blot of
blood and grease upon the History of England.


HENRY THE EIGHTH had made a will, appointing a council of sixteen
to govern the kingdom for his son while he was under age (he was
now only ten years old), and another council of twelve to help
them. The most powerful of the first council was the EARL OF
HERTFORD, the young King's uncle, who lost no time in bringing his
nephew with great state up to Enfield, and thence to the Tower. It
was considered at the time a striking proof of virtue in the young
King that he was sorry for his father's death; but, as common
subjects have that virtue too, sometimes, we will say no more about

There was a curious part of the late King's will, requiring his
executors to fulfil whatever promises he had made. Some of the
court wondering what these might be, the Earl of Hertford and the
other noblemen interested, said that they were promises to advance
and enrich THEM. So, the Earl of Hertford made himself DUKE OF
SOMERSET, and made his brother EDWARD SEYMOUR a baron; and there
were various similar promotions, all very agreeable to the parties
concerned, and very dutiful, no doubt, to the late King's memory.
To be more dutiful still, they made themselves rich out of the
Church lands, and were very comfortable. The new Duke of Somerset
caused himself to be declared PROTECTOR of the kingdom, and was,
indeed, the King.

As young Edward the Sixth had been brought up in the principles of
the Protestant religion, everybody knew that they would be
maintained. But Cranmer, to whom they were chiefly entrusted,
advanced them steadily and temperately. Many superstitious and
ridiculous practices were stopped; but practices which were
harmless were not interfered with.

The Duke of Somerset, the Protector, was anxious to have the young
King engaged in marriage to the young Queen of Scotland, in order
to prevent that princess from making an alliance with any foreign
power; but, as a large party in Scotland were unfavourable to this
plan, he invaded that country. His excuse for doing so was, that
the Border men - that is, the Scotch who lived in that part of the
country where England and Scotland joined - troubled the English
very much. But there were two sides to this question; for the
English Border men troubled the Scotch too; and, through many long
years, there were perpetual border quarrels which gave rise to
numbers of old tales and songs. However, the Protector invaded
Scotland; and ARRAN, the Scottish Regent, with an army twice as
large as his, advanced to meet him. They encountered on the banks
of the river Esk, within a few miles of Edinburgh; and there, after
a little skirmish, the Protector made such moderate proposals, in
offering to retire if the Scotch would only engage not to marry
their princess to any foreign prince, that the Regent thought the
English were afraid. But in this he made a horrible mistake; for
the English soldiers on land, and the English sailors on the water,
so set upon the Scotch, that they broke and fled, and more than ten
thousand of them were killed. It was a dreadful battle, for the
fugitives were slain without mercy. The ground for four miles, all
the way to Edinburgh, was strewn with dead men, and with arms, and
legs, and heads. Some hid themselves in streams and were drowned;
some threw away their armour and were killed running, almost naked;
but in this battle of Pinkey the English lost only two or three
hundred men. They were much better clothed than the Scotch; at the
poverty of whose appearance and country they were exceedingly

A Parliament was called when Somerset came back, and it repealed
the whip with six strings, and did one or two other good things;
though it unhappily retained the punishment of burning for those
people who did not make believe to believe, in all religious
matters, what the Government had declared that they must and should
believe. It also made a foolish law (meant to put down beggars),
that any man who lived idly and loitered about for three days
together, should be burned with a hot iron, made a slave, and wear
an iron fetter. But this savage absurdity soon came to an end, and
went the way of a great many other foolish laws.

The Protector was now so proud that he sat in Parliament before all
the nobles, on the right hand of the throne. Many other noblemen,
who only wanted to be as proud if they could get a chance, became
his enemies of course; and it is supposed that he came back
suddenly from Scotland because he had received news that his
brother, LORD SEYMOUR, was becoming dangerous to him. This lord
was now High Admiral of England; a very handsome man, and a great
favourite with the Court ladies - even with the young Princess
Elizabeth, who romped with him a little more than young princesses
in these times do with any one. He had married Catherine Parr, the
late King's widow, who was now dead; and, to strengthen his power,
he secretly supplied the young King with money. He may even have
engaged with some of his brother's enemies in a plot to carry the
boy off. On these and other accusations, at any rate, he was
confined in the Tower, impeached, and found guilty; his own
brother's name being - unnatural and sad to tell - the first signed
to the warrant of his execution. He was executed on Tower Hill,
and died denying his treason. One of his last proceedings in this
world was to write two letters, one to the Princess Elizabeth, and
one to the Princess Mary, which a servant of his took charge of,
and concealed in his shoe. These letters are supposed to have
urged them against his brother, and to revenge his death. What
they truly contained is not known; but there is no doubt that he
had, at one time, obtained great influence over the Princess

All this while, the Protestant religion was making progress. The
images which the people had gradually come to worship, were removed
from the churches; the people were informed that they need not
confess themselves to priests unless they chose; a common prayer-
book was drawn up in the English language, which all could
understand, and many other improvements were made; still
moderately. For Cranmer was a very moderate man, and even
restrained the Protestant clergy from violently abusing the
unreformed religion - as they very often did, and which was not a
good example. But the people were at this time in great distress.
The rapacious nobility who had come into possession of the Church
lands, were very bad landlords. They enclosed great quantities of
ground for the feeding of sheep, which was then more profitable
than the growing of crops; and this increased the general distress.
So the people, who still understood little of what was going on
about them, and still readily believed what the homeless monks told
them - many of whom had been their good friends in their better
days - took it into their heads that all this was owing to the
reformed religion, and therefore rose, in many parts of the

The most powerful risings were in Devonshire and Norfolk. In
Devonshire, the rebellion was so strong that ten thousand men
united within a few days, and even laid siege to Exeter. But LORD
RUSSELL, coming to the assistance of the citizens who defended that
town, defeated the rebels; and, not only hanged the Mayor of one
place, but hanged the vicar of another from his own church steeple.
What with hanging and killing by the sword, four thousand of the
rebels are supposed to have fallen in that one county. In Norfolk
(where the rising was more against the enclosure of open lands than
against the reformed religion), the popular leader was a man named
ROBERT KET, a tanner of Wymondham. The mob were, in the first
instance, excited against the tanner by one JOHN FLOWERDEW, a
gentleman who owed him a grudge: but the tanner was more than a
match for the gentleman, since he soon got the people on his side,
and established himself near Norwich with quite an army. There was
a large oak-tree in that place, on a spot called Moushold Hill,
which Ket named the Tree of Reformation; and under its green
boughs, he and his men sat, in the midsummer weather, holding
courts of justice, and debating affairs of state. They were even
impartial enough to allow some rather tiresome public speakers to
get up into this Tree of Reformation, and point out their errors to
them, in long discourses, while they lay listening (not always
without some grumbling and growling) in the shade below. At last,
one sunny July day, a herald appeared below the tree, and
proclaimed Ket and all his men traitors, unless from that moment
they dispersed and went home: in which case they were to receive a
pardon. But, Ket and his men made light of the herald and became
stronger than ever, until the Earl of Warwick went after them with
a sufficient force, and cut them all to pieces. A few were hanged,
drawn, and quartered, as traitors, and their limbs were sent into
various country places to be a terror to the people. Nine of them
were hanged upon nine green branches of the Oak of Reformation; and
so, for the time, that tree may be said to have withered away.

The Protector, though a haughty man, had compassion for the real
distresses of the common people, and a sincere desire to help them.
But he was too proud and too high in degree to hold even their
favour steadily; and many of the nobles always envied and hated
him, because they were as proud and not as high as he. He was at
this time building a great Palace in the Strand: to get the stone
for which he blew up church steeples with gunpowder, and pulled
down bishops' houses: thus making himself still more disliked. At
length, his principal enemy, the Earl of Warwick - Dudley by name,
and the son of that Dudley who had made himself so odious with
Empson, in the reign of Henry the Seventh - joined with seven other
members of the Council against him, formed a separate Council; and,
becoming stronger in a few days, sent him to the Tower under
twenty-nine articles of accusation. After being sentenced by the
Council to the forfeiture of all his offices and lands, he was
liberated and pardoned, on making a very humble submission. He was
even taken back into the Council again, after having suffered this
fall, and married his daughter, LADY ANNE SEYMOUR, to Warwick's
eldest son. But such a reconciliation was little likely to last,
and did not outlive a year. Warwick, having got himself made Duke
of Northumberland, and having advanced the more important of his
friends, then finished the history by causing the Duke of Somerset
and his friend LORD GREY, and others, to be arrested for treason,
in having conspired to seize and dethrone the King. They were also
accused of having intended to seize the new Duke of Northumberland,
with his friends LORD NORTHAMPTON and LORD PEMBROKE; to murder them
if they found need; and to raise the City to revolt. All this the
fallen Protector positively denied; except that he confessed to
having spoken of the murder of those three noblemen, but having
never designed it. He was acquitted of the charge of treason, and
found guilty of the other charges; so when the people - who
remembered his having been their friend, now that he was disgraced
and in danger, saw him come out from his trial with the axe turned
from him - they thought he was altogether acquitted, and sent up a
loud shout of joy.

But the Duke of Somerset was ordered to be beheaded on Tower Hill,
at eight o'clock in the morning, and proclamations were issued
bidding the citizens keep at home until after ten. They filled the
streets, however, and crowded the place of execution as soon as it
was light; and, with sad faces and sad hearts, saw the once
powerful Protector ascend the scaffold to lay his head upon the
dreadful block. While he was yet saying his last words to them
with manly courage, and telling them, in particular, how it
comforted him, at that pass, to have assisted in reforming the
national religion, a member of the Council was seen riding up on
horseback. They again thought that the Duke was saved by his
bringing a reprieve, and again shouted for joy. But the Duke
himself told them they were mistaken, and laid down his head and
had it struck off at a blow.

Many of the bystanders rushed forward and steeped their
handkerchiefs in his blood, as a mark of their affection. He had,
indeed, been capable of many good acts, and one of them was
discovered after he was no more. The Bishop of Durham, a very good
man, had been informed against to the Council, when the Duke was in
power, as having answered a treacherous letter proposing a
rebellion against the reformed religion. As the answer could not
be found, he could not be declared guilty; but it was now
discovered, hidden by the Duke himself among some private papers,
in his regard for that good man. The Bishop lost his office, and
was deprived of his possessions.

It is not very pleasant to know that while his uncle lay in prison
under sentence of death, the young King was being vastly
entertained by plays, and dances, and sham fights: but there is no
doubt of it, for he kept a journal himself. It is pleasanter to
know that not a single Roman Catholic was burnt in this reign for
holding that religion; though two wretched victims suffered for
heresy. One, a woman named JOAN BOCHER, for professing some
opinions that even she could only explain in unintelligible jargon.
The other, a Dutchman, named VON PARIS, who practised as a surgeon
in London. Edward was, to his credit, exceedingly unwilling to
sign the warrant for the woman's execution: shedding tears before
he did so, and telling Cranmer, who urged him to do it (though
Cranmer really would have spared the woman at first, but for her
own determined obstinacy), that the guilt was not his, but that of
the man who so strongly urged the dreadful act. We shall see, too
soon, whether the time ever came when Cranmer is likely to have
remembered this with sorrow and remorse.

