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Title: Queen Elizabeth - Makers of History
Author: Abbott, Jacob, 1803-1879
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Queen Elizabeth - Makers of History" ***

 Makers of History

 Queen Elizabeth







 Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand
 eight hundred and forty-nine, by


 in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District
 of New York.

 Copyright, 1876, by JACOB ABBOTT.

[Illustration: SIR FRANCIS DRAKE.]


The author of this series has made it his special object to confine
himself very strictly, even in the most minute details which he records,
to historic truth. The narratives are not tales founded upon history,
but history itself, without any embellishment or any deviations from the
strict truth, so far as it can now be discovered by an attentive
examination of the annals written at the time when the events themselves
occurred. In writing the narratives, the author has endeavored to avail
himself of the best sources of information which this country affords;
and though, of course, there must be in these volumes, as in all
historical accounts, more or less of imperfection and error, there is no
intentional embellishment. Nothing is stated, not even the most minute
and apparently imaginary details, without what was deemed good
historical authority. The readers, therefore, may rely upon the record
as the truth, and nothing but the truth, so far as an honest purpose and
a careful examination have been effectual in ascertaining it.


Chapter                                                      Page

    I. ELIZABETH'S MOTHER                                     13

   II. THE CHILDHOOD OF A PRINCESS                            39

  III. LADY JANE GREY                                         57

   IV. THE SPANISH MATCH                                      81

    V. ELIZABETH IN THE TOWER                                100

   VI. ACCESSION TO THE THRONE                               120

  VII. THE WAR IN SCOTLAND                                   141

 VIII. ELIZABETH'S LOVERS                                    161

   IX. PERSONAL CHARACTER                                    187

    X. THE INVINCIBLE ARMADA                                 208

   XI. THE EARL OF ESSEX                                     232

  XII. THE CONCLUSION                                        260



 PORTRAIT OF DRAKE                                _Frontispiece._

 PORTRAIT OF HENRY VIII                                       16

 PORTRAIT OF ANNE BOLEYN                                      20

 GROUP OF CHRISTENING GIFTS                                   25

 TOWER OF LONDON                                              31

 PORTRAIT OF EDWARD VI.                                       44

 LADY JANE GREY AT STUDY                                      63

 PORTRAIT OF PHILIP OF SPAIN                                  84

 ELIZABETH IN THE TOWER                                      112

 ELIZABETH'S PROGRESS TO LONDON                              135

 IN THE DISTANCE                                             156

 LEICESTER                                                   169

 THE BARGES ON THE RIVER                                     182

 PORTRAIT OF QUEEN ELIZABETH                                 203

 THE INVINCIBLE ARMADA                                       229

 THE HOUSE OF THE EARL OF ESSEX                              242

 ELIZABETH IN HER LAST HOURS                                 270

 HEAD OF JAMES I.                                            275

 ELIZABETH'S TOMB                                            279





Greenwich.--The hospital.--Its inmates.--Greenwich
Observatory.--Manner of taking time.--Henry the Eighth.--His
character.--His six wives.--Anne Boleyn.--Catharine of Aragon.--Henry
discards her.--Origin of the English Church.--Henry marries Anne
Boleyn.--Birth of Elizabeth.--Ceremony of christening.--Baptism of
Elizabeth.--Grand procession.--Train-bearers.--The church.--The silver
font.--The presents.--Name of the infant princess.--Elizabeth made
Princess of Wales.--Matrimonial schemes.--Jane Seymour.--The
tournament.--The king's suspicions.--Queen Anne arrested.--She is
sent to the Tower.--Sufferings of the queen.--Her mental
distress.--Examination of Anne.--Her letter to the king.--Anne's
fellow-prisoners.--They are executed.--Anne tried and condemned.--She
protests her innocence.--Anne's execution.--Disposition of the
body.--The king's brutality.--Elizabeth's forlorn condition.

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: THE TOWER OF LONDON.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Elizabeth's condition at the death of her mother.--Her
residence.--Letter of Lady Bryan, Elizabeth's governess.--Conclusion of
letter.--Troubles and trials of infancy.--Birth of Edward.--The king
reconciled to his daughters.--Death of King Henry.--His children.--King
Henry's violence.--The order of succession.--Elizabeth's troubles.--The
two Seymours.--The queen dowager's marriage.--The Seymours
quarrel.--Somerset's power and influence.--Jealousies and
quarrels.--Mary Queen of Scots.--Marriage schemes.--Seymour's
promotion.--Jane Grey.--Family quarrels.--Death of the queen
dowager.--Seymour's schemes.--Seymour's arrest.--His trial and
attainder.--Seymour beheaded.--Elizabeth's trials.--Elizabeth's
firmness.--Lady Tyrwhitt.--Elizabeth's sufferings.--Her fidelity to
her friends.

