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Title: History of the English People - Volume 4 (of 8)
Author: Green, John Richard, 1837-1883
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the English People - Volume 4 (of 8)" ***

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_First Edition, Demy 8vo, November 1877,_
_Reprinted December 1877, 1881, 1885, 1890_
_Eversley Edition 1896_




THE PROTESTANT REVOLUTION. 1540-1553             7


THE CATHOLIC REACTION. 1553-1558                72


THE ENGLAND OF ELIZABETH. 1558-1561            146


ENGLAND AND MARY STUART. 1561-1567             195


ENGLAND AND THE PAPACY. 1567-1582.             247


ENGLAND AND SPAIN. 1582-1593                   323






For the close of Henry the Eighth's reign as for the reigns of Edward
and Mary we possess copious materials. Strype covers this period in his
"Memorials" and in his lives of Cranmer, Cheke, and Smith; Hayward's
"Life of Edward the Sixth" may be supplemented by the young king's own
Journal; "Machyn's Diary" gives us the aspect of affairs as they
presented themselves to a common Englishman; while Holinshed is near
enough to serve as a contemporary authority. The troubled period of the
Protectorate is illustrated by Mr. Tytler in the correspondence which he
has published in his "England under Edward the Sixth and Mary," while
much light is thrown on its close by Mr. Nicholls in the "Chronicle of
Queen Jane," published by the Camden Society. In spite of countless
errors, of Puritan prejudices, and some deliberate suppressions of the
truth, its mass of facts and wonderful charm of style will always give
importance to the "Acts and Monuments" or "Book of Martyrs" of John
Foxe, as a record of the Marian persecution. Among outer observers, the
Venetian Soranzo throws some light on the Protectorate; and the
despatches of Giovanni Michiel, published by Mr. Friedmann, give us a
new insight into the events of Mary's reign.

For the succeeding reign we have a valuable contemporary account in
Camden's "Life of Elizabeth." The "Annals" of Sir John Hayward refer to
the first four years of the Queen's rule. Its political and diplomatic
side is only now being fully unveiled in the Calendar of State Papers
for this period, which are being issued by the Master of the Rolls, and
fresh light has yet to be looked for from the Cecil Papers and the
documents at Simancas, some of which are embodied in the history of this
reign by Mr. Froude. Among the published materials for this time we have
the Burleigh Papers, the Sidney Papers, the Sadler State Papers, much
correspondence in the Hardwicke State Papers, the letters published by
Mr. Wright in his "Elizabeth and her Times," the collections of Murdin,
the Egerton Papers, the "Letters of Elizabeth and James the Sixth"
published by Mr. Bruce. Harrington's "Nugæ Antiquæ" contain some details
of value. Among foreign materials as yet published the "Papiers d'Etat"
of Cardinal Granvelle and the series of French despatches published by
M. Teulet are among the more important. Mr. Motley in his "Rise of the
Dutch Republic" and "History of the United Netherlands" has used the
State Papers of the countries concerned in this struggle to pour a flood
of new light on the diplomacy and outer policy of Burleigh and his
mistress. His wide and independent research among the same class of
documents gives almost an original value to Ranke's treatment of this
period in his English History. The earlier religious changes in Scotland
have been painted with wonderful energy, and on the whole with
truthfulness, by Knox himself in his "History of the Reformation." Among
the contemporary materials for the history of Mary Stuart we have the
well-known works of Buchanan and Leslie, Labanoff's "Lettres et Mémoires
de Marie Stuart," the correspondence appended to Mignet's biography,
Stevenson's "Illustrations of the Life of Queen Mary," Melville's
Memoirs, and the collections of Keith and Anderson.

For the religious history of Elizabeth's reign Strype, as usual, gives
us copious details in his "Annals," his lives of Parker, Grindal, and
Whitgift. Some light is thrown on the Queen's earlier steps by the
Zürich Letters published by the Parker Society. The strife with the
later Puritans can only be fairly judged after reading the Martin
Marprelate Tracts, which have been reprinted by Mr. Maskell, who has
given a short abstract of the more important in his "History of the
Martin Marprelate Controversy." Her policy towards the Catholics is set
out in Burleigh's tract "The Execution of Justice in England, not for
Religion, but for Treason," which was answered by Allen in his "Defense
of the English Catholics." On the actual working of the penal laws much
new information has been given us in the series of contemporary
narratives published by Father Morris under the title of "The Troubles
of our Catholic Forefathers"; the general history of the Catholics may
be found in the work of Dodd; and the sufferings of the Jesuits in
More's "Historia Provinciæ Anglicanæ Societatis Jesu." To these may be
added Mr. Simpson's biography of Campion. For our constitutional history
during Elizabeth's reign we have D'Ewes's Journals and Townshend's
"Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings from 1580 to 1601," the first
detailed account we possess of the proceedings of the House of Commons.
Macpherson in his Annals of Commerce gives details of the wonderful
expansion of English trade during this period, and Hakluyt's collection
of Voyages tells of its wonderful activity. Amidst a crowd of
biographers, whose number marks the new importance of individual life
and action at the time, we may note as embodying information elsewhere
inaccessible the lives of Hatton and Davison by Sir Harris Nicolas, the
three accounts of Raleigh by Oldys, Tytler, and Mr. Edwards, the Lives
of the two Devereux, Earls of Essex, Mr. Spedding's "Life of Bacon," and
Barrow's "Life of Sir Francis Drake."




[Sidenote: Cromwell and the Monarchy.]

At the death of Cromwell the success of his policy was complete. The
Monarchy had reached the height of its power. The old liberties of
England lay prostrate at the feet of the king. The Lords were cowed and
spiritless; the House of Commons was filled with the creatures of the
Court and degraded into an engine of tyranny. Royal proclamations were
taking the place of parliamentary legislation; royal benevolences were
encroaching more and more on the right of parliamentary taxation.
Justice was prostituted in the ordinary courts to the royal will, while
the boundless and arbitrary powers of the royal Council were gradually
superseding the slower processes of the Common Law. The religious
changes had thrown an almost sacred character over the "majesty" of the
king. Henry was the Head of the Church. From the primate to the meanest
deacon every minister of it derived from him his sole right to exercise
spiritual powers. The voice of its preachers was the echo of his will.
He alone could define orthodoxy or declare heresy. The forms of its
worship and belief were changed and rechanged at the royal caprice. Half
of its wealth went to swell the royal treasury, and the other half lay
at the king's mercy. It was this unprecedented concentration of all
power in the hands of a single man that overawed the imagination of
Henry's subjects. He was regarded as something high above the laws which
govern common men. The voices of statesmen and priests extolled his
wisdom and authority as more than human. The Parliament itself rose and
bowed to the vacant throne when his name was mentioned. An absolute
devotion to his person replaced the old loyalty to the law. When the
Primate of the English Church described the chief merit of Cromwell, it
was by asserting that he loved the king "no less than he loved God."

[Sidenote: Cromwell and the Parliament.]

It was indeed Cromwell who more than any man had reared this fabric of
king-worship. But he had hardly reared it when it began to give way. The
very success of his measures indeed brought about the ruin of his
policy. One of the most striking features of Cromwell's system had been
his developement of parliamentary action. The great assembly which the
Monarchy had dreaded and silenced from the days of Edward the Fourth to
the days of Wolsey had been called to the front again at the Cardinal's
fall. Proud of his popularity, and conscious of his people's sympathy
with him in his protest against a foreign jurisdiction, Henry set aside
the policy of the Crown to deal a heavier blow at the Papacy. Both the
parties represented in the ministry that followed Wolsey welcomed the
change, for the nobles represented by Norfolk and the men of the New
Learning represented by More regarded Parliament with the same favour.
More indeed in significant though almost exaggerated phrases set its
omnipotence face to face with the growing despotism of the Crown. The
policy of Cromwell fell in with this revival of the two Houses. The
daring of his temper led him not to dread and suppress national
institutions, but to seize them and master them, and to turn them into
means of enhancing the royal power. As he saw in the Church a means of
raising the king into the spiritual ruler of the faith and consciences
of his people, so he saw in the Parliament a means of shrouding the
boldest aggressions of the monarchy under the veil of popular assent,
and of giving to the most ruthless acts of despotism the stamp and
semblance of law. He saw nothing to fear in a House of Lords whose
nobles cowered helpless before the might of the Crown, and whose
spiritual members his policy was degrading into mere tools of the royal
will. Nor could he find anything to dread in a House of Commons which
was crowded with members directly or indirectly nominated by the royal
Council. With a Parliament such as this Cromwell might well trust to
make the nation itself through its very representatives an accomplice in
the work of absolutism.

[Sidenote: Growth of Parliamentary power.]

His trust seemed more than justified by the conduct of the Houses. It
was by parliamentary statutes that the Church was prostrated at the feet
of the Monarchy. It was by bills of attainder that great nobles were
brought to the block. It was under constitutional forms that freedom was
gagged with new treasons and oaths and questionings. One of the first
bills of Cromwell's Parliaments freed Henry from the need of paying his
debts, one of the last gave his proclamations the force of laws. In the
action of the two Houses the Crown seemed to have discovered a means of
carrying its power into regions from which a bare despotism has often
had to shrink. Henry might have dared single-handed to break with Rome
or to send Sir Thomas More to the block. But without Parliament to back
him he could hardly have ventured on such an enormous confiscation of
property as was involved in the suppression of the monasteries or on
such changes in the national religion as were brought about by the Ten
Articles and the Six. It was this discovery of the use to which the
Houses could be turned that accounts for the immense developement of
their powers, the immense widening of their range of action, which they
owe to Cromwell. Now that the great engine was at his own command, he
used it as it had never been used before. Instead of rare and short
assemblies of Parliament, England saw it gathered year after year. All
the jealousy with which the Crown had watched its older encroachments on
the prerogative was set aside. Matters which had even in the days of
their greatest influence been scrupulously withheld from the cognizance
of the Houses were now absolutely forced on their attention. It was by
Parliament that England was torn from the great body of Western
Christendom. It was by parliamentary enactment that the English Church
was reft of its older liberties and made absolutely subservient to the
Crown. It was a parliamentary statute that defined the very faith and
religion of the land. The vastest confiscation of landed property which
England had ever witnessed was wrought by Parliament. It regulated the
succession to the throne. It decided on the validity of the king's
marriages and the legitimacy of the king's children. Former sovereigns
had struggled against the claim of the Houses to meddle with the royal
ministers or with members of the royal household. Now Parliament was
called on by the king himself to attaint his ministers and his Queens.

[Sidenote: The New Nobles.]

The fearlessness and completeness of such a policy as this brings home
to us more than any other of his plans the genius of Cromwell. But its
success depended wholly on the absolute servility of Parliament to the
will of the Crown, and Cromwell's own action made the continuance of
such a servility impossible. The part which the Houses were to play in
after years shows the importance of clinging to the forms of
constitutional freedom, even when their life is all but lost. In the
inevitable reaction against tyranny they furnish centres for the
reviving energies of the people, while the returning tide of liberty is
enabled through their preservation to flow quietly and naturally along
its traditional channels. And even before Cromwell passed to his doom
the tide of liberty was returning. On one occasion during his rule a
"great debate" on the suppression of the lesser monasteries showed that
elements of resistance still survived; and these elements developed
rapidly as the power of the Crown declined under the minority of Edward
and the unpopularity of Mary. To this revival of a spirit of
independence the spoliation of the Church largely contributed. Partly
from necessity, partly from a desire to build up a faction interested in
the maintenance of their ecclesiastical policy, Cromwell and the king
squandered the vast mass of wealth which flowed into the Treasury from
the dissolution of the monasteries with reckless prodigality. Three
hundred and seventy-six smaller houses had been suppressed in 1536; six
hundred and forty-five greater houses were surrendered or seized in
1539. Some of the spoil was devoted to the erection of six new
bishopricks; a larger part went to the fortification of the coast. But
the bulk of these possessions was granted lavishly away to the nobles
and courtiers about the king, and to a host of adventurers who "had
become gospellers for the abbey lands." Something like a fifth of the
actual land in the kingdom was in this way transferred from the holding
of the Church to that of nobles and gentry. Not only were the older
houses enriched, but a new aristocracy was erected from among the
dependants of the Court. The Russells and the Cavendishes are familiar
instances of families which rose from obscurity through the enormous
grants of Church-land made to Henry's courtiers. The old baronage was
thus hardly crushed before a new aristocracy took its place. "Those
families within or without the bounds of the peerage," observes Mr.
Hallam, "who are now deemed the most considerable, will be found, with
no great number of exceptions, to have first become conspicuous under
the Tudor line of kings and, if we could trace the title of their
estates, to have acquired no small portion of them mediately or
immediately from monastic or other ecclesiastical foundations." The
leading part which these freshly-created peers took in the events which
followed Henry's death gave strength and vigour to the whole order. But
the smaller gentry shared in the general enrichment of the landed
proprietors, and the new energy of the Lords was soon followed by a
display of political independence among the Commons themselves.

[Sidenote: Results of the Religious Changes.]

While the prodigality of Cromwell's system thus brought into being a new
check upon the Crown by enriching the nobles and the lesser gentry, the
religious changes it brought about gave fire and vigour to the elements
of opposition which were slowly gathering. What did most to ruin the
king-worship that Cromwell set up was Cromwell's ecclesiastical policy.
In reducing the Church to mere slavery beneath the royal power he
believed himself to be trampling down the last constitutional force
which could hold the Monarchy in check. What he really did was to give
life and energy to new forces which were bound from their very nature to
battle with the Monarchy for even more than the old English freedom.
When Cromwell seized on the Church he held himself to be seizing for the
Crown the mastery which the Church had wielded till now over the
consciences and reverence of men. But the very humiliation of the great
religious body broke the spell beneath which Englishmen had bowed. In
form nothing had been changed. The outer constitution of the Church
remained utterly unaltered. The English bishop, freed from the papal
control, freed from the check of monastic independence, seemed greater
and more imposing than ever. The priest still clung to rectory and
church. If images were taken out of churches, if here and there a
rood-loft was pulled down or a saint's shrine demolished, no change was
made in form of ritual or mode of worship. The mass was untouched. Every
hymn, every prayer, was still in Latin; confession, penance, fastings
and feastings, extreme unction, went on as before. There was little to
show that any change had taken place; and yet every ploughman felt that
all was changed. The bishop, gorgeous as he might be in mitre and cope,
was a mere tool of the king. The priest was trembling before heretics he
used to burn. Farmer or shopkeeper might enter their church any Sunday
morning to find mass or service utterly transformed. The spell of
tradition, of unbroken continuance, was over; and with it the power
which the Church had wielded over the souls of men was in great part
done away.

It was not that the new Protestantism was as yet formidable, for,
violent and daring as they were, the adherents of Luther were few in
number, and drawn mostly from the poorer classes among whom Wyclifite
heresy had lingered or from the class of scholars whose theological
studies drew their sympathy to the movement over sea. It was that the
lump was now ready to be leavened by this petty leaven, that men's hold
on the firm ground of custom was broken and their minds set drifting and
questioning, that little as was the actual religious change, the thought
of religious change had become familiar to the people as a whole. And
with religious change was certain to come religious revolt. The human
conscience was hardly likely to move everywhere in strict time to the
slow advance of Henry's reforms. Men who had been roused from implicit
obedience to the Papacy as a revelation of the Divine will by hearing
the Pope denounced in royal proclamations as a usurper and an impostor
were hardly inclined to take up submissively the new official doctrine
which substituted implicit belief in the King for implicit belief in the
"Bishop of Rome." But bound as Church and King now were together, it was
impossible to deny a tenet of the one without entering on a course of
opposition to the other. Cromwell had raised against the Monarchy the
most fatal of all enemies, the force of the individual conscience, the
enthusiasm of religious belief, the fire of religious fanaticism. Slowly
as the area of the new Protestantism extended, every man that it gained
was a possible opponent of the Crown. And should the time come, as the
time was soon to come, when the Crown moved to the side of
Protestantism, then in turn every soul that the older faith retained
was pledged to a lifelong combat with the Monarchy.

[Sidenote: The Imperial Alliance.]

How irresistible was the national drift was seen on Cromwell's fall. Its
first result indeed promised to be a reversal of all that Cromwell had
done. Norfolk returned to power, and his influence over Henry seemed
secured by the king's repudiation of Anne of Cleves and his marriage in
the summer of 1540 to a niece of the Duke, Catharine Howard. But
Norfolk's temper had now become wholly hostile to the movement about
him. "I never read the Scripture nor never will!" the Duke replied hotly
to a Protestant arguer. "It was merry in England afore the new learning
came up; yea, I would all things were as hath been in times past." In
his preference of an Imperial alliance to an alliance with Francis and
the Lutherans Henry went warmly with his minister. Parted as he had been
from Charles by the question of the divorce, the King's sympathies had
remained true to the Emperor; and at this moment he was embittered
against France by the difficulties it threw in the way of his projects
for gaining a hold upon Scotland. Above all the king still clung to the
hope of a purification of the Church by a Council, as well as of a
reconciliation of England with the general body of this purified
Christendom, and it was only by the Emperor that such a Council could be
convened or such a reconciliation brought about. An alliance with him
was far from indicating any retreat from Henry's position of
independence or any submission to the Papacy. To the men of his own day
Charles seemed no Catholic bigot. On the contrary the stricter
representatives of Catholicism such as Paul the Fourth denounced him as
a patron of heretics, and attributed the upgrowth of Lutheranism to his
steady protection and encouragement. Nor was the charge without seeming
justification. The old jealousy between Pope and Emperor, the more
recent hostility between them as rival Italian powers, had from the
beginning proved Luther's security. At the first appearance of the
reformer Maximilian had recommended the Elector of Saxony to suffer no
harm to be done to him; "there might come a time," said the old Emperor,
"when he would be needed." Charles had looked on the matter mainly in
the same political way. In his earliest years he bought Leo's aid in his
recovery of Milan from the French king by issuing the ban of the Empire
against Luther in the Diet of Worms; but every Italian held that in
suffering the reformer to withdraw unharmed Charles had shown not so
much regard to his own safe-conduct as a purpose still "to keep the Pope
in check with that rein." And as Charles dealt with Luther so he dealt
with Lutheranism. The new faith profited by the Emperor's struggle with
Clement the Seventh for the lordship over Italy. It was in the midst of
this struggle that his brother and representative, Ferdinand, signed in
the Diet of Spires an Imperial decree by which the German States were
left free to arrange their religious affairs "as each should best answer
to God and the Emperor." The decree gave a legal existence to the
Protestant body in the Empire which it never afterwards lost.

[Sidenote: Charles and the Council.]

Such a step might well encourage the belief that Charles was himself
inclining to Lutheranism; and the belief gathered strength as he sent
Lutheran armies over the Alps to sack Rome and to hold the Pope a
prisoner. The belief was a false one, for Charles remained utterly
untouched by the religious movement about him; but even when his strife
with the Papacy was to a great extent lulled by Clement's submission, he
still turned a deaf ear to the Papal appeals for dealing with
Lutheranism by fire and sword. His political interests and the
conception which he held of his duty as Emperor alike swayed him to
milder counsels. He purposed indeed to restore religious unity. His
political aim was to bring Germany to his feet as he had brought Italy;
and he saw that the religious schism was the great obstacle in the way
of his realizing this design. As the temporal head of the Catholic world
he was still more strongly bent to heal the breaches of Catholicism. But
he had no wish to insist on an unconditional submission to the Papacy.
He believed that there were evils to be cured on the one side as on the
other; and Charles saw the high position which awaited him if as Emperor
he could bring about a reformation of the Church and a reunion of
Christendom. Violent as Luther's words had been, the Lutheran princes
and the bulk of Lutheran theologians had not yet come to look on
Catholicism as an irreconcileable foe. Even on the papal side there was
a learned and active party, a party headed by Contarini and Pole, whose
theological sympathies went in many points with the Lutherans, and who
looked to the winning back of the Lutherans as the needful prelude to
any reform in the doctrine and practice of the Church; while Melancthon
was as hopeful as Contarini that such a reform might be wrought and the
Church again become universal. In his proposal of a Council to carry on
the double work of purification and reunion therefore Charles stood out
as the representative of the larger part both of the Catholic and the
Protestant world. Against such a proposal however Rome struggled hard.
All her tradition was against Councils, where the assembled bishops had
in earlier days asserted their superiority to the Pope, and where the
Emperor who convened the assembly and carried out its decrees rose into
dangerous rivalry with the Papacy. Crushed as he was, Clement the
Seventh throughout his lifetime held the proposal of a Council
stubbornly at bay. But under his successor, Paul the Third, the
influence of Contarini and the moderate Catholics secured a more
favourable reception of plans of reconciliation. In April, 1541,
conferences for this purpose were in fact opened at Augsburg in which
Contarini, as Papal legate, accepted a definition of the moot question
of justifications by faith which satisfied Bucer and Melancthon. On the
other side, the Landgrave of Hesse and the Elector of Brandenburg
publicly declared that they believed it possible to come to terms on the
yet more vexed questions of the Mass and the Papal supremacy.

[Sidenote: Charles and Henry.]

Never had the reunion of the world seemed so near; and the hopes that
were stirring found an echo in England as well as in Germany. We can
hardly doubt indeed that it was the revival of these hopes which had
brought about the fall of Cromwell and the recall of Norfolk to power.
Norfolk, like his master, looked to a purification of the Church by a
Council as the prelude to a reconciliation of England with the general
body of Catholicism; and both saw that it was by the influence of the
Emperor alone that such a Council could be brought about. Charles on the
other hand was ready to welcome Henry's advances. The quarrel over
Catharine had ended with her death; and the wrong done her had been in
part atoned for by the fall of Anne Boleyn. The aid of Henry too was
needed to hold in check the opposition of France. The chief means which
France still possessed of holding the Emperor at bay lay in the disunion
of the Empire, and it was resolute to preserve this weapon against him
at whatever cost to Christendom. While Francis remonstrated at Rome
against the concessions made to the Lutherans by the Legates, he urged
the Lutheran princes to make no terms with the Papacy. To the
Protestants he held out hopes of his own conversion, while he promised
Pope Paul that he would defend him with his life against Emperor and
heretics. His intrigues were aided by the suspicions of both the
religious parties. Luther refused to believe in the sincerity of the
concessions made by the Legates; Paul the Third held aloof from them in
sullen silence. Meanwhile Francis was preparing to raise more material
obstacles to the Emperor's designs. Charles had bought his last
reconciliation with the king by a promise of restoring the Milanese, but
he had no serious purpose of ever fulfilling his pledge, and his
retention of the Duchy gave the French king a fair pretext for
threatening a renewal of the war.

[Sidenote: James the Fifth.]

England, as Francis hoped, he could hold in check through his alliance
with the Scots. After the final expulsion of Albany in 1524 Scottish
history became little more than a strife between Margaret Tudor and her
husband, the Earl of Angus, for power; but the growth of James the
Fifth to manhood at last secured rest for the land. James had all the
varied ability of his race, and he carried out with vigour its
traditional policy. The Highland chieftains, the great lords of the
Lowlands, were brought more under the royal sway; the Church was
strengthened to serve as a check on the feudal baronage; the alliance
with France was strictly preserved, as the one security against English
aggression. Nephew as he was indeed of the English king, James from the
outset of his reign took up an attitude hostile to England. He was
jealous of the influence which the two Henries had established in his
realm by the marriage of Margaret and by the building up of an English
party under the Douglases; the great Churchmen who formed his most
trusted advisers dreaded the influence of the religious changes across
the border; while the people clung to their old hatred of England and
their old dependence on France. It was only by two inroads of the border
lords that Henry checked the hostile intrigues of James in 1532; his
efforts to influence his nephew by an interview and alliance were met by
the king's marriage with two French wives in succession, Magdalen of
Valois, a daughter of Francis, and Mary, a daughter of the Duke of
Guise. In 1539 when the projected coalition between France and the
Empire threatened England, it had been needful to send Norfolk with an
army to the Scotch frontier, and now that France was again hostile
Norfolk had to move anew to the border in the autumn of 1541.

[Sidenote: Defeat at the Solway.]

While the Duke was fruitlessly endeavouring to bring James to fresh
friendship a sudden blow at home weakened his power. At the close of the
year Catharine Howard was arrested on a charge of adultery; a Parliament
which assembled in January 1542 passed a Bill of Attainder; and in
February the Queen was sent to the block. She was replaced by the widow
of Lord Latimer, Catharine Parr; and the influence of Norfolk in the
king's counsels gradually gave way to that of Bishop Gardiner of
Winchester. But Henry clung to the policy which the Duke favoured. At
the end of 1541 two great calamities, the loss of Hungary after a
victory of the Turks and a crushing defeat at Algiers, so weakened
Charles that in the summer of the following year Francis ventured to
attack him. The attack served only to draw closer the negotiations
between England and the Emperor; and Francis was forced, as he had
threatened, to give Henry work to occupy him at home. The busiest
counsellor of the Scotch king, Cardinal Beaton, crossed the seas to
negotiate a joint attack, and the attitude of Scotland became so
menacing that in the autumn of 1542 Norfolk was again sent to the border
with twenty thousand men. But terrible as were his ravages, he could not
bring the Scotch army to an engagement, and want of supplies soon forced
him to fall back over the border. It was in vain that James urged his
nobles to follow him in a counter-invasion. They were ready to defend
their country; but the memory of Flodden was still fresh, and success in
England would only give dangerous strength to a king in whom they saw an
enemy. But James was as stubborn in his purpose as the lords. Anxious
only to free himself from their presence, he waited till the two armies
had alike withdrawn, and then suddenly summoned his subjects to meet him
in arms on the western border. A disorderly host gathered at Lochmaben
and passed into Cumberland; but the English borderers followed on them
fast, and were preparing to attack when at nightfall on the twenty-fifth
of November a panic seized the whole Scotch force. Lost in the darkness
and cut off from retreat by the Solway Firth, thousands of men with all
the baggage and guns fell into the hands of the pursuers. The news of
this rout fell on the young king like a sentence of death. For a while
he wandered desperately from palace to palace till at the opening of
December the tidings met him at Falkland that his queen, Mary of Guise,
had given birth to a child. His two boys had both died in youth, and he
was longing passionately for an heir to the crown which was slipping
from his grasp. But the child was a daughter, the Mary Stuart of later
history. "The deil go with it," muttered the dying king, as his mind
fell back to the close of the line of Bruce and the marriage with
Robert's daughter which brought the Stuarts to the Scottish throne, "The
deil go with it! It will end as it began. It came with a lass, and it
will go with a lass." A few days later he died.

[Sidenote: The Marriage Treaty.]

The death of James did more than remove a formidable foe. It opened up
for the first time a prospect of that union of the two kingdoms which
was at last to close their long hostility. Scotland, torn by factions
and with a babe for queen, seemed to lie at Henry's feet: and the king
seized the opportunity of completing his father's work by a union of the
realms. At the opening of 1543 he proposed to the Scotch regent, the
Earl of Arran, the marriage of the infant Mary Stuart with his son
Edward. To ensure this bridal he demanded that Mary should at once be
sent to England, the four great fortresses of Scotland be placed in
English hands, and a voice given to Henry himself in the administration
of the Scotch Council of Regency. Arran and the Queen-mother, rivals as
they were, vied with each other in apparent goodwill to the marriage;
but there was a steady refusal to break the league with France, and the
"English lords," as the Douglas faction were called, owned themselves
helpless in the face of the national jealousy of English ambition. The
temper of the nation itself was seen in the answer made by the Scotch
Parliament which gathered in the spring. If they consented to the young
Queen's betrothal, they not only rejected the demands which accompanied
the proposal, but insisted that in case of such a union Scotland should
have a perpetual regent of its own, and that this office should be
hereditary in the House of Arran. Warned by his very partizans that the
delivery of Mary was impossible, that if such a demand were pressed
"there was not so little a boy but he would hurl stones against it, the
wives would handle their distaffs, and the commons would universally die
in it," Henry's proposals dropped in July to a treaty of alliance,
offensive and defensive, he suffered France to be included among the
allies of Scotland named in it, he consented that the young Queen should
remain with her mother till the age of ten, and offered guarantees for
the maintenance of Scotch independence.

[Sidenote: Scotland and France.]

But modify it as he might, Henry knew that such a project of union could
only be carried out by a war with Francis. His negotiations for a treaty
with Charles had long been delayed through Henry's wish to drag the
Emperor into an open breach with the Papacy, but at the moment of the
King's first proposals for the marriage of Mary Stuart with his son the
need of finding a check upon France forced on a formal alliance with the
Emperor in February 1543. The two allies agreed that the war should be
continued till the Duchy of Burgundy had been restored to the Emperor
and till England had recovered Normandy and Guienne; while the joint
fleets of Henry and Charles held the Channel and sheltered England from
any danger of French attack. The main end of this treaty was doubtless
to give Francis work at home which might prevent the despatch of a
French force into Scotland and the overthrow of Henry's hopes of a
Scotch marriage. These hopes were strengthened as the summer went on by
the acceptance of his later proposals in a Parliament which was packed
by the Regent, and by the actual conclusion of a marriage-treaty. But if
Francis could spare neither horse nor man for action in Scotland his
influence in the northern kingdom was strong enough to foil Henry's
plans. The Churchmen were as bitterly opposed to such a marriage as the
partizans of France; and their head, Cardinal Beaton, who had held aloof
from the Regent's Parliament, suddenly seized the Queen-mother and her
babe, crowned the infant Mary, called a Parliament in December which
annulled the marriage-treaty, and set Henry at defiance.

[Sidenote: War with France.]

The king's wrath at this overthrow of his hopes showed itself in a
brutal and impolitic act of vengeance. He was a skilful shipbuilder; and
among the many enterprises which the restless genius of Cromwell
undertook there was probably none in which Henry took so keen an
interest as in his creation of an English fleet. Hitherto merchant ships
had been impressed when a fleet was needed; but the progress of naval
warfare had made the maintenance of an armed force at sea a condition
of maritime power, and the resources furnished by the dissolution of the
abbeys had been devoted in part to the building of ships of war, the
largest of which, the _Mary Rose_, carried a crew of seven hundred men.
The new strength which England was to wield in its navy was first seen
in 1544. An army was gathered under Lord Hertford; and while Scotland
was looking for the usual advance over the border the Earl's forces were
quietly put on board and the English fleet appeared on the third of May
in the Firth of Forth. The surprise made resistance impossible. Leith
was seized and sacked, Edinburgh, then a town of wooden houses, was
given to the flames, and burned for three days and three nights. The
country for seven miles round was harried into a desert. The blow was a
hard one, but it was little likely to bring Scotchmen round to Henry's
projects of union. A brutal raid of the English borderers on Melrose and
the destruction of his ancestors' tombs estranged the Earl of Angus, and
was quickly avenged by his overthrow of the marauders at Ancrum Moor.
Henry had yet to learn the uselessness of mere force to compass his
ends. "I shall be glad to serve the king of England, with my honour,"
said the Lord of Buccleugh to an English envoy, "but I will not be
constrained thereto if all Teviotdale be burned to the bottom of hell."

Hertford's force returned in good time to join the army which Henry in
person was gathering at Calais to co-operate with the forces assembled
by Charles on the north-eastern frontier of France. Each sovereign found
himself at the head of forty thousand men, and the Emperor's military
ability was seen in his proposal for an advance of both armies upon
Paris. But though Henry found no French force in his front, his cautious
temper shrank from the risk of leaving fortresses in his rear; and while
their allies pushed boldly past Châlons on the capital, the English
troops were detained till September in the capture of Boulogne, and only
left Boulogne to form the siege of Montreuil. The French were thus
enabled to throw their whole force on the Emperor, and Charles found
himself in a position from which negotiation alone could extricate him.

[Sidenote: Growth of Lutheranism.]

His ends were in fact gained by the humiliation of France, and he had as
little desire to give England a strong foothold in the neighbourhood of
his own Netherlands as in Wolsey's days. The widening of English
territory there could hardly fail to encourage that upgrowth of heresy
which the Emperor justly looked upon as the greatest danger to the hold
of Spain upon the Low Countries, while it would bring Henry a step
nearer to the chain of Protestant states which began on the Lower Rhine.
The plans which Charles had formed for uniting the Catholics and
Lutherans in the conferences of Augsburg had broken down before the
opposition both of Luther and the Pope. On both sides indeed the
religious contest was gathering new violence. A revival had begun in the
Church itself, but it was the revival of a militant and uncompromising
orthodoxy. In 1542 the fanaticism of Cardinal Caraffa forced on the
establishment of a supreme Tribunal of the Inquisition at Rome. The next
year saw the establishment of the Jesuits. Meanwhile Lutheranism took a
new energy. The whole north of Germany became Protestant. In 1539 the
younger branches of the house of Saxony joined the elder in a common
adherence to Lutheranism; and their conversion had been followed by that
of the Elector of Brandenburg. Southern Germany seemed bent on following
the example of the north. The hereditary possessions of Charles himself
fell away from Catholicism. The Austrian duchies were overrun with
heresy. Bohemia promised soon to become Hussite again. Persecution
failed to check the triumph of the new opinions in the Low Countries.
The Empire itself threatened to become Protestant. In 1540 the accession
of the Elector Palatine robbed Catholicism of Central Germany and the
Upper Rhine; and three years later, at the opening of the war with
France, that of the Archbishop of Koln gave the Protestants not only the
Central Rhineland but a majority in the College of Electors. It seemed
impossible for Charles to prevent the Empire from repudiating
Catholicism in his lifetime, or to hinder the Imperial Crown from
falling to a Protestant at his death.

[Sidenote: England and France.]

The great fabric of power which had been built up by the policy of
Ferdinand of Aragon was thus threatened with utter ruin, and Charles saw
himself forced into the struggle he had so long avoided, if not for the
interests of religion, at any rate for the interests of the House of
Austria. He still hoped for a reunion from the Council which was
assembling at Trent, and from which a purified Catholicism was to come.
But he no longer hoped that the Lutherans would yield to the mere voice
of the Council. They would yield only to force, and the first step in
such a process of compulsion must be the breaking up of their League of
Schmalkald. Only France could save them; and it was to isolate them from
France that Charles availed himself of the terror his march on Paris had
caused, and concluded a treaty with that power in September 1544. The
progress of Protestantism had startled even France itself; and her old
policy seemed to be abandoned in her promises of co-operation in the
task of repressing heresy in the Empire. But a stronger security against
French intervention lay in the unscrupulous dexterity with which, while
withdrawing from the struggle, Charles left Henry and Francis still at
strife. Henry would not cede Boulogne, and Francis saw no means of
forcing him to a peace save by a threat of invasion. While an army
closed round Boulogne, and a squadron carried troops to Scotland, a
hundred and fifty French ships were gathered in the Channel and crossed
in the summer of 1545 to the Isle of Wight. But their attacks were
feebly conducted and the fleet at last returned to its harbours without
striking any serious blow, while the siege of Boulogne dragged idly on
through the year. Both kings however drew to peace. In spite of the
treaty of Crépy it was impossible for France to abandon the Lutherans,
and Francis was eager to free his hands for action across the Rhine.
Henry on the other hand, deserted by his ally and with a treasury ruined
by the cost of the war, was ready at last to surrender his gains in it.
In June 1546 a peace was concluded by which England engaged to surrender
Boulogne on payment of a heavy ransom, and France to restore the annual
subsidy which had been promised in 1525.

[Sidenote: The Peace.]

What aided in the close of the war was a new aspect of affairs in
Scotland. Since the death of James the Fifth the great foe of England in
the north had been the Archbishop of St. Andrews, Cardinal Beaton. In
despair of shaking his power his rivals had proposed schemes for his
assassination to Henry, and these schemes had been expressly approved.
But plot after plot broke down; and it was not till May 1546 that a
group of Scotch nobles who favoured the Reformation surprised his castle
at St. Andrews. Shrieking miserably, "I am a priest! I am a priest! Fie!
Fie! All is gone!" the Cardinal was brutally murdered, and his body hung
over the castle-walls. His death made it easy to include Scotland in the
peace with France which was concluded in the summer. But in England
itself peace was a necessity. The Crown was penniless. In spite of the
confiscation of the abbey lands in 1539 the treasury was found empty at
the very opening of the war: the large subsidies granted by the
Parliament were expended; and conscious that a fresh grant could hardly
be expected even from the servile Houses the government in 1545 fell
back on its old resource of benevolences. Of two London merchants who
resisted this demand as illegal one was sent to the Fleet, the second
ordered to join the army on the Scotch border; but it was significant
that resistance had been offered, and the failure of the war-taxes which
were voted at the close of the year to supply the royal needs drove the
Council to fresh acts of confiscation. A vast mass of Church property
still remained for the spoiler, and by a bill of 1545 more than two
thousand chauntries and chapels, with a hundred and ten hospitals, were
suppressed to the profit of the Crown. Enormous as this booty was, it
could only be slowly realized; and the immediate pressure forced the
Council to take refuge in the last and worst measure any government can
adopt, a debasement of the currency. The evils of such a course were
felt till the reign of Elizabeth. But it was a course that could not be
repeated; and financial exhaustion played its part in bringing the war
to an end.

[Sidenote: Charles and the League of Schmalkald.]

A still greater part was played by the aspect of affairs in the Empire.
Once freed from the check of the war Charles had moved fast to his aim.
In 1545 he had adjusted all minor differences with Paul the Third, and
Pope and Emperor had resolved on the immediate convocation of the
Council, and on the enforcement of its decisions by weight of arms.
Should the Emperor be driven to war with the Lutheran princes, the Pope
engaged to support him with all his power. "Were it needful" Paul
promised "he would sell his very crown in his service." In December the
Council was actually opened at Trent, and its proceedings soon showed
that no concessions to the Lutherans could be looked for. The Emperor's
demand that the reform of the Church should first be taken in hand was
evaded; and on the two great questions of the authority of the Bible as
a ground of faith, and of justification, the sentence of the Council
directly condemned the Protestant opinions. The Lutherans showed their
resolve to make no submission by refusing to send representatives to
Trent; and Charles carried out his pledges to the Papacy by taking the
field in the spring of 1546 to break up the League of Schmalkald. But
the army gathered under the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse
so far outnumbered the Imperial forces that the Emperor could not
venture on a battle. Henry watched the course of Charles with a growing
anxiety. The hopes of a purified and united Christendom which had drawn
him a few years back to the Emperor's side faded before the stern
realities of the Council. The highest pretensions of the Papacy had been
sanctioned by the bishops gathered at Trent; and to the pretensions of
the Papacy Henry was resolved not to bow. He was driven, whether he
would or no, on the policy of Cromwell; and in the last months of his
life he offered aid to the League of Schmalkald. His offers were
rejected; for the Lutheran princes had no faith in his sincerity, and
believed themselves strong enough to deal with the Emperor without
foreign help.

[Sidenote: Effect on English Religion.]

But his attitude without told on his policy at home. To the hotter
Catholics as to the hotter Protestants the years since Cromwell's fall
had seemed years of a gradual return to Catholicism. There had been a
slight sharpening of persecution for the Protestants, and restrictions
had been put on the reading of the English Bible. The alliance with
Charles and the hope of reconciling England anew with a pacified
Christendom gave fresh cause for suppressing heresy. Neither Norfolk nor
his master indeed desired any rigorous measure of reaction, for Henry
remained proud of the work he had done. His bitterness against the
Papacy only grew as the years went by; and at the very moment that
heretics were suffering for a denial of the mass, others were suffering
by their side for a denial of the supremacy. But strange and anomalous
as its system seemed, the drift of Henry's religious government had as
yet been in one direction, that of a return to and reconciliation with
the body of the Catholic Church. With the decision of the Council and
the new attitude of the Emperor this drift was suddenly arrested. It was
not that Henry realized the revolution that was opening before him or
the vast importance of the steps which his policy now led him to take.
His tendency, like that of his people, was religious rather than
theological, practical rather than speculative. Of the immense problems
which were opening in the world neither he nor England saw anything. The
religious strife which was to break Europe asunder was to the king as to
the bulk of Englishmen a quarrel of words and hot temper; the truth
which Christendom was to rend itself to pieces in striving to discover
was a thing that could easily be found with the aid of God. There is
something humorous as there is something pathetic in the warnings which
Henry addressed to the Parliament at the close of 1545. The shadow of
death as it fell over him gave the king's words a new gentleness and
tenderness. "The special foundation of our religion being charity
between man and man, it is so refrigerate as there never was more
dissension and lack of love between man and man, the occasions whereof
are opinions only and names devised for the continuance of the same.
Some are called Papists, some Lutherans, and some Anabaptists; names
devised of the devil, and yet not fully without ground, for the severing
of one man's heart by conceit of opinion from the other." But the remedy
was a simple one. Every man was "to travail first for his own
amendment." Then the bishops and clergy were to agree in their teaching,
"which, seeing there is but one truth and verity, they may easily do,
calling therein for the grace of God." Then the nobles and laity were to
be pious and humble, to read their new Bibles "reverently and humbly ...
and in any doubt to resort to the learned or at best the higher powers."
"I am very sorry to know and hear how unreverendly that precious jewel,
the Word of God, is disputed, rimed, sung, and jangled in every alehouse
and tavern. This kind of man is depraved and that kind of man, this
ceremony and that ceremony." All this controversy might be done away by
simple charity. "Therefore be in charity one with another like brother
and brother. Have respect to the pleasing of God; and then I doubt not
that love I spoke of shall never be dissolved between us."

[Sidenote: The Religious Truce.]

There is something wonderful in the English coolness and narrowness, in
the speculative blindness and practical good sense which could look out
over such a world at such a moment, and could see nothing in it save a
quarrel of "opinions, and of names devised for the continuance of the
same." But Henry only expressed the general feeling of his people.
England indeed was being slowly leavened with a new spirit. The
humiliation of the clergy, the Lutheran tendencies of half the bishops,
the crash of the abbeys, the destruction of chauntries and mass-chapels,
a measure which told closely on the actual worship of the day, the new
articles of faith, the diffusion of Bibles, the "jangling" and
discussion which followed on every step in the king's course, were all
telling on the thoughts of men. But the temper of the nation as a whole
remained religiously conservative. It drifted rather to the moderate
reforms of the New Learning than to any radical reconstruction of the
Church. There was a general disinclination indeed to push matters to
either extreme, a general shrinking from the persecution which the
Catholic called for as from the destruction which the Protestant was
desiring. It was significant that a new heresy bill which passed through
the Lords in 1545 quietly disappeared when it reached the Commons. But
this shrinking rested rather on national than on theological grounds,
on a craving for national union which Henry expressed in his cry for
"brotherly love," and on an imperfect appreciation of the real nature or
consequence of the points at issue which made men shrink from burning
their neighbours for "opinions and names devised for the continuance of
the same." What Henry and what the bulk of Englishmen wanted was, not
indeed wholly to rest in what had been done, but to do little more save
the remedying of obvious abuses or the carrying on of obvious
improvements. One such improvement was the supplying men with the means
of private devotion in their own tongue, a measure from which none but
the fanatics of either side dissented. This process went slowly on in
the issuing of two primers in 1535 and 1539, the rendering into English
of the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, the
publication of an English Litany for outdoor processions in 1544, and
the adding to this of a collection of English prayers in 1545.

[Sidenote: The Court Factions.]

But the very tone of Henry shows his consciousness that this religious
truce rested on his will alone. Around him as he lay dying stood men who
were girding themselves to a fierce struggle for power, a struggle that
could not fail to wake the elements of religious discord which he had
striven to lull asleep. Adherents of the Papacy, advocates of a new
submission to a foreign spiritual jurisdiction there were few or none;
for the most conservative of English Churchmen or nobles had as yet no
wish to restore the older Roman supremacy. But Norfolk and Gardiner were
content with this assertion of national and ecclesiastical independence;
in all matters of faith they were earnest to conserve, to keep things as
they were, and in front of them stood a group of nobles who were bent on
radical change. The marriages, the reforms, the profusion of Henry had
aided him in his policy of weakening the nobles by building up a new
nobility which sprang from the Court and was wholly dependent on the
Crown. Such were the Russells, the Cavendishes, the Wriothesleys, the
Fitzwilliams. Such was John Dudley, a son of the Dudley who had been put
to death for his financial oppression in Henry the Seventh's days, but
who had been restored in blood, attached to the court, raised to the
peerage as Lord Lisle, and who, whether as adviser or general, had been
actively employed in high stations at the close of this reign. Such
above all were the two brothers of Jane Seymour. The elder of the two,
Edward Seymour, had been raised to the earldom of Hertford, and
entrusted with the command of the English army in its operations against
Scotland. As uncle of Henry's boy Edward, he could not fail to play a
leading part in the coming reign; and the nobles of the "new blood," as
their opponents called them in disdain, drew round him as their head.
Without any historical hold on the country, raised by the royal caprice,
and enriched by the spoil of the monasteries, these nobles were pledged
to the changes from which they had sprung and to the party of change.
Over the mass of the nation their influence was small; and in the strife
for power with the older nobles which they were anticipating they were
forced to look to the small but resolute body of men who, whether from
religious enthusiasm or from greed of wealth or power, were bent on
bringing the English Church nearer to conformity with the reformed
Churches of the Continent. As Henry drew to his grave the two factions
faced each other with gathering dread and gathering hate. Hot words
betrayed their hopes. "If God should call the king to his mercy," said
Norfolk's son, Lord Surrey, "who were so meet to govern the Prince as my
lord my father?" "Rather than it should come to pass," retorted a
partizan of Hertford's, "that the Prince should be under the governance
of your father or you, I would abide the adventure to thrust a dagger in

[Sidenote: Lord Surrey.]

In the history of English poetry the name of Lord Surrey takes an
illustrious place. An Elizabethan writer tells us how at this time
"sprang up a new company of courtly makers, of whom Sir Thomas Wyatt the
elder and Henry, Earl of Surrey, were the two chieftains; who having
travelled to Italy, and there tasted the sweet and stately measures and
style of the Italian poesy, as novices newly crept out of the schools of
Dante, Ariosto, and Petrarch, they greatly polished our rude and homely
manner of vulgar poesy from what it had been before, and for that cause
may justly be said to be the first reformers of our English metre and
style." The dull moralizings of the rimers who followed Chaucer, the
rough but vivacious doggrel of Skelton, made way in the hands of Wyatt
and Surrey for delicate imitations of the songs, sonnets, and rondels of
Italy and France. With the Italian conceits came an Italian refinement
whether of words or of thought; and the force and versatility of
Surrey's youth showed itself in whimsical satires, in classical
translations, in love-sonnets, and in paraphrases of the Psalms. In his
version of two books of the Æneid he was the first to introduce into
England the Italian blank verse which was to play so great a part in our
literature. But with the poetic taste of the Renascence Surrey inherited
its wild and reckless energy. Once he was sent to the Fleet for
challenging a gentleman to fight. Release enabled him to join his father
in an expedition against Scotland, but he was no sooner back than the
Londoners complained how at Candlemas the young lord and his comrades
"went out with stone bows at midnight," and how next day "there was
great clamour of the breaking of many glass windows both of houses and
churches, and shooting at men that might be in the streets." In spite of
his humorous excuse that the jest only purposed to bring home to men
that "from justice' rod no fault is free, but that all such as work
unright in most quiet are next unrest," Surrey paid for this outbreak
with a fresh arrest which drove him to find solace in paraphrases of
Ecclesiastes and the Psalms. Soon he was over sea with the English
troops in Flanders, and in 1544 serving as marshal of the camp to
conduct the retreat after the siege of Montreuil. Sent to relieve
Boulogne, he remained in charge of the town till the spring of 1546,
when he returned to England to rime sonnets to a fair Geraldine, the
daughter of the Earl of Kildare, and to plunge into the strife of
factions around the dying king.

[Sidenote: Fall of the Howards.]

All moral bounds had been loosened by the spirit of the Renascence, and,
if we accept the charge of his rivals, Surrey now aimed at gaining a
hold on Henry by offering him his sister as a mistress. It is as
possible that the young Earl was aiming simply at the displacement of
Catharine Parr, and at the renewal by his sister's elevation to the
throne of that matrimonial hold upon Henry which the Howards had already
succeeded in gaining through the unions with Anne Boleyn and Catharine
Howard. But a temper such as Surrey's was ill matched against the subtle
and unscrupulous schemers who saw their enemy in a pride that scorned
the "new men" about him and vowed that when once the king was dead "they
should smart for it." The turn of foreign affairs gave a fresh strength
to the party which sympathized with the Protestants and denounced that
alliance with the Emperor which had been throughout the policy of the
Howards. Henry's offer of aid to the Lutheran princes marked the triumph
of this party in the royal councils; and the new steps which Cranmer was
suffered to make towards an English Liturgy showed that the religious
truce of Henry's later years was at last abandoned. Hertford, the head
of the "new men," came more to the front as the waning health of the
king brought Jane Seymour's boy, Edward, nearer to the throne. In the
new reign Hertford, as the boy's uncle, was sure to play a great part;
and he used his new influence to remove the only effective obstacle to
his future greatness. Surrey's talk of his royal blood, the Duke's
quartering of the royal arms to mark his Plantagenet descent, and some
secret interviews with the French ambassador, were adroitly used to wake
Henry's jealousy of the dangers which might beset the throne of his
child. Norfolk and his son were alike committed to the Tower at the
close of 1546. A month later Surrey was condemned and sent to the block,
and his father was only saved by the sudden death of Henry the Eighth in
January, 1547.

[Sidenote: Hertford made Protector.]

By an Act passed in the Parliament of 1544 it had been provided that the
crown should pass to Henry's son Edward, and on Edward's death without
issue to his sister Mary. Should Mary prove childless it was to go to
Elizabeth, the child of Anne Boleyn. Beyond this point the Houses would
make no provision, but power was given to the king to make further
dispositions by will. At his death it was found that Henry had passed
over the line of his sister Margaret of Scotland, and named as next in
the succession to Elizabeth the daughters of his younger sister Mary by
her marriage with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. As Edward was but
nine years old Henry had appointed a carefully-balanced Council of
Regency; but the will fell into Hertford's keeping, and when the list of
regents was at last disclosed Gardiner, who had till now been the
leading minister, was declared to have been excluded from the number of
executors. Whether the exclusion was Henry's act or the act of the men
who used his name, the absence of the bishop with the imprisonment of
Norfolk threw the balance of power on the side of the "new men" who were
represented by Hertford and Lisle. Their chief opponent, the Chancellor
Wriothesley, struggled in vain against their next step towards
supremacy, the modification of Henry's will by the nomination of
Hertford as Protector of the realm and governor of Edward's person.
Alleged directions from the dying king served as pretexts for the
elevation of the whole party to higher rank in the state. It was to
repair "the decay of the old English nobility" that Hertford raised
himself to the dukedom of Somerset and his brother to the barony of
Seymour, the queen's brother Lord Parr to the marquisate of Northampton,
Lisle to the earldom of Warwick, Russell to that of Bedford, Wriothesley
to that of Southampton. Ten of their partizans became barons, and as the
number of peers in spite of recent creations still stood at about fifty
such a group constituted a power in the Upper House. Alleged directions
of the king were conveniently remembered to endow the new peers with
public money, though the treasury was beggared and the debt pressing.
The expulsion of Wriothesley from the Chancellorship and Council soon
left the "new men" without a check; but they were hardly masters of the
royal power when a bold stroke of Somerset laid all at his feet. A new
patent of Protectorate, drawn out in the boy-king's name, empowered his
uncle to act with or without the consent of his fellow-executors, and
left him supreme in the realm.

[Sidenote: Somerset and the Protestants.]

Boldly and adroitly as the whole revolution had been managed, it was
none the less a revolution. To crush their opponents the Council had
first used, and then set aside, Henry's will. Hertford in turn by the
use of his nephew's name set aside both the will and the Council. A
country gentleman, who had risen by the accident of his sister's
queenship to high rank at the Court, had thus by sheer intrigue and
self-assertion made himself ruler of the realm. But daring and
self-confident as he was, Somerset was forced by his very elevation to
seek support for the power he had won by this surprise in measures which
marked the retreat of the Monarchy from that position of pure absolutism
which it had reached at the close of Henry's reign. The Statute that had
given to royal proclamations the force of law was repealed, and several
of the new felonies and treasons which Cromwell had created and used
with so terrible an effect were erased from the Statute Book. The
popularity however which such measures won was too vague a force to
serve in the strife of the moment. Against the pressure of the
conservative party who had so suddenly found themselves jockeyed out of
power Somerset and the "new men" could look for no help but from the
Protestants. The hope of their support united with the new Protector's
personal predilections in his patronage of the innovations against which
Henry had battled to the last. Cranmer had now drifted into a purely
Protestant position; and his open break with the older system followed
quickly on Seymour's rise to power. "This year," says a contemporary,
"the Archbishop of Canterbury did eat meat openly in Lent in the Hall of
Lambeth, the like of which was never seen since England was a Christian
country." This notable act was followed by a rapid succession of
sweeping changes. The legal prohibitions of Lollardry were rescinded;
the Six Articles were repealed; a royal injunction removed all pictures
and images from the churches. A formal Statute gave priests the right
to marry. A resolution of Convocation which was confirmed by Parliament
brought about the significant change which first definitely marked the
severance of the English Church in doctrine from the Roman, by ordering
that the sacrament of the altar should be administered in both kinds.

[Sidenote: The Common Prayer.]