Cranmer and RIDLEY (at first Bishop of Rochester, and afterwards
Bishop of London) were the most powerful of the clergy of this
reign. Others were imprisoned and deprived of their property for
still adhering to the unreformed religion; the most important among
whom were GARDINER Bishop of Winchester, HEATH Bishop of Worcester,
DAY Bishop of Chichester, and BONNER that Bishop of London who was
superseded by Ridley. The Princess Mary, who inherited her
mother's gloomy temper, and hated the reformed religion as
connected with her mother's wrongs and sorrows - she knew nothing
else about it, always refusing to read a single book in which it
was truly described - held by the unreformed religion too, and was
the only person in the kingdom for whom the old Mass was allowed to
be performed; nor would the young King have made that exception
even in her favour, but for the strong persuasions of Cranmer and
Ridley. He always viewed it with horror; and when he fell into a
sickly condition, after having been very ill, first of the measles
and then of the small-pox, he was greatly troubled in mind to think
that if he died, and she, the next heir to the throne, succeeded,
the Roman Catholic religion would be set up again.

This uneasiness, the Duke of Northumberland was not slow to
encourage: for, if the Princess Mary came to the throne, he, who
had taken part with the Protestants, was sure to be disgraced.
Now, the Duchess of Suffolk was descended from King Henry the
Seventh; and, if she resigned what little or no right she had, in
favour of her daughter LADY JANE GREY, that would be the succession
to promote the Duke's greatness; because LORD GUILFORD DUDLEY, one
of his sons, was, at this very time, newly married to her. So, he
worked upon the King's fears, and persuaded him to set aside both
the Princess Mary and the Princess Elizabeth, and assert his right
to appoint his successor. Accordingly the young King handed to the
Crown lawyers a writing signed half a dozen times over by himself,
appointing Lady Jane Grey to succeed to the Crown, and requiring
them to have his will made out according to law. They were much
against it at first, and told the King so; but the Duke of
Northumberland - being so violent about it that the lawyers even
expected him to beat them, and hotly declaring that, stripped to
his shirt, he would fight any man in such a quarrel - they yielded.
Cranmer, also, at first hesitated; pleading that he had sworn to
maintain the succession of the Crown to the Princess Mary; but, he
was a weak man in his resolutions, and afterwards signed the
document with the rest of the council.

It was completed none too soon; for Edward was now sinking in a
rapid decline; and, by way of making him better, they handed him
over to a woman-doctor who pretended to be able to cure it. He
speedily got worse. On the sixth of July, in the year one thousand
five hundred and fifty-three, he died, very peaceably and piously,
praying God, with his last breath, to protect the reformed

This King died in the sixteenth year of his age, and in the seventh
of his reign. It is difficult to judge what the character of one
so young might afterwards have become among so many bad, ambitious,
quarrelling nobles. But, he was an amiable boy, of very good
abilities, and had nothing coarse or cruel or brutal in his
disposition - which in the son of such a father is rather


THE Duke of Northumberland was very anxious to keep the young
King's death a secret, in order that he might get the two
Princesses into his power. But, the Princess Mary, being informed
of that event as she was on her way to London to see her sick
brother, turned her horse's head, and rode away into Norfolk. The
Earl of Arundel was her friend, and it was he who sent her warning
of what had happened.

As the secret could not be kept, the Duke of Northumberland and the
council sent for the Lord Mayor of London and some of the aldermen,
and made a merit of telling it to them. Then, they made it known
to the people, and set off to inform Lady Jane Grey that she was to
be Queen.

She was a pretty girl of only sixteen, and was amiable, learned,
and clever. When the lords who came to her, fell on their knees
before her, and told her what tidings they brought, she was so
astonished that she fainted. On recovering, she expressed her
sorrow for the young King's death, and said that she knew she was
unfit to govern the kingdom; but that if she must be Queen, she
prayed God to direct her. She was then at Sion House, near
Brentford; and the lords took her down the river in state to the
Tower, that she might remain there (as the custom was) until she
was crowned. But the people were not at all favourable to Lady
Jane, considering that the right to be Queen was Mary's, and
greatly disliking the Duke of Northumberland. They were not put
into a better humour by the Duke's causing a vintner's servant, one
Gabriel Pot, to be taken up for expressing his dissatisfaction
among the crowd, and to have his ears nailed to the pillory, and
cut off. Some powerful men among the nobility declared on Mary's
side. They raised troops to support her cause, had her proclaimed
Queen at Norwich, and gathered around her at the castle of
Framlingham, which belonged to the Duke of Norfolk. For, she was
not considered so safe as yet, but that it was best to keep her in
a castle on the sea-coast, from whence she might be sent abroad, if

The Council would have despatched Lady Jane's father, the Duke of
Suffolk, as the general of the army against this force; but, as
Lady Jane implored that her father might remain with her, and as he
was known to be but a weak man, they told the Duke of
Northumberland that he must take the command himself. He was not
very ready to do so, as he mistrusted the Council much; but there
was no help for it, and he set forth with a heavy heart, observing
to a lord who rode beside him through Shoreditch at the head of the
troops, that, although the people pressed in great numbers to look
at them, they were terribly silent.

And his fears for himself turned out to be well founded. While he
was waiting at Cambridge for further help from the Council, the
Council took it into their heads to turn their backs on Lady Jane's
cause, and to take up the Princess Mary's. This was chiefly owing
to the before-mentioned Earl of Arundel, who represented to the
Lord Mayor and aldermen, in a second interview with those sagacious
persons, that, as for himself, he did not perceive the Reformed
religion to be in much danger - which Lord Pembroke backed by
flourishing his sword as another kind of persuasion. The Lord
Mayor and aldermen, thus enlightened, said there could be no doubt
that the Princess Mary ought to be Queen. So, she was proclaimed
at the Cross by St. Paul's, and barrels of wine were given to the
people, and they got very drunk, and danced round blazing bonfires
- little thinking, poor wretches, what other bonfires would soon be
blazing in Queen Mary's name.

After a ten days' dream of royalty, Lady Jane Grey resigned the
Crown with great willingness, saying that she had only accepted it
in obedience to her father and mother; and went gladly back to her
pleasant house by the river, and her books. Mary then came on
towards London; and at Wanstead in Essex, was joined by her half-
sister, the Princess Elizabeth. They passed through the streets of
London to the Tower, and there the new Queen met some eminent
prisoners then confined in it, kissed them, and gave them their
liberty. Among these was that Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, who
had been imprisoned in the last reign for holding to the unreformed
religion. Him she soon made chancellor.

The Duke of Northumberland had been taken prisoner, and, together
with his son and five others, was quickly brought before the
Council. He, not unnaturally, asked that Council, in his defence,
whether it was treason to obey orders that had been issued under
the great seal; and, if it were, whether they, who had obeyed them
too, ought to be his judges? But they made light of these points;
and, being resolved to have him out of the way, soon sentenced him
to death. He had risen into power upon the death of another man,
and made but a poor show (as might be expected) when he himself lay
low. He entreated Gardiner to let him live, if it were only in a
mouse's hole; and, when he ascended the scaffold to be beheaded on
Tower Hill, addressed the people in a miserable way, saying that he
had been incited by others, and exhorting them to return to the
unreformed religion, which he told them was his faith. There seems
reason to suppose that he expected a pardon even then, in return
for this confession; but it matters little whether he did or not.
His head was struck off.

Mary was now crowned Queen. She was thirty-seven years of age,
short and thin, wrinkled in the face, and very unhealthy. But she
had a great liking for show and for bright colours, and all the
ladies of her Court were magnificently dressed. She had a great
liking too for old customs, without much sense in them; and she was
oiled in the oldest way, and blessed in the oldest way, and done
all manner of things to in the oldest way, at her coronation. I
hope they did her good.

She soon began to show her desire to put down the Reformed
religion, and put up the unreformed one: though it was dangerous
work as yet, the people being something wiser than they used to be.
They even cast a shower of stones - and among them a dagger - at
one of the royal chaplains who attacked the Reformed religion in a
public sermon. But the Queen and her priests went steadily on.
Ridley, the powerful bishop of the last reign, was seized and sent
to the Tower. LATIMER, also celebrated among the Clergy of the
last reign, was likewise sent to the Tower, and Cranmer speedily
followed. Latimer was an aged man; and, as his guards took him
through Smithfield, he looked round it, and said, 'This is a place
that hath long groaned for me.' For he knew well, what kind of
bonfires would soon be burning. Nor was the knowledge confined to
him. The prisons were fast filled with the chief Protestants, who
were there left rotting in darkness, hunger, dirt, and separation
from their friends; many, who had time left them for escape, fled
from the kingdom; and the dullest of the people began, now, to see
what was coming.

It came on fast. A Parliament was got together; not without strong
suspicion of unfairness; and they annulled the divorce, formerly
pronounced by Cranmer between the Queen's mother and King Henry the
Eighth, and unmade all the laws on the subject of religion that had
been made in the last King Edward's reign. They began their
proceedings, in violation of the law, by having the old mass said
before them in Latin, and by turning out a bishop who would not
kneel down. They also declared guilty of treason, Lady Jane Grey
for aspiring to the Crown; her husband, for being her husband; and
Cranmer, for not believing in the mass aforesaid. They then prayed
the Queen graciously to choose a husband for herself, as soon as
might be.

Now, the question who should be the Queen's husband had given rise
to a great deal of discussion, and to several contending parties.
Some said Cardinal Pole was the man - but the Queen was of opinion
that he was NOT the man, he being too old and too much of a
student. Others said that the gallant young COURTENAY, whom the
Queen had made Earl of Devonshire, was the man - and the Queen
thought so too, for a while; but she changed her mind. At last it
appeared that PHILIP, PRINCE OF SPAIN, was certainly the man -
though certainly not the people's man; for they detested the idea
of such a marriage from the beginning to the end, and murmured that
the Spaniard would establish in England, by the aid of foreign
soldiers, the worst abuses of the Popish religion, and even the
terrible Inquisition itself.

These discontents gave rise to a conspiracy for marrying young
Courtenay to the Princess Elizabeth, and setting them up, with
popular tumults all over the kingdom, against the Queen. This was
discovered in time by Gardiner; but in Kent, the old bold county,
the people rose in their old bold way. SIR THOMAS WYAT, a man of
great daring, was their leader. He raised his standard at
Maidstone, marched on to Rochester, established himself in the old
castle there, and prepared to hold out against the Duke of Norfolk,
who came against him with a party of the Queen's guards, and a body
of five hundred London men. The London men, however, were all for
Elizabeth, and not at all for Mary. They declared, under the
castle walls, for Wyat; the Duke retreated; and Wyat came on to
Deptford, at the head of fifteen thousand men.