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

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

     My Lord:

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

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

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

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

     [Footnote B: That is, _opportunity_ for correction.]

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: PORTRAIT OF EDWARD VI.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Lady Jane Grey.--Her disposition and character.--Lady
Jane's parents.--Restraints put upon her.--Lady Jane's
attainments.--Character of her teacher.--Anecdote of Elizabeth and
Aylmer.--Lady Jane's attachment to Aylmer.--Elizabeth's studies.--Roger
Ascham.--Lady Jane's acquirements in Greek.--Her interview with
Ascham.--Lady Jane's intimacy with Edward.--The Earl of
Northumberland.--Harsh treatment of Mary.--Decline of Edward's
health.--Uncertainty in respect to the succession.--Struggle
for power.--Queen Elizabeth's family connections.--Explanation
of the table.--King Henry's will.--Various claimants for the
throne.--Perplexing questions.--Power of Northumberland.--His
schemes.--Marriage of Lady Jane.--Feelings of the people.--Efforts
to set Mary aside.--Northumberland works on the young king.--Conduct
of the judges.--Pardon by anticipation.--Edward's deed of
settlement.--Plan to entrap the princesses.--Death of Edward.--Escape
of the princesses.--Precautions of Mary.--Lady Jane proclaimed
queen.--Great excitement.--Public opinion in favor of
Mary.--Northumberland taken prisoner.--He is beheaded.--Mary's
triumphal procession.--Shared by Elizabeth.

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: LADY JANE GREY AT STUDY.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

                     = 2. KING HENRY VIII.
                        _Catharine of Aragon._   = 4. QUEEN MARY.
                        _Anne Boleyn._           = 5. QUEEN ELIZABETH.
                        _Jane Seymour._          = 3. KING EDWARD VI.
                        _Anne of Cleves._
                        _Catharine Howard._
                        _Catharine Parr._

                      = Margaret
                        _James IV. of Scotland_  = James V. of Scotland
                                                  = Mary Queen of Scots
 1. KING HENRY VII.                                = 6. KING JAMES VI. OF
                                                         SCOTLAND AND I.
                                                         OF ENGLAND.
                        _Earl Of Angus_          = Margaret Douglas
                                                  = Earl of Lenox
                                                   = Lord Darnley

                      = Mary.
                        _Charles Brandon, duke   = Frances, marchioness
                         of Suffolk_               of Dorset
                                                  = Lady Jane Grey.
                                                 = Eleanor.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Queen Mary's character.--Bigotry and firmness.--Suitors for Queen Mary's
hand.--Emperor Charles the Fifth.--Character of his son Philip.--The
emperor proposes his son.--Mary pleased with the proposal.--Plans of the
ministers.--The people alarmed.--Opposition to the match.--The emperor
furnishes money.--The emperor's embassy.--Stipulations of the treaty of
marriage.--Wyatt's rebellion.--Duke of Suffolk.--Wyatt advances toward
London.--The queen retreats into the city.--Wyatt surrenders.--The Duke
of Suffolk sent to the Tower.--Beheading of Lady Jane Grey.--Her heroic
fortitude.--Death of Suffolk.--Imprisonment of Elizabeth.--Execution of
Wyatt.--The wedding plan proceeds.--Hostility of the sailors.--Mary's
fears and complainings.--Philip lands at Southampton.--Philip's proud
and haughty demeanor.--The marriage ceremony.--Philip abandons
Mary.--Her repinings.--Her death.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Elizabeth's position.--Legitimacy of Mary and Elizabeth's birth.--Mary
and Elizabeth's differences.--Courteney's long imprisonment.--Mary's
attentions to Courteney.--Courteney's attentions to Elizabeth.--Mary's
plan to get Elizabeth in her power.--Elizabeth's wariness.--Wyatt
accuses Elizabeth.--Her seizure.--Elizabeth borne in a litter.--She is
examined and released.--Elizabeth again arrested.--Her letter to
Mary.--Situation of the Tower.--The Traitors' Gate.--Elizabeth conveyed
to the Tower.--She is landed at the Traitors' Gate.--Elizabeth's
reception at the Tower.--Her unwillingness to enter.--Elizabeth's
indignation and grief.--She is closely imprisoned.--Elizabeth in the
garden.--The little child and the flowers.--Elizabeth greatly
alarmed.--Her removal from the Tower.--Elizabeth's fears.--Mary's
designs.--Elizabeth taken to Richmond.--Mary's plan for
marrying her.--Elizabeth's journey to Woodstock.--Christmas
festivities.--Elizabeth persists in her innocence.--The torch-light
visit.--Reconciliation between Elizabeth and Mary.--Elizabeth's release.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Mary's unhappy reign.--Unrequited love.--Mary's sufferings.--Her
religious principles.--Progress of Mary's Catholic zeal.--Her
moderation at first.--Mary's terrible persecution of the
Protestants.--Burning at the stake.--The title of Bloody given to
Mary.--Mary and Elizabeth reconciled.--Scenes of festivity.--The war
with France.--Loss of Calais.--Murmurs of the English.--King of
Sweden's proposal to Elizabeth.--Mary's energy.--Mary's privy council
alarmed.--Their perplexity.--Uncertainty about Elizabeth's future
course.--Her cautious policy.--Death of Mary.--Announcement to
Parliament.--Elizabeth proclaimed.--Joy of the people.--The Te
Deum.--Elizabeth's emotions.--Cecil made secretary of state.--His
faithfulness.--Elizabeth's charge to Cecil.--Her journey to
London.--Elizabeth's triumphant entrance into the Tower.--The
coronation.--Pageants in the streets.--Devices.--Presentation of the
Bible.--The heavy purse.--The sprig of rosemary.--The wedding ring.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was _nothing_ that they could do. There was now no other
considerable claimant to the throne but Elizabeth, except Mary Queen of
Scots, who was far away in France. She was a Catholic, it was true; but
to bring her into the country and place her upon the throne seemed to be
a hopeless undertaking. Queen Mary's counselors soon found that they
must give up their cause in despair. Any attempt to resist Elizabeth's
claims would be high treason, and, of course, if unsuccessful, would
bring the heads of all concerned in it to the block.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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




Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots.--Their rivalry.--Character of
Mary.--Character of Elizabeth.--Elizabeth's celebrity while
living.--Interest in Mary when dead.--Real nature of the question
at issue between Mary and Elizabeth.--The two marriages.--One or
the other necessarily null.--Views of Mary's friends.--Views of
Elizabeth's friends.--Circumstances of Henry the Eighth's first
marriage.--The papal dispensation.--Doubts about it.--England
turns Protestant.--The marriage annulled.--Mary in France.--She
becomes Queen of France.--Mary's pretensions to the English
crown.--Elizabeth's fears.--Measures of Elizabeth.--Progress of
Protestantism in Scotland.--Difficulties in Scotland.--Elizabeth's
interference.--Fruitless negotiations.--The war goes on.--The
French shut up in Leith.--Situation of the town.--The English
victorious.--The Treaty of Edinburgh.--Stipulations of the
treaty.--Mary refuses to ratify it.--Death of Mary's husband.--She
returns to Scotland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote C: Matthew, xvi. 19]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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




Claimants to the throne.--General character of Elizabeth's
reign.--Elizabeth's suitors.--Their motives.--Philip of Spain
proposes.--His strange conduct.--Elizabeth declines Philip's
proposal.--Her reasons for so doing.--The English people wish
Elizabeth to be married.--Petition of the Parliament.--Elizabeth's
"gracious" reply.--Elizabeth attacked with the small-pox.--Alarm of
the country.--The Earl of Leicester.--His character.--Services of
Cecil.--Elizabeth's attachment to Leicester.--Leicester's wife.--Her
mysterious death.--Leicester hated by the people.--Various
rumors.--The torch-light conversation.--The servants
quarrel.--Splendid style of living.--Public ceremonies.--Elizabeth
recommends Leicester to Mary Queen of Scots.--Mary marries
Darnley.--Elizabeth's visit to Kenilworth.--Leicester's
marriage.--Elizabeth sends him to prison.--Prosperity of Elizabeth's
reign.--The Duke of Anjou.--Catharine de Medici.--She proposes her son
to Elizabeth.--Quarrels of the favorites.--The shot.--The people
oppose the match.--The arrangements completed.--The match broken
off.--The duke's rage.--The duke's departure.--The farewell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: THE BARGES ON THE RIVER.]

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

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

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

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

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




Opinions of Elizabeth's character.--The Catholics and
Protestants.--Parties in England.--Elizabeth's wise
administration.--Mary claims the English throne.--She is made prisoner
by Elizabeth.--Various plots.--Execution of Mary.--The impossibility
of settling the claims of Mary and Elizabeth.--Elizabeth's
duplicity.--Her scheming to entrap Mary.--Maiden ladies.--Their
benevolent spirit.--Elizabeth's selfishness and jealousy.--The
maids of honor.--Instance of Elizabeth's cruelty.--Her
irritable temper.--Leicester's friend and the gentleman of
the black rod.--Elizabeth in a rage.--Her invectives against
Leicester.--Leicester's chagrin.--Elizabeth's powers of
satire.--Elizabeth's views of marriage.--Her insulting conduct.--The
Dean of Christ Church and the Prayer Book.--Elizabeth's good
qualities.--Her courage.--The shot at the barge.--Elizabeth's
vanity.--Elizabeth and the embassador.--The pictures.--Elizabeth's
fondness for pomp and parade.--Summary of Elizabeth's character.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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