A yet more significant change followed. The old tongue of the Church was
now to be disused in public worship. The universal use of Latin had
marked the Catholic and European character of the older religion: the
use of English marked the strictly national and local character of the
new system. In the spring of 1548 a common Communion Service in English
was added to the solitary Mass of the priest; an English book of Common
Prayer, the Liturgy which with slight alterations is still used in the
Church of England, soon replaced the Missal and Breviary from which its
contents are mainly drawn. The name "Common Prayer," which was given to
the new Liturgy, marked its real import. The theory of worship which
prevailed through Mediæval Christendom, the belief that the worshipper
assisted only at rites wrought for him by priestly hands, at a sacrifice
wrought through priestly intervention, at the offering of prayer and
praise by priestly lips, was now set at naught. "The laity," it has been
picturesquely said, "were called up into the Chancel." The act of
devotion became a "common prayer" of the whole body of worshippers. The
Mass became a "communion" of the whole Christian fellowship. The priest
was no longer the offerer of a mysterious sacrifice, the mediator
between God and the worshipper; he was set on a level with the rest of
the Church, and brought down to be the simple mouthpiece of the

[Sidenote: The Triumph of the Emperor.]

What gave a wider importance to these measures was their bearing on the
general politics of Christendom. The adhesion of England to the
Protestant cause came at a moment when Protestantism seemed on the verge
of ruin. The confidence of the Lutheran princes in their ability to
resist the Emperor had been seen in their refusal of succour from Henry
the Eighth. But in the winter of Henry's death the secession of Duke
Maurice of Saxony with many of his colleagues from the League of
Schmalkald so weakened the Protestant body that Charles was able to put
its leaders to the ban of the Empire. Hertford was hardly Protector when
the German princes called loudly for aid; but the fifty thousand crowns
which were secretly sent by the English Council could scarcely have
reached them when in April 1547 Charles surprised their camp at Muhlberg
and routed their whole army. The Elector of Saxony was taken prisoner;
the Landgrave of Hesse surrendered in despair. His victory left Charles
master of the Empire. The jealousy of the Pope indeed at once revived
with the Emperor's success, and his recall of the bishops from Trent
forced Charles to defer his wider plans for enforcing religious unity;
while in Germany itself he was forced to reckon with Duke Maurice and
the Protestant princes who had deserted the League of Schmalkald, but
whose one object in joining the Emperor had been to provide a check on
his after movements. For the moment therefore he was driven to prolong
the religious truce by an arrangement called the "Interim." But the
Emperor's purpose was now clear. Wherever his power was actually felt
the religious reaction began; and the Imperial towns which held firmly
to the Lutheran creed were reduced by force of arms. It was of the
highest moment that in this hour of despair the Protestants saw their
rule suddenly established in a new quarter, and the Lutheranism which
was being trampled under foot in its own home triumphant in England.
England became the common refuge of the panic-struck Protestants. Bucer
and Fagius were sent to lecture at Cambridge, Peter Martyr advocated the
anti-sacramentarian views of Calvin at Oxford. Cranmer welcomed refugees
from every country, Germans, Italians, French, Poles, and Swiss, to his
palace at Lambeth. When persecution broke out in the Low Countries the
fugitive Walloons were received at London and Canterbury, and allowed to
set up in both places their own churches.

[Sidenote: Pinkie Cleugh.]

But Somerset dreamed of a wider triumph for "the religion." On his
death-bed Henry was said to have enforced on the Council the need of
carrying out his policy of a union of Scotland with England through the
marriage of its Queen with his boy. A wise statesmanship would have
suffered the Protestant movement which had been growing stronger in the
northern kingdom since Beaton's death to run quietly its course; and his
colleagues warned Somerset to leave Scotch affairs untouched till Edward
was old enough to undertake them in person. But these counsels were set
aside; and a renewal of the border warfare enforced the Protector's
demands for a closer union of the kingdoms. The jealousy of France was
roused at once, and a French fleet appeared off the Scottish coast to
reduce the castle of St. Andrews, which had been held since Beaton's
death by the English partizans who murdered him. The challenge called
Somerset himself to the field; and crossing the Tweed with a fine army
of eighteen thousand men in the summer of 1547 the Protector pushed
along the coast till he found the Scots encamped behind the Esk on the
slopes of Musselburgh, six miles eastward of Edinburgh. The English
invasion had drawn all the factions of the kingdom together against the
stranger, and a body of "Gospellers" under Lord Angus formed the
advance-guard of the Scotch army as it moved by its right on the tenth
of September to turn the English position and drive Somerset into the
sea. The English horse charged the Scottish front only to be flung off
by its pikemen; but their triumph threw the Lowlanders into disorder,
and as they pushed forward in pursuit their advance was roughly checked
by the fire of a body of Italian musketeers whom Somerset had brought
with him. The check was turned into a defeat by a general charge of the
English line, a fatal panic broke the Scottish host, and ten thousand
men fell in its headlong flight beneath the English lances.

[Sidenote: Somerset's Policy.]

Victor as he was at Pinkie Cleugh, Somerset was soon forced by famine to
fall back from the wasted country. His victory indeed had been more
fatal to the interests of England than a defeat. The Scots in despair
turned as of old to France, and bought its protection by consenting to
the child-queen's marriage with the son of Henry the Second, who had
followed Francis on the throne. In the summer of 1548 Mary Stuart sailed
under the escort of a French fleet and landed safely at Brest. Not only
was the Tudor policy of union foiled, as it seemed, for ever, but
Scotland was henceforth to be a part of the French realm. To north as to
south England would feel the pressure of the French king. Nor was
Somerset's policy more successful at home. The religious changes he was
forcing on the land were carried through with the despotism, if not with
the vigour, of Cromwell. In his acceptance of the personal supremacy of
the sovereign, Gardiner was ready to bow to every change which Henry had
ordered, or which his son, when of age to be fully king, might order in
the days to come. But he denounced all ecclesiastical changes made
during the king's minority as illegal and invalid. Untenable as it was,
this protest probably represented the general mind of Englishmen; but
the bishop was committed by the Council to prison in the Fleet, and
though soon released was sent by the Protector to the Tower. The power
of preaching was restricted by the issue of licences only to the friends
of the Primate. While all counter-arguments were rigidly suppressed, a
crowd of Protestant pamphleteers flooded the country with vehement
invectives against the Mass and its superstitious accompaniments. The
suppression of chauntries and religious gilds which was now being
carried out enabled Somerset to buy the assent of noble and landowner to
his measures by glutting their greed with the last spoils of the Church.

[Sidenote: The Revolts.]

But it was impossible to buy off the general aversion of the people to
the Protector's measures; and German and Italian mercenaries had to be
introduced to stamp out the popular discontent which broke out in the
east, in the west, and in the midland counties. Everywhere men protested
against the new changes and called for the maintenance of the system of
Henry the Eighth. The Cornishmen refused to receive the new service
"because it is like a Christmas game." In 1549 Devonshire demanded by
open revolt the restoration of the Mass and the Six Articles as well as
a partial re-establishment of the suppressed abbeys. The agrarian
discontent woke again in the general disorder. Enclosures and evictions
were going steadily on, and the bitterness of the change was being
heightened by the results of the dissolution of the abbeys. Church lands
had always been underlet, the monks were easy landlords, and on no
estates had the peasantry been as yet so much exempt from the general
revolution in culture. But the new lay masters to whom the abbey lands
fell were quick to reap their full value by a rise of rents and by the
same processes of eviction and enclosure as went on elsewhere. The
distress was deepened by the change in the value of money which was now
beginning to be felt from the mass of gold and silver which the New
World was yielding to the Old, and still more by a general rise of
prices that followed on the debasement of the coinage which had begun
with Henry and went on yet more unscrupulously under Somerset. The
trouble came at last to a head in the manufacturing districts of the
eastern counties. Twenty thousand men gathered round an "oak of
Reformation" near Norwich, and repulsing the royal troops in a desperate
engagement renewed the old cries for a removal of evil counsellors, a
prohibition of enclosures, and redress for the grievances of the poor.

[Sidenote: Somerset's Fall.]

The revolt of the Norfolk men was stamped out in blood by the energy of
Lord Warwick, as the revolt in the west had been put down by Lord
Russell, but the risings had given a fatal blow to Somerset's power. It
had already been weakened by strife within his own family. His brother
Thomas had been created Lord Seymour and raised to the post of Lord High
Admiral; but, glutted as he was with lands and honours, his envy at
Somerset's fortunes broke out in a secret marriage with the
Queen-dowager, Catharine Parr, in an attempt on her death to marry
Elizabeth, and in intrigues to win the confidence of the young king and
detach him from his brother. Seymour's discontent was mounting into open
revolt when in the January of 1549 he was arrested, refused a trial,
attainted, and sent to the block. The stain of a brother's blood,
however justly shed, rested from that hour on Somerset, while the nobles
were estranged from him by his resolve to enforce the laws against
enclosures and evictions, as well as by the weakness he had shown in the
presence of the revolt. Able indeed as Somerset was, his temper was not
that of a ruler of men; and his miserable administration had all but
brought government to a standstill. While he was dreaming of a fresh
invasion of Scotland the treasury was empty, not a servant of the state
was paid, and the soldiers he had engaged on the Continent refused to
cross the Channel in despair of receiving their hire. It was only by
loans raised at ruinous interest that the Protector escaped sheer
bankruptcy when the revolts in east and west came to swell the royal
expenses. His weakness in tampering with the popular demands completed
his ruin. The nobles dreaded a communistic outbreak like that of the
Suabian peasantry, and their dread was justified by prophecies that
monarchy and nobility were alike to be destroyed and a new rule set up
under governors elected by the people. They dreaded yet more the being
forced to disgorge their spoil to appease the discontent. At the close
of 1549 therefore the Council withdrew openly from Somerset, and forced
the Protector to resign.

[Sidenote: Warwick's Protectorate]

His office passed to the Earl of Warwick, to whose ruthless severity the
suppression of the revolt was mainly due. The change of governors
however brought about no change of system. Peace indeed was won from
France by the immediate surrender of Boulogne; but the misgovernment
remained as great as ever, the currency was yet further debased, and a
wild attempt made to remedy the effects of this measure by a royal
fixing of prices. It was in vain that Latimer denounced the prevailing
greed, and bade the Protestant lords choose "either restitution or else
damnation." Their sole aim seemed to be that of building up their own
fortunes at the cost of the State. All pretence of winning popular
sympathy was gone, and the rule of the upstart nobles who formed the
Council of Regency became simply a rule of terror. "The greater part of
the people," one of their creatures, Cecil, avowed, "is not in favour of
defending this cause, but of aiding its adversaries; on that side are
the greater part of the nobles, who absent themselves from Court, all
the bishops save three or four, almost all the judges and lawyers,
almost all the justices of the peace, the priests who can move their
flocks any way, for the whole of the commonalty is in such a state of
irritation that it will easily follow any stir towards change." But
united as it was in its opposition the nation was helpless. The system
of despotism which Cromwell built up had been seized by a knot of
adventurers, and with German and Italian mercenaries at their disposal
they rode roughshod over the land.

[Sidenote: The Reformation]

At such a moment it seemed madness to provoke foes abroad as well as at
home, but the fanaticism of the young king was resolved to force on his
sister Mary a compliance with the new changes, and her resistance was
soon backed by the remonstrances of her cousin, the Emperor. Charles was
now at the height of his power, master of Germany, preparing to make the
Empire hereditary in the person of his son, Philip, and preluding a
wider effort to suppress heresy throughout the world by the
establishment of the Inquisition in the Netherlands and a fiery
persecution which drove thousands of Walloon heretics to find a refuge
in England. But heedless of dangers from without or of dangers from
within Cranmer and his colleagues advanced more boldly than ever in the
career of innovation. Four prelates who adhered to the older system were
deprived of their sees and committed on frivolous pretexts to the Tower.
A new Catechism embodied the doctrines of the reformers, and a book of
Homilies which enforced the chief Protestant tenets was ordered to be
read in churches. A crowning defiance was given to the doctrine of the
Mass by an order to demolish the stone altars and replace them by wooden
tables, which were stationed for the most part in the middle of the
church. In 1552 a revised Prayer Book was issued, and every change made
in it leaned directly towards the extreme Protestantism which was at
this time finding a home at Geneva. On the cardinal point of difference,
the question of the sacrament, the new formularies broke away not only
from the doctrine of Rome but from that of Luther, and embodied the
anti-sacramentarian tenets of Zwingli and Calvin. Forty-two Articles of
Religion were introduced; and though since reduced by omissions to
thirty-nine these have remained to this day the formal standard of
doctrine in the English Church. Like the Prayer Book, they were mainly
the work of Cranmer; and belonging as they did to the class of
Confessions which were now being framed in Germany to be presented to
the Council of Christendom which Charles was still resolute to
reassemble, they marked the adhesion of England to the Protestant
movement on the Continent. Even the episcopal mode of government which
still connected the English Church with the old Catholic Communion was
reduced to a form; in Cranmer's mind the spiritual powers of the bishops
were drawn simply from the king's commission as their temporal
jurisdiction was exercised in the king's name. They were reduced
therefore to the position of royal officers, and called to hold their
offices simply at the royal pleasure. The sufferings of the Protestants
had failed to teach them the worth of religious liberty; and a new code
of ecclesiastical laws, which was ordered to be drawn up by a board of
Commissioners as a substitute for the Canon Law of the Catholic Church,
although it shrank from the penalty of death, attached that of perpetual
imprisonment or exile to the crimes of heresy, blasphemy, and adultery,
and declared excommunication to involve a severance of the offender from
the mercy of God and his deliverance into the tyranny of the devil.
Delays in the completion of this Code prevented its legal establishment
during Edward's reign; but the use of the new Liturgy and attendance at
the new service were enforced by imprisonment, and subscription to the
Articles of Faith was demanded by royal authority from all clergymen,
churchwardens, and schoolmasters.

[Sidenote: The Religious Disorder.]

The distaste for changes so hurried and so rigorously enforced was
increased by the daring speculations of the more extreme Protestants.
The real value of the religious revolution of the sixteenth century to
mankind lay, not in its substitution of one creed for another, but in
the new spirit of enquiry, the new freedom of thought and of discussion,
which was awakened during the process of change. But however familiar
such a truth may be to us, it was absolutely hidden from the England of
the time. Men heard with horror that the foundations of faith and
morality were questioned, polygamy advocated, oaths denounced as
unlawful, community of goods raised into a sacred obligation, the very
Godhead of the Founder of Christianity denied. The repeal of the Statute
of Heresy left indeed the powers of the Common Law intact, and Cranmer
availed himself of these to send heretics of the last class without
mercy to the stake. But within the Church itself the Primate's desire
for uniformity was roughly resisted by the more ardent members of his
own party. Hooper, who had been named Bishop of Gloucester, refused to
wear the episcopal habits, and denounced them as the livery of the
"harlot of Babylon," a name for the Papacy which was supposed to have
been discovered in the Apocalypse. Ecclesiastical order came almost to
an end. Priests flung aside the surplice as superstitious. Patrons of
livings presented their huntsmen or gamekeepers to the benefices in
their gift, and kept the stipend. All teaching of divinity ceased at the
Universities: the students indeed had fallen off in numbers, the
libraries were in part scattered or burned, the intellectual impulse of
the New Learning died away. One noble measure indeed, the foundation of
eighteen Grammar Schools, was destined to throw a lustre over the name
of Edward, but it had no time to bear fruit in his reign.

[Sidenote: Ireland and the Reformation]

While the reckless energy of the reformers brought England to the verge
of chaos, it brought Ireland to the brink of rebellion. The fall of
Cromwell had been followed by a long respite in the religious changes
which he was forcing on the conquered dependency; but with the accession
of Edward the Sixth the system of change was renewed with all the energy
of Protestant zeal. In 1551 the bishops were summoned before the deputy,
Sir Anthony St. Leger, to receive the new English Liturgy which, though
written in a tongue as strange to the native Irish as Latin itself, was
now to supersede the Latin service-book in every diocese. The order was
the signal for an open strife. "Now shall every illiterate fellow read
mass," burst forth Dowdall, the Archbishop of Armagh, as he flung out of
the chamber with all but one of his suffragans at his heels. Archbishop
Browne of Dublin on the other hand was followed in his profession of
obedience by the Bishops of Meath, Limerick, and Kildare. The
government however was far from quailing before the division of the
episcopate. Dowdall was driven from the country; and the vacant sees
were filled with Protestants, like Bale, of the most advanced type. But
no change could be wrought by measures such as these in the opinions of
the people themselves. The new episcopal reformers spoke no Irish, and
of their English sermons not a word was understood by the rude kernes
around the pulpit. The native priests remained silent. "As for preaching
we have none," reports a zealous Protestant, "without which the ignorant
can have no knowledge." The prelates who used the new Prayer Book were
simply regarded as heretics. The Bishop of Meath was assured by one of
his flock that, "if the country wist how, they would eat you."
Protestantism had failed to wrest a single Irishman from his older
convictions, but it succeeded in uniting all Ireland against the Crown.
The old political distinctions which had been produced by the conquest
of Strongbow faded before the new struggle for a common faith. The
population within the Pale and without it became one, "not as the Irish
nation," it has been acutely said, "but as Catholics." A new sense of
national identity was found in the identity of religion. "Both English
and Irish begin to oppose your Lordship's orders," Browne had written to
Cromwell at the very outset of these changes, "and to lay aside their
national old quarrels."

[Sidenote: The Peace of Passau.]

Oversea indeed the perils of the new government passed suddenly away.
Charles had backed Mary's resistance with threats, and as he moved
forward to that mastery of the world to which he confidently looked his
threats might any day become serious dangers. But the peace with England
had set the French government free to act in Germany, and it found
allies in the great middle party of princes whose secession from the
League of Schmalkald had seemed to bring ruin to the Protestant cause.
The aim of Duke Maurice in bringing them to desert the League had been
to tie the Emperor's hands by the very fact of their joining him, and
for a while this policy had been successful. But the death of Paul the
Third, whose jealousy had till now foiled the Emperor's plans, and the
accession of an Imperial nominee to the Papal throne, enabled Charles to
move more boldly to his ends, and at the close of 1551 a fresh assembly
of the Council at Trent, and an Imperial summons of the Lutheran powers
to send divines to its sessions and to submit to its decisions, brought
matters to an issue. Maurice was forced to accept the aid of the
stranger and to conclude a secret treaty with France. He was engaged as
a general of Charles in the siege of Magdeburg; but in the spring of
1552 the army he had then at command was suddenly marched to the south,
and through the passes of the Tyrol the Duke moved straight on the
Imperial camp at Innspruck. Charles was forced to flee for very life
while the Council at Trent broke hastily up, and in a few months the
whole Imperial design was in ruin. Henry the Second was already moving
on the Rhine; to meet the French king Charles was forced to come to
terms with the Lutheran princes; and his signature in the summer of a
Treaty at Passau secured to their states the free exercise of the
reformed religion and gave the Protestant princes their due weight in
the tribunals of the empire.

[Sidenote: The Protestant Misrule.]

The humiliation of the Emperor, the fierce warfare which now engaged
both his forces and those of France, removed from England the danger of
outer interference. But within the misrule went recklessly on. All that
men saw was a religious and political chaos, in which ecclesiastical
order had perished and in which politics were dying down into the
squabbles of a knot of nobles over the spoils of the Church and the
Crown. Not content with Somerset's degradation, the Council charged him
in 1551 with treason, and sent him to the block. Honours and lands were
lavished as ever on themselves and their adherents. Warwick became Duke
of Northumberland, Lord Dorset was made Duke of Suffolk, Paulet rose to
the Marquisate of Winchester, Sir William Herbert was created Earl of
Pembroke. The plunder of the chauntries and the gilds failed to glut
the appetite of this crew of spoilers. Half the lands of every see were
flung to them in vain; an attempt was made to satisfy their greed by a
suppression of the wealthy see of Durham; and the whole endowments of
the Church were threatened with confiscation. But while the courtiers
gorged themselves with manors, the Treasury grew poorer. The coinage was
again debased. Crown lands to the value of five millions of our modern
money had been granted away to the friends of Somerset and Warwick. The
royal expenditure mounted in seventeen years to more than four times its
previous total. In spite of the brutality and bloodshed with which
revolt had been suppressed, and of the foreign soldiery on whom the
Council relied, there were signs of resistance which would have made
less reckless statesmen pause. The temper of the Parliament had drifted
far from the slavish subservience which it showed at the close of
Henry's reign. The House of Commons met Northumberland's project for the
pillage of the bishoprick of Durham with opposition, and rejected a new
treason bill. In 1552 the Duke was compelled to force nominees of his
own on the constituencies by writs from the Council before he could
count on a House to his mind. Such writs had been often issued since the
days of Henry the Seventh; but the ministers of Edward were driven to
an expedient which shows how rapidly the temper of independence was
growing. The summons of new members from places hitherto unrepresented
was among the prerogatives of the Crown, and the Protectorate used this
power to issue writs to small villages in the west which could be
trusted to return members to its mind.

[Sidenote: Edward the Sixth.]

This "packing of Parliament" was to be largely extended in the following
reigns; but it passed as yet with little comment. What really kept
England quiet was a trust that the young king, who would be of age in
two or three years, would then set all things right again. "When he
comes of age," said a Hampshire squire, "he will see another rule, and
hang up a hundred heretic knaves." Edward's temper was as lordly as that
of his father, and had he once really reigned he would probably have
dealt as roughly with the plunderers who had used his name as England
hoped. But he was a fanatical Protestant, and his rule would almost
certainly have forced on a religious strife as bitter and disastrous as
the strife which broke the strength of Germany and France. From this
calamity the country was saved by his waning health. Edward was now
fifteen, but in the opening of 1553 the signs of coming death became too
clear for Northumberland and his fellows to mistake them. By the Statute
of the Succession the death of the young king would bring Mary to the
throne; and as Mary was known to have refused acceptance of all changes
in her father's system, and was looked on as anxious only to restore it,
her accession became a subject of national hope. But to Northumberland
and his fellows her succession was fatal. They had personally outraged
Mary by their attempts to force her into compliance with their system.
Her first act would be to free Norfolk and the bishops whom they held
prisoners in the Tower, and to set these bitter enemies in power. With
ruin before them the Protestant lords were ready for a fresh revolution;
and the bigotry of the young king fell in with their plans.

[Sidenote: Edward's Will.]

In his zeal for "the religion," and in his absolute faith in his royal
autocracy, Edward was ready to override will and statute and to set
Mary's rights aside. In such a case the crown fell legally to Elizabeth,
the daughter of Anne Boleyn, who had been placed by the Act next in
succession to Mary, and whose training under Catharine Parr and the
Seymours gave good hopes of her Protestant sympathies. The cause of
Elizabeth would have united the whole of the "new men" in its defence,
and might have proved a formidable difficulty in Mary's way. But for the
maintenance of his personal power Northumberland could as little count
on Elizabeth as on Mary; and in Edward's death the Duke saw a chance of
raising, if not himself, at any rate his own blood to the throne. He
persuaded the young king that he possessed as great a right as his
father to settle the succession of the Crown by will. Henry had passed
by the children of his sister Margaret of Scotland, and had placed next
to Elizabeth in the succession the children of his younger sister Mary,
the wife of Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk. Frances, Mary's child
by this marriage, was still living, the mother of three daughters by her
marriage with Grey, Lord Dorset, a hot partizan of the religious
changes, who had been raised under the Protectorate to the Dukedom of
Suffolk. Frances was a woman of thirty-seven; but her accession to the
Crown squared as little with Northumberland's plans as that of Mary or
Elizabeth. In the will therefore which the young king drew up Edward was
brought to pass over Frances, and to name as his successor her eldest
daughter, the Lady Jane Grey. The marriage of Jane Grey with Guildford
Dudley, the fourth son of Northumberland, was all that was needed to
complete the unscrupulous plot. It was the celebration of this marriage
in May which first woke a public suspicion of the existence of such
designs, and the general murmur which followed on the suspicion might
have warned the Duke of his danger. But the secret was closely kept, and
it was only in June that Edward's "plan" was laid in the same strict
secrecy before Northumberland's colleagues. A project which raised the
Duke into a virtual sovereignty over the realm could hardly fail to stir
resistance in the Council. The king however was resolute, and his will
was used to set aside all scruples. The judges who represented that
letters patent could not override a positive statute were forced into
signing their assent by Edward's express command. To their signatures
were added those of the whole Council with Cranmer at its head. The
primate indeed remonstrated, but his remonstrances proved as fruitless
as those of his fellow-councillors.

[Sidenote: Fall of Northumberland.]

The deed was hardly done when on the sixth of July the young king passed
away. Northumberland felt little anxiety about the success of his
design. He had won over Lord Hastings to his support by giving him his
daughter in marriage, and had secured the help of Lord Pembroke by
wedding Jane's sister, Catharine, to his son. The army, the fortresses,
the foreign soldiers, were at his command; the hotter Protestants were
with him; France, in dread of Mary's kinship with the Emperor, offered
support to his plans. Jane therefore was at once proclaimed Queen on
Edward's death, and accepted as their sovereign by the Lords of the
Council. But the temper of the whole people rebelled against so lawless
a usurpation. The eastern counties rose as one man to support Mary; and
when Northumberland marched from London with ten thousand at his back
to crush the rising, the Londoners, Protestant as they were, showed
their ill-will by a stubborn silence. "The people crowd to look upon
us," the Duke noted gloomily, "but not one calls 'God speed ye.'" While
he halted for reinforcements his own colleagues struck him down. Eager
to throw from their necks the yoke of a rival who had made himself a
master, the Council no sooner saw the popular reaction than they
proclaimed Mary Queen; and this step was at once followed by a
declaration of the fleet in her favour, and by the announcement of the
levies in every shire that they would only fight in her cause. As the
tidings reached him the Duke's courage suddenly gave way. His retreat to
Cambridge was the signal for a general defection. Northumberland himself
threw his cap into the air and shouted with his men for Queen Mary. But
his submission failed to avert his doom; and the death of the Duke drew
with it the imprisonment in the Tower of the hapless girl whom he had
made the tool of his ambition.




[Sidenote: Mary and the Monarchy.]

The triumph of Mary was a fatal blow at the system of despotism which
Henry the Eighth had established. It was a system that rested not so
much on the actual strength possessed by the Crown as on the absence of
any effective forces of resistance. At Henry's death the one force of
opposition which had developed itself was that of the Protestants, but
whether in numbers or political weight the Protestants were as yet of
small consequence, and their resistance did little to break the general
drift of both nation and king. For great as were the changes which Henry
had wrought in the severance of England from the Papacy and the
establishment of the ecclesiastical supremacy of the Crown, they were
wrought with fair assent from the people at large; and when once the
discontent roused by Cromwell's violence had been appeased by his fall
England as a whole acquiesced in the conservative system of the king.
This national union however was broken by the Protectorate. At the
moment when it had reached its height the royal authority was seized by
a knot of nobles and recklessly used to further the revolutionary
projects of a small minority of the people. From the hour of this
revolution a new impulse was given to resistance. The older nobility,
the bulk of the gentry, the wealthier merchants, the great mass of the
people, found themselves thrown by the very instinct of conservatism
into opposition to the Crown. It was only by foreign hirelings that
revolt was suppressed; it was only by a reckless abuse of the system of
packing the Houses that Parliament could be held in check. At last the
Government ventured on an open defiance of law; and a statute of the
realm was set aside at the imperious bidding of a boy of fifteen. Master
of the royal forces, wielding at his will the royal authority,
Northumberland used the voice of the dying Edward to set aside rights of
succession as sacred as his own. But the attempt proved an utter
failure. The very forces on which the Duke relied turned against him.
The whole nation fronted him in arms. The sovereign whom the voice of
the young king named as his successor passed from the throne to the
Tower, and a sovereign whose title rested on parliamentary statute took
her place.

[Sidenote: The religious reaction.]

At the opening of August Mary entered London in triumph. Short and thin
in figure, with a face drawn and colourless that told of constant
ill-health, there was little in the outer seeming of the new queen to
recall her father; but her hard, bright eyes, her manlike voice, her
fearlessness and self-will, told of her Tudor blood, as her skill in
music, her knowledge of languages, her love of learning, spoke of the
culture and refinement of Henry's Court. Though Mary was thirty-seven
years old, the strict retirement in which she had lived had left her as
ignorant of the actual temper of England as England was ignorant of her
own. She had founded her resistance to the changes of the Protectorate
on a resolve to adhere to her father's system till her brother came of
age to rule, and England believed her to be longing like itself simply
for a restoration of what Henry had left. The belief was confirmed by
her earlier actions. The changes of the Protectorate were treated as
null and void. Gardiner, Henry's minister, was drawn from the Tower to
take the lead as Chancellor at the Queen's Council-board. Bonner and the
deposed bishops were restored to their sees. Ridley with the others who
had displaced them was again expelled. Latimer, as a representative of
the extreme Protestants, was sent to the Tower; and the foreign
refugees, as anti-sacramentarians, were ordered to leave England. On an
indignant protest from Cranmer against reports that he was ready to
abandon the new reforms the Archbishop was sent for his seditious
demeanour to the Tower, and soon put on his trial for treason with Lady
Jane Grey, her husband, and two of his brothers. Each pleaded guilty;
but no attempt was made to carry out the sentence of death. In all this
England went with the Queen. The popular enthusiasm hardly waited in
fact for the orders of the Government. The whole system which had been
pursued during Edward's reign fell with a sudden crash. London indeed
retained much of its Protestant sympathy, but over the rest of the
country the tide of reaction swept without a check. The married priests
were driven from their churches, the images were replaced. In many
parishes the new Prayer Book was set aside and the mass restored. The
Parliament which met in October annulled the laws made respecting
religion during the past reign, and re-established the form of service
as used in the last year of Henry the Eighth.

[Sidenote: Mary's aim.]

Up to this point the temper of England went fairly with that of the
Queen. But there were from the first signs of a radical difference
between the aim of Mary and that of her people. With the restoration of
her father's system the nation as a whole was satisfied. Mary on the
other hand looked on such a restoration simply as a step towards a
complete revival of the system which Henry had done away. Through long
years of suffering and peril her fanaticism had been patiently brooding
over the hope of restoring to England its older religion. She believed,
as she said at a later time to the Parliament, that "she had been
predestined and preserved by God to the succession of the Crown for no
other end save that He might make use of her above all else in the
bringing back of the realm to the Catholic faith." Her zeal however was
checked by the fact that she stood almost alone in her aim, as well as
by cautious advice from her cousin, the Emperor; and she assured the
Londoners that "albeit her own conscience was stayed in matters of
religion, yet she meant not to compel or strain men's consciences
otherwise than God should, as she trusted, put in their hearts a
persuasion of the truth that she was in, through the opening of his word
unto them by godly, and virtuous, and learned preachers." She had in
fact not ventured as yet to refuse the title of "Head of the Church next
under God" or to disclaim the powers which the Act of Supremacy gave
her; on the contrary she used these powers in the regulation of
preaching as her father had used them. The strenuous resistance with
which her proposal to set aside the new Prayer Book was met in
Parliament warned her of the difficulties that awaited any projects of
radical change. The proposal was carried, but only after a hot conflict
which lasted over six days and which left a third of the Lower House
still opposed to it. Their opposition by no means implied approval of
the whole series of religious changes of which the Prayer Book formed a
part, for the more moderate Catholics were pleading at this time for
prayers in the vulgar tongue, and on this question followers of More and
Colet might have voted with the followers of Cranmer. But it showed how
far men's minds were from any spirit of blind reaction or blind
compliance with the royal will.

[Sidenote: The Spanish Marriage.]

The temper of the Parliament indeed was very different from that of the
Houses which had knelt before Henry the Eighth. If it consented to
repeal the enactment which rendered her mother's marriage invalid and to
declare Mary "born in lawful matrimony," it secured the abolition of all
the new treasons and felonies created in the two last reigns. The demand
for their abolition showed that jealousy of the growth of civil tyranny
had now spread from the minds of philosophers like More to the minds of
common Englishmen. Still keener was the jealousy of any marked
revolution in the religious system which Henry had established. The wish
to return to the obedience of Rome lingered indeed among some of the
clergy and in the northern shires. But elsewhere the system of a
national Church was popular, and it was backed by the existence of a
large and influential class who had been enriched by the abbey lands.
Forty thousand families had profited by the spoil, and watched anxiously
any approach of danger to their new possessions, such as submission to
the Papacy was likely to bring about. On such a submission however Mary
was resolved: and it was to gain strength for such a step that she
determined to seek a husband from her mother's house. The policy of
Ferdinand of Aragon, so long held at bay by adverse fortune, was now to
find its complete fulfilment. To one line of the house of Austria, that
of Charles the Fifth, had fallen not only the Imperial Crown but the
great heritage of Burgundy, Aragon, Naples, Castille, and the Castillian
dependencies in the New World. To a second, that of the Emperor's
brother Ferdinand, had fallen the Austrian duchies, Bohemia and Hungary.
The marriage of Catharine was now, as it seemed, to bear its fruits by
the union of Mary with a son of Charles, and the placing a third
Austrian line upon the throne of England. The gigantic scheme of
bringing all western Europe together under the rule of a single family
seemed at last to draw to its realization.

[Sidenote: Its political grounds.]

It was no doubt from political as well as religious motives that Mary
set her heart on this union. Her rejection of Gardiner's proposal that
she should marry the young Courtenay, Earl of Devon, a son of the
Marquis of Exeter whom Henry had beheaded, the resolve which she
expressed to wed "no subject, no Englishman," was founded in part on
the danger to her throne from the pretensions of Mary Stuart, whose
adherents cared little for the exclusion of the Scotch line from the
succession by Henry's will and already alleged the illegitimate births
of both Mary Tudor and Elizabeth through the annulling of their mothers'
marriages as a ground for denying their right to the throne. Such claims
became doubly formidable through the marriage of Mary Stuart with the
heir of the French Crown, and the virtual union of both Scotland and
France in this claimant's hands. It was only to Charles that the Queen
could look for aid against such a pressure as this, and Charles was
forced to give her aid. His old dreams of a mastery of the world had
faded away before the stern realities of the Peace of Passau and his
repulse from the walls of Metz. His hold over the Empire was broken.
France was more formidable than ever. To crown his difficulties the
growth of heresy and of the spirit of independence in the Netherlands
threatened to rob him of the finest part of the Burgundian heritage.
With Mary Stuart once on the English throne, and the great island of the
west knit to the French monarchy, the balance of power would be utterly
overthrown, the Low Countries lost, and the Imperial Crown, as it could
hardly be doubted, reft from the house of Austria. He was quick
therefore to welcome the Queen's advances, and to offer his son Philip,
who though not yet twenty-six was already a widower, as a candidate for
her hand.

[Sidenote: Opposition of Parliament.]

The offer came weighted with a heavy bribe. The keen foresight of the
Emperor already saw the difficulty of holding the Netherlands in union
with the Spanish monarchy; and while Spain, Naples, and Franche Comté
descended to Philip's eldest son, Charles promised the heritage of the
Low Countries with England to the issue of Philip and Mary. He accepted
too the demand of Gardiner and the Council that in the event of such a
union England should preserve complete independence both of policy and
action. In any case the marriage would save England from the grasp of
France, and restore it, as the Emperor hinted, to the obedience of the
Church. But the project was hardly declared when it was met by an
outburst of popular indignation. Gardiner himself was against a union
that would annul the national independence which had till now been the
aim of Tudor policy, and that would drag England helplessly in the wake
of the House of Austria. The mass of conservative Englishmen shrank from
the religious aspects of the marriage. For the Emperor had now ceased to
be an object of hope or confidence as a mediator who would at once
purify the Church from abuses, and restore the unity of Christendom; he
had ranged himself definitely on the side of the Papacy and of the
Council of Trent; and the cruelties of the Inquisition which he had
introduced into Flanders gave a terrible indication of the bigotry
which he was to bequeath to his House. The marriage with Philip meant,
it could hardly be doubted, a submission to the Papacy, and an undoing
not only of the religious changes of Edward but of the whole system of
Henry. Loyal and conservative as was the temper of the Parliament, it
was at one in its opposition to a Spanish marriage and in the request
which it made through a deputation of its members to the Queen that she
would marry an Englishman. The request was a new step forward on the
part of the Houses to the recovery of their older rights. Already called
by Cromwell's policy to more than their old power in ecclesiastical
matters, their dread of revolutionary change pushed them to an
intervention in matters of state. Mary noted the advance with all a
Tudor's jealousy. She interrupted the speaker; she rebuked the
Parliament for taking too much on itself; she declared she would take
counsel on such a matter "with God and with none other." But the
remonstrance had been made, the interference was to serve as a precedent
in the reign to come, and a fresh proof had been given that Parliament
was no longer the slavish tool of the Crown.

[Sidenote: Wyatt's rising.]

But while the nation grumbled and the Parliament remonstrated, one party
in the realm was filled with absolute panic by the news of the Spanish
match. The Protestants saw in the marriage not only the final overthrow
of their religious hopes, but a close of the religious truce, and an
opening of persecution. The general opposition to the match, with the
dread of the holders of Church lands that their possessions were in
danger, encouraged the more violent to plan a rising; and France,
naturally jealous of an increase of power by its great opponent,
promised to support them by an incursion from Scotland and an attack on
Calais. The real aim of the rebellion was, no doubt, the displacement of
Mary, and the setting either of Jane Grey, or, as the bulk of the
Protestants desired, of Elizabeth, on the throne. But these hopes were
cautiously hidden; and the conspirators declared their aim to be that of
freeing the Queen from evil counsellors, and of preventing her union
with the Prince of Spain. The plan combined three simultaneous outbreaks
of revolt. Sir Peter Carew engaged to raise the west, the Duke of
Suffolk to call the midland counties to arms, while Sir Thomas Wyatt led
the Kentishmen on London. The rising was planned for the spring of 1554.
But the vigilance of the Government drove it to a premature explosion in
January, and baffled it in the centre and the west. Carew fled to
France; Suffolk, who appeared in arms at Leicester, found small response
from the people, and was soon sent prisoner to the Tower. The Kentish
rising however proved a more formidable danger. A cry that the Spaniards
were coming "to conquer the realm" drew thousands to Wyatt's standard.
The ships in the Thames submitted to be seized by the insurgents. A
party of the train-bands of London, who marched with the royal guard
under the old Duke of Norfolk against them, deserted to the rebels in a
mass with shouts of "A Wyatt! a Wyatt! we are all Englishmen!"

[Sidenote: Its failure.]

Had the Kentishmen moved quickly on the capital, its gates would have
been flung open and success would have been assured. But at the critical
moment Mary was saved by her queenly courage. Riding boldly to the
Guildhall she appealed with "a man's voice" to the loyalty of the
citizens, and denounced the declaration of Wyatt's followers as "a
Spanish cloak to cover their purpose against our religion." She pledged
herself, "on the word of a Queen, that if it shall not probably appear
to all the nobility and commons in the high court of Parliament that
this marriage shall be for the high benefit and commodity of all the
whole realm, then will I abstain from marriage while I live." The pledge
was a momentous one, for it owned the very claim of the two Houses which
the Queen had till now haughtily rejected; and with the remonstrance of
the Parliament still fresh in their ears the Londoners may well have
believed that the marriage-project would come quietly to an end. The
dread too of any change in religion by the return of the violent
Protestantism of Edward's day could hardly fail to win Mary support
among the citizens. The mayor answered for their loyalty, and when Wyatt
appeared on the Southwark bank the bridge was secured against him. But
the rebel leader knew that the issue of the revolt hung on the question
which side London would take, and that a large part of the Londoners
favoured his cause. Marching therefore up the Thames he seized a bridge
at Kingston, threw his force across the river, and turned rapidly back
on the capital. But a night march along miry roads wearied and
disorganized his men; the bulk of them were cut off from their leader by
a royal force which had gathered in the fields at what is now Hyde Park
Corner, and only Wyatt himself with a handful of followers pushed
desperately on past the palace of St. James, whence the Queen refused to
fly even while the rebels were marching beneath its walls, along the
Strand to Ludgate. "I have kept touch," he cried as he sank exhausted at
the gate. But it was closed: his adherents within were powerless to
effect their promised diversion in his favour; and as he fell back the
daring leader was surrounded at Temple Bar and sent to the Tower.

[Sidenote: The marriage.]

The failure of the revolt was fatal to the girl whom part at least of
the rebels would have placed on the throne. Lady Jane Grey, who had till
now been spared and treated with great leniency, was sent to the block;
and her father, her husband, and her uncle, atoned for the ambition of
the House of Suffolk by the death of traitors. Wyatt and his chief
adherents followed them to execution, while the bodies of the poorer
insurgents were dangling on gibbets round London. Elizabeth, who had
with some reason been suspected of complicity in the insurrection, was
sent to the Tower; and only saved from death by the interposition of the
Council. The leading Protestants fled in terror over sea. But the
failure of the revolt did more than crush the Protestant party; it
enabled the Queen to lay aside the mask of moderation which had been
forced on her by the earlier difficulties of her reign. An order for the
expulsion of all married clergy from their cures, with the deprivation
of nine bishops who had been appointed during the Protectorate and who
represented its religious tendencies, proved the Queen's resolve to
enter boldly on a course of reaction. Her victory secured the Spanish
marriage. It was to prevent Philip's union with Mary that Wyatt had
risen, and with his overthrow the Queen's policy stood triumphant. The
whole strength of the conservative opposition was lost when opposition
could be branded as disloyalty. Mary too was true to the pledge she had
given that the match should only be brought about with the assent of
Parliament. But pressure was unscrupulously used to secure compliant
members in the new elections, and a reluctant assent to the marriage was
wrung from the Houses when they assembled in the spring. Philip was
created king of Naples by his father to give dignity to his union; and
in the following July Mary met him at Winchester and became his wife.

[Sidenote: Philip.]

As he entered London with the Queen, men noted curiously the look of the
young king whose fortunes were to be so closely linked with those of
England for fifty years to come. Far younger than his bride, for he was
but twenty-six, there was little of youth in the small and fragile
frame, the sickly face, the sedentary habits, the Spanish silence and
reserve, which estranged Englishmen from Philip as they had already
estranged his subjects in Italy and his future subjects in the
Netherlands. Here however he sought by an unusual pleasantness of
demeanour as well as by profuse distributions of gifts to win the
national goodwill, for it was only by winning it that he could
accomplish the work he came to do. His first aim was to reconcile
England with the Church. The new Spanish marriage was to repair the harm
which the earlier Spanish marriage had brought about by securing that
submission to Rome on which Mary was resolved. Even before Philip's
landing in England the great obstacle to reunion had been removed by the
consent of Julius the Third under pressure from the Emperor to waive the
restoration of the Church lands in the event of England's return to
obedience. Other and almost as great obstacles indeed seemed to remain.
The temper of the nation had gone with Henry in his rejection of the
Papal jurisdiction. Mary's counsellors had been foremost among the men
who advocated the change. Her minister, Bishop Gardiner, seemed pledged
to oppose any submission to Rome. As secretary of state after Wolsey's
fall he had taken a prominent part in the measures which brought about a
severance between England and the Papacy; as Bishop of Winchester he had
written a famous tract "On True Obedience" in which the Papal supremacy
had been expressly repudiated; and to the end of Henry's days he had
been looked upon as the leading advocate of the system of a national and
independent Church. Nor had his attitude changed in Edward's reign. In
the process for his deprivation he avowed himself ready as ever to
maintain as well "the supremacy and supreme authority of the king's
majesty that now is as the abolishing of the usurped power of the Bishop
of Rome."

[Sidenote: The submission to Rome.]

But with the later changes of the Protectorate Gardiner had seen his
dream of a national yet orthodox Church vanish away. He had seen how
inevitably severance from Rome drew with it a connexion with the
Protestant Churches and a repudiation of Catholic belief. In the hours
of imprisonment his mind fell back on the old ecclesiastical order with
which the old spiritual order seemed inextricably entwined, and he was
ready now to submit to the Papacy as the one means of preserving the
faith to which he clung. His attitude was of the highest significance,
for Gardiner more than any one was a representative of the dominant
English opinion of his day. As the moderate party which had supported
the policy of Henry the Eighth saw its hopes disappear, it ranged
itself, like the Bishop, on the side of a unity which could now only be
brought about by reconciliation with Rome. The effort of the Protestants
in Wyatt's insurrection to regain their power and revive the system of
the Protectorate served only to give a fresh impulse to this drift of
conservative opinion. Mary therefore found little opposition to her
plans. The peers were won over by Philip through the pensions he
lavished among them, while pressure was unscrupulously used by the
Council to secure a compliant House of Commons. When the Parliament met
in November these measures were found to have been successful. The
attainder of Reginald Pole, who had been appointed by the Pope to
receive the submission of the realm, was reversed; and the Legate
entered London by the river with his cross gleaming from the prow of his
barge. He was solemnly welcomed in full Parliament. The two Houses
decided by a formal vote to return to the obedience of the Papal See; on
the assurance of Pole in the Pope's name that holders of Church lands
should not be disturbed in their possession the statutes abolishing
Papal jurisdiction in England were repealed; and Lords and Commons
received on their knees an absolution which freed the realm from the
guilt incurred by its schism and heresy.

[Sidenote: Mary's difficulties.]

But, even in the hour of her triumph, the temper both of Parliament and
the nation warned the Queen of the failure of her hope to bind England
to a purely Catholic policy. The growing independence of the two Houses
was seen in the impossibility of procuring from them any change in the
order of succession. The victory of Rome was incomplete so long as its
right of dispensation was implicitly denied by a recognition of
Elizabeth's legitimacy, and Mary longed to avenge her mother by humbling
the child of Anne Boleyn. But in spite of Pole's efforts and the Queen's
support a proposal to oust her sister from the line of succession could
not even be submitted to the Houses, nor could their assent be won to
the postponing the succession of Elizabeth to that of Philip. The temper
of the nation at large was equally decided. In the first Parliament of
Mary a proposal to renew the laws against heresy had been thrown out by
the Lords, even after the failure of Wyatt's insurrection. Philip's
influence secured the re-enactment of the statute of Henry the Fourth in
the Parliament which followed his arrival; but the sullen discontent of
London compelled its Bishop, Bonner, to withdraw a series of articles of
enquiry, by which he hoped to purge his diocese of heresy, and even the
Council was divided on the question of persecution. In the very
interests of Catholicism the Emperor himself counselled prudence and
delay. Philip gave the same counsel. From the moment of his arrival the
young king exercised a powerful influence over the Government, and he
was gradually drawing into his hands the whole direction of affairs.
But, bigot as he was in matters of faith, Philip's temper was that of a
statesman, not of a fanatic. If he came to England resolute to win the
country to union with the Church, his conciliatory policy was already
seen in the concessions he wrested from the Papacy in the matter of the
Church lands, and his aim was rather to hold England together and to
give time for a reaction of opinion than to revive the old discord by
any measures of severity. It was indeed only from a united and contented
England that he could hope for effective aid in the struggle of his
house with France, and in spite of his pledges Philip's one aim in
marrying Mary was to secure that aid.

[Sidenote: The persecution.]

But whether from without or from within warning was wasted on the fierce
bigotry of the Queen. It was, as Gardiner asserted, not at the counsel
of her ministers but by her own personal will that the laws against
heresy had been laid before Parliament; and now that they were enacted
Mary pressed for their execution. Her resolve was probably quickened by
the action of the Protestant zealots. The failure of Wyatt's revolt was
far from taming the enthusiasm of the wilder reformers. The restoration
of the old worship was followed by outbreaks of bold defiance. A tailor
of St. Giles in the Fields shaved a dog with the priestly tonsure. A cat
was found hanging in the Cheap "with her head shorn, and the likeness of
a vestment cast over her, with her forefeet tied together and a round
piece of paper like a singing cake between them." Yet more galling were
the ballads which were circulated in mockery of the mass, the pamphlets
which came from the exiles over sea, the seditious broadsides dropped in
the streets, the interludes in which the most sacred acts of the old
religion were flouted with ribald mockery. All this defiance only served
to quicken afresh the purpose of the Queen. But it was not till the
opening of 1555, when she had already been a year and a half on the
throne, that the opposition of her councillors was at last mastered and
the persecution began. In February the deprived bishop of Gloucester,
Hooper, was burned in his cathedral city, a London vicar, Lawrence
Saunders, at Coventry, and Rogers, a prebendary of St. Paul's, at
London. Ferrar, the deprived bishop of St. David's, who was burned at
Caermarthen, was one of eight victims who suffered in March. Four
followed in April and May, six in June, eleven in July, eighteen in
August, eleven in September. In October Ridley, the deprived bishop of
London, was drawn with Latimer from their prison at Oxford. "Play the
man, Master Ridley!" cried the old preacher of the Reformation as the
flames shot up around him; "we shall this day light up such a candle by
God's grace in England as I trust shall never be put out."

[Sidenote: Rowland Taylor.]

If the Protestants had not known how to govern, indeed, they knew how to
die; and the cause which prosperity had ruined revived in the dark hour
of persecution. The memory of their violence and greed faded away as
they passed unwavering to their doom. Such a story as that of Rowland
Taylor, the Vicar of Hadleigh, tells us more of the work which was now
begun, and of the effect it was likely to produce, than pages of
historic dissertation. Taylor, who as a man of mark had been one of the
first victims chosen for execution, was arrested in London, and
condemned to suffer in his own parish. His wife, "suspecting that her
husband should that night be carried away," had waited through the
darkness with her children in the porch of St. Botolph's beside Aldgate.
"Now when the sheriff his company came against St. Botolph's Church
Elizabeth cried, saying, 'O my dear father! Mother! mother! here is my
father led away!' Then cried his wife, 'Rowland, Rowland, where art
thou?'--for it was a very dark morning, that the one could not see the
other. Dr. Taylor answered, 'I am here, dear wife,' and stayed. The
sheriff's men would have led him forth, but the sheriff said, 'Stay a
little, masters, I pray you, and let him speak to his wife.' Then came
she to him, and he took his daughter Mary in his arms, and he and his
wife and Elizabeth knelt down and said the Lord's prayer. At which sight
the sheriff wept apace, and so did divers others of the company. After
they had prayed he rose up and kissed his wife and shook her by the
hand, and said, 'Farewell, my dear wife, be of good comfort, for I am
quiet in my conscience! God shall still be a father to my children.'...
Then said his wife, 'God be with thee, dear Rowland! I will, with God's
grace, meet thee at Hadleigh.'

"All the way Dr. Taylor was merry and cheerful as one that accounted
himself going to a most pleasant banquet or bridal.... Coming within two
miles of Hadleigh he desired to light off his horse, which done he
leaped and set a frisk or twain as men commonly do for dancing. 'Why,
master Doctor,' quoth the Sheriff, 'how do you now?' He answered, 'Well,
God be praised, Master Sheriff, never better; for now I know I am almost
at home. I lack not past two stiles to go over, and I am even at my
Father's house!'... The streets of Hadleigh were beset on both sides
with men and women of the town and country who waited to see him; whom
when they beheld so led to death, with weeping eyes and lamentable
voices, they cried, 'Ah, good Lord! there goeth our good shepherd from
us!'" The journey was at last over. "'What place is this,' he asked,
'and what meaneth it that so much people are gathered together?' It was
answered, 'It is Oldham Common, the place where you must suffer, and the
people are come to look upon you.' Then said he, 'Thanked be God, I am
even at home!'... But when the people saw his reverend and ancient
face, with a long white beard, they burst out with weeping tears and
cried, saying, 'God save thee, good Dr. Taylor; God strengthen thee and
help thee; the Holy Ghost comfort thee!' He wished, but was not
suffered, to speak. When he had prayed, he went to the stake and kissed
it, and set himself into a pitch-barrel which they had set for him to
stand on, and so stood with his back upright against the stake, with his
hands folded together and his eyes towards heaven, and so let himself be
burned." One of the executioners "cruelly cast a fagot at him, which hit
upon his head and brake his face that the blood ran down his visage.
Then said Dr. Taylor, 'O friend, I have harm enough--what needed that?'"
One more act of brutality brought his sufferings to an end. "So stood he
still without either crying or moving, with his hands folded together,
till Soyce with a halberd struck him on the head that the brains fell
out, and the dead corpse fell down into the fire."

[Sidenote: The area of the Martyrdoms.]

The terror of death was powerless against men like these. Bonner, the
Bishop of London, to whom, as bishop of the diocese in which the Council
sate, its victims were generally delivered for execution, but who, in
spite of the nickname and hatred which his official prominence in the
work of death earned him, seems to have been naturally a good-humoured
and merciful man, asked a youth who was brought before him whether he
thought he could bear the fire. The boy at once held his hand without
flinching in the flame of a candle that stood by. Rogers, a
fellow-worker with Tyndale in the translation of the Bible, and one of
the foremost among the Protestant preachers, died bathing his hands in
the flame "as if it had been in cold water." Even the commonest lives
gleamed for a moment into poetry at the stake. "Pray for me," a boy,
William Brown, who had been brought home to Brentwood to suffer, asked
of the bystanders. "I will pray no more for thee," one of them replied,
"than I will pray for a dog." "'Then,' said William, 'Son of God, shine
upon me'; and immediately the sun in the elements shone out of a dark
cloud so full in his face that he was constrained to look another way;
whereat the people mused because it was so dark a little time before."
Brentwood lay within a district on which the hand of the Queen fell
heavier than elsewhere. The persecution was mainly confined to the more
active and populous parts of the country, to London, Kent, Sussex, and
the Eastern Counties. Of the two hundred and eighty whom we know to have
suffered during the last three years and a half of Mary's reign more
than forty were burned in London, seventeen in the neighbouring village
of Stratford-le-Bow, four in Islington, two in Southwark, and one each
at Barnet, St. Albans, and Ware. Kent, at that time a home of mining and
manufacturing industry, suffered as heavily as London. Of its sixty
martyrs more than forty were furnished by Canterbury, which was then but
a city of some few thousand inhabitants, and seven by Maidstone. The
remaining eight suffered at Rochester, Ashford, and Dartford. Of the
twenty-five who died in Sussex the little town of Lewes sent seventeen
to the fire. Seventy were contributed by the Eastern Counties, the seat
of the woollen manufacture. Beyond these districts executions were rare.
Westward of Sussex we find the record of but a dozen martyrdoms, six of
which were at Bristol, and four at Salisbury. Chester and Wales
contributed but four sufferers to the list. In the Midland Counties
between Thames and the Humber only twenty-four suffered martyrdom. North
of the Humber we find the names of but two Yorkshiremen burned at

[Sidenote: Failure of the persecution.]