But these, in their turn, fell away. When he came to Southwark,
there were only two thousand left. Not dismayed by finding the
London citizens in arms, and the guns at the Tower ready to oppose
his crossing the river there, Wyat led them off to Kingston-upon-
Thames, intending to cross the bridge that he knew to be in that
place, and so to work his way round to Ludgate, one of the old
gates of the City. He found the bridge broken down, but mended it,
came across, and bravely fought his way up Fleet Street to Ludgate
Hill. Finding the gate closed against him, he fought his way back
again, sword in hand, to Temple Bar. Here, being overpowered, he
surrendered himself, and three or four hundred of his men were
taken, besides a hundred killed. Wyat, in a moment of weakness
(and perhaps of torture) was afterwards made to accuse the Princess
Elizabeth as his accomplice to some very small extent. But his
manhood soon returned to him, and he refused to save his life by
making any more false confessions. He was quartered and
distributed in the usual brutal way, and from fifty to a hundred of
his followers were hanged. The rest were led out, with halters
round their necks, to be pardoned, and to make a parade of crying
out, 'God save Queen Mary!'

In the danger of this rebellion, the Queen showed herself to be a
woman of courage and spirit. She disdained to retreat to any place
of safety, and went down to the Guildhall, sceptre in hand, and
made a gallant speech to the Lord Mayor and citizens. But on the
day after Wyat's defeat, she did the most cruel act, even of her
cruel reign, in signing the warrant for the execution of Lady Jane

They tried to persuade Lady Jane to accept the unreformed religion;
but she steadily refused. On the morning when she was to die, she
saw from her window the bleeding and headless body of her husband
brought back in a cart from the scaffold on Tower Hill where he had
laid down his life. But, as she had declined to see him before his
execution, lest she should be overpowered and not make a good end,
so, she even now showed a constancy and calmness that will never be
forgotten. She came up to the scaffold with a firm step and a
quiet face, and addressed the bystanders in a steady voice. They
were not numerous; for she was too young, too innocent and fair, to
be murdered before the people on Tower Hill, as her husband had
just been; so, the place of her execution was within the Tower
itself. She said that she had done an unlawful act in taking what
was Queen Mary's right; but that she had done so with no bad
intent, and that she died a humble Christian. She begged the
executioner to despatch her quickly, and she asked him, 'Will you
take my head off before I lay me down?' He answered, 'No, Madam,'
and then she was very quiet while they bandaged her eyes. Being
blinded, and unable to see the block on which she was to lay her
young head, she was seen to feel about for it with her hands, and
was heard to say, confused, 'O what shall I do! Where is it?'
Then they guided her to the right place, and the executioner struck
off her head. You know too well, now, what dreadful deeds the
executioner did in England, through many, many years, and how his
axe descended on the hateful block through the necks of some of the
bravest, wisest, and best in the land. But it never struck so
cruel and so vile a blow as this.

The father of Lady Jane soon followed, but was little pitied.
Queen Mary's next object was to lay hold of Elizabeth, and this was
pursued with great eagerness. Five hundred men were sent to her
retired house at Ashridge, by Berkhampstead, with orders to bring
her up, alive or dead. They got there at ten at night, when she
was sick in bed. But, their leaders followed her lady into her
bedchamber, whence she was brought out betimes next morning, and
put into a litter to be conveyed to London. She was so weak and
ill, that she was five days on the road; still, she was so resolved
to be seen by the people that she had the curtains of the litter
opened; and so, very pale and sickly, passed through the streets.
She wrote to her sister, saying she was innocent of any crime, and
asking why she was made a prisoner; but she got no answer, and was
ordered to the Tower. They took her in by the Traitor's Gate, to
which she objected, but in vain. One of the lords who conveyed her
offered to cover her with his cloak, as it was raining, but she put
it away from her, proudly and scornfully, and passed into the
Tower, and sat down in a court-yard on a stone. They besought her
to come in out of the wet; but she answered that it was better
sitting there, than in a worse place. At length she went to her
apartment, where she was kept a prisoner, though not so close a
prisoner as at Woodstock, whither she was afterwards removed, and
where she is said to have one day envied a milkmaid whom she heard
singing in the sunshine as she went through the green fields.
Gardiner, than whom there were not many worse men among the fierce
and sullen priests, cared little to keep secret his stern desire
for her death: being used to say that it was of little service to
shake off the leaves, and lop the branches of the tree of heresy,
if its root, the hope of heretics, were left. He failed, however,
in his benevolent design. Elizabeth was, at length, released; and
Hatfield House was assigned to her as a residence, under the care

It would seem that Philip, the Prince of Spain, was a main cause of
this change in Elizabeth's fortunes. He was not an amiable man,
being, on the contrary, proud, overbearing, and gloomy; but he and
the Spanish lords who came over with him, assuredly did
discountenance the idea of doing any violence to the Princess. It
may have been mere prudence, but we will hope it was manhood and
honour. The Queen had been expecting her husband with great
impatience, and at length he came, to her great joy, though he
never cared much for her. They were married by Gardiner, at
Winchester, and there was more holiday-making among the people; but
they had their old distrust of this Spanish marriage, in which even
the Parliament shared. Though the members of that Parliament were
far from honest, and were strongly suspected to have been bought
with Spanish money, they would pass no bill to enable the Queen to
set aside the Princess Elizabeth and appoint her own successor.

Although Gardiner failed in this object, as well as in the darker
one of bringing the Princess to the scaffold, he went on at a great
pace in the revival of the unreformed religion. A new Parliament
was packed, in which there were no Protestants. Preparations were
made to receive Cardinal Pole in England as the Pope's messenger,
bringing his holy declaration that all the nobility who had
acquired Church property, should keep it - which was done to enlist
their selfish interest on the Pope's side. Then a great scene was
enacted, which was the triumph of the Queen's plans. Cardinal Pole
arrived in great splendour and dignity, and was received with great
pomp. The Parliament joined in a petition expressive of their
sorrow at the change in the national religion, and praying him to
receive the country again into the Popish Church. With the Queen
sitting on her throne, and the King on one side of her, and the
Cardinal on the other, and the Parliament present, Gardiner read
the petition aloud. The Cardinal then made a great speech, and was
so obliging as to say that all was forgotten and forgiven, and that
the kingdom was solemnly made Roman Catholic again.

Everything was now ready for the lighting of the terrible bonfires.
The Queen having declared to the Council, in writing, that she
would wish none of her subjects to be burnt without some of the
Council being present, and that she would particularly wish there
to be good sermons at all burnings, the Council knew pretty well
what was to be done next. So, after the Cardinal had blessed all
the bishops as a preface to the burnings, the Chancellor Gardiner
opened a High Court at Saint Mary Overy, on the Southwark side of
London Bridge, for the trial of heretics. Here, two of the late
Protestant clergymen, HOOPER, Bishop of Gloucester, and ROGERS, a
Prebendary of St. Paul's, were brought to be tried. Hooper was
tried first for being married, though a priest, and for not
believing in the mass. He admitted both of these accusations, and
said that the mass was a wicked imposition. Then they tried
Rogers, who said the same. Next morning the two were brought up to
be sentenced; and then Rogers said that his poor wife, being a
German woman and a stranger in the land, he hoped might be allowed
to come to speak to him before he died. To this the inhuman
Gardiner replied, that she was not his wife. 'Yea, but she is, my
lord,' said Rogers, 'and she hath been my wife these eighteen
years.' His request was still refused, and they were both sent to
Newgate; all those who stood in the streets to sell things, being
ordered to put out their lights that the people might not see them.
But, the people stood at their doors with candles in their hands,
and prayed for them as they went by. Soon afterwards, Rogers was
taken out of jail to be burnt in Smithfield; and, in the crowd as
he went along, he saw his poor wife and his ten children, of whom
the youngest was a little baby. And so he was burnt to death.

The next day, Hooper, who was to be burnt at Gloucester, was
brought out to take his last journey, and was made to wear a hood
over his face that he might not be known by the people. But, they
did know him for all that, down in his own part of the country;
and, when he came near Gloucester, they lined the road, making
prayers and lamentations. His guards took him to a lodging, where
he slept soundly all night. At nine o'clock next morning, he was
brought forth leaning on a staff; for he had taken cold in prison,
and was infirm. The iron stake, and the iron chain which was to
bind him to it, were fixed up near a great elm-tree in a pleasant
open place before the cathedral, where, on peaceful Sundays, he had
been accustomed to preach and to pray, when he was bishop of
Gloucester. This tree, which had no leaves then, it being
February, was filled with people; and the priests of Gloucester
College were looking complacently on from a window, and there was a
great concourse of spectators in every spot from which a glimpse of
the dreadful sight could be beheld. When the old man kneeled down
on the small platform at the foot of the stake, and prayed aloud,
the nearest people were observed to be so attentive to his prayers
that they were ordered to stand farther back; for it did not suit
the Romish Church to have those Protestant words heard. His
prayers concluded, he went up to the stake and was stripped to his
shirt, and chained ready for the fire. One of his guards had such
compassion on him that, to shorten his agonies, he tied some
packets of gunpowder about him. Then they heaped up wood and straw
and reeds, and set them all alight. But, unhappily, the wood was
green and damp, and there was a wind blowing that blew what flame
there was, away. Thus, through three-quarters of an hour, the good
old man was scorched and roasted and smoked, as the fire rose and
sank; and all that time they saw him, as he burned, moving his lips
in prayer, and beating his breast with one hand, even after the
other was burnt away and had fallen off.

Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, were taken to Oxford to dispute with
a commission of priests and doctors about the mass. They were
shamefully treated; and it is recorded that the Oxford scholars
hissed and howled and groaned, and misconducted themselves in an
anything but a scholarly way. The prisoners were taken back to
jail, and afterwards tried in St. Mary's Church. They were all
found guilty. On the sixteenth of the month of October, Ridley and
Latimer were brought out, to make another of the dreadful bonfires.

The scene of the suffering of these two good Protestant men was in
the City ditch, near Baliol College. On coming to the dreadful
spot, they kissed the stakes, and then embraced each other. And
then a learned doctor got up into a pulpit which was placed there,
and preached a sermon from the text, 'Though I give my body to be
burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.' When you
think of the charity of burning men alive, you may imagine that
this learned doctor had a rather brazen face. Ridley would have
answered his sermon when it came to an end, but was not allowed.
When Latimer was stripped, it appeared that he had dressed himself
under his other clothes, in a new shroud; and, as he stood in it
before all the people, it was noted of him, and long remembered,
that, whereas he had been stooping and feeble but a few minutes
before, he now stood upright and handsome, in the knowledge that he
was dying for a just and a great cause. Ridley's brother-in-law
was there with bags of gunpowder; and when they were both chained
up, he tied them round their bodies. Then, a light was thrown upon
the pile to fire it. 'Be of good comfort, Master Ridley,' said
Latimer, at that awful moment, 'and play the man! We shall this
day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust
shall never be put out.' And then he was seen to make motions with
his hands as if he were washing them in the flames, and to stroke
his aged face with them, and was heard to cry, 'Father of Heaven,
receive my soul!' He died quickly, but the fire, after having
burned the legs of Ridley, sunk. There he lingered, chained to the
iron post, and crying, 'O! I cannot burn! O! for Christ's sake
let the fire come unto me!' And still, when his brother-in-law had
heaped on more wood, he was heard through the blinding smoke, still
dismally crying, 'O! I cannot burn, I cannot burn!' At last, the
gunpowder caught fire, and ended his miseries.