Fierce contests between Catholics and Protestants.--Philip's
cruelty.--Effects of war.--Napoleon and Xerxes.--March of
improvement.--Spanish armadas.--The Low Countries.--Their situation
and condition.--Embassage from the Low Countries.--Their
proposition.--Elizabeth's decision.--Leicester and Drake.--Leicester
sets out for the Low Countries.--His reception.--Leicester's
elation.--Elizabeth's displeasure.--Drake's success.--His deeds of
cruelty.--Drake's expedition in 1577.--Execution of Doughty.--Straits
of Magellan.--Drake plunders the Spaniards.--Chase of the
Cacofogo.--Drake captures her.--Drake's escape by going round the
world.--Character of Drake.--Philip demands the treasure.--Alarming
news.--Elizabeth's navy.--Drake's expedition against the
Spaniards.--His bold stroke.--Exasperation of Philip.--His
preparations.--Elizabeth's preparations.--The army and
navy.--Elizabeth reviews the troops.--Her speech.--Elizabeth's
energy.--Approach of the armada.--A grand spectacle.--A singular
fight.--Defeat of the armada.--A remnant escapes.

Thirty years of Queen Elizabeth's reign passed away. During all this
time the murderous contests between the Catholic governments of France
and Spain and their Protestant subjects went on with terrible energy.
Philip of Spain was the great leader and head of the Catholic powers,
and he prosecuted his work of exterminating heresy with the sternest and
most merciless determination. Obstinate and protracted wars, cruel
tortures, and imprisonments and executions without number, marked his

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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




Character of Essex.--Death of Leicester.--Essex becomes the queen's
favorite.--Cecil and Essex.--Elizabeth's regard for Essex.--His
impulsive bravery.--Essex's ardor for battle.--His duel.--Elizabeth's
remark upon the duel.--She gives Essex a ring.--The quarrel.--The
box on the ear.--Mortification of Essex.--He and Elizabeth
reconciled.--Essex sent to Ireland.--Curious negotiations.--The
queen's displeasure.--Essex's sudden return.--Essex is
arrested.--Resentment and love.--Essex's anger and chagrin.--He is
taken sick.--Nature of Essex's sickness.--The queen's anxiety.--The
queen's kindness to Essex.--They are reconciled again.--Essex's
promises.--The queen's ungenerous conduct.--Essex's monopoly of
wines.--The queen refuses to renew it.--Essex made desperate.--His
treasonable schemes.--Ramifications of the plot.--It is
discovered.--Anxious deliberations.--The rising determined upon.--The
hostages.--Essex enters the city.--The proclamation.--Essex
unsuccessful.--Essex's hopeless condition.--He escapes to his
palace.--Essex made prisoner, tried, and condemned.--His
remorse.--Elizabeth's distress.--The ring not sent.--The warrant
signed.--The platform.--Essex's last words.--The closing scene.--The
courtier.--His fiendish pleasure.

The lady whom the Earl of Leicester married was, a short time before he
married her, the wife of the Earl of Essex, and she had one son, who, on
the death of his father, became the Earl of Essex in his turn. He came
to court, and continued in Leicester's family after his mother's second
marriage. He was an accomplished and elegant young man, and was regarded
with a good deal of favor by the queen. He was introduced at court when
he was but seventeen years old, and, being the step-son of Leicester, he
necessarily occupied a conspicuous position; his personal qualities,
joined with this, soon gave him a very high and honorable name.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Question of Essex's guilt.--General opinion of mankind.--Elizabeth's
distress.--Fall of Essex's party.--Wounds of the heart.--Elizabeth's
efforts to recover her spirits.--Embassage from France.--A
conversation.--Thoughts of Essex.--Harrington.--The Countess of
Nottingham.--The ring.--The Countess of Nottingham's confession.--The
queen's indignation.--Bitter reminiscences.--The queen removes to
Richmond.--Elizabeth grows worse.--The private chapel and the
closets.--The wedding ring.--The queen's friends abandon her.--The
queen's voice fails.--She calls her council together.--The
chaplains.--The prayers.--The queen's death.--King James
proclaimed.--Portrait of James the First.--Burial of the
queen.--Westminster Abbey.--Its history.--The Poet's Corner.--Henry
the Seventh's Chapel.--Elizabeth's monument.--James.--Mary's
monument.--Feelings of visitors.--Summary of Elizabeth's character.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: KING JAMES I.]

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

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

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


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

[Footnote E: See our history of Mary Queen of Scots, near the close.
Aisles in English Cathedral churches are colonnades, or spaces between
columns on an open floor, and not passages between pews, as with us. In
monumental churches like Westminster Abbey there are no pews.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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

                         THE END.


1. Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors, and to
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every effort has been made to remain true to the original book.

2. The sidenotes used in this text were originally published as
banners in the page headers, and have been collected at the beginning
of each chapter for the reader's convenience.

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