But heavily as the martyrdoms fell on the district within which they
were practically confined, and where as we may conclude Protestantism
was more dominant than elsewhere, the work of terror failed in the very
ends for which it was wrought. The old spirit of insolent defiance, of
outrageous violence, rose into fresh life at the challenge of
persecution. A Protestant hung a string of puddings round a priest's
neck in derision of his beads. The restored images were grossly
insulted. The old scurrilous ballads against the mass and relics were
heard in the streets. Men were goaded to sheer madness by the bloodshed
and violence about them. One miserable wretch, driven to frenzy, stabbed
the priest of St. Margaret's as he stood with the chalice in his hand.
It was a more formidable sign of the times that acts of violence such as
these no longer stirred the people at large to their former resentment.
The horror of the persecution swept away all other feelings. Every death
at the stake won hundreds to the cause for which the victims died. "You
have lost the hearts of twenty thousands that were rank Papists within
these twelve months," a Protestant wrote triumphantly to Bonner. Bonner
indeed, who had never been a very zealous persecutor, was sick of his
work; and the energy of the bishops soon relaxed. But Mary had no
thought of hesitation in the course she had entered on, and though the
Imperial ambassador noted the rapid growth of public discontent
"rattling letters" from the council pressed the lagging prelates to
fresh activity. Yet the persecution had hardly begun before
difficulties were thickening round the Queen. In her passionate longing
for an heir who would carry on her religious work Mary had believed
herself to be with child; but in the summer of 1555 all hopes of any
childbirth passed away, and the overthrow of his projects for the
permanent acquisition of England to the House of Austria at once
disenchanted Philip with his stay in the realm. But even had all gone
well it was impossible for the king to remain longer in England. He was
needed in the Netherlands to play his part in the memorable act which
was to close the Emperor's political life. Already King of Naples and
Lord of Milan, Philip received by his father's solemn resignation on the
twenty-fifth of October the Burgundian heritage; and a month later
Charles ceded to him the crowns of Castille and Aragon with their
dependencies in the New World and in the Old. The Empire indeed passed
to his uncle Ferdinand of Austria; but with this exception the whole of
his father's vast dominions lay now in the grasp of Philip. Of the
realms which he ruled, England was but one and far from the greatest
one, and even had he wished to return his continued stay there became

[Sidenote: The Catholic revival.]

He was forced to leave the direction of affairs to Cardinal Pole, who on
the death of Gardiner in November 1555 took the chief place in Council.
At once Papal Legate and chief minister of the Crown, Pole carried on
that union of the civil and ecclesiastical authority which had been
first seen in Wolsey and had formed the groundwork of the system of
Cromwell. But he found himself hampered by difficulties which even the
ability of Cromwell or Wolsey could hardly have met. The embassy which
carried to Rome the submission of the realm found a fresh Pope, Paul the
Fourth, on the throne. His accession marked the opening of a new era in
the history of the Papacy. Till now the fortunes of Catholicism had been
steadily sinking to a lower ebb. With the Peace of Passau the Empire
seemed lost to it. The new Protestant faith stood triumphant in the
north of Germany, and it was already advancing to the conquest of the
south. The nobles of Austria were forsaking the older religion. A
Venetian ambassador estimated the German Catholics at little more than a
tenth of the whole population of Germany. Eastward the nobles of Hungary
and Poland became Protestants in a mass. In the west France was yielding
more and more to heresy, and England had hardly been rescued from it by
Mary's accession. Only where the dead hand of Spain lay heavy, in
Castille, in Aragon, or in Italy, was the Reformation thoroughly crushed
out; and even the dead hand of Spain failed to crush heresy in the Low
Countries. But at the moment when ruin seemed certain the older faith
rallied to a new resistance. While Protestantism was degraded and
weakened by the prostitution of the Reformation to political ends, by
the greed and worthlessness of the German princes who espoused its
cause, by the factious lawlessness of the nobles in Poland and the
Huguenots in France, while it wasted its strength in theological
controversies and persecutions, in the bitter and venomous discussions
between the Churches which followed Luther and the Churches which
followed Zwingli or Calvin, the great communion which it assailed felt
at last the uses of adversity. The Catholic world rallied round the
Council of Trent. In the very face of heresy the Catholic faith was anew
settled and defined. The Papacy was owned afresh as the centre of
Catholic union. The enthusiasm of the Protestants was met by a
counter-enthusiasm among their opponents. New religious orders rose to
meet the wants of the day; the Capuchins became the preachers of
Catholicism, the Jesuits became not only its preachers but its
directors, its schoolmasters, its missionaries, its diplomatists. Their
organization, their blind obedience, their real ability, their fanatical
zeal, galvanized the pulpit, the school, the confessional, into a new

[Sidenote: Paul the Fourth.]

It was this movement, this rally of Catholicism, which now placed its
representative on the Papal throne. At the moment when Luther was first
opening his attack on the Papacy Giovanni Caraffa had laid down his
sees of Chieti and Brindisi to found the order of Theatines in a little
house on the Pincian Hill. His aim was the reformation of the clergy,
but the impulse which he gave told on the growing fervour of the
Catholic world, and its issue was seen in the institution of the
Capuchins and the Jesuits. Created Cardinal by Paul the Third, he found
himself face to face with the more liberal theologians who were longing
for a reconciliation between Lutheranism and the Papacy, such as
Contarini and Pole, but his violent orthodoxy foiled their efforts in
the conference at Ratisbon, and prevailed on the Pope to trust to the
sterner methods of the Inquisition. As Caraffa wielded its powers, the
Inquisition spread terror throughout Italy. At due intervals groups of
heretics were burned before the Dominican Church at Rome; scholars like
Peter Martyr were driven over sea; and the publication of an index of
prohibited books gave a death-blow to Italian literature. On the verge
of eighty the stern Inquisitor became Pope as Paul the Fourth. His
conception of the Papal power was as high as that of Hildebrand or
Innocent the Third, and he flung contemptuously aside the system of
compromise which his predecessor had been brought to adopt by the
caution of the Emperor. "Charles," he said, was a "favourer of
heretics," and he laid to his charge the prosperity of Lutheranism in
the Empire. That England should make terms for its return to obedience
galled his pride, while his fanaticism would hear of no surrender of the
property of the Church. Philip, who had wrested the concession from
Julius the Third, had no influence over a Pope who hoped to drive the
Spaniards from Italy, and Pole was suspected by Paul of a leaning to

[Sidenote: England and the Papacy.]

The English ambassadors found therefore a rough greeting when the terms
of the submission were laid before the Pope. Paul utterly repudiated the
agreement which had been entered into between the Legate and the
Parliament; he demanded the restoration of every acre of Church
property; and he annulled all alienation of it by a general bull. His
attitude undid all that Mary had done. In spite of the pompous
reconciliation in which the Houses had knelt at the feet of Pole,
England was still unreconciled to the Papacy, for the country and the
Pope were at issue on a matter where concession was now impossible on
either side. The Queen's own heart went with the Pope's demand. But the
first step on which she ventured towards a compliance with it showed the
difficulties she would have to meet. The grant of the first-fruits to
Henry the Eighth had undoubtedly rested on his claim of supremacy over
the Church; and now that this was at an end Mary had grounds for
proposing their restoration to church purposes. But the proposal was
looked on as a step towards the resumption of the monastic lands, and
after a hot and prolonged debate at the close of 1555 the Commons only
assented to it by a small majority. It was plain that no hearing would
be given to the Pope's demand for a restoration of all Church property;
great lords were heard to threaten that they would keep their lands so
long as they had a sword by their side; and England was thus left at
hopeless variance with the Papacy.

[Sidenote: Cranmer.]

But, difficult as Mary's task became, she clung as tenaciously as ever
to her work of blood. The martyrdoms went steadily on, and at the
opening of 1556 the sanction of Rome enabled the Queen to deal with a
victim whose death woke all England to the reality of the persecution.
Far as he stood in character beneath many who had gone before him to the
stake, Cranmer stood high above all in his ecclesiastical position. To
burn the Primate of the English Church for heresy was to shut out meaner
victims from all hope of escape. And on the position of Cranmer none
cast a doubt. The other prelates who had suffered had been placed in
their sees after the separation from Rome, and were hardly regarded as
bishops by their opponents. But, whatever had been his part in the
schism, Cranmer had received his Pallium from the Pope. He was, in the
eyes of all, Archbishop of Canterbury, the successor of St. Augustine
and of St. Thomas in the second see of Western Christendom. Revenge
however and religious zeal alike urged the Queen to bring Cranmer to
the stake. First among the many decisions in which the Archbishop had
prostituted justice to Henry's will stood that by which he had annulled
the king's marriage with Catharine and declared Mary a bastard. The last
of his political acts had been to join, whether reluctantly or no, in
the shameless plot to exclude Mary from the throne. His great position
too made Cranmer more than any man a representative of the religious
revolution which had passed over the land. His figure stood with those
of Henry and of Cromwell on the frontispiece of the English Bible. The
decisive change which had been given to the character of the Reformation
under Edward was due wholly to Cranmer. It was his voice that men heard
and still hear in the accents of the English Liturgy.

[Sidenote: His death.]

As an Archbishop, Cranmer's judgment rested with no meaner tribunal than
that of Rome, and his execution had been necessarily delayed till its
sentence could be given. It was not till the opening of 1556 that the
Papal see convicted him of heresy. As a heretic he was now condemned to
suffer at the stake. But the courage which Cranmer had shown since the
accession of Mary gave way the moment his final doom was announced. The
moral cowardice which had displayed itself in his miserable compliance
with the lust and despotism of Henry displayed itself again in six
successive recantations by which he hoped to purchase pardon. But
pardon was impossible; and Cranmer's strangely mingled nature found a
power in its very weakness when he was brought into the church of St.
Mary at Oxford on the twenty-first of March to repeat his recantation on
the way to the stake. "Now," ended his address to the hushed
congregation before him, "now I come to the great thing that troubleth
my conscience more than any other thing that ever I said or did in my
life, and that is the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth;
which here I now renounce and refuse as things written by my hand
contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear
of death to save my life, if it might be. And, forasmuch as my hand
offended in writing contrary to my heart, my hand therefore shall be the
first punished; for if I come to the fire, it shall be the first
burned." "This was the hand that wrote it," he again exclaimed at the
stake, "therefore it shall suffer first punishment"; and holding it
steadily in the flame "he never stirred nor cried" till life was gone.

[Sidenote: War with France.]

It was with the unerring instinct of a popular movement that, among a
crowd of far more heroic sufferers, the Protestants fixed, in spite of
his recantations, on the martyrdom of Cranmer as the death-blow to
Catholicism in England. For one man who felt within him the joy of
Rowland Taylor at the prospect of the stake, there were thousands who
felt the shuddering dread of Cranmer. The triumphant cry of Latimer
could reach only hearts as bold as his own, while the sad pathos of the
Primate's humiliation and repentance struck chords of sympathy and pity
in the hearts of all. It is from that moment that we may trace the
bitter remembrance of the blood shed in the cause of Rome; which,
however partial and unjust it must seem to an historic observer, still
lies graven deep in the temper of the English people. But the Queen
struggled desperately on. She did what was possible to satisfy the
unyielding Pope. In the face of the Parliament's significant reluctance
even to restore the first-fruits to the Church, she refounded all she
could of the abbeys which had been suppressed. One of the greatest of
these, the Abbey of Westminster, was re-established before the close of
1556, and John Feckenham installed as its abbot. Such a step could
hardly fail to wake the old jealousy of any attempt to reclaim the
Church lands, and thus to alienate the nobles and gentry from the Queen.
They were soon to be alienated yet more by her breach of the solemn
covenant on which her marriage was based. Even the most reckless of her
counsellors felt the unwisdom of aiding Philip in his strife with
France. The accession of England to the vast dominion which the Emperor
had ceded to his son in 1555 all but realized the plans of Ferdinand the
Catholic for making the house of Austria master of Western Christendom.
France was its one effective foe; and the overthrow of France in the war
which was going on between the two powers would leave Philip without a
check. How keenly this was felt at the English council-board was seen in
the resistance which was made to Philip's effort to drag his new realm
into the war. Such an effort was in itself a crowning breach of faith,
for the king's marriage had been accompanied by a solemn pledge that
England should not be drawn into the strifes of Spain. But Philip knew
little of good faith when his interest was at stake. The English fleet
would give him the mastery of the seas, English soldiers would turn the
scale in Flanders, and at the opening of 1557 the king again crossed the
Channel and spent three months in pressing his cause on Mary and her

[Sidenote: Loss of Calais.]

"He did more," says a Spanish writer of the time, "than any one would
have believed possible with that proud and indomitable nation." What he
was most aided by was provocation from France. A body of refugees who
had found shelter there landed in Yorkshire in the spring; and their
leader, Thomas Stafford, a grandson of the late Duke of Buckingham,
called the people to rise against the tyranny of foreigners and "the
satanic designs of an unlawful Queen." The French king hoped that a
rising would give the Queen work at home; but the revolt was easily
crushed, and the insult enabled Mary to override her counsellors'
reluctance and to declare war against France. The war opened with
triumphs both on land and at sea. The junction of the English fleet made
Philip master of the Channel. Eight thousand men, "all clad in their
green," were sent to Flanders under Lord Pembroke, and joined Philip's
forces in August in time to take part in the great victory of St.
Quentin. In October the little army returned home in triumph, but the
gleam of success vanished suddenly away. In the autumn of 1557 the
English ships were defeated in an attack on the Orkneys. In January 1558
the Duke of Guise flung himself with characteristic secrecy and energy
upon Calais and compelled it to surrender before succour could arrive.
"The chief jewel of the realm," as Mary herself called it, was suddenly
reft away; and the surrender of Guisnes, which soon followed, left
England without a foot of land on the Continent.

[Sidenote: Mary and Ireland.]

Bitterly as the blow was felt, the Council, though passionately pressed
by the Queen, could find neither money nor men for any attempt to
recover the town. The war indeed went steadily for Spain and her allies;
and Philip owed his victory at Gravelines in the summer of 1558 mainly
to the opportune arrival of ten English ships of war which opened fire
on the flank of the French army that lay open to the sea. But England
could not be brought to take further part in the contest. The levies
which were being raised mutinied and dispersed. The forced loan to
which Mary was driven to resort came in slowly. The treasury was drained
not only by the opening of the war with France but by the opening of a
fresh strife in Ireland. To the struggle of religion which had begun
there under the Protectorate the accession of Mary had put an end. The
shadowy form of the earlier Irish Protestantism melted quietly away.
There were in fact no Protestants in Ireland save the new bishops; and
when Bale had fled over sea from his diocese of Ossory and his
fellow-prelates had been deprived the Irish Church resumed its old
appearance. No attempt indeed was made to restore the monasteries; and
Mary exercised her supremacy, deposed or appointed bishops, and
repudiated Papal interference with her ecclesiastical acts as vigorously
as her father. But the Mass was restored, the old modes of religious
worship were again held in honour, and religious dissension between the
Government and its Irish subjects came for the time to an end. With the
close however of one danger came the rise of another. England was
growing tired of the policy of conciliation which had been steadily
pursued by Henry the Eighth and his successor. As yet it had been
rewarded with precisely the sort of success which Wolsey and Cromwell
anticipated. The chiefs had come quietly in to the plan, and their septs
had followed them in submission to the new order. "The winning of the
Earl of Desmond was the winning of the rest of Munster with small
charges. The making O'Brien an Earl made all that country obedient." The
Macwilliam became Lord Clanrickard, and the Fitzpatricks Barons of Upper
Ossory. A visit of the great northern chief who had accepted the title
of Earl of Tyrone to the English Court was regarded as a marked step in
the process of civilization.

[Sidenote: The Irish War.]

In the south, where the system of English law was slowly spreading, the
chieftains sate on the bench side by side with the English justices of
the peace; and something had been done to check the feuds and disorder
of the wild tribes between Limerick and Tipperary. "Men may pass quietly
throughout these countries without danger of robbery or other
displeasure." In the Clanrickard county, once wasted with war,
"ploughing increaseth daily." In Tyrone and the north however the old
disorder reigned without a check; and everywhere the process of
improvement tried the temper of the English Deputies by the slowness of
its advance. The only hope of any real progress lay in patience; and
there were signs that the Government at Dublin found it hard to wait.
The "rough handling" of the chiefs by Sir Edward Bellingham, a Lord
Deputy under the Protector Somerset, roused a spirit of revolt that only
subsided when the poverty of the Exchequer forced him to withdraw the
garrisons he had planted in the heart of the country. His successor in
Mary's reign, Lord Sussex, made raid after raid to no purpose on the
obstinate tribes of the north, burning in one the Cathedral of Armagh
and three other churches. A far more serious breach in the system of
conciliation was made when the project of English colonization which
Henry had steadily rejected was adopted by the same Lord Deputy, and
when the country of the O'Connors was assigned to English settlers and
made shire-land under the names of King's and Queen's Counties in honour
of Philip and Mary. A savage warfare began at once between the planters
and the dispossessed septs, a warfare which only ended in the following
reign in the extermination of the Irishmen, and commissioners were
appointed to survey waste lands with the aim of carrying the work of
colonization into other districts. The pressure of the war against
France put an end to these wider projects, but the strife in Meath went
savagely on and proved a sore drain to the Exchequer.

[Sidenote: Scotland and Protestantism.]

Nor was Mary without difficulties in the North. Religiously as well as
politically her reign told in a marked way on the fortunes of Scotland.
If the Queen's policy failed to crush Protestantism in England, it gave
a new impulse to it in the northern realm. In Scotland the wealth and
worldliness of the great churchmen had long ago spread a taste for
heresy among the people; and Lollardry survived as a power north of the
border long after it had almost died out to the south of it. The impulse
of the Lutheran movement was seen in the diffusion of the new opinions
by a few scholars, such as Wishart and Hamilton; but though Henry the
Eighth pressed his nephew James the Fifth to follow him in the work he
was doing in England, it was plain that the Scotch reformers could look
for little favour from the Crown. The policy of the Scottish kings
regarded the Church as their ally against the turbulent nobles, and
James steadily held its enemies at bay. The Regent, Mary of Guise, clung
to the same policy. But stoutly as the whole nation withstood the
English efforts to acquire a political supremacy, the religious
revolution in England told more and more on the Scotch nobles. No
nobility was so poor as that of Scotland, and nowhere in Europe was the
contrast between their poverty and the riches of the Church so great.
Each step of the vast spoliation that went on south of the border, the
confiscation of the lesser abbeys, the suppression of the greater, the
secularization of chauntries and hospitals, woke a fresh greed in the
baronage of the north. The new opinions soon found disciples among them.
It was a group of Protestant nobles who surprised the Castle of St.
Andrews and murdered Cardinal Beaton. The "Gospellers" from the Lowlands
already formed a marked body in the army that fought at Pinkie Cleugh.
As yet however the growth of the new opinions had been slow, and there
had been till now little public show of resistance to the religion of
the State.

[Sidenote: Knox.]

With the accession of Mary however all was changed. Under Henry and
Edward the Catholicism of Scotland had profited by the national
opposition to a Protestant England; but now that Catholicism was again
triumphant in England Protestantism became far less odious to the Scotch
statesmen. A still greater change was wrought by the marriage with
Philip. Such a match, securing as it did to England the aid of Spain in
any future aggression upon Scotland, became a danger to the northern
realm which not only drew her closer to France but forced her to give
shelter and support to the sectaries who promised to prove a check upon
Mary. Many of the exiles therefore who left England for the sake of
religion found a refuge in Scotland. Amongst these was John Knox. Knox
had been one of the followers of Wishart; he had acted as pastor to the
Protestants who after Beaton's murder held the Castle of St. Andrews,
and had been captured with them by a French force in the summer of 1547.
The Frenchmen sent the heretics to the galleys; and it was as a galley
slave in one of their vessels that Knox next saw his native shores. As
the vessel lay tossing in the bay of St. Andrews, a comrade bade him
look to the land, and asked him if he knew it. "I know it well" was the
answer; "for I see the steeple of that place where God first in public
opened my mouth to His glory; and I am fully persuaded, how weak that
ever I now appear, I shall not depart this life till my tongue glorify
His holy name in the same place!" It was long however before he could
return. Released at the opening of 1549, Knox found shelter in England,
where he became one of the most stirring among the preachers of the day,
and was offered a bishoprick by Northumberland. Mary's accession drove
him again to France. But the new policy of the Regent now opened
Scotland to the English refugees, and it was as one of these that Knox
returned in 1555 to his own country. Although he soon withdrew to take
charge of the English congregation at Frankfort and Geneva his energy
had already given a decisive impulse to the new movement. In a gathering
at the house of Lord Erskine he persuaded the assembly to "refuse all
society with idolatry, and bind themselves to the uttermost of their
power to maintain the true preaching of the Evangile, as God should
offer to their preachers an opportunity." The confederacy woke anew the
jealousy of the government, and persecution revived. But some of the
greatest nobles now joined the reforming cause. The Earl of Morton, the
head of the house of Douglas, the Earl of Argyle, the greatest chieftain
of the west, and above all a bastard son of the late king, Lord James
Stuart, who bore as yet the title of prior of St. Andrews, but who was
to be better known afterwards as the Earl of Murray, placed themselves
at the head of the movement. The remonstrances of Knox from his exile at
Geneva stirred them to interfere in behalf of the persecuted
Protestants; and at the close of 1557 these nobles united with the rest
of the Protestant leaders in an engagement which became memorable as the
first among those Covenants which were to give shape and colour to
Scotch religion.

[Sidenote: The First Covenant.]

"We," ran this solemn bond, "perceiving how Satan in his members, the
Antichrists of our time, cruelly doth rage, seeking to overthrow and to
destroy the Evangel of Christ, and His Congregation, ought according to
our bounden duty to strive in our Master's cause even unto the death,
being certain of our victory in Him. The which our duty being well
considered, we do promise before the Majesty of God and His Congregation
that we, by His grace, shall with all diligence continually apply our
whole power, substance, and our very lives to maintain, set forward, and
establish the most blessed Word of God and His Congregation, and shall
labour at our possibility to have faithful ministers, purely and truly
to minister Christ's Evangel and sacraments to His people. We shall
maintain them, nourish them, and defend them, the whole Congregation of
Christ and every member thereof, at our whole power and wearing of our
lives, against Satan and all wicked power that does intend tyranny or
trouble against the foresaid Congregation. Unto the which Holy Word and
Congregation we do join us, and also do forsake and renounce the
congregation of Satan with all the superstitious abomination and
idolatry thereof: and moreover shall declare ourselves manifestly
enemies thereto by this our faithful promise before God, testified to
His Congregation by our subscription at these presents."

[Sidenote: Scotland and Protestantism.]

The Covenant of the Scotch nobles marked a new epoch in the strife of
religions. Till now the reformers had opposed the doctrine of
nationality to the doctrine of Catholicism. In the teeth of the
pretensions which the Church advanced to a uniformity of religion in
every land, whatever might be its differences of race or government, the
first Protestants had advanced the principle that each prince or people
had alone the right to determine its form of faith and worship. "Cujus
regio" ran the famous phrase which embodied their theory, "ejus
religio." It was the acknowledgement of this principle that the Lutheran
princes obtained at the Diet of Spires; it was on this principle that
Henry based his Act of Supremacy. Its strength lay in the correspondence
of such a doctrine with the political circumstances of the time. It was
the growing feeling of nationality which combined with the growing
developement of monarchical power to establish the theory that the
political and religious life of each nation should be one, and that the
religion of the people should follow the faith of the prince. Had
Protestantism, as seemed at one time possible, secured the adhesion of
all the European princes, such a theory might well have led everywhere
as it led in England to the establishment of the worst of tyrannies, a
tyranny that claims to lord alike over both body and soul. The world was
saved from this danger by the tenacity with which the old religion still
held its power. In half the countries of Europe the disciples of the new
opinions had soon to choose between submission to their conscience and
submission to their prince; and a movement which began in contending for
the religious supremacy of kings ended in those wars of religion which
arrayed nation after nation against their sovereigns. In this religious
revolution Scotland led the way. Her Protestantism was the first to draw
the sword against earthly rulers. The solemn "Covenant" which bound
together her "Congregation" in the face of the regency, which pledged
its members to withdraw from all submission to the religion of the State
and to maintain in the face of the State their liberty of conscience,
opened that vast series of struggles which ended in Germany with the
Peace of Westphalia and in England with the Toleration Act of William
the Third.

[Sidenote: The Exiles.]

The "Covenant" of the lords sounded a bold defiance to the Catholic
reaction across the border. While Mary replaced the Prayer-Book by the
Mass, the Scotch lords resolved that wherever their power extended the
Common Prayer should be read in all churches. While hundreds were going
to the stake in England the Scotch nobles boldly met the burning of
their preachers by a threat of war. "They trouble our preachers," ran
their bold remonstrance against the bishops in the Queen-mother's
presence; "they would murder them and us! shall we suffer this any
longer? No, madam, it shall not be!" and therewith every man put on his
steel bonnet. The Regent was helpless for the moment and could find
refuge only in fair words, words so fair that for a while the sternest
of the reformers believed her to be drifting to their faith. She was in
truth fettered by the need of avoiding civil strife at a time when the
war of England against France made a Scotch war against England
inevitable. The nobles refused indeed to cross the border, but the
threat of a Scotch invasion was one of the dangers against which Mary
Tudor now found herself forced to provide. Nor was the uprise of
Protestantism in Scotland the only result of her policy in giving fire
and strength to the new religion. Each step in the persecution had been
marked by a fresh flight of preachers, merchants, and gentry across the
seas. "Some fled into France, some into Flanders, and some into the high
countries of the Empire." As early as 1554 we find groups of such
refugees at Frankfort, Emden, Zürich, and Strassburg. Calvin welcomed
some of them at Geneva; the "lords of Berne" suffered a group to settle
at Aarau; a hundred gathered round the Duchess of Suffolk at Wesel.
Amongst the exiles we find many who were to be bishops and statesmen in
the coming reign. Sir Francis Knollys was at Frankfort, Sir Francis
Walsingham travelled in France; among the divines were the later
archbishops Grindal and Sandys, and the later bishops Horne, Parkhurst,
Aylmer, Jewel, and Cox. Mingled with these were men who had already
played their part in Edward's reign, such as Poinet, the deprived Bishop
of Winchester, Bale, the deprived Bishop of Ossory, and the preachers
Lever and Knox.

[Sidenote: The Extreme Protestants.]

Gardiner had threatened that the fugitives should gnaw their fingers
from hunger, but ample supplies reached them from London merchants and
other partizans in England, and they seem to have lived in fair comfort
while their brethren at home were "going to the fire." Their chief
troubles sprang from strife among themselves. The hotter spirits among
the English Protestants had seen with discontent the retention of much
that they looked on as superstitious and Popish in even the last liturgy
of Edward's reign. That ministers should still wear white surplices,
that litanies should be sung, that the congregation should respond to
the priest, that babes should be signed in baptism with the sign of the
cross, that rings should be given in marriage, filled them with horror.
Hooper, the leader of this party, refused when made bishop to don his
rochet; and had only been driven by imprisonment to vest himself in "the
rags of Popery." Trivial indeed as such questions seemed in themselves,
an issue lay behind them which was enough to make men face worse evils
than a prison. The royal supremacy, the headship of the Church, which
Henry the Eighth claimed for himself and his successors, was, as we have
seen, simply an application of the principle which the states of North
Germany had found so effective in meeting the pretensions of the Emperor
or the Pope. The same sentiment of national life took a new form in the
preservation of whatever the change of religious thought left it
possible to preserve in the national tradition of faith and worship. In
the Lutheran churches, though the Mass was gone, reredos and crucifix
remained untouched. In England the whole ecclesiastical machinery was
jealously preserved. Its Church was still governed by bishops who traced
their succession to the Apostles. The words of its new Prayer-Book
adhered as closely as they might to the words of Missal and Breviary.
What made such an arrangement possible was the weakness of the purely
religious impulse in the earlier stages of the Reformation. In Germany
indeed or in England, the pressure for theological change was small; the
religious impulse told on but a small part, and that not an influential
part, of the population; it did in fact little more than quicken and
bring into action the older and widely-felt passion for ecclesiastical

[Sidenote: Protestantism and the Supremacy.]

But the establishment of this independence at once gave fresh force to
the religious movement. From denouncing the Pope as a usurper of
national rights men passed easily to denounce the Papal system as in
itself Antichristian. In setting aside the voice of the Papacy as a
ground of faith the new churches had been forced to find a ground of
faith in the Bible. But the reading and discussion of the Bible opened
up a thousand questions of belief and ritual, and the hatred of Rome
drew men more and more to find answers to such questions which were
antagonistic to the creed and usages of a past that was identified in
their eyes with the Papacy. Such questions could hardly fail to find an
echo in the people at large. To the bulk of men ecclesiastical
institutions are things dim and remote; and the establishment of
ecclesiastical independence, though it gratified the national pride,
could have raised little personal enthusiasm. But the direct and
personal interest of every man seemed to lie in the right holding of
religious truth, and thus the theological aspect of the Reformation
tended more and more to supersede its political one. All that is
generous and chivalrous in human feeling told in the same direction. To
statesmen like Gardiner or Paget the acceptance of one form of faith or
worship after another as one sovereign after another occupied the throne
seemed, no doubt, a logical and inevitable result of their acceptance of
the royal supremacy. But to the people at large there must have been
something false and ignoble in the sight of a statesman or a priest who
had cast off the Mass under Edward to embrace it again under Mary, and
who was ready again to cast it off at the will of Mary's successor. If
worship and belief were indeed spiritual things, if they had any
semblance of connexion with divine realities, men must have felt that it
was impossible to put them on and off at a king's caprice. It was this,
even more than the natural pity which they raised, that gave their
weight to the Protestant martyrdoms under Mary. They stood out in
emphatic protest against the doctrine of local religion, of a belief
dictated by the will of kings. From the Primate of the Church to the
"blind girl" who perished at Colchester, three hundred were found in
England who chose rather to go to the fire than to take up again at the
Queen's will what their individual conscience had renounced as a lie
against God.

[Sidenote: Calvin.]

But from the actual assertion of such a right of the individual
conscience to find and hold what was true, even those who witnessed for
it by their death would have shrunk. Driven by sheer force of fact from
the theory of a national and royal faith, men still shuddered to stand
alone. The old doctrine of a Catholic Christianity flung over them its
spell. Rome indeed they looked on as Antichrist, but the doctrine which
Rome had held so long and so firmly, the doctrine that truth should be
coextensive with the world and not limited by national boundaries, that
the Church was one in all countries and among all peoples, that there
was a Christendom which embraced all kingdoms and a Christian law that
ruled peoples and kings, became more and more the doctrine of Rome's
bitterest opponents. It was this doctrine which found its embodiment in
John Calvin, a young French scholar, driven in early manhood from his
own country by the persecution of Francis the First. Calvin established
himself at Basle, and produced there in 1535 at the age of twenty-six a
book which was to form the theology of the Huguenot churches, his
"Institutes of the Christian Religion." What was really original in this
work was Calvin's doctrine of the organization of the Church and of its
relation to the State. The base of the Christian republic was with him
the Christian man, elected and called of God, preserved by His grace
from the power of sin, predestinate to eternal life. Every such
Christian man is in himself a priest, and every group of such men is a
Church, self-governing, independent of all save God, supreme in its
authority over all matters ecclesiastical and spiritual. The
constitution of such a church, where each member as a Christian was
equal before God, necessarily took a democratic form. In Calvin's theory
of Church government it is the Church which itself elects its lay elders
and lay deacons for purposes of administration; it is with the approval
and consent of the Church that elders and deacons with the existing body
of pastors elect new ministers. It is through these officers that the
Church exercises its power of the keys, the power of diffusing the truth
and the power of correcting error. To the minister belong the preaching
of the word and the direction of all religious instruction; to the body
of ministers belong the interpretation of scripture and the decision of
doctrine. On the other hand the administration of discipline, the
supervision of the moral conduct of each professing Christian, the
admonition of the erring, the excommunication and exclusion from the
body of the Church of the unbelieving and the utterly unworthy, belong
to the Consistory, the joint assembly of ministers and elders. To this
discipline princes as well as common men are alike subject; princes as
well as common men must take their doctrine from the ministers of the

[Sidenote: Calvinism.]

The claims of the older faith to spiritual and ecclesiastical supremacy
over the powers of earth reappeared in this theory. Calvin like the
Papacy ignored all national independence, all pretensions of peoples as
such to create their own system of church doctrine or church government.
Doctrine and government he held to be already laid down in the words of
the Bible, and all questions that rose out of those words came under the
decision of the ecclesiastical body of ministers. Wherever a reformed
religion appeared, there was provided for it a simple but orderly
organization which in its range and effectiveness rivalled that of the
older Catholicism. On the other hand this organization rested on a
wholly new basis; spiritual and ecclesiastical power came from below not
from above; the true sovereign in this Christian state was not Pope or
Bishop but the Christian man. Despotic as the authority of pastor and
elders seemed, pastor and elders were alike the creation of the whole
congregation, and their judgement could in the last resort be adopted or
set aside by it. Such a system stood out in bold defiance against the
tendencies of the day. On its religious side it came into conflict with
that principle of nationality, of ecclesiastical as well as civil
subjection to the prince, on which the reformed Churches and above all
the Church of England had till now been built up. As a vast and
consecrated democracy it stood in contrast with the whole social and
political framework of the European nations. Grave as we may count the
faults of Calvinism, alien as its temper may in many ways be from the
temper of the modern world, it is in Calvinism that the modern world
strikes its roots, for it was Calvinism that first revealed the worth
and dignity of Man. Called of God, and heir of heaven, the trader at his
counter and the digger in his field suddenly rose into equality with the
noble and the king.

[Sidenote: Calvin and the Exiles.]

It was this system that Calvin by a singular fortune was able to put
into actual working in the little city of Geneva, where the party of the
Reformation had become master and called him in 1536 to be their
spiritual head. Driven out but again recalled, his influence made Geneva
from 1541 the centre of the Protestant world. The refugees who crowded
to the little town from persecution in France, in the Netherlands, in
England, found there an exact and formal doctrine, a rigid discipline of
manners and faith, a system of church government, a form of church
worship, stripped, as they held, of the last remnant of the
superstitions of the past. Calvin himself with his austere and frugal
life, his enormous industry, his power of government, his quick
decision, his undoubting self-confidence, his unswerving will, remained
for three-and-twenty years till his death in 1564 supreme over
Protestant opinion. His influence told heavily on England. From the hour
of Cromwell's fall the sympathies of the English reformers had drawn
them, not to the Lutheran Churches of North Germany, but to the more
progressive Churches of the Rhineland and the Netherlands: and on the
critical question of the Lord's Supper which mainly divided the two
great branches of the Reformation Cranmer and his partizans became more
definitely anti-sacramentarian as the years went by. At Edward's death
the exiles showed their tendencies by seeking refuge not with the
Lutheran Churches of North Germany but with the Calvinistic Churches of
Switzerland or the Rhine; and contact with such leaders as Bullinger at
Zürich or Calvin at Geneva could hardly fail to give fresh vigour to the
party which longed for a closer union with the foreign churches and a
more open breach with the past.

[Sidenote: The troubles at Frankfort.]

The results of this contact first showed themselves at Frankfort. At the
instigation of Whittingham, who in Elizabeth's days became Dean of
Durham, a body of English exiles that had found shelter there resolved
to reform both worship and discipline. The obnoxious usages were
expunged from the Prayer-Book, omissions were made in the communion
service, a minister and deacons chosen, and rules drawn up for church
government after the Genevan model. Free at last "from all dregs of
superstitious ceremonies" the Frankfort refugees thanked God "that had
given them such a church in a strange land wherein they might hear God's
holy word preached, the sacraments rightly ministered, and discipline
used, which in their own country could never be obtained." But their
invitation to the other English exiles to join them in the enjoyment of
these blessings met with a steady repulse. Lever and the exiles at
Zürich refused to come unless they might "altogether serve and praise
God as freely and uprightly as the order last taken in the Church of
England permitteth and presenteth, for we are fully determined to admit
and use no other." The main body of the exiles who were then gathered at
Strassburg echoed the refusal. Knox however, who had been chosen
minister by the Frankfort congregation, moved rapidly forward, rejecting
the communion service altogether as superstitious, and drawing up a new
"order" of worship after the Genevan model. But in the spring of 1555
these efforts were foiled by the arrival of fresh exiles from England of
a more conservative turn: the reformers were outvoted; Knox was driven
from the town by the magistrates "in fear of the Emperor" whom he had
outraged in an "Admonition" to the English people which he had lately
issued; and the English service was restored. Whittingham and his
adherents, still resolute, as Bale wrote, "to erect a Church of the
Purity" (we may perhaps trace in the sneer the origin of their later
name of Puritans), found a fresh refuge at Basle and Geneva, where the
leaders of the party occupied themselves in a metrical translation of
the Psalms which left its traces on English psalmody and in the
production of what was afterwards known as the Geneva Bible.

[Sidenote: The seditious books.]

Petty as this strife at Frankfort may seem, it marks the first open
appearance of English Puritanism, and the beginning of a struggle which
widened through the reign of Elizabeth till under the Stuarts it broke
England in pieces. But busy as they were in strife among themselves, the
exiles were still more busy in fanning the discontent at home. Books,
pamphlets, broadsides, were written and sent for distribution to
England. The violence of their language was incredible. No sooner had
Bonner issued his injunctions than Bale denounced him in a fierce reply
as "a beastly belly-god and damnable dung-hill." With a spirit worthy of
the "bloody bitesheeps" whom he attacked, the ex-Bishop of Ossory
regretted that when Henry plucked down Becket's shrine he had not burned
the idolatrous priests upon it. It probably mattered little to Bale that
at the moment when he wrote not a single Protestant had as yet been sent
to the stake; but language such as this was hardly likely to stir Mary
to a spirit of moderation. The Spanish marriage gave the refugees a
fairer opportunity of attack, and the Government was forced to make
enquiries of the wardens of city gilds "whether they had seen or heard
of any of these books which had come from beyond seas." The violence of
the exiles was doubled by the suppression of Wyatt's revolt. Poinet, the
late Bishop of Winchester, who had taken part in it, fled over sea to
write a "Sharp Tractate of political power" in which he discussed the
question "whether it be lawful to depose an evil governor and kill a

[Sidenote: Knox and Goodman.]

But with the actual outbreak of persecution and the death of Cranmer all
restraint was thrown aside. In his "First Blast of the Trumpet against
the Monstrous Regiment of Women" Knox denounced Mary as a Jezebel, a
traitress, and a bastard. He declared the rule of women to be against
the law of Nature and of God. The duty, whether of the estates or people
of the realm, was "first to remove from honour and authority that
monster in nature; secondarily, if any presume to defend that impiety,
they ought not to fear first to pronounce, then after to execute against
them the sentence of death." To keep the oath of allegiance was "nothing
but plain rebellion against God." "The day of vengeance," burst out the
writer, "which shall apprehend that horrible monster, Jezebel of
England, and such as maintain her monstrous cruelty is already appointed
in the counsel of the Eternal; and I verily believe that it is so nigh
that she shall not reign so long in tyranny as hitherto she hath done,
when God shall declare himself her enemy." Another exile, Goodman,
enquired "how superior powers ought to be obeyed of their subjects; and
wherein they may lawfully by God's word be disobeyed and resisted." His
book was a direct summons to rebellion. "By giving authority to an
idolatrous woman" Goodman wrote to his English fellow-subjects, "ye
have banished Christ and his Gospel. Then in taking the same authority
from her you shall restore Christ and his word, and shall do well. In
obeying her you have disobeyed God; then in disobeying her you shall
please God." "Though it should appear at the first sight," he urged, "a
great disorder that the people should take unto them the punishment of
transgressions, yet when the magistrates and other officers cease to do
their duties they are as it were without officers, yea, worse than if
they had none at all, and then God giveth the sword into the people's
hand." And what the people were to do with the sword Poinet had already
put very clearly. It was the "ungodly serpent Mary" who was "the chief
instrument of all this present misery in England." "Now both by God's
laws and man's," concluded the bishop, "she ought to be punished with
death, as an open idolatress in the sight of God, and a cruel murderer
of His saints before men, and merciless traitress to her own native

Behind the wild rhetoric of words like these lay the new sense of a
prophetic power, the sense of a divine commission given to the preachers
of the Word to rebuke nobles and kings. At the moment when the policy of
Cromwell crushed the Church as a political power and freed the growing
Monarchy from the constitutional check which its independence furnished,
a new check offered itself in the very enthusiasm which sprang out of
the wreck of the great religious body. Men stirred with a new sense of
righteousness and of a divine government of the world, men too whose
natural boldness was quickened and fired by daily contact with the older
seers who rebuked David or Jezebel, could not hold their peace in the
presence of wrong. While nobles and statesmen were cowering in silence
before the dreaded power of the kingship the preachers spoke bluntly
out. Not only Latimer, but Knox, Grindal, and Lever had uttered fiery
remonstrances against the plunderers of Edward's reign. Bradford had
threatened them with the divine judgement which at last overtook them.
"'The judgement of the Lord! The judgement of the Lord!' cried he, with
a lamentable voice and weeping tears." Wise or unwise, the pamphlets of
the exiles only carried on this theory to its full developement. The
great conception of the mediæval Church, that of the responsibility of
kings to a spiritual power, was revived at an hour when kingship was
trampling all responsibility to God or man beneath its feet. Such a
revival was to have large and beneficial issues in our later history.
Gathering strength under Elizabeth, it created at the close of her reign
that moral force of public opinion which under the name of Puritanism
brought the acts and policy of our kings to the tests of reason and the
Gospel. However ill directed that force might be, however erroneously
such tests were often applied, it is to this new force that we owe the
restoration of liberty and the establishment of religious freedom. As
the voice of the first Christian preachers had broken the despotism of
the Roman Empire, so the voice of the preachers of Puritanism broke the
despotism of the English Monarchy.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth.]

But great as their issues were to be, for the moment these protests only
quickened the persecution at home. We can hardly wonder that the arrival
of Goodman's book in England in the summer of 1558 was followed by stern
measures to prevent the circulation of such incentives to revolt.
"Whereas divers books" ran a royal proclamation, "filled with heresy,
sedition, and treason, have of late and be daily brought into the realm
out of foreign countries and places beyond seas, and some also covertly
printed within this realm and cast abroad in sundry parts thereof,
whereby not only God is dishonoured but also encouragement is given to
disobey lawful princes and governors," any person possessing such books
"shall be reported and taken for a rebel, and shall without delay be
executed for that offence according to the order of martial law." But
what really robbed these pamphlets of all force for harm was the
prudence and foresight of the people itself. Never indeed did the nation
show its patient good sense more clearly than in the later years of
Mary's reign. While fires blazed in Smithfield and news of defeat came
from over sea, while the hot voices of Protestant zealots hounded men on
to assassination and revolt, the bulk of Englishmen looked quietly from
the dying Queen to the girl who in a little while must wear her crown.
What nerved men to endure the shame and bloodshed about them was the
certainty of the speedy succession of the daughter of Anne Boleyn.
Elizabeth was now in her twenty-fifth year. Personally she had much of
her mother's charm with more than her mother's beauty. Her figure was
commanding, her face long but queenly and intelligent, her eyes quick
and fine. She had grown up amidst the liberal culture of Henry's court a
bold horsewoman, a good shot, a graceful dancer, a skilled musician, and
an accomplished scholar. Even among the highly-trained women who caught
the impulse of the New Learning she stood in the extent of her
acquirements without a peer. Ascham, who succeeded Grindal and Cheke in
the direction of her studies, tells us how keen and resolute was
Elizabeth's love of learning, even in her girlhood. At sixteen she
already showed "a man's power of application" to her books. She had read
almost the whole of Cicero and a great part of Livy. She began the day
with the study of the New Testament in Greek, and followed this up by
reading selected orations of Isocrates and the tragedies of Sophocles.
She could speak Latin with fluency and Greek moderately well. Her love
of classical culture lasted through her life. Amidst the press and cares
of her later reign we find Ascham recording how "after dinner I went up
to read with the Queen's majesty that noble oration of Demosthenes
against Æschines." At a later time her Latin served her to rebuke the
insolence of a Polish ambassador, and she could "rub up her rusty Greek"
at need to bandy pedantry with a Vice-Chancellor. But Elizabeth was far
as yet from being a mere pedant. She could already speak French and
Italian as fluently as her mother-tongue. In later days we find her
familiar with Ariosto and Tasso. The purity of her literary taste, the
love for a chaste and simple style, which Ascham noted with praise in
her girlhood, had not yet perished under the influence of euphuism. But
even amidst the affectation and love of anagrams and puerilities which
sullied her later years Elizabeth remained a lover of letters and of all
that was greatest and purest in letters. She listened with delight to
the "Faery Queen," and found a smile for "Master Spenser" when he
appeared in her presence.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and Mary.]

From the bodily and mental energy of her girlhood, the close of Edward's
reign drew Elizabeth at nineteen to face the sterner problems of
religion and politics. In the daring attempt of Northumberland to place
Jane Grey on the throne Elizabeth's rights were equally set aside with
those of Mary; and the first public act of the girl was to call the
gentry to her standard and to join her sister with five hundred
followers in her train. But the momentary union was soon dissolved. The
daughter of Catharine could look with little but hate on the daughter of
Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth's tendency to the "new religion" jarred with the
Queen's bigotry; and the warnings of the imperial ambassador were hardly
needful to spur Mary to watch jealously a possible pretender to her
throne. The girl bent to the Queen's will in hearing mass, but her
manner showed that the compromise was merely a matter of obedience, and
fed the hopes of the Protestant zealots who saw in the Spanish marriage
a chance of driving Mary from the throne. The resolve which the Queen
showed to cancel her sister's right of succession only quickened the
project for setting Elizabeth in her place; and it was to make Elizabeth
their sovereign that Suffolk rose in Leicestershire and Wyatt and his
Kentishmen marched against London Bridge. The failure of the rising
seemed to ensure her doom. The Emperor pressed for her death as a
security for Philip on his arrival; and the detection of a
correspondence with the French king served as a pretext for her
committal to the Tower. The fierce Tudor temper broke through
Elizabeth's self-control as she landed at Traitor's Gate. "Are all
these harnessed men there for me?" she cried as she saw the guard; "it
needed not for me, being but a weak woman!" and passionately calling on
the soldiers to "bear witness that I come as no traitor!" she flung
herself down on a stone in the rain and refused to enter her prison.
"Better sitting here than in a worse place," she cried; "I know not
whither you will bring me." But Elizabeth's danger was less than it
seemed. Wyatt denied to the last her complicity in the revolt, and in
spite of Gardiner's will to "go roundly to work" with her the Lords of
the Council forced Mary to set her free. The Queen's terrors however
revived with her hopes of a child in the summer of 1555. To Mary her
sister seemed the one danger which threatened the succession of her
coming babe and the vast issues which hung on it, and Elizabeth was
summoned to her sister's side and kept a close prisoner at Hampton
Court. Philip joined in this precaution, for "holding her in his power
he could depart safely and without peril" in the event of the Queen's
death in childbirth; and other plans were perhaps already stirring his
breast. Should Mary die, a fresh match might renew his hold on England;
"he might hope," writes the Venetian ambassador, "with the help of many
of the nobility, won over by his presents and favours, to marry her
(Elizabeth) again, and thus succeed anew to the crown."

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and Philip.]

But whatever may have been Philip's designs, the time had not as yet
come for their realization; the final disappointment of the Queen's
hopes of childbirth set Elizabeth free, and in July she returned to her
house at Ashridge. From this moment her position was utterly changed.
With the disappearance of all chance of offspring from the Queen and the
certainty of Mary's coming death her sister's danger passed away.
Elizabeth alone stood between England and the succession of Mary Stuart;
and, whatever might be the wishes of the Queen, the policy of the House
of Austria forced it to support even the daughter of Anne Boleyn against
a claimant who would bind England to the French monarchy. From this
moment therefore Philip watched jealously over Elizabeth's safety. On
his departure for the Continent he gave written instructions to the
Queen to show favour to her sister, and the charge was repeated to those
of his followers whom he left behind him. What guarded her even more
effectually was the love of the people. When Philip at a later time
claimed Elizabeth's gratitude for his protection she told him bluntly
that her gratitude was really due neither to him nor her nobles, though
she owned her obligations to both, but to the English people. It was
they who had saved her from death and hindered all projects for barring
her right to the throne. "It is the people," she said, "who have placed
me where I am now." It was indeed their faith in Elizabeth's speedy
succession that enabled Englishmen to bear the bloodshed and shame of
Mary's later years, and to wait patiently for the end.

Nor were these years of waiting without value for Elizabeth herself. The
steady purpose, the clear perception of a just policy which ran through
her wonderful reign, were formed as the girl looked coolly on at the
chaos of bigotry and misrule which spread before her. More and more she
realized what was to be the aim of her after life, the aim of reuniting
the England which Edward and Mary alike had rent into two warring
nations, of restoring again that English independence which Mary was
trailing at the feet of Spain. With such an aim she could draw to her
the men who, indifferent like herself to purely spiritual
considerations, and estranged from Mary's system rather by its political
than its religious consequences, were anxious for the restoration of
English independence and English order. It was among these "Politicals,"
as they were soon to be called, that Elizabeth found at this moment a
counsellor who was to stand by her side through the long years of her
after reign. William Cecil sprang from the smaller gentry whom the
changes of the time were bringing to the front. He was the son of a
Yeoman of the Wardrobe at Henry's court; but his abilities had already
raised him at the age of twenty-seven to the post of secretary to the
Duke of Somerset, and through Somerset's Protectorate he remained high
in his confidence. He was seized by the Lords on the Duke's arrest, and
even sent to the Tower; but he was set at liberty with his master, and
his ability was now so well known that a few months later saw him
Secretary of State under Northumberland. The post and the knighthood
which accompanied it hardly compensated for the yoke which
Northumberland's pride laid upon all who served him, or for the risks in
which his ambition involved them. Cecil saw with a fatal clearness the
silent opposition of the whole realm to the system of the Protectorate,
and the knowledge of this convinced him that the Duke's schemes for a
change in the succession were destined to failure. On the disclosure of
the plot to set Mary aside he withdrew for some days from the court, and
even meditated flight from the country, till fear of the young king's
wrath drew him back to share in the submission of his fellow-counsellors
and to pledge himself with them to carry the new settlement into effect.
But Northumberland had no sooner quitted London than Cecil became the
soul of the intrigues by which the royal Council declared themselves in
Mary's favour. His desertion of the Duke secured him pardon from the
Queen, and though he was known to be in heart "a heretic" he continued
at court, conformed like Elizabeth to the established religion,
confessed and attended mass. Cecil was employed in bringing Pole to
England and in attending him in embassies abroad. But his caution held
him aloof from any close connexion with public affairs. He busied
himself in building at Burghley and in the culture of the Church lands
he had won from Edward the Sixth, while he drew closer to the girl who
alone could rescue England from the misgovernment of Mary's rule. Even
before the Queen's death it was known that Cecil would be the chief
counsellor of the coming reign. "I am told for certain," the Spanish
ambassador wrote to Philip after a visit to Elizabeth during the last
hours of Mary's life, "that Cecil who was secretary to King Edward will
be her secretary also. He has the character of a prudent and virtuous
man, although a heretic." But it was only from a belief that Cecil
retained at heart the convictions of his earlier days that men could
call him a heretic. In all outer matters of faith or worship he
conformed to the religion of the state.

[Sidenote: The Politicals.]