Five days after this fearful scene, Gardiner went to his tremendous
account before God, for the cruelties he had so much assisted in

Cranmer remained still alive and in prison. He was brought out
again in February, for more examining and trying, by Bonner, Bishop
of London: another man of blood, who had succeeded to Gardiner's
work, even in his lifetime, when Gardiner was tired of it. Cranmer
was now degraded as a priest, and left for death; but, if the Queen
hated any one on earth, she hated him, and it was resolved that he
should be ruined and disgraced to the utmost. There is no doubt
that the Queen and her husband personally urged on these deeds,
because they wrote to the Council, urging them to be active in the
kindling of the fearful fires. As Cranmer was known not to be a
firm man, a plan was laid for surrounding him with artful people,
and inducing him to recant to the unreformed religion. Deans and
friars visited him, played at bowls with him, showed him various
attentions, talked persuasively with him, gave him money for his
prison comforts, and induced him to sign, I fear, as many as six
recantations. But when, after all, he was taken out to be burnt,
he was nobly true to his better self, and made a glorious end.

After prayers and a sermon, Dr. Cole, the preacher of the day (who
had been one of the artful priests about Cranmer in prison),
required him to make a public confession of his faith before the
people. This, Cole did, expecting that he would declare himself a
Roman Catholic. 'I will make a profession of my faith,' said
Cranmer, 'and with a good will too.'

Then, he arose before them all, and took from the sleeve of his
robe a written prayer and read it aloud. That done, he kneeled and
said the Lord's Prayer, all the people joining; and then he arose
again and told them that he believed in the Bible, and that in what
he had lately written, he had written what was not the truth, and
that, because his right hand had signed those papers, he would burn
his right hand first when he came to the fire. As for the Pope, he
did refuse him and denounce him as the enemy of Heaven. Hereupon
the pious Dr. Cole cried out to the guards to stop that heretic's
mouth and take him away.

So they took him away, and chained him to the stake, where he
hastily took off his own clothes to make ready for the flames. And
he stood before the people with a bald head and a white and flowing
beard. He was so firm now when the worst was come, that he again
declared against his recantation, and was so impressive and so
undismayed, that a certain lord, who was one of the directors of
the execution, called out to the men to make haste! When the fire
was lighted, Cranmer, true to his latest word, stretched out his
right hand, and crying out, 'This hand hath offended!' held it
among the flames, until it blazed and burned away. His heart was
found entire among his ashes, and he left at last a memorable name
in English history. Cardinal Pole celebrated the day by saying his
first mass, and next day he was made Archbishop of Canterbury in
Cranmer's place.

The Queen's husband, who was now mostly abroad in his own
dominions, and generally made a coarse jest of her to his more
familiar courtiers, was at war with France, and came over to seek
the assistance of England. England was very unwilling to engage in
a French war for his sake; but it happened that the King of France,
at this very time, aided a descent upon the English coast. Hence,
war was declared, greatly to Philip's satisfaction; and the Queen
raised a sum of money with which to carry it on, by every
unjustifiable means in her power. It met with no profitable
return, for the French Duke of Guise surprised Calais, and the
English sustained a complete defeat. The losses they met with in
France greatly mortified the national pride, and the Queen never
recovered the blow.

There was a bad fever raging in England at this time, and I am glad
to write that the Queen took it, and the hour of her death came.
'When I am dead and my body is opened,' she said to those around
those around her, 'ye shall find CALAIS written on my heart.' I
should have thought, if anything were written on it, they would
have found the words - JANE GREY, HOOPER, ROGERS, RIDLEY, LATIMER,
But it is enough that their deaths were written in Heaven.

The Queen died on the seventeenth of November, fifteen hundred and
fifty-eight, after reigning not quite five years and a half, and in
the forty-fourth year of her age. Cardinal Pole died of the same
fever next day.

As BLOODY QUEEN MARY, this woman has become famous, and as BLOODY
QUEEN MARY, she will ever be justly remembered with horror and
detestation in Great Britain. Her memory has been held in such
abhorrence that some writers have arisen in later years to take her
part, and to show that she was, upon the whole, quite an amiable
and cheerful sovereign! 'By their fruits ye shall know them,' said
OUR SAVIOUR. The stake and the fire were the fruits of this reign,
and you will judge this Queen by nothing else.


THERE was great rejoicing all over the land when the Lords of the
Council went down to Hatfield, to hail the Princess Elizabeth as
the new Queen of England. Weary of the barbarities of Mary's
reign, the people looked with hope and gladness to the new
Sovereign. The nation seemed to wake from a horrible dream; and
Heaven, so long hidden by the smoke of the fires that roasted men
and women to death, appeared to brighten once more.

Queen Elizabeth was five-and-twenty years of age when she rode
through the streets of London, from the Tower to Westminster Abbey,
to be crowned. Her countenance was strongly marked, but on the
whole, commanding and dignified; her hair was red, and her nose
something too long and sharp for a woman's. She was not the
beautiful creature her courtiers made out; but she was well enough,
and no doubt looked all the better for coming after the dark and
gloomy Mary. She was well educated, but a roundabout writer, and
rather a hard swearer and coarse talker. She was clever, but
cunning and deceitful, and inherited much of her father's violent
temper. I mention this now, because she has been so over-praised
by one party, and so over-abused by another, that it is hardly
possible to understand the greater part of her reign without first
understanding what kind of woman she really was.

She began her reign with the great advantage of having a very wise
and careful Minister, SIR WILLIAM CECIL, whom she afterwards made
LORD BURLEIGH. Altogether, the people had greater reason for
rejoicing than they usually had, when there were processions in the
streets; and they were happy with some reason. All kinds of shows
and images were set up; GOG and MAGOG were hoisted to the top of
Temple Bar, and (which was more to the purpose) the Corporation
dutifully presented the young Queen with the sum of a thousand
marks in gold - so heavy a present, that she was obliged to take it
into her carriage with both hands. The coronation was a great
success; and, on the next day, one of the courtiers presented a
petition to the new Queen, praying that as it was the custom to
release some prisoners on such occasions, she would have the
goodness to release the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John, and also the Apostle Saint Paul, who had been for some time
shut up in a strange language so that the people could not get at

To this, the Queen replied that it would be better first to inquire
of themselves whether they desired to be released or not; and, as a
means of finding out, a great public discussion - a sort of
religious tournament - was appointed to take place between certain
champions of the two religions, in Westminster Abbey. You may
suppose that it was soon made pretty clear to common sense, that
for people to benefit by what they repeat or read, it is rather
necessary they should understand something about it. Accordingly,
a Church Service in plain English was settled, and other laws and
regulations were made, completely establishing the great work of
the Reformation. The Romish bishops and champions were not harshly
dealt with, all things considered; and the Queen's Ministers were
both prudent and merciful.

The one great trouble of this reign, and the unfortunate cause of
the greater part of such turmoil and bloodshed as occurred in it,
was MARY STUART, QUEEN OF SCOTS. We will try to understand, in as
few words as possible, who Mary was, what she was, and how she came
to be a thorn in the royal pillow of Elizabeth.

She was the daughter of the Queen Regent of Scotland, MARY OF
GUISE. She had been married, when a mere child, to the Dauphin,
the son and heir of the King of France. The Pope, who pretended
that no one could rightfully wear the crown of England without his
gracious permission, was strongly opposed to Elizabeth, who had not
asked for the said gracious permission. And as Mary Queen of Scots
would have inherited the English crown in right of her birth,
supposing the English Parliament not to have altered the
succession, the Pope himself, and most of the discontented who were
followers of his, maintained that Mary was the rightful Queen of
England, and Elizabeth the wrongful Queen. Mary being so closely
connected with France, and France being jealous of England, there
was far greater danger in this than there would have been if she
had had no alliance with that great power. And when her young
husband, on the death of his father, became FRANCIS THE SECOND,
King of France, the matter grew very serious. For, the young
couple styled themselves King and Queen of England, and the Pope
was disposed to help them by doing all the mischief he could.

Now, the reformed religion, under the guidance of a stern and
powerful preacher, named JOHN KNOX, and other such men, had been
making fierce progress in Scotland. It was still a half savage
country, where there was a great deal of murdering and rioting
continually going on; and the Reformers, instead of reforming those
evils as they should have done, went to work in the ferocious old
Scottish spirit, laying churches and chapels waste, pulling down
pictures and altars, and knocking about the Grey Friars, and the
Black Friars, and the White Friars, and the friars of all sorts of
colours, in all directions. This obdurate and harsh spirit of the
Scottish Reformers (the Scotch have always been rather a sullen and
frowning people in religious matters) put up the blood of the
Romish French court, and caused France to send troops over to
Scotland, with the hope of setting the friars of all sorts of
colours on their legs again; of conquering that country first, and
England afterwards; and so crushing the Reformation all to pieces.
The Scottish Reformers, who had formed a great league which they
called The Congregation of the Lord, secretly represented to
Elizabeth that, if the reformed religion got the worst of it with
them, it would be likely to get the worst of it in England too; and
thus, Elizabeth, though she had a high notion of the rights of
Kings and Queens to do anything they liked, sent an army to
Scotland to support the Reformers, who were in arms against their
sovereign. All these proceedings led to a treaty of peace at
Edinburgh, under which the French consented to depart from the
kingdom. By a separate treaty, Mary and her young husband engaged
to renounce their assumed title of King and Queen of England. But
this treaty they never fulfilled.

It happened, soon after matters had got to this state, that the
young French King died, leaving Mary a young widow. She was then
invited by her Scottish subjects to return home and reign over
them; and as she was not now happy where she was, she, after a
little time, complied.

Elizabeth had been Queen three years, when Mary Queen of Scots
embarked at Calais for her own rough, quarrelling country. As she
came out of the harbour, a vessel was lost before her eyes, and she
said, 'O! good God! what an omen this is for such a voyage!' She
was very fond of France, and sat on the deck, looking back at it
and weeping, until it was quite dark. When she went to bed, she
directed to be called at daybreak, if the French coast were still
visible, that she might behold it for the last time. As it proved
to be a clear morning, this was done, and she again wept for the
country she was leaving, and said many times, ' Farewell, France!
Farewell, France! I shall never see thee again!' All this was
long remembered afterwards, as sorrowful and interesting in a fair
young princess of nineteen. Indeed, I am afraid it gradually came,
together with her other distresses, to surround her with greater
sympathy than she deserved.

When she came to Scotland, and took up her abode at the palace of
Holyrood in Edinburgh, she found herself among uncouth strangers
and wild uncomfortable customs very different from her experiences
in the court of France. The very people who were disposed to love
her, made her head ache when she was tired out by her voyage, with
a serenade of discordant music - a fearful concert of bagpipes, I
suppose - and brought her and her train home to her palace on
miserable little Scotch horses that appeared to be half starved.
Among the people who were not disposed to love her, she found the
powerful leaders of the Reformed Church, who were bitter upon her
amusements, however innocent, and denounced music and dancing as
works of the devil. John Knox himself often lectured her,
violently and angrily, and did much to make her life unhappy. All
these reasons confirmed her old attachment to the Romish religion,
and caused her, there is no doubt, most imprudently and dangerously
both for herself and for England too, to give a solemn pledge to
the heads of the Romish Church that if she ever succeeded to the
English crown, she would set up that religion again. In reading
her unhappy history, you must always remember this; and also that
during her whole life she was constantly put forward against the
Queen, in some form or other, by the Romish party.

That Elizabeth, on the other hand, was not inclined to like her, is
pretty certain. Elizabeth was very vain and jealous, and had an
extraordinary dislike to people being married. She treated Lady
Catherine Grey, sister of the beheaded Lady Jane, with such
shameful severity, for no other reason than her being secretly
married, that she died and her husband was ruined; so, when a
second marriage for Mary began to be talked about, probably
Elizabeth disliked her more. Not that Elizabeth wanted suitors of
her own, for they started up from Spain, Austria, Sweden, and
England. Her English lover at this time, and one whom she much
favoured too, was LORD ROBERT DUDLEY, Earl of Leicester - himself
secretly married to AMY ROBSART, the daughter of an English
gentleman, whom he was strongly suspected of causing to be
murdered, down at his country seat, Cumnor Hall in Berkshire, that
he might be free to marry the Queen. Upon this story, the great
writer, SIR WALTER SCOTT, has founded one of his best romances.
But if Elizabeth knew how to lead her handsome favourite on, for
her own vanity and pleasure, she knew how to stop him for her own
pride; and his love, and all the other proposals, came to nothing.
The Queen always declared in good set speeches, that she would
never be married at all, but would live and die a Maiden Queen. It
was a very pleasant and meritorious declaration, I suppose; but it
has been puffed and trumpeted so much, that I am rather tired of it

Divers princes proposed to marry Mary, but the English court had
reasons for being jealous of them all, and even proposed as a
matter of policy that she should marry that very Earl of Leicester
who had aspired to be the husband of Elizabeth. At last, LORD
DARNLEY, son of the Earl of Lennox, and himself descended from the
Royal Family of Scotland, went over with Elizabeth's consent to try
his fortune at Holyrood. He was a tall simpleton; and could dance
and play the guitar; but I know of nothing else he could do, unless
it were to get very drunk, and eat gluttonously, and make a
contemptible spectacle of himself in many mean and vain ways.
However, he gained Mary's heart, not disdaining in the pursuit of
his object to ally himself with one of her secretaries, DAVID
RIZZIO, who had great influence with her. He soon married the
Queen. This marriage does not say much for her, but what followed
will presently say less.

Mary's brother, the EARL OF MURRAY, and head of the Protestant
party in Scotland, had opposed this marriage, partly on religious
grounds, and partly perhaps from personal dislike of the very
contemptible bridegroom. When it had taken place, through Mary's
gaining over to it the more powerful of the lords about her, she
banished Murray for his pains; and, when he and some other nobles
rose in arms to support the reformed religion, she herself, within
a month of her wedding day, rode against them in armour with loaded
pistols in her saddle. Driven out of Scotland, they presented
themselves before Elizabeth - who called them traitors in public,
and assisted them in private, according to her crafty nature.

Mary had been married but a little while, when she began to hate
her husband, who, in his turn, began to hate that David Rizzio,
with whom he had leagued to gain her favour, and whom he now
believed to be her lover. He hated Rizzio to that extent, that he
made a compact with LORD RUTHVEN and three other lords to get rid
of him by murder. This wicked agreement they made in solemn
secrecy upon the first of March, fifteen hundred and sixty-six, and
on the night of Saturday the ninth, the conspirators were brought
by Darnley up a private staircase, dark and steep, into a range of
rooms where they knew that Mary was sitting at supper with her
sister, Lady Argyle, and this doomed man. When they went into the
room, Darnley took the Queen round the waist, and Lord Ruthven, who
had risen from a bed of sickness to do this murder, came in, gaunt
and ghastly, leaning on two men. Rizzio ran behind the Queen for
shelter and protection. 'Let him come out of the room,' said
Ruthven. 'He shall not leave the room,' replied the Queen; 'I read
his danger in your face, and it is my will that he remain here.'
They then set upon him, struggled with him, overturned the table,
dragged him out, and killed him with fifty-six stabs. When the
Queen heard that he was dead, she said, 'No more tears. I will
think now of revenge!'

Within a day or two, she gained her husband over, and prevailed on
the tall idiot to abandon the conspirators and fly with her to
Dunbar. There, he issued a proclamation, audaciously and falsely
denying that he had any knowledge of the late bloody business; and
there they were joined by the EARL BOTHWELL and some other nobles.
With their help, they raised eight thousand men; returned to
Edinburgh, and drove the assassins into England. Mary soon
afterwards gave birth to a son - still thinking of revenge.

That she should have had a greater scorn for her husband after his
late cowardice and treachery than she had had before, was natural
enough. There is little doubt that she now began to love Bothwell
instead, and to plan with him means of getting rid of Darnley.
Bothwell had such power over her that he induced her even to pardon
the assassins of Rizzio. The arrangements for the Christening of
the young Prince were entrusted to him, and he was one of the most
important people at the ceremony, where the child was named JAMES:
Elizabeth being his godmother, though not present on the occasion.
A week afterwards, Darnley, who had left Mary and gone to his
father's house at Glasgow, being taken ill with the small-pox, she
sent her own physician to attend him. But there is reason to
apprehend that this was merely a show and a pretence, and that she
knew what was doing, when Bothwell within another month proposed to
one of the late conspirators against Rizzio, to murder Darnley,
'for that it was the Queen's mind that he should be taken away.'
It is certain that on that very day she wrote to her ambassador in
France, complaining of him, and yet went immediately to Glasgow,
feigning to be very anxious about him, and to love him very much.
If she wanted to get him in her power, she succeeded to her heart's
content; for she induced him to go back with her to Edinburgh, and
to occupy, instead of the palace, a lone house outside the city
called the Kirk of Field. Here, he lived for about a week. One
Sunday night, she remained with him until ten o'clock, and then
left him, to go to Holyrood to be present at an entertainment given
in celebration of the marriage of one of her favourite servants.
At two o'clock in the morning the city was shaken by a great
explosion, and the Kirk of Field was blown to atoms.

Darnley's body was found next day lying under a tree at some
distance. How it came there, undisfigured and unscorched by
gunpowder, and how this crime came to be so clumsily and strangely
committed, it is impossible to discover. The deceitful character
of Mary, and the deceitful character of Elizabeth, have rendered
almost every part of their joint history uncertain and obscure.
But, I fear that Mary was unquestionably a party to her husband's
murder, and that this was the revenge she had threatened. The
Scotch people universally believed it. Voices cried out in the
streets of Edinburgh in the dead of the night, for justice on the
murderess. Placards were posted by unknown hands in the public
places denouncing Bothwell as the murderer, and the Queen as his
accomplice; and, when he afterwards married her (though himself
already married), previously making a show of taking her prisoner
by force, the indignation of the people knew no bounds. The women
particularly are described as having been quite frantic against the
Queen, and to have hooted and cried after her in the streets with
terrific vehemence.

Such guilty unions seldom prosper. This husband and wife had lived
together but a month, when they were separated for ever by the
successes of a band of Scotch nobles who associated against them
for the protection of the young Prince: whom Bothwell had vainly
endeavoured to lay hold of, and whom he would certainly have
murdered, if the EARL OF MAR, in whose hands the boy was, had not
been firmly and honourably faithful to his trust. Before this
angry power, Bothwell fled abroad, where he died, a prisoner and
mad, nine miserable years afterwards. Mary being found by the
associated lords to deceive them at every turn, was sent a prisoner
to Lochleven Castle; which, as it stood in the midst of a lake,
could only be approached by boat. Here, one LORD LINDSAY, who was
so much of a brute that the nobles would have done better if they
had chosen a mere gentleman for their messenger, made her sign her
abdication, and appoint Murray, Regent of Scotland. Here, too,
Murray saw her in a sorrowing and humbled state.

She had better have remained in the castle of Lochleven, dull
prison as it was, with the rippling of the lake against it, and the
moving shadows of the water on the room walls; but she could not
rest there, and more than once tried to escape. The first time she
had nearly succeeded, dressed in the clothes of her own washer-
woman, but, putting up her hand to prevent one of the boatmen from
lifting her veil, the men suspected her, seeing how white it was,
and rowed her back again. A short time afterwards, her fascinating
manners enlisted in her cause a boy in the Castle, called the
little DOUGLAS, who, while the family were at supper, stole the
keys of the great gate, went softly out with the Queen, locked the
gate on the outside, and rowed her away across the lake, sinking
the keys as they went along. On the opposite shore she was met by
another Douglas, and some few lords; and, so accompanied, rode away
on horseback to Hamilton, where they raised three thousand men.
Here, she issued a proclamation declaring that the abdication she
had signed in her prison was illegal, and requiring the Regent to
yield to his lawful Queen. Being a steady soldier, and in no way
discomposed although he was without an army, Murray pretended to
treat with her, until he had collected a force about half equal to
her own, and then he gave her battle. In one quarter of an hour he
cut down all her hopes. She had another weary ride on horse-back
of sixty long Scotch miles, and took shelter at Dundrennan Abbey,
whence she fled for safety to Elizabeth's dominions.

Mary Queen of Scots came to England - to her own ruin, the trouble
of the kingdom, and the misery and death of many - in the year one
thousand five hundred and sixty-eight. How she left it and the
world, nineteen years afterwards, we have now to see.


WHEN Mary Queen of Scots arrived in England, without money and even
without any other clothes than those she wore, she wrote to
Elizabeth, representing herself as an innocent and injured piece of
Royalty, and entreating her assistance to oblige her Scottish
subjects to take her back again and obey her. But, as her
character was already known in England to be a very different one
from what she made it out to be, she was told in answer that she
must first clear herself. Made uneasy by this condition, Mary,
rather than stay in England, would have gone to Spain, or to
France, or would even have gone back to Scotland. But, as her
doing either would have been likely to trouble England afresh, it
was decided that she should be detained here. She first came to
Carlisle, and, after that, was moved about from castle to castle,
as was considered necessary; but England she never left again.

After trying very hard to get rid of the necessity of clearing
herself, Mary, advised by LORD HERRIES, her best friend in England,
agreed to answer the charges against her, if the Scottish noblemen
who made them would attend to maintain them before such English
noblemen as Elizabeth might appoint for that purpose. Accordingly,
such an assembly, under the name of a conference, met, first at
York, and afterwards at Hampton Court. In its presence Lord
Lennox, Darnley's father, openly charged Mary with the murder of
his son; and whatever Mary's friends may now say or write in her
behalf, there is no doubt that, when her brother Murray produced
against her a casket containing certain guilty letters and verses
which he stated to have passed between her and Bothwell, she
withdrew from the inquiry. Consequently, it is to be supposed that
she was then considered guilty by those who had the best
opportunities of judging of the truth, and that the feeling which
afterwards arose in her behalf was a very generous but not a very
reasonable one.