It is idle to charge Cecil, or the mass of Englishmen who conformed with
him in turn to the religion of Henry, of Edward, of Mary, and of
Elizabeth, with baseness or hypocrisy. They followed the accepted
doctrine of the time--that every realm, through its rulers, had the sole
right of determining what should be the form of religion within its
bounds. What the Marian persecution was gradually pressing on such men
was a conviction, not of the falsehood of such a doctrine, but of the
need of limiting it. Under Henry, under Edward, under Mary, no
distinction had been drawn between inner belief and outer conformity.
Every English subject was called upon to adjust his conscience as well
as his conduct to the varying policy of the state. But the fires of
Smithfield had proved that obedience such as this could not be exacted
save by a persecution which filled all England with horror. Such a
persecution indeed failed in the very end for which it was wrought.
Instead of strengthening religious unity, it gave a new force to
religious separation; it enlisted the conscience of the zealot in the
cause of resistance; it secured the sympathy of the great mass of
waverers to those who withstood the civil power. To Cecil, as to the
purely political statesmen of whom he was the type, such a persecution
seemed as needless as it was mischievous. Conformity indeed was
necessary, for men could as yet conceive of no state without a religion
or of civil obedience apart from compliance with the religious order of
the state. But only outer conformity was needed. That no man should set
up a worship other than that of the nation at large, that every subject
should duly attend at the national worship, Cecil believed to be
essential to public order. But he saw no need for prying into the actual
beliefs of those who conformed to the religious laws of the realm, nor
did he think that such beliefs could be changed by the fear of
punishment. While refusing freedom of worship therefore, Cecil, like
Elizabeth, was ready to concede freedom of conscience. And in this
concession we can hardly doubt that the bulk of Englishmen went with
him. Catholics shared with Protestants the horror of Mary's persecution.
To Protestantism indeed the horror of the persecution had done much to
give a force such as it had never had before. The number of Protestants
grew with every murder done in the cause of Catholicism. But they still
remained a small part of the realm. What the bulk of Englishmen had been
driven to by the martyrdoms was not a change of creed, but a longing for
religious peace and for such a system of government as, without
destroying the spiritual oneness of the nation, would render a religious
peace possible. And such a system of government Cecil and Elizabeth were
prepared to give.

[Sidenote: Mary's death.]

We may ascribe to Cecil's counsels somewhat of the wise patience with
which Elizabeth waited for the coming crown. Her succession was assured,
and the throng of visitors to her presence showed a general sense that
the Queen's end was near. Mary stood lonely and desolate in her realm.
"I will not be buried while I am living, as my sister was," Elizabeth
said in later years. "Do I not know how during her life every one
hastened to me at Hatfield?" The bloodshed indeed went on more busily
than ever. It had spread now from bishops and priests to the people
itself, and the sufferers were sent in batches to the flames. In a
single day thirteen victims, two of them women, were burned at
Stratford-le-Bow. Seventy-three Protestants of Colchester were dragged
through the streets of London tied to a single rope. A new commission
for the suppression of heresy was exempted by royal authority from all
restrictions of law which fettered its activity. But the work of terror
broke down before the silent revolt of the whole nation. The persecution
failed even to put an end to heretical worship. Not only do we find
ministers moving about in London and Kent to hold "secret meetings of
the Gospellers," but up to the middle of 1555 four parishes in Essex
still persisted in using the English-Prayer Book. Open marks of sympathy
at last began to be offered to the victims at the stake. "There were
seven men burned in Smithfield the twenty-eighth day of July," a
Londoner writes in 1558, "a fearful and a cruel proclamation being made
that under pain of present death no man should either approach nigh unto
them, touch them, neither speak to them nor comfort them. Yet were they
so comfortably taken by the hand and so goodly comforted,
notwithstanding that fearful proclamation and the present threatenings
of the sheriffs and serjeants, that the adversaries themselves were
astonished." The crowd round the fire shouted "Amen" to the martyrs'
prayers, and prayed with them that God would strengthen them. What
galled Mary yet more was the ill will of the Pope. Paul the Fourth still
adhered to his demand for full restoration of the Church lands, and held
England as only partly reconciled to the Holy See. He was hostile to
Philip; he was yet more hostile to Pole. At this moment he dealt a last
blow at the Queen by depriving Pole of his legatine power, and was
believed to be on the point of calling him to answer a charge of heresy.
Even when she was freed from part of her troubles in the autumn of 1558
by the opening of conferences for peace at Cambray a fresh danger
disclosed itself. The demands of the queen's envoys for the restoration
of Calais met with so stubborn a refusal from France that it seemed as
if England would be left alone to bear the brunt of a future struggle,
for Mary's fierce pride, had she lived, could hardly have bowed to the
surrender of the town. But the Queen was dying. Her health had long been
weak, and the miseries and failure of her reign hastened the progress of
disease. Already enfeebled, she was attacked as winter drew near by a
fever which was at this time ravaging the country, and on the
seventeenth of November, 1558, she breathed her last.




[Sidenote: Elizabeth's accession.]

Tradition still points out the tree in Hatfield Park beneath which
Elizabeth was sitting when she received the news of her peaceful
accession to the throne. She fell on her knees, and drawing a long
breath, exclaimed at last, "It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous
in our eyes." To the last these words remained stamped on the golden
coinage of the Queen. The sense never left her that her preservation and
her reign were the issues of a direct interposition of God. Daring and
self-confident indeed as was her temper, it was awed into seriousness by
the weight of responsibility which fell on her with her sister's death.
Never had the fortunes of England sunk to a lower ebb. Dragged at the
heels of Philip into a useless and ruinous war, the country was left
without an ally save Spain. The loss of Calais gave France the mastery
of the Channel, and seemed to English eyes "to introduce the French
King within the threshold of our house." "If God start not forth to the
helm," wrote the Council in an appeal to the country, "we be at the
point of greatest misery that can happen to any people, which is to
become thrall to a foreign nation." The French king in fact "bestrode
the realm, having one foot in Calais and the other in Scotland." Ireland
too was torn with civil war, while Scotland, always a danger in the
north, had become formidable through the French marriage of its queen.
In presence of enemies such as these, the country lay helpless, without
army or fleet, or the means of manning one, for the treasury, already
drained by the waste of Edward's reign, had been utterly exhausted by
the restoration of the Church lands in possession of the Crown and by
the cost of the war with France. But formidable as was the danger from
without, it was little to the danger from within. The country was
humiliated by defeat and brought to the verge of rebellion by the
bloodshed and misgovernment of Mary's reign. The social discontent which
had been trampled down for a while by the horsemen of Somerset remained
a menace to further order. Above all, the religious strife had passed
beyond hope of reconciliation now that the reformers were parted from
their opponents by the fires of Smithfield and the party of the New
Learning all but dissolved. The more earnest Catholics were bound
helplessly to Rome. The temper of the Protestants, burned at home or
driven into exile abroad, had become a fiercer thing, and the
Calvinistic refugees were pouring back from Geneva with dreams of
revolutionary changes in Church and State.

[Sidenote: Her religious policy.]

It was with the religious difficulty that Elizabeth was called first to
deal; and the way in which she dealt with it showed at once the peculiar
bent of her mind. The young Queen was not without a sense of religion;
at moments of peril or deliverance throughout her reign her
acknowledgements of a divine protection took a strange depth and
earnestness. But she was almost wholly destitute of spiritual emotion,
or of any consciousness of the vast questions with which theology strove
to deal. While the world around her was being swayed more and more by
theological beliefs and controversies, Elizabeth was absolutely
untouched by them. She was a child of the Italian Renascence rather than
of the New Learning of Colet or Erasmus, and her attitude towards the
enthusiasm of her time was that of Lorenzo de' Medici towards
Savonarola. Her mind was untroubled by the spiritual problems which were
vexing the minds around her; to Elizabeth indeed they were not only
unintelligible, they were a little ridiculous. She had been brought up
under Henry amidst the ritual of the older Church; under Edward she had
submitted to the English Prayer-Book, and drunk in much of the
Protestant theology; under Mary she was ready after a slight resistance
to conform again to the mass. Her temper remained unchanged through the
whole course of her reign. She showed the same intellectual contempt for
the superstition of the Romanist as for the bigotry of the Protestant.
While she ordered Catholic images to be flung into the fire, she quizzed
the Puritans as "brethren in Christ." But she had no sort of religious
aversion from either Puritan or Papist. The Protestants grumbled at the
Catholic nobles whom she admitted to the presence. The Catholics
grumbled at the Protestant statesmen whom she called to her
council-board. To Elizabeth on the other hand the arrangement was the
most natural thing in the world. She looked at theological differences
in a purely political light. She agreed with Henry the Fourth that a
kingdom was well worth a mass. It seemed an obvious thing to her to hold
out hopes of conversion as a means of deceiving Philip, or to gain a
point in negotiation by restoring the crucifix to her chapel. The first
interest in her own mind was the interest of public order, and she never
could understand how it could fail to be the first in every one's mind.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's toleration.]

One memorable change marked the nobler side of the policy she brought
with her to the throne. Elizabeth's accession was at once followed by a
close of the religious persecution. Whatever might be the changes that
awaited the country, conformity was no longer to be enforced by the
penalty of death. At a moment when Philip was presiding at _autos-de-fé_
and Henry of France plotting a massacre of his Huguenot subjects, such a
resolve was a gain for humanity as well as a step towards religious
toleration. And from this resolve Elizabeth never wavered. Through all
her long reign, save a few Anabaptists whom the whole nation loathed as
blasphemers of God and dreaded as enemies of social order, no heretic
was "sent to the fire." It was a far greater gain for humanity when the
Queen declared her will to meddle in no way with the consciences of her
subjects. She would hear of no inquisition into a man's private thoughts
on religious matters or into his personal religion. Cecil could boldly
assert in her name at a later time the right of every Englishman to
perfect liberty of religious opinion. Such a liberty of opinion by no
means implied liberty of public worship. On the incompatibility of
freedom of worship with public order Catholic and Protestant were as yet
at one. The most advanced reformers did not dream of contending for a
right to stand apart from the national religion. What they sought was to
make the national religion their own. The tendency of the reformation
had been to press for the religious as well as the political unity of
every state. Even Calvin looked forward to the winning of the nations
to a purer faith without a suspicion that the religious movement which
he headed would end in establishing the right even of the children of
"antichrist" to worship as they would in a Protestant commonwealth. If
the Protestant lords in Scotland had been driven to assert a right of
nonconformity, if the Huguenots of France were following their example,
it was with no thought of asserting the right of every man to worship
God as he would. From the claim of such a right Knox or Coligni would
have shrunk with even greater horror than Elizabeth. What they aimed at
was simply the establishment of a truce till by force or persuasion they
could win the realms that tolerated them for their own. In this matter
therefore Elizabeth was at one with every statesman of her day. While
granting freedom of conscience to her subjects, she was resolute to
exact an outward conformity to the established religion.

[Sidenote: Religion unchanged.]

But men watched curiously to see what religion the Queen would
establish. Even before her accession the keen eye of the Spanish
ambassador had noted her "great admiration for the king her father's
mode of carrying on matters," as a matter of ill omen for the interests
of Catholicism. He had marked that the ladies about her and the
counsellors on whom she seemed about to rely were, like Cecil, "held to
be heretics." "I fear much," he wrote, "that in religion she will not go
right." As keen an instinct warned the Protestants that the tide had
turned. The cessation of the burnings, and the release of all persons
imprisoned for religion, seemed to receive their interpretation when
Elizabeth on her entry into London kissed an English Bible which the
citizens presented to her and promised "diligently to read therein." The
exiles at Strassburg or Geneva flocked home with wild dreams of a
religious revolution and of vengeance upon their foes. But hopes and
fears alike met a startling check. For months there was little change in
either government or religion. If Elizabeth introduced Cecil and his
kinsman, Sir Nicholas Bacon, to her council-board, she retained as yet
most of her sister's advisers. The Mass went on as before, and the Queen
was regular in her attendance at it. As soon as the revival of
Protestantism showed itself in controversial sermons and insults to the
priesthood it was bridled by a proclamation which forbade unlicensed
preaching and enforced silence on the religious controversy. Elizabeth
showed indeed a distaste for the elevation of the Host, and allowed the
Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments to be used in English. But
months passed after her accession before she would go further than this.
A royal proclamation which ordered the existing form of worship to be
observed "till consultation might be had in Parliament by the Queen and
the Three Estates" startled the prelates; and only one bishop could be
found to assist at the coronation of Elizabeth. But no change was made
in the ceremonies of the coronation; the Queen took the customary oath
to observe the liberties of the Church, and conformed to the Catholic
ritual. There was little in fact to excite any reasonable alarm among
the adherents of the older faith, or any reasonable hope among the
adherents of the new. "I will do," the Queen said, "as my father did."
Instead of the reforms of Edward and the Protectorate, the Protestants
saw themselves thrown back on the reforms of Henry the Eighth. Even
Henry's system indeed seemed too extreme for Elizabeth. Her father had
at any rate broken boldly from the Papacy. But the first work of the
Queen was to open negotiations for her recognition with the Papal Court.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and Philip.]

What shaped Elizabeth's course in fact was hard necessity. She found
herself at war with France and Scotland, and her throne threatened by
the claim of the girl who linked the two countries, the claim of Mary
Stuart, at once Queen of Scotland and wife of the Dauphin Francis. On
Elizabeth's accession Mary and Francis assumed by the French king's
order the arms and style of English sovereigns: and if war continued it
was clear that their pretensions would be backed by Henry's forces as
well as by the efforts of the Scots. Against such a danger Philip of
Spain was Elizabeth's only ally. Philip's policy was at this time a
purely conservative one. The vast schemes of ambition which had so often
knit both Pope and Protestants, Germany and France, against his father
were set aside by the young king. His position indeed was very different
from that of Charles the Fifth. He was not Emperor. He had little weight
in Germany. Even in Italy his influence was less than his father's. He
had lost with Mary's death the crown of England. His most valuable
possessions outside Spain, the provinces of the Netherlands, were
disaffected to a foreign rule. All the king therefore aimed at was to
keep his own. But the Netherlands were hard to keep: and with France
mistress of England as of Scotland, and so mistress of the Channel, to
keep them would be impossible. Sheer necessity forbade Philip to suffer
the union of the three crowns of the west on the head of a French king;
and the French marriage of Mary Stuart pledged him to oppose her
pretensions and support Elizabeth's throne. For a moment he even dreamed
of meeting the union of France with Scotland by that union of England
with Spain which had been seen under Mary. He offered Elizabeth his
hand. The match was a more natural one than Philip's union with her
sister, for the young king's age was not far from her own. The offer
however was courteously put aside, for Elizabeth had no purpose of
lending England to the ambition of Spain, nor was it possible for her to
repeat her sister's unpopular experiment. But Philip remained firm in
his support of her throne. He secured for her the allegiance of the
Catholics within her realm, who looked to him as their friend while they
distrusted France as an ally of heretics. His envoys supported her cause
in the negotiations at Cateau-Cambrésis; he suffered her to borrow money
and provide herself with arms in his provinces of the Netherlands. At
such a crisis Elizabeth could not afford to alienate Philip by changes
which would roughly dispel his hopes of retaining her within the bounds
of Catholicism.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and the Papacy.]

Nor is there any sign that Elizabeth had resolved on a defiance of the
Papacy. She was firm indeed to assert her father's claim of supremacy
over the clergy and her own title to the throne. But the difficulties in
the way of an accommodation on these points were such as could be
settled by negotiation; and, acting on Cecil's counsel, Elizabeth
announced her accession to the Pope. The announcement showed her purpose
of making no violent break in the relations of England with the Papal
See. But between Elizabeth and the Papacy lay the fatal question of the
Divorce. To acknowledge the young Queen was not only to own her mother's
marriage, but to cancel the solemn judgement of the Holy See in
Catharine's favour and its solemn assertion of her own bastardy. The
temper of Paul the Fourth took fire at the news. He reproached Elizabeth
with her presumption in ascending the throne, recalled the Papal
judgement which pronounced her illegitimate, and summoned her to submit
her claims to his tribunal. Much of this indignation was no doubt merely
diplomatic. If the Pope listened to the claims of Mary Stuart, which
were urged on him by the French Court, it was probably only with the
purpose of using them to bring pressure to bear on Elizabeth and on the
stubborn country which still refused to restore its lands to the Church
and to make the complete submission which Paul demanded. But Cecil and
the Queen knew that, even had they been willing to pay such a price for
the crown, it was beyond their power to bring England to pay it. The
form too in which Paul had couched his answer admitted of no compromise.
The summons to submit the Queen's claim of succession to the judgement
of Rome produced its old effect. Elizabeth was driven, as Henry had been
driven, to assert the right of the nation to decide on questions which
affected its very life. A Parliament which met in January, 1559,
acknowledged the legitimacy of Elizabeth and her title to the crown.

[Sidenote: The Supremacy re-established.]

Such an acknowledgement in the teeth of the Papal repudiation of Anne
Boleyn's marriage carried with it a repudiation of the supremacy of the
Papacy. It was in vain that the clergy in convocation unanimously
adopted five articles which affirmed their faith in transubstantiation,
their acceptance of the supreme authority of the Popes as "Christ's
vicars and supreme rulers of the Church," and their resolve "that the
authority in all matters of faith and discipline belongs and ought to
belong only to the pastors of the Church, and not to laymen." It was in
vain that the bishops unanimously opposed the Bill for restoring the
royal supremacy when it was brought before the Lords. The "ancient
jurisdiction of the Crown over the Estate ecclesiastical and spiritual"
was restored; the Acts which under Mary re-established the independent
jurisdiction and legislation of the Church were repealed; and the clergy
were called on to swear to the supremacy of the Crown and to abjure all
foreign authority and jurisdiction. Further Elizabeth had no personal
wish to go. A third of the Council and at least two-thirds of the people
were as opposed to any radical changes in religion as the Queen. Among
the gentry the older and wealthier were on the conservative side, and
only the younger and meaner on the other. In the Parliament itself Sir
Thomas White protested that "it was unjust that a religion begun in such
a miraculous way and established by such grave men should be abolished
by a set of beardless boys." Yet even this "beardless" Parliament had
shown a strong conservatism. The Bill which re-established the royal
supremacy met with violent opposition in the Commons, and only passed
through Cecil's adroit manoeuvring.

[Sidenote: Prayer-Book restored.]

But the steps which Elizabeth had taken made it necessary to go further.
If the Protestants were the less numerous, they were the abler and the
more vigorous party, and the break with Rome threw Elizabeth, whether
she would or no, on their support. It was a support that could only be
bought by theological concessions, and above all by the surrender of the
Mass; for to every Protestant the Mass was identified with the fires of
Smithfield, while the Prayer-Book which it had displaced was hallowed by
the memories of the Martyrs. The pressure of the reforming party indeed
would have been fruitless had the Queen still been hampered by danger
from France. Fortunately for their cause the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis
at this juncture freed Elizabeth's hands. By this treaty, which was
practically concluded in March 1559, Calais was left in French holding
on the illusory pledge of its restoration to England eight years later;
but peace was secured and the danger of a war of succession, in which
Mary Stuart would be backed by the arms of France, for a while averted.
Secure from without, Elizabeth could venture to buy the support of the
Protestants within her realm by the restoration of the English
Prayer-Book. Such a measure was far indeed from being meant as an open
break with Catholicism. The use of the vulgar tongue in public worship
was still popular with a large part of the Catholic world; and the Queen
did her best by the alterations she made in Edward's Prayer-Book to
strip it of its more Protestant tone. To the bulk of the people the book
must have seemed merely a rendering of the old service in their own
tongue. As the English Catholics afterwards represented at Rome when
excusing their own use of it, the Prayer-Book "contained neither impiety
nor false doctrine; its prayers were those of the Catholic Church,
altered only so far as to omit the merits and intercession of the
saints." On such a concession as this the Queen felt it safe to venture
in spite of the stubborn opposition of the spiritual estate. She ordered
a disputation to be held in Westminster Abbey before the Houses on the
question, and when the disputation ended in the refusal of the bishops
to proceed, an Act of Uniformity, which was passed in spite of their
strenuous opposition, restored at the close of April the last
Prayer-Book of Edward, and enforced its use on the clergy on pain of

[Sidenote: Pius the Fourth.]

At Rome the news of these changes stirred a fiercer wrath in Paul the
Fourth, and his threats of excommunication were only held in check by
the protests of Philip. The policy of the Spanish king still bound him
to Elizabeth's cause, for the claims of Mary Stuart had been reserved in
the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis and the refusal of France to abandon them
held Spain to its alliance with the Queen. Vexed as he was at the news
of the Acts which re-established the supremacy, Philip ordered his
ambassador to assure Elizabeth he was as sure a friend as ever, and to
soothe the resentment of the English Catholics if it threatened to break
out into revolt. He showed the same temper in his protest against action
at Rome. Paul had however resolved to carry out his threats when his
death and the interregnum which followed gave Elizabeth a fresh respite.
His successor, Pius the Fourth, was of milder temper and leaned rather
to a policy of conciliation. Decisive indeed as the Queen's action may
seem in modern eyes, it was far from being held as decisive at the time.
The Act of Supremacy might be regarded as having been forced upon
Elizabeth by Paul's repudiation of her title to the crown. The
alterations which were made by the Queen's authority in the Prayer-Book
showed a wish to conciliate those who clung to the older faith. It was
clear that Elizabeth had no mind merely to restore the system of the
Protectorate. She set up again the royal supremacy, but she dropped the
words "Head of the Church" from the royal title. The forty-two Articles
of Protestant doctrine which Cranmer had drawn up were left in abeyance.
If the Queen had had her will, she would have retained the celibacy of
the clergy and restored the use of crucifixes in the churches.

[Sidenote: The Clergy and the oath.]

The caution and hesitation with which she enforced on the clergy the
oath required by the Act of Supremacy showed Elizabeth's wish to avoid
the opening of a religious strife. The higher dignitaries indeed were
unsparingly dealt with. The bishops, who with a single exception refused
to take the oath, were imprisoned and deprived. The same measure was
dealt out to most of the archdeacons and deans. But with the mass of the
parish priests a very different course was taken. The Commissioners
appointed in May 1559 were found to be too zealous in October, and
several of the clerical members were replaced by cooler laymen. The
great bulk of the clergy seem neither to have refused nor to have
consented to the oath, but to have left the Commissioners' summons
unheeded and to have stayed quietly at home. Of the nine thousand four
hundred beneficed clergy only a tenth presented themselves before the
Commissioners. Of those who attended and refused the oath a hundred and
eighty-nine were deprived, but many of the most prominent went unharmed.
At Winchester, though the dean and canons of the cathedral, the warden
and fellows of the college, and the master of St. Cross, refused the
oath, only four of these appear in the list of deprivations. Even the
few who suffered proved too many for the purpose of the Queen. In the
more remote parts of the kingdom the proceedings of the visitors
threatened to wake the religious strife which she was endeavouring to
lull to sleep. On the northern border, where the great nobles, Lord
Dacres and the Earls of Cumberland and Westmoreland, were zealous
Catholics, and refused to let the bishop "meddle with them," the clergy
held stubbornly aloof. At Durham a parson was able to protest without
danger that the Pope alone had power in spiritual matters. In Hereford
the town turned out to receive in triumph a party of priests from the
west who had refused the oath. The University of Oxford took refuge in
sullen opposition. In spite of pressure from the Protestant prelates,
who occupied the sees vacated by the deprived bishops, Elizabeth was
firm in her policy of patience, and in December she ordered the
Commissioners in both provinces to suspend their proceedings.

[Sidenote: The Religious Chaos.]

In part indeed of her effort she was foiled by the bitterness of the
reformers. The London mob tore down the crosses in the streets. Her
attempt to retain the crucifix, or to enforce the celibacy of the
priesthood, fell dead before the opposition of the Protestant clergy.
But to the mass of the nation the compromise of Elizabeth seems to have
been fairly acceptable. They saw but little change. Their old vicar or
rector in almost every case remained in his parsonage and ministered in
his church. The new Prayer-Book was for the most part an English
rendering of the old service. Even the more zealous adherents of
Catholicism held as yet that in complying with the order for attendance
at public worship "there could be nothing positively unlawful." Where
party feeling ran high indeed the matter was sometimes settled by a
compromise. A priest would celebrate mass at his parsonage for the more
rigid Catholics, and administer the new communion in church to the more
rigid Protestants. Sometimes both parties knelt together at the same
altar-rails, the one to receive hosts consecrated by the priest at home
after the old usage, the other wafers consecrated in church after the
new. In many parishes of the north no change of service was made at all.
Even where priest and people conformed it was often with a secret belief
that better times were soon to bring back the older observances. As late
as 1569 some of the chief parishes in Sussex were still merely bending
to the storm of heresy. "In the church of Arundel certain altars do
stand yet, to the offence of the godly, which murmur and speak much
against the same. In the town of Battle when a preacher doth come and
speak anything against the Pope's doctrine they will not abide but get
them out of the church. They have yet in the diocese in many places
thereof images hidden and other popish ornaments ready to set up the
mass again within twenty-four hours warning. In many places they keep
yet their chalices, looking to have mass again." Nor was there much new
teaching as yet to stir up strife in those who clung to the older
faith. Elizabeth had no mind for controversies which would set her
people by the ears. "In many churches they have no sermons, not one in
seven years, and some not one in twelve." The older priests of Mary's
days held their peace. The Protestant preachers were few and hampered by
the exaction of licences. In many cases churches had "neither parson,
vicar, nor curate, but a sorry reader." Even where the new clergy were
of higher intellectual stamp they were often unpopular. Many of those
who were set in the place of the displaced clergy roused disgust by
their violence and greed. Chapters plundered their own estates by leases
and fines and by felling timber. The marriages of the clergy became a
scandal, which was increased when the gorgeous vestments of the old
worship were cut up into gowns and bodices for the priests' wives. The
new services sometimes turned into scenes of utter disorder where the
ministers wore what dress they pleased and the communicant stood or sat
as he liked; while the old altars were broken down and the
communion-table was often a bare board upon trestles. Only in the few
places where the more zealous of the reformers had settled was there any
religious instruction. "In many places," it was reported after ten years
of the Queen's rule, "the people cannot yet say their commandments, and
in some not the articles of their belief." Naturally enough, the bulk
of Englishmen were found to be "utterly devoid of religion," and came to
church "as to a May game."

[Sidenote: Parker.]

To modern eyes the Church under Elizabeth would seem little better than
a religious chaos. But England was fairly used to religious confusion,
for the whole machinery of English religion had been thrown out of gear
by the rapid and radical changes of the last two reigns. And to the
Queen's mind a religious chaos was a far less difficulty than the
parting of the nation into two warring Churches which would have been
brought about by a more rigorous policy. She trusted to time to bring
about greater order; and she found in Matthew Parker, whom Pole's death
at the moment of her accession enabled her to raise to the See of
Canterbury, an agent in the reorganization of the Church whose patience
and moderation were akin to her own. To the difficulties which Parker
found indeed in the temper of the reformers and their opponents new
difficulties were sometimes added by the freaks of the Queen herself. If
she had no convictions, she had tastes; and her taste revolted from the
bareness of Protestant ritual and above all from the marriage of
priests. "Leave that alone," she shouted to Dean Nowell from the royal
closet as he denounced the use of images--"stick to your text, Master
Dean, leave that alone!" When Parker was firm in resisting the
introduction of the crucifix or of celibacy, Elizabeth showed her
resentment by an insult to his wife. Married ladies were addressed at
this time as "Madam," unmarried ladies as "Mistress"; but the marriage
of the clergy was still unsanctioned by law, for Elizabeth had refused
to revive the statute of Edward by which it was allowed, and the
position of a priest's wife was legally a very doubtful one. When Mrs.
Parker therefore advanced at the close of a sumptuous entertainment at
Lambeth to take leave of the Queen, Elizabeth feigned a momentary
hesitation. "Madam," she said at last, "I may not call you, and Mistress
I am loath to call you; however, I thank you for your good cheer." But
freaks of this sort had little real weight beside the steady support
which the Queen gave to the Primate in his work of order. The vacant
sees were filled with men from among the exiles, for the most part
learned and able, though far more Protestant than the bulk of their
flocks; the plunder of the Church by the nobles was checked; and at the
close of 1559 England seemed to settle quietly down in a religious

[Sidenote: England Protestant.]

But cautious as had been Elizabeth's movements and skilfully as she had
hidden the real drift of her measures from the bulk of the people, the
religion of England was changed. The old service was gone. The old
bishops were gone. The royal supremacy was again restored. All connexion
with Rome was again broken. The repudiation of the Papacy and the
restoration of the Prayer-Book in the teeth of the unanimous opposition
of the priesthood had established the great principle of the
Reformation, that the form of a nation's faith should be determined not
by the clergy but by the nation itself. Different therefore as was the
temper of the government, the religious attitude of England was once
more what it had been under the Protectorate. At the most critical
moment of the strife between the new religion and the old England had
ranged itself on the side of Protestantism. It was only the later
history of Elizabeth's reign which was to reveal of what mighty import
this Protestantism of England was to prove. Had England remained
Catholic the freedom of the Dutch Republic would have been impossible.
No Henry the Fourth would have reigned in France to save French
Protestantism by the Edict of Nantes. No struggle over far-off seas
would have broken the power of Spain and baffled the hopes which the
House of Austria cherished of winning a mastery over the western world.
Nor could Calvinism have found a home across the northern border. The
first result of the religious change in England was to give a new
impulse to the religious revolution in Scotland.

[Sidenote: Scotch Calvinism.]

In the midst of anxieties at home Elizabeth had been keenly watching the
fortunes of the north. We have seen how the policy of Mary of Guise had
given life and force to the Scottish Reformation. Not only had the
Regent given shelter to the exiled Protestants and looked on at the
diffusion of the new doctrines, but her "fair words" had raised hopes
that the government itself would join the ranks of the reformers. Mary
of Guise had regarded the religious movement in a purely political
light. It was as enemies of Mary Tudor that she gave shelter to the
exiles, and it was to avoid a national strife which would have left
Scotland open to English attack in the war which closed Mary's reign
that the Regent gave "fair words" to the preachers. But with the first
Covenant, with the appearance of the Lords of the Congregation in an
avowed league in the heart of the land, with their rejection of the
state worship and their resolve to enforce a change of religion, her
attitude suddenly altered. To the Regent the new religion was henceforth
but a garb under which the old quarrel of the nobles was breaking out
anew against the Crown. Smooth as were her words, men knew that Mary of
Guise was resolute to withstand religious change. But Elizabeth's
elevation to the throne gave a new fire to the reformers. Conservative
as her earlier policy seemed, the instinct of the Protestants told them
that the new Queen's accession was a triumph for Protestantism. The
Lords at once demanded that all bishops should be chosen by the nobles
and gentry, each priest by his parish, and that divine service should
be henceforth in the vulgar tongue. These demands were rejected by the
bishops, while the royal court in May 1559 summoned the preachers to its
bar and on their refusal to appear condemned them to banishment as
rebels. The sentence was a signal for open strife. The Protestants,
whose strength as yet lay mainly in Fife, had gathered in great numbers
at Perth, and the news stirred them to an outbreak of fury. The images
were torn down from the churches, the monasteries of the town were
sacked and demolished. The riot at Perth was followed by a general
rising. The work of destruction went on along the east coast and through
the Lowlands, while the "Congregation" sprang up everywhere in its
train. The Mass came to an end. The Prayer-Book of Edward was heard in
the churches. The Lords occupied the capital and found its burghers as
zealous in the cause of reformation as themselves. Throughout all these
movements the Lords had been in communication with England, for the old
jealousy of English annexation was now lost in a jealousy of French
conquest. Their jealousy had solid grounds. The marriage of Mary Stuart
with the Dauphin of France had been celebrated in April 1558 and three
days before the wedding the girl-queen had been brought to convey her
kingdom away by deed to the House of Valois. The deed was kept secret;
but Mary's demand of the crown matrimonial for her husband roused
suspicions. It was known that the government of Scotland was discussed
at the French council-board, and whispers came of a suggestion that the
kingdom should be turned into an appanage for a younger son of the
French king. Meanwhile French money was sent to the Regent, a body of
French troops served as her bodyguard, and on the advance of the Lords
in arms the French Court promised her the support of a larger army.

[Sidenote: Scotland and Elizabeth.]

Against these schemes of the French Court the Scotch Lords saw no aid
save in Elizabeth. Their aim was to drive the Frenchmen out of Scotland;
and this could only be done by help both in money and men from England.
Nor was the English Council slow to promise help. To Elizabeth indeed
the need of supporting rebels against their sovereign was a bitter one.
The need of establishing a Calvinistic Church on her frontier was yet
bitterer. It was not a material force which upheld the fabric of the
monarchy, as it had been built up by the Houses of York and of Tudor,
but a moral force. England held that safety against anarchy within and
against attacks on the national independence from without was to be
found in the Crown alone, and that obedience to the Crown was the first
element of national order and national greatness. In their religious
reforms the Tudor sovereigns had aimed at giving a religious sanction
to the power which sprang from this general conviction, and at hallowing
their secular supremacy by blending with it their supremacy over the
Church. Against such a theory, either of Church or State, Calvinism was
an emphatic protest, and in aiding Calvinism to establish itself in
Scotland the Queen felt that she was dealing a heavy blow to her
political and religious system at home. But, struggle as she might
against the necessity, she had no choice but to submit. The assumption
by Francis and Mary of the style of king and queen of England, the
express reservation of this claim, even in the treaty of
Cateau-Cambrésis, made a French occupation of Scotland a matter of life
and death to the kingdom over the border. The English Council believed
"that the French mean, after their forces are brought into Scotland,
first to conquer it,--which will be neither hard nor long--and next that
they and the Scots will invade this realm." They were soon pressed to
decide on their course. The Regent used her money to good purpose, and
at the approach of her forces the Lords withdrew from Edinburgh to the
west. At the end of August two thousand French soldiers landed at Leith,
as the advance guard of the promised forces, and entrenched themselves
strongly. It was in vain that the Lords again appeared in the field,
demanded the withdrawal of the foreigners, and threatened Mary of Guise
that as she would no longer hold them for her counsellors "we also will
no longer acknowledge you as our Regent." They were ordered to disperse
as traitors, beaten off from the fortifications of Leith, and attacked
by the French troops in Fife itself.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's action.]

The Lords called loudly for aid from the English Queen. To give such
assistance would have seemed impossible but twelve months back. But the
appeal of the Scots found a different England from that which had met
Elizabeth on her accession. The Queen's diplomacy had gained her a year,
and her matchless activity had used the year to good purpose. Order was
restored throughout England, the Church was reorganized, the debts of
the Crown were in part paid off, the treasury was recruited, a navy
created, and a force made ready for action in the north. Neither
religiously nor politically indeed had Elizabeth any sympathy with the
Scotch Lords. Knox was to her simply a firebrand of rebellion; her
political instinct shrank from the Scotch Calvinism with its protest
against the whole English system of government, whether in Church or
State; and as a Queen she hated revolt. But the danger forced her hand.
Elizabeth was ready to act, and to act even in the defiance of France.
As yet she stood almost alone in her self-reliance. Spain believed her
ruin to be certain. Her challenge would bring war with France, and in a
war with France the Spanish statesmen held that only their master's
intervention could save her. "For our own sake," said one of Philip's
ministers, "we must take as much care of England as of the Low
Countries." But that such a care would be needed Granvelle never
doubted; and Philip's councillors solemnly debated whether it might not
be well to avoid the risk of a European struggle by landing the six
thousand men whom Philip was now withdrawing from the Netherlands on the
English shore, and coercing Elizabeth into quietness. France meanwhile
despised her chances. Her very Council was in despair. The one minister
in whom she dared to confide throughout these Scotch negotiations was
Cecil, the youngest and boldest of her advisers, and even Cecil trembled
for her success. The Duke of Norfolk refused at first to take command of
the force destined as he held for a desperate enterprise. Arundel, the
leading peer among the Catholics, denounced the supporters of a Scottish
war as traitors. But lies and hesitation were no sooner put aside than
the Queen's vigour and tenacity came fairly into play. In January 1560,
at a moment when D'Oysel, the French commander, was on the point of
crushing the Lords of the Congregation, an English fleet appeared
suddenly in the Forth and forced the Regent's army to fall back upon

[Sidenote: The Huguenot rising.]

Here however it again made an easy stand against the Protestant attacks,
and at the close of February the Queen was driven to make a formal
treaty with the Lords by which she promised to assist them in the
expulsion of the strangers. The treaty was a bold defiance of the power
from whom Elizabeth had been glad to buy peace only a year before, even
by the sacrifice of Calais. But the Queen had little fear of a
counter-blow from France. The Reformation was fighting for her on the
one side of the sea as on the other. From the outset of her reign the
rapid growth of the Huguenots in France had been threatening a strife
between the old religion and the new. It was to gird himself for such a
struggle that Henry the Second concluded the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis;
and though Henry's projects were foiled by his death, the Duke of Guise,
who ruled his successor, Francis the Second, pressed on yet more
bitterly the work of persecution. It was believed that he had sworn to
exterminate "those of the religion." But the Huguenots were in no mood
to bear extermination. Their Protestantism, like that of the Scots, was
the Protestantism of Calvin. As they grew in numbers, their churches
formed themselves on the model of Geneva, and furnished in their synods
and assemblies a political as well as a religious organization; while
the doctrine of resistance even to kings, if kings showed themselves
enemies to God, found ready hearers, whether among the turbulent French
_noblesse_, or among the traders of the towns who were stirred to new
dreams of constitutional freedom. Theories of liberty or of resistance
to the crown were as abhorrent to Elizabeth as to the Guises, but again
necessity swept her into the current of Calvinism. She was forced to
seize on the religious disaffection of France as a check on the dreams
of aggression which Francis and Mary had shown in assuming the style of
English Sovereigns. The English ambassador, Throckmorton, fed the alarms
of the Huguenots and pressed them to take up arms. It is probable that
the Huguenot plot which broke out in the March of 1560 in an attempt to
surprise the French Court at Amboise was known beforehand by Cecil; and,
though the conspiracy was ruthlessly suppressed, the Queen drew fresh
courage from a sense that the Guises had henceforth work for their
troops at home.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Edinburgh.]

At the end of March therefore Lord Grey pushed over the border with 8000
men to join the Lords of the Congregation in the siege of Leith. The
Scots gave little aid; and an assault on the town signally failed.
Philip too in a sudden jealousy of Elizabeth's growing strength demanded
the abandonment of the enterprise, and offered to warrant England
against any attack from the north if its forces were withdrawn. But
eager as Elizabeth was to preserve Philip's alliance, she preferred to
be her own security. She knew that the Spanish king could not abandon
her while Mary Stuart was queen of France, and that at the moment of his
remonstrances Philip was menacing the Guises with war if they carried
out their project of bringing about a Catholic rising by a descent on
the English coast. Nor were the threats of the French Court more
formidable. The bloody repression of the conspiracy of Amboise had only
fired the temper of the Huguenots; southern and western France were on
the verge of revolt; the House of Bourbon had adopted the reformed
faith, and put itself at the head of the Protestant movement. In the
face of dangers such as these the Guises could send to Leith neither
money nor men. Elizabeth therefore remained immoveable while famine did
its work on the town. At the crisis of the siege the death of Mary of
Guise threw the direct rule over Scotland into the hands of Francis and
Mary Stuart; and the exhaustion of the garrison forced the two
sovereigns to purchase its liberation by two treaties which their envoys
concluded at Edinburgh in June 1560. That with the Scotch pledged them
to withdraw for ever the French from the realm, and left the government
of Scotland to a Council of the Lords. The treaty with England was a
more difficult matter. Francis and Mary had forbidden their envoys to
sign any engagement with Elizabeth as to the Scottish realm, or to
consent to any abandonment of their claims on the royal style of
England. It was only after long debate that Cecil wrested from them the
acknowledgement that the realms of England and Ireland of right
appertained to Elizabeth, and a vague clause by which the French
sovereigns promised the English Queen that they would fulfil their
pledges to the Scots.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's character.]

Stubborn however as was the resistance of the French envoys the
signature of the treaty proclaimed Elizabeth's success. The issue of the
Scotch war revealed suddenly to Europe the vigour of the Queen and the
strength of her throne. What her ability really was no one, save Cecil,
had as yet suspected. There was little indeed in her outward demeanour
to give any indication of her greatness. To the world about her the
temper of Elizabeth recalled in its strange contrasts the mixed blood
within her veins. She was at once a daughter of Henry and of Anne
Boleyn. From her father she inherited her frank and hearty address, her
love of popularity and of free intercourse with the people, her
dauntless courage and her amazing self-confidence. Her harsh, manlike
voice, her impetuous will, her pride, her furious outbursts of anger
came to her with her Tudor blood. She rated great nobles as if they were
schoolboys; she met the insolence of Lord Essex with a box on the ear;
she broke now and then into the gravest deliberations to swear at her
ministers like a fishwife. Strangely in contrast with these violent
outlines of her father's temper stood the sensuous, self-indulgent
nature she drew from Anne Boleyn. Splendour and pleasure were with
Elizabeth the very air she breathed. Her delight was to move in
perpetual progresses from castle to castle through a series of gorgeous
pageants, fanciful and extravagant as a caliph's dream. She loved gaiety
and laughter and wit. A happy retort or a finished compliment never
failed to win her favour. She hoarded jewels. Her dresses were
innumerable. Her vanity remained, even to old age, the vanity of a
coquette in her teens. No adulation was too fulsome for her, no flattery
of her beauty too gross. She would play with her rings that her
courtiers might note the delicacy of her hands; or dance a coranto that
an ambassador, hidden dexterously behind a curtain, might report her
sprightliness to his master. Her levity, her frivolous laughter, her
unwomanly jests gave colour to a thousand scandals. Her character in
fact, like her portraits, was utterly without shade. Of womanly reserve
or self-restraint she knew nothing. No instinct of delicacy veiled the
voluptuous temper which broke out in the romps of her girlhood and
showed itself almost ostentatiously through her later life. Personal
beauty in a man was a sure passport to her liking. She patted handsome
young squires on the neck when they knelt to kiss her hand, and fondled
her "sweet Robin," Lord Leicester, in the face of the Court.

It was no wonder that the statesmen whom she outwitted held Elizabeth to
be little more than a frivolous woman, or that Philip of Spain wondered
how "a wanton" could hold in check the policy of the Escurial. But the
Elizabeth whom they saw was far from being all of Elizabeth. Wilfulness
and triviality played over the surface of a nature hard as steel, a
temper purely intellectual, the very type of reason untouched by
imagination or passion. Luxurious and pleasure-loving as she seemed, the
young Queen lived simply and frugally, and she worked hard. Her vanity
and caprice had no weight whatever with her in state affairs. The
coquette of the presence-chamber became the coolest and hardest of
politicians at the council-board. Fresh from the flattery of her
courtiers, she would tolerate no flattery in the closet; she was herself
plain and downright of speech with her counsellors, and she looked for a
corresponding plainness of speech in return. The very choice of her
advisers indeed showed Elizabeth's ability. She had a quick eye for
merit of any sort, and a wonderful power of enlisting its whole energy
in her service. The sagacity which chose Cecil and Walsingham was just
as unerring in its choice of the meanest of her agents. Her success
indeed in securing from the beginning of her reign to its end, with the
single exception of Leicester, precisely the right men for the work she
set them to do sprang in great measure from the noblest characteristic
of her intellect. If in loftiness of aim the Queen's temper fell below
many of the tempers of her time, in the breadth of its range, in the
universality of its sympathy it stood far above them all. Elizabeth
could talk poetry with Spenser and philosophy with Bruno; she could
discuss Euphuism with Lilly, and enjoy the chivalry of Essex; she could
turn from talk of the last fashions to pore with Cecil over despatches
and treasury books; she could pass from tracking traitors with
Walsingham to settle points of doctrine with Parker, or to calculate
with Frobisher the chances of a north-west passage to the Indies. The
versatility and many-sidedness of her mind enabled her to understand
every phase of the intellectual movement about her, and to fix by a sort
of instinct on its higher representatives.

It was only on its intellectual side indeed that Elizabeth touched the
England of her day. All its moral aspects were simply dead to her. It
was a time when men were being lifted into nobleness by the new moral
energy which seemed suddenly to pulse through the whole people, when
honour and enthusiasm took colours of poetic beauty, and religion became
a chivalry. But the finer sentiments of the men about her touched
Elizabeth simply as the fair tints of a picture would have touched her.
She made her market with equal indifference out of the heroism of
William of Orange or the bigotry of Philip. The noblest aims and lives
were only counters on her board. She was the one soul in her realm whom
the news of St. Bartholomew stirred to no thirst for vengeance; and
while England was thrilling with the triumph over the Armada, its Queen
was coolly grumbling over the cost, and making her profit out of the
spoiled provisions she had ordered for the fleet that saved her. No
womanly sympathy bound her even to those who stood closest to her life.
She loved Leicester indeed; she was grateful to Cecil. But for the most
part she was deaf to the voices either of love or gratitude. She
accepted such services as were never rendered to any other English
sovereign without a thought of return. Walsingham spent his fortune in
saving her life and her throne, and she left him to die a beggar. But,
as if by a strange irony, it was to this very lack of womanly sympathy
that she owed some of the grandest features of her character. If she was
without love she was without hate. She cherished no petty resentments;
she never stooped to envy or suspicion of the men who served her. She
was indifferent to abuse. Her good humour was never ruffled by the
charges of wantonness and cruelty with which the Jesuits filled every
Court in Europe. She was insensible to fear. Her life became at last a
mark for assassin after assassin, but the thought of peril was the
thought hardest to bring home to her. Even when Catholic plots broke out
in her very household she would listen to no proposals for the removal
of Catholics from her court.

If any trace of her sex lingered in the Queen's actual statesmanship,
it was seen in the simplicity and tenacity of purpose that often
underlies a woman's fluctuations of feeling. It was the directness and
steadiness of her aims which gave her her marked superiority over the
statesmen of her time. No nobler group of ministers ever gathered round
a council-board than those who gathered round the council-board of
Elizabeth. But she was the instrument of none. She listened, she
weighed, she used or put by the counsels of each in turn, but her policy
as a whole was her own. It was a policy, not of genius, but of good
sense. Her aims were simple and obvious: to preserve her throne, to keep
England out of war, to restore civil and religious order. Something of
womanly caution and timidity perhaps backed the passionless indifference
with which she set aside the larger schemes of ambition which were ever
opening before her eyes. In later days she was resolute in her refusal
of the Low Countries. She rejected with a laugh the offers of the
Protestants to make her "head of the religion" and "mistress of the
seas." But her amazing success in the end sprang mainly from this wise
limitation of her aims. She had a finer sense than any of her
counsellors of her real resources; she knew instinctively how far she
could go and what she could do. Her cold, critical intellect was never
swayed by enthusiasm or by panic either to exaggerate or to
underestimate her risks or her power. Of political wisdom indeed in its
larger and more generous sense Elizabeth had little or none; but her
political tact was unerring. She seldom saw her course at a glance, but
she played with a hundred courses, fitfully and discursively, as a
musician runs his fingers over the keyboard, till she hit suddenly upon
the right one. Her nature was essentially practical and of the present.
She distrusted a plan in fact just in proportion to its speculative
range or its outlook into the future. Her notion of statesmanship lay in
watching how things turned out around her, and in seizing the moment for
making the best of them.

Such a policy as this, limited, practical, tentative as it always was,
had little of grandeur and originality about it; it was apt indeed to
degenerate into mere trickery and finesse. But it was a policy suited to
the England of her day, to its small resources and the transitional
character of its religious and political belief, and it was eminently
suited to Elizabeth's peculiar powers. It was a policy of detail, and in
details her wonderful readiness and ingenuity found scope for their
exercise. "No War, my Lords," the Queen used to cry imperiously at the
council-board, "No War!" but her hatred of war sprang not so much from
aversion to blood or to expense, real as was her aversion to both, as
from the fact that peace left the field open to the diplomatic
manoeuvres and intrigues in which she excelled. Her delight in the
consciousness of her ingenuity broke out in a thousand puckish freaks,
freaks in which one can hardly see any purpose beyond the purpose of
sheer mystification. She revelled in "bye-ways" and "crooked ways." She
played with grave cabinets as a cat plays with a mouse, and with much of
the same feline delight in the mere embarrassment of her victims. When
she was weary of mystifying foreign statesmen she turned to find fresh
sport in mystifying her own ministers. Had Elizabeth written the story
of her reign she would have prided herself, not on the triumph of
England or the ruin of Spain, but on the skill with which she had
hoodwinked and outwitted every statesman in Europe during fifty years.
Nothing is more revolting, but nothing is more characteristic of the
Queen, than her shameless mendacity. It was an age of political lying,
but in the profusion and recklessness of her lies Elizabeth stood
without a peer in Christendom. A falsehood was to her simply an
intellectual means of meeting a difficulty; and the ease with which she
asserted or denied whatever suited her purpose was only equalled by the
cynical indifference with which she met the exposure of her lies as soon
as their purpose was answered. Her trickery in fact had its political
value. Ignoble and wearisome as the Queen's diplomacy seems to us now,
tracking it as we do through a thousand despatches, it succeeded in its
main end, for it gained time, and every year that was gained doubled
Elizabeth's strength. She made as dexterous a use of the foibles of her
temper. Her levity carried her gaily over moments of detection and
embarrassment where better women would have died of shame. She screened
her tentative and hesitating statesmanship under the natural timidity
and vacillation of her sex. She turned her very luxury and sports to
good account. There were moments of grave danger in her reign when the
country remained indifferent to its perils, as it saw the Queen give her
days to hawking and hunting, and her nights to dancing and plays. Her
vanity and affectation, her womanly fickleness and caprice, all had
their part in the diplomatic comedies she played with the successive
candidates for her hand. If political necessities made her life a lonely
one, she had at any rate the satisfaction of averting war and
conspiracies by love sonnets and romantic interviews, or of gaining a
year of tranquillity by the dexterous spinning out of a flirtation.

As we track Elizabeth through her tortuous mazes of lying and intrigue,
the sense of her greatness is almost lost in a sense of contempt. But,
wrapped as they were in a cloud of mystery, the aims of her policy were
throughout temperate and simple, and they were pursued with a rare
tenacity. The sudden acts of energy which from time to time broke her
habitual hesitation proved that it was no hesitation of weakness.
Elizabeth could wait and finesse; but when the hour was come she could
strike, and strike hard. Her natural temper indeed tended to a rash
self-confidence rather than to self-distrust. "I have the heart of a
King," she cried at a moment of utter peril, and it was with a kingly
unconsciousness of the dangers about her that she fronted them for fifty
years. She had, as strong natures always have, an unbounded confidence
in her luck. "Her Majesty counts much on Fortune," Walsingham wrote
bitterly; "I wish she would trust more in Almighty God." The
diplomatists who censured at one moment her irresolution, her delay, her
changes of front, censure at the next her "obstinacy," her iron will,
her defiance of what seemed to them inevitable ruin. "This woman,"
Philip's envoy wrote after a wasted remonstrance, "this woman is
possessed by a hundred thousand devils." To her own subjects, who knew
nothing of her manoeuvres and flirtations, of her "bye-ways" and
"crooked ways," she seemed the embodiment of dauntless resolution. Brave
as they were, the men who swept the Spanish Main or glided between the
icebergs of Baffin's Bay never doubted that the palm of bravery lay with
their Queen.

[Sidenote: Catharine of Medicis.]

It was this dauntless courage which backed Elizabeth's good luck in the
Scottish war. The issue of the war wholly changed her position at home
and abroad. Not only had she liberated herself from the control of
Philip and successfully defied the threats of the Guises, but at a
single blow she had freed England from what had been its sorest danger
for two hundred years. She had broken the dependence of Scotland upon
France. That perpetual peace between England and the Scots which the
policy of the Tudors had steadily aimed at was at last sworn in the
Treaty of Edinburgh. If the Queen had not bound to her all Scotland, she
had bound to her the strongest and most vigorous party among the nobles
of the north. The Lords of the Congregation promised to be obedient to
Elizabeth in all such matters as might not lead to the overthrow of
their country's rights or of Scottish liberties. They were bound to her
not only by the war but by the events that followed the war. A
Parliament at Edinburgh accepted the Calvinistic confession of Geneva as
the religion of Scotland, abolished the temporal jurisdiction of the
bishops, and prohibited the celebration of the Mass. The Act and the
Treaty were alike presented for confirmation to Francis and Mary. They
were roughly put aside, for the French king would give no sanction to a
successful revolt, and Mary had no mind to waive her claim to the
English throne. But from action the two sovereigns were held back by the
troubles in France. It was in vain that the Guises strove to restore
political and religious unity by an assembly of the French notables: the
notables met only to receive a demand for freedom of worship from the
Huguenots of the west, and to force the Government to promise a national
council for the settlement of the religious disputes as well as a
gathering of the States-General. The counsellors of Francis resolved to
anticipate this meeting by a sudden stroke at the heretics; and as a
preliminary step the chiefs of the House of Bourbon were seized at the
court and the Prince of Condé threatened with death. The success of this
measure roused anew the wrath of the young king at the demands of the
Scots, and at the close of 1560 Francis was again nursing plans of
vengeance on the Lords of the Congregation. But Elizabeth's good fortune
still proved true to her. The projects of the Guises were suddenly
foiled by the young king's death. The power of Mary Stuart and her
kindred came to an end, for the childhood of Charles the Ninth gave the
regency over France to the queen-mother, Catharine of Medicis, and the
policy of Catharine secured England and Scotland alike from danger of
attack. Her temper, like that of Elizabeth, was a purely political
temper; her aim was to balance Catholics against Protestants to the
profit of the throne. She needed peace abroad to preserve this political
and religious balance at home, and though she made some fruitless
efforts to renew the old friendship with Scotland, she had no mind to
intrigue like the Guises with the English Catholics nor to back Mary
Stuart's pretensions to the English throne.

[Sidenote: Philip's policy.]