However, the DUKE OF NORFOLK, an honourable but rather weak
nobleman, partly because Mary was captivating, partly because he
was ambitious, partly because he was over-persuaded by artful
plotters against Elizabeth, conceived a strong idea that he would
like to marry the Queen of Scots - though he was a little
frightened, too, by the letters in the casket. This idea being
secretly encouraged by some of the noblemen of Elizabeth's court,
and even by the favourite Earl of Leicester (because it was
objected to by other favourites who were his rivals), Mary
expressed her approval of it, and the King of France and the King
of Spain are supposed to have done the same. It was not so quietly
planned, though, but that it came to Elizabeth's ears, who warned
the Duke 'to be careful what sort of pillow he was going to lay his
head upon.' He made a humble reply at the time; but turned sulky
soon afterwards, and, being considered dangerous, was sent to the

Thus, from the moment of Mary's coming to England she began to be
the centre of plots and miseries.

A rise of the Catholics in the north was the next of these, and it
was only checked by many executions and much bloodshed. It was
followed by a great conspiracy of the Pope and some of the Catholic
sovereigns of Europe to depose Elizabeth, place Mary on the throne,
and restore the unreformed religion. It is almost impossible to
doubt that Mary knew and approved of this; and the Pope himself was
so hot in the matter that he issued a bull, in which he openly
called Elizabeth the 'pretended Queen' of England, excommunicated
her, and excommunicated all her subjects who should continue to
obey her. A copy of this miserable paper got into London, and was
found one morning publicly posted on the Bishop of London's gate.
A great hue and cry being raised, another copy was found in the
chamber of a student of Lincoln's Inn, who confessed, being put
upon the rack, that he had received it from one JOHN FELTON, a rich
gentleman who lived across the Thames, near Southwark. This John
Felton, being put upon the rack too, confessed that he had posted
the placard on the Bishop's gate. For this offence he was, within
four days, taken to St. Paul's Churchyard, and there hanged and
quartered. As to the Pope's bull, the people by the reformation
having thrown off the Pope, did not care much, you may suppose, for
the Pope's throwing off them. It was a mere dirty piece of paper,
and not half so powerful as a street ballad.

On the very day when Felton was brought to his trial, the poor Duke
of Norfolk was released. It would have been well for him if he had
kept away from the Tower evermore, and from the snares that had
taken him there. But, even while he was in that dismal place he
corresponded with Mary, and as soon as he was out of it, he began
to plot again. Being discovered in correspondence with the Pope,
with a view to a rising in England which should force Elizabeth to
consent to his marriage with Mary and to repeal the laws against
the Catholics, he was re-committed to the Tower and brought to
trial. He was found guilty by the unanimous verdict of the Lords
who tried him, and was sentenced to the block.

It is very difficult to make out, at this distance of time, and
between opposite accounts, whether Elizabeth really was a humane
woman, or desired to appear so, or was fearful of shedding the
blood of people of great name who were popular in the country.
Twice she commanded and countermanded the execution of this Duke,
and it did not take place until five months after his trial. The
scaffold was erected on Tower Hill, and there he died like a brave
man. He refused to have his eyes bandaged, saying that he was not
at all afraid of death; and he admitted the justice of his
sentence, and was much regretted by the people.

Although Mary had shrunk at the most important time from disproving
her guilt, she was very careful never to do anything that would
admit it. All such proposals as were made to her by Elizabeth for
her release, required that admission in some form or other, and
therefore came to nothing. Moreover, both women being artful and
treacherous, and neither ever trusting the other, it was not likely
that they could ever make an agreement. So, the Parliament,
aggravated by what the Pope had done, made new and strong laws
against the spreading of the Catholic religion in England, and
declared it treason in any one to say that the Queen and her
successors were not the lawful sovereigns of England. It would
have done more than this, but for Elizabeth's moderation.

Since the Reformation, there had come to be three great sects of
religious people - or people who called themselves so - in England;
that is to say, those who belonged to the Reformed Church, those
who belonged to the Unreformed Church, and those who were called
the Puritans, because they said that they wanted to have everything
very pure and plain in all the Church service. These last were for
the most part an uncomfortable people, who thought it highly
meritorious to dress in a hideous manner, talk through their noses,
and oppose all harmless enjoyments. But they were powerful too,
and very much in earnest, and they were one and all the determined
enemies of the Queen of Scots. The Protestant feeling in England
was further strengthened by the tremendous cruelties to which
Protestants were exposed in France and in the Netherlands. Scores
of thousands of them were put to death in those countries with
every cruelty that can be imagined, and at last, in the autumn of
the year one thousand five hundred and seventy-two, one of the
greatest barbarities ever committed in the world took place at

It is called in history, THE MASSACRE OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW, because
it took place on Saint Bartholomew's Eve. The day fell on Saturday
the twenty-third of August. On that day all the great leaders of
the Protestants (who were there called HUGUENOTS) were assembled
together, for the purpose, as was represented to them, of doing
honour to the marriage of their chief, the young King of Navarre,
with the sister of CHARLES THE NINTH: a miserable young King who
then occupied the French throne. This dull creature was made to
believe by his mother and other fierce Catholics about him that the
Huguenots meant to take his life; and he was persuaded to give
secret orders that, on the tolling of a great bell, they should be
fallen upon by an overpowering force of armed men, and slaughtered
wherever they could be found. When the appointed hour was close at
hand, the stupid wretch, trembling from head to foot, was taken
into a balcony by his mother to see the atrocious work begun. The
moment the bell tolled, the murderers broke forth. During all that
night and the two next days, they broke into the houses, fired the
houses, shot and stabbed the Protestants, men, women, and children,
and flung their bodies into the streets. They were shot at in the
streets as they passed along, and their blood ran down the gutters.
Upwards of ten thousand Protestants were killed in Paris alone; in
all France four or five times that number. To return thanks to
Heaven for these diabolical murders, the Pope and his train
actually went in public procession at Rome, and as if this were not
shame enough for them, they had a medal struck to commemorate the
event. But, however comfortable the wholesale murders were to
these high authorities, they had not that soothing effect upon the
doll-King. I am happy to state that he never knew a moment's peace
afterwards; that he was continually crying out that he saw the
Huguenots covered with blood and wounds falling dead before him;
and that he died within a year, shrieking and yelling and raving to
that degree, that if all the Popes who had ever lived had been
rolled into one, they would not have afforded His guilty Majesty
the slightest consolation.

When the terrible news of the massacre arrived in England, it made
a powerful impression indeed upon the people. If they began to run
a little wild against the Catholics at about this time, this
fearful reason for it, coming so soon after the days of bloody
Queen Mary, must be remembered in their excuse. The Court was not
quite so honest as the people - but perhaps it sometimes is not.
It received the French ambassador, with all the lords and ladies
dressed in deep mourning, and keeping a profound silence.
Nevertheless, a proposal of marriage which he had made to Elizabeth
only two days before the eve of Saint Bartholomew, on behalf of the
Duke of Alen‡on, the French King's brother, a boy of seventeen,
still went on; while on the other hand, in her usual crafty way,
the Queen secretly supplied the Huguenots with money and weapons.

I must say that for a Queen who made all those fine speeches, of
which I have confessed myself to be rather tired, about living and
dying a Maiden Queen, Elizabeth was 'going' to be married pretty
often. Besides always having some English favourite or other whom
she by turns encouraged and swore at and knocked about - for the
maiden Queen was very free with her fists - she held this French
Duke off and on through several years. When he at last came over
to England, the marriage articles were actually drawn up, and it
was settled that the wedding should take place in six weeks. The
Queen was then so bent upon it, that she prosecuted a poor Puritan
named STUBBS, and a poor bookseller named PAGE, for writing and
publishing a pamphlet against it. Their right hands were chopped
off for this crime; and poor Stubbs - more loyal than I should have
been myself under the circumstances - immediately pulled off his
hat with his left hand, and cried, 'God save the Queen!' Stubbs
was cruelly treated; for the marriage never took place after all,
though the Queen pledged herself to the Duke with a ring from her
own finger. He went away, no better than he came, when the
courtship had lasted some ten years altogether; and he died a
couple of years afterwards, mourned by Elizabeth, who appears to
have been really fond of him. It is not much to her credit, for he
was a bad enough member of a bad family.

To return to the Catholics. There arose two orders of priests, who
were very busy in England, and who were much dreaded. These were
the JESUITS (who were everywhere in all sorts of disguises), and
the SEMINARY PRIESTS. The people had a great horror of the first,
because they were known to have taught that murder was lawful if it
were done with an object of which they approved; and they had a
great horror of the second, because they came to teach the old
religion, and to be the successors of 'Queen Mary's priests,' as
those yet lingering in England were called, when they should die
out. The severest laws were made against them, and were most
unmercifully executed. Those who sheltered them in their houses
often suffered heavily for what was an act of humanity; and the
rack, that cruel torture which tore men's limbs asunder, was
constantly kept going. What these unhappy men confessed, or what
was ever confessed by any one under that agony, must always be
received with great doubt, as it is certain that people have
frequently owned to the most absurd and impossible crimes to escape
such dreadful suffering. But I cannot doubt it to have been proved
by papers, that there were many plots, both among the Jesuits, and
with France, and with Scotland, and with Spain, for the destruction
of Queen Elizabeth, for the placing of Mary on the throne, and for
the revival of the old religion.

If the English people were too ready to believe in plots, there
were, as I have said, good reasons for it. When the massacre of
Saint Bartholomew was yet fresh in their recollection, a great
Protestant Dutch hero, the PRINCE OF ORANGE, was shot by an
assassin, who confessed that he had been kept and trained for the
purpose in a college of Jesuits. The Dutch, in this surprise and
distress, offered to make Elizabeth their sovereign, but she
declined the honour, and sent them a small army instead, under the
command of the Earl of Leicester, who, although a capital Court
favourite, was not much of a general. He did so little in Holland,
that his campaign there would probably have been forgotten, but for
its occasioning the death of one of the best writers, the best
knights, and the best gentlemen, of that or any age. This was SIR
PHILIP SIDNEY, who was wounded by a musket ball in the thigh as he
mounted a fresh horse, after having had his own killed under him.
He had to ride back wounded, a long distance, and was very faint
with fatigue and loss of blood, when some water, for which he had
eagerly asked, was handed to him. But he was so good and gentle
even then, that seeing a poor badly wounded common soldier lying on
the ground, looking at the water with longing eyes, he said, 'Thy
necessity is greater than mine,' and gave it up to him. This
touching action of a noble heart is perhaps as well known as any
incident in history - is as famous far and wide as the blood-
stained Tower of London, with its axe, and block, and murders out
of number. So delightful is an act of true humanity, and so glad
are mankind to remember it.

At home, intelligence of plots began to thicken every day. I
suppose the people never did live under such continual terrors as
those by which they were possessed now, of Catholic risings, and
burnings, and poisonings, and I don't know what. Still, we must
always remember that they lived near and close to awful realities
of that kind, and that with their experience it was not difficult
to believe in any enormity. The government had the same fear, and
did not take the best means of discovering the truth - for, besides
torturing the suspected, it employed paid spies, who will always
lie for their own profit. It even made some of the conspiracies it
brought to light, by sending false letters to disaffected people,
inviting them to join in pretended plots, which they too readily

But, one great real plot was at length discovered, and it ended the
career of Mary, Queen of Scots. A seminary priest named BALLARD,
and a Spanish soldier named SAVAGE, set on and encouraged by
certain French priests, imparted a design to one ANTONY BABINGTON -
a gentleman of fortune in Derbyshire, who had been for some time a
secret agent of Mary's - for murdering the Queen. Babington then
confided the scheme to some other Catholic gentlemen who were his
friends, and they joined in it heartily. They were vain, weak-
headed young men, ridiculously confident, and preposterously proud
of their plan; for they got a gimcrack painting made, of the six
choice spirits who were to murder Elizabeth, with Babington in an
attitude for the centre figure. Two of their number, however, one
of whom was a priest, kept Elizabeth's wisest minister, SIR FRANCIS
WALSINGHAM, acquainted with the whole project from the first. The
conspirators were completely deceived to the final point, when
Babington gave Savage, because he was shabby, a ring from his
finger, and some money from his purse, wherewith to buy himself new
clothes in which to kill the Queen. Walsingham, having then full
evidence against the whole band, and two letters of Mary's besides,
resolved to seize them. Suspecting something wrong, they stole out
of the city, one by one, and hid themselves in St. John's Wood, and
other places which really were hiding places then; but they were
all taken, and all executed. When they were seized, a gentleman
was sent from Court to inform Mary of the fact, and of her being
involved in the discovery. Her friends have complained that she
was kept in very hard and severe custody. It does not appear very
likely, for she was going out a hunting that very morning.

Queen Elizabeth had been warned long ago, by one in France who had
good information of what was secretly doing, that in holding Mary
alive, she held 'the wolf who would devour her.' The Bishop of
London had, more lately, given the Queen's favourite minister the
advice in writing, 'forthwith to cut off the Scottish Queen's
head.' The question now was, what to do with her? The Earl of
Leicester wrote a little note home from Holland, recommending that
she should be quietly poisoned; that noble favourite having
accustomed his mind, it is possible, to remedies of that nature.
His black advice, however, was disregarded, and she was brought to
trial at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire, before a tribunal
of forty, composed of both religions. There, and in the Star
Chamber at Westminster, the trial lasted a fortnight. She defended
herself with great ability, but could only deny the confessions
that had been made by Babington and others; could only call her own
letters, produced against her by her own secretaries, forgeries;
and, in short, could only deny everything. She was found guilty,
and declared to have incurred the penalty of death. The Parliament
met, approved the sentence, and prayed the Queen to have it
executed. The Queen replied that she requested them to consider
whether no means could be found of saving Mary's life without
endangering her own. The Parliament rejoined, No; and the citizens
illuminated their houses and lighted bonfires, in token of their
joy that all these plots and troubles were to be ended by the death
of the Queen of Scots.

She, feeling sure that her time was now come, wrote a letter to the
Queen of England, making three entreaties; first, that she might be
buried in France; secondly, that she might not be executed in
secret, but before her servants and some others; thirdly, that
after her death, her servants should not be molested, but should be
suffered to go home with the legacies she left them. It was an
affecting letter, and Elizabeth shed tears over it, but sent no
answer. Then came a special ambassador from France, and another
from Scotland, to intercede for Mary's life; and then the nation
began to clamour, more and more, for her death.

What the real feelings or intentions of Elizabeth were, can never
be known now; but I strongly suspect her of only wishing one thing
more than Mary's death, and that was to keep free of the blame of
it. On the first of February, one thousand five hundred and
eighty-seven, Lord Burleigh having drawn out the warrant for the
execution, the Queen sent to the secretary DAVISON to bring it to
her, that she might sign it: which she did. Next day, when
Davison told her it was sealed, she angrily asked him why such
haste was necessary? Next day but one, she joked about it, and
swore a little. Again, next day but one, she seemed to complain
that it was not yet done, but still she would not be plain with
those about her. So, on the seventh, the Earls of Kent and
Shrewsbury, with the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, came with the
warrant to Fotheringay, to tell the Queen of Scots to prepare for

When those messengers of ill omen were gone, Mary made a frugal
supper, drank to her servants, read over her will, went to bed,
slept for some hours, and then arose and passed the remainder of
the night saying prayers. In the morning she dressed herself in
her best clothes; and, at eight o'clock when the sheriff came for
her to her chapel, took leave of her servants who were there
assembled praying with her, and went down-stairs, carrying a Bible
in one hand and a crucifix in the other. Two of her women and four
of her men were allowed to be present in the hall; where a low
scaffold, only two feet from the ground, was erected and covered
with black; and where the executioner from the Tower, and his
assistant, stood, dressed in black velvet. The hall was full of
people. While the sentence was being read she sat upon a stool;
and, when it was finished, she again denied her guilt, as she had
done before. The Earl of Kent and the Dean of Peterborough, in
their Protestant zeal, made some very unnecessary speeches to her;
to which she replied that she died in the Catholic religion, and
they need not trouble themselves about that matter. When her head
and neck were uncovered by the executioners, she said that she had
not been used to be undressed by such hands, or before so much
company. Finally, one of her women fastened a cloth over her face,
and she laid her neck upon the block, and repeated more than once
in Latin, 'Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!' Some say
her head was struck off in two blows, some say in three. However
that be, when it was held up, streaming with blood, the real hair
beneath the false hair she had long worn was seen to be as grey as
that of a woman of seventy, though she was at that time only in her
forty-sixth year. All her beauty was gone.

But she was beautiful enough to her little dog, who cowered under
her dress, frightened, when she went upon the scaffold, and who lay
down beside her headless body when all her earthly sorrows were


ON its being formally made known to Elizabeth that the sentence had
been executed on the Queen of Scots, she showed the utmost grief
and rage, drove her favourites from her with violent indignation,
and sent Davison to the Tower; from which place he was only
released in the end by paying an immense fine which completely
ruined him. Elizabeth not only over-acted her part in making these
pretences, but most basely reduced to poverty one of her faithful
servants for no other fault than obeying her commands.

James, King of Scotland, Mary's son, made a show likewise of being
very angry on the occasion; but he was a pensioner of England to
the amount of five thousand pounds a year, and he had known very
little of his mother, and he possibly regarded her as the murderer
of his father, and he soon took it quietly.

Philip, King of Spain, however, threatened to do greater things
than ever had been done yet, to set up the Catholic religion and
punish Protestant England. Elizabeth, hearing that he and the
Prince of Parma were making great preparations for this purpose, in
order to be beforehand with them sent out ADMIRAL DRAKE (a famous
navigator, who had sailed about the world, and had already brought
great plunder from Spain) to the port of Cadiz, where he burnt a
hundred vessels full of stores. This great loss obliged the
Spaniards to put off the invasion for a year; but it was none the
less formidable for that, amounting to one hundred and thirty
ships, nineteen thousand soldiers, eight thousand sailors, two
thousand slaves, and between two and three thousand great guns.
England was not idle in making ready to resist this great force.
All the men between sixteen years old and sixty, were trained and
drilled; the national fleet of ships (in number only thirty-four at
first) was enlarged by public contributions and by private ships,
fitted out by noblemen; the city of London, of its own accord,
furnished double the number of ships and men that it was required
to provide; and, if ever the national spirit was up in England, it
was up all through the country to resist the Spaniards. Some of
the Queen's advisers were for seizing the principal English
Catholics, and putting them to death; but the Queen - who, to her
honour, used to say, that she would never believe any ill of her
subjects, which a parent would not believe of her own children -
rejected the advice, and only confined a few of those who were the
most suspected, in the fens in Lincolnshire. The great body of
Catholics deserved this confidence; for they behaved most loyally,
nobly, and bravely.

So, with all England firing up like one strong, angry man, and with
both sides of the Thames fortified, and with the soldiers under
arms, and with the sailors in their ships, the country waited for
the coming of the proud Spanish fleet, which was called THE
INVINCIBLE ARMADA. The Queen herself, riding in armour on a white
horse, and the Earl of Essex and the Earl of Leicester holding her
bridal rein, made a brave speech to the troops at Tilbury Fort
opposite Gravesend, which was received with such enthusiasm as is
seldom known. Then came the Spanish Armada into the English
Channel, sailing along in the form of a half moon, of such great
size that it was seven miles broad. But the English were quickly
upon it, and woe then to all the Spanish ships that dropped a
little out of the half moon, for the English took them instantly!
And it soon appeared that the great Armada was anything but
invincible, for on a summer night, bold Drake sent eight blazing
fire-ships right into the midst of it. In terrible consternation
the Spaniards tried to get out to sea, and so became dispersed; the
English pursued them at a great advantage; a storm came on, and
drove the Spaniards among rocks and shoals; and the swift end of
the Invincible fleet was, that it lost thirty great ships and ten
thousand men, and, defeated and disgraced, sailed home again.
Being afraid to go by the English Channel, it sailed all round
Scotland and Ireland; some of the ships getting cast away on the
latter coast in bad weather, the Irish, who were a kind of savages,
plundered those vessels and killed their crews. So ended this
great attempt to invade and conquer England. And I think it will
be a long time before any other invincible fleet coming to England
with the same object, will fare much better than the Spanish

Though the Spanish king had had this bitter taste of English
bravery, he was so little the wiser for it, as still to entertain
his old designs, and even to conceive the absurd idea of placing
his daughter on the English throne. But the Earl of Essex, SIR
WALTER RALEIGH, SIR THOMAS HOWARD, and some other distinguished
leaders, put to sea from Plymouth, entered the port of Cadiz once
more, obtained a complete victory over the shipping assembled
there, and got possession of the town. In obedience to the Queen's
express instructions, they behaved with great humanity; and the
principal loss of the Spaniards was a vast sum of money which they
had to pay for ransom. This was one of many gallant achievements
on the sea, effected in this reign. Sir Walter Raleigh himself,
after marrying a maid of honour and giving offence to the Maiden
Queen thereby, had already sailed to South America in search of

The Earl of Leicester was now dead, and so was Sir Thomas
Walsingham, whom Lord Burleigh was soon to follow. The principal
favourite was the EARL OF ESSEX, a spirited and handsome man, a
favourite with the people too as well as with the Queen, and
possessed of many admirable qualities. It was much debated at
Court whether there should be peace with Spain or no, and he was
very urgent for war. He also tried hard to have his own way in the
appointment of a deputy to govern in Ireland. One day, while this
question was in dispute, he hastily took offence, and turned his
back upon the Queen; as a gentle reminder of which impropriety, the
Queen gave him a tremendous box on the ear, and told him to go to
the devil. He went home instead, and did not reappear at Court for
half a year or so, when he and the Queen were reconciled, though
never (as some suppose) thoroughly.