With Scotland as an ally and with France at peace Elizabeth's throne at
last seemed secure. The outbreak of the strife between the Old Faith and
the New indeed, if it gave the Queen safety abroad, somewhat weakened
her at home. The sense of a religious change which her caution had done
so much to disguise broke slowly on England as it saw the Queen allying
herself with Scotch Calvinists and French Huguenots; and the compromise
she had hoped to establish in matters of worship became hourly less
possible as the more earnest Catholics discerned the Protestant drift of
Elizabeth's policy. But Philip still held them back from any open
resistance. There was much indeed to move him from his old support of
the Queen. The widowhood of Mary Stuart freed him from his dread of a
permanent annexation of Scotland by France as well as of a French
annexation of England, while the need of holding England as a check on
French hostility to the House of Austria grew weaker as the outbreak of
civil war between the Guises and their opponents rendered French
hostility less possible. Elizabeth's support of the Huguenots drove the
Spanish king to a burst of passion. A Protestant France not only
outraged his religious bigotry, but, as he justly feared, it would give
an impulse to heresy throughout his possessions in the Netherlands which
would make it hard to keep his hold upon them. Philip noted that the
success of the Scotch Calvinists had been followed by the revolt of the
Calvinists in France. He could hardly doubt that the success of the
French Huguenots would be followed by a rising of the Calvinists in the
Low Countries. "Religion" he told Elizabeth angrily "was being made a
cloak for anarchy and revolution." But, vexed as Philip was with her
course both abroad and at home, he was still far from withdrawing his
support from Elizabeth. Even now he could not look upon the Queen as
lost to Catholicism. He knew how her course both at home and abroad had
been forced on her not by religious enthusiasm but by political
necessity, and he still "trusted that ere long God would give us either
a general council or a good Pope who would correct abuses and then all
would go well. That God would allow so noble and Christian a realm as
England to break away from Christendom and run the risk of perdition he
could not believe."

[Sidenote: Pius the Fourth.]

What was needed, Philip thought, was a change of policy in the Papacy.
The bigotry of Paul the Fourth had driven England from the obedience of
the Roman See. The gentler policy of Pius the Fourth might yet restore
her to it. Pius was as averse from any break with Elizabeth as Philip
was. He censured bitterly the harshness of his predecessor. The loss of
Scotland and the threatened loss of France he laid to the charge of the
wars which Paul had stirred up against Philip and which had opened a way
for the spread of Calvinism in both kingdoms. England, he held, could
have been easily preserved for Catholicism but for Paul's rejection of
the conciliatory efforts of Pole. When he ascended the Papal throne at
the end of 1559 indeed the accession of England to the Reformation
seemed complete. The royal supremacy was re-established: the Mass
abolished: the English Liturgy restored. A new episcopate, drawn from
the Calvinistic refugees, was being gathered round Matthew Parker. But
Pius would not despair. He saw no reason why England should not again be
Catholic. He knew that the bulk of its people clung to the older
religion, if they clung also to independence of the Papal jurisdiction
and to the secularization of the Abbey-lands. The Queen, as he believed,
had been ready for a compromise at her accession, and he was ready to
make terms with her now. In the spring of 1560 therefore he despatched
Parpaglia, a follower of Pole, to open negotiations with Elizabeth. The
moment which the Pope had chosen was a critical one for the Queen. She
was in the midst of the Scotch war, and her forces had just been
repulsed in an attempt to storm the walls of Leith. Such a repulse woke
fears of conspiracy among the Catholic nobles of the northern border,
and a refusal to receive the legate would have driven them to an open
rising. On the other hand the reception of Parpaglia would have
alienated the Protestants, shaken the trust of the Lords of the
Congregation in the Queen's support, and driven them to make terms with
Francis and Mary. In either case Scotland fell again under the rule of
France, and the throne of Elizabeth was placed in greater peril than
ever. So great was the Queen's embarrassment that she availed herself of
Cecil's absence in the north to hold out hopes of the legate's admission
to the realm and her own reconciliation with the Papacy. But she was
freed from these difficulties by the resolute intervention of Philip. If
he disapproved of her policy in Scotland he had no mind that Scotland
should become wholly French or Elizabeth be really shaken on her throne.
He ordered the legate therefore to be detained in Flanders till his
threats had obtained from the Pope an order for his recall.

[Sidenote: The Council of Trent.]

But Pius was far from abandoning his hopes. After ten years suspension
he had again summoned the Council of Trent. The cry for Church reform,
the threat of national synods in Spain and in France, forced this
measure on the Pope; and Pius availed himself of the assembly of the
Council to make a fresh attempt to turn the tide of the Reformation and
to win back the Protestant Churches to Catholicism. He called therefore
on the Lutheran princes of Germany to send doctors to the Council, and
in May 1561, eight months after Parpaglia's failure, despatched a fresh
nuncio, Martinengo, to invite Elizabeth to send ambassadors to Trent.
Philip pressed for the nuncio's admission to the realm. His hopes of the
Queen's return to the faith were now being fed by a new
marriage-negotiation; for on the withdrawal of the Archduke of Austria
in sheer weariness of Elizabeth's treachery, she had encouraged her old
playfellow, Lord Robert Dudley, to hope for her hand and to amuse Philip
by pledges of bringing back "the religion," should the help of the
Spanish king enable him to win it. Philip gave his help, but Dudley
remained a suitor, and the hopes of a Catholic revolution became fainter
than ever. The Queen would suffer no landing of a legate in her realm.
The invitation to the Council fared no better. The Lutheran states of
North Germany had already refused to attend. The Council, they held, was
no longer a council of reunion. In its earlier session it had formally
condemned the very doctrine on which Protestantism was based; and to
join it now would simply be to undo all that Luther had done. Elizabeth
showed as little hesitation. The hour of her triumph, when a Calvinistic
Scotland and a Calvinistic France proved the mainstays of her policy,
was no hour of submission to the Papacy. In spite of Philip's entreaties
she refused to send envoys to what was not "a free Christian Council."
The refusal was decisive in marking Elizabeth's position. The long
period of hesitation, of drift, was over. All chance of submission to
the Papacy was at an end. In joining the Lutheran states in their
rejection of this Council, England had definitely ranged itself on the
side of the Reformation.




[Sidenote: The English Catholics.]

What had hitherto kept the bulk of Elizabeth's subjects from opposition
to her religious system was a disbelief in its permanence. Englishmen
had seen English religion changed too often to believe that it would
change no more. When the Commissioners forced a Protestant ritual on St.
John's College at Oxford, its founder, Sir Thomas White, simply took
away its vestments and crucifixes, and hid them in his house for the
better times that every zealous Catholic trusted would have their turn.
They believed that a Catholic marriage would at once bring such a turn
about; and if Elizabeth dismissed the offer of Philip's hand she played
long and assiduously with that of a son of the Emperor, an archduke of
the same Austrian house. But the alliance with the Scotch heretics
proved a rough blow to this trust: and after the repulse at Leith there
were whispers that the two great Catholic nobles of the border, the
Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, were only waiting for the
failure of the Scotch enterprise to rise on behalf of the older faith.
Whatever their projects were, they were crushed by the Queen's success.
With the Lords of the Congregation masters across the border the
northern Earls lay helpless between the two Protestant realms. In the
mass of men loyalty was still too strong for any dream of revolt; but
there was a growing uneasiness lest they should find themselves heretics
after all, which the failure of the Austrian match and the help given to
the Huguenots was fanning into active discontent. It was this which gave
such weight to the Queen's rejection of the summons to Trent. Whatever
colour she might strive to put upon it, the bulk of her subjects
accepted the refusal as a final break with Catholicism, as a final close
to all hope of their reunion with the Catholic Church.

[Sidenote: Mary Stuart.]

The Catholic disaffection which the Queen was henceforth to regard as
her greatest danger was thus growing into life when in August 1561, but
a few months after the Queen's refusal to acknowledge the Council, Mary
Stuart landed at Leith. Girl as she was, and she was only nineteen, Mary
was hardly inferior in intellectual power to Elizabeth herself, while in
fire and grace and brilliancy of temper she stood high above her. She
brought with her the voluptuous refinement of the French Renascence;
she would lounge for days in bed, and rise only at night for dances and
music. But her frame was of iron, and incapable of fatigue; she galloped
ninety miles after her last defeat without a pause save to change
horses. She loved risk and adventure and the ring of arms; as she rode
in a foray to the north the swordsmen beside her heard her wish she was
a man "to know what life it was to lie all night in the fields, or to
walk on the cawsey with a jack and knapschalle, a Glasgow buckler and a
broadsword." But in the closet she was as cool and astute a politician
as Elizabeth herself; with plans as subtle, and of a far wider and
bolder range than the Queen's. "Whatever policy is in all the chief and
best practised heads of France," wrote an English envoy, "whatever
craft, falsehood, and deceit is in all the subtle brains of Scotland, is
either fresh in this woman's memory, or she can fetch it out with a wet
finger." Her beauty, her exquisite grace of manner, her generosity of
temper and warmth of affection, her frankness of speech, her
sensibility, her gaiety, her womanly tears, her manlike courage, the
play and freedom of her nature, the flashes of poetry that broke from
her at every intense moment of her life, flung a spell over friend or
foe which has only deepened with the lapse of years. Even to Knollys,
the sternest Puritan of his day, she seemed in her later captivity to be
"a notable woman." "She seemeth to regard no ceremonious honour besides
the acknowledgement of her estate royal. She showeth a disposition to
speak much, to be bold, to be pleasant, to be very familiar. She showeth
a great desire to be avenged on her enemies. She showeth a readiness to
expose herself to all perils in hope of victory. She desireth much to
hear of hardiness and valiancy, commending by name all approved hardy
men of her country though they be her enemies, and she concealeth no
cowardice even in her friends."

[Sidenote: Mary's plans.]

Of the stern bigotry, the intensity of passion, which lay beneath the
winning surface of Mary's womanhood, men as yet knew nothing. But they
at once recognized her political ability. Till now she had proved in her
own despite a powerful friend to the Reformation. It was her claim of
the English crown which had seated Elizabeth on the throne, had thrown
her on the support of the Protestants, and had secured to the Queen in
the midst of her religious changes the protection of Philip of Spain. It
was the dread of Mary's ambition which had forced Elizabeth to back the
Lords of the Congregation, and the dread of her husband's ambition which
had driven Scotland to throw aside its jealousy of England and ally
itself with the Queen. But with the death of Francis Mary's position had
wholly changed. She had no longer the means of carrying out her
husband's threats of crushing the Lords of the Congregation by force of
arms. The forces of France were in the hands of Catharine of Medicis;
and Catharine was parted from her both by her dread of the Guises and by
a personal hate. Yet the attitude of the Lords became every day more
threatening. They were pressing Elizabeth to marry the Earl of Arran, a
chief of the house of Hamilton and near heir to the throne, a marriage
which pointed to the complete exclusion of Mary from her realm. Even
when this project failed, they rejected with stern defiance the young
Queen's proposal of restoring the old religion as a condition of her
return. If they invited her to Scotland, it was in the name of the
Parliament which had set up Calvinism as the law of the land. Bitter as
such terms must have been Mary had no choice but to submit to them. To
accept the offer of the Catholic Lords of Northern Scotland with the
Earl of Huntly at their head, who proposed to welcome her in arms as a
champion of Catholicism, was to risk a desperate civil war, a war which
would in any case defeat a project far dearer to her than her plans for
winning Scotland, the project she was nursing of winning the English
realm. In the first months of her widowhood therefore her whole attitude
was reversed. She received the leader of the Protestant Lords, her
half-brother, Lord James Stuart, at her court. She showed her favour to
him by creating him Earl of Murray. She adopted his policy of accepting
the religious changes in Scotland and of bringing Elizabeth by friendly
pressure to acknowledge her right, not of reigning in her stead, but of
following her on the throne. But while thus in form adopting Murray's
policy, Mary at heart was resolute to carry out her own policy too. If
she must win the Scots by submitting to a Protestant system in Scotland,
she would rally round her the English Catholics by remaining a Catholic
herself. If she ceased to call herself Queen of England and only pressed
for her acknowledgement as rightful successor to Elizabeth, she would
not formally abandon her claim to reign as rightful Queen in Elizabeth's
stead. Above all she would give her compliance with Murray's counsels no
legal air. No pressure either from her brother or from Elizabeth could
bring the young Queen to give her royal confirmation to the
Parliamentary Acts which established the new religion in Scotland, or
her signature to the Treaty of Edinburgh. In spite of her habitual
caution the bold words which broke from Mary Stuart on Elizabeth's
refusal of a safe conduct betrayed her hopes. "I came to France in spite
of her brother's opposition," she said, "and I will return in spite of
her own. She has combined with rebel subjects of mine: but there are
rebel subjects in England too who would gladly listen to a call from me.
I am a queen as well as she, and not altogether friendless. And perhaps
I have as great a soul too!"

[Sidenote: Her toleration.]

She saw indeed the new strength which was given her by her husband's
death. Her cause was no longer hampered, either in Scotland or in
England, by a national jealousy of French interference. It was with a
resolve to break the league between Elizabeth and the Scotch
Protestants, to unite her own realm around her, and thus to give a firm
base for her intrigues among the English Catholics, that Mary Stuart
landed at Leith. The effect of her presence was marvellous. Her personal
fascination revived the national loyalty, and swept all Scotland to her
feet. Knox, the greatest and sternest of the Calvinistic preachers,
alone withstood her spell. The rough Scotch nobles owned that there was
in Mary "some enchantment whereby men are bewitched." It was clear
indeed from the first that, loyal as Scotland might be, its loyalty
would be of little service to the Queen if she attacked the new
religion. At her entry into Edinburgh the children of the pageant
presented her with a Bible and "made some speech concerning the putting
away of the Mass, and thereafter sang a psalm." It was only with
difficulty that Murray won for her the right of celebrating Mass at her
court. But for the religious difficulty Mary was prepared. While
steadily abstaining from any legal confirmation of the new faith, and
claiming for her French followers freedom of Catholic worship, she
denounced any attempt to meddle with the form of religion she found
existing in the realm. Such a toleration was little likely to satisfy
the more fanatical among the ministers; but even Knox was content with
her promise "to hear the preaching," and brought his brethren to a
conclusion, as "she might be won," "to suffer her for a time." If the
preachers indeed maintained that the Queen's liberty of worship "should
be their thraldom," the bulk of the nation was content with Mary's
acceptance of the religious state of the realm. Nor was it distasteful
to the secular leaders of the reforming party. The Protestant Lords
preferred their imperfect work to the more complete reformation which
Knox and his fellows called for. They had no mind to adopt the whole
Calvinistic system. They had adopted the Genevan Confession of Faith;
but they rejected a book of discipline which would have organized the
Church on the Huguenot model. All demands for restitution of the church
property which they were pillaging they set aside as a "fond
imagination." The new ministers remained poor and dependent, while noble
after noble was hanging an abbot to seize his estates in forfeiture, or
roasting a commendator to wring from him a grant of abbey-lands in fee.

[Sidenote: Mary and Elizabeth.]

The attitude of the Lords favoured the Queen's designs. She was in
effect bartering her toleration of their religion in exchange for her
reception in Scotland and for their support of her claim to be named
Elizabeth's successor. With Mary's landing at Leith the position of the
English Queen had suddenly changed. Her work seemed utterly undone. The
national unity for which she was struggling was broken. The presence of
Mary woke the party of the old faith to fresh hopes and a fresh
activity, while it roused a fresh fear and fanaticism in the party of
the new. Scotland, where Elizabeth's influence had seemed supreme, was
struck from her hands. Not only was it no longer a support; it was again
a danger; for loyalty, national pride, a just and statesmanlike longing
for union with England, united her northern subjects round the Scottish
Queen in her claim to be recognized as Elizabeth's successor, and even
Murray counted on Elizabeth's consent to this claim to bring Mary into
full harmony with his policy, and to preserve the alliance between
England and Scotland. But the question of the succession, like the
question of her marriage, was with Elizabeth a question of life and
death. Her wedding with a Catholic or a Protestant suitor would have
been equally the end of her system of balance and national union, a
signal for the revolt of the party which she disappointed and for the
triumphant dictation of the party which she satisfied. "If a Catholic
prince come here," wrote a Spanish ambassador while pressing her
marriage with an Austrian archduke, "the first Mass he attends will be
the signal for a revolt." It was so with the question of the succession.
To name a Protestant successor from the House of Suffolk would have
driven every Catholic to insurrection. To name Mary was to stir
Protestantism to a rising of despair, and to leave Elizabeth at the
mercy of every fanatical assassin who wished to clear the way for a
Catholic ruler. Yet to leave both unrecognized was to secure the
hostility of both, as well as the discontent of the people at large, who
looked on the settlement of the succession as the primary need of their
national life. From the moment of Mary's landing therefore Elizabeth
found herself thrown again on an attitude of self-defence. Every course
of direct action was closed to her. She could satisfy neither Protestant
nor Catholic, neither Scotland nor England. Her work could only be a
work of patience; the one possible policy was to wait, to meet dangers
as they rose, to watch for possible errors in her rival's course, above
all by diplomacy, by finesse, by equivocation, by delay, to gain time
till the dark sky cleared.

[Sidenote: Mary's succession.]

Nothing better proves Elizabeth's political ability than the patience,
the tenacity, with which for the six years that followed she played this
waiting game. She played it utterly alone. Even Cecil at moments of
peril called for a policy of action. But his counsels never moved the
Queen. Her restless ingenuity vibrated ceaselessly, like the needle of a
compass, from one point to another, now stirring hopes in Catholic, now
in Protestant, now quivering towards Mary's friendship, then as suddenly
trembling off to incur her hate. But tremble and vibrate as it might,
Elizabeth's purpose returned ever to the same unchanging point. It was
in vain that Mary made a show of friendship, and negotiated for a
meeting at York, where the question of the succession might be settled.
It was in vain that to prove her lack of Catholic fanaticism she even
backed Murray in crushing the Earl of Huntly, the foremost of her
Catholic nobles, or that she held out hopes to the English envoy of her
conformity to the faith of the Church of England. It was to no purpose
that, to meet the Queen's dread of her marriage with a Catholic prince
when her succession was once acknowledged, a marriage which would in
such a case have shaken Elizabeth on her throne, Mary listened even to a
proposal for a match with Lord Leicester, and that Murray supported such
a step, if Elizabeth would recognize Mary as her heir. Elizabeth
promised that she would do nothing to impair Mary's rights; but she
would do nothing to own them. "I am not so foolish," she replied with
bitter irony to Mary's entreaties, "I am not so foolish as to hang a
winding-sheet before my eyes." That such a refusal was wise time was to
show. But even then it is probable that Mary's intrigues were not wholly
hidden from the English Queen. Elizabeth's lying paled indeed before the
cool duplicity of this girl of nineteen. While she was befriending
Protestantism in her realm, and holding out hopes of her mounting the
English throne as a Protestant queen, Mary Stuart was pledging herself
to the Pope to restore Catholicism on either side the border, and
pressing Philip to aid her in this holy work by giving her the hand of
his son Don Carlos. It was with this design that she was fooling the
Scotch Lords and deceiving Murray: it was with this end that she strove
in vain to fool Elizabeth and Knox.

[Sidenote: France and the Reformation.]

But pierce through the web of lying as she might, the pressure on the
English Queen became greater every day. What had given Elizabeth
security was the adhesion of the Scotch Protestants and the growing
strength of the Huguenots in France. But the firm government of Murray
and her own steady abstinence from any meddling with the national
religion was giving Mary a hold upon Scotland which drew Protestant
after Protestant to her side; while the tide of French Calvinism was
suddenly rolled back by the rise of a Catholic party under the
leadership of the Guises. Under Catharine of Medicis France had seemed
to be slowly drifting to the side of Protestantism. While the
queen-mother strove to preserve a religious truce the attitude of the
Huguenots was that of men sure of success. Their head, the king of
Navarre, boasted that before the year was out he would have the Gospel
preached throughout the realm, and his confidence seemed justified by
the rapid advance of the new opinions. They were popular among the
merchant class. The _noblesse_ was fast becoming Huguenot. At the court
itself the nobles feasted ostentatiously on the fast days of the Church
and flocked to the Protestant preachings. The clergy themselves seemed
shaken. Bishops openly abjured the older faith. Coligni's brother, the
Cardinal of Châtillon, celebrated the communion instead of mass in his
own episcopal church at Beauvais, and married a wife. So irresistible
was the movement that Catharine saw no way of preserving France to
Catholicism but by the largest concessions; and in the summer of 1561
she called on the Pope to allow the removal of images, the
administration of the sacrament in both kinds, and the abolition of
private masses. Her demands were outstripped by those of an assembly of
deputies from the states which met at Pontoise. These called for the
confiscation of Church property, for freedom of conscience and of
worship, and above all for a national Council in which every question
should be decided by "the Word of God." France seemed on the verge of
becoming Protestant; and at a moment when Protestantism had won England
and Scotland, and appeared to be fast winning southern as well as
northern Germany, the accession of France would have determined the
triumph of the Reformation. The importance of its attitude was seen in
its effect on the Papacy. It was the call of France for a national
Council that drove Rome once more to summon the Council of Trent. It was
seen too in the policy of Mary Stuart. With France tending to Calvinism
it was no time for meddling with the Calvinism of Scotland; and Mary
rivalled Catharine herself in her pledges of toleration. It was seen
above all in the anxiety of Philip of Spain. To preserve the Netherlands
was still the main aim of Philip's policy, and with France as well as
England Protestant, a revolt of the Netherlands against the cruelties of
the Inquisition became inevitable. By appeals therefore to religious
passion, by direct pledges of aid, the Spanish king strove to rally the
party of the Guises against the system of Catharine.

[Sidenote: The Civil War.]

But Philip's intrigues were hardly needed to rouse the French Catholics
to arms. If the Guises had withdrawn from court it was only to organize
resistance to the Huguenots. They were aided by the violence of their
opponents. The Huguenot lords believed themselves irresistible; they
boasted that the churches numbered more than three hundred thousand men
fit to bear arms. But the mass of the nation was hardly touched by the
new Gospel; and the Guises stirred busily the fanaticism of the poor.
The failure of a conference between the advocates of either faith was
the signal for a civil war in the south. Catharine strove in vain to
allay the strife at the opening of 1562 by an edict of pacification;
Guise struck his counter-blow by massacring a Protestant congregation at
Vassy, by entering Paris with two thousand men, and by seizing the
Regent and the King. Condé and Coligni at once took up arms; and the
fanaticism of the Huguenots broke out in a terrible work of destruction
which rivalled that of the Scots. All Western France, half Southern
France, the provinces along the Loire and the Rhone, rose for the
Gospel. Only Paris and the north of France held firmly to Catholicism.
But the plans of the Guises had been ably laid. The Huguenots found
themselves girt in by a ring of foes. Philip sent a body of Spaniards
into Gascony, Italians and Piedmontese in the pay of the Pope and the
Duke of Savoy marched upon the Rhone. Seven thousand German mercenaries
appeared in the camp of the Guises. Panic ran through the Huguenot
forces; they broke up as rapidly as they had gathered; and resistance
was soon only to be found in Normandy and in the mountains of the

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and the Huguenots.]

Condé appealed for aid to the German princes and to England: and grudge
as she might the danger and cost of such a struggle, Elizabeth saw that
her aid must be given. She knew that the battle with her opponent had to
be fought abroad rather than at home. The Guises were Mary's uncles; and
their triumph meant trouble in Scotland and worse trouble in England. In
September therefore she concluded a treaty with the Huguenots at Hampton
Court, and promised to supply them with six thousand men and a hundred
thousand crowns. The bargain she drove was a hard one. She knew that the
French had no purpose of fulfilling their pledge to restore Calais, and
she exacted the surrender of Havre into her hands as a security for its
restoration. Her aid came almost too late. The Guises saw the need of
securing Normandy if English intervention was to be hindered, and a
vigorous attack brought about the submission of the province. But the
Huguenots were now reinforced by troops from the German princes; and at
the close of 1562 the two armies met on the field of Dreux. The strife
had already widened into a general war of religion. It was the fight,
not of French factions, but of Protestantism and Catholicism, that was
to be fought out on the fields of France. The two warring elements of
Protestantism were represented in the Huguenot camp where German
Lutherans stood side by side with the French Calvinists. On the other
hand the French Catholics were backed by soldiers from the Catholic
cantons of Switzerland, from the Catholic states of Germany, from
Catholic Italy, and from Catholic Spain. The encounter was a desperate
one, but it ended in a virtual triumph for the Guises. While the German
troops of Coligni clung to the Norman coast in the hope of subsidies
from Elizabeth, the Duke of Guise was able to march at the opening of
1563 on the Loire, and form the siege of Orleans.

[Sidenote: Mary and Protestantism.]

In Scotland Mary Stuart was watching her uncle's progress with
ever-growing hope. The policy of Murray had failed in the end to which
she mainly looked. Her acceptance of the new religion, her submission to
the Lords of the Congregation, had secured her a welcome in Scotland and
gathered the Scotch people round her standard. But it had done nothing
for her on the other side of the border. Two years had gone by, and any
recognition of her right of succession to the English crown seemed as
far off as ever. But Murray's policy was far from being Mary's only
resource. She had never surrendered herself in more than outer show to
her brother's schemes. In heart she had never ceased to be a bigoted
Catholic, resolute for the suppression of Protestantism as soon as her
toleration of it had given her strength enough for the work. It was this
that made the strife between the two Queens of such terrible moment for
English freedom. Elizabeth was fighting for more than personal ends. She
was fighting for more than her own occupation of the English throne.
Consciously or unconsciously she was struggling to avert from England
the rule of a Queen who would have undone the whole religious work of
the past half-century, who would have swept England back into the tide
of Catholicism, and who in doing this would have blighted and crippled
its national energies at the very moment of their mightiest
developement. It was the presence of such a danger that sharpened the
eyes of Protestants on both sides the border. However she might tolerate
the reformed religion or hold out hopes of her compliance with a
reformed worship, no earnest Protestant either in England or in Scotland
could bring himself to see other than an enemy in the Scottish Queen.
Within a few months of her arrival the cool eye of Knox had pierced
through the veil of Mary's dissimulation. "The Queen," he wrote to
Cecil, "neither is nor shall be of our opinion." Her steady refusal to
ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh or to confirm the statutes on which the
Protestantism of Scotland rested was of far greater significance than
her support of Murray or her honeyed messages to Elizabeth. While the
young Queen looked coolly on at the ruin of the Catholic house of
Huntly, at the persecution of Catholic recusants, at so strict an
enforcement of the new worship that "none within the realm durst more
avow the hearing or saying of Mass than the thieves of Liddesdale durst
avow their stealth in presence of an upright judge," she was in secret
correspondence with the Guises and the Pope. Her eye was fixed upon
France. While Catharine of Medicis was all-powerful, while her edict
secured toleration for the Huguenots on one side of the sea, Mary knew
that it was impossible to refuse toleration on the other. But with the
first movement of the Duke of Guise fiercer hopes revived. Knox was
"assured that the Queen danced till after midnight because that she had
received letters that persecution was begun in France, and that her
uncles were beginning to stir their tail, and to trouble the whole realm
of France." Whether she gave such open proof of her joy or no, Mary woke
to a new energy at the news of Guise's success. She wrote to Pope Pius
to express her regret that the heresy of her realm prevented her sending
envoys to the Council of Trent. She assured the Cardinal of Lorraine
that she would restore Catholicism in her dominions, even at the peril
of her life. She pressed on Philip of Spain a proposal for her marriage
with his son, Don Carlos, as a match which would make her strong enough
to restore Scotland to the Church.

[Sidenote: The Papal Brief.]

The echo of the French conflict was felt in England as in the north. The
English Protestants saw in it the approach of a struggle for life and
death at home. The English Queen saw in it a danger to her throne. So
great was Elizabeth's terror at the victory of Dreux that she resolved
to open her purse-strings and to hire fresh troops for the Huguenots in
Germany. But her dangers grew at home as abroad. The victory of Guise
dealt the first heavy blow at her system of religious conformity. Rome
had abandoned its dreams of conciliation on her refusal to own the
Council of Trent, and though Philip's entreaties brought Pius to suspend
the issue of a Bull of Deposition, the Papacy opened the struggle by
issuing in August 1562 a brief which pronounced joining in the Common
Prayer schismatic and forbade the attendance of Catholics at church. On
no point was Elizabeth so sensitive, for on no point had her policy
seemed so successful. Till now, whatever might be their fidelity to the
older faith, few Englishmen had carried their opposition to the Queen's
changes so far as to withdraw from religious communion with those who
submitted to them. But with the issue of the brief this unbroken
conformity came to an end. A few of the hotter Catholics withdrew from
church. Heavy fines were laid on them as recusants; fines which, as
their numbers increased, became a valuable source of supply for the
royal exchequer. But no fines could compensate for the moral blow which
their withdrawal dealt. It was the beginning of a struggle which
Elizabeth had averted through three memorable years. Protestant
fanaticism met Catholic fanaticism, and as news of the massacre at Vassy
spread through England the Protestant preachers called for the death of
"Papists." The tidings of Dreux spread panic through the realm. The
Parliament which met again in January 1563 showed its terror by
measures of a new severity. There had been enough of words, cried one
of the Queen's ministers, Sir Francis Knollys, "it was time to draw the

[Sidenote: The Test Act.]

The sword was drawn in the first of a series of penal statutes which
weighed upon English Catholics for two hundred years. By this statute an
oath of allegiance to the Queen and of abjuration of the temporal
authority of the Pope was exacted from all holders of office, lay or
spiritual, within the realm, with the exception of peers. Its effect was
to place the whole power of the realm in the hands either of Protestants
or of Catholics who accepted Elizabeth's legitimacy and her
ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the teeth of the Papacy. The oath of
supremacy was already exacted from every clergyman and every member of
the universities. But the obligation of taking it was now widely
extended. Every member of the House of Commons, every officer in the
army or the fleet, every schoolmaster and private tutor, every justice
of the peace, every municipal magistrate, to whom the oath was tendered,
was pledged from this moment to resist the blows which Rome was
threatening to deal. Extreme caution indeed was used in applying this
test to the laity, but pressure was more roughly put on the clergy. A
great part of the parish priests, though they had submitted to the use
of the Prayer-Book, had absented themselves when called on to take the
oath prescribed by the Act of Uniformity, and were known to be Catholics
in heart. As yet Elizabeth had cautiously refused to allow any strict
enquiry into their opinions. But a commission was now opened by her
order at Lambeth, to enforce the Act of Uniformity in public worship;
while thirty-nine of the Articles of Faith drawn up under Edward the
Sixth, which had till now been left in suspense by her Government, were
adopted in Convocation as a standard of faith, and acceptance of them
demanded from all the clergy.

[Sidenote: Mary and Knox.]

With the Test Act and the establishment of the High Commission the
system which the Queen had till now pursued in great measure ceased.
Elizabeth had "drawn the sword." It is possible she might still have
clung to her older policy had she foreseen how suddenly the danger which
appalled her was to pass away. At this crisis, as ever, she was able to
"count on Fortune." The Test Act was hardly passed when in February 1563
the Duke of Guise was assassinated by a Protestant zealot, and with his
murder the whole face of affairs was changed. The Catholic army was
paralyzed by its leader's loss, while Coligni, who was now strengthened
with money and forces from England, became master of Normandy. The war
however came quietly to an end; for Catharine of Medicis regained her
power on the Duke's death, and her aim was still an aim of peace. A
treaty with the Huguenots was concluded in March, and a new edict of
Amboise restored the truce of religion. Elizabeth's luck indeed was
chequered by a merited humiliation. Now that peace was restored Huguenot
and Catholic united to demand the surrender of Havre; and an outbreak of
plague among its garrison compelled the town to capitulate. The new
strife in which England thus found itself involved with the whole realm
of France moved fresh hopes in Mary Stuart. Mary had anxiously watched
her uncle's progress, for his success would have given her the aid of a
Catholic France in her projects on either side of the border. But even
his defeat failed utterly to dishearten her. The war between the two
Queens which followed it might well force Catharine of Medicis to seek
Scottish aid against England, and the Scottish Queen would thus have
secured that alliance with a great power which the English Catholics
demanded before they would rise at her call. At home troubles were
gathering fast around her. Veil her hopes as she might, the anxiety with
which she had followed the struggle of her kindred had not been lost on
the Protestant leaders, and it is probable that Knox at any rate had
learned something of her secret correspondence with the Pope and the
Guises. The Scotch Calvinists were stirred by the peril of their
brethren in France, and the zeal of the preachers was roused by a
revival of the old worship in Clydesdale and by the neglect of the
Government to suppress it. In the opening of 1563 they resolved "to put
to their own hands," and without further plaint to Queen or Council to
carry out "the punishment that God had appointed to idolaters in his
law." In Mary's eyes such a resolve was rebellion. But her remonstrances
only drew a more formal doctrine of resistance from Knox. "The sword of
justice, madam, is God's," said the stern preacher, "and is given to
princes and rulers for an end; which, if they transgress, they that in
the fear of God execute judgements when God has commanded offend not
God. Neither yet sin they that bridle kings who strike innocent men in
their rage." The Queen was forced to look on while nearly fifty
Catholics, some of them high ecclesiastics, were indicted and sent to
prison for celebrating mass in Paisley and Ayrshire.

[Sidenote: Peace with France.]

The zeal of the preachers was only heightened by the coolness of the
Lords. A Scotch Parliament which assembled in the summer of 1563
contented itself with securing the spoilers in their possession of the
Church lands, but left the Acts passed in 1560 for the establishment of
Protestantism unconfirmed as before. Such a silence Knox regarded as
treason to the faith. He ceased to have any further intercourse with
Murray, and addressed a burning appeal to the Lords, "Will ye betray
God's cause when ye have it in your hands to establish it as ye please?
The Queen, ye say, will not agree with you. Ask ye of her that which by
God's word ye may justly require, and if she will not agree with ye in
God, ye are not bound to agree with her in the devil!" The inaction of
the nobles proved the strength which Mary drew from the attitude of
France. So long as France and England were at war, so long as a French
force might at any moment be despatched to Mary's aid, it was impossible
for them to put pressure on the Queen; and bold as was the action of the
preachers the Queen only waited her opportunity for dealing them a fatal
blow. But whatever hopes Mary may have founded on the strife, they were
soon brought to an end. Catharine used her triumph only to carry out her
system of balance, and to resist the joint remonstrance of the Pope, the
Emperor, and the King of Spain against her edict of toleration. The
policy of Elizabeth, on the other hand, was too much identified with
Catharine's success to leave room for further hostilities; and a treaty
of peace between the two countries was concluded in the spring of 1564.

[Sidenote: Darnley.]

The peace with France marked a crisis in the struggle between the rival
Queens. It left Elizabeth secure against a Catholic rising and free to
meet the pressure from the north. But it dashed the last hopes of Mary
Stuart to the ground. The policy which she had pursued from her landing
in Scotland had proved a failure in the end at which it aimed. Her
religious toleration, her patience, her fair speeches, had failed to win
from Elizabeth a promise of the succession. And meanwhile the Calvinism
she hated was growing bolder and bolder about her. The strife of
religion in France had woke a fiercer bigotry in the Scotch preachers.
Knox had discovered her plans of reaction, had publicly denounced her
designs of a Catholic marriage, and had met her angry tears, her threats
of vengeance, with a cool defiance. All that Murray's policy seemed to
have really done was to estrange from her the English Catholics. Already
alienated from Mary by her connexion with France, which they still
regarded as a half-heretic power, and by the hostility of Philip, in
whom they trusted as a pure Catholic, the adherents of the older faith
could hardly believe in the Queen's fidelity to their religion when they
saw her abandoning Scotland to heresy and holding out hopes of her
acceptance of the Anglican creed. Her presence had roused them to a new
energy, and they were drifting more and more as the strife waxed warmer
abroad to dreams of forcing on Elizabeth a Catholic successor. But as
yet their hopes turned not so much to Mary Stuart as to the youth who
stood next to the Scottish Queen in the line of blood. Henry Stuart,
Lord Darnley, was a son of the Countess of Lennox, Margaret Douglas, a
daughter of Margaret Tudor by her second marriage with the Earl of
Angus. Lady Lennox was the successor whom Mary Tudor would willingly
have chosen in her sister's stead, had Philip and the Parliament
suffered her; and from the moment of Elizabeth's accession the Countess
had schemed to drive her from the throne. She offered Philip to fly with
her boy to the Low Countries and to serve as a pretender in his hands.
She intrigued with the partizans of the old religion. Though the house
of Lennox conformed to the new system of English worship, its sympathies
were known to be Catholic, and the hopes of the Catholics wrapped
themselves round its heir. "Should any disaster befall the Queen," wrote
a Spanish ambassador in 1560, "the Catholics would choose Lord Darnley
for King." "Not only," he adds in a later letter, "would all sides agree
to choose him were the Queen to die, but the Catholic Lords, if
opportunity offer, may declare for him at once."

[Sidenote: Mary and Darnley.]

His strongest rival was Mary Stuart, and before Mary landed in Scotland
Lady Lennox planned the union of both their claims by the marriage of
her son with the Scottish Queen. A few days after her landing Mary
received a formal offer of his hand. Hopes of yet greater matches, of a
marriage with Philip's son, Don Carlos, or with the young French king,
Charles the Ninth, had long held the scheme at bay; but as these and her
policy of conciliation proved alike fruitless Mary turned to the
Lennoxes. The marriage was probably planned by David Rizzio, a young
Piedmontese who had won the Scotch Queen's favour, and through whom she
conducted the intrigues, both in England and abroad, by which she
purposed to free herself from Murray's power and to threaten Elizabeth.
Her diplomacy was winning Philip to her cause. The Spanish king had as
yet looked upon Mary's system of toleration and on her hopes from France
with equal suspicion. But he now drew slowly to her side. Pressed hard
in the Mediterranean by the Turks, he was harassed more than ever by the
growing discontent of the Netherlands, where the triumph of
Protestantism in England and Scotland and the power of the Huguenots in
France gave fresh vigour to the growth of Calvinism, and where the
nobles were stirred to new outbreaks against the foreign rule of Spain
by the success of the Scottish Lords in their rising and by the terms of
semi-independence which the French nobles wrested from the Queen. It was
to hold the Netherlands in check that Philip longed for Mary's success.
Her triumph over Murray and his confederates would vindicate the cause
of monarchy; her triumph over Calvinism would vindicate that of
Catholicism both in her own realm and in the realm which she hoped to
win. He sent her therefore assurances of his support, and assurances as
strong reached her from the Vatican. The dispensation which was
secretly obtained for her marriage with Darnley was granted on the
pledge of both to do their utmost for the restoration of the old

[Sidenote: The Darnley Marriage.]

Secret as was the pledge, the mere whisper of the match revealed their
danger to the Scotch Protestants. The Lords of the Congregation woke
with a start from their confidence in the Queen. Murray saw that the
policy to which he had held his sister since her arrival in the realm
was now to be abandoned. Mary was no longer to be the Catholic ruler of
a Protestant country, seeking peaceful acknowledgement of her right of
succession to Elizabeth's throne; she had placed herself at the head of
the English Catholics, and such a position at once threatened the safety
of Protestantism in Scotland itself. If once Elizabeth were overthrown
by a Catholic rising, and a Catholic policy established in England,
Scotch Protestantism was at an end. At the first rumour of the match
therefore Murray drew Argyle and the Hamiltons round him in a band of
self-defence, and refused his signature to a paper recommending Darnley
as husband to the Queen. But Mary's diplomacy detached from him lord
after lord, till his only hope lay in the opposition of Elizabeth. The
marriage with Darnley was undoubtedly a danger even more formidable to
England than to Scotland. It put an end to the dissensions which had
till now broken the strength of the English Catholics. It rallied them
round Mary and Darnley as successors to the throne. It gathered to their
cause the far greater mass of cautious conservatives who had been
detached from Mary by her foreign blood and by dread of her kinship with
the Guises. Darnley was reckoned an Englishman, and with an English
husband to sway her policy Mary herself seemed to become an
Englishwoman. But it was in vain that the Council pronounced the
marriage a danger to the realm, that Elizabeth threatened Mary with war,
or that she plotted with Murray for the seizure of Mary and the driving
Darnley back over the border. Threat and plot were too late to avert the
union, and at the close of July 1565, Darnley was married to Mary Stuart
and proclaimed king of Scotland. Murray at once called the Lords of the
Congregation to arms. But the most powerful and active stood aloof. As
heir of the line of Angus, Darnley was by blood the head of the house of
Douglas, and, Protestants as they were, the Douglases rallied to their
kinsman. Their actual chieftain, the Earl of Morton, stood next to
Murray himself in his power over the Congregation; he was chancellor of
the realm; and his strength as a great noble was backed by a dark and
unscrupulous ability. By waiving their claim to the earldom of Angus and
the lands which he held, the Lennoxes won Morton to his kinsman's cause,
and the Earl was followed in his course by two of the sternest and most
active among the Protestant Lords, Darnley's uncle, Lord Ruthven, and
Lord Lindesay, who had married a Douglas. Their desertion broke Murray's
strength; and his rising was hardly declared when Mary marched on his
little force with pistols in her belt, and drove its leaders over the

[Sidenote: Mary and Catholicism.]

The work which Elizabeth had done in Scotland had been undone in an
hour. Murray was a fugitive. The Lords of the Congregation were broken
or dispersed. The English party was ruined. And while Scotland was lost
it seemed as if the triumph of Mary was a signal for the general revival
of Catholicism. The influence of the Guises had again become strong in
France, and though Catharine of Medicis held firmly to her policy of
toleration, an interview which she held with Alva at Bayonne led every
Protestant to believe in the conclusion of a league between France and
Spain for a common war on Protestantism. To this league the English
statesmen held that Mary Stuart had become a party, and her pressure
upon Elizabeth was backed by the suspicion that the two great monarchies
had pledged her their support. No such league existed, nor had such a
pledge been given, but the dread served Mary's purpose as well as the
reality could have done. Girt in, as she believed, with foes, Elizabeth
took refuge in the meanest dissimulation, while Mary Stuart imperiously
demanded a recognition of her succession as the price of peace. But her
aims went far beyond this demand. She found herself greeted at Rome as
the champion of the Faith. Pius the Fifth, who mounted the Papal throne
at the moment of her success, seized on the young Queen to strike the
first blow in the crusade against Protestantism on which he was set. He
promised her troops and money. He would support her, he said, so long as
he had a single chalice to sell. "With the help of God and your
Holiness," Mary wrote back, "I will leap over the wall." In England
itself the marriage and her new attitude rallied every Catholic to
Mary's standard; and the announcement of her pregnancy which followed
gave her a strength that swept aside Philip's counsels of caution and
delay. The daring advice of Rizzio fell in with her natural temper. She
resolved to restore Catholicism in Scotland. Yield as she might to
Murray's pressure, she had dexterously refrained from giving legal
confirmation to the resolutions of the Parliament by which Calvinism had
been set up in Scotland; and in the Parliament which she summoned for
the coming spring she trusted to do "some good anent restoring the old
religion." The appearance of the Catholic lords, the Earls of Huntly,
Athol, and Bothwell, at Mary's court showed her purpose to attempt this
religious revolution. Nor were her political schemes less resolute. She
was determined to wring from the coming Parliament a confirmation of
the banishment of the lords who had fled with Murray which would free
her for ever from the pressure of the Protestant nobles. Mistress of her
kingdom, politically as well as religiously, Mary could put a pressure
on Elizabeth which might win for her more than an acknowledgement of her
right to the succession. She still clung to her hopes of the crown; and
she knew that the Catholics of Northumberland and Yorkshire were ready
to revolt as soon as she was ready to aid them.

[Sidenote: The murder of Rizzio.]

No such danger had ever threatened Elizabeth as this. But again she
could "trust to fortune." Mary had staked all on her union with Darnley,
and yet only a few months had passed since her wedding-day when men saw
that she "hated the King." The boy turned out a dissolute, insolent
husband; and Mary's scornful refusal of his claim of the "crown
matrimonial," which would have given him an equal share of the royal
power with herself, widened the breach between them. Darnley attributed
this refusal to Rizzio's counsels; and his father, Lord Lennox, joined
with him in plotting vengeance against the secretary. They sought aid
from the very party whom Darnley's marriage had been planned to crush.
Though the strength of the Protestant nobles had been broken by the
flight of Murray, the Douglases remained at the court. Morton had no
purpose of lending himself to the ruin of the religion he professed,
and Ruthven and Lindesay were roused to action when they saw themselves
threatened with a restoration of Catholicism, and with a legal
banishment of Murray and his companions in the coming Parliament, which
could only serve as a prelude to their own ruin. Rizzio was the author
of this policy; and when Darnley called on his kinsmen to aid him in
attacking Rizzio, the Douglases grasped at his proposal. Their aid and
their promise of the crown matrimonial were bought by Darnley's consent
to the recall of the fugitive lords and of Murray. The plot of the
Douglases was so jealously hidden that no whisper of it reached the
Queen. Her plans were on the brink of success. The Catholic nobles were
ready for action at her court. Huntly and Bothwell were called into the
Privy Council. At the opening of March 1566 the Parliament which was to
carry out her projects was to assemble; and the Queen prepared for her
decisive stroke by naming men whom she could trust as Lords of the
Articles--a body with whom lay the proposal of measures to the
Houses--and by restoring the bishops to their old places among the
peers. But at the moment when Mary revealed the extent of her schemes by
her dismissal of the English ambassador, the young king, followed by
Lord Ruthven, burst into her chamber, dragged Rizzio from her presence,
and stabbed him in an outer chamber, while Morton and Lord Lindesay with
their followers seized the palace gate. Mary found herself a prisoner
in the hands of her husband and his confederates. Her plans were wrecked
in an hour. A proclamation of the king dissolved the Parliament which
she had called for the ruin of her foes; and Murray, who was on his way
back from England when the deed was done, was received at Court and
restored to his old post at the Council-board.

[Sidenote: Mary's revenge.]

Terrible as the blow had been, it roused the more terrible energies
which lay hid beneath the graceful bearing of the Queen. The darker
features of her character were now to develope themselves. With an
inflexible will she turned to build up again the policy which seemed
shattered in Rizzio's murder. Her passionate resentment bent to the
demands of her ambition. "No more tears," she said when they brought her
news of Rizzio's murder; "I will think upon revenge." But even revenge
was not suffered to interfere with her political schemes. Keen as was
Mary's thirst for vengeance on him, Darnley was needful to the triumph
of her aims, and her first effort was to win him back. He was already
grudging at the supremacy of the nobles and his virtual exclusion from
power, when Mary masking her hatred beneath a show of affection
succeeded in severing the wretched boy from his fellow-conspirators, and
in gaining his help in an escape to Dunbar. Once free, a force of eight
thousand men under the Earl of Bothwell quickly gathered round her, and
with these troops she marched in triumph on Edinburgh. An offer of
pardon to all save those concerned in Rizzio's murder broke up the force
of the Lords; Glencairn and Argyle joined the Queen, while Morton,
Ruthven, and Lindesay fled in terror over the border. But Mary had
learned by a terrible lesson the need of dissimulation. She made no show
of renewing her Catholic policy. On the contrary, she affected to resume
the system which she had pursued from the opening of her reign, and
suffered Murray to remain at the court. Rizzio's death, had in fact
strengthened her position. With him passed away the dread of a Catholic
reaction. Mary's toleration, her pledges of extending an equal
indulgence to Protestantism in England, should she mount its throne, her
marriage to one who was looked upon as an English noble, above all the
hope of realizing through her succession the dream of a union of the
realms, again told on the wavering body of more Conservative statesmen,
like Norfolk, and even drew to her side some of the steadier Protestants
who despaired of a Protestant succession. Even Elizabeth at last seemed
wavering towards a recognition of her as her successor. But Mary aimed
at more than the succession. Her intrigues with the English Catholics
were never interrupted. Her seeming reconciliation with the young king
preserved that union of the whole Catholic body which her marriage had
brought about and which the strife over Rizzio threatened with ruin.
Her court was full of refugees from the northern counties. "Your
actions," Elizabeth wrote in a sudden break of fierce candour, "are as
full of venom as your words are of honey." Fierce words however did
nothing to break the clouds that gathered thicker and thicker round
England: and in June the birth of a boy, the future James the Sixth of
Scotland and First of England, doubled Mary's strength. Elizabeth felt
bitterly the blow. "The Queen of Scots," she cried, "has a fair son, and
I am but a barren stock." The birth of James in fact seemed to settle
the long struggle in Mary's favour. The moderate Conservatives joined
the ranks of her adherents. The Catholics were wild with hope. "Your
friends are so increased," her ambassador, Melville, wrote to her from
England, "that many whole shires are ready to rebel, and their captains
named by election of the nobility." On the other hand, the Protestants
were filled with despair. It seemed as if no effort could avert the rule
of England by a Catholic Queen.

[Sidenote: The developement of England.]

It was at this moment of peril that the English Parliament was again
called together. Its action showed more than the natural anxiety of the
time; it showed the growth of those national forces which far more than
the schemes of Mary or the counter-schemes of Elizabeth were to
determine the future of England. While the two Queens were heaping
intrigue on intrigue, while abroad and at home every statesman held
firmly that national welfare or national misery hung on the fortune of
the one or the success of the other, the English people itself was
steadily moving forward to a new spiritual enlightenment and a new
political liberty. The intellectual and religious impulses of the age
were already combining with the influence of its growing wealth to
revive a spirit of independence in the nation at large. It was
impossible for Elizabeth to understand this spirit, but her wonderful
tact enabled her from the first to feel the strength of it. Long before
any open conflict arose between the people and the Crown we see her
instinctive perception of the changes which were going on around her in
the modifications, conscious or unconscious, which she introduced into
the system of the monarchy. Of its usurpations upon English liberty she
abandoned none. But she curtailed and softened down almost all. She
tampered, as her predecessors had tampered, with personal freedom; there
was the same straining of statutes and coercion of juries in political
trials as before, and an arbitrary power of imprisonment was still
exercised by the Council. The duties she imposed on cloth and sweet
wines were an assertion of her right of arbitrary taxation.
Proclamations in Council constantly assumed the force of law. But,
boldly as it was asserted, the royal power was practically wielded with
a caution and moderation that showed the sense of a growing difficulty
in the full exercise of it. The ordinary course of justice was left
undisturbed. The jurisdiction of the Council was asserted almost
exclusively over the Catholics; and defended in their case as a
precaution against pressing dangers. The proclamations issued were
temporary in character and of small importance. The two duties imposed
were so slight as to pass almost unnoticed in the general satisfaction
at Elizabeth's abstinence from internal taxation. She abandoned the
benevolences and forced loans which had brought home the sense of
tyranny to the subjects of her predecessors. She treated the Privy
Seals, which on emergencies she issued for advances to her Exchequer,
simply as anticipations of her revenue (like our own Exchequer Bills),
and punctually repaid them. The monopolies with which she fettered trade
proved a more serious grievance; but during her earlier reign they were
looked on as a part of the system of Merchant Associations, which were
at that time regarded as necessary for the regulation and protection of
the growing commerce.

[Sidenote: The advance of the Parliament.]

The political developement of the nation is seen still more in the
advance of the Parliament during Elizabeth's reign. The Queen's thrift
enabled her in ordinary times of peace to defray the current expenses of
the Crown from its ordinary revenues. But her thrift was dictated not so
much by economy as by a desire to avoid summoning fresh Parliaments. We
have seen how boldly the genius of Thomas Cromwell set aside on this
point the tradition of the New Monarchy. His confidence in the power of
the Crown revived the Parliament as an easy and manageable instrument of
tyranny. The old forms of constitutional freedom were turned to the
profit of the royal despotism, and a revolution which for the moment
left England absolutely at Henry's feet was wrought out by a series of
parliamentary statutes. Throughout Henry's reign Cromwell's confidence
was justified by the spirit of slavish submission which pervaded the
Houses. But the effect of the religious change for which his measures
made room began to be felt during the minority of Edward the Sixth; and
the debates and divisions on the religious reaction which Mary pressed
on the Parliament were many and violent. A great step forward was marked
by the effort of the Crown to neutralize by "management" an opposition
which it could no longer overawe. Not only was the Parliament packed
with nominees of the Crown but new constituencies were created whose
members would follow implicitly its will. For this purpose twenty-two
new boroughs were created under Edward, fourteen under Mary; some,
indeed, places entitled to representation by their wealth and
population, but the bulk of them small towns or hamlets which lay wholly
at the disposal of the Royal Council.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and the Houses.]

Elizabeth adopted the system of her two predecessors both in the
creation of boroughs and the recommendation of candidates; but her keen
political instinct soon perceived the inutility of both expedients. She
saw that the "management" of the Houses, so easy under Cromwell, was
becoming harder every day. The very number of the members she called up
into the Commons from nomination boroughs, sixty-two in all, showed the
increasing difficulty which the government found in securing a working
majority. The rise of a new nobility enriched by the spoils of the
Church and trained to political life by the stress of events around them
was giving fresh vigour to the House of Lords. The increased wealth of
the country gentry as well as the growing desire to obtain a seat among
the Commons brought about the cessation at this time of the old payment
of members by their constituencies. A change too in the borough
representation, which had long been in progress but was now for the
first time legally recognized, tended greatly to increase the vigour and
independence of the Lower House. By the terms of the older writs borough
members were required to be chosen from the body of the burgesses; and
an act of Henry the Fifth gave this custom the force of law. But the
passing of such an act shows that the custom was already widely
infringed, and by Elizabeth's day act and custom alike had ceased to
have force. Most seats were now filled by representatives who were
strange to the borough itself, and who were often nominees of the great
landowners round. But they were commonly men of wealth and blood whose
aim in entering Parliament was a purely political one, and whose
attitude towards the Crown was far bolder and more independent than that
of the quiet tradesmen who preceded them. Elizabeth saw that
"management" was of little avail with a house of members such as these;
and she fell back as far as she could on Wolsey's policy of practical
abolition. She summoned Parliaments at longer and longer intervals. By
rigid economy, by a policy of balance and peace, she strove, and for a
long time successfully strove, to avoid the necessity of assembling them
at all. But Mary of Scotland and Philip of Spain proved friends to
English liberty in its sorest need. The struggle with Catholicism forced
Elizabeth to have more frequent recourse to her Parliaments, and as she
was driven to appeal for increasing supplies the tone of the Houses rose
higher and higher.