From this time the fate of the Earl of Essex and that of the Queen
seemed to be blended together. The Irish were still perpetually
quarrelling and fighting among themselves, and he went over to
Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, to the great joy of his enemies (Sir
Walter Raleigh among the rest), who were glad to have so dangerous
a rival far off. Not being by any means successful there, and
knowing that his enemies would take advantage of that circumstance
to injure him with the Queen, he came home again, though against
her orders. The Queen being taken by surprise when he appeared
before her, gave him her hand to kiss, and he was overjoyed -
though it was not a very lovely hand by this time - but in the
course of the same day she ordered him to confine himself to his
room, and two or three days afterwards had him taken into custody.
With the same sort of caprice - and as capricious an old woman she
now was, as ever wore a crown or a head either - she sent him broth
from her own table on his falling ill from anxiety, and cried about

He was a man who could find comfort and occupation in his books,
and he did so for a time; not the least happy time, I dare say, of
his life. But it happened unfortunately for him, that he held a
monopoly in sweet wines: which means that nobody could sell them
without purchasing his permission. This right, which was only for
a term, expiring, he applied to have it renewed. The Queen
refused, with the rather strong observation - but she DID make
strong observations - that an unruly beast must be stinted in his
food. Upon this, the angry Earl, who had been already deprived of
many offices, thought himself in danger of complete ruin, and
turned against the Queen, whom he called a vain old woman who had
grown as crooked in her mind as she had in her figure. These
uncomplimentary expressions the ladies of the Court immediately
snapped up and carried to the Queen, whom they did not put in a
better tempter, you may believe. The same Court ladies, when they
had beautiful dark hair of their own, used to wear false red hair,
to be like the Queen. So they were not very high-spirited ladies,
however high in rank.

The worst object of the Earl of Essex, and some friends of his who
used to meet at LORD SOUTHAMPTON'S house, was to obtain possession
of the Queen, and oblige her by force to dismiss her ministers and
change her favourites. On Saturday the seventh of February, one
thousand six hundred and one, the council suspecting this, summoned
the Earl to come before them. He, pretending to be ill, declined;
it was then settled among his friends, that as the next day would
be Sunday, when many of the citizens usually assembled at the Cross
by St. Paul's Cathedral, he should make one bold effort to induce
them to rise and follow him to the Palace.

So, on the Sunday morning, he and a small body of adherents started
out of his house - Essex House by the Strand, with steps to the
river - having first shut up in it, as prisoners, some members of
the council who came to examine him - and hurried into the City
with the Earl at their head crying out 'For the Queen! For the
Queen! A plot is laid for my life!' No one heeded them, however,
and when they came to St. Paul's there were no citizens there. In
the meantime the prisoners at Essex House had been released by one
of the Earl's own friends; he had been promptly proclaimed a
traitor in the City itself; and the streets were barricaded with
carts and guarded by soldiers. The Earl got back to his house by
water, with difficulty, and after an attempt to defend his house
against the troops and cannon by which it was soon surrounded, gave
himself up that night. He was brought to trial on the nineteenth,
and found guilty; on the twenty-fifth, he was executed on Tower
Hill, where he died, at thirty-four years old, both courageously
and penitently. His step-father suffered with him. His enemy, Sir
Walter Raleigh, stood near the scaffold all the time - but not so
near it as we shall see him stand, before we finish his history.

In this case, as in the cases of the Duke of Norfolk and Mary Queen
of Scots, the Queen had commanded, and countermanded, and again
commanded, the execution. It is probable that the death of her
young and gallant favourite in the prime of his good qualities, was
never off her mind afterwards, but she held out, the same vain,
obstinate and capricious woman, for another year. Then she danced
before her Court on a state occasion - and cut, I should think, a
mighty ridiculous figure, doing so in an immense ruff, stomacher
and wig, at seventy years old. For another year still, she held
out, but, without any more dancing, and as a moody, sorrowful,
broken creature. At last, on the tenth of March, one thousand six
hundred and three, having been ill of a very bad cold, and made
worse by the death of the Countess of Nottingham who was her
intimate friend, she fell into a stupor and was supposed to be
dead. She recovered her consciousness, however, and then nothing
would induce her to go to bed; for she said that she knew that if
she did, she should never get up again. There she lay for ten
days, on cushions on the floor, without any food, until the Lord
Admiral got her into bed at last, partly by persuasions and partly
by main force. When they asked her who should succeed her, she
replied that her seat had been the seat of Kings, and that she
would have for her successor, 'No rascal's son, but a King's.'
Upon this, the lords present stared at one another, and took the
liberty of asking whom she meant; to which she replied, 'Whom
should I mean, but our cousin of Scotland!' This was on the
twenty-third of March. They asked her once again that day, after
she was speechless, whether she was still in the same mind? She
struggled up in bed, and joined her hands over her head in the form
of a crown, as the only reply she could make. At three o'clock
next morning, she very quietly died, in the forty-fifth year of her

That reign had been a glorious one, and is made for ever memorable
by the distinguished men who flourished in it. Apart from the
great voyagers, statesmen, and scholars, whom it produced, the
names of BACON, SPENSER, and SHAKESPEARE, will always be remembered
with pride and veneration by the civilised world, and will always
impart (though with no great reason, perhaps) some portion of their
lustre to the name of Elizabeth herself. It was a great reign for
discovery, for commerce, and for English enterprise and spirit in
general. It was a great reign for the Protestant religion and for
the Reformation which made England free. The Queen was very
popular, and in her progresses, or journeys about her dominions,
was everywhere received with the liveliest joy. I think the truth
is, that she was not half so good as she has been made out, and not
half so bad as she has been made out. She had her fine qualities,
but she was coarse, capricious, and treacherous, and had all the
faults of an excessively vain young woman long after she was an old
one. On the whole, she had a great deal too much of her father in
her, to please me.

Many improvements and luxuries were introduced in the course of
these five-and-forty years in the general manner of living; but
cock-fighting, bull-baiting, and bear-baiting, were still the
national amusements; and a coach was so rarely seen, and was such
an ugly and cumbersome affair when it was seen, that even the Queen
herself, on many high occasions, rode on horseback on a pillion
behind the Lord Chancellor.


'OUR cousin of Scotland' was ugly, awkward, and shuffling both in
mind and person. His tongue was much too large for his mouth, his
legs were much too weak for his body, and his dull goggle-eyes
stared and rolled like an idiot's. He was cunning, covetous,
wasteful, idle, drunken, greedy, dirty, cowardly, a great swearer,
and the most conceited man on earth. His figure - what is commonly
called rickety from his birth - presented a most ridiculous
appearance, dressed in thick padded clothes, as a safeguard against
being stabbed (of which he lived in continual fear), of a grass-
green colour from head to foot, with a hunting-horn dangling at his
side instead of a sword, and his hat and feather sticking over one
eye, or hanging on the back of his head, as he happened to toss it
on. He used to loll on the necks of his favourite courtiers, and
slobber their faces, and kiss and pinch their cheeks; and the
greatest favourite he ever had, used to sign himself in his letters
to his royal master, His Majesty's 'dog and slave,' and used to
address his majesty as 'his Sowship.' His majesty was the worst
rider ever seen, and thought himself the best. He was one of the
most impertinent talkers (in the broadest Scotch) ever heard, and
boasted of being unanswerable in all manner of argument. He wrote
some of the most wearisome treatises ever read - among others, a
book upon witchcraft, in which he was a devout believer - and
thought himself a prodigy of authorship. He thought, and wrote,
and said, that a king had a right to make and unmake what laws he
pleased, and ought to be accountable to nobody on earth. This is
the plain, true character of the personage whom the greatest men
about the court praised and flattered to that degree, that I doubt
if there be anything much more shameful in the annals of human

He came to the English throne with great ease. The miseries of a
disputed succession had been felt so long, and so dreadfully, that
he was proclaimed within a few hours of Elizabeth's death, and was
accepted by the nation, even without being asked to give any pledge
that he would govern well, or that he would redress crying
grievances. He took a month to come from Edinburgh to London; and,
by way of exercising his new power, hanged a pickpocket on the
journey without any trial, and knighted everybody he could lay hold
of. He made two hundred knights before he got to his palace in
London, and seven hundred before he had been in it three months.
He also shovelled sixty-two new peers into the House of Lords - and
there was a pretty large sprinkling of Scotchmen among them, you
may believe.

His Sowship's prime Minister, CECIL (for I cannot do better than
call his majesty what his favourite called him), was the enemy of
Sir Walter Raleigh, and also of Sir Walter's political friend, LORD
COBHAM; and his Sowship's first trouble was a plot originated by
these two, and entered into by some others, with the old object of
seizing the King and keeping him in imprisonment until he should
change his ministers. There were Catholic priests in the plot, and
there were Puritan noblemen too; for, although the Catholics and
Puritans were strongly opposed to each other, they united at this
time against his Sowship, because they knew that he had a design
against both, after pretending to be friendly to each; this design
being to have only one high and convenient form of the Protestant
religion, which everybody should be bound to belong to, whether
they liked it or not. This plot was mixed up with another, which
may or may not have had some reference to placing on the throne, at
some time, the LADY ARABELLA STUART; whose misfortune it was, to be
the daughter of the younger brother of his Sowship's father, but
who was quite innocent of any part in the scheme. Sir Walter
Raleigh was accused on the confession of Lord Cobham - a miserable
creature, who said one thing at one time, and another thing at
another time, and could be relied upon in nothing. The trial of
Sir Walter Raleigh lasted from eight in the morning until nearly
midnight; he defended himself with such eloquence, genius, and
spirit against all accusations, and against the insults of COKE,
the Attorney-General - who, according to the custom of the time,
foully abused him - that those who went there detesting the
prisoner, came away admiring him, and declaring that anything so
wonderful and so captivating was never heard. He was found guilty,
nevertheless, and sentenced to death. Execution was deferred, and
he was taken to the Tower. The two Catholic priests, less
fortunate, were executed with the usual atrocity; and Lord Cobham
and two others were pardoned on the scaffold. His Sowship thought
it wonderfully knowing in him to surprise the people by pardoning
these three at the very block; but, blundering, and bungling, as
usual, he had very nearly overreached himself. For, the messenger
on horseback who brought the pardon, came so late, that he was
pushed to the outside of the crowd, and was obliged to shout and
roar out what he came for. The miserable Cobham did not gain much
by being spared that day. He lived, both as a prisoner and a
beggar, utterly despised, and miserably poor, for thirteen years,
and then died in an old outhouse belonging to one of his former

This plot got rid of, and Sir Walter Raleigh safely shut up in the
Tower, his Sowship held a great dispute with the Puritans on their
presenting a petition to him, and had it all his own way - not so
very wonderful, as he would talk continually, and would not hear
anybody else - and filled the Bishops with admiration. It was
comfortably settled that there was to be only one form of religion,
and that all men were to think exactly alike. But, although this
was arranged two centuries and a half ago, and although the
arrangement was supported by much fining and imprisonment, I do not
find that it is quite successful, even yet.

His Sowship, having that uncommonly high opinion of himself as a
king, had a very low opinion of Parliament as a power that


Back to Full Books