[Sidenote: The struggle with the Parliament.]

What made this revival of Parliamentary independence more important was
the range which Cromwell's policy had given to Parliamentary action. In
theory the Tudor statesman regarded three cardinal subjects, matters of
trade, matters of religion, and matters of State, as lying exclusively
within the competence of the Crown. But in actual fact such subjects
had been treated by Parliament after Parliament. The whole religious
fabric of the realm rested on Parliamentary enactments. The very title
of Elizabeth rested in a Parliamentary statute. When the Houses
petitioned at the outset of her reign for the declaration of a successor
and for the Queen's marriage it was impossible for her to deny their
right to intermeddle with these "matters of State," though she rebuked
the demand and evaded an answer. But the question of the succession was
a question too vital for English freedom and English religion to remain
prisoned within Elizabeth's council-chamber. It came again to the front
in the Parliament which the pressure from Mary Stuart forced Elizabeth
to assemble after six prorogations and an interval of four years in
September 1566. The Lower House at once resolved that the business of
supply should go hand in hand with that of the succession. Such a step
put a stress on the monarchy which it had never known since the War of
the Roses. The Commons no longer confined themselves to limiting or
resisting the policy of the Crown; they dared to dictate it. Elizabeth's
wrath showed her sense of the importance of their action. "They had
acted like rebels!" she said, "they had dealt with her as they dared not
have dealt with her father." "I cannot tell," she broke out angrily to
the Spanish ambassador, "what these devils want!" "They want liberty,
madam," replied the Spaniard, "and if princes do not look to themselves
and work together to put such people down they will find before long
what all this is coming to!" But Elizabeth had to front more than her
Puritan Commons. The Lords joined with the Lower House in demanding the
Queen's marriage and a settlement of the succession, and after a furious
burst of anger Elizabeth gave a promise of marriage, which she was no
doubt resolved to evade as she had evaded it before. But the subject of
the succession was one which could not be evaded. Yet any decision on it
meant civil war. It was notorious that if the Commons were resolute to
name the Lady Catharine Grey, the heiress of the House of Suffolk,
successor to the throne, the Lords were as resolute to assert the right
of Mary Stuart. To settle such a matter was at once to draw the sword.
The Queen therefore peremptorily forbade the subject to be approached.
But the royal message was no sooner delivered than Wentworth, a member
of the House of Commons, rose to ask whether such a prohibition was not
"against the liberties of Parliament." The question was followed by a
hot debate, and a fresh message from the Queen commanding "that there
should be no further argument" was met by a request for freedom of
deliberation while the subsidy bill lay significantly unnoticed on the
table. A new strife broke out when another member of the Commons, Mr.
Dalton, denounced the claims put forward by the Scottish Queen.
Elizabeth at once ordered him into arrest. But the Commons prayed for
leave "to confer upon their liberties," and the Queen's prudence taught
her that it was necessary to give way. She released Dalton; she
protested to the Commons that "she did not mean to prejudice any part of
the liberties heretofore granted them"; she softened the order of
silence into a request. Won by the graceful concession, the Lower House
granted the subsidy and assented loyally to her wish. But the victory
was none the less a real one. No such struggle had taken place between
the Crown and the Commons since the beginning of the New Monarchy; and
the struggle had ended in the virtual defeat of the Crown.

[Sidenote: Shane O'Neill.]

The strife with the Parliament hit Elizabeth hard. It was "secret foes
at home," she told the House as the quarrel passed away in a warm
reconciliation, "who thought to work me that mischief which never
foreign enemies could bring to pass, which is the hatred of my Commons.
Do you think that either I am so unmindful of your surety by succession,
wherein is all my care, or that I went about to break your liberties?
No! it never was my meaning; but to stay you before you fell into the
ditch." But it was impossible for her to explain the real reasons for
her course, and the dissolution of the Parliament in January 1567 left
her face to face with a national discontent added to the ever-deepening
peril from without. To the danger from the north and from the east was
added a danger from the west. The north of Ireland was in full revolt.
From the moment of her accession Elizabeth had realized the risks of the
policy of confiscation and colonization which had been pursued in the
island by her predecessor: and the prudence of Cecil fell back on the
safer though more tedious policy of Henry the Eighth. But the alarm at
English aggression had already spread among the natives; and its result
was seen in a revolt of the north, and in the rise of a leader more
vigorous and able than any with whom the Government had had as yet to
contend. An acceptance of the Earldom of Tyrone by the chief of the
O'Neills brought about the inevitable conflict between the system of
succession recognized by English and that recognized by Irish law. On
the death of the Earl of Tyrone England acknowledged his eldest son as
the heir of his Earldom; while the sept of which he was the head
maintained their older right of choosing a chief from among the members
of the family, and preferred Shane O'Neill, a younger son of less
doubtful legitimacy. The Lord Deputy, the Earl of Sussex, marched
northward to settle the question by force of arms; but ere he could
reach Ulster the activity of Shane had quelled the disaffection of his
rivals, the O'Donnells of Donegal, and won over the Scots of Antrim.
"Never before," wrote Sussex, "durst Scot or Irishman look Englishman
in the face in plain or wood since I came here"; but Shane fired his men
with a new courage, and charging the Deputy's army with a force hardly
half its number drove it back in rout on Armagh. A promise of pardon
induced the Irish chieftain to visit London, and make an illusory
submission, but he was no sooner safe home again than its terms were set
aside; and after a wearisome struggle, in which Shane foiled the efforts
of the Lord Deputy to entrap or to poison him, he remained virtually
master of the north. His success stirred larger dreams of ambition. He
invaded Connaught, and pressed Clanrickard hard; while he replied to the
remonstrances of the Council at Dublin with a bold defiance. "By the
sword I have won these lands," he answered, "and by the sword will I
keep them." But defiance broke idly against the skill and vigour of Sir
Henry Sidney, who succeeded Sussex as Lord Deputy. The rival septs of
the north were drawn into a rising against O'Neill, while the English
army advanced from the Pale; and in 1567 Shane, defeated by the
O'Donnells, took refuge in Antrim, and was hewn to pieces in a drunken
squabble by his Scottish entertainers.

[Sidenote: Bothwell.]

The victory of Sidney marked the turn of the tide which had run so long
against Elizabeth. The danger which England dreaded from Mary Stuart,
the terror of a Catholic sovereign and a Catholic reaction, reached its
height only to pass irretrievably away. At the moment when the Irish
revolt was being trampled under foot a terrible event suddenly struck
light through the gathering clouds in the north. Mary had used Darnley
as a tool to bring about the ruin of his confederates and to further her
policy; but from the moment that she discovered his actual complicity in
the plot for Rizzio's murder she had loathed and avoided him. Ominous
words dropped from her lips. "Unless she were free of him some way,"
Mary was heard to mutter, "she had no pleasure to live." The lords whom
he had drawn into his plot only to desert and betray them hated him with
as terrible a hatred, and in their longing for vengeance a new
adventurer saw the road to power. Of all the border nobles James
Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, was the boldest and the most
unscrupulous. But, Protestant as he was, he had never swerved from the
side of the Crown; he had supported the Regent, and crossed the seas to
pledge as firm a support to Mary; and his loyalty and daring alike
appealed to the young Queen's heart. Little as he was touched by Mary's
passion, it stirred in the Earl dreams of a union with the Queen; and
great as were the obstacles to such a union which presented themselves
in Mary's marriage and his own, Bothwell was of too desperate a temper
to recoil before obstacles such as these. Divorce would free him from
his own wife. To free himself from Darnley he seized on the hatred
which the lords whom Darnley had deserted and betrayed bore to the king.
Bothwell joined Murray and the English ambassador in praying for the
recall of Morton and the exiles. The pardon was granted; the nobles
returned to court, and the bulk of them joined readily in a conspiracy
to strike down one whom they still looked on as their bitterest foe.

[Sidenote: Darnley's murder.]

Morton alone stood aloof. He demanded an assurance of the Queen's
sanction to the deed; and no such assurance was given him. On the
contrary Mary's mood seemed suddenly to change. Her hatred to Darnley
passed all at once into demonstration of the old affection. He had
fallen sick with vice and misery, and she visited him on his sick-bed,
and persuaded him to follow her to Edinburgh. She visited him again in a
ruinous and lonely house near the palace in which he was lodged by her
order, on the ground that its purer air would further his recovery,
kissed him as she bade him farewell, and rode gaily back to a
wedding-dance at Holyrood. If Mary's passion had drawn her to share
Bothwell's guilt, these acts were but awful preludes to her husband's
doom. If on the other hand her reconciliation was a real one, it only
drove Bothwell to hurry on his deed of blood without waiting for the aid
of the nobles who had sworn the king's death. The terrible secret is
still hid in a cloud of doubt and mystery which will probably never be
wholly dispelled. But Mary had hardly returned to her palace when, two
hours after midnight on the ninth of February 1567, an awful explosion
shook the city. The burghers rushed out from the gates to find the house
of Kirk o' Field destroyed and Darnley's body dead beside the ruins.

[Sidenote: Mary's fall.]

The murder was undoubtedly the deed of Bothwell. It was soon known that
his servant had stored the powder beneath the king's bedchamber and that
the Earl had watched without the walls till the deed was done. But, in
spite of gathering suspicion and of a charge of murder made formally
against Bothwell by Lord Lennox, no serious steps were taken to
investigate the crime; and a rumour that Mary purposed to marry the
murderer drove her friends to despair. Her agent in England wrote to her
that "if she married that man she would lose the favour of God, her own
reputation, and the hearts of all England, Ireland, and Scotland." But
whatever may have been the ties of passion or guilt which united them,
Mary was now powerless in Bothwell's hands. While Murray withdrew to
France on pretext of travel, the young Earl used the plot against
Darnley into which he had drawn the lords to force from them a
declaration that he was guiltless of the murder and their consent to his
marriage with the Queen. He boasted that he would marry Mary, whether
she would or no. Every stronghold in the kingdom was placed in his
hands, and this step was the prelude to a trial and acquittal which the
overwhelming force of his followers in Edinburgh turned into a bitter
mockery. The Protestants were bribed by the assembling of a Parliament
in which Mary for the first time gave her sanction to the laws which
established the reformation in Scotland. A shameless suit for his
divorce removed the last obstacle to Bothwell's ambition; and a seizure
of the Queen as she rode to Linlithgow, whether real or fictitious, was
followed three weeks later by their union on the fifteenth of May. Mary
may have yielded to force; she may have yielded to passion; it is
possible that in Bothwell's vigour she saw the means of at last
mastering the kingdom and wreaking her vengeance on the Lords. But
whatever were her hopes or fears, in a month more all was over. The
horror at the Queen's marriage with a man fresh from her husband's blood
drove the whole nation to revolt. The Catholic party held aloof from a
Queen who seemed to have forsaken them by a Protestant marriage and by
her acknowledgement of the Protestant Church. The Protestant Lords
seized on the general horror to free themselves from a master whose
subtlety and bloodshed had placed them at his feet. Morton and Argyle
rallied the forces of the Congregation at Stirling, and were soon joined
by the bulk of the Scottish nobles of either religion. Their entrance
into Edinburgh roused the capital into insurrection. On the fifteenth of
June Mary and her husband advanced with a fair force to Seton to
encounter the Lords; but their men refused to fight, and Bothwell
galloped off into lifelong exile, while the Queen was brought back to
Edinburgh in a frenzy of despair, tossing back wild words of defiance to
the curses of the crowd.




[Sidenote: England and religious change.]

The fall of Mary freed Elizabeth from the most terrible of her outer
dangers. But it left her still struggling with ever-growing dangers at
home. The religious peace for which she had fought so hard was drawing
to an end. Sturdily as she might aver to her subjects that no change had
really been made in English religion, that the old faith had only been
purified, that the realm had only been freed from Papal usurpation,
jealously as she might preserve the old episcopate, the old service, the
old vestments and usages of public worship, her action abroad told too
plainly its tale. The world was slowly drifting to a gigantic conflict
between the tradition of the past and a faith that rejected the
tradition of the past; and in this conflict men saw that England was
ranging itself not on the side of the old belief but of the new. The
real meaning of Elizabeth's attitude was revealed in her refusal to own
the Council of Trent. From that moment the hold which she had retained
on all who still clung strongly to Catholic doctrine was roughly shaken.
Her system of conformity received a heavy blow from the decision of the
Papacy that attendance at the common prayer was unlawful. Her religious
compromise was almost destroyed by the victory of the Guises. In the
moment of peril she was driven on Protestant support, and Protestant
support had to be bought by a Test Act which excluded every zealous
Catholic from all share in the government or administration of the
realm, while the re-enactment of Edward's Articles by the Convocation of
the clergy was an avowal of Protestantism which none could mistake.
Whatever in fact might be Elizabeth's own predilections, even the most
cautious of Englishmen could hardly doubt of the drift of her policy.
The hopes which the party of moderation had founded on a marriage with
Philip, or a marriage with the Austrian Archduke, or a marriage with
Dudley, had all passed away. The conciliatory efforts of Pope Pius had
been equally fruitless. The last hope of a quiet undoing of the
religious changes lay in the succession of Mary Stuart. But with the
fall of Mary a peaceful return to the older faith became impossible; and
the consciousness of this could hardly fail to wake new dangers for
Elizabeth, whether at home or abroad.

[Sidenote: Progress of the Reformation.]

It was in fact at this moment of seeming triumph that the great struggle
of her reign began. In 1565 a pontiff was chosen to fill the Papal chair
whose policy was that of open war between England and Rome. At no moment
in its history had the fortunes of the Roman See sunk so low as at the
accession of Pius the Fifth. The Catholic revival had as yet done
nothing to arrest the march of the Reformation. In less than half a
century the new doctrines had spread from Iceland to the Pyrenees and
from Finland to the Alps. When Pius mounted the throne Lutheranism was
firmly established in Scandinavia and in Northern Germany. Along the
Eastern border of the Empire it had conquered Livonia and Old Prussia;
its adherents formed a majority of the nobles of Poland; Hungary seemed
drifting towards heresy; and in Transylvania the Diet had already
confiscated all Church lands. In Central Germany the great prelates
whose princedoms covered so large a part of Franconia opposed in vain
the spread of Lutheran doctrine. It seemed as triumphant in Southern
Germany, for the Duchy of Austria was for the most part Lutheran, and
many of the Bavarian towns with a large part of the Bavarian nobles had
espoused the cause of the Reformation. In Western Europe the fiercer
doctrines of Calvinism took the place of the faith of Luther. At the
death of Henry the Second Calvin's missionaries poured from Geneva over
France, and in a few years every province of the realm was dotted with
Calvinistic churches. The Huguenots rose into a great political and
religious party which struggled openly for the mastery of the realm and
wrested from the Crown a legal recognition of its existence and of
freedom of worship. The influence of France told quickly on the regions
about it. The Rhineland was fast losing its hold on Catholicism. In the
Netherlands, where the persecutions of Charles the Fifth had failed to
check the upgrowth of heresy, his successor saw Calvinism win state
after state, and gird itself to a desperate struggle at once for
religious and for civil independence. Still farther west a sudden
revolution had won Scotland for the faith of Geneva; and a revolution
hardly less sudden, though marked with consummate subtlety, had in
effect added England to the Churches of the Reformation. Christendom in
fact was almost lost to the Papacy; for only two European countries
owned its sway without dispute. "There remain firm to the Pope," wrote a
Venetian ambassador to his State, "only Spain and Italy with some few
islands, and those countries possessed by your Serenity in Dalmatia and

[Sidenote: Pius the Fifth.]

It was at this moment of defeat that Pius the Fifth mounted the Papal
throne. His earlier life had been that of an Inquisitor; and he combined
the ruthlessness of a persecutor with the ascetic devotion of a saint.
Pius had but one end, that of reconquering Christendom, of restoring
the rebel nations to the fold of the Church, and of stamping out heresy
by fire and sword. To his fiery faith every means of warfare seemed
hallowed by the sanctity of his cause. The despotism of the prince, the
passion of the populace, the sword of the mercenary, the very dagger of
the assassin, were all seized without scruple as weapons in the warfare
of God. The ruthlessness of the Inquisitor was turned into the
world-wide policy of the Papacy. When Philip doubted how to deal with
the troubles in the Netherlands, Pius bade him deal with them by force
of arms. When the Pope sent soldiers of his own to join the Catholics in
France he bade their leader "slay instantly whatever heretic fell into
his hands." The massacres of Alva were rewarded by a gift of the
consecrated hat and sword, as the massacre of St. Bartholomew was hailed
by the successor of Pius with a solemn thanksgiving. The force of the
Pope's effort lay in its concentration of every energy on a single aim.
Rome drew in fact a new power from the ruin of her schemes of secular
aggrandizement. The narrower hopes and dreads which had sprung from
their position as Italian princes told no longer on the Popes. All hope
of the building up of a wider princedom passed away. The hope of driving
the stranger from Italy came equally to an end. But on the other hand
Rome was screened from the general conflicts of the secular powers. It
was enabled to be the friend of every Catholic State, and that at a
moment when every Catholic State saw in the rise of Calvinism a new
cause for seeking its friendship. Calvinism drew with it a thirst for
political liberty, and religious revolution became the prelude to
political revolution. From this moment therefore the cause of the Papacy
became the cause of kings, and a craving for self-preservation rallied
the Catholic princes round the Papal throne. The same dread of utter
ruin rallied round it the Catholic Church. All strife, all controversy
was hushed in the presence of the foe. With the close of the Council of
Trent came a unity of feeling and of action such as had never been seen
before. Faith was defined. The Papal authority stood higher than ever.
The bishops owned themselves to be delegates of the Roman See. The
clergy were drawn together into a disciplined body by the institution of
seminaries. The new religious orders carried everywhere the watchword of
implicit obedience. As the heresy of Calvin pressed on to one victory
after another, the Catholic world drew closer and closer round the
standard of Rome.

[Sidenote: England and Rome.]

What raised the warfare of Pius into grandeur was the scale upon which
he warred. His hand was everywhere throughout Christendom. Under him
Rome became the political as well as the religious centre of Western
Europe. The history of the Papacy widened again, as in the Middle Ages,
into the history of the world. Every scheme of the Catholic resistance
was devised or emboldened at Rome. While her Jesuit emissaries won a new
hold in Bavaria and Southern Germany, rolled back the tide of
Protestantism in the Rhineland, and by school and pulpit laboured to
re-Catholicize the Empire, Rome spurred Mary Stuart to the Darnley
marriage, urged Philip to march Alva on the Netherlands, broke up the
religious truce which Catharine had won for France, and celebrated with
solemn pomp the massacre of the Huguenots. England above all was the
object of Papal attack. The realm of Elizabeth was too important for the
general Papal scheme of reconquering Christendom to be lightly let go.
England alone could furnish a centre to the reformed communions of
Western Europe. The Lutheran states of North Germany were too small. The
Scandinavian kingdoms were too remote. Scotland hardly ranked as yet as
a European power. Even if France joined the new movement her influence
would long be neutralized by the strife of the religious parties within
her pale. But England was to outer seeming a united realm. Her
government held the country firmly in hand. Whether as an island or from
her neighbourhood to the chief centres of the religious strife, she was
so placed as to give an effective support to the new opinions.
Protestant refugees found a safe shelter within her bounds. Her trading
ships diffused heresy in every port they touched at. She could at little
risk feed the Calvinistic revolution in France or the Netherlands. In
the great battle of the old faith and the new England was thus the key
of the reformed position. With England Protestant the fight against
Protestantism could only be a slow and doubtful one. On the other hand a
Catholic England would render religious revolution in the west all but
hopeless. Hand in hand with Philip religiously, as she already was
politically, the great island might turn the tide of the mighty conflict
which had so long gone against the Papacy.

[Sidenote: Philip and the Netherlands.]

It was from this sense of the importance of England in the world-wide
struggle which it was preparing that Rome had watched with such a
feverish interest the effort of Mary Stuart. Her victory would have
given to Catholicism the two westernmost realms of the Reformation,
England and Scotland; it would have aided it in the reconquest of the
Netherlands and of France. No formal bond indeed, such as the Calvinists
believed to exist, bound Mary and Pius and Philip and Catharine of
Medicis together in a vast league for the restoration of the Faith;
their difference of political aim held France and Spain obstinately
apart both from each other and from Mary Stuart, and it was only at the
Vatican that the great movement was conceived as a whole. But
practically the policy of Mary and Philip worked forward to the same
end. While the Scottish Queen prepared her counter-reformation in
England and Scotland, Philip was gathering a formidable host which was
to suppress Calvinism as well as liberty in the Netherlands. Of the
seventeen provinces which Philip had inherited from his father, Charles,
in this part of his dominions, each had its own constitution, its own
charter and privileges, its own right of taxation. All clung to their
local independence; and resistance to any projects of centralization was
common to the great nobles and the burghers of the towns. Philip on the
other hand was resolute to bring them by gradual steps to the same level
of absolute subjection and incorporation in the body of the monarchy as
the provinces of Castille. The Netherlands were the wealthiest part of
his dominions. Flanders alone contributed more to his exchequer than all
his kingdoms in Spain. With a treasury drained by a thousand schemes
Philip longed to have this wealth at his unfettered disposal, while his
absolutism recoiled from the independence of the States, and his bigotry
drove him to tread their heresy under foot. Policy backed the impulses
of greed and fanaticism. In the strangely-mingled mass of the Spanish
monarchy, the one bond which held together its various parts, divided as
they were by blood, by tradition, by tongue, was their common faith.
Philip was in more than name the "Catholic King." Catholicism alone
united the burgher of the Netherlands to the nobles of Castille, or
Milanese and Neapolitan to the Aztec of Mexico and Peru. With such an
empire heresy meant to Philip political chaos, and the heresy of Calvin,
with its ready organization and its doctrine of resistance, promised not
only chaos but active revolt. In spite therefore of the growing
discontent in the Netherlands, in spite of the alienation of the nobles
and the resistance of the Estates, he clung to a system of government
which ignored the liberties of every province, and to a persecution
which drove thousands of skilled workmen to the shores of England.

[Sidenote: Alva.]

At last the general discontent took shape in open resistance. The
success of the French Huguenots in wresting the free exercise of their
faith from the monarchy told on the Calvinists of the Low Countries. The
nobles gathered in leagues. Riots broke out in the towns. The churches
were sacked, and heretic preachers preached in the open fields to
multitudes who carried weapons to protect them. If Philip's system was
to continue it must be by force of arms, and the king seized the
disturbances as a pretext for dealing a blow he had long meditated at
the growing heresy of this portion of his dominions. Pius the Fifth
pressed him to deal with heresy by the sword, and in 1567 an army of ten
thousand men gathered in Italy under the Duke of Alva for a march on
the Low Countries. Had Alva reached the Netherlands while Mary was still
in the flush of her success, it is hard to see how England could have
been saved. But again Fortune proved Elizabeth's friend. The passion of
Mary shattered the hopes of Catholicism, and at the moment when Alva led
his troops over the Alps Mary passed a prisoner within the walls of
Lochleven. Alone however the Duke was a mighty danger: nor could any
event have been more embarrassing to Elizabeth than his arrival in the
Netherlands in the autumn of 1567. The terror he inspired hushed all
thought of resistance. The towns were occupied. The heretics were
burned. The greatest nobles were sent to the block or driven, like
William of Orange, from the country. The Netherlands lay at Philip's
feet; and Alva's army lowered like a thundercloud over the Protestant

[Sidenote: Mary's abdication.]

The triumph of Catholicism and the presence of a Catholic army in a
country so closely connected with England at once revived the dreams of
a Catholic rising against Elizabeth's throne, while the news of Alva's
massacres stirred in every one of her Protestant subjects a thirst for
revenge which it was hard to hold in check. Yet to strike a blow at Alva
was impossible. Antwerp was the great mart of English trade, and a
stoppage of the trade with Flanders, such as war must bring about, would
have broken half the merchants in London. Elizabeth could only look on
while the Duke trod resistance and heresy under foot, and prepared in
the Low Countries a securer starting-point for his attack on
Protestantism in the West. With Elizabeth, indeed, or her cautious and
moderate Lutheranism Philip had as yet little will to meddle, however
hotly Rome might urge him to attack her. He knew that the Calvinism of
the Netherlands looked for support to the Calvinism of France; and as
soon as Alva's work was done in the Low Countries the Duke had orders to
aid the Guises in assailing the Huguenots. But the terror of the
Huguenots precipitated the strife, and while Alva was still busy with
attacks from the patriots under the princes of the house of Orange a
fresh rising in France woke the civil war at the close of 1567.
Catharine lulled this strife for the moment by a new edict of
toleration; but the presence of Alva was stirring hopes and fears in
other lands than France. Between Mary Stuart and the lords who had
imprisoned her in Lochleven reconciliation was impossible. Elizabeth,
once lightened of her dread from Mary, would have been content with a
restoration of Murray's actual supremacy. Already alarmed by Calvinistic
revolt against monarchy in France, she was still more alarmed by the
success of Calvinistic revolt against monarchy in Scotland; and the
presence of Alva in the Netherlands made her anxious above all to settle
the troubles in the north and to devise some terms of reconciliation
between Mary and her subjects. But it was in vain that she demanded the
release of the Queen. The Scotch Protestants, with Knox at their head,
called loudly for Mary's death, as a murderess. If the lords shrank from
such extremities, they had no mind to set her free and to risk their
heads for Elizabeth's pleasure. As the price of her life they forced
Mary to resign her crown in favour of her child, and to name Murray, who
was now returning from France, as regent during his minority. In July
1567 the babe was solemnly crowned as James the Sixth.

[Sidenote: Langside.]

But Mary had only consented to abdicate because she felt sure of escape.
With an infant king the regency of Murray promised to be a virtual
sovereignty; and the old factions of Scotland woke again into life. The
house of Hamilton, which stood next in succession to the throne, became
the centre of a secret league which gathered to it the nobles and
prelates who longed for the re-establishment of Catholicism, and who saw
in Alva's triumph a pledge of their own. The regent's difficulties were
doubled by the policy of Elizabeth. Her wrath at the revolt of subjects
against their Queen, her anxiety that "by this example none of her own
be encouraged," only grew with the disregard of her protests and
threats. In spite of Cecil she refused to recognize Murray's government,
renewed her demands for the Queen's release, and encouraged the
Hamiltons in their designs of freeing her. She was in fact stirred by
more fears than her dread of Calvinism and of Calvinistic liberty.
Philip's triumph in the Netherlands and the presence of his army across
the sea was filling the Catholics of the northern counties with new
hopes, and scaring Elizabeth from any joint action with the Scotch
Calvinists which might call the Spanish forces over sea. She even
stooped to guard against any possible projects of Philip by fresh
negotiations for a marriage with one of the Austrian archdukes. But the
negotiations proved as fruitless as before, while Scotland moved boldly
forward in its new career. A Parliament which assembled at the opening
of 1568 confirmed the deposition of the Queen, and made Catholic worship
punishable with the pain of death. The triumph of Calvinistic bigotry
only hastened the outbreak which had long been preparing, and at the
beginning of May an escape of Mary from her prison was a signal for
civil war. Five days later six thousand men gathered round her at
Hamilton, and Argyle joined the Catholic lords who rallied to her
banner. The news found different welcomes at the English court.
Elizabeth at once offered to arbitrate between Mary and her subjects.
Cecil, on the other hand, pressed Murray to strike quick and hard. But
the regent needed little pressing. Surprised as he was, Murray was
quickly in arms; and cutting off Mary's force as it moved on Dumbarton,
he brought it to battle at Langside on the Clyde on the thirteenth of
May, and broke it in a panic-stricken rout. Mary herself, after a
fruitless effort to reach Dumbarton, fled southwards to find a refuge in
Galloway. A ride of ninety miles brought her to the Solway, but she
found her friends wavering in her support and ready to purchase pardon
from Murray by surrendering her into the regent's hands. From that
moment she abandoned all hope from Scotland. She believed that Elizabeth
would in the interests of monarchy restore her to the throne; and
changing her designs with the rapidity of genius, she pushed in a light
boat across the Solway, and was safe before the evening fell in the
castle of Carlisle.

[Sidenote: Mary in England.]

The presence of Alva in Flanders was a far less peril than the presence
of Mary in Carlisle. To restore her, as she demanded, by force of arms
was impossible. If Elizabeth was zealous for the cause of monarchy, she
had no mind to crush the nobles who had given her security against her
rival simply to seat that rival triumphantly on the throne. On the other
hand to retain her in England was to furnish a centre for revolt. Mary
herself indeed threatened that "if they kept her prisoner they should
have enough to do with her." If the Queen would not aid in her
restoration to the throne, she demanded a free passage to France. But
compliance with such a request would have given the Guises a terrible
weapon against Elizabeth and have ensured French intervention in
Scotland. For a while Elizabeth hoped to bring Murray to receive Mary
back peaceably as Queen. But the regent refused to sacrifice himself and
the realm to Elizabeth's policy. When the Duke of Norfolk with other
commissioners appeared at York to hold a formal enquiry into Mary's
conduct with a view to her restoration, Murray openly charged the Queen
with a share in the murder of her husband, and he produced letters from
her to Bothwell, which if genuine substantiated the charge. Till Mary
was cleared of guilt, Murray would hear nothing of her return, and Mary
refused to submit to such a trial as would clear her. So eager however
was Elizabeth to get rid of the pressing peril of her presence in
England that Mary's refusal to submit to any trial only drove her to
fresh devices for her restoration. She urged upon Murray the suppression
of the graver charges, and upon Mary the leaving Murray in actual
possession of the royal power as the price of her return. Neither
however would listen to terms which sacrificed both to Elizabeth's
self-interest. The Regent persisted in charging the Queen with murder
and adultery. Mary refused either to answer or to abdicate in favour of
her infant son.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's difficulties.]

The triumph indeed of her bold policy was best advanced, as the Queen of
Scots had no doubt foreseen, by simple inaction. Her misfortunes, her
resolute denials, were gradually wiping away the stain of her guilt and
winning back the Catholics of England to her cause. Already there were
plans for her marriage with Norfolk, the head of the English nobles, as
for her marriage with the heir of the Hamiltons. The first match might
give her the English crown, the second could hardly fail to restore her
to the crown of Scotland. In any case her presence, rousing as it did
fresh hopes of a Catholic reaction, put pressure on her sister Queen.
Elizabeth "had the wolf by the ears," while the fierce contest which
Alva's presence roused in France and in the Netherlands was firing the
temper of the two great parties in England. In the Court, as in the
country, the forces of progress and of resistance stood at last in sharp
and declared opposition to each other. Cecil at the head of the
Protestants demanded a general alliance with the Protestant churches
throughout Europe, a war in the Low Countries against Alva, and the
unconditional surrender of Mary to her Scotch subjects for the
punishment she deserved. The Catholics on the other hand, backed by the
mass of the Conservative party with the Duke of Norfolk at its head, and
supported by the wealthier merchants who dreaded the ruin of the Flemish
trade, were as earnest in demanding the dismissal of Cecil and the
Protestants from the council-board, a steady peace with Spain, and,
though less openly, a recognition of Mary's succession. Elizabeth was
driven to temporize as before. She refused Cecil's counsels; but she
sent money and arms to Condé, and hampered Alva by seizing treasure on
its way to him, and by pushing the quarrel even to a temporary embargo
on shipping either side the sea. She refused the counsels of Norfolk;
but she would hear nothing of a declaration of war, or give any
judgement on the charges against the Scottish Queen, or recognize the
accession of James in her stead.

[Sidenote: Norfolk.]

But to the pressure of Alva and Mary was now added the pressure of Rome.
With the triumph of Philip in the Netherlands and of the Guises in
France Pius the Fifth held that the time had come for a decisive attack
on Elizabeth. If Philip held back from playing the champion of
Catholicism, if even the insults to Alva failed to stir him to active
hostility, Rome could still turn to its adherents within the realm. Pius
had already sent two envoys in 1567 with powers to absolve the English
Catholics who had attended church from their schism, but to withdraw all
hope of future absolution for those who continued to conform. The result
of their mission however had been so small that it was necessary to go
further. The triumph of Alva in the Netherlands, the failure of the
Prince of Orange in an attempt to rescue them from the Spanish army, the
terror-struck rising of the French Huguenots, the growing embarrassments
of Elizabeth both at home and abroad, seemed to offer Rome its
opportunity of delivering a final blow. In February 1569 the Queen was
declared a heretic by a Bull which asserted in their strongest form the
Papal claims to a temporal supremacy over princes. As a heretic and
excommunicate, she was "deprived of her pretended right to the said
kingdom," her subjects were absolved from allegiance to her, commanded
"not to dare to obey her," and anathematized if they did obey. The Bull
was not as yet promulgated, but Dr. Morton was sent into England to
denounce the Queen as fallen from her usurped authority, and to promise
the speedy issue of the sentence of deposition. The religious pressure
was backed by political intrigue. Ridolfi, an Italian merchant settled
in London, who had received full powers and money from Rome, knit the
threads of a Catholic revolt in the north, and drew the Duke of Norfolk
into correspondence with Mary Stuart. The Duke was the son of Lord
Surrey and grandson of the Norfolk who had headed the Conservative party
through the reign of Henry the Eighth. Like the rest of the English
peers, he had acquiesced in the religious compromise of the Queen. It
was as a Protestant that the more Conservative among his fellow-nobles
now supported a project for his union with the Scottish Queen. With an
English and Protestant husband it was thought that Murray and the lords
might safely take back Mary to the Scottish throne, and England again
accept her as the successor to her crown. But Norfolk was not contented
with a single game. From the Pope and Philip he sought aid in his
marriage-plot as a Catholic at heart, whose success would bring about a
restoration of Catholicism throughout the realm. With the Catholic lords
he plotted the overthrow of Cecil and the renewal of friendship with
Spain. To carry out schemes such as these however required a temper of
subtler and bolder stamp than the Duke's: Cecil found it easy by playing
on his greed to part him from his fellow-nobles; his marriage with Mary
as a Protestant was set aside by Murray's refusal to accept her as
Queen; and Norfolk promised to enter into no correspondence with Mary
Stuart but with Elizabeth's sanction.

[Sidenote: The Catholic Earls.]

The hope of a crown, whether in Scotland or at home, proved too great
however for his good faith, and Norfolk was soon wrapped anew in the net
of papal intrigue. But it was not so much on Norfolk that Rome counted
as on the nobles of the North. The three great houses of the northern
border--the Cliffords of Cumberland, the Nevilles of Westmoreland, the
Percies of Northumberland--had remained Catholics at heart; and from the
moment of Mary's entrance into England they had been only waiting for a
signal of revolt. They looked for foreign aid, and foreign aid now
seemed assured. In spite of Elizabeth's help the civil war in France
went steadily against the Huguenots. In March 1569 their army was
routed at Jarnac, and their leader, Condé, left dead on the field. The
joy with which the victory was greeted by the English Catholics sprang
from a consciousness that the victors looked on it as a prelude to their
attack on Protestantism across the sea. No sooner indeed was this
triumph won than Mary's uncle, the Cardinal of Lorraine, as the head of
the house of Guise, proposed to Philip to complete the victory of
Catholicism by uniting the forces of France and Spain against Elizabeth.
The moment was one of peril such as England had never known. Norfolk was
still pressing forward to a marriage with Mary; he was backed by the
second great Conservative peer, Lord Arundel, and supported by a large
part of the nobles. The Northern Earls with Lords Montague and Lumley
and the head of the great house of Dacres were ready to take up arms,
and sure--as they believed--of the aid of the Earls of Derby and
Shrewsbury. Both parties of plotters sought Philip's sanction and placed
themselves at his disposal. A descent of French and Spanish troops would
have called both to the field. But much as Philip longed for a triumph
of religion he had no mind for a triumph of France. France now meant the
Guises, and to set their niece Mary Stuart on the English throne was to
ensure the close union of England and the France they ruled. Though he
suffered Alva therefore to plan the despatch of a force from the
Netherlands should a Catholic revolt prove successful, he refused to
join in a French attack.

[Sidenote: The revolt of the Earls.]

But the Papal exhortations and the victories of the Guises did their
work without Philip's aid. The conspirators of the north only waited for
Norfolk's word to rise in arms. But the Duke dissembled and delayed,
while Elizabeth, roused at last to her danger, struck quick and hard.
Mary Stuart was given in charge to the Puritan Lord Huntingdon. The
Earls of Arundel and Pembroke, with Lord Lumley, were secured. Norfolk
himself, summoned peremptorily to court, dared not disobey; and found
himself at the opening of October a prisoner in the Tower. The more
dangerous plot was foiled, for whatever were Norfolk's own designs, most
of his Conservative partizans were good Protestants, and their aim of
securing the succession by a Protestant marriage for Mary was one with
which the bulk of the nation would have sympathized. But the Catholic
plot remained; and in October the hopes of its leaders were stirred
afresh by a new defeat of the Huguenots at Montcontour; while a Papal
envoy, Dr. Morton, goaded them to action by news that a Bull of
Deposition was ready at Rome. At last a summons to court tested the
loyalty of the Earls, and on the tenth of November 1569 Northumberland
gave the signal for a rising. He was at once joined by the Earl of
Westmoreland, and in a few days the Earls entered Durham and called the
North to arms. They shrank from an open revolt against the Queen, and
demanded only the dismissal of her ministers and the recognition of
Mary's right of succession. But with these demands went a pledge to
re-establish the Catholic religion. The Bible and Prayer-Book were torn
to pieces, and Mass said once more at the altar of Durham Cathedral,
before the Earls pushed on to Doncaster with an army which soon swelled
to thousands of men. Their cry was "to reduce all causes of religion to
the old custom and usage"; and the Earl of Sussex, her general in the
North, wrote frankly to Elizabeth that "there were not ten gentlemen in
Yorkshire that did allow [approve] her proceedings in the cause of
religion." But he was as loyal as he was frank, and held York stoutly
while the Queen ordered Mary's hasty removal to a new prison at
Coventry. The storm however broke as rapidly as it had gathered. Leonard
Dacres held aloof. Lord Derby proved loyal. The Catholic lords of the
south refused to stir without help from Spain. The mass of the Catholics
throughout the country made no sign; and the Earls no sooner halted
irresolute in presence of this unexpected inaction than their army
caught the panic and dispersed. Northumberland and Westmoreland fled in
the middle of December, and were followed in their flight by Leonard
Dacres of Naworth, while their miserable adherents paid for their
disloyalty in bloodshed and ruin.

[Sidenote: The Bull of Deposition.]

The ruthless measures of repression which followed this revolt were the
first breach in the clemency of Elizabeth's rule. But they were signs of
terror which were not lost on her opponents. It was the general inaction
of the Catholics which had foiled the hopes of the northern Earls; and
Pope Pius resolved to stir them to activity by publishing in March 1570
the Bull of Excommunication and Deposition which had been secretly
issued in the preceding year. In his Bull Pius declared that Elizabeth
had forfeited all right to the throne, released her subjects from their
oath of allegiance to her, and forbade her nobles and people to obey her
on pain of excommunication. In spite of the efforts of the Government to
prevent the entry of any copies of this sentence into the realm the Bull
was found nailed in a spirit of ironical defiance on the Bishop of
London's door. Its effect was far from being what Rome desired. With the
exception of one or two zealots the English Catholics treated the Bull
as a dead letter. The duty of obeying the Queen seemed a certain thing
to them, while that of obeying the Pope in temporal matters was denied
by most and doubted by all. Its spiritual effect indeed was greater. The
Bull dealt a severe blow to the religious truce which Elizabeth had
secured. In the North the Catholics withdrew stubbornly from the
national worship, and everywhere throughout the realm an increase in the
number of recusants showed the obedience of a large body of Englishmen
to the Papal command. To the minds of English statesmen such an
obedience to the Papal bidding in matters of religion only heralded an
obedience to the Papal bidding in matters of state. In issuing the Bull
of Deposition Pius had declared war upon the Queen. He had threatened
her throne. He had called on her subjects to revolt. If his secret
pressure had stirred the rising of the Northern Earls, his open
declaration of war might well rouse a general insurrection of Catholics
throughout the realm, while the plots of his agents threatened the
Queen's life.

[Sidenote: The Ridolfi plot.]

How real was the last danger was shown at this moment by the murder of
Murray. In January 1570 a Catholic partizan, James Hamilton, shot the
Regent in the streets of Linlithgow; and Scotland plunged at once into
war between the adherents of Mary and those of her son. The blow broke
Elizabeth's hold on Scotland at a moment when conspiracy threatened her
hold on England itself. The defeat of the Earls had done little to check
the hopes of the Roman court. Its intrigues were busier than ever. At
the close of the rising Norfolk was released from the Tower, but he was
no sooner free than he renewed his correspondence with the Scottish
Queen. Mary consented to wed him, and the Duke, who still professed
himself a Protestant, trusted to carry the bulk of the English nobles
with him in pressing a marriage which seemed to take Mary out of the
hands of French and Catholic intriguers, to make her an Englishwoman,
and to settle the vexed question of the succession to the throne. But it
was only to secure this general adhesion that Norfolk delayed to declare
himself a Catholic. He sought the Pope's approval of his plans, and
appealed to Philip for the intervention of a Spanish army. At the head
of this appeal stood the name of Mary; while Norfolk's name was followed
by those of many lords of "the old blood," as the prouder peers styled
themselves. The significance of the request was heightened by gatherings
of Catholic refugees at Antwerp in the heart of Philip's dominions in
the Low Countries round the fugitive leaders of the Northern Revolt. The
intervention of the Pope was brought to quicken Philip's slow designs.
Ridolfi, as the agent of the conspirators, appeared at Rome and laid
before Pius their plans for the marriage of Norfolk and Mary, the union
of both realms under the Duke and the Scottish Queen, and the seizure of
Elizabeth and her counsellors at one of the royal country houses. Pius
backed the project with his warm approval, and Ridolfi hurried to secure
the needful aid from Philip of Spain.

[Sidenote: Norfolk's death.]

Enough of these conspiracies was discovered to rouse a fresh ardour in
the menaced Protestants. While Ridolfi was negotiating at Rome and
Madrid, the Parliament met to pass an act of attainder against the
Northern Earls, and to declare the introduction of Papal Bulls into the
country an act of high treason. It was made treason to call the Queen
heretic or schismatic, or to deny her right to the throne. The rising
indignation against Mary, as "the daughter of Debate, who discord fell
doth sow," was shown in a statute, which declared any person who laid
claim to the Crown during the Queen's lifetime incapable of ever
succeeding to it. The disaffection of the Catholics was met by imposing
on all magistrates and public officers the obligation of subscribing to
the Articles of Faith, a measure which in fact transferred the
administration of justice and public order to their Protestant
opponents, by forbidding conversions to Catholicism or the bringing into
England of Papal absolutions or objects consecrated by the Pope.
Meanwhile Ridolfi was struggling in vain against Philip's caution. The
king made no objection to the seizure or assassination of Elizabeth. The
scheme secured his fullest sympathy; no such opportunity, he held, would
ever offer again; and he longed to finish the affair quickly before
France should take part in it. But he could not be brought to send
troops to England before Elizabeth was secured. If troops were once
sent, the failure of the plot would mean war with England; and with
fresh troubles threatening Alva's hold on the Netherlands Philip had no
mind to risk an English war. Norfolk on the other hand had no mind to
risk a rising before Spanish troops were landed, and Ridolfi's efforts
failed to bring either Duke or king to action. But the clue to these
negotiations had long been in Cecil's hands; and at the opening of 1571
Norfolk's schemes of ambition were foiled by his arrest. He was
convicted of treason, and after a few months' delay executed at the

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and England.]

With the death of Norfolk and that of Northumberland, who followed him
to the scaffold, the dread of revolt within the realm which had so long
hung over England passed quietly away. The failure of the two attempts
not only showed the weakness and disunion of the party of discontent and
reaction, but it revealed the weakness of all party feeling before the
rise of a national temper which was springing naturally out of the peace
of Elizabeth's reign, and which a growing sense of danger to the order
and prosperity around it was fast turning into a passionate loyalty to
the Queen. It was not merely against Cecil's watchfulness or Elizabeth's
cunning that Mary and Philip and the Percies dashed themselves in vain;
it was against a new England. And this England owed its existence to the
Queen. "I have desired," Elizabeth said proudly to her Parliament, "to
have the obedience of my subjects by love, and not by compulsion."
Through the fourteen years which had passed since she mounted the
throne, her subjects' love had been fairly won by justice and good
government. The current of political events had drawn men's eyes chiefly
to the outer dangers of the country, to the policy of Philip and of
Rome, to the revolutions of France, to the pressure from Mary Stuart. No
one had watched these outer dangers so closely as the Queen. But buried
as she seemed in foreign negotiations and intrigues, Elizabeth was above
all an English sovereign. She devoted herself ably and energetically to
the task of civil administration. At the first moment of relief from the
pressure of outer troubles, after the treaty of Edinburgh, she faced the
two main causes of internal disorder. The debasement of the coinage was
brought to an end in 1560. In 1561 a commission was issued to enquire
into the best means of facing the problem of social pauperism.

[Sidenote: The Poor Laws.]

Time, and the natural developement of new branches of industry, were
working quietly for the relief of the glutted labour market; but a vast
mass of disorder still existed in England, which found a constant ground
of resentment in the enclosures and evictions which accompanied the
progress of agricultural change. It was on this host of "broken men"
that every rebellion could count for support; their mere existence was
an encouragement to civil war; while in peace their presence was felt in
the insecurity of life and property, in bands of marauders which held
whole counties in terror, and in "sturdy beggars" who stripped
travellers on the road. Under Elizabeth as under her predecessors the
terrible measures of repression, whose uselessness More had in vain
pointed out, went pitilessly on. We find the magistrates of
Somersetshire capturing a gang of a hundred at a stroke, hanging fifty
at once on the gallows, and complaining bitterly to the Council of the
necessity for waiting till the Assizes before they could enjoy the
spectacle of the fifty others hanging beside them. But the Government
were dealing with the difficulty in a wiser and more effectual way. The
old powers to enforce labour on the idle and settlement on the vagrant
class which had been given by statutes of Henry the Eighth were
continued; and each town and parish was held responsible for the relief
of its indigent and disabled poor, as well as for the employment of
able-bodied mendicants. But a more efficient machinery was gradually
devised for carrying out the relief and employment of the poor. Funds
for this purpose had been provided by the collection of alms in church;
but by an Act of 1562 the mayor of each town and the churchwardens of
each country parish were directed to draw up lists of all inhabitants
able to contribute to such a fund, and on a persistent refusal the
justices in sessions were empowered to assess the offender at a fitting
sum and to enforce its payment by imprisonment.

The principles embodied in these measures, that of local responsibility
for local distress, and that of a distinction between the pauper and the
vagabond, were more clearly defined in a statute of 1572. By this Act
the justices in the country districts, and mayors and other officers in
towns, were directed to register the impotent poor, to settle them in
fitting habitations and to assess all inhabitants for their support.
Overseers were appointed to enforce and superintend their labour, for
which wool, hemp, flax, or other stuff was to be provided at the expense
of the inhabitants; and houses of correction were established in every
county for obstinate vagabonds or for paupers refusing to work at the
overseer's bidding. A subsequent Act transferred to these overseers the
collection of the poor rate, and powers were given to bind poor children
as apprentices, to erect buildings for the improvident poor, and to
force the parents and children of such paupers to maintain them. The
well-known Act which matured and finally established this system, the
43rd of Elizabeth, remained the base of our system of
pauper-administration until a time within the recollection of living
men. Whatever flaws a later experience has found in these measures,
their wise and humane character formed a striking contrast to the
legislation which had degraded our statute-book from the date of the
Statute of Labourers; and their efficacy at the time was proved by the
cessation of the social danger against which they were intended to

[Sidenote: Growth of wealth.]

Its cessation however was owing, not merely to law, but to the natural
growth of wealth and industry throughout the country. A middle class of
wealthier landowners and merchants was fast rising into importance. "The
wealth of the meaner sort," wrote one to Cecil, "is the very fount of
rebellion, the occasion of their indolence, of the contempt of the
nobility, and of the hatred they have conceived against them." But Cecil
and his mistress could watch the upgrowth of national wealth with cooler
eyes. In the country its effect was to undo much of the evil which the
diminution of small holdings had done. Whatever social embarrassment it
might bring about, the revolution in agriculture which Latimer deplored
undoubtedly favoured production. Not only was a larger capital brought
to bear upon the land, but the mere change in the system of cultivation
introduced a taste for new and better modes of farming; the breed of
horses and of cattle was improved, and a far greater use made of manure
and dressings. One acre under the new system produced, it was said, as
much as two under the old. As a more careful and constant cultivation
was introduced, a greater number of hands came to be required on every
farm; and much of the surplus labour which had been flung off the land
in the commencement of the new system was thus recalled to it.

[Sidenote: Growth of manufactures.]

A yet more efficient agency in absorbing the unemployed was found in the
developement of manufactures. The linen trade was as yet of small value,
and that of silk-weaving was only just introduced. But the woollen
manufacture was fast becoming an important element in the national
wealth. England no longer sent her fleeces to be woven in Flanders and
to be dyed at Florence. The spinning of yarn, the weaving, fulling and
dyeing of cloth, were spreading rapidly from the towns over the
country-side. The worsted trade, of which Norwich was the centre,
extended over the whole of the Eastern counties. Farmers' wives began
everywhere to spin their wool from their own sheep's backs into a coarse
"home-spun." The South and the West however still remained the great
seats of industry and of wealth, for they were the homes of mining and
manufacturing activity. The iron manufactures were limited to Kent and
Sussex, though their prosperity in this quarter was already threatened
by the growing scarcity of the wood which fed their furnaces, and by the
exhaustion of the forests of the Weald. Cornwall was then, as now, the
sole exporter of tin; and the exportation of its copper was just
beginning. The broadcloths of the West claimed the palm among the
woollen stuffs of England. The Cinque Ports held almost a monopoly of
the commerce of the Channel. Every little harbour from the Foreland to
the Land's End sent out its fleets of fishing boats, manned with bold
seamen who were to furnish crews for Drake and the Buccaneers. Northern
England still lagged far behind the rest of the realm in its industrial
activity. But in the reign of Elizabeth the poverty and inaction to
which it had been doomed for so many centuries began at last to be
broken. We see the first sign of the revolution which has transferred
English manufactures and English wealth to the north of the Mersey and
of the Humber in the mention which now meets us of the friezes of
Manchester, the coverlets of York, the cutlery of Sheffield, and the
cloth-trade of Halifax.

[Sidenote: Growth of commerce.]

The growth however of English commerce far outstripped as yet that of
its manufactures. We must not judge of it by any modern standard; for
the whole population of the country can hardly have exceeded five or six
millions, and the burthen of all the vessels engaged in ordinary
commerce was estimated at little more than fifty thousand tons. The size
of the vessels employed in it would nowadays seem insignificant; a
modern collier brig is probably as large as the biggest merchant vessel
which then sailed from the port of London. But it was under Elizabeth
that English commerce began the rapid career of developement which has
made us the carriers of the world. The foundation of the Royal Exchange
at London by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1566 was a mark of the commercial
progress of the time. By far the most important branch of our trade was
the commerce with Flanders. Antwerp and Bruges were in fact the general
marts of the world in the early part of the sixteenth century, and the
annual export of English wool and drapery to their markets was estimated
at a sum of more than two millions in value. But the religious troubles
of the Netherlands were already scaring capital and industry from their
older seats. As early as 1560 Philip's envoy reported to his master that
"ten thousand of your Majesty's servants in the Low Countries are
already in England with their preachers and ministers." Alva's
severities soon raised the number of refugees to fifty thousand; and the
outbreak of war which followed drove trade as well as traders from the
Low Countries. It was with the ruin of Antwerp at the time of its siege
and capture by the Duke of Parma that the commercial supremacy of our
own capital was first established. A third of the merchants and
manufacturers of the ruined city are said to have found a refuge on the
banks of the Thames. The export trade to Flanders died away as London
developed into the general mart of Europe, where the gold and sugar of
the New World were found side by side with the cotton of India, the
silks of the East, and the woollen stuffs of England itself.

[Sidenote: New trade routes.]

Not only was much of the world's older trade transferred by this change
to English shores, but the burst of national vigour which characterized
the time found new outlets for its activity. The fisheries grew more and
more valuable. Those of the Channel and the German Ocean gave
occupation to the ports which lined the coast from Yarmouth to Plymouth
Haven; while Bristol and Chester were rivals in the fisheries of Ulster.
The merchant-navy of England was fast widening its sphere of commerce.
The Venetian carrying fleet still touched at Southampton; but as far
back as the reign of Henry the Seventh a commercial treaty had been
concluded with Florence, and the trade with the Mediterranean which
began under Richard the Third constantly took a wider developement. The
trade between England and the Baltic ports had hitherto been conducted
by the Hanseatic merchants; but the extinction at this time of their
London depot, the Steel Yard, was a sign that this trade too had now
passed into English hands. The growth of Boston and Hull marked an
increase of commercial intercourse with the Scandinavian states. The
prosperity of Bristol, which depended in great measure on the trade with
Ireland, was stimulated by the conquest and colonization of that island
at the close of the Queen's reign and the beginning of her successor's.
The dream of a northern passage to India opened up a trade with a land
as yet unknown. Of three ships which sailed in the reign of Mary under
Hugh Willoughby to discover this passage, two were found frozen with
their crews and their hapless commander on the coast of Lapland; but the
third, under Richard Chancellor, made its way safely to the White Sea
and by the discovery of Archangel created the trade with Russia. A more
lucrative traffic had already begun with the coast of Guinea, to whose
gold dust and ivory the merchants of Southampton owed their wealth. The
guilt of the Slave Trade which sprang out of it rests with John Hawkins.
In 1562 he returned from the African coast with a cargo of negroes; and
the arms, whose grant rewarded this achievement (a demi-moor, proper,
bound with a cord), commemorated his priority in the transport of slaves
to the labour-fields of the New World. But the New World was already
furnishing more honest sources of wealth. The voyage of Sebastian Cabot
from Bristol to the mainland of North America had called English vessels
to the stormy ocean of the North. From the time of Henry the Eighth the
number of English boats engaged on the cod-banks of Newfoundland
steadily increased, and at the close of Elizabeth's reign the seamen of
Biscay found English rivals in the whale-fishery of the Polar seas.

[Sidenote: General comfort.]

Elizabeth lent a ready patronage to the new commerce, she shared in its
speculations, she considered its extension and protection as a part of
public policy, and she sanctioned the formation of the great Merchant
Companies which could alone secure the trader against wrong or injustice
in distant countries. The Merchant-Adventurers of London, a body which
had existed long before, and had received a charter of incorporation
under Henry the Seventh, furnished a model for the Russia Company and
the Company which absorbed the new commerce to the Indies. But it was
not wholly with satisfaction that either the Queen or her ministers
watched the social change which wealth was producing around them. They
feared the increased expenditure and comfort which necessarily followed
it, as likely to impoverish the land and to eat out the hardihood of the
people. "England spendeth more on wines in one year," complained Cecil,
"than it did in ancient times in four years." In the upper classes the
lavishness of a new wealth combined with a lavishness of life, a love of
beauty, of colour, of display, to revolutionize English dress. Men "wore
a manor on their backs." The Queen's three thousand robes were rivalled
in their bravery by the slashed velvets, the ruffs, the jewelled
purpoints of the courtiers around her. But signs of the growing wealth
were as evident in the lower class as in the higher. The disuse of
salt-fish and the greater consumption of meat marked the improvement
which had taken place among the country folk. Their rough and wattled
farm-houses were being superseded by dwellings of brick and stone.
Pewter was replacing the wooden trenchers of the early yeomanry, and
there were yeomen who could boast of a fair show of silver plate. It is
from this period indeed that we can first date the rise of a conception
which seems to us now a peculiarly English one, the conception of
domestic comfort. The chimney-corner, so closely associated with family
life, came into existence with the general introduction of chimneys, a
feature rare in ordinary houses at the beginning of this reign. Pillows,
which had before been despised by the farmer and the trader as fit only
"for women in childbed," were now in general use. Carpets superseded the
filthy flooring of rushes. The loftier houses of the wealthier
merchants, their parapeted fronts and costly wainscoting, their cumbrous
but elaborate beds, their carved staircases, their quaintly-figured
gables, not only contrasted with the squalor which had till then
characterized English towns, but marked the rise of a new middle class
which was to play its part in later history.

[Sidenote: Architectural change.]

A transformation of an even more striking kind marked the extinction of
the feudal character of the noblesse. Gloomy walls and serried
battlements disappeared from the dwellings of the gentry. The strength
of the mediæval fortress gave way to the pomp and grace of the
Elizabethan Hall. Knole, Longleat, Burleigh and Hatfield, Hardwick and
Audley End, are familiar instances of a social as well as an
architectural change which covered England with buildings where the
thought of defence was abandoned for that of domestic comfort and
refinement. We still gaze with pleasure on their picturesque line of
gables, their fretted fronts, their gilded turrets and fanciful vanes,
their castellated gateways, the jutting oriels from which the great
noble looked down on his new Italian garden, on its stately terraces and
broad flights of steps, its vases and fountains, its quaint mazes, its
formal walks, its lines of yews cut into grotesque shapes in hopeless
rivalry of the cypress avenues of the South. Nor was the change less
within than without. The life of the Middle Ages concentrated itself in
the vast castle hall, where the baron looked from his upper dais on the
retainers who gathered at his board. But the great households were fast
breaking up; and the whole feudal economy disappeared when the lord of
the household withdrew with his family into his "parlour" or
"withdrawing-room" and left the hall to his dependants. The Italian
refinement of life which told on pleasance and garden told on the
remodelling of the house within, raised the principal apartments to an
upper floor--a change to which we owe the grand staircases of the
time--surrounded the quiet courts by long "galleries of the presence,"
crowned the rude hearth with huge chimney-pieces adorned with fauns and
cupids, with quaintly-interlaced monograms and fantastic arabesques,
hung tapestries on the walls, and crowded each chamber with
quaintly-carved chairs and costly cabinets. The prodigal use of glass
became a marked feature in the domestic architecture of the time, and
one whose influence on the general health of the people can hardly be
overrated. Long lines of windows stretched over the fronts of the new
manor halls. Every merchant's house had its oriel. "You shall have
sometimes," Lord Bacon grumbled, "your houses so full of glass, that we
cannot tell where to come to be out of the sun or the cold."

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and English order.]

What Elizabeth contributed to this upgrowth of national prosperity was
the peace and social order from which it sprang. While autos-de-fé were
blazing at Rome and Madrid, while the Inquisition was driving the sober
traders of the Netherlands to madness, while Scotland was tossing with
religious strife, while the policy of Catharine secured for France but a
brief respite from the horrors of civil war, England remained untroubled
and at peace. Religious order was little disturbed. Recusants were few.
There was little cry as yet for freedom of worship. Freedom of
conscience was the right of every man. Persecution had ceased. It was
only as the tale of a darker past that men recalled how ten years back
heretics had been sent to the fire. Civil order was even more profound
than religious order. The failure of the northern revolt proved the
political tranquillity of the country. The social troubles from vagrancy
and evictions were slowly passing away. Taxation was light. The country
was firmly and steadily governed. The popular favour which had met
Elizabeth at her accession was growing into a passionate devotion. Of
her faults indeed England beyond the circle of her court knew little or
nothing. The shiftings of her diplomacy were never seen outside the
royal closet. The nation at large could only judge her foreign policy by
its main outlines, by its temperance and good sense, and above all by
its success. But every Englishman was able to judge Elizabeth in her
rule at home, in her love of peace, her instinct of order, the firmness
and moderation of her government, the judicious spirit of conciliation
and compromise among warring factions which gave the country an
unexampled tranquillity at a time when almost every other country in
Europe was torn with civil war. Every sign of the growing prosperity,
the sight of London as it became the mart of the world, of stately
mansions as they rose on every manor, told, and justly told, in the
Queen's favour. Her statue in the centre of the London Exchange was a
tribute on the part of the merchant class to the interest with which she
watched and shared personally in its enterprises. Her thrift won a
general gratitude. The memories of the Terror and of the Martyrs threw
into bright relief the aversion from bloodshed which was conspicuous in
her earlier reign, and never wholly wanting through its fiercer close.
Above all there was a general confidence in her instinctive knowledge
of the national temper. Her finger was always on the public pulse. She
knew exactly when she could resist the feeling of her people, and when
she must give way before the new sentiment of freedom which her policy
unconsciously fostered. But when she retreated, her defeat had all the
grace of victory; and the frankness and unreserve of her surrender won
back at once the love that her resistance lost. Her attitude at home in
fact was that of a woman whose pride in the well-being of her subjects
and whose longing for their favour was the one warm touch in the
coldness of her natural temper. If Elizabeth could be said to love
anything, she loved England. "Nothing," she said to her first Parliament
in words of unwonted fire, "nothing, no worldly thing under the sun, is
so dear to me as the love and goodwill of my subjects." And the love and
goodwill which were so dear to her she fully won.

[Sidenote: The religious truce.]

It was this personal devotion that enabled Elizabeth to face the
religious difficulties of her reign. Formidable as these had been from
its outset, they were now growing into actual dangers. The attack of the
Papacy from without had deepened the tide of religious fanaticism
within. For the nation at large Elizabeth's system was no doubt a wise
and healthy one. Single-handed, unsupported by any of the statesmen or
divines about her, the Queen had forced on the warring religions a sort
of armed truce. While the main principles of the Reformation were
accepted the zeal of the ultra-reformers was held at bay. Outer
conformity, attendance at the common prayer, was exacted from all, but
changes in ritual which would have drawn attention to the change in
religion were steadily resisted. The Bible was left open. Public
discussion was unrestrained. On the other hand the warfare of pulpit
against pulpit was silenced by the licensing of preachers. In 1576
Elizabeth gave the Protestant zealots a rough proof that she would not
suffer them to draw the Catholics into controversy and rouse the
opposition to her system which controversy could not fail to bring with
it. Parker's successor, Archbishop Grindal, who had been one of the
Marian exiles and returned with much of the Calvinistic fanaticism,
showed favour to a "liberty of prophesying" or preaching which would
have flooded the realm with Protestant disputants. Elizabeth at once
interposed. The "liberty of prophesying" was brought to an end; even the
number of licensed preachers was curtailed; and the Primate himself was
suspended from the exercise of his functions.

[Sidenote: The religious change.]

No stronger proof could have been given of the Queen's resolve to watch
jealously over the religious peace of her realm. In her earlier years
such a resolve went fairly with the general temper of the people at
large. The mass of Englishmen remained true in sentiment to the older
creed. But they conformed to the new worship. They shrank from any open
defiance of the government. They shrank from reawakening the fierce
strife of religions, of calling back the horsemen of Somerset or the
fires of Mary. They saw little doctrinal difference between the new
prayer and the old. Above all they trusted to patience. They had seen
too many religious revolutions to believe that any revolution would be
lasting. They believed that the changes would be undone again as they
had been undone before. They held that Elizabeth was only acting under
pressure, and that her real inclination was towards the old religion.
They trusted in Philip's influence, in an Austrian marriage, in the
Queen's dread of a breach with the Papacy, in the pressure of Mary
Stuart. And meanwhile the years went by, and as the memories of the past
became dimmer, and custom laid a heavier and heavier hand on the mass of
men, and a new generation grew up that had never known the spell of
Catholicism, the nation drifted from its older tradition and became
Protestant in its own despite.

[Sidenote: The Puritan pressure.]

It was no doubt a sense that the religious truce was doing their work,
as well as a dread of alienating the Queen and throwing her into the
hands of their opponents by a more violent pressure, which brought the
more zealous reformers to acquiesce through Elizabeth's earlier years in
this system of compromise. But it was no sooner denounced by the Papacy
than it was attacked by the Puritans. The rebellion of the Northern
Earls, the withdrawal from the public worship, the Bull of Deposition,
roused a fanatical zeal among the Calvinistic party which predominated
in the Parliament of 1571. The movement in favour of a more pronounced
Protestantism, of a more utter break with the Catholic past, which had
slowly spread from the knot of exiles who returned to Geneva, now
gathered a new strength; and a bill was brought in for the reform of the
book of Common Prayer by the omission of the practices which displeased
the Genevan party among the clergy. A yet closer approach to the
theocratic system of Calvin was seen when the Lower House refused its
assent to a statute that would have bound the clergy to subscribe to
those articles which recognised the royal supremacy, the power of the
Church to ordain rites and ceremonies, and the actual form of Church
government. At such a crisis even the weightiest statesmen at
Elizabeth's council-board believed that in the contest with Rome the
Crown would have to rely on Protestant zeal, and the influence of Cecil
and Walsingham backed the pressure of the Parliament. But the Queen was
only stirred to a burst of anger; she ordered Strickland, who had
introduced the bill for liturgical reform, to appear no more in
Parliament, and though she withdrew the order as soon as she perceived
the House was bent on his restoration, she would hear nothing of the
changes on which the Commons were set.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth's resistance.]

Her resistance showed the sagacity with which the Queen caught the
general temper of her people. The Catholic pressure had made it needful
to exclude Catholics from the Commons and from the council-board, but a
Protestant Council and a Protestant Parliament were by no means fair
representatives of the general drift of English opinion. Her religious
indifference left Elizabeth a better judge of the timid and hesitating
advance of religious sentiment, of the stubborn clinging to the past, of
the fear of change, of the dread of revolution, which made the winning
of the people as a whole to the Reformation a slow and tedious process.
The Protestants were increasing in number, but they were still a
minority of the nation. The zealous Catholics, who withdrew from church
at the Pope's bidding, were a still smaller minority. The bulk of
Englishmen were striving to cling to their religious prejudice and to
loyalty as well, to obey their conscience and their Queen at once, and
in such a temper of men's minds any sudden and decisive change would
have fallen like a thunderbolt. Elizabeth had no will to follow in the
track of Rome, and to help the Pope to drive every waverer into action.
Weakened and broken as it was, she clung obstinately to her system of
compromise; and the general opinion gave her a strength which enabled
her to resist the pressure of her council and her Parliament. So
difficult however was her position that a change might have been forced
on her had she not been aided at this moment by a group of clerical
bigots who gathered under the banner of Presbyterianism.

[Sidenote: Cartwright.]

Of these Thomas Cartwright was the chief. He had studied at Geneva; he
returned with a fanatical faith in Calvinism, and in the system of
Church government which Calvin had devised; and as Margaret Professor of
Divinity at Cambridge he used to the full the opportunities which his
chair gave him of propagating his opinions. No leader of a religious
party ever deserved less of after sympathy. Cartwright was
unquestionably learned and devout, but his bigotry was that of a
mediæval inquisitor. The relics of the old ritual, the cross in baptism,
the surplice, the giving of a ring in marriage, were to him not merely
distasteful, as they were to the Puritans at large, they were idolatrous
and the mark of the beast. His declamation against ceremonies and
superstition however had little weight with Elizabeth or her Primates;
what scared them was his reckless advocacy of a scheme of ecclesiastical
government which placed the State beneath the feet of the Church. The
absolute rule of bishops indeed Cartwright denounced as begotten of the
devil; but the absolute rule of Presbyters he held to be established by
the word of God. For the Church modelled after the fashion of Geneva he
claimed an authority which surpassed the wildest dreams of the masters
of the Vatican. All spiritual authority and jurisdiction, the decreeing
of doctrine, the ordering of ceremonies, lay wholly in the hands of the
ministers of the Church. To them belonged the supervision of public
morals. In an ordered arrangement of classes and synods, these
Presbyters were to govern their flocks, to regulate their own order, to
decide in matters of faith, to administer "discipline." Their weapon was
excommunication, and they were responsible for its use to none but
Christ. The province of the civil ruler in such a system of religion as
this was simply to carry out the decisions of the Presbyters, "to see
their decrees executed and to punish the contemners of them." Nor was
this work of the civil power likely to be a light work. The spirit of
Calvinistic Presbyterianism excluded all toleration of practice or
belief. Not only was the rule of ministers to be established as the one
legal form of Church government, but all other forms, Episcopalian and
Separatist, were to be ruthlessly put down. For heresy there was the
punishment of death. Never had the doctrine of persecution been urged
with such a blind and reckless ferocity. "I deny," wrote Cartwright,
"that upon repentance there ought to follow any pardon of death....
Heretics ought to be put to death now. If this be bloody and extreme, I
am content to be so counted with the Holy Ghost." The violence of
language such as this was as unlikely as the dogmatism of his
theological teaching to commend Cartwright's opinions to the mass of
Englishmen. Popular as the Presbyterian system became in Scotland, it
never took any popular hold on England. It remained to the last a
clerical rather than a national creed, and even in the moment of its
seeming triumph under the Commonwealth it was rejected by every part of
England save London and Lancashire. But the bold challenge which
Cartwright's party delivered to the Government in 1572 in an "admonition
to the Parliament," which denounced the government of bishops as
contrary to the word of God and demanded the establishment in its place
of government by Presbyters, raised a panic among English statesmen and
prelates which cut off all hopes of a quiet treatment of the merely
ceremonial questions which really troubled the consciences of the more
advanced Protestants. The natural progress of opinion abruptly ceased,
and the moderate thinkers who had pressed for a change in ritual which
would have satisfied the zeal of the reformers withdrew from union with
a party which revived the worst pretensions of the Papacy.

[Sidenote: Revolt of the Netherlands.]

But the eyes of Elizabeth as of her subjects were drawn from
difficulties at home to the conflict which took fresh fire oversea. In
Europe, as in England, the tide of religious passion which had so long
been held in check was now breaking over the banks which restrained it;
and with this outbreak of forces before which the diplomacy and
intrigues of its statesmen fell powerless the political face of Europe
was changed. In 1572 the power of the king of Spain had reached its
height. The Netherlands were at his feet. In the East his trouble from
the pressure of the Turks seemed brought to an end by a brilliant
victory at Lepanto in which his fleet with those of Venice and the Pope
annihilated the fleet of the Sultan. He could throw his whole weight
upon the Calvinism of the West, and above all upon France, where the
Guises were fast sinking into mere partizans of Spain. The common danger
drew France and England together; and Catharine of Medicis strove to
bind the two countries in one political action by offering to Elizabeth
the hand of her son Henry, the Duke of Anjou. But at this moment of
danger the whole situation was changed by the rising of the Netherlands.
Driven to despair by the greed and persecution of Alva, the Low
Countries rose in a revolt which after strange alternations of fortune
gave to the world the Republic of the United Provinces. Of the
Protestants driven out by the Duke's cruelties, many had taken to the
seas and cruised as pirates in the Channel, making war on Spanish
vessels under the flag of the Prince of Orange. Like the Huguenot
privateers who had sailed under Condé's flag, these freebooters found
shelter in the English ports. But in the spring of 1572 Alva demanded
their expulsion; and Elizabeth, unable to resist, sent them orders to
put to sea. The Duke's success proved fatal to his master's cause. The
"water-beggars," a little band of some two hundred and fifty men, were
driven by stress of weather into the Meuse. There they seized the city
of Brill, and repulsed a Spanish force which strove to recapture it. The
repulse was the signal for a general rising. All the great cities of
Holland and Zealand drove out their garrisons. The northern Provinces of
Gelderland, Overyssel, and Friesland, followed their example, and by the
summer half of the Low Countries were in revolt.

[Sidenote: The massacre of St. Bartholomew.]

A yet greater danger threatened Alva in the south, where Mons had been
surprised by Lewis of Nassau, and where the Calvinists were crying for
support from the Huguenots of France. The opening which their rising
afforded was seized by the Huguenot leaders as a political engine to
break the power which Catharine of Medicis exercised over Charles the
Ninth, and to set aside her policy of religious balance by placing
France at the head of Protestantism in the West. Weak and passionate in
temper, jealous of the warlike fame which his brother, the Duke of
Anjou, had won at Montcontour, dreading above all the power of Spain and
eager to grasp the opportunity of breaking it by a seizure of the
Netherlands, Charles listened to the counsels of Coligni, who pressed
for war upon Philip and promised the support of the Huguenots in an
invasion of the Low Countries. Never had a fairer prospect opened to
French ambition. But Catharine had no mind to be set aside. To her cool
political temper the supremacy of the Huguenots seemed as fatal to the
Crown as the supremacy of the Catholics. A triumph of Calvinism in the
Netherlands, wrought out by the swords of the French Calvinists, would
decide not only the religious but the political destinies of France; and
Catharine saw ruin for the monarchy in a France at once Protestant and
free. She suddenly united with the Guises and suffered them to rouse the
fanatical mob of Paris, while she won back the king by picturing the
royal power as about to pass into the hands of Coligni. On the
twenty-fourth of August, St. Bartholomew's day, the plot broke out in an
awful massacre. At Paris the populace murdered Coligni and almost all
the Huguenot leaders. A hundred thousand Protestants fell as the fury
spread from town to town. In that awful hour Philip and Catholicism were
saved. The Spanish king laughed for joy. The new Pope, Gregory the
Thirteenth, ordered a _Te Deum_ to be sung. Instead of conquering the
Netherlands France plunged madly back into a chaos of civil war, and the
Low Countries were left to cope single-handed with the armies of Spain.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth and the Netherlands.]

They could look for no help from Elizabeth. Whatever enthusiasm the
heroic struggle of the Prince of Orange for their liberties excited
among her subjects, it failed to move Elizabeth even for an instant from
the path of cold self-interest. To her the revolt of the Netherlands was
simply "a bridle of Spain, which kept war out of our own gate." At the
darkest moment of the contest, when Alva had won back all but Holland
and Zealand and even William of Orange despaired, the Queen bent her
energies to prevent him from finding succour in France. That the Low
Countries could in the end withstand Philip, neither she nor any English
statesmen believed. They held that the struggle must close either in
their subjection to him, or in their selling themselves for aid to
France; and the accession of power which either result must give to one
of her two Catholic foes the Queen was eager to avert. Her plan for
averting it was by forcing the Provinces to accept the terms which were
now offered by Alva's successor, Requesens, a restoration of their
constitutional privileges on condition of their submission to the
Church. Peace on such a footing would not only restore English commerce,
which suffered from the war; it would leave the Netherlands still
formidable as a weapon against Philip. The freedom of the Provinces
would be saved; and the religious question involved in a fresh
submission to the yoke of Catholicism was one which Elizabeth was
incapable of appreciating. To her the steady refusal of William the
Silent to sacrifice his faith was as unintelligible as the steady
bigotry of Philip in demanding such a sacrifice. It was of more
immediate consequence that Philip's anxiety to avoid provoking an
intervention on the part of England left Elizabeth tranquil at home. The
policy of Requesens after Alva's departure at the close of 1573 was a
policy of pacification; and with the steady resistance of the
Netherlands still foiling his efforts Philip saw that his one hope of
success rested on the avoidance of intervention from without. The civil
war which followed the massacre of St. Bartholomew removed all danger of
such an intervention on the side of France. A weariness of religious
strife enabled Catharine again to return to her policy of toleration in
the summer of 1573; but though the death of Charles the Ninth and
accession of his brother Henry the Third in the following year left the
queen-mother's power unbroken, the balance she preserved was too
delicate to leave room for any schemes without the realm.

[Sidenote: England becomes Protestant.]

English intervention it was yet more needful to avoid; and the hopes of
an attack upon England which Rome had drawn from Philip's fanaticism
were thus utterly blasted. To the fiery exhortations of Gregory the
Thirteenth the king only answered by counsels of delay. But Rome could
not delay her efforts. All her hopes of recovering England lay in the
Catholic sympathies of the mass of Englishmen, and every year that went
by weakened her chance of victory. The firm refusal of Elizabeth to
suffer the Puritans to break in with any violent changes on her
ecclesiastical policy was justified by its slow but steady success.
Silently, almost unconsciously, England became Protestant as the
traditionary Catholicism which formed the religion of three-fourths of
the people at the Queen's accession died quietly away. At the close of
her reign the only parts of England where the old faith retained
anything of its former vigour were the north and the extreme west, at
that time the poorest and least populated parts of the kingdom. One main
cause of the change lay in the gradual dying out or removal of the
Catholic priesthood and the growth of a new Protestant clergy who
supplied their place. The older parish priests, though they had almost
to a man acquiesced in the changes of ritual and doctrine which the
various phases of the Reformation imposed upon them, remained in heart
utterly hostile to its spirit. As Mary had undone the changes of Edward,
they hoped for a Catholic successor to undo the changes of Elizabeth;
and in the meantime they were content to wear the surplice instead of
the chasuble, and to use the Communion office instead of the Mass-book.
But if they were forced to read the Homilies from the pulpit the spirit
of their teaching remained unchanged; and it was easy for them to cast
contempt on the new services, till they seemed to old-fashioned
worshippers a mere "Christmas game." But the lapse of years did its work
in emptying parsonage after parsonage. In 1579 the Queen felt strong
enough to enforce for the first time a general compliance with the Act
of Uniformity; and the jealous supervision of Parker and the bishops
ensured an inner as well as an outer conformity to the established faith
in the clergy who took the place of the dying priesthood. The new
parsons were for the most part not merely Protestant in belief and
teaching, but ultra-Protestant. The old restrictions on the use of the
pulpit were silently removed as the need for them passed away, and the
zeal of the young ministers showed itself in an assiduous preaching
which moulded in their own fashion the religious ideas of the new
generation. But their character had even a greater influence than their
preaching. Under Henry the priests had in large part been ignorant and
sensual men; and the character of the clergy appointed by the greedy
Protestants under Edward or at the opening of Elizabeth's reign was even
worse than that of their Catholic rivals. But the energy of the
successive Primates, seconded as it was by the general increase of zeal
and morality at the time, did its work; and by the close of the Queen's
reign the moral temper as well as the social character of the clergy
had greatly changed. Scholars like Hooker could now be found in the
ranks of the priesthood, and the grosser scandals which disgraced the
clergy as a body for the most part disappeared. It was impossible for a
Puritan libeller to bring against the ministers of Elizabeth's reign the
charges of drunkenness and immorality which Protestant libellers had
been able to bring against the priesthood of Henry's.

[Sidenote: Patriotism and Protestantism.]

But the influence of the new clergy was backed by a general revolution
in English thought. The grammar schools were diffusing a new knowledge
and mental energy through the middle classes and among the country
gentry. The tone of the Universities, no unfair test of the tone of the
nation at large, changed wholly as the Queen's reign went on. At its
opening Oxford was "a nest of Papists" and sent its best scholars to
feed the Catholic seminaries. At its close the University was a hot-bed
of Puritanism, where the fiercest tenets of Calvin reigned supreme. The
movement was no doubt hastened by the political circumstances of the
time. Under the rule of Elizabeth loyalty became more and more a passion
among Englishmen; and the Bull of Deposition placed Rome in the
forefront of Elizabeth's foes. The conspiracies which festered around
Mary were laid to the Pope's charge; he was known to be pressing on
France and on Spain the invasion and conquest of the heretic kingdom;
he was soon to bless the Armada. Every day made it harder for a Catholic
to reconcile Catholicism with loyalty to his Queen or devotion to his
country; and the mass of men, who are moved by sentiment rather than by
reason, swung slowly round to the side which, whatever its religious
significance might be, was the side of patriotism, of liberty against
tyranny, of England against Spain. A new impulse was given to this
silent drift of religious opinion by the atrocities which marked the
Catholic triumph on the other side of the Channel. The horror of Alva's
butcheries or of the massacre in Paris on St. Bartholomew's day revived
the memories of the bloodshed under Mary. The tale of Protestant
sufferings was told with a wonderful pathos and picturesqueness by John
Foxe, an exile during the persecution; and his "Book of Martyrs," which
was set up by royal order in the churches for public reading, passed
from the churches to the shelves of every English household. The trading
classes of the towns had been the first to embrace the doctrines of the
Reformation, but their Protestantism became a passion as the refugees of
the Continent brought to shop and market their tale of outrage and
blood. Thousands of Flemish exiles found a refuge in the Cinque Ports, a
third of the Antwerp merchants were seen pacing the new London Exchange,
and a Church of French Huguenots found a home which it still retains in
the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral.

[Sidenote: The Seminary Priests.]

But the decay of Catholicism appealed strongly to the new spirit of
Catholic zeal which, in its despair of aid from Catholic princes, was
girding itself for its own bitter struggle with heresy. Pius the Fifth
had now passed away, but the policy of the Papal court remained
unchanged. His successor, Gregory the Thirteenth, showed the same
restless zeal, the same world-wide energy in the work of winning back
the nations to the Catholic Church. Rome was still the centre of the
Catholic crusade. It wielded material as well as spiritual arms. If the
Papacy had ceased to be a military power, it remained a financial power.
Taxes were multiplied, expenses reduced, estates confiscated, free towns
reduced to servitude, with the one aim of enabling Gregory and his
successors to build up a vast system of loans which poured the wealth of
Europe into the treasury of Catholicism. It was the treasure of the
Vatican which financed the Catholic movement. Subsidies from the Papacy
fitted out the fleet that faced the Turk at Lepanto, and gathered round
the Guises their lance-knights from the Rhine. Papal supplies equipped
expeditions against Ireland, and helped Philip to bear the cost of the
Armada. It was the Papal exchequer which supported the world-wide
diplomacy that was carrying on negotiations in Sweden and intrigues in
Poland, goading the lukewarm Emperor to action or quickening the
sluggish movements of Spain, plotting the ruin of Geneva or the
assassination of Orange, stirring up revolt in England and civil war in
France. It was the Papacy that bore the cost of the religious propaganda
that was fighting its stubborn battle with Calvinist and Lutheran on the
Rhine and the Elbe, or sending its missionaries to win back the lost
isle of the west. As early as 1568 Dr. Allen, a scholar who had been
driven from Oxford by the test prescribed in the Act of Uniformity, had
foreseen the results of the dying out of the Marian priests, and had set
up a seminary at Douay to supply their place. The new college was
liberally supported by the Catholic peers, and supplied with pupils by a
stream of refugees from Oxford and the English grammar schools. Three
years after its opening the college numbered a hundred and fifty
members. It was in these "seminary priests" that Gregory the Thirteenth
saw the means of reviving Catholic zeal in England, and at the Pope's
bidding they began in 1576 to pass over to English shores.

[Sidenote: The English Panic.]

Few as the new-comers were at first, their presence was at once felt in
the check which it gave to the gradual reconciliation of the Catholic
gentry to the English Church. No check could have been more galling to
Elizabeth, and her resentment was quickened by the sense of danger.
Rome had set itself in the forefront of her foes. She had accepted the
issue of the Bull of Deposition as a declaration of war on the part of
the Papacy, and she viewed the Douay priests with some justice as its
political emissaries. The comparative security of the Catholics from
active persecution during the early part of her reign had arisen, partly
from the sympathy and connivance of the gentry who acted as justices of
the peace, and still more from her own religious indifference. But the
Test Act placed the magistracy in Protestant hands; and as Elizabeth
passed from indifference to suspicion and from suspicion to terror she
put less restraint on the bigotry around her. In quitting Euston Hall
which she had visited in one of her pilgrimages the Queen gave its
master, young Rookwood, thanks for his entertainment and her hand to
kiss. "But my Lord Chamberlain nobly and gravely understanding that
Rookwood was excommunicate" for non-attendance at church "called him
before him, demanded of him how he durst presume to attempt her royal
presence, he unfit to accompany any Christian person, forthwith said
that he was fitter for a pair of stocks, commanded him out of Court, and
yet to attend the Council's pleasure." The Council's pleasure was seen
in his committal to the town prison at Norwich, while "seven more
gentlemen of worship" were fortunate enough to escape with a simple
sentence of arrest at their own homes. The Queen's terror became a
panic in the nation at large. The few priests who landed from Douay were
multiplied into an army of Papal emissaries despatched to sow treason
and revolt throughout the land. Parliament, which the working of the
Test Act had made a wholly Protestant body, save for the presence of a
few Catholics among the peers, was summoned to meet the new danger, and
declared by formal statute the landing of these priests and the
harbouring of them to be treason. The Act proved no idle menace; and the
execution of Cuthbert Mayne, a young priest who was arrested in Cornwall
with the Papal Bull of Deposition hidden about him, gave a terrible
indication of the character of the struggle upon which Elizabeth was
about to enter.

[Sidenote: Don John of Austria.]

The execution of Cuthbert Mayne was far from being purposed as the
opening of a religious persecution. To modern eyes there is something
even more revolting than open persecution in a policy which branded
every Catholic priest as a traitor and all Catholic worship as
disloyalty; but the first step towards toleration was won when the Queen
rested her system of repression on purely political grounds. If
Elizabeth was a persecutor, she was the first English ruler who felt the
charge of religious persecution to be a stigma on her rule. Nor can it
be denied that there was a real political danger in the new
missionaries. Allen was a restless conspirator, and the work of his
seminary priests was meant to aid a new plan of the Papacy for the
conquest of England. In 1576, on the death of Requesens, the Spanish
governor of the Low Countries, a successor was found for him in Don John
of Austria, a natural brother of Philip, the victor of Lepanto, and the
most famous general of his day. The temper of Don John was daring and
ambitious; his aim was a crown; and he sought in the Netherlands the
means of winning one. His ambition lent itself easily to the schemes of
Mary Stuart and of Rome; and he resolved to bring about by quick
concessions a settlement in the Low Countries, to cross with the Spanish
forces employed there to England, to raise the Catholics in revolt, to
free and marry Mary Stuart, and reign in her right as an English king.
The plan was an able one; but it was foiled ere he reached his post. The
Spanish troops had mutinied on the death of Requesens; and their sack of
Antwerp drew the States of the Netherlands together in a "Pacification
of Ghent." All differences of religion were set aside in a common
purpose to drive out the stranger. Baffled as he was, the subtlety of
Don John turned even this league to account. Their demand for the
withdrawal of the Spanish troops, though fatal to Philip's interests in
the Low Countries, could be made to serve the interests of Don John
across the seas. In February 1577, therefore, he ratified the
Pacification of Ghent, consented to the maintenance of the liberties of
the States, and engaged to withdraw the army. He stipulated only for its
withdrawal by sea, and for a delay of three months, which was needful
for the arrangement of his descent on the English coast. Both demands
however were refused; he was forced to withdraw his troops at once and
by land, and the scheme of the Papacy found itself utterly foiled.

[Sidenote: The Prince of Parma.]

Secret as were the plans of Don John, Elizabeth had seen how near danger
had drawn to her. Fortune once more proved her friend, for the efforts
of Don John to bring about a reconciliation of the Netherlands proved
fruitless, and negotiations soon passed again into the clash of arms.
But the Queen was warned at last. On the new outbreak of war in 1577 she
allied herself with the States and sent them money and men. Such a step,
though not in form an act of hostility against Philip, for the Provinces
with which she leagued herself still owned themselves as Philip's
subjects, was a measure which proved the Queen's sense of her need of
the Netherlands. Though she had little sympathy with their effort for
freedom, she saw in them "the one bridle to Spain to keep war out of our
own gate." But she was to see the war drift nearer and nearer to her
shores. Now that the Netherlands were all but lost Philip's slow
stubborn temper strung itself to meet the greatness of the peril. The
Spanish army was reinforced; and in January 1578 it routed the army of
the States on the field of Gemblours. The sickness and death of Don John
arrested its progress for a few months; but his successor, Philip's
nephew, Alexander Farnese, the Prince of Parma, soon proved his
greatness whether as a statesman or a general. He seized on the
difference of faith between the Catholic and Protestant States as a
means of division. The Pacification of Ghent was broken at the opening
of 1579 by the secession of the Walloon provinces of the southern
border. It was only by a new league of the seven northern provinces,
where Protestantism was dominant, in the Union of Utrecht that William
of Orange could meet Parma's stroke. But the general union of the Low
Countries was fatally broken, and from this moment the ten Catholic
states passed one by one into the hands of Spain.

[Sidenote: The Papal attack.]

The new vigour of Philip in the West marked a change in the whole policy
of Spain. Till now, in spite of endless provocations, Philip had clung
to the English alliance. Fear of Elizabeth's union with France, dread of
her help to the Netherlands, had steeled him to bear patiently her
defiance of his counsels, her neglect of his threats, her seizure of his
treasure, her persecution of the Catholic party which looked to him as
its head. But patience had only been met by fresh attacks. The attempt
of Don John had spurred Elizabeth to ally herself to France. She was
expected every hour to marry the Duke of Anjou. She had given friendship
and aid to the revolted provinces. Above all her freebooters were
carrying war into the far Pacific, and challenging the right of Spain to
the New World of the West. Philip drifted whether he would or no into a
position of hostility. He had not forbidden the projects of Don John; he
at last promised aid to the projects of Rome. In 1579 the Papacy planned
the greatest and most comprehensive of its attacks upon Elizabeth. If
the Catholic powers still hesitated and delayed, Rome was resolute to
try its own strength in the West. The spiritual reconciliation of
England was not enough. However successful the efforts of the seminary
priests might prove they would leave Elizabeth on the throne, and the
reign of Elizabeth was a defeat to the Papacy. In issuing its Bull of
Deposition Rome had staked all on the ruin of the Queen, and even if
England became Catholic Gregory could not suffer his spiritual subjects
to obey a ruler whom his sentence had declared an unlawful possessor of
the throne. And now that the temper of Spain promised more vigorous
action Rome could pave the way for a landing of Philip's troops by
stirring up a threefold danger for Elizabeth. While fresh and more
vigorous missionaries egged on the English Catholics to revolt, the
Pope hastened to bring about a Catholic revolution in Scotland and a
Catholic insurrection in Ireland.

[Sidenote: Ireland.]

In Ireland Sidney's victory had been followed by ten years of peace. Had
the land been left to itself there would have been nothing more than the
common feuds and disturbances of the time. The policy of driving its
people to despair by seizing their lands for English settlements had
been abandoned since Mary's day. The religious question had hardly any
practical existence. On the Queen's accession indeed the ecclesiastical
policy of the Protestants had been revived in name; Rome was again
renounced; the Act of Uniformity forced on the island the use of the
English Prayer-Book and compelled attendances at the services where it
was used. There was as before a general air of compliance with the law.
Even in the districts without the Pale the bishops generally conformed;
and the only exceptions of which we have any information were to be
found in the extreme south and in the north, where resistance was
distant enough to be safe. But the real cause of this apparent
submission to the Act of Uniformity lay in the fact that it remained,
and necessarily remained, a dead letter. It was impossible to find any
considerable number of English ministers, or of Irish priests acquainted
with English. Meath was one of the most civilized dioceses of the
island, and out of a hundred curates in it hardly ten knew any tongue
save their own. The promise that the service-book should be translated
into Irish was never carried out, and the final clause of the Act itself
authorized the use of a Latin rendering of it till further order could
be taken. But this, like its other provisions, was ignored; and
throughout Elizabeth's reign the gentry of the Pale went unquestioned to
Mass. There was in fact no religious persecution, and in the many
complaints of Shane O'Neill we find no mention of a religious grievance.

[Sidenote: Ireland and the Papacy.]

But this was far from being the view of Rome or of Spain, of the
Catholic missionaries, or of the Irish exiles abroad. They represented
and perhaps believed the Irish people to be writhing under a religious
oppression which it was burning to shake off. They saw in the Irish
loyalty to Catholicism a lever for overthrowing the heretic Queen.
Stukely, an Irish refugee, had pressed on the Pope and Spain as early as
1571 the policy of a descent on Ireland; and though a force gathered in
1578 by the Pope for this purpose was diverted to a mad crusade against
the Moors, his plans were carried out in 1579 by the landing of a few
soldiers under the brother of the Earl of Desmond, James Fitzmaurice, on
the coast of Kerry. The Irish however held aloof, and Fitzmaurice fell
in a skirmish; but the revolt of the Earl of Desmond gave fresh hope of
success, and the rising was backed by the arrival in 1580 of two
thousand Papal soldiers "in five great ships." These mercenaries were
headed by an Italian captain, San Giuseppe, and accompanied by a Papal
Legate, the Jesuit Sanders, who brought plenary indulgence for all who
joined the sacred enterprise and threats of damnation for all who
resisted it. "What will you answer to the Pope's treatment," ran his
letter to the Irish, "when he, bringing us the Pope's and other Catholic
princes' aid, shall charge you with the crime and pain of heretics for
maintaining an heretical pretensed Queen against the public sentence of
Christ's vicar? Can she with her feigned supremacy absolve and acquit
you from the Pope's excommunication and curse?" The news of the landing
of this force stirred in England a Protestant frenzy that foiled the
scheme for a Catholic marriage with the Duke of Anjou; while Elizabeth,
panic-stricken, urged the French king to save her from Philip by an
invasion of the Netherlands. But the danger passed quickly away. The
Papal attempt ended in a miserable failure. The fort of Smerwick, in
which the invaders entrenched themselves, was forced to surrender, and
its garrison put ruthlessly to the sword. The Earl of Desmond, who after
long indecision rose to support them, was defeated and hunted over his
own country, which the panic-born cruelty of his pursuers harried into a

[Sidenote: The Jesuit landing.]

Pitiless as it was, the work done in Munster spread a terror over
Ireland which served England in good stead when the struggle of
Catholicism culminated in the fight with the Armada; and not a chieftain
stirred during that memorable year save to massacre the miserable men
who were shipwrecked along the coast of Bantry or Sligo. But the Irish
revolt did much to give fresh strength to the panic which the efforts of
the seminary priests had roused in England. This was raised to frenzy by
news that to the efforts of the seminary priests were now added those of
Jesuit missionaries. Pope Gregory had resolved to support his military
effort in Ireland by a fresh missionary effort in England itself. Philip
would only promise to invade England if the co-operation of its
Catholics was secured; and the aim of the new mission was to prepare
them for revolt. While the force of San Giuseppe was being equipped for
Kerry a young convert, William Gilbert, was despatched to form a
Catholic association in England; among whose members the chief were
afterwards found engaged in conspiracies for the death of Elizabeth or
sharing in the Gunpowder Plot. As soon as this was organized, as many as
fifty priests, if we may trust Allen's statement, were sent to land
secretly on the coast. They were headed by two men of remarkable talents
and energy. A large number of the Oxford refugees at Douay had joined
the Order of Jesus, whose members were already famous for their blind
devotion to the will and judgements of Rome; and the two ablest and most
eloquent of these exiles, Campian, once a fellow of St. John's, and
Parsons, once a fellow of Balliol, were despatched in the spring of 1580
as the heads of a Jesuit mission in England. Their special aim was to
win the nobility and gentry to the Church, and for the moment their
success seemed overwhelming. "It is supposed," wrote Allen triumphantly,
"that there are twenty thousand more Catholics this year than last." The
eagerness shown to hear Campian was so great that in spite of the
rewards offered for his arrest by the Government he was able to preach
with hardly a show of concealment to a large audience at Smithfield.
From London the Jesuits wandered in the disguise of captains or
serving-men, sometimes even in the cassocks of the English clergy,
through many of the counties; and wherever they went the zeal of the
Catholic gentry revived. The list of nobles won back to the older faith
by these wandering apostles was headed by the name of Lord Oxford,
Cecil's own son-in-law, and the proudest among English peers.

[Sidenote: The Protestant terror.]

Their success in undoing the Queen's work of compromise was shown in a
more public way by the growing withdrawal of the Catholics from
attendance at the worship of the English Church. It was plain that a
fierce religious struggle was at hand, and men felt that behind this
lay a yet fiercer political struggle. Philip's hosts were looming over
sea, and the horrors of foreign invasion seemed about to be added to the
horrors of civil war. The panic of the Protestants and of the Parliament
outran even the real greatness of the danger. The little group of
missionaries was magnified by popular fancy into a host of disguised
Jesuits; and the invasion of this imaginary host was met by the seizure
and torture of as many priests as the government could lay hands on, the
imprisonment of recusants, the securing of the prominent Catholics
throughout the country, and by the assembling of Parliament at the
opening of 1581. An Act "to retain the Queen's Majesty's subjects in due
obedience" prohibited the saying of Mass even in private houses,
increased the fine on recusants to twenty pounds a month, and enacted
that "all persons pretending to any power of absolving subjects from
their allegiance, or practising to withdraw them to the Romish religion,
with all persons after the present session willingly so absolved or
reconciled to the See of Rome, shall be guilty of High Treason." The way
in which the vast powers conferred on the Crown by this statute were
used by Elizabeth was not only characteristic in itself, but important
as at once defining the policy to which, in theory at least, her
successors adhered for more than a hundred years. No layman was brought
to the bar or to the block under its provisions. The oppression of the
Catholic gentry was limited to an exaction, more or less rigorous at
different times, of the fines for recusancy or non-attendance at public
worship. The work of bloodshed was reserved wholly for priests, and
under Elizabeth this work was done with a ruthless energy which for the
moment crushed the Catholic reaction. The Jesuits were tracked by
pursuivants and spies, dragged from their hiding-places, and sent in
batches to the Tower. So hot was the pursuit that Parsons was forced to
fly across the Channel; while Campian was arrested in July 1581, brought
a prisoner through the streets of London amidst the howling of the mob,
and placed at the bar on the charge of treason. "Our religion only is
our crime," was a plea which galled his judges; but the political danger
of the Jesuit preaching was disclosed in his evasion of any direct reply
when questioned as to his belief in the validity of the excommunication
or deposition of the Queen by the Papal See, and after much hesitation
he was executed as a traitor.

[Sidenote: The Catholic resistance.]

Rome was now at open war with England. Even the more conservative
Englishmen looked on the Papacy as the first among England's foes. In
striving to enforce the claims of its temporal supremacy, Rome had
roused against it that national pride which had battled with it even in
the middle ages. From that hour therefore the cause of Catholicism was
lost. England became Protestant in heart and soul when Protestantism
became identified with patriotism. But it was not to Protestantism only
that this attitude of Rome and the policy it forced on the Government
gave a new impulse. The death of Campian was the prelude to a steady,
pitiless effort at the extermination of his class. If we adopt the
Catholic estimate of the time, the twenty years which followed saw the
execution of two hundred priests, while a yet greater number perished in
the filthy and fever-stricken gaols into which they were plunged. The
work of reconciliation to Rome was arrested by this ruthless energy;
but, on the other hand, the work which the priests had effected could
not be undone. The system of quiet compulsion and conciliation to which
Elizabeth had trusted for the religious reunion of her subjects was
foiled; and the English Catholics, fined, imprisoned at every crisis of
national danger, and deprived of their teachers by the prison and the
gibbet, were severed more hopelessly than ever from the national Church.
A fresh impulse was thus given to the growing current of opinion which
was to bring England at last to recognize the right of every man to
freedom both of conscience and of worship. "In Henry's days, the father
of this Elizabeth," wrote a Catholic priest at this time, "the whole
kingdom with all its bishops and learned men abjured their faith at one
word of the tyrant. But now in his daughter's days boys and women
boldly profess the faith before the judge, and refuse to make the
slightest concession even at the threat of death." What Protestantism
had first done under Mary, Catholicism was doing under Elizabeth. It was
deepening the sense of personal religion. It was revealing in men who
had till now cowered before the might of kingship a power greater than
the might of kings. It was breaking the spell which the monarchy had
laid on the imagination of the people. The Crown ceased to seem
irresistible when "boys and women" dared to resist it: it lost its
mysterious sacredness when half the nation looked on their sovereign as
a heretic. The "divinity that doth hedge a king" was rudely broken in
upon when Jesuit libellers were able to brand the wearer of the crown
not only as a usurper but as a profligate and abandoned woman. The
mighty impulse of patriotism, of national pride, which rallied the whole
people round Elizabeth as the Armada threatened England or Drake
threatened Spain, shielded indeed Elizabeth from much of the natural
results of this drift of opinion. But with her death the new sentiment
started suddenly to the front. The divine right of kings, the divine
right of bishops, found themselves face to face with a passion for
religious and political liberty which had gained vigour from the dungeon
of the Catholic priest as from that of the Protestant zealot.




[Sidenote: The popular passion.]

The work of the Jesuits, the withdrawal of the Catholics from the
churches, the panic of the Protestants, were signs that the control of
events was passing from the hands of statesmen and diplomatists, and
that the long period of suspense which Elizabeth's policy had won was
ending in the clash of national and political passions. The rising
fanaticism of the Catholic world was breaking down the caution and
hesitation of Philip; while England was setting aside the balanced
neutrality of her Queen and pushing boldly forward to a contest which it
felt to be inevitable. The public opinion, to which Elizabeth was so
sensitive, took every day a bolder and more decided tone. Her cold
indifference to the heroic struggle in Flanders was more than
compensated by the enthusiasm it roused among the nation at large. The
earlier Flemish refugees found a home in the Cinque Ports. The exiled
merchants of Antwerp were welcomed by the merchants of London. While
Elizabeth dribbled out her secret aid to the Prince of Orange, the
London traders sent him half-a-million from their own purses, a sum
equal to a year's revenue of the Crown. Volunteers stole across the
Channel in increasing numbers to the aid of the Dutch, till the five
hundred Englishmen who fought in the beginning of the struggle rose to a
brigade of five thousand, whose bravery turned one of the most critical
battles of the war. Dutch privateers found shelter in English ports, and
English vessels hoisted the flag of the States for a dash at the Spanish
traders. Protestant fervour rose steadily among Englishmen as "the best
captains and soldiers" returned from the campaigns in the Low Countries
to tell of Alva's atrocities, or as privateers brought back tales of
English seamen who had been seized in Spain and the New World, to linger
amidst the tortures of the Inquisition, or to die in its fires. In the
presence of this steady drift of popular passion the diplomacy of
Elizabeth became of little moment. If the Queen was resolute for peace,
England was resolute for war. A new daring had arisen since the
beginning of her reign, when Cecil and Elizabeth stood alone in their
belief in England's strength, and when the diplomatists of Europe
regarded her obstinate defiance of Philip's counsels as "madness." The
whole English people had caught the self-confidence and daring of their

[Sidenote: Spain.]

It was the instinct of liberty as well as of Protestantism that drove
England forward to a conflict with Philip of Spain. Spain was at this
moment the mightiest of European powers. The discoveries of Columbus had
given it the New World of the West; the conquests of Cortes and Pizarro
poured into its treasury the plunder of Mexico and Peru; its galleons
brought the rich produce of the Indies, their gold, their jewels, their
ingots of silver, to the harbour of Cadiz. To the New World the Spanish
king added the fairest and wealthiest portions of the Old; he was master
of Naples and Milan, the richest and most fertile districts of Italy; in
spite of revolt he was still lord of the busy provinces of the Low
Countries, of Flanders, the great manufacturing district of the time,
and of Antwerp, which had become the central mart for the commerce of
the world. His native kingdom, poor as it was, supplied him with the
steadiest and the most daring soldiers that Europe had seen since the
fall of the Roman Empire. The renown of the Spanish infantry had been
growing from the day when it flung off the onset of the French chivalry
on the field of Ravenna; and the Spanish generals stood without rivals
in their military skill, as they stood without rivals in their ruthless

[Sidenote: Philip.]

The whole too of this enormous power was massed in the hands of a
single man. Served as he was by able statesmen and subtle diplomatists,
Philip of Spain was his own sole minister; labouring day after day, like
a clerk, through the long years of his reign, amidst the papers which
crowded his closet; but resolute to let nothing pass without his
supervision, and to suffer nothing to be done save by his express
command. His scheme of rule differed widely from that of his father.
Charles had held the vast mass of his dominions by a purely personal
bond. He chose no capital, but moved ceaselessly from land to land; he
was a German in the Empire, a Spaniard in Castille, a Netherlander in
the Netherlands. But in the hands of Philip his father's heritage became
a Spanish realm. His capital was fixed at Madrid. The rest of his
dominions sank into provinces of Spain, to be governed by Spanish
viceroys, and subordinated to the policy and interests of a Spanish
minister. All local liberties, all varieties of administration, all
national differences were set aside for a monotonous despotism which was
wielded by Philip himself. It was his boast that everywhere in the vast
compass of his dominions he was "an absolute king." It was to realize
this idea of unshackled power that he crushed the liberties of Aragon,
as his father had crushed the liberties of Castille, and sent Alva to
tread under foot the constitutional freedom of the Low Countries. His
bigotry went hand in hand with his thirst for rule. Catholicism was the
one common bond that knit his realms together, and policy as well as
religious faith made Philip the champion of Catholicism. Italy and Spain
lay hushed beneath the terror of the Inquisition, while Flanders was
being purged of heresy by the stake and the sword.

[Sidenote: Philip and Elizabeth.]

The shadow of this gigantic power fell like a deadly blight over Europe.
The new Protestantism, like the new spirit of political liberty, saw its
real foe in Philip. It was Spain, rather than the Guises, against which
Coligni and the Huguenots struggled in vain; it was Spain with which
William of Orange was wrestling for religious and civil freedom; it was
Spain which was soon to plunge Germany into the chaos of the Thirty
Years War, and to which the Catholic world had for twenty years been
looking, and looking in vain, for a victory over heresy in England. Vast
in fact as Philip's resources were, they were drained by the yet vaster
schemes of ambition into which his religion and his greed of power, as
well as the wide distribution of his dominions, perpetually drew him. To
coerce the weaker States of Italy, to command the Mediterranean, to keep
a hold on the African coast, to preserve his influence in Germany, to
support Catholicism in France, to crush heresy in Flanders, to despatch
one Armada against the Turk and another against England, were aims
mighty enough to exhaust even the power of the Spanish monarchy. But it
was rather on the character of Philip than on the exhaustion of his
treasury that Elizabeth counted for success in the struggle which had so
long been going on between them. The king's temper was slow, cautious
even to timidity, losing itself continually in delays, in hesitations,
in anticipating remote perils, in waiting for distant chances; and on
the slowness and hesitation of his temper his rival had been playing
ever since she mounted the throne. The agility, the sudden changes of
Elizabeth, her lies, her mystifications, though they failed to deceive
Philip, puzzled and impeded his mind. The diplomatic contest between the
two was like the fight which England was soon to see between the
ponderous Spanish galleon and the light pinnace of the buccaneers.

[Sidenote: Philip's policy.]

But amidst all the cloud of intrigue which disguised their policy, the
actual course of their relations had been clear and simple. In the
earlier years of Elizabeth Philip had been driven to her alliance by his
fear of France and his dread of the establishment of a French supremacy
over England and Scotland through the accession of Mary Stuart. As time
went on, the discontent and rising of the Netherlands made it of hardly
less import to avoid a strife with the Queen. Had revolt in England
prospered, or Mary Stuart succeeded in her countless plots, or Elizabeth
fallen beneath an assassin's knife, Philip was ready to have struck in
and reaped the fruits of other men's labours. But his stake was too
vast to risk an attack while the Queen sat firmly on her throne; and the
cry of the English Catholics, or the pressure of the Pope, failed to
drive the Spanish king into strife with Elizabeth. But as the tide of
religious passion which had so long been held in check broke over its
banks the political face of Europe changed. Philip had less to dread
from France or from an English alliance with France. The abstinence of
Elizabeth from intervention in the Netherlands was neutralized by the
intervention of the English people. Above all, the English hostility
threatened Philip in a quarter where he was more sensitive than
elsewhere, his dominion in the West.

[Sidenote: Spain and the New World.]

Foiled as the ambition of Charles the Fifth had been in the Old World,
his empire had widened with every year in the New. At his accession to
the throne the Spanish rule had hardly spread beyond the Island of St.
Domingo, which Columbus had discovered twenty years before. But greed
and enterprise drew Cortes to the mainland, and in 1521 his conquest of
Mexico added a realm of gold to the dominions of the Emperor. Ten years
later the great empire of Peru yielded to the arms of Pizarro. With the
conquest of Chili the whole western coast of South America passed into
the hands of Spain; and successive expeditions planted the Spanish flag
at point upon point along the coast of the Atlantic from Florida to the
river Plate. A Papal grant had conveyed the whole of America to the
Spanish crown, and fortune seemed for long years to ratify the judgement
of the Vatican. No European nation save Portugal disputed the possession
of the New World, and Portugal was too busy with its discoveries in
Africa and India to claim more than the territory of Brazil. Though
Francis the First sent seamen to explore the American coast, his
ambition found other work at home; and a Huguenot colony which settled
in Florida was cut to pieces by the Spaniards. Only in the far north did
a few French settlers find rest beside the waters of the St. Lawrence.
England had reached the mainland even earlier than Spain, for before
Columbus touched its shores Sebastian Cabot, a seaman of Genoese blood
but born and bred in England, sailed with an English crew from Bristol
in 1497, and pushed along the coast of America to the south as far as
Florida, and northward as high as Hudson's Bay. But no Englishman
followed on the track of this bold adventurer; and while Spain built up
her empire in the New World, the English seamen reaped a humbler harvest
in the fisheries of Newfoundland.

[Sidenote: The Sea-dogs.]

There was little therefore in the circumstances which attended the first
discovery of the western continent that promised well for freedom. Its
one result as yet was to give an enormous impulse to the most bigoted
and tyrannical among the powers of Europe, and to pour the gold of
Mexico and Peru into the treasury of Spain. But as the reign of
Elizabeth went on the thoughts of Englishmen turned again to the New
World. A happy instinct drew them from the first not to the southern
shores that Spain was conquering, but to the ruder and more barren
districts of the north. In 1576 the dream of finding a passage to Asia
by a voyage round the northern coast of the American continent drew a
west-country seaman, Martin Frobisher, to the coast of Labrador; and,
foiled as he was in his quest, the news he brought back of the existence
of gold mines there set adventurers cruising among the icebergs of
Baffin's Bay. Elizabeth herself joined in the venture; but the
settlement proved a failure, the ore which the ships brought back turned
out to be worthless, and England was saved from that greed of gold which
was to be fatal to the energies of Spain. But, failure as it was,
Frobisher's venture had shown the readiness of Englishmen to defy the
claims of Spain to the exclusive possession of America or the American
seas. They were already defying these claims in a yet more galling way.
The seamen of the southern and south-western coasts had long been
carrying on a half-piratical war on their own account. Four years after
Elizabeth's accession the Channel swarmed with "sea-dogs," as they were
called, who sailed under letters of marque from Condé and the Huguenot
leaders, and took heed neither of the complaints of the French Court
nor of their own Queen's efforts at repression. Her efforts broke
against the connivance of every man along the coast, of the very port
officers of the Crown, who made profit out of the spoil which the
plunderers brought home, and of the gentry of the west, whose love of
venture made them go hand in hand with the sea-dogs. They broke above
all against the national craving for open fight with Spain, and the
Protestant craving for open fight with Catholicism. If the Queen held
back from any formal part in the great war of religions across the
Channel, her subjects were keen to take their part in it. Young
Englishmen crossed the sea to serve under Condé or Henry of Navarre. The
war in the Netherlands drew hundreds of Protestants to the field. Their
passionate longing for a religious war found a wider sphere on the sea.
When the suspension of the French contest forced the sea-dogs to haul
down the Huguenot flag, they joined in the cruises of the Dutch
"sea-beggars." From plundering the vessels of Havre and Rochelle they
turned to plunder the galleons of Spain.

[Sidenote: Drake.]

Their outrages tried Philip's patience; but his slow resentment only
quickened into angry alarm when the sea-dogs sailed westward to seek a
richer spoil. The Papal decree which gave the New World to Spain, the
threats of the Spanish king against any Protestant who should visit its
seas, fell idly on the ears of English seamen. Philip's care to save his
new dominions from the touch of heresy was only equalled by his resolve
to suffer no trade between them and other lands than Spain. But the
sea-dogs were as ready to traffic as to fight. It was in vain that their
vessels were seized, and the sailors flung into the dungeons of the
Inquisition, "laden with irons, without sight of sun or moon." The
profits of the trade were large enough to counteract its perils; and the
bigotry of Philip was met by a bigotry as merciless as his own. The
Puritanism of the sea-dogs went hand in hand with their love of
adventure. To break through the Catholic monopoly of the New World, to
kill Spaniards, to sell negroes, to sack gold-ships, were in these men's
minds a seemly work for "the elect of God." The name of Francis Drake
became the terror of the Spanish Indies. In Drake a Protestant
fanaticism went hand in hand with a splendid daring. He conceived the
design of penetrating into the Pacific, whose waters had till then never
seen an English flag; and backed by a little company of adventurers, he
set sail in 1577 for the southern seas in a vessel hardly as big as a
Channel schooner, with a few yet smaller companions who fell away before
the storms and perils of the voyage. But Drake with his one ship and
eighty men held boldly on; and passing the Straits of Magellan,
untraversed as yet by any Englishman, swept the unguarded coast of
Chili and Peru, loaded his bark with the gold dust and silver ingots of
Potosi, as well as with the pearls, emeralds, and diamonds which formed
the cargo of the great galleon that sailed once a year from Lima to
Cadiz. With spoils of above half-a-million in value the daring
adventurer steered undauntedly for the Moluccas, rounded the Cape of
Good Hope, and in 1580, after completing the circuit of the globe,
dropped anchor again in Plymouth harbour.

[Sidenote: Conquest of Portugal.]

The romantic daring of Drake's voyage as well as the vastness of his
spoil roused a general enthusiasm throughout England. But the welcome
which he received from Elizabeth on his return was accepted by Philip as
an outrage which could only be expiated by war. Sluggish as it was, the
blood of the Spanish king was fired at last by the defiance with which
the Queen listened to all demands for redress. She met a request for
Drake's surrender by knighting the freebooter and by wearing in her
crown the jewels he offered her as a present. When the Spanish
ambassador threatened that "matters would come to the cannon," she
replied "quietly, in her most natural voice, as if she were telling a
common story," wrote Mendoza, "that if I used threats of that kind she
would fling me into a dungeon." Outraged indeed as Philip was, she
believed that with the Netherlands still in revolt and France longing
for her alliance to enable it to seize them, the king could not afford
to quarrel with her. But the victories and diplomacy of Parma were
already reassuring Philip in the Netherlands; while the alliance of
Elizabeth with the revolted Provinces convinced him at last that their
reduction could best be brought about by an invasion of England and the
establishment of Mary Stuart on its throne. With this conviction he lent
himself to the plans of Rome, and waited only for the rising in Ireland
and the revolt of the English Catholics which Pope Gregory promised him
to despatch forces from both Flanders and Spain. But the Irish rising
was over before Philip could act; and before the Jesuits could rouse
England to rebellion the Spanish king himself was drawn to a new scheme
of ambition by the death of King Sebastian of Portugal in 1580. Philip
claimed the Portuguese crown; and in less than two months Alva laid the
kingdom at his feet. The conquest of Portugal was fatal to the Papal
projects against England, for while the armies of Spain marched on
Lisbon Elizabeth was able to throw the leaders of the expected revolt
into prison and to send Campian to the scaffold. On the other hand it
raised Philip into a far more formidable foe. The conquest almost
doubled his power. His gain was far more than that of Portugal itself.
While Spain had been winning the New World her sister-kingdom had been
winning a wide though scattered dominion on the African coast, the
coast of India, and the islands of the Pacific. Less in extent, the
Portuguese settlements were at the moment of even greater value to the
mother country than the colonies of Spain. The gold of Guinea, the silks
of Goa, the spices of the Philippines made Lisbon one of the marts of
Europe. The sword of Alva had given Philip a hold on the richest trade
of the world. It had given him the one navy that as yet rivalled his
own. His flag claimed mastery in the Indian and the Pacific seas, as it
claimed mastery in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

[Sidenote: The marriage with Anjou.]

The conquest of Portugal therefore wholly changed Philip's position. It
not only doubled his power and resources, but it did this at a time when
fortune seemed everywhere wavering to his side. The provinces of the
Netherlands, which still maintained a struggle for their liberties, drew
courage from despair; and met Philip's fresh hopes of their subjection
by a solemn repudiation of his sovereignty in the summer of 1581. But
they did not dream that they could stand alone, and they sought the aid
of France by choosing as their new sovereign the Duke of Alençon, who on
his brother Henry's accession to the throne had become Duke of Anjou.
The choice was only part of a political scheme which was to bind the
whole of Western Europe together against Spain. The conquest of Portugal
had at once drawn France and England into close relations, and
Catharine of Medicis strove to league the two countries by a marriage of
Elizabeth with the Duke of Anjou. Such a match would have been a purely
political one, for Elizabeth was now forty-eight, and Francis of Anjou
had no qualities either of mind or body to recommend him to the Queen.
But the English ministers pressed for it, Elizabeth amidst all her
coquetries seemed at last ready to marry, and the States seized the
moment to lend themselves to the alliance of the two powers by choosing
the Duke as their lord. Anjou accepted their offer, and crossing to the
Netherlands, drove Parma from Cambray; then sailing again to England, he
spent the winter in a fresh wooing.

[Sidenote: Its failure.]

But the Duke's wooing still proved fruitless. The schemes of diplomacy
found themselves shattered against the religious enthusiasm of the time.
While Orange and Catharine and Elizabeth saw only the political weight
of the marriage as a check upon Philip, the sterner Protestants in
England saw in it a victory for Catholicism at home. Of the difference
between the bigoted Catholicism of Spain and the more tolerant
Catholicism of the court of France such men recked nothing. The memory
of St. Bartholomew's day hung around Catharine of Medicis; and the
success of the Jesuits at this moment roused the dread of a general
conspiracy against Protestantism. A Puritan lawyer named Stubbs only
expressed the alarm of his fellows in his "Discovery of a Gaping Gulf"
in which England was to plunge through the match with Anjou. When the
hand of the pamphleteer was cut off as a penalty for his daring, Stubbs
waved his hat with the hand that was left, and cried "God save Queen
Elizabeth." But the Queen knew how stern a fanaticism went with this
unflinching loyalty, and her dread of a religious conflict within her
realm must have quickened the fears which the worthless temper of her
wooer cannot but have inspired. She gave however no formal refusal of
her hand. So long as coquetry sufficed to hold France and England
together, she was ready to play the coquette; and it was as the future
husband of the Queen that Anjou again appeared in 1582 in the
Netherlands and received the formal submission of the revolted States,
save Holland and Zealand. But the subtle schemes which centred in him
broke down before the selfish perfidy of the Duke. Resolved to be ruler
in more than name, he planned the seizure of the greater cities of the
Netherlands, and at the opening of 1583 made a fruitless effort to take
Antwerp by surprise. It was in vain that Orange strove by patient
negotiation to break the blow. The Duke fled homewards, the match and
sovereignty were at an end, the alliance of the three powers vanished
like a dream. The last Catholic provinces passed over to Parma's side;
the weakened Netherlands found themselves parted from France; and at
the close of 1583 Elizabeth saw herself left face to face with Philip of

[Sidenote: The Puritans and the Crown.]

Nor was this all. At home as well as abroad troubles were thickening
around the Queen. The fanaticism of the Catholic world without was
stirring a Protestant fanaticism within the realm. As Rome became more
and more the centre of hostility to England, patriotism itself stirred
men to a hatred of Rome; and their hatred of Rome passed easily into a
love for the fiercer and sterner Calvinism which looked on all
compromise with Rome, or all acceptance of religious traditions or
usages which had been associated with Rome, as treason against God.
Puritanism, as this religious temper was called, was becoming the creed
of every earnest Protestant throughout the realm; and the demand for a
further advance towards the Calvinistic system and a more open breach
with Catholicism which was embodied in the suppression of the
"superstitious usages" became stronger than ever. But Elizabeth was firm
as of old to make no advance. Greatly as the Protestants had grown, she
knew they were still a minority in the realm. If the hotter Catholics
were fast decreasing, they remained a large and important body. But the
mass of the nation was neither Catholic nor Protestant. It had lost
faith in the Papacy. It was slowly drifting to a new faith in the Bible.
But it still clung obstinately to the past; it still recoiled from
violent change; its temper was religious rather than theological, and
it shrank from the fanaticism of Geneva as it shrank from the fanaticism
of Rome. It was a proof of Elizabeth's genius that alone among her
counsellors she understood this drift of opinion, and withstood measures
which would have startled the mass of Englishmen into a new resistance.

[Sidenote: The High Commission.]

But her policy was wider than her acts. The growing Puritanism of the
clergy stirred her wrath above measure, and she met the growth of
"nonconforming" ministers by conferring new powers in 1583 on the
Ecclesiastical Commission. From being a temporary board which
represented the Royal Supremacy in matters ecclesiastical, the
Commission was now turned into a permanent body wielding the almost
unlimited powers of the Crown. All opinions or acts contrary to the
Statutes of Supremacy and Uniformity fell within its cognizance. A right
of deprivation placed the clergy at its mercy. It had power to alter or
amend the statutes of colleges or schools. Not only heresy and schism
and nonconformity, but incest or aggravated adultery were held to fall
within its scope; its means of enquiry were left without limit, and it
might fine or imprison at its will. By the mere establishment of such a
court half the work of the Reformation was undone. The large number of
civilians on the board indeed seemed to furnish some security against
the excess of ecclesiastical tyranny. Of its forty-four commissioners,
however, few actually took any part in its proceedings; and the powers
of the Commission were practically left in the hands of the successive
Primates. No Archbishop of Canterbury since the days of Augustine had
wielded an authority so vast, so utterly despotic, as that of Whitgift
and Bancroft and Abbot and Laud. The most terrible feature of their
spiritual tyranny was its wholly personal character. The old symbols of
doctrine were gone, and the lawyers had not yet stepped in to protect
the clergy by defining the exact limits of the new. The result was that
at the commission-board at Lambeth the Primates created their own tests
of doctrine with an utter indifference to those created by law. In one
instance Parker deprived a vicar of his benefice for a denial of the
verbal inspiration of the Bible. Nor did the successive Archbishops care
greatly if the test was a varying or a conflicting one. Whitgift strove
to force on the Church the Calvinistic supralapsarianism of his Lambeth
Articles. Bancroft, who followed him, was as earnest in enforcing his
anti-Calvinistic dogma of the divine right of the episcopate. Abbot had
no mercy for Erastians. Laud had none for anti-Erastians. It is no
wonder that the Ecclesiastical Commission, which these men represented,
soon stank in the nostrils of the English clergy. Its establishment
however marked the adoption of a more resolute policy on the part of the
Crown, and its efforts were backed by stern measures of repression. All
preaching or reading in private houses was forbidden; and in spite of
the refusal of Parliament to enforce the requirement of them by law,
subscription to the Three Articles was exacted from every member of the
clergy. For the moment these measures were crowned with success. The
movement which Cartwright still headed was checked; Cartwright himself
was driven from his Professorship; and an outer uniformity of worship
was more and more brought about by the steady pressure of the
Commission. The old liberty which had been allowed in London and the
other Protestant parts of the kingdom was no longer permitted to exist.
The leading Puritan clergy, whose nonconformity had hitherto been winked
at, were called upon to submit to the surplice, and to make the sign of
the cross in baptism. The remonstrances of the country gentry availed as
little as the protest of Lord Burleigh himself to protect two hundred of
the best ministers from being driven from their parsonages on a refusal
to subscribe to the Three Articles.

[Sidenote: Martin Marprelate.]

But the political danger of the course on which the Crown had entered
was seen in the rise of a spirit of vigorous opposition, such as had not
made its appearance since the accession of the Tudors. The growing power
of public opinion received a striking recognition in the struggle which
bears the name of the "Martin Marprelate controversy." The Puritans had
from the first appealed by their pamphlets from the Crown to the
people, and Archbishop Whitgift bore witness to their influence on
opinion by his efforts to gag the Press. The regulations made by the
Star-Chamber in 1585 for this purpose are memorable as the first step in
the long struggle of government after government to check the liberty of
printing. The irregular censorship which had long existed was now
finally organized. Printing was restricted to London and the two
Universities, the number of printers was reduced, and all applicants for
license to print were placed under the supervision of the Company of
Stationers. Every publication too, great or small, had to receive the
approbation of the Primate or the Bishop of London. The first result of
this system of repression was the appearance, in the very year of the
Armada, of a series of anonymous pamphlets bearing the significant name
of "Martin Marprelate," and issued from a secret press which found
refuge from the Royal pursuivants in the country-houses of the gentry.
The press was at last seized; and the suspected authors of these
scurrilous libels, Penry, a young Welshman, and a minister named Udall,
died, the one in prison, the other on the scaffold. But the virulence
and boldness of their language produced a powerful effect, for it was
impossible under the system of Elizabeth to "mar" the bishops without
attacking the Crown; and a new age of political liberty was felt to be
at hand when Martin Marprelate forced the political and ecclesiastical
measures of the Government into the arena of public discussion.

[Sidenote: The gathering of the Armada.]

The strife between Puritanism and the Crown was to grow into a fatal
conflict, but at the moment the Queen's policy was in the main a wise
one. It was no time for scaring and disuniting the mass of the people
when the united energies of England might soon hardly suffice to
withstand the onset of Spain. On the other hand, strike as she might at
the Puritan party, it was bound to support Elizabeth in the coming
struggle with Philip. For the sense of personal wrong and the outcry of
the Catholic world against his selfish reluctance to avenge the blood of
its martyrs had at last told on the Spanish king, and in 1584 the first
vessels of an armada which was destined for the conquest of England
began to gather in the Tagus. Resentment and fanaticism indeed were
backed by a cool policy. The gain of the Portuguese dominions made it
only the more needful for Philip to assert his mastery of the seas. He
had now to shut Englishman and heretic not only out of the New World of
the West but out of the lucrative traffic with the East. And every day
showed a firmer resolve in Englishmen to claim the New World for their
own. The plunder of Drake's memorable voyage had lured fresh freebooters
to the "Spanish Main." The failure of Frobisher's quest for gold only
drew the nobler spirits engaged in it to plans of colonisation. North
America, vexed by long winters and thinly peopled by warlike tribes of
Indians, gave a rough welcome to the earlier colonists; and after a
fruitless attempt to form a settlement on its shores Sir Humphry
Gilbert, one of the noblest spirits of his time, turned homewards again
to find his fate in the stormy seas. "We are as near to heaven by sea as
by land," were the famous words he was heard to utter ere the light of
his little bark was lost for ever in the darkness of the night. But an
expedition sent by his brother-in-law, Sir Walter Raleigh, explored
Pamlico Sound; and the country they discovered, a country where in their
poetic fancy "men lived after the manner of the Golden Age," received
from Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, the name of Virginia.

[Sidenote: Scotland and Philip.]

It was in England only that Philip could maintain his exclusive right to
the New World of the West; it was through England only that he could
strike a last and fatal blow at the revolt of the Netherlands. And
foiled as his plans had been as yet by the overthrow of the Papal
schemes, even their ruin had left ground for hope in England itself. The
tortures and hangings of the Catholic priests, the fining and
imprisonment of the Catholic gentry, had roused a resentment which it
was easy to mistake for disloyalty. The Jesuits with Parsons at their
head pictured the English Catholics as only waiting to rise in rebellion
at the call of Spain, and reported long lists of nobles and squires who
would muster their tenants to join Parma's legions on their landing. A
Spanish victory would be backed by insurrection in Ireland and attack
from Scotland. For in Scotland the last act of the Papal conspiracy
against Elizabeth was still being played. Though as yet under age, the
young king, James the Sixth, had taken on himself the government of the
realm, and had submitted to the guidance of a cousin, Esme Stuart, who
had been brought up in France and returned to Scotland a Catholic and a
fellow-plotter with the Guises. He succeeded in bringing Morton to the
block; and the death of the great Protestant leader left him free to
enlist Scotland in the league which Rome was forming for the ruin of
Elizabeth. The revolt in Ireland had failed. The work of the Jesuits in
England had just ended in the death of Campian and the arrest of his
followers. But with the help of the Guises Scotland might yet be brought
to rise in arms for the liberation of Mary Stuart, and James might reign
as co-regent with his mother, if he were converted to the Catholic
Church. The young king, anxious to free his crown from the dictation of
the nobles, lent himself to his cousin's schemes. For the moment they
were foiled. James was seized by the Protestant Lords, and the Duke of
Lennox, as Esme Stuart was now called, driven from the realm. But James
was soon free again, and again in correspondence with the Guises and
with Philip. The young king was lured by promises of the hand of an
archduchess and the hope of the crowns of both England and Scotland. The
real aim of the intriguers who guided him was to set him aside as soon
as the victory was won and to restore his mother to the throne. But
whether Mary were restored or no it seemed certain that in any attack on
Elizabeth Spain would find helpers from among the Scots.

[Sidenote: The League.]

Nor was the opportunity favourable in Scotland alone. In the Netherlands
and in France all seemed to go well for Philip's schemes. From the
moment of his arrival in the Low Countries the Prince of Parma had been
steadily winning back what Alva had lost. The Union of Ghent had been
broken. The ten Catholic provinces were being slowly brought anew under
Spanish rule. Town after town was regained. From Brabant Parma had
penetrated into Flanders; Ypres, Bruges, and Ghent had fallen into his
hands. Philip dealt a more fatal blow at his rebellious subjects in the
murder of the man who was the centre of their resistance. For years past
William of Orange had been a mark for assassin after assassin in
Philip's pay, and in 1584 the deadly persistence of the Spanish king was
rewarded by his fall. Reft indeed as they were of their leader, the
Netherlanders still held their ground. The union of Utrecht stood
intact; and Philip's work of reconquest might be checked at any moment
by the intervention of England or of France. But at this moment all
chance of French intervention passed away. Henry the Third was
childless, and the death of his one remaining brother, Francis of Anjou,
in 1584 left the young chief of the house of Bourbon, King Henry of
Navarre, heir to the crown of France. Henry was the leader of the
Huguenot party, and in January 1585 the French Catholics bound
themselves in a holy league to prevent such a triumph of heresy in the
realm as the reign of a Protestant would bring about by securing the
succession of Henry's uncle, the cardinal of Bourbon. The Leaguers
looked to Philip for support; they owned his cause for their own; and
pledged themselves not only to root out Protestantism in France, but to
help the Spanish king in rooting it out throughout the Netherlands. The
League at once overshadowed the Crown; and Henry the Third could only
meet the blow by affecting to put himself at its head, and by revoking
the edicts of toleration in favour of the Huguenots. But the Catholics
disbelieved in his sincerity; they looked only to Philip; and as long as
Philip could supply the Leaguers with men and money, he felt secure on
the side of France.

[Sidenote: Elizabeth attacks Philip.]

The vanishing of all hope of French aid was the more momentous to the
Netherlands that at this moment Parma won his crowning triumph in the
capture of Antwerp. Besieged in the winter of 1584, the city surrendered
after a brave resistance in the August of 1585. But heavy as was the
blow, it brought gain as well as loss to the Netherlanders. It forced
Elizabeth into action. She refused indeed the title of Protector of the
Netherlands which the States offered her, and compelled them to place
Brill and Flushing in her hands as pledges for the repayment of her
expenses. But she sent aid. Lord Leicester was hurried to the Flemish
coast with eight thousand men. In a yet bolder spirit of defiance
Francis Drake was suffered to set sail with a fleet of twenty-five
vessels for the Spanish Main. The two expeditions had very different
fortunes. Drake's voyage was a series of triumphs. The wrongs inflicted
on English seamen by the Inquisition were requited by the burning of the
cities of St. Domingo and Carthagena. The coasts of Cuba and Florida
were plundered, and though the gold fleet escaped him, Drake returned in
the summer of 1586 with a heavy booty. Leicester on the other hand was
paralyzed by his own intriguing temper, by strife with the Queen, and by
his military incapacity. Only one disastrous skirmish at Zutphen broke
the inaction of his forces, while Elizabeth strove vainly to use the
presence of his army to force Parma and the States alike to a peace
which would restore Philip's sovereignty over the Netherlands, but
leave them free enough to serve as a check on Philip's designs against

[Sidenote: The Catholic Plots.]

Foiled as she was in securing a check on Philip in the Low Countries,
the Queen was more successful in robbing him of the aid of the Scots.
The action of King James had been guided by his greed of the English
Crown, and a secret promise of the succession sufficed to lure him from
the cause of Spain. In July 1586 he formed an alliance, defensive and
offensive, with Elizabeth, and pledged himself not only to give no aid
to revolt in Ireland, but to suppress any Catholic rising in the
northern counties. The pledge was the more important that the Catholic
resentment seemed passing into fanaticism. Maddened by confiscation and
persecution, by the hopelessness of rebellion within or of deliverance
from without, the fiercer Catholics listened to schemes of assassination
to which the murder of William of Orange lent a terrible significance.
The detection of Somerville, a fanatic who had received the Host before
setting out for London "to shoot the Queen with his dagg," was followed
by measures of natural severity, by the flight and arrest of Catholic
gentry and peers, by a vigorous purification of the Inns of Court where
a few Catholics lingered, and by the despatch of fresh batches of
priests to the block. The trial and death of Parry, a member of the
House of Commons who had served in the royal household, on a similar
charge fed the general panic. The leading Protestants formed an
association whose members pledged themselves to pursue to the death all
who sought the Queen's life, and all on whose behalf it was sought. The
association soon became national, and the Parliament met together in a
transport of horror and loyalty to give it legal sanction. All Jesuits
and seminary priests were banished from the realm on pain of death, and
a bill for the security of the Queen disqualified any claimant of the
succession who instigated subjects to rebellion or hurt to the Queen's
person from ever succeeding to the Crown.

[Sidenote: Death of Mary Stuart.]

The threat was aimed at Mary Stuart. Weary of her long restraint, of her
failure to rouse Philip or Scotland to her aid, of the baffled revolt of
the English Catholics and the baffled intrigues of the Jesuits, Mary had
bent for a moment to submission. "Let me go," she wrote to Elizabeth;
"let me retire from this island to some solitude where I may prepare my
soul to die. Grant this and I will sign away every right which either I
or mine can claim." But the cry was useless, and in 1586 her despair
found a new and more terrible hope in the plots against Elizabeth's
life. She knew and approved the vow of Anthony Babington and a band of
young Catholics, for the most part connected with the royal household,
to kill the Queen and seat Mary on the throne; but plot and approval
alike passed through Walsingham's hands, and the seizure of Mary's
correspondence revealed her connivance in the scheme. Babington with his
fellow-conspirators was at once sent to the block, and the provisions of
the act passed in the last Parliament were put in force against Mary. In
spite of her protests a Commission of Peers sate as her judges at
Fotheringay Castle; and their verdict of "guilty" annihilated under the
provisions of the statute her claim to the Crown. The streets of London
blazed with bonfires, and peals rang out from steeple to steeple at the
news of Mary's condemnation; but in spite of the prayer of Parliament
for her execution and the pressure of the Council Elizabeth shrank from
her death. The force of public opinion however was now carrying all
before it, and after three months of hesitation the unanimous demand of
her people wrested a sullen consent from the Queen. She flung the
warrant signed upon the floor, and the Council took on themselves the
responsibility of executing it. On the 8th of February 1587 Mary died on
a scaffold which was erected in the castle-hall at Fotheringay as
dauntlessly as she had lived. "Do not weep," she said to her ladies, "I
have given my word for you." "Tell my friends," she charged Melville,
"that I die a good Catholic."

[Sidenote: Philip and England.]

The blow was hardly struck before Elizabeth turned with fury on the
ministers who had forced her hand. Cecil, who had now become Lord
Burghley, was for a while disgraced, and Davison, who carried the
warrant to the Council, was sent to the Tower to atone for an act which
shattered the policy of the Queen. The death of Mary Stuart in fact
seemed to have removed the last obstacle out of Philip's way. It had put
an end to the divisions of the English Catholics. To the Spanish king,
as to the nearest heir in blood who was of the Catholic Faith, Mary
bequeathed her rights to the Crown, and the hopes of her more passionate
adherents were from that moment bound up in the success of Spain. The
blow too kindled afresh the fervour of the Papacy, and Sixtus the Fifth
offered to aid Philip with money in his invasion of the heretic realm.
But Philip no longer needed pressure to induce him to act. Drake's
triumph had taught him that the conquest of England was needful for the
security of his dominion in the New World, and for the mastery of the
seas. The presence of an English army in Flanders convinced him that the
road to the conquest of the States lay through England itself. Nor did
the attempt seem a very perilous one. Allen and his Jesuit emissaries
assured Philip that the bulk of the nation was ready to rise as soon as
a strong Spanish force was landed on English shores. They numbered off
the great lords who would head the revolt, the Earls of Arundel and
Northumberland, who were both Catholics, the Earls of Worcester,
Cumberland, Oxford, and Southampton, Viscount Montacute, the Lords
Dacres, Morley, Vaux, Wharton, Windsor, Lumley, and Stourton. "All
these," wrote Allen, "will follow our party when they see themselves
supported by a sufficient foreign force." Against these were only "the
new nobles, who are hated in the country," and the towns. "But the
strength of England is not in its towns." All the more warlike counties
were Catholic in their sympathies; and the persecution of the recusants
had destroyed the last traces of their loyalty to the Queen. Three
hundred priests had been sent across the sea to organize the
insurrection, and they were circulating a book which Allen had lately
published "to prove that it is not only lawful but our bounden duty to
take up arms at the Pope's bidding and to fight for the Catholic faith
against the Queen and other heretics." A landing in the Pope's name
would be best, but a landing in Philip's name would be almost as secure
of success. Trained as they were now by Allen and his three hundred
priests, English Catholics "would let in Catholic auxiliaries of any
nation, for they have learned to hate their domestic heretic more than
any foreign power."

[Sidenote: Philip and France.]

What truth there was in the Jesuit view of England time was to prove.
But there can be no doubt that Philip believed it, and that the promise
of a Catholic rising was his chief inducement to attempt an invasion.
The operations of Parma therefore were suspended with a view to the
greater enterprise and vessels and supplies for the fleet which had for
three years been gathering in the Tagus were collected from every port
of the Spanish coast. Only France held Philip back. He dared not attack
England till all dread of a counter-attack from France was removed; and
though the rise of the League had seemed to secure this, its success had
now become more doubtful. The king, who had striven to embarrass it by
placing himself at its head, gathered round him the politicians and the
moderate Catholics who saw in the triumph of the new Duke of Guise the
ruin of the monarchy; while Henry of Navarre took the field at the head
of the Huguenots, and won in 1587 the victory of Coutras. Guise restored
the balance by driving the German allies of Henry from the realm; but
the Huguenots were still unconquered, and the king, standing apart, fed
a struggle which lightened for him the pressure of the League. Philip
was forced to watch the wavering fortunes of the struggle, but while he
watched, another blow fell on him from the sea. The news of the coming
Armada called Drake again to action. In April 1587 he set sail with
thirty small barks, burned the storeships and galleys in the harbour of
Cadiz, stormed the ports of the Faro, and was only foiled in his aim of
attacking the Armada itself by orders from home. A descent upon Corunna
however completed what Drake called his "singeing of the Spanish king's
beard." Elizabeth used the daring blow to back some negotiations for
peace which she was still conducting in the Netherlands. But on Philip's
side at least these negotiations were simply delusive. The Spanish pride
had been touched to the quick. Amidst the exchange of protocols Parma
gathered seventeen thousand men for the coming invasion, collected a
fleet of flat-bottomed transports at Dunkirk, and waited impatiently for
the Armada to protect his crossing. The attack of Drake however, the
death of its first admiral, and the winter storms delayed the fleet from
sailing. What held it back even more effectually was the balance of
parties in France. But in the spring of 1588 Philip's patience was
rewarded. The League had been baffled till now not so much by the
resistance of the Huguenots as by the attitude of the king. So long as
Henry the Third held aloof from both parties and gave a rallying point
to the party of moderation the victory of the Leaguers was impossible.
The difficulty was solved by the daring of Henry of Guise. The fanatical
populace of Paris rose at his call; the royal troops were beaten off
from the barricades; and on the 12th of May the king found himself a
prisoner in the hands of the Duke. Guise was made lieutenant-general of
the kingdom, and Philip was assured on the side of France.

[Sidenote: The Armada sails.]

The revolution was hardly over when at the end of May the Armada started
from Lisbon. But it had scarcely put to sea when a gale in the Bay of
Biscay drove its scattered vessels into Ferrol, and it was only on the
nineteenth of July 1588 that the sails of the Armada were seen from the
Lizard, and the English beacons flared out their alarm along the coast.
The news found England ready. An army was mustering under Leicester at
Tilbury, the militia of the midland counties were gathering to London,
while those of the south and east were held in readiness to meet a
descent on either shore. The force which Parma hoped to lead consisted
of forty thousand men, for the Armada brought nearly twenty-two thousand
soldiers to be added to the seventeen thousand who were waiting to cross
from the Netherlands. Formidable as this force was, it was far too weak
by itself to do the work which Philip meant it to do. Had Parma landed
on the earliest day he purposed, he would have found his way to London
barred by a force stronger than his own, a force too of men in whose
ranks were many who had already crossed pikes on equal terms with his
best infantry in Flanders. "When I shall have landed," he warned his
master, "I must fight battle after battle, I shall lose men by wounds
and disease, I must leave detachments behind me to keep open my
communications; and in a short time the body of my army will become so
weak that not only I may be unable to advance in the face of the enemy,
and time may be given to the heretics and your Majesty's other enemies
to interfere, but there may fall out some notable inconveniences, with
the loss of everything, and I be unable to remedy it." What Philip
really counted on was the aid which his army would find within England
itself. Parma's chance of victory, if he succeeded in landing, lay in a
Catholic rising. But at this crisis patriotism proved stronger than
religious fanaticism in the hearts of the English Catholics. The news of
invasion ran like fire along the English coasts. The whole nation
answered the Queen's appeal. Instinct told England that its work was to
be done at sea, and the royal fleet was soon lost among the vessels of
the volunteers. London, when Elizabeth asked for fifteen ships and five
thousand men, offered thirty ships and ten thousand seamen, while ten
thousand of its train-bands drilled in the Artillery ground. Every
seaport showed the same temper. Coasters put out from every little
harbour. Squires and merchants pushed off in their own little barks for
a brush with the Spaniards. In the presence of the stranger all
religious strife was forgotten. The work of the Jesuits was undone in an
hour. Of the nobles and squires whose tenants were to muster under the
flag of the invader not one proved a traitor. The greatest lords on
Allen's list of Philip's helpers, Cumberland, Oxford, and
Northumberland, brought their vessels up alongside of Drake and Lord
Howard as soon as Philip's fleet appeared in the Channel. The Catholic
gentry who had been painted as longing for the coming of the stranger,
led their tenantry, when the stranger came, to the muster at Tilbury.

[Sidenote: The two fleets.]

The loyalty of the Catholics decided the fate of Philip's scheme. Even
if Parma's army succeeded in landing, its task was now an impossible
one. Forty thousand Spaniards were no match for four millions of
Englishmen, banded together by a common resolve to hold England against
the foreigner. But to secure a landing at all, the Spaniards had to be
masters of the Channel. Parma might gather his army on the Flemish
coast, but every estuary and inlet was blocked by the Dutch cruisers.
The Netherlands knew well that the conquest of England was planned only
as a prelude to their own reduction; and the enthusiasm with which
England rushed to the conflict was hardly greater than that which
stirred the Hollanders. A fleet of ninety vessels, with the best Dutch
seamen at their head, held the Scheldt and the shallows of Dunkirk, and
it was only by driving this fleet from the water that Parma's army could
be set free to join in the great enterprise. The great need of the
Armada therefore was to reach the coast of Flanders. It was ordered to
make for Calais, and wait there for the junction of Parma. But even if
Parma joined it, the passage of his force was impossible without a
command of the Channel; and in the Channel lay an English fleet resolved
to struggle hard for the mastery. As the Armada sailed on in a broad
crescent past Plymouth, the vessels which had gathered under Lord
Howard of Effingham slipped out of the bay and hung with the wind upon
their rear. In numbers the two forces were strangely unequal, for the
English fleet counted only eighty vessels against the hundred and
forty-nine which composed the Armada. In size of ships the disproportion
was even greater. Fifty of the English vessels, including the squadron
of the Lord Admiral and the craft of the volunteers, were little bigger
than yachts of the present day. Even of the thirty Queen's ships which
formed its main body, there were but four which equalled in tonnage the
smallest of the Spanish galleons. Sixty-five of these galleons formed
the most formidable half of the Spanish fleet; and four galleys, four
galleasses armed with fifty guns apiece, fifty-six armed merchantmen,
and twenty pinnaces made up the rest. The Armada was provided with 2500
cannons, and a vast store of provisions; it had on board 8000 seamen and
more than 20,000 soldiers; and if a court-favourite, the Duke of Medina
Sidonia, had been placed at its head, he was supported by the ablest
staff of naval officers which Spain possessed.

[Sidenote: The fight with the Armada.]

Small however as the English ships were, they were in perfect trim; they
sailed two feet for the Spaniards' one; they were manned with 9000 hardy
seamen, and their Admiral was backed by a crowd of captains who had won
fame in the Spanish seas. With him were Hawkins, who had been the first
to break into the charmed circle of the Indies; Frobisher, the hero of
the North-West passage; and above all Drake, who held command of the
privateers. They had won too the advantage of the wind; and, closing in
or drawing off as they would, the lightly-handled English vessels, which
fired four shots to the Spaniards' one, hung boldly on the rear of the
great fleet as it moved along the Channel. "The feathers of the
Spaniard," in the phrase of the English seamen, were "plucked one by
one." Galleon after galleon was sunk, boarded, driven on shore; and yet
Medina Sidonia failed in bringing his pursuers to a close engagement.
Now halting, now moving slowly on, the running fight between the two
fleets lasted throughout the week, till on Sunday, the twenty-eighth of
July, the Armada dropped anchor in Calais roads. The time had come for
sharper work if the junction of the Armada with Parma was to be
prevented; for, demoralized as the Spaniards had been by the merciless
chase, their loss in ships had not been great, and their appearance off
Dunkirk might drive off the ships of the Hollanders who hindered the
sailing of the Duke. On the other hand, though the numbers of English
ships had grown, their supplies of food and ammunition were fast running
out. Howard therefore resolved to force an engagement; and, lighting
eight fire-ships at midnight, sent them down with the tide upon the
Spanish line. The galleons at once cut their cables, and stood out in
panic to sea, drifting with the wind in a long line off Gravelines.
Drake resolved at all costs to prevent their return. At dawn on the
twenty-ninth the English ships closed fairly in, and almost their last
cartridge was spent ere the sun went down.

[Sidenote: Flight of the Armada.]

Hard as the fight had been, it seemed far from a decisive one. Three
great galleons indeed had sunk in the engagement, three had drifted
helplessly on to the Flemish coast, but the bulk of the Spanish vessels
remained, and even to Drake the fleet seemed "wonderful great and
strong." Within the Armada itself however all hope was gone. Huddled
together by the wind and the deadly English fire, their sails torn,
their masts shot away, the crowded galleons had become mere
slaughter-houses. Four thousand men had fallen, and bravely as the
seamen fought, they were cowed by the terrible butchery. Medina himself
was in despair. "We are lost, Señor Oquenda," he cried to his bravest
captain; "what are we to do?" "Let others talk of being lost," replied
Oquenda, "your Excellency has only to order up fresh cartridge." But
Oquenda stood alone, and a council of war resolved on retreat to Spain
by the one course open, that of a circuit round the Orkneys. "Never
anything pleased me better," wrote Drake, "than seeing the enemy fly
with a southerly wind to the northwards. Have a good eye to the Prince
of Parma, for, with the grace of God, I doubt not ere it be long so to
handle the matter with the Duke of Sidonia, as he shall wish himself at
St. Mary Port among his orange trees." But the work of destruction was
reserved for a mightier foe than Drake. The English vessels were soon
forced to give up the chase by the running out of their supplies. But
the Spanish ships had no sooner reached the Orkneys than the storms of
the northern seas broke on them with a fury before which all concert and
union disappeared. In October fifty reached Corunna, bearing ten
thousand men stricken with pestilence and death. Of the rest some were
sunk, some dashed to pieces against the Irish cliffs. The wreckers of
the Orkneys and the Faroes, the clansmen of the Scottish Isles, the
kernes of Donegal and Galway, all had their part in the work of murder
and robbery. Eight thousand Spaniards perished between the Giant's
Causeway and the Blaskets. On a strand near Sligo an English captain
numbered eleven hundred corpses which had been cast up by the sea. The
flower of the Spanish nobility, who had been sent on the new crusade
under Alonzo da Leyva, after twice suffering shipwreck, put a third time
to sea to founder on a reef near Dunluce.

[Sidenote: Its effect on England.]

"I sent my ships against men," said Philip when the news reached him,
"not against the seas." It was in nobler tone that England owned her
debt to the storm that drove the Armada to its doom. On the medal that
commemorated its triumph were graven the words, "The Lord sent his wind,
and scattered them." The pride of the conquerors was hushed before their
sense of a mighty deliverance. It was not till England saw the broken
host "fly with a southerly wind to the north" that she knew what a
weight of fear she had borne for thirty years. The victory over the
Armada, the deliverance from Spain, the rolling away of the Catholic
terror which had hung like a cloud over the hopes of the new people, was
like a passing from death unto life. Within as without, the dark sky
suddenly cleared. The national unity proved stronger than the religious
strife. When the Catholic lords flocked to the camp at Tilbury, or put
off to join the fleet in the Channel, Elizabeth could pride herself on a
victory as great as the victory over the Armada. She had won it by her
patience and moderation, by her refusal to lend herself to the
fanaticism of the Puritan or the reaction of the Papist, by her sympathy
with the mass of the people, by her steady and unflinching preference of
national union to any passing considerations of safety or advantage. For
thirty years, amidst the shock of religious passions at home and abroad,
she had reigned not as a Catholic or as a Protestant Queen, but as a
Queen of England, and it was to England, Catholic and Protestant alike,
that she could appeal in her hour of need. "Let tyrants fear," she
exclaimed in words that still ring like the sound of a trumpet, as she
appeared among her soldiers. "Let tyrants fear! I have always so behaved
myself that under God I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard
in the loyal hearts and goodwill of my subjects! And therefore I am come
among you, as you see, resolved in the midst and heat of the battle to
live and die amongst you all." The work of Edward and of Mary was
undone, and the strife of religions fell powerless before the sense of a
common country.

[Sidenote: Its European results.]

Nor were the results of the victory less momentous to Europe at large.
What Wolsey and Henry had struggled for, Elizabeth had done. At her
accession England was scarcely reckoned among European powers. The
wisest statesmen looked on her as doomed to fall into the hands of
France, or to escape that fate by remaining a dependency of Spain. But
the national independence had grown with the national life. France was
no longer a danger, Scotland was no longer a foe. Instead of hanging on
the will of Spain, England had fronted Spain and conquered her. She now
stood on a footing of equality with the greatest powers of the world.
Her military weight indeed was drawn from the discord which rent the
peoples about her, and would pass away with its close. But a new and
lasting greatness opened on the sea. She had sprung at a bound into a
sea-power. Her fleets were spreading terror through the New World as
through the Old. When Philip by his conquest of Portugal had gathered
the two greatest navies of the world into his single hand, England had
faced him and driven his fleet from the seas. But the rise of England
was even less memorable than the fall of Spain. That Spain had fallen
few of the world's statesmen saw then. Philip thanked God that he could
easily, if he chose, "place another fleet upon the seas," and the
despatch of a second armada soon afterwards showed that his boast was a
true one. But what had vanished was his mastery of the seas. The defeat
of the Armada was the first of a series of defeats at the hands of the
English and the Dutch. The naval supremacy of Spain was lost, and with
it all was lost; for an empire so widely scattered over the world, and
whose dominions were parted by intervening nations, could only be held
together by its command of the seas. One century saw Spain stripped of
the bulk of the Netherlands, another of her possessions in Italy, a
third of her dominions in the New World. But slowly as her empire broke,
the cause of ruin was throughout the same. It was the loss of her
maritime supremacy that robbed her of all, and her maritime supremacy
was lost in the wreck of the Armada.

[Sidenote: The counter-attack on Spain.]

If Philip met the shock with a calm patience, it at once ruined his
plans in the West. France broke again from his grasp. Since the day of
the Barricades Henry the Third had been virtually a prisoner in the
hands of the Duke of Guise; but the defeat of the Armada woke him to a
new effort for the recovery of power, and at the close of 1588 Guise was
summoned to his presence and stabbed as he entered by the royal
bodyguard. The blow broke the strength of the League. The Duke of
Mayenne, a brother of the victim, called indeed the Leaguers to arms;
and made war upon the king. But Henry found help in his cousin, Henry of
Navarre, who brought a Huguenot force to his aid; and the moderate
Catholics rallied as of old round the Crown. The Leaguers called on
Philip for aid, but Philip was forced to guard against attack at home.
Elizabeth had resolved to give blow for blow. The Portuguese were
writhing under Spanish conquest; and a claimant of the crown, Don
Antonio, who had found refuge in England, promised that on his landing
the country would rise in arms. In the spring of 1589 therefore an
expedition of fifty vessels and 15,000 men was sent under Drake and Sir
John Norris against Lisbon. Its chances of success hung on a quick
arrival in Portugal, but the fleet touched at Corunna, and after burning
the ships in its harbour the army was tempted to besiege the town. A
Spanish army which advanced to its relief was repulsed by an English
force of half its numbers. Corunna however held stubbornly out, and in
the middle of May Norris was forced to break the siege and to sail to
Lisbon. But the delay had been fatal to his enterprise. The country did
not rise; the English troops were thinned with sickness; want of cannon
hindered a siege; and after a fruitless march up the Tagus Norris fell
back on the fleet. The coast was pillaged, and the expedition returned
baffled to England. Luckless as the campaign had proved, the bold
defiance of Spain and the defeat of a Spanish army on Spanish ground
kindled a new daring in Englishmen while they gave new heart to Philip's
enemies. In the summer of 1589 Henry the Third laid siege to Paris. The
fears of the League were removed by the knife of a priest, Jacques
Clément, who assassinated the king in August; but Henry of Navarre, or,
as he now became, Henry the Fourth, stood next to him in line of blood,
and Philip saw with dismay a Protestant mount the throne of France.

[Sidenote: Henry the Fourth.]

From this moment the thought of attack on England, even his own warfare
in the Netherlands, was subordinated in the mind of the Spanish king to
the need of crushing Henry the Fourth. It was not merely that Henry's
Protestantism threatened to spread heresy over the West. Catholic or
Protestant, the union of France under an active and enterprising ruler
would be equally fatal to Philip's designs. Once gathered round its
king, France was a nearer obstacle to the reconquest of the Netherlands
than ever England could be. On the other hand, the religious strife, to
which Henry's accession gave a fresh life and vigour, opened wide
prospects to Philip's ambition. Far from proving a check upon Spain, it
seemed as if France might be turned into a Spanish dependency. While the
Leaguers proclaimed the Cardinal of Bourbon king, under the name of
Charles the Tenth, they recognized Philip as Protector of France. Their
hope indeed lay in his aid, and their army was virtually his own. On the
other hand Henry the Fourth was environed with difficulties. It was only
by declaring his willingness to be "further instructed" in matters of
faith, in other words by holding out hopes of his conversion, that he
succeeded in retaining the moderate Catholics under his standard. His
desperate bravery alone won a victory at Ivry over the forces of the
League, which enabled him to again form the siege of Paris in 1590. All
recognized Paris as the turning-point in the struggle, and the League
called loudly for Philip's aid. To give it was to break the work which
Parma was doing in the Netherlands, and to allow the United Provinces a
breathing space in their sorest need. But even the Netherlands were of
less moment than the loss of France; and Philip's orders forced Parma
to march to the relief of Paris. The work was done with a skill which
proved the Duke to be a master in the art of war. The siege of Paris was
raised; the efforts of Henry to bring the Spaniards to an engagement
were foiled; and it was only when the king's army broke up from sheer
weariness that Parma withdrew unharmed to the north.

[Sidenote: England and Henry.]

England was watching the struggle of Henry the Fourth with a keen
interest. The failure of the expedition against Lisbon had put an end
for the time to any direct attacks upon Spain, and the exhaustion of the
treasury forced Elizabeth to content herself with issuing commissions to
volunteers. But the war was a national one, and the nation waged it for
itself. Merchants, gentlemen, nobles fitted out privateers. The sea-dogs
in ever-growing numbers scoured the Spanish Main. Their quest had its
ill chances as it had its good, and sometimes the prizes made were far
from paying for the cost of the venture. "Paul might plant, and Apollos
might water," John Hawkins explained after an unsuccessful voyage, "but
it is God only that giveth the increase!" But more often the profit was
enormous. Spanish galleons, Spanish merchant-ships, were brought month
after month to English harbours. The daring of the English seamen faced
any odds. Ten English trading vessels beat off twelve Spanish
war-galleys in the Straits of Gibraltar. Sir Richard Grenville in a
single bark, the Revenge, found himself girt in by fifty men-of-war,
each twice as large as his own. He held out from afternoon to the
following daybreak, beating off attempt after attempt to board him; and
it was not till his powder was spent, more than half his crew killed,
and the rest wounded, that the ship struck its flag. Grenville had
refused to surrender, and was carried mortally wounded to die in a
Spanish ship. "Here die I, Richard Grenville," were his last words,
"with a joyful and a quiet mind, for that I have ended my life as a good
soldier ought to do, who has fought for his country and his queen, for
honour and religion." But the drift of the French war soon forced
Elizabeth back again into the strife. In each of the French provinces
the civil war went on: and in Britanny, where the contest raged
fiercest, Philip sent the Leaguers a supply of Spanish troops. Normandy
was already in Catholic hands, and the aim of the Spanish king was to
secure the western coast for future operations against England.
Elizabeth pressed Henry the Fourth to foil these projects, and in the
winter of 1591 she sent money and men to aid him in the siege of Rouen.

[Sidenote: Henry's conversion.]

To save Rouen Philip was again forced to interrupt his work of conquest
in the Netherlands. Parma marched anew into the heart of France, and
with the same consummate generalship as of old relieved the town without
giving Henry a chance of battle. But the day was fast going against the
Leaguers. The death of their puppet-king, Charles the Tenth, left them
without a sovereign to oppose to Henry of Navarre; and their scheme of
conferring the crown on Isabella, Philip's daughter by Elizabeth of
France, with a husband whom Philip should choose, awoke jealousies in
the house of Guise itself, while it gave strength to the national party
who shrank from laying France at the feet of Spain. Even the Parliament
of Paris, till now the centre of Catholic fanaticism, protested against
setting the crown of France on the brow of a stranger. The politicians
drew closer to Henry of Navarre, and the moderate Catholics pressed for
his reconciliation to the Church as a means of restoring unity to the
realm. The step had become so inevitable that even the Protestants were
satisfied with Henry's promise of toleration; and in the summer of 1593
he declared himself a Catholic. With his conversion the civil war came
practically to an end. It was in vain that Philip strove to maintain the
zeal of the Leaguers, or that the Guises stubbornly kept the field. All
France drew steadily to the king. Paris opened her gates in the spring
of 1594, and the chief of the Leaguers, the Duke of Mayenne, submitted
at the close of the year. Even Rome abandoned the contest, and at the
end of 1595 Henry received solemn absolution from Clement the Eighth.
From that moment France rose again into her old power, and the old
national policy of opposition to the House of Austria threw her weight
into the wavering balance of Philip's fortunes. The death of Parma had
already lightened the peril of the United Provinces, but though their
struggle in the Low Countries was to last for years, from the moment of
Henry the Fourth's conversion their independence was secure. Nor was the
restoration of the French monarchy to its old greatness of less moment
to England. Philip was yet to send an armada against her coasts; he was
again to stir up a fierce revolt in northern Ireland. But all danger
from Spain was over with the revival of France. Even were England to
shrink from a strife in which she had held Philip so gloriously at bay,
French policy would never suffer the island to fall unaided under the
power of Spain. The fear of foreign conquest passed away. The long
struggle for sheer existence was over. What remained was the
Protestantism, the national union, the lofty patriotism, the pride in
England and the might of Englishmen, which had drawn life more vivid and
intense than they had ever known before from the long battle with the
Papacy and with Spain.



The following words used an oe ligature in the original:


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ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.